PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

November: Principal’s Message

The winter coats and hats were out of closets as our students arrived on this frigid Wednesday morning!  I hope that you are gearing up for productive conversations at conferences tomorrow. I look forward to seeing many of you in the building, as we engage in conversations around how we can best support our students.  As I mentioned in the note that was circulated last Thursday, final grades in each subject area in June will be a cumulative average of the three marking periods. Also, if your child is missing something, please make sure that you visit the lost and found while you are here.  We will be donating what is left in the lost and found on Friday.


Last Friday morning, we had a ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of our Chess Team.  The team’s successes over the years truly make me proud to be the principal of a such a talented group of students.  We laughed about how I received a trophy last year, early in the year, thinking that it would be the only one that I would receive.  Little did I know, that the team would be frequent visitors to my office delivering trophy-after-trophy over the course of the school year!  


This year, we joined a group of schools that formed the New York City Literacy Collaborative.  The Collaborative is led by Dorothy Barnhouse and made up of other schools throughout Brooklyn that are working together to improve literacy instruction within our schools.  We are having conversations here about establishing a shared vision for literacy and how we can go about ensuring that our students are reaching their full potential as readers, writers and communicators.  I look forward to the work that we have ahead, as we engage with educators across Brooklyn to explore best practices in literacy.


In December, we expect to launch a block space, that will be located in the library.  Some K-2 teachers are attending a training hosted by City and Country School, where they will learn from teachers that have incorporated block instruction into their units of study.  During the training, I expect our teachers will develop a deeper understanding of how blocks can help students develop skills related to collaboration, geometry, open-ended problem solving and creativity.  Sophia Antonini, our media literacy teacher, has taken on the responsibility of organizing the library/block space. If you can assist her with this endeavor, please reach out to her at


Finally, I am happy to announce our schedule for grade meetings this year.  Our first meeting will be for fifth-grade families. At this meeting, fifth grade families will have the opportunity to meet and hear from some of our middle school teachers so that we can share insights into our curricula and enrichments that are offered to our middle school students.  Teachers are present at grade meetings from 8:00am to 8:30am, and Ms. Moshura, Ms. Ferguson and I are available for questions or conversations after the teachers depart to receive our students.


Please save these dates:

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In addition to seeing you tomorrow, I hope to see some of you at Barnes and Noble on Sunday.  I will be reading a book that inspired me recently called What do you do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada.  All ages are welcome!


It has been a wonderful start to the school year.  Seeing the smiling faces of our students every day inspires me to continue our work strengthening both our community and the academic experiences at BSI.  Thank you for all of your support!!