PS 87 Backpack News: December 2, 2019

Dear families,

Our December book of the month is We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T, Higgins. In this book, Higgins uses humor to teach us a lesson about empathy.

In the story, we meet Penelope Rex. Penelope is nervous about the about the first day of kindergarten. Like many students who are anxious about the start of the school year, Penelope wonders about her classmates. She wonders what they will be like and if they will be nice. She even wonders about the number of teeth they have. On the first day of school, as she enters her classroom with her backpack on her back and a lunchbox full of tuna sandwiches, she is very surprised to find out that her classmates are children – human children. Within minutes she eats them all, because “children are delicious.” Her teacher makes her spit out them out and admonishes her by saying, “We  don’t eat our classmates!”  

After she spits out her classmates, Penelope tries very hard to make friends and tries even harder not to eat them.  However, it is very difficult for her. She has some slip-ups, and the children become afraid of her. Then one day, an unlikely member of the class community shows her how it feels to be eaten. It is through this experience that Penelope turns over a new leaf and is able to control her impulse to eat the children and begins to make friends.

On the surface, this is a funny little book about a dinosaur who lacks impulse control when she is around delicious children and is taught a lesson by getting a taste of her own medicine.  If we take a deeper look at the story, we can see that Penelope is similar to other young children, or even adults, trying to figure out how to interact socially with others. They may anger or hurt those around them but don’t fully understand how or why their actions have affected others until something similar happens to them.

It is a reminder that empathy doesn’t come easily to all of us.  Sometimes it takes walking in the shoes of someone else to understand how someone else is feeling. And with some luck, that knowledge will help us to become a stronger, more empathetic community.


Principal Monica

  PS 87 Calendar

* Check for venue info *

2Kindergarten Open House, 6:15 p.m.
3Teacher Appreciation Party, 5 – 8 p.m.
4PA Board Meeting, 6:10 – 8 p.m.
5School Picture Retake Day
9Kindergarten Open House, 6:15 p.m.Spanish Class for Parents, 8 – 8:45 a.m.
13Winter Holiday Celebration, 6:30 p.m.General PA Meeting, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
16SLT, 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.
23-1Winter Break, NO SCHOOL
487Afterschool Spring Registration Begins, 9 a.m.
8PA Board Meeting, 6:10 – 8 p.m.
10General PA Meeting, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
13Spanish Class for Parents, 8 – 8:45 a.m.SLT, 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.
20Martin Luther King Day, NO SCHOOL
27Dual Language Committee Meeting, 8 – 8:30 a.m.

Special Ed Support Services

The Special Education Support Services Group’s goal is to foster an environment of compassion and openness to ensure that our kids get the support they need. We will hold monthly meetings during which parents can come to ask questions and share their experiences and resources.

Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, December 12 at 8:30 a.m. at 323 W. 76th St, Apt G (b/w West End & Riverside).  We will discuss the IEP process and available services. Snacks and coffee will be provided. Please email us at with any questions and to RSVP.  We are looking forward to meeting you.

  • Sasha, Lisa, and Valerie

Winter Holiday Celebration

Please join us for the Winter Holiday Celebration on December 13 at 6:30 p.m.  There will be performances by PS 87 students and more, celebrating the winter holiday traditions from around the world.  

This event is brought to you by the Culture and Community Committee, which hosts 5 celebrations per year.  They are open to the entire PS 87 community, and are a great way to celebrate the diversity of our student body and our community at large. These events are a ton of fun for both adults and kids, and best of all, they are FREE of charge!  

And mark your calendars for our 2020 events (always held on Friday nights, starting at 6:30 p.m.):

-Black History Celebration (February 7, 2020)

-Pan Asian Celebration (April 3, 2020)

-Fiesta Latina (June 19, 2020)

If you would like to be a part of a performance or the behind the scenes crew (including helping with the potluck dinners), please email us at   

  • Regine, Katherine & Margarita

Auction – Volunteer & Donate! 

Thank you to everyone who has gotten involved so far! We could use a few more volunteers. If you are interested in joining a committee please email us at


We appreciate all the amazing items coming in. Big or small, they are key to this fundraising event,  and our awesome PS 87 kids are counting on us! December 10 is the cut off for our early bird contest! Submit a donation by December 10 and be entered to win a gift card from a local business at the December 13 general PA meeting. Ready to donate? Go to the PS 87 homepage!

Need Donation Ideas?

The holidays are here! As you’re shopping, keep a form handy!  Going away? Ask your hotel, ski resort, airline, etc. for an auction donation. Have your kids in an activity over break? See if they will donate.  Can’t think of someone to ask? Buy a gift card! Dream Big! Get Creative! 

Are you a parent and/or a business owner? We have sponsorships for Auction. Please see availability here:

Donation forms, ideas, solicitation letters and much more are located on the PS 87 homepage! Please email us at if you have any questions!

Thank you!

  • Michelle & Leila

Picture Retake Day – December 5

If you would like your child to have his/her school picture retaken, or if they missed Picture Day back in October, please send in a note to your classroom teacher. Photos will be taken first thing in the morning.

Giving and Receiving 

Inspired by The Computer School, we have established a Holiday Giving & Receiving program at PS 87. As the year draws to a close and many are planning for holiday festivities, there are also many of us facing a time of difficulty and struggle. This is where our community comes in.  

Families who need help: Please contact me so that our community can support you.  Let me know if you have specific wish list items or general needs. All communications are private.

Families who wish to help: Please email me and I will let you know what has been requested, and you can decide what you would like to give.  Perhaps you can provide a specific item on someone’s wish list, or give a gift certificate to a grocery, toy, or clothing store, or the movies, etc.

Please email me by Friday, December 6. Thank you in advance for your support. I realize that you are being asked to contribute to many causes at this time of year, so there is no pressure to participate. 

  • Sandra Guiguis, PS 87 Parent Coordinator

Tell BPN

To foster holiday creativity and community, BPN requests your help in rewriting the song The 12 Days of Christmas. The new song will be entitled The 12 Days of December. We would love to receive your (or your kids’) funniest, cleverest , and most entertaining verses to the classic song (anonymously, of course). Please send your responses to  Family friendly content only!

Here are ideas for the first 2 verses (remember to sing the verse in your head so it works with the song!): 

On the first day of December, my true love gave to me, a bandage for my achy knee.

On the second day of December, my true love gave to me, 2 café mochas.

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