January Principal Newsletter

Happy New Year!!! It may be 28 degrees and windy in Harlem, however we have the comfort of watching flurries blowing while sipping on a delicious marshmallow filled cup of hot chocolate.  I love WINTER!!!  Having survived the first term, we stand ready to finish the school year with confidence.  My hope is that you too, will look forward to the challenges of the new term.  Build on your achievements and put away your past disappointments.

 The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to refresh—whether you want to jumpstart your personal goals, make meaningful decisions at home and with your school work, or find your inner-center.  This is the perfect time to stop playing old messages about who we think we are and make a bold statement to record a new, improved message.  One of the questions asked at our December SLT meeting related was “What is one core element of our progressive vision at PS 125?”

 We are committed to educating the “whole child” through providing our kids with a myriad of opportunities to engage in creative projects such as Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Dance Through Barriers, NYC Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Arts Horizon, Doing Art Together, Education Through Music, Little Orchestra Society, S’ Cool Sounds and many others. We believe that the arts are an essential part of the curriculum and that it is important for kids to express themselves creatively and to use their imaginations freely. We believe that the uniqueness of children is revealed in their very existence and that it is the school’s responsibility to foster their innate sense of the mystery and joy of life.

 With the start of 2019 we are reminded that our 3rd – 5th grade kids will take the NYS Assessments:

  • English Language Arts (April 1 and 2)

  • Mathematics (May 1 and 2)

  • Science Performance (May 22 – 31)

  • Science Written (June 3)

 We believe kids learn best not by reliance on summative testing or passively consuming knowledge, rather that each child learns best by actively constructing their own understanding based on his or her knowledge, skills, and experience.  Authentic learning must not be stopped to accommodate the demands of the state assessments. Our 3rd – 5th graders will begin an investigation in learning how a bill becomes a law with the intention of addressing how NYC Office of School Food should approve a law that permits them to handle uneaten food items. Presently, they have to throw the food away as trash.  It is our hope that the kids will learn how to advocate around this issue and raise awareness on behalf of homeless and economically-challenged families that are facing food shortages. It doesn’t make sense how the Office of School Food discards these items when so many kids and families are in need.

 In our progressive approach, we believe that education must not be a race for the accumulation of facts, but should be an enriching end in itself. We also believe that education is a joint venture among kids, parents/caregivers and educators.  

 Unfortunately, during the winter months many schools across New York City notice a drop in their attendance average.  Parents/caregivers, please continue to reinforce good attendance habits with your son/daughter.  Attendance and accuracy of attendance is extremely important in school.  Excessive absences may result in missing work, which is difficult to make up, losing continuity in school work, and poor grades during the grading period.

 It is our desire that the second half of the school year be excellent for all.  If you need to meet with the assistant principal, parent coordinator, after-school supervisor, or myself do not hesitate to contact us.  We suggest that parents/caregivers call first to schedule appointments before coming in so that you will not experience any delays.

 Throughout 2019 you will see changes based on feedback from families, all driven by your desire to make the RBS the shining star of Harlem.  Every step we take in this journey we will do together to make our community stronger, wiser and better for our children.

 Stay warm and know that sounds of birds chirping is not that far away.

 Educationally yours,

Reggie Higgins

Reginald Higgins