Welcome Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you, as part of our educational family, to another wonderful school year.  A new school year is always exciting especially this year as we open new classes in the newly built PS 861 site on Regis Drive. This will be our sixth site!

Our staff and administrative team have been very busy this summer. We have participated in staff development workshops and trainings which enabled us to further our expertise in various curriculum areas and refine classroom management skills. We also have spent valuable time previewing instructional materials for use in our educational programs.  Academic emphasis on the core content areas of reading, language arts, science, social studies and math will remain a priority as well as instruction in the arts, technology, and physical education providing each student with the opportunity to develop skills in these areas.

Our professional goals this year also include: an examination of the alignment of our social studies curriculum with the New York State Standards; the continuation of our efforts to differentiate instruction at each grade level to meet all students at their point of need and to challenge students to reach their potential and know what their goals are.

We will also continue the wonderful initiatives such as the Get Ready to Learn Program, Collaborative team teaching, use of assistive technology and increasing classrooms for structured teaching (TEACCH)

Our focus is always providing each child with new challenges that will result in a rewarding school experience.  We will be expanding our PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) Program throughout the organization aligned with the Power of Choice (POW) system and modified to meet individual needs.  We were fortunate to begin this process supported by the district to offer staff training in PBIS and intervention strategies such as TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention).  We will continue to train staff and expand these programs throughout the organization with our internal coach and PBIS committee representing staff and administrators from all sites.

As we begin this year, please remember that this is your school and we welcome your involvement.  Since we recognize that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, we need your cooperation and involvement to provide your child with the best education possible. Take time to review and/or talk with your children about their school experiences. Your interest and concern in their school progress will motivate them to do their best. Maintain contact with your child’s teachers and related service staff members to establish a successful home/school connection. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our Parent Coordinator Kirsten Rorke (718-816-8897 ext. 2511) who can assist you.  I look forward to working with you and your child throughout the school year to provide a productive and safe learning environment that supports student success.

Ilene Goldstein-Harnett                                                         Principal                  


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