PS87 Backpack News: December 7, 2020

Dear Families,

In an effort to help the children to understand the power of their voices, the editors at the BPN set up a vote for our book of the month. After a few weeks of voting,  The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter was the winner and is our December book of the month.

The Sad Little Fact opens by introducing us to a fact that is regularly ignored by those around him.  One day “the Authorities” tell the little fact that he must admit that he isn’t a fact.  Because facts can’t lie, the sad little fact refuses. The Authorities then bury him underground with many other facts.  While the facts are buried, the Authorities create lies and call them facts. This upsets a group of factfinders, who search for the facts and dig them up. After the facts were no longer buried, there were still people who ignored them.  The book ends with a hopeful message that “for those with minds to think and a need to know the truth, the facts [can] not be denied.”

Whether it is the talk of “fake news” in recent years or the children’s understanding of the importance of verifying what they hear, it is wonderful to see that they chose a book about being a critical, independent thinker. As members of the PS 87 community, we speak about the importance of being wise. Not taking everything we hear at face value is one of the ways we can be wise. Analyzing information that is presented to us, and being able to discern what is a fact and what is not, is an important part of being a productive and proactive member of society.   I am very proud that our children are starting to understand this as well.


Principal Monica

Support the PS 87 Parents Association

Dear PS 87 Parents:

We’re asking every family to contribute the $960 that the PA spends per student each year, or more if you can, but we are grateful for whatever you can afford, even just $1 a month. And if this year your family is in need and cannot contribute, please reach out to the PA or to Jennifer Stark, the school’s new parent coordinator. The PA is here to help ensure that every child has the same special PS 87 experience.

Click here to make your contribution or here to contribute monthly, and get our 2020-2021 campaign off to a strong start.


Ross Goldstein

PA Family Giving

Shopping, Supporting and Giving Back to PS 87!

In this pandemic year, holiday shopping has many new challenges.  If you are hitting stores this year, please shop locally and support our neighborhood.  Local retailers have been so good to PS 87 over the years, donating to our auction year after year.  In particular, Toy and Stationery World has been a partner of ours for many years.  Right now, our neighborhood businesses need our support as they have always supported us.

While shopping locally is very important to PS 87, we also recognize that many people are not comfortable going into stores at this time.  If you are already shopping on Amazon, please help PS 87 by bookmarking this link, and finding PS 87 on the charity list. You can also add this to your app so that when you shop, PS 87 will automatically be added under the smile program.  Please note, if you fill your cart and then press the link, it doesn’t work.  You need to be in the smile program before filling your cart.  Please pass this along to friends, family and neighbors!

Shutterfly shopping! If you are ordering holiday cards or gifts from Shutterfly, please use this link and PS 87 will earn 8% back on all purchases!

And when you’re tired after a long day of shopping, don’t forget our local restaurants and grocery stores.  In particular, Chirping Chicken has been one of the biggest supporters of PS 87 for many years and right now, they are struggling to exist.  If you’re not up for cooking, order in (preferably not through Seamless as they take a big cut) and tell them PS 87 appreciates them!

PS 87 Auction April 2021

We need YOU! We are seeking a new Corporate Sponsorship Volunteer.  Are you able to send a few extra emails each week? Ready for a meaningful project that will make a lasting difference for our students?  Volunteer today!

Responsibilities include:

1. Communication with corporate sponsors via phone and email.

2. Collaboration with fundraising and auction volunteers.

3. Potentially creating a team for this task.

You will be provided with contact information from prior sponsors. Please bring your enthusiasm and creativity to help PS 87 gain and maintain corporate sponsorships.  Please contact to volunteer.

Family Survey on Afterschool at PS 87

Whether you had enrolled your children in 87Afterschool before Covid-19, or are a new family interested in Afterschool programming, the PA would like to learn more about your family’s needs. The survey takes only 5 minutes (or less) to complete! It closes on December 20, so please fill it out as soon as possible.

Click on this link to complete the survey.


West Side Campaign Against Hunger

Thank you to all of the PS 87 families who donated a turkey and/or made a holiday card for those in need this Thanksgiving. The West Side Campaign Against Hunger was able to provide over 6,000 families with the necessities for a holiday meal this year. They appreciated the cards made by our students so much that they used them to promote the drive. Our children have truly shown that even when so much feels out of control, we are still able to positively affect those around us.

In solidarity,

P.S. 87 Community Service Group

Sasha Elias and Anni Kluger

DOE/Community Updates

The NYC Department of Education continues to update the link below. Keep an eye on it for the latest information from the Department of Education.

Meeting with Chancellor Carranza on limiting opt-ins, general updates

On December 2nd, Chancellor Carranza met with the CEC3 to discuss a number of issues, which included context behind the decision to limit opt-in opportunities for fully-remote students. Participants were invited to submit questions ahead of time, and several were selected to be answered live. Here are the highlights:

  • Learning Bridges, a free childcare program for 3k-8th grade, has spots.  Priority is given to students in temporary housing, NYCHA residents, and children of essential workers. More info here.
  • Video available on the “shallow swab” covid testing and mandatory covid testing consent forms to print and sign are available at
  • Families can also consent online through MySchools.

 Summary of the Chancellor’s Comments to Questions:

  • Regarding limiting the opt-in periods, Carranza explained that without hard data, principals cannot solidify cohorts, figure out square footage requirements or assign teachers. He stated that “there are no good choices here, but at some point I have to run a system.” He also explained that between September and November, data have been collected to show that schools are not superspreading sites, and he hoped that families would take that information under consideration. 
  • Carranza also explained that the goal of weekly testing would allow the DOE to follow New York state regulations regarding opening schools with a more nuanced, geography-based approach, rather than the city’s 3% positivity rate set earlier in the year.
  • Good news on the horizon – hopeful about the availability of vaccines, Chancellor Carranza did express a desire to allow for more opt-in opportunities later in the year. He did not offer any specific information about this.
  • Regarding access to services for children who need them, Chancellor Caranza is hopeful that the incoming federal administration would provide financial assistance, and that the DOE is undergoing a massive recruitment campaign to recruit special education teachers. 
  • Regarding middle and high school placements, all of the metrics that have been traditionally considered for screens no longer exist, such as attendance data, grades, and tests. Standardizing testing remotely poses problems, and there are difficult policy considerations that the DOE and City Hall are grappling with regarding middle and high school placement.

Masks and social distancing reminder – let’s protect our community!

Let’s stay vigilant about wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance from others, both around the school and moving about the community. Follow the local data here.

Parent Advocacy

We will continue to inform you of meetings and events that could be helpful to our school community.  Please check out our Parent Advocacy resources page on the PS 87 website here.

Enrichment Assistance

The Enrichment Committee is recruiting parent volunteers to join the committee and help research options for our children. We’ve got a number of programs planned, such as National Dance Institute (K & 1st), Center for Architecture (2nd), Symphony Space and Chinese Cultural Center (3rd), Ballroom Dancing (4th), and Bio Bus (5th), but are looking for more.  Please reach out to if you are interested.

Special Education Support Services

The Special Education Support Services Group wants to continue to support families during this challenging time.  We will provide a space in which parents can ask questions, and share their experience and resources. Our group’s goal is to foster an environment of compassion and openness. We’re looking forward to meeting you and spending time together. However, due to schedule challenges and unknowns of the next few months, we will offer meetings as needed. Please email us at with any questions and/or to schedule a time with us! 

Device Donation Reminder

A number of our students could still use an extra device for remote learning. Do you have an old laptop or tablet that still works pretty well? If you’d like to donate your old device, please drop it off with Officer Ayala

Save the Dates – Upcoming Events

Drop-In Community Walk – Wednesday, December 9

Get some exercise and burn off stress with your fellow PS 87 parents!  Meet at the Big Yard entrance after drop-off on Wednesday for an outdoor, socially distanced walk in the park.  Parents with younger siblings and strollers are welcome.  Don’t forget to wear your mask and dress in layers!  

-PS 87 Community & Culture

Parents’ Night…In – December 16

Hang out on Zoom with your fellow PS 87 parents.  Details to follow. 

Winter Holiday Cohort Caroling 

Come out and sing winter songs in the Big Yard!

December 18: Cohort B and fully remote kids and families

December 21: Cohort A and fully remote kids and families

January 2021 Events 

Community Conversations – Adult focused discussions about the world around us – locally and globally.

Family Book Club – Read a book as a family and join other families in conversation!

PS 87 Calendar 

7-9Cohort A – In School
9PS 87 Parents Community Walk (After Drop-off)
9General PA Meeting  – 6 p.m. 
10-11Cohort B – In School 
14-15Cohort A – In School 
14SLT – 4:15- 5:30 p.m.
16-18Cohort B – In School
16Parents’ Night…In
18Winter Holiday Cohort Caroling – Cohort B
21-23Cohort A- In School
21Winter Holiday Cohort Caroling – Cohort A
24-1Winter Recess, NO SCHOOL
2Winter Recess Ends
11SLT – 4:15- 5:30 p.m.
18Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day, NO SCHOOL
Backpack News is published during the school year by the Parents Association of PS 87. E-mail articles or updates to  For details on how to sponsor Backpack News, go to the Fundraising bar at The PS 87 PA does not endorse any of the services represented by paid sponsorships.   Editors: Angie Arlia, Beth Goldstein, Madhuri Iyer, Greta Karris
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