Friday, August 24, 2007

Excited for the Start of School

I am excited to let you all know that we have hired a fabulous Parent Coordinator, Annette Lentini. Annette comes to us after having been the Parent Coordinator at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, where she implemented many successful programs to help students and to bring parents into the school building. She has many great ideas and also welcomes input from the PTA. To help keep you informed of school news and events, Annette will continue to send out a weekly newsletter via email. If we do not have your email address, please call the school and speak with Annette. Also, feel free to call her with your questions at any time.

As we get ready for classes to begin, there are many exciting things happening. Our Kaplan's PSAT and SAT Preparation Class will begin on Saturday, September 8th at our school. This class is to help juniors prepare for the college entrance examinations. Class size is limited to 25. We do still have a few spots available in our second class. If you are interested, please call the school.

We are planning a Poetry Slam for our sophomores. This will include a week-long poet in residence program. During this time sophomore students will have an opportunity to work with a professional, published poet to write poetry, have their poetry critiqued and participate in a poetry slam. Students will also enjoy our resident poet as he animatedly and passionately performs his original poetry. This program grew out of the very successful one day program that we had for last year's sophomores.

We have already planned a day long freshman orientation trip to the Ring Homestead Camp in Middletown, New York for Tuesday, September 18. While at Ring Homestead Camp, students will participate in team and community building activities. Part of the trip will involve students working together to complete a ropes course. On that day, buses will leave from school at 7:30 am and return at 6:00 pm. We expect all students to participate in this experiential learning activity as it is essential to building freshman community at College of Staten Island High School for International Studies as well as for helping students get to know their teachers and become contributing members to our school community.

We are thrilled to be able to include Japanese 1 in our language offerings to our freshman students and are equally as excited about incorporating a technology course into the junior curriculum.

We are also excited about the ways in which we have expanded our Advisory Program. This year, advisory will meet five days per week. Two of those days will be devoted to independent reading. Independent reading affords students opportunities to read what they enjoy, while building vocabulary and improving reading and writing skills. During this time students and teachers will be able to read books/magazines/newspapers of choice. Students will also be able to work on their independent reading assignments for their English classes during these two periods. Guidelines will be explained to students in advisory. Additionally, to help support all of our students, advisers will also be able to conference with each of their advisees so that they are more aware of academic progress as well as any issues or problems their advisees are having. We are hopeful that this will strengthen communications and the bond formed between students and their advisers and will ultimately lead to increased student achievement.

Things that are still in the works: a two week student exchange trip to Germany, a student exchange with Ecuador (for students studying Spanish), dual high school/college credit for students enrolled in Spanish 4, tuition waivers for students to take courses at College of Staten Island during Spring Semester, college visits and many exciting trips and other programs for all grade levels.

We are very excited about the start of school and look forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday, September 4th at 8:30 am. If you have additional ideas, suggestions or comments, please post them. We would love to hear from you!


Kasey said...

I can't wait for school to start; I'm so excited!

Everything new sounds awesome, especially the 8:30 start time! Awesome decision on that one!

I'm also excited there's going to be another Japanese class. It was quite lonely with only fifteen of us before!

More advisory sounds great, too! Especially since there's two periods a week where all we do is read! I had almost resigned myself to not being able to read any books during the school year because of the courseload, but now I'll definately be able to!

I just have two questions, though: I thought that the exchange trip was going to be a one week exchange with a school in France, not two weeks in Germany. Have plans changed, or is this another exchange trip entirely?

And, on the supply list we recieved in the mail recently, it states that juniors will need a "three-ring binder" for lab printouts, but it doesn't specify the size of the binder. Two inches like before? Bigger? Smaller?

Can't wait to see everyone! Thanks!

- Kasey

Aimee Horowitz said...

Hey Kasey:

I am so glad you like the changes to the school program. From the previous posts you can see that as we researched the later start time for school, we were hoping it would help to make kids' lives a bit more manageable.

I do believe that the plans for the trip have changed somewhat. We will do an exchange with France next year. The French school wants to send 30 students and we felt it would be better to start smaller so we opted to exchange with a school in Germany first. Germany is awesome; historic, charming, modern, exciting and beautiful. I hope you get the opportunity to go.

I believe a two inch binder would be fine. I would not go with one that is very large as you will have to carry it around. By the way, congrats on your AP Exam! You should be really proud of yourself; your hard work truly paid off.

Can't wait to see you and everyone else too! It is going to be a really exciting and great year!