‘Tis the Season to Give…3

Posted by Deirdre // 12-01-2011

This is not really on topic for the blog but in a way it is and in a way I don’t care because I’m so moved to get the word out. Today I got an inspiring and incredible plea from Joyce Szuflita of NYC School Help in her latest newsletter. It’s for money for PS 142 in lower Manhattan, “where 93% of the students qualify for free lunch, live in shelters or foster homes.” The school needs $3k to buy books and supplies (including blocks, which as Joyce points out were just the focus of a NY Times piece on education) for their school exploration of cars. Twelve of 75 2nd graders HAVE NEVER BEEN IN A CAR. Just chew on that for a minute.
The school has no money to give for supplies to this totally worthwhile study that involves science, math, art and social studies it seems (see full excerpt from the newsletter below), and it’s not really an option to ask parents to supplement. So while we all lament our “small” apartments and not having a yard or a garage, I guess it might be worth while to think about what we do have and maybe give to those who really don’t.

They are taking donations – please see the details below and consider it!

I have gotten a stirring letter from an educator who I think the world of. She works in PS 142 in lower Manhattan where 93% of the students qualify for free lunch, living in shelters or foster homes. Parent fundraising is not an option and the city’s budget cuts have cut deep. Here is an excerpt from her letter:
“In discussion with the principal, Rhonda Levy, and the teachers, we decided to focus on an exploration of cars. We thought that this would ignite an enthusiasm and we were absolutely right! The classes will visit garages, investigate and explore motors and machines, interview mechanics, explore the inside and outside of a car (12 of the 75 seven year olds have never been inside a car), use a variety of art materials to represent their new knowledge, and read and write about cars and issues related to them.
Here, however, is the problem. There is ZERO money to buy any materials or books. I believe that young children gain a tremendous amount of skills, strategies for collaboration, and self-confidence when they work together on block-building projects. This past week, there was an article in the New York Times that addressed this topic The teachers would love to give the children this experience but there are no funds to purchase unit blocks. There are also no funds to buy relevant books to support the car study. We estimate that unit blocks and books would cost approximately $3000.00.”
It is the holidays and everyone is asking for something, but if you can see your way clear to send a tiny donation, it would be a beautiful thing. Checks can be sent to the school fund, earmarked for the second grade inquiry project, and if needed, the school can send a letter acknowledging the contribution for your tax purposes.

P.S. 142 School Fund
attn: Second Grade Inquiry Project
100 Attorney Street
New York, NY 10002


2 Responses

  1. Deirdre says:
    December 1st, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    My son did a bridge study last year at 321 too which sounds like it was built on her model. I almost included a pic of theirs that was built out of blocks but decided that was best for another time.

    It’s so nice that teachers like her are dedicating their craft to helping underserved kids! I’ll make sure to check out her blog, thanks!

  2. December 1st, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I was really touched by Renee’s plea. My daughter had the great good fortune to be in her classroom for k and 1st grade and it was the experience of a lifetime. Renee now writes the terrific blog http://investigatingchoicetime.com/ which should be the model for early childhood as far as I am concerned. In Renee’s class at 321, they did a bridge study which included everything from studying the all the different bridges the city has to offer from the Carroll St. (the oldest retractile bridge in the US!) to the Brooklyn Bridge – and they even built a scale model suspension bridge (poured the concrete pilings and everything) that they could walk across. Not to mention performing Three Billy Goats Gruff (bridges!). I hope that people can give the kids at 142 a little support!