There is a lot going on this February. So much in fact, we needed an extra day in the month! Okay, maybe Leap Day wasn’t added this year just for us, but we will take it. Besides the extra day this month, there is a lot to love about February. My mother always told me that once you got through February, winter was really on its way out. The groundhog said early spring. Valentine’s Day is in February, a day dedicated to spreading the love. There is week-long vacation starting next Monday the 15th. And after having my children home with me for an entire week, I will love sending them back to school on the 22nd!

On a more serious note, one of the things I love about this school is how much our children get out of it. While school budgets and changing ideas of what the curricula should look like have forced many schools to lose art and music, our parent body has found a way to ensure these things remain at 144. Our principal likes to call our school “arts soaked” and with good reason. Our kids work with the Guggenheim and the Queens Museum. They learn to make puppets and perform with them. This year for the first time, all grades have access to beginning musical theory education.

That’s a lot of fundraising and it was done through the hard work and dedication of our 144 families. To be specific, it was done by last year’s families. See, every year we fundraise for the next year. That means that our new-to-the school students are benefiting from what previous families have done. It’s how we pay it forward. This year’s fifth grade families are still donating to our Appeal, knowing that their children won’t get anything from it but remembering how they benefited when they were new kindergarten families.

This year we have more students than ever before so we are paying more for residencies. However, we are raising less money than previous years. Our fundraisers are generating less revenue and our Direct Appeal has only brought in $27,553.89. At most events, it is many of the same volunteers putting in hours of their time and spending their own money. It’s just not enough. The PA Executive Board can’t (and shouldn’t) decide for your family what your budget allows and how you spend your money and your time. But there may come a day when the board has to make decisions about what residencies to cut because we can no longer afford them. That is the reality. As we move forward I ask, no, I implore you to consider the importance of these residencies to our children. If you find them as important as I do then please help make sure we can keep providing this level of enrichment for all students. This could be by making a donation. It could be volunteering your time to help fundraise. It could be trying to find new ways to help the bottom line that no one has thought of before. For us to be successful, it will take a village, one that has a lot of love in its heart.

Here are some things to love this month:

* I want to start by saying thank you to our International Night chairs, Shawn Grant, Sandra Fuentes Atehortua, and Ana Barrenechea, for putting together a fantastic event. The cafeteria looked great and was filled with an abundance of food, which required being at the school for basically 24 hours straight to make sure it all came together. Second, a huge thank you to our volunteers and donors. From all the food to the labor to the loans of tables to the beverage runs during the event, there would be no International Night without you. Third, thank you to our cultural ambassadors. The traditional outfits were awesome! The kids looked fantastic and definitely added a festive and fun feel. And lastly, thank you to our guests. You spent part of your Saturday with us building community and raising funds for our children. I hope everyone left full and happy; I know I did.

* This Friday, February 12th, from 6:30-8:30, is our second annual Valentine’s Day Dance. This party is for our lower grades, PreK-2, and will be held in the cafeteria. Come join us while DJ Ian Schreiber spins the tunes and gets the kids up and dancing. There will be light refreshment concessions, a 50/50 raffle, a Sephora gift basket raffle, and arts and crafts! Tickets are $5 per person and will be sold at the door. Please note this is not a drop off party and all kids must be accompanied by an adult. If you're interested in volunteering (donate baked goods or water bottles, sell tickets at door, work concession, help decorate, etc.), please email valentinesdance@pa144.com. For more information, click here

* This is the last week of our Box Tops Scramble!. The competition ends Friday, February 12th so there is still time to get in those last Box Tops. Second and third graders already earned the special movie screening (details to be finalized when competition is over). We have added a grand prize; the grade that brings in the most at the end of the competition period will receive a special assembly. If you do not have access to box tops or have no more to submit there is still a way to help your team. For each dime that is sent in (the value of a box top), your child's team will get credit for one box top. Coins should come in a plastic baggie labeled with your child's name and class. Third grade is currently in the lead. Can anyone overtake them?

* This is a reminder that this Friday, 2/12/16, is the last day of the Fall Semester After School Program. We hope your kids have enjoyed the ASP. Missed the deadline for the Spring Semester? There's still Late Registration! Applications received in Late Registration before Friday, 2/12/16 will be placed into the After School Program by the start of the Spring semester. Applications received after 2/12/16 will be placed into the After School Program on a later date at our discretion (and tuition will be prorated accordingly). Please click here for more details.

* We will be having our rescheduled PA meeting and Camp and Activities Fair on Monday, February 22nd, from 7-9pm. You will have the opportunity to meet and speak to representatives from various
camps and other activity providers about their summer programs. Your child’s summer 2016 adventure may just be there waiting for the choosing.

* On February 27th from 12-3 PM, we’ll hold our third annual Science Fest, where we make hands-on science happen! Every year, parents and teachers have volunteered to share their favorite experiments or projects with our students. In the past we’ve made slime, elephant toothpaste, explored race-car physics, built domes and trebuchets, and so much more. If experiments are not your thing but you would still like to be involved, we will need volunteers to help the day of with set up and clean up. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, email us at sciencefest@pa144.com.

* Our Spring Auction preparation is under way! New this year? The auction is entirely online. Bid from the comfort of your home on the items you want. The auction will run from April 4th through April 13th. Our committee is looking to our parent body to help make this event a success from helping solicit and provide donations to bidding on items. Have fun, purchase great stuff, and help raise funds, and you can do it all in your pajamas! Keep an eye out for more information coming home with your child this week.

Committee Call Outs:

Elections Committee: Before you know it we will be having our elections for the seats being vacated on the SLT (School Leadership Team), and for all the seats on the PA Executive Board. We are looking for a few people to take on the job of the nomination process and running the election. Anyone running for a position is not allowed to be on the committee. So if you would like to help find next year’s leaders, please reach out to info@pa144.com.

Recess Committee: As evidenced by the passionate and sometimes heated discussions on our facebook page, I think we have a real need for a Recess Committee. We looking for a group of people to get together to research and brainstorm possible options for our children on those days that they can’t go outside, and/or to find creative ways to get them outside more often. If you are interested, please email me at president@pa144.com. Whether you have the time to sit and think with others (your committee schedule would be your own to set), or can make a few phone calls if needed, your help would be appreciated.

With love,




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