THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Danielle Giunta, Community Superintendent District 26

Contacting the District Office During Remote Learning

Due to the effects of COVID-19, while we are limiting office hours, we will be supporting our community remotely.

During this period, there are many ways you can reach out to the District Team:​

  • call the District 26 Office

  • send us an email

  • call our Family Coordinators on their Blackberrys

(between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM)

Click here to see the District Team contacts on our Family Engagement page under the Parents & Families tab.


2021JuneLetterFinal.pdf

July 2021

In summer the song sings itself

-William Carlos Williams

With those six small words, Williams Carlos Williams evokes the restorative power of a sunny summer day as only a poet can. The birds wake before sunrise and sing all through day. The trees and plants race to flower and burst with fruit and blooms. The earth and all living things celebrate life. Williams was an innovative voice in American poetry, famous for celebrating small moments and lifting up the ordinary. He was a two-time American poet laureate but he also had a long career as a pediatrician. As such, he understood the tremendous benefits of fresh air and warm summer sunshine for the mind, body, and souls of our children.

This summer, after the disruptions of the last fifteen months, we celebrate the season with renewed appreciation. As the school year ends and our world opens up again, the longer days and warmer weather brighten our lives and lighten our spirits. We can look back and reflect on the many opportunities we created in 2021 to raise student and parent voices so our community could sing its song through the winter and spring.

Diversity in Educational Leadership Team

Our Diversity in Educational Leadership Team (DEL) raised the voices of parents and students this year, while deepening the district’s commitment to equity and social justice. Building on their difficult and courageous work from the summer of 2020, the DEL team created a robust plan of community engagement to realize the team’s mission and expand its impact.

Partnering with NYU Metro Center, District 26 provided an extensive 2020-21 calendar of workshops and training opportunities for the community. School leaders and staff, students, parents, and parent leaders explored the idea of implicit bias and learned about the power of culturally responsive educational practices and equitable classrooms.

In April, the DEL team crafted and conducted a student survey to gain greater insight into how our children feel about race and equity. Raising the voices of District 26 kindergarteners to 8th graders, we shared the survey results throughout the community. Parent members of the DEL team presented at the May Principal/Assistant Principal Conference, providing a brief history of DEL and sharing the illuminating results of the student survey. Their presentation highlighted our imperative to keep diversity, equity, social justice, and anti-bias education at the center of all that we do, as we foster student voice and participation in our curriculum and our schools. In June, parents and staff came together for our District Equity Convening. This culminating event of our 2020-21 equity journey opened space to reflect on the year’s conversations, investigations, and discoveries, and to identify next steps for the work that remains ahead.

District 26 Student Leadership Project

Student voice, the incredible force that drives our work, rose to new heights in May. The District 26 Student Leadership Conference and Celebration amplified the voice of our amazing student leaders. Student council presidents from around the district presented their school’s council’s leadership projects and charitable initiatives for 2021.

Participants were invited to ask presenters follow up questions about the remarkable projects. A few former SLP members, currently attending high school and college, returned to reconnect with the new SLP. They shared memories of the close connections they made through peer collaboration in District 26 and advised current SLP members on developing their voice as student leaders.

My Brother’s Keeper/My Sister’s Keeper Middle School Mentoring Program

Student voice grew louder and stronger through the work of our My Brother’s Keeper/My Sister’s Keeper (MBK/MSK) Middle School Mentoring Program. In May, our MBK/MSK ambassadors, with an eye on design and district branding, launched the District 26 Logo Contest. Encouraging all students, from kindergarten through 8th grade, to tap into their creativity and self-expression and design a logo that speaks for our community.

With more than 100 fantastic entries from 19 different schools to consider, the MBK/MSK ambassadors had a tremendous job of choosing just five finalists. They invited all District 26 students to cast a vote for their top choice. Over 2,200 students voted. At the June Community Education Council 26 meeting, we celebrated all contestants and announced the winner, Emma Ahmad of MS 67. Her logo symbolizes the beautiful diversity that sustains the bonds of the District 26 family.

The MBK/MSK federal grant provides funding to support students of color and scaffold early literacy. Our MBK/MSK Middle School Mentoring Program aims to support our students “by closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps they face and [to help] them reach their full potential” (NYS MBK Website, 2021). Staff and students meet regularly to build connections and encourage engagement through collaboration. Most of District 26’s 2020-21 equity initiatives, as well as some early literacy parenting workshops, were made possible by the NYS MBK/MSK funds received.

D26 CS Task Force

Parent voice rose to new heights this year, thanks to the incredible commitment of the newly formed D26 CS Task Force. This team of parents, teachers, and school leaders are united in their belief that computer science can lead to greater opportunities for all students. The D26 CS Task Force is committed to providing equity and access to meaningful computer science experiences so all students can engage in problem-solving and computational thinking, leading to an increase in diverse innovations, solutions and new knowledge that positively contributes to our society.

In April, the D26 CS Task Force presented to the District Leadership Team. Task force parents provided a brief history of computer science education in District 26 and explained their goals for 2021-22. Task force teachers introduced students who shared their outstanding coding projects. Our amazing student’s coding videos are posted on Computer Science in District 26 webpage on district26.org for the community to view.

Over 4,000 kindergarten to 8th grade students participated in an interactive virtual tour of an Amazon warehouse in May. Amazon engineers led a behind the scenes look at the essential role computer science plays in every step of their online shopping process.

To help spread the word about the dynamic changes in computer science in District 26, the D26 CS Task Force organized a parent workshop in June. Students explained the value of computer science, demonstrated some classroom tools, and invited parents to play computer games they had coded. Task force parents provided an overview of how computer science has grown in District 26 and where it is headed.

Raising Voices in 2021-22

Thank you to our students, parents and the entire District 26 community for keeping the song strong in 2021. We look forward to welcoming all students back in a supportive, affirming environment in September. With a commitment to know every student well, we will continue to engage children with an inclusive curriculum that challenges them with rigorous instruction and high expectations. Leading the first districtwide Civics for All partnership, District 26 is excited to deepen our culturally responsive curriculum and practices as we continue to develop leadership and elevate the voices of our students and parents in 2021-22.

As we head into July, the long, hot days and cool nights fully wake us to the beauty of summer. Our spirits are lifted and all the world’s worries feel a little lighter. And children are bursting with a natural energy all their own. William Carlos Williams appreciated the restorative power of summer. We would all be wise to take his advice, to slow down and notice the intense beauty in the quiet moments of our lives. Wishing you all an amazing summer with much needed time to unwind, appreciate the small things, and make beautiful memories with your families. Relax and let summer sing the song. See you in September!

Danielle Giunta and the District 26 Team

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District 26 Office

61-15 Oceania Street

Room 129

Bayside, NY 11364

718-631-6943 (phone)

718-631-6996 (fax)

Located inside of Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School (M.S. 74).