Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Congratutlations to the staff of the International Insider on the release of your first issue this year. Thanks to both our journalism class and our journalism club, our paper has grown to 16 pages, featuring a two page spread about our students' summer travel adventures to Asia, Turkey, Mexico, Ireland and more. We are also fortunate to have articles from our international student reporters in Lebanon, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, India and Belarus as well as Heather Vale's interview of a Tahani, a student in Syria. An interesting center spread about our new staff members and articles about our move to Marsh, the new start time for school, graffiti and other school issues make for interesting reading as well. Be informed - read the International Insider!

I would also like to thank Ms. Nancy Kaplan, faculty advisor to the International Insider, for her dedication and devotion to our paper and for continuing to ensure its excellence.

Share your feedback!

If you are interested in writing for the paper, learning how to do layout, or working on advertising the Journalism Club meets on Thursdays after school in room 103! Check it out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I am really excited to see you all tomorrow in your costumes and hope that we can have fun while learning and participating in what has become an American tradition. We are hoping that dressing in fun, yet safe and appropriate costumes will also become part of a tradition at our school that you all have helped to establish.

The staff want you all to know that we greatly value student voice and are giving you the opportunity to demonstrate how listening to your voices can help to create a positive and fun environment for learning .

Just so everyone remembers:
  • All costumes must comply with the school and the Chancellor's dress code!
  • Absolutely no weapons!
  • No costume that is offensive to a person's race, religion, gender or ethnicity!
  • No costume that will prevent you from participating in learning activities in your classes!
  • No very big accessories on costumes that can pose a danger to you or others or can get in the way of other students in classes, such as large angel wings!
  • No profanity!

Again, I have heard pleas for the last two years about being able to wear costumes on Halloween. This year, Ms. Zinn and I were presented with an impassioned letter from students that detailed a plan for Halloween, including the guidelines listed above. The faculty has decided that because we were presented with a well written plan, more than one day before Halloween, that we would allow costumes this year as a trial. Please make sure that if you choose to wear a costume, it complies with the guidelines. That will enable us to establish a Halloween tradition at our school! Can't wait to see all of your costumes!

Be safe! Share your thoughts about the day!

Watch for the first edition of The International Insider!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CSIHSIS Hosts First Annual Junior College Breakfast

Thanks to the work of our Guidance Counselor, Ms. Marie Mammaro, this morning we hosted our first annual college breakfast. Junior students and their parents were invited. Those who attended received the "hot off the presses" CSIHSIS College Handbook as well as other valuable information about the differences between SATs and ACTs, the SAT Subject Tests, and a host of websites to help begin the college search and application process. Students and their parents also learned how to access and use the College Board website to do a college search. Allan Katz also gave a wonderful and informative presentation about financial aid requirements, the different types of aid available, how to obtain the forms that need to be filed, the differences between public and private universities and financial aid, and information about how to locate scholarships. Students and their parents then visited the Big Apple College Fair in the CSI Gym.

For those of you who did not attend, we missed you! For those of you who took advantage of this opportunity, we would love to have your feedback about this event. Please tell us what worked well and what we can do better to improve upon this event for next year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CSIHSIS Gets a New Home!

Today I was pleased to inform our students and staff about the new state of the art school building that we will make our permanent home. We will occupy our new home, located on Marsh and Essex, in September 2008. Our new building will provide use with a theater that can accommodate our entire school, gymnasium facilities complete with boys and girls locker rooms, a library media center, hallway lockers, science laboratories and prep rooms, outdoor soccer and football fields as well as a basketball court, a guidance suite, a music area, wireless internet and more.

Additionally, we are working with College of Staten Island to enhance our partnership to provide our students with new and greater learning opportunities. Both the College and the Department of Education have promised to support this effort by collaborating to provide us with a robust shuttle service that will operate between the College and our new school building. We are pleased to invite all CSIHSIS students and their families to learn more about our exciting new facility and how our partnership with the College will grow on Monday, October 22nd in the Williamson Theater in Building 1P at the College. I am pleased to be joined at that meeting by representatives from the Department of Education's Office of Portfolio Development as well as our partners Judy Conk from Asia Society and College of Staten Island President Tomas Morales. We are hopeful that you all will attend this meeting, learn more about how this facility will help us to provide your child with new and greater learning opportunities, and have your questions answered. Looking forward to seeing you on the 22nd and to hearing your thoughts before then.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Action Day!

Attention CSI!
Monday, October 15, 200y is Blog Action Day. Bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Major blogs have signed up to participate, including Lifehacker, Dumb Little Man,, Get Rich Slowly, Web Worker Daily, GigaOm, The Simple Dollar, Zen Habits, Freelance Switch, LifeClever, Unclutterer, Pronet Advertising, Wise Bread and many more.

"For just one day, we'd like to unite as many of the millions of bloggers around the world and speak about one issue - the environment," said Collis Ta'eed, an Australian blogger from, and a cofounder of Blog Action Day. "We want to display the potential and the power of the blogging community, which is a disparate community but one with an amazing size, breadth and diversity. By bringing everyone together for one day, we can see just how much can be achieved, and how much we can be heard."

So, CSI I invite you to do something good for the environment today; pick up some trash on the campus, turn out the lights when you leave a room, make sure you recycle, use a burlap bag for groceries instead of paper or plastic bags, walk instead of being driven, educate others about global warming, plant a tree, etc. Check our what others are doing! Check out some environmental charities. Organize a service learning project about the environment! Take action! Share your thoughts and what you have done to preserve our environment!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Studies Link Sleep Deficits With Student Performance

According to a series of articles in this weeks New York Magazine, sleep-deprived students fare far worse academically and emotionally than students who get adequate sleep. MRI scans show that a lack of sleep inhibits the body's ability to refuel itself. Like our school, some districts have tried to encourage students to get more sleep by starting school later in the morning.

"According to surveys by the National Sleep Foundation, 90 percent of American parents think their child is getting enough sleep. The kids themselves say otherwise.
In those same surveys, 60 percent of high schoolers report extreme daytime sleepiness. In another study, a quarter admit their grades have dropped because of it. Over 25 percent fall asleep in class at least once a week.

The raw numbers more than back them up. Half of all adolescents get less than seven hours of sleep on weeknights. By the time they are seniors in high school, according to studies by the University of Kentucky, they average only slightly more than 6.5 hours of sleep a night. Only 5 percent of high-school seniors average eight hours. Sure, we remember being tired when we went to school. But not like today’s kids.

Using newly developed technological and statistical tools, sleep scientists have recently been able to isolate and measure the impact of this single lost hour. Because children’s brains are a work-in-progress until the age of 21, and because much of that work is done while a child is asleep, this lost hour appears to have an exponential impact on children that it simply doesn’t have on adults.

The surprise is how much sleep affects academic performance and emotional stability, as well as phenomena that we assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A few scientists theorize that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in a child’s brain structure: damage that one can’t sleep off like a hangover. It’s even possible that many of the hallmark characteristics of being a tweener and teen—moodiness, depression, and even binge eating—are actually symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation.

A different mechanism causes children to be inattentive in class. Sleep loss debilitates our body’s ability to extract glucose from the bloodstream. Without this stream of basic energy, one part of the brain suffers more than the rest: the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for what’s called “executive function.” Among these executive functions are the orchestration of thoughts to fulfill a goal, the prediction of outcomes, and perceiving consequences of actions. So tired people have difficulty with impulse control, and their abstract goals like studying take a back seat to more entertaining diversions. A tired brain perseverates—it gets stuck on a wrong answer and can’t come up with a more creative solution, repeatedly returning to the same answer it already knows is erroneous.

Convinced by the mountain of studies, a handful of school districts around the nation are starting school later in the morning. The best known of these is in Edina, Minnesota, an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, where the high school start time was changed from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30. The results were startling. In the year preceding the time change, math and verbal SAT scores for the top 10 percent of Edina’s students averaged 1288. A year later, the top 10 percent averaged 1500, an increase that couldn’t be attributed to any other variable. “Truly flabbergasting,” said Brian O’Reilly, the College Board’s executive director for SAT Program Relations, on hearing the results.

Another trailblazing school district is Lexington, Kentucky’s, which also moved its start time an hour later. After the time change, teenage car accidents in Lexington were down 16 percent. The rest of the state showed a 9 percent rise."

This is just the latest of many articles to be published about the topic of children, teenagers, sleep and school performance, and how sleep deprivation adversely affects our children. Additionally, as I sat in on a brief portion of today's Psychology Club , College of Staten Island Professor Pat Brooks was having a discussion with our high school students about how increased sleep will help students perform better on their upcoming PSATs as well as in class and on other tests.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

End of First Marking Period-Your Thoughts?

As the first marking period of the new school year quickly comes to a close, we would love to hear your comments, thoughts, suggestions, feedback, etc. about your school experience thus far. This certainly includes feedback from students, parents and teachers. I would love to know what you think about the creativity of assignments, our new independent reading period, blogging in your classes, classes in general, advisory, clubs, homework, Thinkwave, our weekly Parent Coordinator email newsletter, etc. Although I have had the opportunity to hear from a few students in your advisories or because you came to speak with me, this is an opportunity to share with a larger audience.

Now that we are all settled into the school year, this is also a good time for reflection. As you reflect on these past few weeks, you should set some goals for the next marking period and for the rest of the year. Think about and reflect on what worked for you, what you will do differently; how you can ask for and get help if you need it; what you can do to better manage your time; and how you may be able to help others. Share those with us on the blog, share them with your friends, your colleagues, your parents--enlist your peers in helping you to achieve your goals.

Once again, share your thoughts!


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Outrageous October

Hey CSI:

Many exciting events happening in October; this month all of you will be taking the PSATs; the sophomores will have a trip to Ring Homestead Camp in Middletown, New York; clubs will start; we will be selecting two students who are taking Spanish to go to Ecuador to help us set up a summer exchange program; we will have Principal for Day; renowned education professor Tom Sergiovanni will visit our school; our school will be visited by a team of international educators to see how we use technology to enhance instruction and global communication; boys soccer team tryouts and practice and girls and boys basketball team tryouts and practice will begin; on October 23rd, students who traveled to China this summer will present a Global Seminar about their trip and what they learned about China and Chinese culture; you will elect representatives for student parliament; on Saturday, October 20th we will have a breakfast and college information session for Juniors and their parents prior to attending the Big Apple College Fair; and our PTA is planning a trip to Great Adventure for Fright Fest!!!! Join us for these events! !! Be an active and involved member of our community! Provide us with feedback! Let us know what else you want!!!