OWN JOINS WORLD BOOK NIGHT
SPREADING THE LOVE OF READING, PERSON TO PERSON
On April 23, 2013, half a million new books were given away across the United States under the auspices of World Book Night www.us.worldbooknight.org. Givers applied to participate and selected books from a list of several dozen titles. They then gave them to people who would otherwise not have access to or perhaps interest in the books.
More than 600 of the books were given away by OWN Middle School students and staff members. Two dozen students, together with a dozen staff members and an intrepid parent, set up in front of the Broadway Branch of the Queens Public Library and fanned out in the area to give away free copies of: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, The Lightening Thief and The House on Mango Street (both English and Spanish versions.) In addition, some of the staff gave away adult books, including The Alchemist and Mudbound.
We were introduced to World Book Night by local children’s bookseller, Faye Skandalakis (The Story Nook, 2616 23rd Ave., Astoria), who also helped to facilitate OWNCS becoming the first school to participate. Because we had so many dedicated staff volunteers (including our Principal, Librarian, and Technology Director), we were able to have students participate in an activity formerly limited to adults.
Students formed teams with staff members and participated in what some of them called:
“An awesome time” and “Lots of fun.” According to a student, “It was fun because you got to encourage people to read books that they didn’t read before.” Another told us, “I liked spreading reading.”
In addition to sharing books, which was terrific on its own, students and staff had the experience of working as a team to effect a speedy set-up and to negotiate new territory, that of handing things out to passersby. Everyone pitched in, everyone shared responsibilities, and everyone experienced the satisfaction that comes from teamwork and the joy of giving.
We all came away from the experience happy that we had done it and wanting to participate again next year. We hope that others in the OWN community will join us, either as volunteers with us, or as individual givers through the World Book Night website, or as both!
- Academy of American Studies
- Academy for Careers in Television and Film
- Academy of Finance and Enterprise
- Art and Design High School
- Aviation Career & Technical High School
- Bard High School Early College Queens
- Beacon High School
- Brooklyn Latin
- Brooklyn Technical HS
- Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School
- Flushing High School
- Forest Hills High School
- Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School
- Harvest Collegiate High School
- High School for Environmental Studies
- High School for Media and Communications
- High School of Applied Communication
- High School of Arts and Technology
- High School of Economics and Finance
- Hillcrest High School
- Humanities & Arts Magnet High School
- Information Technology High School
- Information Technology High School
- Instrumental Music – LaGuardia High School
- John Bowne High School
- LaGuardia High School
- Maspeth High School
- Middle College High School At LaGuardia Community College
- New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math High School
- Queens Vocational and Technical High School
- Special Music School
- Technical Theatre – LaGuardia High School
- The High School of Fashion Industries
- William Cullen Bryant High School
- Young Women’s Leadership School, Queens
OWNCS Ranked Among Top Public Middle Schools in New York City
NY Observer Magazine distinguishes school as one of only two charter middle schools ranked in Top 20 for 2012.
High Quality Curriculum in Nurturing Environment
- The primary role of Our World Neighborhood Charter School is to educate students to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners. In keeping with the school’s mission as stated in the OWN Parent and Student Handbook, OWN provides a rigorous standards-driven curriculum that provides multiple opportunities for diverse assessments. Through an interdisciplinary, project-driven curriculum OWN will foster social and cultural awareness as the staff also individualizes instruction through the pedagogical practice of differentiation at the elementary level, and through progressive needs-based groupings by subject at the middle school level.
- The school also operates an Academic Intervention Services (AIS) program designed to help prevent student failure and to keep students functioning at their very best. AIS can be used to remediate as well as enrich. AIS is comprised of the following teams and departments: Guidance Counselor, Social Work, Dean of Students, Child Study team, Special Education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Reading Specialist, Literacy and Mathematics Coaches, and Reading and Mathematics Academies.
- The school uses several technology tools to give parents and students access to support and enrichment programs and assessment tools in and outside of the school. Each child has an account in Success Maker that is used to support reading and mathematics skills. Students who are enrolled in the Regents program also have access to the school’s online support and enrichment software programs.
- Each year the school has several informational sessions for parents to learn about the school’s curriculum and expectations for student achievement. Some of the programs are the Back-To-School Night, Curriculum Night, Middle School Orientation program, and Kindergarten Orientation. These meetings are held in the evening.
- Curriculum and other school programs aimed at creating a high quality learning environment that is safe and nurturing are also discussed and reviewed throughout the school year by the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Education Committee of the Parent Teacher Organization. Information about curriculum, academic intervention services, special education, social work, English as a Second language are also provided at the monthly PTO meetings.
- Formal parent/teacher conferences are scheduled twice each year to facilitate open communication between parents and teachers regarding students’ progress. Conferences are held at the end of the first and third quarters of the school year. Refer to the School calendar for specific dates. Parents may also schedule informal conferences or conversations with teachers or school leaders at any time throughout the year.
- OWN employs a variety of assessment tools including standardized tests, state mandated exams, assessments from publishers of school textbook series, teacher created tests and quizzes, and other formative and summative assessment tools. Expectations for performance on these varied assessments guide the development of curricula on each grade level, the development of student remediation, and instructional strategies aimed at improved academic achievement.
- Student progress will be formally communicated to parents and students at the end of each quarter through written report cards. There will be a parent-teacher conference to discuss the report card at the end of the first and third quarters. Parents may also request a meeting at the end of the second and fourth quarters to discuss their child’s report cards.
- Each year the school will provide information to parents about the school-wide performance on the Grade 3-8 New York State English Language Arts Exam and Mathematics Exam.
- Individual student reports will also be provided to each child’s parents about the performance of their child on the Grade 3-8 New York State Exams in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
Communication and Access to School Personnel
- Each OWN staff member is assigned a phone extension and an email address, which are communicated to parents. Parents are encouraged you to communicate with their child’s teachers. The school is committed to responding to each parent communication directly within two school days. In order to facilitate communicating with you the school will send home each year and once during the year a request that you update your contact information. It is only with the correct contact information that the school can communicate with you.
- The school will also provide a school directory and calendar each year.
- In addition to the formal parent-teacher conferences parents may request a meeting with school personnel when they feel it is needed. School personnel will work with parents to meet at mutually convenient times before and/or after school Monday through Friday.
- The school may also request direct meetings with parents and or guardians as are warranted to ensure the academic success and achievement of each child.
- The school will also hold an annual meeting to inform parents of the school’s participation in Title I, Part A programs, and to explain these programs, and the right of parents to be involved in Title I, Part A programs.
- Each year the school will host several parent information sessions focused on the curriculum, assessments, and all the components of the school’s Academic Intervention Services.
- The school will also use its School Messenger program to send both telephone and text messages to parents about school events.
- The school’s website www.owncs.org and the www.ownpto.org are also ways to learn more about the school’s programs, curriculum, and events.
Opportunities to Volunteer and Participate
- Parents are encouraged to participate in school-related activities. All parents are automatically members of OWN’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at no cost and are urged to become actively involved. PTO members volunteer as hall monitors, lunchtime assistants, office help, field-trip chaperones, and ambassadors of good-will to local businesses and politicians. The PTO also sponsors fundraising events such as Book Fairs and Carnivals
- Another way to participate is by working directly with their child’s teacher. This may involve reading to the class, sharing cultural information, careers, or anything else a teacher might like assistance with
- Parents may also arrange with the classroom teacher and the school leaders to sit in and observe a classroom
- Parents participate in many school wide planning activities
- Parents may serve on committees to develop the school’s strategic plan and will continue to play a role in the development of the school’s success.
Our World Neighborhood Charter School believes that parents are key partners in ensuring the academic success of children. To that end parents are committed to:
- Monitoring and ensuring optimal student attendance
- Ensuring that homework is completed
- Providing a space and time for the completion of homework
- Reading to and or with their child
- Volunteering at school and in their child’s classroom
- Participating in decisions relating to their child’s education
- Staying informed about their child’s education and communicating with the school by promptly reading all notices from the school either received by their child, or via mail and responding as appropriate
- Serving, to the extent possible, on policy advisory groups, PTO committees, and the NY States’ Committee of Practitioners
The staff and teachers at Our World Neighborhood Charter School also believe that each student has an important role to play in his or her own academic achievement and to the goal of meeting and/or exceeding New York State learning standards. To that end each student is committed to:
- Doing homework every day and asking for help when needed
- Reading at least 30 minutes ever day outside of school time
- Giving parents or guardians all notices, school letters and information received from school every day
New York City Department of Education, New York State Education Department, and the United States Department of Education provide information and resources for parents on how best to support their child’s success in school and information on workshops and programs to support parents and families.
The New York State Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. There are two (2) PIRC’s in New York State. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) in New York State provide resources, services and technical assistance related to family engagement and parental involvement for families and schools.
Family members looking for information, having specific questions or concerns about their child can contact and CCE-PIRC educator to discuss questions regarding parenting and educational issues can have consultations that are free and confidential by either calling (315) 788-8450 or via e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For issues, concerns, and complaints about OWN Charter School and for additional information about the school, you may contact the following organizations.
SUNY, Charter Schools Institute New York State Education Department
41 State Street, Suite 700 Office of School Improvement
Albany, NY 12207 89 Washington Street, Room 462 EBA
(518) 433-8277 Albany, NY 12234
www.newyorkcharters.org (518) 474-1762
New City Department of Education
Office of Portfolio Development
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
PARENT INVOLVEMENT POLICY
Part I—School Expectations
In keeping with the founding principles of the school, Our World Neighborhood Charter School believes that parental involvement can take many different forms and is vital for the academic and emotional success of each child and the growth and success of the school as a whole. To that end, parental involvement includes but is not restricted to:
1. Membership on the governing Board of Trustees,
2. Membership and participation in the Parent Teacher Organization
4. Parent teacher conferences
Furthermore, Our World Neighborhood Charter School believes that positive parental involvement is essential to student achievement, and thus encourages such involvement in school educational planning and operations. As stipulated in Section 1118 (d) of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Our World Neighborhood Charter School will ensure that “…Each school served under Title I, Part A shall jointly develop with parents for all children served…a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff and students will share responsibility for improved achievement and the means by which the school parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the State’s high standards.”
Consistent with the parent involvement goals of Title I, Part A of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the Board of Trustees, administrators, teachers, staff, and parents of OWNCS will develop and implement programs, activities and procedures that encourage and support the participation of students in all aspects of their child’s education. The board will also ensure that OWNCS provides high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment to enable all students to achieve. Recognizing the importance of communication between teachers and parents, OWNCS will conduct at minimum two parent-teacher conferences annually during which the school’s compact will be discussed in relation to the individual child’s achievement. In addition to providing quarterly report cards on student progress to parents, teachers at OWNCS will make calls home and send home interim reports and other written correspondence informing parents about school and classroom level activities, and student level accomplishments.
Parents and teachers will be engaged in regular, two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities.
Part II—School Parental Involvement Policy (PIP) Required Components
- OWN parents be involved in jointly developing the school parental involvement policy by:
- The board of trustees will be responsible for the creation and ensuring the implementation of the PIP policy and will evaluate, revise, update the policy annually in one of its Education Committee meetings
- Through participation in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)-teachers, administrators, and parents
- OWN will provide coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist the school in planning and implementing effective parental involvement activities to improve student achievement and school performance by:
- Distributing annually the PIP, School-Compact, Parent-Student Handbook, School Calendar and Staff Directory
- Working with the parent leaders of the Parent Teacher Organization to create activities and agenda items of interest to the parents that are placed on the school calendar
- Reporting to the school’s governing body—the board of trustees the level of involvement of parents to all activities such as Back to School Nights and Curriculum Nights
- OWN will build the school’s and parents’ capacity for strong parental involvement by:
- Providing parent workshops and informational sessions on topics such as the New York State learning standards, Common Core Standards, Internet safety, the school’s curriculum, support, intervention, and enrichment programs
- Setting up parent teacher conferences, using e-mails and other forms of communication to assist parents on how they can support the school’s efforts in raising student achievement
- Ensuring that to the extent practicable information related to school and parent programs, meetings, and other activities sent to parents will be in a format and language that parents can understand
- Educating all staff members and requiring them to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners and build ties between parents and the school
- OWN will coordinate and integrate all parental involvement strategies across all its programs by:
- Meeting regularly with parents and members of the Parent Teacher Organization to create a school calendar of events that is seamless across academic areas, support and enrichment programs, and that the goals of the programs are clear
- OWN will conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the PIP in improving the academic quality of the school, identifying barriers to greater participation, with particular attention to sub-groups and accountability groups as designated by NCLB, using strategies for more effective parental involvement; and revising if necessary, the school’s PIP by:
- Holding an annual meeting of the members of the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Education Committee of the Parent Teacher Organization
- Administering a parent survey to get parental feedback about the learning environment of the school and their perceptions of parental involvement opportunities and ability to participate in the effective running of the school
- The PIP will be formally adopted at a joint meeting of the school’s leadership and the parent leadership each year and will be distributed annually
- OWN will involve parents in the activities of the school by:
- Allowing for membership on the school’s Board of Trustees, which is the governing body of the school
- Holding meetings and informational sessions in the morning and evenings
- Creating a culture in which parents are respected as equal partners in the educational process and in which they have great access to teachers, staff, and administrators
- Creating a Board of Trustees, Parent Teacher Organization, detailing ways for parents to Volunteering and Getting Involved, holding Parent-Teacher Conferences, and distributing Newsletters, Letters, and Communication
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees is the policy setting and governing body of the school. It is the fiduciary responsibility of the Board to ensure that the school is meeting the requirements and stipulations of the charter and all relevant rules and regulations that will allow the school and its students to be successful. The board is composed of nine members of whom three positions are for parents of the school who currently have children enrolled in the school.
Board meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7pm and are open to the public. Time is allocated for parents to express their concerns to the governing board and to learn what is happening at all levels of the school.
PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION
The PTO is the parents’ organization and is designed to provide a forum for parents to participate in the programs of the school. The PTO meets monthly, usually on the first Friday of each month at 8AM. Parents should always check the PTO’s website and the school website for updated calendar events. Parents are encouraged to regularly attend PTO meetings in order to stay abreast of school events and concerns. Additionally, the PTO executive committee holds monthly meetings with the Executive Director and attends the monthly meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees. All parents may attend and participate in those meetings. The PTO and parents may also, through its by-laws establish committees such as the Education Committee which will allow parents to work closely with the school’s leadership on issues that affect the success of the school and its students.
Parents can reach the PTO by leaving messages in the PTO box in the front office, on the phone at 718-392-3405 x 218 or by visiting www.ownpto.org. The school’s leadership attends these meetings to learn about your concerns and to answer your questions. It is at these PTO meetings that parents can and will learn about programs such as the Intervention Programs that the school uses to address the needs of students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students who are not meeting academic goals. The PTO meetings will also facilitate the dissemination of information about the school’s NYC Department of Education’s Annual Progress Report and the New York State Education Department’s Annual School Report Card, the School Wellness Policy, Title I funded programs, other academic and extra-curricular programs, and school evaluation reports from SUNY, Charter Schools Institute and NYSED, Title I—Schoolwide plan, Supplemental Education Services, and other mandated information including English as a Second Language programs.
VOLUNTEERING and GETTING INVOLVED
Parents are encouraged to participate in school-related activities. All parents are automatically members of OWN’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at no cost and are urged to become actively involved. PTO members volunteer as hall monitors, lunchtime assistants, office help, field-trip chaperones, and ambassadors of good-will to local businesses and politicians. Parents and guardians may also serve as Grade Representatives or Class Parents. These roles are key communication liaison positions between the classroom teachers, administration, parents, the Board of Trustees, and the wider school parent community of the PTO. Parents also play key roles in fundraising activities such as Book Fairs and Carnivals.
Another way to participate is by working directly with your child’s teacher. This may involve reading to the class, sharing cultural information, careers, or anything else a teacher might like assistance with. In addition, parents participate in many school wide planning activities. There are at least three current parents who serve on the school’s governing Board of Trustees. Parents have served on committees to develop the school’s Strategic Plan, Schoolwide plan, and School Wellness Policy and will continue to play a role in the development of the school’s success.
PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Formal parent/teacher conferences are scheduled twice each year to facilitate open communication between parents and teachers regarding students’ progress. Conferences are held at the end of the first and third quarters of the school year. Parents may also schedule informal conferences or conversations with teachers or School leaders at any time throughout the year.
NEWSLETTERS, LETTERS and COMMUNICATION
An integral part of the school’s parental involvement policy is the school’s commitment to open and frequent communication with parents. The school may also send home a monthly letter with an updated calendar of events. It is an important document that keeps parents abreast of what is happening in school and issues that may affect their child’s education and achievement.
Our World Neighborhood Charter School will disseminate to parents an annual report card with aggregate information, including student achievement (disaggregated by category) and teacher qualifications. These annual reports will take the form of the Annual Report and CIR provided by NYSED, the School Progress Report provided by NYC Department of Education and the Annual Progress Report completed by OWN and submitted to NY State Education Department and SUNY, Charter Schools Institute. Copies of the Annual Report Cards will be accessible online.
Individual student assessment reports will be sent to parents for those children who take the NY State Mathematics and English Language Arts Exams in grades 3-8. Once those reports are available to the school from the NY State Education Department the school will send copies of those reports home. Quarterly report cards detailing children’s progress towards mastery of New York State high standards will also be sent home with the children and through the mail.
Each OWN staff member is also assigned a phone extension and email address. The information is disseminated each year and also can be accessed via the school’s website. Parents are encouraged to communicate with their child’s teachers. The school is committed to directly responding to all parent communication within two school days. In order to facilitate and keep the lines of communication open the school will send home a requesting that parents update their contact information.
We agree to work together, to the best of our abilities, as educators and parents to fulfill our common goals of providing for the successful education of our children.
Signature of School Principal/Teacher Print Name of Principal/Teacher
Signature of Parent/Guardian Print Name of Parent/Guardian
As a result of a legislative grant, students at OWNCS have access to an online language-learning system that teaches conversational skills for 38 languages, and contains 16 modules for English Language Learning.
Dear OWN Families:
Based on student performance on the 2011 Grade 3-8 NYS Testing in English Language Arts,
Mathematics, and Science, the State Education Department determines if the school and
subgroups of students meet the state’s goal of Annual Yearly Progress. There are 7 subgroups
(All students, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, White,
students with disabilities, limited English proficient, and economically disadvantaged. In
mathematics, OWN met the Adequate Yearly Progress measure for all seven subgroups.
However, in English Language Arts, OWN did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress measure
for all seven subgroups. The subgroup of Students with Disabilities did not meet AYP in
English Language Arts. Because the subgroup of Students with Disabilities did not meet the
states’ measure Our World Neighborhood Charter School has been designated as a School in
Need of Improvement (Year 1—Basic).
The NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) ACT of 2001 is a federal law to improve education for
all children. It holds schools responsible for results, gives parents greater choices, and promotes
teaching methods that work. In accordance with NCLB and because Our World Neighborhood
is a Title I school in need of improvement the school is required to offer students from lowincome
families extra help outside of school hours. This help is called supplemental educational
services (SES). It is meant to help students catch up if they are behind in important subjects like
reading, language arts, and mathematics. The school must continue to provide these services
until the school is no longer classified as a School In Need of Improvement.
Supplemental educational services take place outside of school hours and in many different
locations. These services are free to students. The school, not families, pays for them. The
services may include:
• tutoring (one-on-one teaching),
• after-school classes,
• weekend classes, or
• summer school.
The New York State Education Department approves the qualifications of supplemental
educational services providers. Parents, not schools, must arrange transportation for children
participating in Supplemental Educational Services (SES).
How can you learn more about supplemental educational services for your child?
• Go online. The New York State Education Department website lists and approved
supplemental educational services providers at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nclb/ses/.
• Make a choice. You have an important role in selecting a supplemental services program
for your child. Schools will not make this choice for students. You can ask school officials
to help you select the right program for your child.
• Be active. Together with the supplemental services provider and school staff, parents
should be involved in setting specific learning goals for their child. These goals must say
how your child’s progress in the program will be measured. The program activities must
be designed to help your child make academic progress.
• Find out how to help. As a parent, you can ask your child’s teacher, the school principal,
or a leader of your school’s parent group what steps the school is taking to improve and
how you can help your child and your child’s school make progress toward academic
This is one of a series of NY parent information sheets about the federal education law No Child
Left Behind. Part A, Section 1116 (e) of No Child Left Behind covers supplemental educational
services. For more information you may also:
• Ask your principal
• Visit the State Education Department's NCLB website
• Visit the U.S. Department of Education web site especially designed for parents at
Beginning in September 2011 as OWN began to anticipate the ways it would use its funds to
support higher student achievement, the school engaged in a more detailed review of student
achievement on the NYS English Language Arts exam. The school has already made
adjustments to the ways it will use Title I funds. First the school has set aside funds to
implement the mandates of providing Supplemental Educational Services (SES), many of you
have already signed up for this program. In addition, the school will be utilizing an online
Reading and Mathematics support program called Successmaker to provide additional support
and opportunities for enrichment to all students.
OWN now has three full-time Reading Specialists (two serve the K-5 program and one serves
the gr. 6-8 program). In addition, in seeking to improve the achievement of our Students with
Disabilities on the NYS English Language Arts programs, teachers are working more closely
with the special education department to target instruction on the skills that will help students
to reach level 3 and 4.
In the new year we will have additional information sessions at the monthly PTO meetings
about all programs that are funded by Title I and also about the intervention programs that the
school has in place to ensure that all students are successful on the NYS Examinations.
If you have any questions please give me a call.