Monday, February 15, 2010

Riverwalk Developers Principal For A Day At Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 - Fall 2010 Kindergarten Admission Info Due March 12

You Tube Video of What Teachers Make

Are you considering sending your child to PS/IS 217 kindergarten next year? If so, be aware that there is a:


Families that are interested in kindergarten admission for PS/IS 217M for the Fall of 2010 must submit intake information to the school. This process will take place from February 8 through March 12 from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM in the Main Office.

Please bring the following documents:

  • Proof of residency (copy of the lease, letter from the Management and utility bill)
  • Proof of Birth (Birth Certificate or passport)
  • Name of any other child in the school.
Information on whom to contact here.

Image of Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 From Geocities

I recently learned that David Kramer and Kimberly Sherman Stamier of Riverwalk's Hudson/Related development team participated in PENCIL's Principal For A Day Program at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217. According to PENCIL:
PENCIL's Annual Principal For A Day® event serves as the official kick-off for our Partnership Program. Held each year in October, Principal For A Day® mobilizes partners to launch their collaborations on a citywide basis. Hundreds of New York business leaders visit their partner schools in all five boroughs to start or continue their collaborations. These visits provide business Partners with valuable exposure to their school’s culture and unique strengths and challenges.
I asked Ms. Stamier to report on her experience as a Principal For The Day at PS/IS 217 and she kindly agreed to do so. From Ms. Stamier:
I have had the pleasure of spending hundreds of hours on Roosevelt Island and when I was offered the opportunity to collaborate with PS/IS 217, I jumped at the chance.

As part of the Related/Hudson co-development team behind Riverwalk, the six buildings located just north of the tram on Roosevelt Island, I have been working with RIOC and on these developments for over a decade. Throughout my tenure on the island the entire team has become immersed in the neighborhood, and as we have added residents to the island, the families that inhabit our residences have too. As a new mother myself, I had always been interested in the island’s home school located on Main Street. I had reviewed the school statistics through the DOE and other websites, however, a website does not give any sense of the school. The school environment was a key factor that I wanted to learn more about.

When David Kramer of Hudson Companies, who had partaken in the PENCIL partnership in the past, suggested that he and I collaborate to work with PS/IS, my first question was, what is PENCIL? I visited their website for all of the details, Per their website, “PENCIL builds and supports customized relationships between business leaders and principals to inspire innovation and transform public schools. By bringing together the best ideas, resources and talent across sectors, we develop strong leaders, build school capacity, enhance student learning, and inspire greater community and corporate support, to create real change in our City's schools”. What the PENCIL partnership between Related / Hudson and PS/IS 217 meant for us was that we were formally introduced to the school with the goal of making a difference in any way that we could.

On the morning of October 15th, David and I initially met with Principal Mandana Beckman and Assistant Principal Jennifer Bartolino and received a full tour of the school. We were amazed by the terrific facilities. Apart from the beautiful and open view of Manhattan over the East River, we were impressed by the size of the school, the large acoustically attenuated auditorium that seats over 100 people, the dedicated gym facility (as opposed to a shared gym / lunch room), the Mac room, the music room with a large variety of instruments, and the large courtyard playground. The school is home to kindergarten through eighth grade, and recently embarked on a gifted and talented program. The methods of communication were high tech in many of the classrooms, with overhead computers and programs that are projected onto screens instead of

We also got a feel for the school by looking at the bulletin boards in the entry hall that leads to the principal’s office. Though the content is continually changing, I particularly enjoyed the postings from my last two visits of “Pajama Day” and the letters to President Obama after he won the election. The students represent over seventy countries and the main hall is home to flags from each one.

At our meeting with Mandana and Jenn, we assessed the school’s needs and specifically where and how David and I could help. We came up with three goals:

(1) Create a school logo and brochure, replete with photographs and information;

(2) Produce a Career Day series for sixth and seventh graders to learn about different career paths and steps to take in order to achieve career goals. This exercise is particularly applicable to this age group as they will soon decide if/ which specialized schools they would like to apply to; and

(3) Increase outreach on the school to the Roosevelt Island population. You’d be surprised how many families do not know about the great things happening at PS/IS 217.

So how are we achieving these goals? Shortly after our meeting with Mandana and Jenn, David saw a friend in the graphic design world, who generously offered to create the school’s logo. Thank you Pat Thompson. At a recent meeting with Mandana and Jenn we were joined by 3 PTA members, who thought they could source photographers for our brochure. Once that’s done we’ll all work on the copy, and this summer we’ll have a brochure in hand.

We have also made progress on Career Day. David and I are working on list of industries that we think would be interesting to the students, and careers that they might not know about at a young age. Communications, aviation, culinary arts, fashion and marketing are a few of the presentations that we are planning. We will have two guests from each field speak with the students, and are currently sourcing speakers.

As for the school outreach, we’ve planned a meet and greet for Mandana and Jenn for the residents of Riverwalk. We have quite a bit of families at Riverwalk, many of whom are growing. We are looking forward to the introduction.

PENCIL brought us all together with the goal of creating goals – and we are headed down that path. PENCIL has excellent resources to facilitate all of our needs. There are monthly seminars hosted by PENCIL on a range of topic from attaining corporate sponsorships to a lecture by Meryl Tisch, the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents. The PENCIL team is always eager and ready to help with anything they can, and they are a real pleasure to work with.

David and I look forward to spending more time with the faculty, staff and students at PS/IS 217 and to working with the team to achieve our goals.
PS/IS 217 Computer Room From rigandt

PS/IS 217 Cafeteria From rigandt

Additional information about Roosevelt Island's PS/Is 217 is available from the PTA, the excellent Roosevelt Island School G & T Blog and NYC Department of Education Portal.


Anonymous said...

What can be done about the bully problem at 217? I know a few people who pulled their kids out because of that problem. The kids were afraid of going to school because they've been being bullied. As far as I can tell the principal is pretty much powerless in addressing this problem.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

I am truly amazed that after a wonderful piece on the partnership between PS/IS 217 and RiverWalk, that you would still feel compelled to leave a negative and divisive comment having nothing to do with the story. I think the most damaging (and cowardly) thing someone can do is post a misinformed comment while hiding under the veil of annonymity. Our school is not the same school or administration that was in place 10 years or even 5 years ago. Behavior problems at PS/IS 217 are not any worse than at any other school. Trust me, my children have attended one of the most coveted schools in NYC.

At the present time (which is the time frame in which you limit your comments to) there is a very active and involved PTA Executive Board with a wonderful, collaborative relationship with the principal. Behavior issues are taken very seriously and dealt with directly.

Please understand how damamging your "playground gossip" is to a school that is on the right track and working hard to improve its reputation, one that has been serverly damaged by comments such as yours.

If there are concerns from past, current or future parents or ommunity members, please direct them to me at I would be happy to personally meet with anyone who has questions as would the school administration.


Nikki Leopold
PS/IS 217 PTA President

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