Save the Date: March 17, at 705, “Teaching and Talking About Race With Children”



Teaching and Talking about Race with Children : A Dialogue with Parents and Educators 

Discussing issues of race and racism with children can feel challenging for many adults in caregiving roles, especially when speaking with the very young. It is a challenge that can be met if we embrace the importance of preparing the next generation to live in and foster an equitable multiracial society, and connect with others to share perspectives, resources and tools. Please join us for an evening of honest and open dialogue centered on this critical aspect of community life.

Panelists are:

Rachel Ehrlich – Moderator and Diversity Educator
John Gentile – Diversity Educator
Martha Haakmat – Diversity Educator
Delia Hernandez – Diversity Educator

Rachel Ehrlich is an anti-bias educator. She attended Hampshire College and received a B.A. in Urban Studies from New College of California. She has an M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work from Smith College and a M.A. in Social Justice Education from UMass Amherst. She is working toward a PhD in Urban Education at the CUNY Grad Center. Her dissertation focuses on educational policy, teacher’s unions, and racial and class inequity. She regularly consults with public and private school teachers/administrators on social justice education, diversity, and inclusion. At the Fieldston Ethical Culture School she is the chair of the Ethics Department 6-12th grades, a College Counselor, and teaches courses focused on power and social justice. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife Jill, son August, and bulldog Gilda.

John Gentile is originally from Washington D.C. and attended Georgetown Day High School. He is a graduate with honors from Eugene Lang College at The New School in New York City. He is a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion consultant focusing on whiteness, white identity development, and white privilege. He has worked with many prestigious educational institutions and organizations including The Trinity School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Riverdale Country School, The Town School and The New School in New York City as well as the Oakwood School in Los Angeles, California, Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio  and Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts.  He has lead workshops, facilitated dialogues and affinity groups, trained faculty, and has been featured as a keynote speaker.  He has also presented at the Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education (CARLE) Institute and the Immigrant Justice Corps in New York City. He has been a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference since 2009. He is a founding faculty member of the National Diversity Directors Institute  at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland.  He was the recipient of The Princeton Prize for Race Relations in 2007.

Martha Haakmat has taught and led in New York City independent schools for the past 27 years.  Currently the Head of School at the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, Martha has been a lower, middle and upper school educator and has held administrative positions such as Diversity Director and Middle School Head.  Martha has served as an independent school trustee and has been a member of various committees for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  She was also the founder and director of Educators for Growth and Empowerment (EDGE), a diversity consulting team that presented in schools and conferences nationwide.  Martha has three daughters who are being educated in the independent school system.

Delia Hernandez worked as a teacher and administrator in NYC independent schools for twenty years before moving on to her current role as Lecturer in the Education Program at Kjngsborough Community College. She is working toward a PhD in Educational Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center where she is exploring the impact of race, ethnicity and class on the development of teacher identity. Delia is a Park Slope native with two sons, ages 7 and 10, and a sweet puppy named Coco.


When: 3/17/15 @ 6:30

Where: PS 705 Auditorium (443 St. Marks Avenue)

New Preschool Opening on Sterling Place – A Message from the Co-Directors


Dear Parents,

Imagine a Preschool where children don’t want to miss a day.
They come in with a smile and leave humming a musical tune. Walking through the rooms, you can hear the sounds of lively learning, song and laughter. Imagine a child who grows up with the warmth and spirit of Judaism, carrying the pride of their Jewish identity into their adult lives.

Introducing the Brownstone Gan Katan, an engaging, hands on new preschool. Founded on the belief that successful education is a result of exploration and creativity, the Gan invites the children to actively engage with their Jewish heritage through discussion, crafts, song and drama. Our warm and dynamic staff emphasize personal attention and care, ensuring the individualized success of each student.At the Gan we understand that we are only as good as our teachers are. With that in mind, we cultivated a team of enthusiastic educators professionally trained to engage the children’s natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Amongst our warm and caring staff, students feel safe to explore, learn and grow.

To schedule a private tour, please contact me at or 347.787.6578 We look forward to seeing you and your precious little ones.

Thank you to all the parents who already stopped by for a visit and enrolled, it was a pleasure meeting you all.

Looking forward
Chaya & Feige

Pre-K: Family Info Sessions Next Week AND Deadline Extended to Apply to Provide Pre-K


Attached find flyers for information sessions being offered March 20-22 in each borough to inform families about how to find and apply for pre-K in Community Based Early Childhood Centers.
  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:00 pm-7:00pm, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Auditorium, 10 Grand Army Plaza , Brooklyn, NY 11238
  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:00 pm-7:00pm, Queens, Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432
  • Wednesday, May 21, 5:30pm-7:00pm, Staten Island, St. George’s Library, 5 Central Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301
  • Thursday, May 22, 5:00-pm-7:00pm, Bronx, Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10458
  • Thursday, May 22, 6:00-pm-8:00pm, Manhattan, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
The Department of Education has extended the deadline by which Community-Based Early Childhood Centers (CBECCs) must submit an application to provide full-day Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) in September, 2014.
Applications are due via email to the appropriate field office by:  
5 p.m. Monday, May 19th.

Eligible organizations such as daycare centers, private schools, preschools and group family daycare providers with a DOHMH permit and others including libraries and museums may apply to provide UPK instruction daily, Monday through Friday, for 6 hours and 20 minutes per day, for 180 days between September 4, 2014, and June 30, 2015. The DOE will carefully screen all applicants to ensure safe, secure, high-quality options for parents.

Please visit: to download an application and obtain information and answers to frequently asked questions.

District 17 College Conference


Community School District 17 Resource & College Conference

When: Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 10am to 2pm.

Where: Middle School 61, 400 Empire Boulevard

Join us as we help you jumpstart your child’s future!

Workshops and Panel Discussions on:

  • Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School and High School to College
  • College and Career Planning
  • Parents’ Guide to Understanding the Process
  • Resources and Services: Scholastic, Inc., Financial Planners, College and Career Advisors, and many more.

Register TODAY Online OR call District 17 Main Office at 718-221-4372.

Find the college that is the right fit for your child. Workshops are geared to ALL grade levels, Pre-K-12.

Everyone Is Welcome!

Press Release: Mayor de Blasio Outlines Major School Reforms


More parent-teacher time each week, $4.4 billion to ease school overcrowding, pre-K for over 50,000 children, after-school for 100,000 more middle schoolers

NEW YORK—Visiting parents and students at P.S. 69 in Queens today, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined major reforms coming to city schools. The sweeping changes were put forward by the administration in the executive budget and its contract with the United Federation of Teachers, and will fundamentally improve the education of hundreds of thousands of students.

The reforms address some of the most vital needs in our schools, from devoting 40 minutes each week to dedicated parent-teacher interaction, to $4.4 billion in capital funds to ease overcrowding, to fulfilling the Mayor’s pledge to dramatically expand pre-K and after-school programs.

Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm emphasized these fundamental changes would improve public education across the whole school system.

“These aren’t pilot programs that help a lucky few; they are foundational changes that will lift up schools in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The strategic investments we are making recognize parents as true stakeholders, empower our educators and help students succeed.”

“We are making unprecedented investments in our children through an historic expansion of universal pre-K, and ensuring that from early education through high school, our focus is on preparing students for the future. The teachers’ contract and the reforms embedded in the Mayor’s executive budget reflect tremendous progress to restore dignity, opportunity and empower our city’s parents, schoolchildren, teachers and principals,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

“By instituting these reforms, Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that all of the students in our city’s public school system receive a high-quality education,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “I commend the Mayor, Chancellor Fariña, and the United Federation of Teachers for working together to implement reforms that are in the best interest of our kids.”

“I’m glad to see the administration making the necessary investments to help every New York City student reach their full potential,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “Smaller classroom sizes, increased parental involvement, and a well-rounded education that embraces the arts are the things that will put our children on a path to success. We owe it to them to make the one opportunity they have at a great education the best it can be.”

“Mayor de Blasio has quickly brought important reform to our public schools,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “Instituting universal pre-kindergarten, expanding middle school after-school programs, and dedicating $20 million to increase arts programs are all things that will help ensure that this generation of public school students will succeed. I am most pleased that educators and parents were included in the decision making process. As a former New York City public school teacher for 25 years, I can’t stress enough how important this is to guaranteeing the success of these reforms.”

The reforms discussed today include:

A Greater Voice for Parents: The UFT contract dedicates 40 minutes every Tuesday for teachers to reach out to parents by email, letter, telephone, or face-to-face meetings. The contract also doubles the number of evening parent-teacher conferences from two to four each school year.

Alleviating Overcrowding: This budget will start to address space conditions in the city’s schools, reducing overcrowding and the use of trailers as classrooms with $4.4 billion capital investment in new space, including class size reduction. In addition, the Department of Education will devote $480 million to remove temporary classroom units and rehabilitate the play yards where they had been located.

High-Quality, Universal, Full-Day Pre-K: The executive budget launches a major expansion of full-day universal pre-K to ensure that all 4-year-olds are set up for long-term success, including $300 million for 53,000 seats in FY 2015 and $340 million for 73,000 seats in FY 2016.

More Middle School After-School Programs: The executive budget includes an unprecedented investment of $145 million in FY 2015 to fund 34,000 new seats to serve nearly 100,000 middle school children.

More Arts Education: The executive budget also allocates $20 million in FY 2015 for arts education, which will be used to expand a range of art programs in schools across the city, improve art facilities, and increase partnerships with art institutions

Conference for Parents of HS Students: Fostering Parent Leadership


The NYCDOE & CEJ Present:

for Student Success

Saturday, May 3rd
8:30AM – 1:00PM
High School for Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011

Register here or by calling (212) 374-4118
Free Breakfast
Free Childcare for children 5+
On-site Translation Available Upon Request
M5 to 6th Avenue & 23rd Street
M20 to 8th Avenue & 23rd Street
M23 to 7th Avenue & 23rd Street
1, C, E, or F to 23rdStreet
Spring 2014 Conference for Parents of High School Students:
Fostering Parent Leadership for Student Success
The purpose of this Parent Conference is to effectively empower parents as leaders and involve them in their children’s success.
8:30AM – Breakfast & Registration
9:00AM – 9:45AM
  Welcoming Remarks
Keynote, Chancellor Carmen Fariña
10:00AM – 11:15AM – Workshop Session I
11:25AM – 12:40PM – Workshop Session II
12:45PM – 1:00PM – Closing Remarks

Events and Information Resources


Below are various things taking place in Brooklyn and beyond…

  • Monday, April 28: There will be a training for community leaders interested in promoting safe infant sleep practices in their communities from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Brooklyn. Breakfast and lunch will be served, and participants will be asked to attend a follow-up training in June. If you are interested, contact Helen Flowers by emailing Slots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Free summer camp for children from low-income households: The Fresh Air Fund offers free summer camp experiences to children from low-income households who live in New York City. For more information and to apply, visit the Fresh Air Fund website
  • Free legal resources: The 20th annual Law Week will be in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx from April 29 to May 2 with one day in each borough. Free legal advice and referrals will be available. For more information,
  • Internship program for youth ages 16-24: COACH is a paid, 11-week internship program organized by the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn. For more information, Emma Dealy Director of COACH (718) 676-1544
  • Resources for homeless female veterans with children: The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program supports homeless veterans with children in transitioning to the civilian workforce with job training, computer access, services referrals and childcare. For more information,
  • Job readiness workshop for veterans: Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 665 Willoughby Ave in Brooklyn, there is a job readiness workshop for unemployed and homeless veterans. Refreshments are available. For more information contact Barrie Simpson at 718-852-6004 Ext. 252

Universal Pre-K Update


Subway and bus ads, PSAs and materials in nine languages urge parents to apply

Parents can apply for new options at

NEW YORK— Joining Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at a public school’s pre-K program today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major media and community organizing push urging New Yorkers to sign their children up for pre-K. The outreach campaign follows the announcement this week that the city has secured the funding necessary to expand pre-K to 53,000 children this September.

The outreach includes $300,000 of ads on bus shelters, buses and subways urging parents to register their children for pre-K, as well as public service announcements, promotions in taxicabs, robocalls to families in public housing, and a multilingual canvassing effort in partnership with community groups.

“This is about reaching parents where they live,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It’s going to take a mix of new media and old-fashioned community organizing to reach every family. From our Taxi and Limousine Commission to community groups in immigrant neighborhoods, we’re working with every partner we can find to get the word out about new pre-K options opening up. But the most important pieces of this equation are everyday New Yorkers. Talk to your family. Talk to your neighbors. Help us get the word out.”

“I and the Assembly Majority have long maintained that pre-K is the critical jumpstart our children need to be successful. I am so pleased that we have a powerful partner in Mayor Bill de Blasio, who knows that this program can be truly transformational and will provide new hope for working families and their children. It is critical that we spread the word as quickly as possible, and I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and his team to make this program a huge success,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The application deadline for public school options is April 23, and the Department of Education will notify families about public school placements in June. Families will also have an opportunity to apply for slots at community-based organizations later this spring.

The Department of Education is printing 70,000 Pre-K Expansion Guides that detail the new public school pre-K options. The guides are being mailed to 5,000 NYCHA families with eligible 4-year-olds and distributed through libraries, community partners and elementary schools. The Pre-K Expansion Guide will be translated in nine languages and available online.

For more information and updates on the pre-K application process, visit: or text “prek” to 877877.

Universal Pre-K Update


“With the investment announced today, this state has made a powerful and historic decision that will change the lives of tens of thousands of children. We set out down this road nearly 18 months ago. Through ups and downs, we never wavered from our promise to the people of this city to expand full-day pre-K and afterschool for our children starting this September. Today that pledge became a reality. With this 5-year commitment, we can now move forward to deliver truly universal pre-K. We can add new high quality after-school programs and begin to address the challenges we face in our education system. These are foundational changes to our schools that will lift up every child.

“This budget also recognizes the unprecedented homelessness crisis facing this city and our shared commitment to lift up people facing crisis. It represents a new beginning in our approach to homelessness by clearing the way for a new rent subsidy program that would help families transition out of our shelter system. These new partnerships between the city and state will mean we can begin turning the tide and protecting our most vulnerable. And I’m heartened that the budget provides a rent cap for those diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.

“We applaud what Governor Cuomo and our state legislature have accomplished for the people of this city. I look forward to continuing to work together with the governor to move New York City forward. We owe a debt of gratitude to Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York State Assembly, whose two decades of advocacy and leadership on early education brought us to this moment. Their unity and commitment to truly universal pre-K for every child have achieved something truly extraordinary today. I am grateful for Co-Leader Klein’s work in the Senate to put our youngest children first. We also thank Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins, Co-Leader Skelos, the Senate Majority, Senate Democrats and the IDC for standing squarely behind New York City’s children.”