Message from Manuel J. Fernandez: February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020

Dear CSUS Caregivers,

Happy Black History Month and Black Lives Matter Week! I hope that 2020 is treating you well!

Last month CSUS was very busy with many activities and many successes. I wanted to share some of them with you in this letter.

VolleyballVolleyball Championship
On January 15th the Boys’ Volleyball team brought home another championship trophy. The Girls’ team also made an outstanding effort. We are very proud of our scholar athletes who always compete with passion and sportsmanship!

Winter Arts NightWinter Art Night
The first annual winter Art Night was held on Jan. 16th and was well attended by caregivers, staff and scholars. We want to extend a heartfelt Kudos to the scholar artists and their amazing visual arts teacher, April Silbert for sharing the artistic talents of our student body. On Thursday May 21, 2020 we will host the first annual spring Art Night! See you there!

Navigating the Middle Schooler’s Journey
On Jan. 28th our counselors (Ms. Kronhaus, Ms. Pierre-Paul and Ms. Udovicki) shared some useful tips on supporting early adolescent development. The event also provided an opportunity for caregivers to share with others their concerns, successes and challenges raising middle schoolers in 2020. The evening was rich with helpful and insightful contributions from all. We are considering the possibility of offering this opportunity several more times this year. Stay tuned.

Diversity Dialogues
Friday Night HypeOn Jan. 30th 60 staff, caregiver and community members attended Dr. Sarah Fiarman’s Diversity Dialogues presentation on Unconscious Bias in Schools. It was a wonderful evening with a lot of energy and a top notch interactive presentation. Attendees that donated $20 or more to our Grade 8 NYC field trip fund received a copy of Dr. Fiarman’s book. It should be noted that Dr. Fiarman donated 40 copies of the book. If you are interested we have a few copies left for those that make a $20.00 donation to the grade 8 NYC field trip fund.

Friday Night Hype
Diversity in EducationFriday night, Jan. 31st was an amazing evening created and coordinated by CSUS super stars Kini Griffin, Jackie Murphy and Debbie Bonilla. The launch of our first Friday Night Hype (FNH) was an unmitigated success supported by many volunteers from across the city including the Police Commissioner. It was well attended by about 85 CSUS scholars. Every scholar I spoke to was ecstatic and so appreciative. Dinner was served with donations from Atwoods and other community members. Activities included a basketball clinic, Yoga, Hair Braiding and Spa, Ninja warrior, Small Business development, Board/Card games, Dance, Arts and Crafts, Music production, candle making and discussion groups by gender. Puma donated many great raffle items that were a hit with all the scholars.

Scholar Lunches
Last month I began inviting scholars to have lunch with me. My purpose is to provide an opportunity for each scholar (with a small cohort of their friends) to share their impressions of the new building, school climate and recommendations for improvement. So far I have had lunch with over 60 scholars. It has been nice to get to know so many of our scholars better. I especially appreciate their insightful reflections about the school. I expect to conclude the scholar luncheons by mid March. Not long afterwards I will share with the school community my findings and how they will inform our school culture moving forward.

Cultural Proficiency Team
This Friday, Feb 7th members of the CSUS Cultural Proficiency Facilitators Team will be presenting with at the annual Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education at Regis College. CPF members attending will be Will Adams, Stephen Abreu, Marisa Berenbaum, Kendal Schwarz, Laura Smith and Kini Udovicki along with me. I know all of us will do CSUS proud!

Flagway Tournament
On Feb. 27, CSUS will host the Upper School Network in a Flagway Tournament at 3:30PM in the CSUS gymnasium. “The goal of The Flagway™ Game is to create environments where students can practice and celebrate learning math. There are many different ways to create a cultural context in which mathematics emerges naturally from students’ experience.” The Flagway Game was developed in 1995 by Algebra Project founder and Cambridge resident Bob Moses. Please come and support our scholars in this exciting event.

I am also pleased to share the many exciting activities coming up this month and in early March.

Winter Dance
February 7 | 5-7PM | Multi-purpose Room
All scholars are invited to the dance with a permission slip and $3.00 admission fee which helps cover the refreshments.

Scholar-Led Conferences
February 7 - 14
Scholars will be showcasing their schoolwork and discussing progress on their educational goals with you in upcoming conferences. During these conferences, scholars will lead the discussion with you about their school work, while teachers will help direct conversation and answer questions you may have. The dates for Scholar Led Conferences are Feb. 7th -14th. Your child’s homeroom advisor will be in touch soon to schedule your child’s Scholar-Led conference.

School Site Council Examines Upper School Math and Relationships
February 24 | 6 - 7:30PM
Love math? Hate it? Brain research is now showing that messages scholars pick up from their caregivers about math and their caregivers’ relationships with math can change scholars’ math learning and achievement (Boaler, 2015) So... let's talk math. Please join us while we explore math patterns, look at the big ideas of math from grades 6 to 8 and get to know the Illustrative Math curriculum.

CSUS Celebrates World Language Week
March 2- 6
The 7th annual World Language Week Potluck Dinner which includes stage performances by scholars and staff, the poster contest and more will take place on Thursday, March 5th 6:30-8PM. Please join us and bring a family favorite dish to contribute to the multi-cultural pot-luck dinner. More details to follow.

We look forward to seeing you at some of these events. Our scholars and staff are working hard within and outside of the classroom and would appreciate your support.

On behalf of TEAM CSUS, thank you for choosing CSUS! We are humbled that you have entrusted us with your child’s education. We are mindful that you have choices and we are pleased that you chose us. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any TEAM CSUS staff member if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.


Manuel J. Fernandez
Head of School

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