PS87 Backpack News: January 12, 2021

Dear Families,

Based on your votes, the winner of January’s book of the month election is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Many of you may remember this book from your childhood or have already read it with your children. It is the story about a boy and a tree.  In the beginning of the book, the tree and boy spend lots of time together. As the boy gets older, he doesn’t come around to see the tree as often. When he does come around, he asks for things. Because she loves him, the tree tries to give him what he wants. He asks for money, so she gives him her apples to sell. He asks for a house, so she gives him her branches to build one. He asks for a boat, so she gives him her trunk to make one and sail away. The tree gives and gives until she becomes a stump. When the boy returns to her at the end of the book, she tells him she has nothing more to give.  However, the boy, who is now an old man, only wants to rest.  So, he sits on her stump and she is happy. 

Over the years, many people have both praised and criticized The Giving Tree. There are many people who love the story of the selfless tree that gives to the boy without complaining. Many view her as the perfect example of unconditional love. There are others who struggle with the relationship between the boy and the tree. The boy shows no appreciation for the tree. He takes from her and only comes around when he needs something. For some, they see the boy as selfish, unappreciative, and spoiled. For many, it doesn’t appear that the tree and the boy have a healthy relationship.  

Whether you view the book as positive or negative, there is a lot we can learn from it. The book shows us that one can find happiness in being generous. When we give things to others, it can make us feel good. We also learn that being generous doesn’t mean keeping score. A generous person gives to others without expecting to be paid back. Many generous people find joy in giving. And while generous people do for others because they want to, it is important that we appreciate and show love to those who are generous in our lives. Only interacting with someone when you need something from him/her is not kind, and can make the person feel used and unloved.  

In all our relationships we should be kind and generous with one another. We should do things to help one another and make each other happy. We should not keep score in relationships, but we should be mindful of those who just come around when they need something.  True friends want to spend time with you whether you have something to give them or not.  


Principal Monica

87Afterschool Update

Thank you very much to the 287 families who participated in the Parent Survey on Afterschool at PS 87 last month. The Afterschool Committee is reviewing the responses and will consider each piece of feedback as we plan for the future of Afterschool. 

As some of you may already be aware, due to Covid-19, which resulted in very low enrollment for 87Afterschool this past fall, it is no longer financially viable for 87Afterschool to continue operating a limited program under the current Covid restrictions. Therefore, the Parents Association’s Executive Board had to make the extremely difficult decision to “pause” operations of our school’s Afterschool program after the current term ends this week and until Covid-19 is under control and our school building can fully open again. 

Sadly, this means there will not be an 87Afterschool spring registration this month. In the interim, we are exploring some remote Afterschool options for families that may be interested in enrichment activities for their children. More info will follow shortly. Feel free to email with any concerns or questions.

—Afterschool Committee

Snow Day Pictures

Thank you to those who sent in their snow day pictures! We invite more people to share any fun snow or holiday pictures. Send them to and we’ll feature them on our website!

School Leadership Team (SLT)

The School Leadership Team (SLT) is a collaborative team of parents, teachers and the Principal that is mandated by state law to play a significant role as an advisory panel in representing the school community. The SLT helps create structures for school-based decision-making, develops school-based educational policies and ensures that resources are aligned to implement those policies. Additionally, the SLT writes and reviews the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP). SLT meets once a month during the school year, and meetings are open to the entire school community.  Two parent members are needed to serve for a two-year term, and SLT elections will take place in the next few weeks.  Interested parents should email a bio to:   

More info here:

Dual Language Survey- Last Chance!

The Spanish enrichment survey is still open.  If you are part of the Dual Language program and did not fill it out, please do so today! Click here to fill it in.

Family Book Group – Starting Monday February 1

Here’s something new to bring PS 87 families together! On the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m,, we will be discussing a book that will touch on important topics that we can all discuss as a community. Our fabulous Librarian, Dawnica, will be doing read-alouds of the books, so everyone can listen to them ahead of time and come for the discussion. (link to follow).  The first Family Book Group will be held on Monday, February 1, and the selection is: Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh.  

Mark your calendar for the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m.!

PS 87 Kindergarten Virtual Open House – Tonight

Tuesday, January 12 at 6 p.m.  The zoom link will be sent before the event. Please register for the open house.

Wednesday Walks

Parents, burn off some steam and socialize with fellow PS 87 parents by going for a physically distant walk in Central Park! We’ll meet every Wednesday in the Big Yard after drop-off (weather permitting). Younger siblings and parents with strollers are welcome! Please wear a mask. 

PS 87 Culture & Community Committee

Did You Know? Facts about MLK

Here are some lesser known facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in honor of his upcoming birthday.

1. Dr. King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.

2. A gifted student, Dr. King skipped grades 9 and 12. He entered college at the age of 15!

3. Dr. Martin Luther King was imprisoned 29 times. One of those times, he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone.

4. George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday.

5. While MLK day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, Dr. King’s actual birthday is on January 15.


Meet the Middle Schools

When: Wednesday, January 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

What: Three District 3 Middle Schools will be giving brief overviews of their schools and taking a few questions.  Come to learn more about the schools so that you’ll be prepared to fill out your preference sheets by February 9.

Where: Zoom (link here)

DOE/Community/Parent Advocacy 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.

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

As the Covid rates rise, the risk of the whole school going fully remote rises as well. Please bear this in mind as the switch can happen quickly. To try to minimize the chances of  this happening in 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 Suggestions

If you have any suggestions, ideas or questions about community affairs/parent advocacy, please reach out to us, Jill Rackmill and Erica DePiero, your PA Community Affairs volunteers at

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

Report Cards – January 29

Report cards will be distributed on January 29 via the mystudent accounts on the DOE. You will need to set up your child’s account in order to get their report card. So please reach out to our Parent Coordinator, Jennifer Stark, for information on how to log into and access your student account.  

PS 87 Calendar 

See here for details and location/Zoom information.

11SLT – 4:15- 5:30 p.m.
11-12Cohort A – In School
13 General PA Meeting 6-7 p.m.Topics: January Report Cards and Afterschool
13-15Cohort B – In School
18Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day, NO SCHOOL
19-20Cohort A – In School
21-22Cohort B – In School
25-26Cohort A – In School
27-29Cohort B – In School
29Report Cards Distributed
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
Posted in