PS87 Backpack News: September 13, 2021

PS 87 Calendar 

See here for details and location/Zoom information.

September  2021
13 First Day of School
15Executive Board Meeting 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.TBD (Zoom if physical location unavailable) 
16Yom Kippur – No School
23Curriculum Night – Remote
17All School Welcome in the Big Yard 4 – 6 p.m. 
29PA Elections
October  2021
1International Dinner Dance 7 – 8 p.m.
4Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
11Italian Heritage/Indigenous Peoples’ Day – No School
23Harvest Fest
November  2021
1Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
2Election Day – Remote School Day
Parent Teacher Conferences – Half Day of School/ Remote Conferences
8-12Scholastic Book Fair
11Veterans Day – No School
25-26Thanksgiving Break – No School
December  2021
6Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
24-31Winter Recess  – No School
January 2022
3Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
17Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – No School
28Report Cards Distributed
February 2022
1Lunar New Year – No School
7Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
March  2022
3Parent Teacher Conferences – Half Day of School/ Remote Conferences
7Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
29-31ELA Assessment
April  2022
4Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
15-22Spring Recess (includes Good Friday and Passover –  No School
26-28Math Assessment
May  2022
2Eid al-Fitr – No School
9Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
24- 6/3Science Performance Assessment
30Memorial Day – No School
June  2022
6Science Written Assessment Family Book Group 6 – 7 p.m.
7Clerical Day – No School
9Anniversary Day – No School
20Juneteenth – No School
27LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!Report Cards Distributed

All School Welcome – Friday, Sept. 17 at 4-6 p.m.

Join your PS 87 community in the Big Yard (77th just east of Amsterdam) to celebrate the new school year!  

From Principal Monica

Dear Families, 

There really aren’t words to describe how excited I am to start this school year. While things are not exactly as we would want them to be, we are in a much better place than we were last year. Being able to start the school year together in the building brings me so much joy. Here at PS 87, we thrive when we have opportunities to gather together in person, and we are determined to create as many of those opportunities as possible. 

It was great getting a chance to meet our new families last Friday. As a friend of mine would say, “We are even more complete now that you are with us.” We are having another gathering in the big yard this coming Friday for all members of the PS 87 family. I hope you see you there.

For those who just joined our community, you should know that I highlight a book each month and encourage everyone to read it. We choose books that teach us how to be good community members or are tied to one of our four tenets: be kind, be wise, be brave, and be honest.

Each year, we introduce the tenets to the students in an assembly. This year, I will visit each classroom personally to discuss the tenets with the children. Every time I speak to the children about the tenets, I liken them to family values or house rules. They define the manner in which we expect everyone, both children and adults, to behave as members of our community. We describe each tenet in the following ways: 

Be kind: There are many ways to be kind. We can cheer up others if they are feeling down. We can give someone a helping hand. We can reach out to new members of the PS 87 family to make sure they are feeling at home. In addition to being kind to people, we can also be kind to the environment by picking up after ourselves and recycling. 

Be honest: Being honest is telling the truth both to ourselves and others. While it sounds very simple, we all know that telling the truth can be hard at times. There are times when we know that telling the truth could make people angry or could get us in trouble. However, it is important to be honest because that is how we build trust. 

Be brave: As one student stated in an assembly a few years ago, “Being brave is giving something a try. Even if you are really scared.” We encourage all of the members of our community to be brave and take risks. It could be anything from trying something new to asking to join a group to answering or asking a question in class. When we take risks, we grow and learn. 

Be wise: When we ask people to be wise, we ask them to think about what they do or say before they act. Before acting, we should ask ourselves, “Will this be harmful or helpful?” Our goal is to be helpful in all we do. 

For our September book of the month, we will be reading All Are Welcome. All Are Welcome is a book that emphasizes the beauty of a diverse community where everyone feels they belong. One of the goals we have as a school this year is to ensure that all members of the PS 87 community feel not only welcome but that they belong in our school. We want PS 87 to be a place where people know they can come and find a home. This can only happen if we all work together to make it so.

In addition to talking to the children about the tenets, I will also introduce our school’s Respect For All protocol. If children believe they are purposefully being alienated or treated unkindly after trying to resolve the issue themselves, they should inform an adult. The adult will reach out to Jacqueline Rodriguez, our school guidance counselor and Respect for All liaison, to help resolve the issue. If your child informs you that he or she feels picked on regularly, we ask that you reach out to Jacqueline immediately at 212-678-2826 ext. 5161 or

I appreciate you and look forward to learning and growing with you and your children this year.


Principal Monica

Welcome Back from Your Parents Association Presidents 

Dear Parents,

We are so excited to welcome new families to our school community, and for those of you who are returning, welcome back! 

It’s a personal favorite time of the year for us, not only to watch our kids learn and flourish with their friends, but also to focus more on ourselves too! 

It’s a time of excitement and apprehension. New school, new teachers and new classmates can be both wonderful and scary. But rest assured, our teachers and staff are working hard to make sure you and your children feel truly welcomed and supported, physically, emotionally and mentally.

As we start the new school year, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the four tenets guiding our PS 87 community, about which you will soon hear your children talking: be kind, be wise, be brave, be honest.

To welcome you all to our One Family Under the Sun community, we invite you to join us in the Big Yard from 4-6 p.m on Friday, September 17 at the All School Welcome. 

Thank you,

Angie Arlia & Rita Kakati-Shah

PS87 PA Co-Presidents

Virtual Town Hall – Recording and Slides

On Thursday, September 9, Monica held a virtual town hall for parents to discuss policies and procedures for the school year.  The discussion covered safety measures and processes for arrival, lunch/recess, dismissal, visitors, and more. Parents had many questions, and Monica, Parent Coordinator Jennifer Stark, and members of the Parents Association board answered them all to the best of their knowledge. Please see the recording here. Passcode: t2*UQ&5e. In addition, here is a copy of the powerpoint she presented during the meeting.

Multiple Layers of Protection

Full details on safety measures and procedures are covered in the above deck and recording, but here is a summary of the key policies that the Department of Education has put in place. In partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the NYC DOE is emphasizing the use of multiple layers of protection against COVID-19 and encouraging those who are eligible to get vaccinated. Strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Properly wearing a face covering at all times when on DOE property
  • Increasing ventilation, wherever possible
  • Washing and sanitizing hands regularly
  • Staying home when sick, after being in close contact with a person with COVID-19, or if someone in your household is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
  • Ensuring students maintain a distance of at least three feet from other students
  • If eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, getting the vaccine (required by 9/27 for all staff, contractors, and volunteers)

Information from DOE on Health Screening and Random COVID-19 Testing

Here is a family update from the DOE that includes information on giving consent for Covid testing for children in 1st -5th grades. Pre-K and kindergarten students do not get tested. Consent can be given through the myschools account, or by filling out and sending in the paper forms with your child. Consent given last year has expired and must be given again for this new school year.

The update also covers the required daily health screening.  Please complete this form each morning to show at drop-off.    

The Parents Association Needs You!

Do you want to be more involved in your child(ren)’s education? Do you want to help all the kids at PS87? Then join the Parents Association!  If you are interested in running for office, please reach out to us at We’d be happy to answer any of your questions. The one thing we know for sure is that this year will again be a memorable one. Administration is going to need PA support and assistance with Social Emotional Learning as well as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts so please consider stepping up and taking a leadership role during this important time.

Open positions:



Community Affairs

Family Giving





Afterschool Liaison

More info to come via email, and you can also visit our website to fill out the form if any of the volunteer opportunities interest you.

Construction Update

Since parents are currently restricted from the building, most reading this won’t be able to see just yet, but ask your kids! When they entered their classrooms today, they may have noticed that an army of contractors followed by an army of cleaners have been through the school. The classrooms now have new radiators and, better still, each class now gets their own thermostat to control the heat. Additionally, on the 1st floor the asbestos floor and ceiling tiles were removed and now there is (apparently) a nice new blue tile floor and fresh ceiling tiles. The custodial staff deserves your thanks for getting everything cleaned and furniture straightened out in time. 

While it is out of sight from the kids, the asbestos removal in the boiler room has been completed. This brings to a close all of the known asbestos remediation inside the building. All of the re-occupancy letters to support that this work was done in a safe manner have been posted to the school website. The temporary boiler on 77th street continues to heat the building while the new boiler construction continues.

Future Phases:

Due to construction material shortages, specifically roof insulation, no work was done on the roof this summer. When the insulation is on hand, the School Construction Authority will schedule the roof work. One window was removed from room 101 and is with the new window manufacturer to ensure that the new window units being manufactured will fit properly. Finally, the other external work in the schedule (mainly brick work) has not occurred. This will occur at yet unscheduled future dates. When we have updates we will share them on the website and in BPN.

Please email with any questions. 

PS 87 Merch – Shop the Store and Show Your School Spirit!

New and returning families – shop now and support PS 87 with your purchase! Show your school pride with our exclusive selection of uniquely branded products. 100% of the profit goes towards the PS 87 Parents Association to help sustain the resources and programs that benefit every student at PS 87.  Items may be shipped or picked up at Big Frog on the Upper West Side.

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 website with updates 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 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

NYC COVID-19 Updates

Follow the local data here.

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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