Letter to NEST+m Students & Families from Mark Berkowitz, Week of January 9, 2017


Dear NEST+m Students & Families,

This Wednesday, throughout the NYC Department of Education, schools are asked to deliberately promote our citywide commitment to College Access for All.  

Should your children have any item of clothing or an artifact that personally connects them to a college, please encourage them to wear this on Wednesday. At home, please use this occasion for deliberate conversation related to our shared commitment to higher education.

NEST+m Teachers and Faculty view each day as preparation for our students’ college readiness and personal development. Wednesday provides us with a particular opportunity to continue this conversation.

Thank you for your ongoing support and communication.



Mark Berkowitz



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Our Week Ahead

Wednesday January 11, 2017:

8:30am to 9:30am in the NEST+m Cafe: Upper Grades Principal’s Coffee led by AP’s Greg Farrell and Keshia Souffrant.


Thursday January 12, 2017:

8:30am to 9:30am in the NEST+m Cafe: Middle Grades Principal’s Coffee led by AP Justin Mackey.


Friday January 13, 2017:

8:30am to 9:30am in the NEST+m Cafe: Lower Grades Principal’s Coffee led by Principal Mark Berkowitz and AP Barbara Rossi.


Student Special Events This Week:

  • Thursday: Grades 6-12 MLK Day/Black History Month Celebration (Grades K-5 Celebration will take place in February)
  • Friday: Middle Grades: NAMI Ending The Silence Presentation, Auditorium (Grades 9-12 NAMI Presentation will take place 1/17). http://www.nami.org


Resources for Students & Families:

Respect for All: The following message was first communicated during the 2015-16 school year. It is included here, in alignment with NYC Department of Education expectations, to re-assert our ongoing commitment to ensuring that each member of our school community feels valued, recognized and respected.

“With each day’s news headlines we are reminded of our world’s complexities. Now more than ever it is essential that each of us makes a commitment to recognize the dignity of all members of our NEST+m community.  During our face-to-face and electronic communications, please make a personal pledge to the following:  Choose Kindness. Choose Optimism. Recognize the dignity of each member of our NEST+m community.

Whether in person or in writing, our tone, body language, physical actions and word choice have a powerful impact on the way that each of us feels about our extraordinary school. It is our obligation to create a culture of care and respect each day.

Each of us has a role to play in our school community. Whether we are a student, teacher, parent, or staff member, we are interdependent: we need each other.

Please: Greet one another with eye contact. Say hello.

When writing, begin with an opener such as “Dear” (person’s name) and conclude with a closer such as “Sincerely” or “Thank you”.

When we have uncomfortable feelings or issues of concern, please know that we  will work these through together. If you are aware of any instance of bullying, in person or online, please bring this to the attention of your child’s Assistant Principal within 24-hours of this coming to your attention.”

For more information about the NYC Department of Education’s Respect for All initiative and Bill of Student Rights and Discipline Code, please see:

Respect for All: http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/RespectforAll/default.htm

Discipline Code: http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/DisciplineCode/default.htm

CommonSense Media: Resources to inform students, parents and families about safe habits while online.




Congratulations to the NEST+m Lower Grades Chess team &  Coach Izoria.  During December’s Chess National Tournament NEST+m’s 2nd grade team came in 3rd place in nationals with  two of students, Spencer Chin  (4th place) and Romir Mukherjee (7th place) finishing in the top 10. Separately, 5th grade student Davis Zong, Jr. was selected into the 2017 All-America Chess Team. https://new.uschess.org/news/2017-all-american-team-announced/


Congratulations to the NEST+m  Middle Grades Math team & to Coaches Cinquegrana and Councilman:

Middle School Math Team: AMC 8 NEST+m Scores (out of 25):

Distinguished Honor Roll (top 1% Nationally):

Josephine Lee (7th grade), Davis Zong (5th grade), Foyez Alauddin (8th grade) Paul Gutkovich (6th grade)

Honor Roll (top 5% Nationally)

Ryan Chen (7th grade), Liam Kronman (8th grade), Newton Le (8th grade), Lily Vaysman (8th grade), Matthew Cherny (8th grade), Erin Lee (8th grade), Keyvon Maybody (8th grade), Aidan Parker (8th grade), Bernice Wong (8th grade), Bryce Lin (8th grade), Kieran Campbell (8th grade), Olivia Lee (7th grade),


Support our NEST+m PSAL Athletes. NEST+m students and families are invited to watch a home game.  The NEST+m PSAL calendar is here:  http://www.psal.org/events-and-standings/school-calendar.aspx?schid=01538#


Outside of School Student Learning Opportunities & Volunteer Opportunities

Current 10th and 11th graders: Please see the following link for application information related to NYU’s Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program.  This program is for academically strong, current 10th and 11th grade New York City students with a demonstrated interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

NYU http://engineering.nyu.edu/k12stem/arise/


The GreenThumb Youth Leadership Council provides high school students ages 14–21 with the opportunity to volunteer at a community garden during the spring and summer throughout the five boroughs. GreenThumb is a division of NYC Parks and provides resources and support to 500 community gardens throughout the five boroughs. It is the largest gardening program in the country. Through the GreenThumb YLC, students have the opportunity to learn firsthand from community gardeners how to maintain and grow a healthy garden, covering topics such as botany, agriculture, horticulture, composting, and community development. All program participants are required to volunteer at a garden at least twice a month, accumulating a minimum of 20 service hours. The YLC presents high school students an opportunity to earn volunteer hours, give back to the community, learn new skills, and have fun. The application deadline is March 6, 2017 (http://greenthumbnyc.org/youth_gardener.html).

The Brooklyn Public Library offer students ages 12 and up the opportunity to volunteer at library locations throughout Brooklyn. Students ages 12-18 can volunteer as Book Buddies to help librarians read aloud to children and to support the development of fun and engaging programs for youth. Students ages 16 and up can volunteer as After-School Homework Helpers to help students in grades 1 through 8 with their homework, projects, and assignments. Volunteers in the Homework Helper program will assist children one-on-one and in small groups with assignments of all subjects, encourage the development of math skills through the use of Web-based technology, and promote the use of library resources. There are also opportunities to volunteer with technology support and shelf organizing (http://www.bklynlibrary.org/support/volunteer).

Reading Partners is a nonprofit that works to expand opportunities for elementary school children by empowering them with strong literacy skills through a one-on-one tutor to student model. Tutoring with Reading Partners requires absolutely no experience, as we provide all the necessary materials and the ongoing support of a staff Site Coordinator. Reading Centers’ schedules vary, but in general operate Monday through Thursday, between the hours of 8am and 4pm at PS 188, our lower east side school (http://readingpartners.org/volunteer/).If you are interested in volunteering with Reading Partners, please reach out to Mahari Simmonds at mahari.simmonds@readingpartners.org

The Teen Reviewers and Critics Program (TRaC) is a free 10-week afterschool program for high school students from all over New York and New Jersey to explore the arts in NYC while expanding critical thinking and writing skills. Participating teens are placed in one of six groups—film, dance, theater, visual art, music, or multi-arts—to dig deep into a specific artistic genre by attending cutting-edge performances, meeting artists, visiting museums, learning to navigate the city, and much more (https://teens.artsconnection.org/trac/).  

Teens Curate Teens is a free out-of-school program that brings together NYC high school artists and curators to produce an art exhibition based on a theme each Spring (https://teens.artsconnection.org/tct/).



The New York City Department of Youth & Community Development offers the Ladders for Leaders (L4L) Program for local high school and college students between the ages of 16 to 22.  Since 2013, the Central Queens Y is proud to be an L4L provider that serves these age groups. The program hopes to include about 1,700 participants at 500 work sites citywide, matching adolescents with professional opportunities within corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations.  Some examples of businesses that have participated in Ladders providing internship opportunities include AOL, Pandora, Tishman Speyer, KPMG, Kate Spade and various city agencies included NYC Department of Design and Construction, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The goal of L4L provider is to help place individuals in work environments that suit their abilities and interest, while also providing them with work readiness training.  The participants participate in the program throughout the summer. Participants work anywhere from 25-40 hours per week.  Additionally, all participants will take part in 20-30 hours of pre – employment workshops. These workshops teach basic work readiness skills, including, but not limited to, resume writing, job interview skills, and dealing with conflict in a work environment.  Participant applications for Ladders for Leaders are now available for those who are interested. Please inform them to apply at https://application.nycsyep.com/ and to choose Central Queens YM & YWHA – Queens/Manhattan as their provider or use our PIN# 230795.

The Apollo Theater’s High School Internship Program is now recruiting for its Spring 2017 internship cohort. Visit our website for more information and to apply:

https://www.apollotheater.org/education/teens/ata-high-school-internship/  Use this link to access a fillable PDF: https://www.apollotheater.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2017-Spring-Internship-Program-Application_Form.pdf

The application deadline is Friday, January 27th.

Apollo Theater Academy

Apollo Theater253 West 125th Street New York, New York 10027 Direct: 1.212.531.5348 Fax: 212.662.2288 http://www.apollotheater.org



To help secure the future of science and medicine, The Young Scientist Foundation (YSF) seeks to provide motivated high school students with the opportunity to engage in meaningful medical research in the laboratory of passionate and renowned medical specialists. The Young Scientist Foundation has partnered with Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Blood Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to help provide students with this research experience.


Participating in YSF’s Summer Research Program is a unique opportunity that not many students are able to experience, therefore all students are expected to be fully committed to working with their mentor to get the most out of the program. The Summer Research Program is a full-time, 40-hour per week, ten-week commitment and participants will receive a stipend of $2,500.


The application process for the 2017 Summer Research Program is currently open and student applications will be accepted until March 31st, 2017. Students accepted into the program will receive notification the first week in May 2017. The application can be found on our website at www.ysf.org/summer-research-program.


If you would like to learn more about The Young Scientist Foundation and its Summer Research Program, visit www.ysf.org or contact Doug DeGirolamo at 216-368-0892 or admin@ysf.org.




Each year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) engages over 1,000 youth through paid and volunteer opportunities at five facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. The Bronx Zoo alone is the largest employer of youth in the borough!


We are always seeking to expand and strengthen our youth network, so we would like to invite you to the first ever  WCS Youth J.I.V.E (Job, Internship, and Volunteering Expo) on Saturday, February 18th (11 – 4pm) at the Bronx Zoo (Schiff Hall, 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460).


This event is an interactive opportunity for NYC youth (ages 14 – 24) to learn about paid and unpaid positions at New York City zoos and aquariums, connect directly to hiring managers, and attend employment workshops. Representatives from WCS Education, Human Resources, Public Affairs, Admissions, Retail, Concessions, and Animal Care will be available to share information about upcoming positions and meet qualified young applicants.  J.I.V.E will also provide attendees with additional skill-building workshops focused on resume building, interview tips, and careers in conservation.


J.I.V.E attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes; staff will be on-hand to assist in filling out applications for positions at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and the New York Aquarium.


Many internships offered at WCS can be used for school credit, so we encourage you to share this event with your students.


Please RSVP at: https://bit.ly/WCSYouthJIVE

Admission to the zoo is free on the day of the event (02/18/17) if attendees RSVP at the provided link and bring a copy of the official flyer   can be picked up at the guidance suite, room 245)


If you have any questions, please contact us at youthopportunities@wcs.org.


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