PS87 Backpack News: April 12, 2021

Dear Families,

April’s book of the month is a follow-up to November’s book Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische. This month’s book is entitled Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind.  Hische describes these books as being “two sides to the same coin. First you have to take care of and encourage yourself, and then you can do your part to help others.” She states that she wrote about “attributes that mostly impact you—elevate you, fortify you, and help you have courage to take on anything” in Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave.  In Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind, she says she wrote about “attributes that encourage you to help those around you and ultimately make the world a better place.”   

As we head into the final portion of this school year, it is more important than ever that we continue to support one another and work to make our community better.  Before the pandemic, there was a level of fatigue that set in during the last months of the school year.  This year, there is underlying frustration associated with living during the pandemic on top of the usual fatigue we experience. We must continue to support one another by taking Hische’s advice to be helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful, and kind.  By doing this, I hope that we will continue to be a strong and close community through to the end of the school year.

And if we fall short of being our most kind selves, do not worry.  We can always try again tomorrow.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of a reading of the book:


Principal Monica

New COVID-19 School Closure Policy

The DOE has updated its school closure policy regarding Covid-19 cases. The attached letter from Chancellor Porter details the changes. Please read: Update for Families April 9, 2021.pdf.

Thanks to our biggest school sponsor, Spring Lake Day Camp.  We are so grateful for their continued support! Visit their website at:

Teacher Appreciation Week – Volunteers Needed

Every year on May 4th, we celebrate teachers for all of their hard work. There’s actually a whole week to celebrate!  We need a few volunteers to help plan and execute the events to take place May 3rd through May 7th. If you are interested, please contact Thank you!

PS 87 Spring Book Fair

We are thrilled to announce that we will be holding a safe outdoor book fair for our school and community this spring!  The Scholastic Book Fair has been a beloved tradition at PS 87.  By having it outdoors with many safety measures in place, we think it will be a great event to boost community spirits while promoting literacy and raising money for our school!

WHEN: Friday, May 7, 1-5 p.m.

          Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

         (Rain date: May 21-22)

WHERE: PS 87 K Yard

WHO: Open to everyone in our neighborhood!

Come pick out some new books and see friendly (masked) faces in-person! Make sure to pick up bookmarks with our Fall Book Fair Mascot winners from 2019 AND 2020 while you’re there. If you can’t make it, don’t worry! There will be an online fair as well that will run for a week beginning on May 7. The link will be posted on the PS 87 website. Please email with any questions. Happy shopping and reading!

Your Scholastic Book Fair Co-Chairs

Megan Pilla, Sejal Shah, & Mercy Ji

Togetherhood After-School Programming for PS 87 Families

The PA will be partnering with Togetherhood to launch outdoor after-school programming for PS 87 families for the remainder of this school year (April through June). All in-person after-school classes will be held outdoors in either Central Park or Riverside Park. Togetherhood will provide a pick-up service that will pick up your child from PS 87 when school is dismissed at 2:30 p.m. and will walk them to their Togetherhood class in the park.

Co-founded last summer by PS 87 parents Danielle and Ephraim Luft, Togetherhood offers distinct after-school enrichment classes taught by local independent enrichment providers across four categories: Art, Performing Arts, STEM, and Outdoor Exploration. 

Click here to see Togetherhood’s current classes to get a sense of its offerings. There are limited spots available now, but Togetherhood will be announcing more class availability over the coming weeks, as well as a registration date and sign-up link. Togetherhood’s goal is that all families who want to participate are able to secure a spot and choose from a unique, curated course offering.

Stay tuned for online registration and additional programming details this week. For more info, email or

Kids In The Game After-School Programming for PS 87 Families

It’s time to get back to play! Kids in the Game is excited to partner with PS 87 to provide Outdoor Afterschool this Spring! Starting later this month, Kids in the Game will offer Outdoor Afterschool activities and games for 30 students per day right in the PS 87 recess yard. Outdoor Afterschool will run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Kids in the Game has been providing in-person programs since June 2020 thanks to the development of their Physically Distance Games Resource guide. This guide allows for fun, impactful play while following health and safety guidelines for COVID-19.

This program will be available to students physically attending school on each specific day. For example, students in Cohort A can only attend the Outdoor Afterschool program on Mondays and Tuesdays. Be on the lookout for more information later this week and instructions on how to register for the program. Let’s play!

New York State Tests and Assessments – Opt-in Survey Deadline Extended to April 14

Dear Families,

We hope that you are doing well and that your children are happy and thriving. As we head into the spring, we know many of you have questions about standardized testing. In a typical year, state exams would be administered to nearly all students in their physical classrooms. This year, many of our students are learning remotely, but the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has required that exams must still take place in-person in the school building. It will not be possible to administer state exams remotely. Therefore, we are contacting you to determine if you would like your child to participate in this year’s state exams.

This year, the exams have been shortened to one day. The Grades 3–8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics exams will consist of only multiple-choice questions; the extended responses sections of the tests have been eliminated. The Science exams for grade 4 will consist mostly of multiple-choice questions and will have a small section that requires short, written answers. The tests are untimed, but most students should complete the tests in 60 to 90 minutes.

The exams will be administered within the following dates:

· English Language Arts for grades 3 through 8: April 19–29, 2021

· Mathematics for grades 3 through 8: May 3–14, 2021 (testing will not be held on May 13 when schools are closed for Eid Al-Fitr)

· Science for grades 4 and 8: June 7–11, 2021

If your child does not participate in the state exams, he/she will not be penalized. 

If you would like for your child to take the exams, please be assured that we will continue to adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. We will share the scheduled testing date for your child prior to the start of the testing window. 

For both in-person and remote families, please let us know if you would like for your child(ren) to take the state exams by completing the Google form (click here) by Wednesday, April 14.  If we do not hear back from you by Wednesday, April 14, your child will not participate in state testing.

The DOE has created a Parent Guide to address commonly asked questions about the administration of the Grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics exams as well as the Grades 4 and 8 Science exams in the 2020-21 school year (

You can also always reach out to the administration ( or with any questions or concerns. We are here to help. We appreciate your collaboration and flexibility as we continually work to ensure a strong, supportive education for your child and every student in our school community.


Kazue Takenaga

The PS 87 Online Art Shop 2021 – NOW OPEN (through Monday, April 26)

  • Overview:
  • Instructions:
    • Check out Step-by-Step Instructions to Create and Upload Your Own Art.  It’s full of answers & extra links for materials, art lessons, photographing, cropping, uploading & shopping.
    • Pieces of personal art can be uploaded to the Online Art Shop for instant keepsake shopping – even sibling or parent & family projects plus favorite photographs and also past auction projects.
    • For easier ordering, first browse & click on all art of interest plus upload your personal art so that they are all displayed together.  Then when you shop for products and click on “Preview my Art on this Product,” previews of each artwork will be displayed.
  • Home shipping costs:  
    • $4.95 for orders <$10 | $6.95 for orders $10-$60 | FREE for all orders >$60.
  • Fundraiser profit margins: 
    • 33% per order, with a 5% bonus if we reach 45% participation! 5% less for orders placed after 4/26.

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

Hello Families! In November, we were able to support the West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s Turkey Challenge, helping more families than ever before have a turkey on Thanksgiving. Now, we get the chance to support WSCAH’s Spring Challenge!  The Spring Campaign will support New Yorkers in need with  their expanded Mobile Market efforts across the city. The Mobile Market works in partnership with community-based organizations across the city to bring healthy food directly to the most food-insecure neighborhoods of New York.  Beginning this April, WSCAH will work with an additional 25 new partner sites across the city to bring more healthy food to more people. WSCAH’s Mobile Market continues to play a vital role in meeting the needs of the community during the pandemic, delivering more food to more people than ever before. If you can, please go to the Spring Campaign  and donate what you can.  Thank you!

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.

District 3 has a new website to share information from Superintendent Christine Loughlin:

Parent Advocacy

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

Masks and social distancing reminder – let’s continue to 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.

 PS 87 Calendar 

See here for details and location/Zoom information.

APRIL  2021
12-14 Cohort A in School
14General PA Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Topic: General PA Meeting – AprilTime: Apr 14, 2021 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 982 4464 6122Passcode: guxs2D
15-16 Cohort B in School
19-20Cohort A in School
19SLT – 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.
21 Schoolwide Remote Day
22-23Cohort B in School
23 Cohort B – Picture Day
24Fun in the Sun Cabaret – Virtual – more information TBD
26-28Cohort A in School
26Cohort A – Picture Day
29-30 Cohort B in School
MAY  2021
3-4Cohort A in School
3Family Book Group 6-7 p.m.
5-7 Cohort B In School
5Executive PA Meeting 7-8 p.m.
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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