May 22, 2020
I want to share with you what was discussed with the members of the School Leadership Team (SLT) on Monday, May 18, 2020, as a follow up to my email on May 1, 2020, with regards to The DOE Grading Policy. The members of the SLT came to a consensus that the school should align the DOE’s policy with the District 24 grading policy, which was established in 2015 and has been aligned to our school’s grading policy since then. Written below are the grade ranges outlined in the District 24 policy:
- Level 4 (Exceeds Standards) = 100 to 93 average
- Level 3 (Meets the Standards) = 92 to 75 average
- Level 2 (Approaching Standards) = 74 to 65 average
- Level 1 (Below Standards) = 64 and below
The alignment of our grading policy to the DOE’s policy, therefore, will be as follows for our students’ final grades of the school year:
Elementary School Students
MT (Meets the Standards) = Levels 4 & 3 (100 to 75)
N (Needs Improvement) = Levels 2 & 1 (74 and below)
Middle School Students
MT (Meets the Standards) = Levels 4 & 3 (100 to 75)
N (Needs Improvement) = Levels 2 (74 to 65)
NX (Course in Progress) = Levels 1 (64 and below)
Please note that that the 3rd Marking Period grade will still be a numerical value, similar to the 1st and 2nd Marking Periods.
In addition to discussing the grading policy, the School Leadership Team also discussed revising the criteria for students being selected into honor classes in grades 6, 7, and 8, for the 2020-2021 school year. A revision was needed since the DOE has indicated that the 3rd marking period grades cannot be utilized and NYS exams for this current school year were cancelled. A parent letter with details of the revised criteria will be disseminated to all of you shortly.
I want to conclude by saying that, although it has been quite some time since we have regularly seen each other (i.e. during early morning student arrival and afternoon student dismissal), my work and thoughts have continued to be in supporting all of you. As I had often mentioned in my regular correspondences, our students have had to make a tremendous adjustment to adapt to what has not been the norm during these past nine weeks. Our children, including my own, are missing that daily live interaction with their peers and school staff members. Although we have done our best to provide some form of interaction within a virtual setting (i.e. Teacher Google Meet Sessions; Earth Day; Spirit Week; 8th Grade Kahoot Trivia; Virtual Dance Festival; etc.), it is obviously not the same as physically being in a school building. I want to assure you, however, that, with five weeks remaining in the school year, we will continue to make improvements to our remote school setting as a means of concluding the school year with positive experiences. In addition to what we are currently planning as a school community, I will continue to visit google classrooms and greet students during live sessions, as well as plan to meet with the student council presidents one day next week. I also plan to introduce and implement “Mr. T’s Corner” as a platform for students to have an opportunity to send messages (i.e. “shout-outs”) to specific members of the school community, or to share any positive experiences that they may have recently had. More details about this will be given within the next few days.
Enjoy the three-day weekend.
May 8, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020 was going to be our last Parent-Teacher Conference for the school year. Although we have transitioned to remote learning, we will still be providing families with an opportunity to discuss their child’s progress with his/her teachers; this, however, does not have to be done all in one day. According to DOE guidelines, teachers have until May 22nd to ensure that parents have had an opportunity to confer with them. Conferences can be held using any of the available platforms (i.e. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams), including Zoom, which the DOE has just now approved. Conferences can also be held via a phone call. Beginning on Monday, May 11th, you child’s teacher will reach out to you (via email) informing you that they will be scheduling times during the next two weeks that is mutually convenient for the both of you.
Ever since we transitioned to remote learning our school community has focused on the social emotional aspect that the school provides, in addition to focusing on a student’s instructional needs. In doing so, our staff members during the past seven weeks have been extremely creative in trying to determine ways that students can participate in various activities/events. In addition to the individual Google Meet sessions that teachers have established within their google classrooms, we have also tried our best, within a virtual setting, to continue with what has been traditionally held during the last few months of the school year (i.e. Earth Day, Spirit Week, etc.). In addition to these events, many of you, specifically 8th grade parents, have also inquired about what would become of Graduation Ceremonies, as well as many of the events that are held for our graduating seniors. Since the beginning of April, we have had daily internal discussions on addressing all of your concerns regarding this. We have had numerous conversations with vendors, and internally discussed a plan A, plan B, and plan C, not knowing what would and would not be allowable according DOE regulations and social distancing norms. Although at this time I cannot provide specific details, I can assure you that we are doing everything that we can to make things happen by the end of the school year.
Yearbooks, Caps & Gowns, and Senior T-Shirts for the 8th grade, for example, have already been purchased (at no cost to families) and will be delivered to our school within the next few weeks. We are, however, still trying to be determine how these items will be distributed. Although a graduation ceremony cannot be physically held at this time, we are looking into establishing a virtual one; this does not mean, however, that we will not look into having an actual ceremony at some point next year. Yes, students would have already graduated and would be attending high school, but they, including their family, deserve to experience an actual ceremony. We will do everything that we can to make this happen, once all restrictions are lifted. Please also note that we are also discussing other events that have been traditionally held at the school. A virtual Kindergarten Ceremony, National Junior Honors Society Ceremony, and annual Dance Festival are also currently being discussed. We will have more information regarding these events once plans have been finalized.
Have a great weekend.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. Enjoy the day with your family.
May 1, 2020
As each day passes, I miss our students and families more and more each day. I am grateful, however, that I have been able to see many of our students within our Earth Day and Spirit Week photo slideshows, which are posted on our school’s website and virtual newsletter. I am also grateful to have also had the opportunity to see our students during their Google Meet video sessions with their teachers. I hope to see everyone before the end of the school year.
On Tuesday, April 28th, you should have all received a letter from the NYC School Chancellor with regards to the revised grading policy that all NYC schools must follow. According to the policy, this is what we currently know:
- 3rd Marking Period Report Card Grades: Students are to receive a numerical grade for the 3rd marking period, which is essentially the same thing that we have done for the 1st and 2nd marking periods. This applies to all grades (K to 8). Please note that our 2nd marking period ended on February 14th. Remote Learning began on March 23rd. Teachers, therefore, will incorporate student data (i.e. tests, quizzes, class work, etc.) that was collected up until Friday, March 13th (our last day in the school building) into students’ 3rd marking period grade calculations.
- Final Marking Period Report Card Grades: For all grades (K to 8), the final report card grades for the year have always been a calculated average of all three marking period grades. Although this still applies, the resulting final grades must now be converted and recorded using the new, required scales as described in the DOE policy, which is written below.
- Grades Kindergarten through 5: Students must be given a final grade that is either a letter grade of MT (Meets Standards) or an N (Needs Improvement). A numerical grade is not to be given.
- Grade 6 through 8: Students must be given a final grade that is either a letter grade of MT (Meets Standards), N (Needs Improvement), or an NX (course in progress). A numerical grade is not to be given.
According to the policy, “schools must define how MT and N relate to their prior grading scales and practices. N must be used in cases where there is insufficient information to determine whether a student has met standards.” “NX must be used if there is insufficient work to calculate a final grade.” As a school, we will make certain that the grading scales are aligned to what has been utilized in the past so that consistency is maintained throughout the school building.
I know that many of you have additional questions and concerns with regards to how the grading policy applies to students that are applying for High School as well as for our honor class selection criteria in the middle school. Although I do not have the answer with regards to the High School application process, since this is a Department of Education decision, I will have a resolution to the honor class selection criteria after consulting with the School Leadership Team. Our focus will be to ensure that the selection process continues to be a fair and equitable process.
I will make certain to share with you any additional information regarding the grading policy if there are any updates or clarifications made by the DOE.
Have a great weekend.
April 10, 2020
I hope that you and your family are doing well, and that you are finding different outlets to maintain a sense of normalcy to get through each day. It is evident that what we have relied on in the past may no longer be available to us, and so we are looking for different things to do to get by. I had previously joked with our school staff that, for me, watching or playing sports has always been my avenue of escape. Since all sporting events have been suspended, I personally thought that watching games from two years ago would currently be my avenue to a sense of normalcy; unfortunately, it has not. Watching the Mets lose the same games twice has not been very therapeutic.
Although our remote learning platform will be up and running next week, during what would have been our Spring recces, I hope that you and your family have an opportunity to take some time to recharge and spend some meaningful time together that is not solely dedicated to completing school assignments. In fact, I hope that some of next week’s assignments will help facilitate those types of interactions within your family. Please also note that our teachers and staff will be available for assistance and, as always, will continue to do their best to support and accommodate you and your family.
Have a Happy Passover and Happy Easter.
Camillo V. Turriciano
April 3, 2020
I hope that you are all doing well and that your children are finding an easier time managing the remote learning platform that has been established. As I had mentioned in my previous correspondences, I understand that this is not an ideal setting for your children, and that there may be some concerns with regards to the workload of assignments, the use and/or availability of technology, as well as any other issues that you may have encountered that have made things challenging. I want to assure you that our staff is here for you and your children. We want to support you and your family by making any necessary accommodations that will hopefully address some of your concerns.
As you may have heard, there has been some recent news regarding the upcoming spring recess. Any information with regards to spring recess will be shared with the entire school community as soon as it is made available by the NYC Department of Education. Unfortunately, I do not have any additional information for you at this time.
Have a restful and enjoyable weekend.
March 27, 2020
I want to thank all of you again for your patience and understanding as we continue our journey through remote learning. Although it has only been the first week, I have seen many of our students actively engaged within our Google Classrooms and working hard to complete their class assignments. I know that this is different to what they are used to doing, and I am proud of everything that they have done to adapt to all of the changes. I am also aware that many of you have been supporting your children instructionally over the past few days. You have not only been their parents, but you have also been their math teacher, ELA teacher, science teacher, social studies teacher, teacher of the arts, and, in some ways, their classmates. Although we have all laughed at some of the Facebook messages, memes, and YouTube videos that parents all over the country have posted regarding remote learning, I understand the strain that this may have placed on you and your family. Thank you for all that you are doing.
I also want to thank our teachers and staff members who have helped establish a remote learning platform within just a short amount of time; they have all worked extremely hard, and I am grateful for everything they have done to ensure that our Google Classrooms effectively support your child's academic needs.
Although we have encountered some technical issues during our first week of remote learning, I am confident that those issues will be resolved as we become more proficient with Google Classroom as well as with any other resources that have been provided to support students. There have been some families, however, that have encountered various levels of technical issues with regards to accessing and utilizing the online platforms. Since each issue is unique to each family, I ask that you please inform your child’s teachers if you are encountering any problems. We want to make certain that immediate support is provided to address any of your concerns. In addition to your child’s classroom teacher, please reach out to our parent coordinator, Mrs. Phillips at MPhillips@schools.nyc.gov. Please note that, in the event that your child is unable to complete the online work, and you are waiting for assistance with regards to any technological issue, teachers are able to provide other means of support to ensure that your child is receiving some form of instruction until the issue is resolved.
Camillo V. Turriciano
March 20, 2020
On Monday, March 23, 2020, PS/IS 128 will launch its remote learning platform in grades K to 8. Although this is a new way of providing instruction for our students, our staff has made every effort to ensure that our google classrooms effectively support your child's academic needs. I want to reiterate, however, that since this method of teaching is new to all of us, there will be some adjustments made along the way. As our teachers become more familiar with the program, the method of teaching and utilization of google classroom will evolve. Please understand, therefore, that it will be a learning process for everyone during the early stages of implementation.
I hope that you are all doing well and are all adjusting to our current situation. As always, I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Camillo V. Turriciano
March 17, 2020
Although I know that you are all concerned about the uncertainty we are facing, I want to assure you that our staff is committed to doing the best that we can to establish the best possible instructional platform for our students to follow during the next few weeks.
We are currently in the process of developing and organizing daily lessons, as well as utilizing various online platforms to establish a daily routine for your children to follow. As you know, or will come to know, our school website will be the main location for our students to access information and links to resources that their teachers will be posting on a daily basis. As our teachers focus on this work, our other staff members have been collecting information from families as a means of determining what other forms of support we can offer during this time.
Please look for updates on our website and from our parent coordinator, Mrs. Phillips, within the next few days.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this process.
Listed below, please find letters and other documents that have been distributed throughout the school year.