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Message to Parents

September 20, 2016

Parent Association Welcome Back to School Meeting

Dear PS 174 families!

"Fall is a time for changes. We notice changes in the weather

with wind blowing fallen leaves;

the trees colors changes from green, to gold, reds and browns.

Soon, we will notice the mornings and evenings start to get chilly with sweaters and sweatshirts to wear on your way to school.

Fall brings a new school year. Every year we start off fresh with new shoes, or new books, and new teachers and new friends.


Already this year, we have some recognitions for our wonderful school. In July, for the third time at the New York City Tech Summit, our school received an Excellence in School Technology award. Mrs. Laura Hui, our parent coordinator was given this award for her outstanding use of technology sharing school, grade and class information with you, our families. We remain the only school who has received three of these awards from the Department of Education, one for principal and one for teacher, and now our parent coordinator. And then in late August, for the third time, I accepted the certificate for PS 174 as Reward School for the School Year 2016-2017. This certificate recognizes the achievement of our entire school, in leading New York State toward the accomplishment of educational excellence. We share the honor with PS 101 in our district, and are one of just 250 (out of thousands of schools) with this status in all of New York State. This is for schools who “are leading New York State toward the accomplishment of educational excellence through an increase in student achievement and closing the gap in student performance.” Our students are achieving. Our students are learning. Our students, our school are excellent! Let’s be proud!
Look at the three framed certificates in the main entry to our school. This is the public recognition of the hard work and dedication of our entire school……
our teachers, our staff,
our families, and most importantly,
our students are all being recognized.


Just look at this school. The halls, the displays, the care that is taken for all of the children and all of the families in our school. Look at the calendars, the websites, and newsletters that are sent home from the teachers, from Mrs. Hui, and from the administration. Each September the results of the School Quality Review and the New York School Survey are published to give us information and feedback on how we can continue to do a better job. In each of the areas - communicating information, academic expectations, and sharing ideals of respect and structures for safety – we are on the increase – those arrows are each pointing upward! Our School Leadership Team works analyzing specifically the results of the survey and other feedback from our Superintendent as well as other visitors from the Department of Education. We are also looking to all of you for suggestions – written, concrete suggestions, of how we can get better. When we have events, we will be collecting feedback forms. Just today, we signed in over 150 family members for the Dads Bring You Child to School day and another 200 for our Curriculum afternoon – Meet the Teachers. It is important for you to share your ideas, your recommendations, your insights with us – with your PA board members, your School Leadership Team parent members, with your child’s teacher, with Mrs. Hui our Parent coordinator, with our AP Mrs. Galloway-O’Connor and me, your principal.


Every year we are also challenged by meeting the needs of diverse learners. This year, there is more information to learn about
academic expectations,
Common Core Learning Standards,
New York City and New York State Assessments,
and intervention services.
By law, every school in New York City and New York State is expected to educate students with special needs in their home zone schools. We are preparing our program to meet the diverse needs of our children, in every one of our grades from Pre K through grade 5 – that includes Academic intervention services in all subject areas – reading, writing, and math – as well as in social and emotional development.

A new sweater; new sneakers…we hear many “squeaking in the hallways.”

An apple tree grows, in our own garden on Ellwell, filled
with ripening granny smiths!

A new grade, new teachers, new students.

We have new teachers

Join me to welcome, Ms. DeLeon to Grade 1 and Mrs. Yakubov to Grade 2. Welcome back, Mrs. Suarez and Mrs. Berg to our Kindergartens.
Please remember that you may contact each of our teachers and other staff members via email on the Contacts Page of the website. And also know that a note is always the best communication to the classroom teachers since they are teaching during the day and may not check emails up to the minute.
Yes, we have new students!
More new students and long waiting list. Our enrollment trends up again this year, even with just 5 K classes, but continue to be below the maximum class size numbers. We continue to have 4 classes on each of the other grades as well as six clusters teachers. Listening to the parent survey from last spring, the cluster program continues to offer math enrichment, the fine arts programs, technology, performing arts and movement education. I was also able to staff our library with a certified library teacher Ms. Gruber, who will be returning soon to begin circulating books and teaching library and research skills.
Special School Programs –
This year, we look to continue with many of our programs such as: our Math Olympiads program, for math problem solving in grades 4 and 5. Each year, we are visited by the Math Club from Russell Sage JHS, including many of our alumni, and the students reflect on their early math instruction. The students all spoke of their 174 math teachers, and competitive strategies learned here at PS 174. We continue to see our 174 Pi Day students all excelling in mathematics and all subjects as they prepare for High School.
Our Scripps Spelling Bee is a highlight of the year, with a Spelling Club advised by Mrs. Galloway-O’Connor. Students study and prepare for classroom and then grade level and District 28 competitions. Over the past two years, PS 174 successfully competed in both the Queens and Citywide Spelling Bees. Thank you to the Parent Association for your support of enrolling our school in this every year.
We are planning for continuation of our Young Debaters program, with instruction for all fifth graders in the art and craft of public speaking. We know that our students are eloquent in both speaking and writing, as evidenced by the many, many students who are winning (and continue to win) essay and book contests. For the past five years, our students have won honors in the Citywide Contest – Ezra Jack Keats book making. And new for this year – to satisfy the competive streak in many learners, our students in grades 4 and 5 will be learning the names of the states and the 44 Presidents!

New books – we unpacked scores of cartons of materials!

Phonics, handwriting and word study books as well. For five years we have used Simple Solutions grammar books for grades 1-5. This year we have again purchased the books for these grades. This grammar workbook for homework practice assures the basics in sentence structure, verb tenses, word use and writing mechanics. We are hopeful that the students will become automatic in their writing including proper punctuation, word use and verb tense. All of these materials are used to prepare our students for not just elementary, middle and high school, but for college and the 21st century!
These are all connected to the Common Core Learning Standards are being applied to all subject areas, with teachers communicating both individual and grade level goals each month. Our teacher teams and data inquiry groups are working to align both ELA tasks, content and materials as well as math concepts and expectations to the Common Core Learning Standards. You will see these goals, aligned to the standards, updated every month to six weeks for all subjects.

Other Changes…. We know that in the past, our parents were pleased with the afterschool program based on the number of students enrolled in all of these enrichment programs. There was great interest in the Lego Program, Chess Club, as well as in the arts enrichment, dance, piano, sports and chess. We are hopeful that there will again be support for the after school program you are voting on tonight. Our plan is for two 10-week sessions afterschool, with enrichment, clubs, and academic practice sessions in the fall and spring.

One of the initiatives and themes we have for this school year is – Full STEAM ahead…..engaging project based learning in
Science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Last year, we installed the upgrade to our school’s technology lab and installed Smartboards to every classroom. Late in the spring, Mrs. Cooper was thrilled to receive a new flat screen projection board in her room. This will assure that all subject areas – even art - can have the latest in technology access. Remember to visit Artsonia – the website where all of the wonderful artwork of our students is displayed. Did you know that if you buy a keychain or mug, that it supports the art instruction here at 174?


This year, I have met with architects to plan for the new STEM classroom on the second floor in Room 220 as well as a performing arts space in Room 126. Tomorrow, we are expecting the delivery of a new upright piano for Ms. Desvigne to use in her program. It comes from a grant from a program called Pianos for Hope. You may have seen pianos during the summer, scattered throughout the five boroughs, and are open for public play. At the end of their run, these 50 pianos are then donated to schools to be enjoyed indoors during instruction and celebration. Our piano is painted beautifully in colors of blue, gold and white depicting symmetrical floral patterns. We look forward to an assembly program – complete with ribbon cutting – in early November.
Also know that we have received commitment from New York State to provide an upgrade to our “Little Yard” on Ellwell Crescent. There is a commitment of $50,000.00 from New York State Senator Hevasi to add additional play equipment and enhance the space. Also know that our New York City Councilmember, Karen Koslowitz has announced her allocation for the restoration of this auditorium, including wiring for electronics to enable air conditioning in this large space. The participatory voting in her Queens District has committed to replacing the boys washroom on the first floor this year. Please know that each year, projects selected by the voters will support capital improvements for education. We are a voting site; we have a school committee member volunteer, now we just need our families to vote for 174’s education projects. Mrs. Dimitriadis, a grade 5 parent on our School Leadership Team, will have more information about this year’s participatory voting.


Please sign up for the REMIND app…..many of our classroom teachers are using it to share information through one way text messages. Know too that we will also begin to use this app for texts to families who may be waiting at bus stops and need to learn of delays such as weather, maintenance or traffic delays.
Also, please check the school’s Twitter feed for the latest in all of our schools projects, programs, activities and events. Here we have updates on techie tools and toys. We have received a few grants for new and engaging STEM products – OSMOs for Numbers and Coding and Lego Mindstorm Robotics kits are just some examples. Our Donors Choose projects are continually funded – with art supplies, tech toys, books and events. Currently we have 8 posted projects. Many corporate sponsors support public education, as do the very generous families of our school. We know that our families support the efforts of the teachers because they contribute generously – with 6 projects funded this month.
Arts education means more musical or theatrical performances for each grade level with Ms. Desvigne, and an expansion to our Artists Residencies. This year we plan to continue with our experience with Disney Musicals in Schools programs. We and are planning for a new production of The Aristocats.
We are thrilled to receive allocations each year, from you, our generous Parents Association for partial funding for ballroom dancing to our grade 5 students! We are hopeful that the project can be fully funded by generous philanthropists on Donors Choose as has been done the past three years. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Some of you may remember that our students have danced at four citywide competitions and also at the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Station.
Fundraising efforts from you, have supported Arts Education over the past decade. There is a school “wish list” for support for each grade – including dancing and visuals arts for each grade. These experiences have included field trips for students to visit farms, museums and shows. They have also brought the arts experiences to our school with puppets, magic, science and history assembly programs. Support for and from the Parent Association also has brought us visual arts supplies and instruction for our students. I am most hopeful that these efforts will not only continue but expand. Presently we are looking for additional computers, student tablets, and support for our school. Our Grade 5 debaters for the past three years at CUNY Law school and aspire to do it again this spring.


Thank you for your support; your generosity; and most of all, for sharing your most precious children with our staff every day. Know that we are here for you………myself, Mrs. Galloway, Mrs. Hui, our Parent Coordinator, and every single one of the teachers and staff of PS 174. You are lucky to have such a group of caring educators and caregivers here on Dieterle Crescent. Know too, PA members, how great it is to have such a dedicated Executive Board. I present to you, your PA Executive Board.
President Angelina Fernandez
Recording Secretary Claire Mangan
Co -Treasurers David Heath and Elana White
Assembly Coordinator Vanessa Bryant
Fundraiser Coordinator Anna Tsang

Karin Kelly
Public School 174
William Sidney Mount
65-10 Dieterle Crescent
Rego Park, NY 11374

P (718) 897 7006
F (718) 897 7254