ESI Update – Week of June 9

ESI Update

Week of June 9



Principals and ESI Team Members,

A couple weeks ago the country and the world lost a poet, singer, writer, playwright, director and civil rights activists when Maya Angelou died. We the ESI Team and the ESI community mourn her loss. Ms. Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” She also encouraged us to, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” As we come to the end of the 2nd year of ESI, keep those words of encouragement in mind as we plan for year 3 and beyond. In spite of the tough times and the challenges that we will face as we do this historical work, always remember the young men and women who we affect on a daily basis. They will remember the school communities that we create and how they felt while they were there. At times it’s hard but indeed, we can each be a rainbow in their cloud.


In this issue you will find the following features:

  • News and Updates: PSAT Exam Ordering Deadline!
  • Opportunities: The Cooper Union Saturday Program, FREE Summer 2014 Literacy Institute, TACD’s Summer Institute!
  • School Spotlight: Queens Vocational & Technical High School!
  • Operations Corner: Important Budget News and Contracts for Excellence Funds Memo!
  • Resources: Teaching Maya Angelou!

News and Updates

*This feature is intended to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in ESI. 

Order PSAT Exams

As noted in the April 23 edition of Principals’ Weekly, all grade 10 and 11 students may take the PSAT on October 15; the DOE will cover the cost of exams for students who take the exam on this date.

The deadline for ordering PSAT materials is June 30.

Note: Schools will receive PSAT/NMSQT Student Guides for orders placed by the deadline. The College Board will host an SOAS workshop specifically for ESI schools to assist in interpreting the score results and implications for practice in February 2015.


For further questions, contact Grace Gonzalez.



*Check out these exciting opportunities for students and staff members! Please note: If you or your students take advantage of any of the opportunities we spotlight, take a moment to let us know

For Students

ESI Basketball Tournament at East Bronx Academy

This summer, East Bronx Academy will be hosting its annual ESI Summer 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament is an opportunity for ESI young men to come together, have fun, hone their basketball skills, and meet students from other ESI schools.
The tournament will start on Monday, July 14th and run through Wednesday August 12th. ESI gentlemen will compete in teams of three against one another. Some days will consist of basketball drills as the players prepare for the tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a trophy. All ESI schools are welcomed to participate.
Come be a part of this exciting and engaging program! Represent your school and have fun with other ESI young men this summer! Please email Naiomie at if you are interested in participating.

The Cooper Union Saturday Program

The Cooper Union Saturday Program is now accepting applications for its FREE Art and Architecture Saturday Program that starts this fall. The Saturday Program offers seven free studio art classes enrolling over 200 New York City Public High School students. Classes meet Saturdays from 10am-5pm, for two semesters each school year (October through April). This schedule provides the intensive working time necessary to rigorously explore media, technique, and concept.

Students do not need prior experience, only motivation and a written application required. To encourage access for all, materials are provided at no charge.

Note: The Saturday Program only accepts students from New York City Public High Schools, grades 9-12. (Recent graduates and students of GED or alternative programs may be considered.)

All classes make field trips to museums, galleries and artists’ studios, and include Creative Writing workshops integrated into the visual arts curriculum. Each year the program culminates in April with a public Exhibition and Spoken Word Performance.

Additionally, all high school seniors enrolled in the Saturday Program receive individual advisement on applying to colleges and preparing their art & architecture portfolios. College workshops are held for both seniors and juniors and Weekday after-school studio workspace is available to help seniors preparing for college.

For further questions, please contact them here.

Young Scholars Immersion Program FREE Summer 2014 Literacy Institute at Manhattan College

The Summer Literacy Institute, the summer portion of the Young Scholars Immersion Program was created in collaboration between Manhattan College and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC). The Institute aims to support local Bronx high school students, challenging them to strive for academic excellence, and making a college education a reality.

Application Deadline: Friday, June 20th

2014 Orientation Date: Wednesday, June 25 at 7:00PM,

Location: Miguel Hall Room – 311 Rodriguez Room

2014 Program Dates: Monday, July 14th to Friday, July 18th

Through participating in the Summer Literacy Institute, students will draft, revise, and edit a college application essay in writing groups. By the end of the week, students will possess a polished, well written essay to present when applying for the college of their choice. The Institute will provide a broad introduction to a liberal arts education and “college life.”

Here are some of the activities students can look forward to:

  • Developing their personal statements for their college application process
  • Participate in three seminar learning modules with Manhattan College professors
  • Visiting the Rubin Museum of Art
  • Attending a Broadway Musical
  • Engaging in a biology experiment at Orchard Beach
  • Take part in other cultural exchange opportunities such as Poetry and African Drum performances

All of this takes place during a five day, four night stay one of the Manhattan College dormitories. This opportunity is FREE and open to rising high school seniors.

For a copy of the application, click here.

For Staff Members

Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality’s 2014 Summer Institute

The Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality (TACD), in partnership with the New York State Education Department, invites you to attend TACD’s 2014 Summer Institute Equity in the Era of Common Core: Igniting Student Learning by Fostering Transformative Teaching.

Date: June 27, 2014

Time: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Cost: Free
Location: NYU’s Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10010

Click here for more information and registration.

2014 Schomburg Summer Education Institute in Partnership with the Expanded Success Institute

ESI is thrilled to partner with the education department at the Schomburg Center this summer during their 2014 Schomburg Summer Education Institute (July 14th through July 18th)!  This year’s topics include: Freedom Summer, American Maroons and Resistance to Slavery, The Motown Sound: A Voice for Freedom, The History of Education in NYC, Book Arts and the Black Experience, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Hip-Hop History, Abolitionism in Brooklyn, and more.

Educators will gain valuable content knowledge and learn inquiry-based approaches to teaching history across the grades and across disciplines with the Schomburg’s rich primary resource collections, scholar lectures, interactive workshops, curriculum labs, curator talks and community walks.  Each teacher will take home books and extensive resource materials for their classrooms.  Teaching and learning activities at Black History 360° exemplify the Common Core State Standards and support the Danielson Framework for Teaching.

The ESI Team is supporting staff at our schools who are interested in attending the week-long institute by covering the $500 registration fee. The first twenty-five (25) staff members who commit to attending the Schomburg Summer Education Institute will attend for FREE! Please email Paul Forbes ( with your name and school if you are interested.

School Spotlight

Location: Long Island City, Queens

Principal: Melissa Burg

Total student enrollment: 1469

Percent Latino/Latina: 74%

Percent Black: 7%

On Friday, May 30th, Queens Vocational and Technical High School held their “Mentoring Closing Ceremony”. During the school year teachers and administrators “adopted” young men in the 9th grade and mentored them. The mentors would meet with the mentees regularly to see how they were academically and socially. The young men agreed that having teachers and administrators as a mentor helped tremendously during this crucial transitional year. The staff members who participated also expressed a different and closer connection with these young men this year as opposed to previous classes.

Johan Diaz is a 15 year old freshman who was matched with the dean, journalism teacher and the baseball coach, Mr. Schimenz. Johan was born in the Dominican Republic and migrated to the US when he was 7 years old. He spoke no English and was always shy. That shyness stayed with him as he entered high school at Queens Vocational. As a result of the ESI mentoring program, Johan met a number of friends that he says he would have never met had it not been for the program.

Mr. Schimenz has been a teacher for 18 years at Queens Vocational and Technical HS and he describes himself as “tough” and “a bit rough around the edges”. Being a mentor to Johan however, helped “soften him up”. As he put it, “Johan taught me more than I probably taught him.” Mr. Schimenz has a renewed sense of commitment after 18 years and is looking forward to being a mentor to a new student in the fall.

To learn more about the mentoring program or any other ESI related activities at Queens Voc, feel free to reach out to Claude Stuart at

Operations Corner

Contracts for Excellence Funds

Click here to access the Contracts for Excellence Funds (C4E) memorandum.

FY ’14 – ’15 De-Obligation Process for ESI Schools: 

In an effort to promote efficient usage of funds across the ESI community, schools will be required to complete the de-obligation process at the end of SY 14.  This process is designed to ensure that ESI schools will have access to the funds needed to implement Year 3 programming at the school’s desired timeline.

SY ’15 is the final year of ESI and unused funds from Year 2 will not be available for disbursement to schools until late in the spring semester of 2015. As this period coincides with the end of the grant initiative, ESI schools that do not complete the de-obligation process and leave unused funds scheduled in Galaxy after June 27th will forfeit use of those funds in Year 3.

6/27/14 – Last day for modifications to existing per session jobs.  No further budget changes to FY’14 will be allowed.

6/27/14 –Last day to submit receipts/ invoices for FY 14 expenses charged to FPS lines.

Please be aware that the ability to disburse Year 3 summer funds is directly linked to meeting these deadlines For more information, click here. If you have any questions about closing out your Year 2 budget, please contact Charisse Taylor.


Teaching Maya Angelou

Ideas and resources compiled by the New York Times.

More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Levels of Learning

Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.

“All great achievements require time.“ – Maya Angelou




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