The Seventh Day of BSI: Launching Our STEM Lab on the Roof

stem lab with plants

Next year, BSI plans to partner with NYSunWorks, a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools. Through their Greenhouse Lab Project they use hydroponic farming technology to educate students and teachers about the science of sustainability. This partnership, as all other support to the school, is dependent on the generosity of our parents.

NYSunWorks will provide professional development, curriculum materials and resources, and technical support for the opening of the STEM lab and throughout the year. The Greenhouse Lab operates as an integrated part of the school’s curricula and prepares children to exceed NYC’s science standards.

sunworks logo
BSI budgeted $9,152 next year for its partnership with NYSunWorks. This partnership will be integral to successful launch and maintenance of our newly built STEM Lab, and we hope you join us and contribute to BSI PTO to continue funding this and other school initiatives.Learn more about the NYSunWorks Greenhouse Lab project »

“To facilitate this hands-on learning environment, the Greenhouse Project Lab can include solar panels, hydroponic growing systems, a fish farm, a rainwater catchment system, a weather station, integrated pest management and a vermicomposting station. In addition to enhancing a school’s science curriculum, the greenhouse lab greatly enriches arts and social studies by connecting nature to culture. Students learn the relationship between humans and the environment and gain a greater appreciation of sustainable development and its direct relationship to cultural diversity.”

Learn more about the STEM Lab’s conception and development.

The Sixth Day of BSI: Chess!

Principal Havlik and BSI students playing chess

Thank you to Ms. Olga for teaching chess in our classrooms! Ms. Olga’s weekly class for K-5th grades consists of a mini-lesson followed by partner games where children practice their newly learned skills. Middle school grades can also play chess at lunch.

Chess fosters not only critical thinking, but also the intellectual and social growth of our students. We have a robust and strong team, and our kids are able to participate and win chess tournaments outside of school, thanks to PTO funding.

The BSI Chess Team grows bigger and stronger each year thanks to your donations and dedicated parent volunteers, especially coach Vlad!
 There are several ways to get your kids involved in chess at BSI:

  • Participate in chess enrichments during school hours
  • Join the BSI Chess team and play in various tournaments
  • Questions? Contact chess@bsipto.org
Volunteer Coach Vladimir Bugayev on the Benefits of Chess

Here are a few reasons why it’s good for kids to play chess:

  • Chess is fun!
  • Chess helps foster creativity, logical and critical thinking.
  • Chess encourages and rewards those who persevere and work hard.
  • Chess improves concentration and memory.
  • Chess enhances reading and math skills.
  • Chess forces to think strategically and foresee the consequences.
  • On average, students who play chess score 10 percentage points higher on reading tests than their peers.

Read: Interview with Coach Vladimir Bugayev

The Fifth Day of BSI: Clusters & Specialties

line of children dancing

Another large budget item for BSI PTO is Cluster/Speciality Teachers, for which PTO needs to raise/budgeted $167,000.

BSI is able to offer Dance, Movement and Choreography with Ms. Diane thanks to the BSI funding of the Dance (music and movement) enrichment, which helps foster physical growth, proprioception/body awareness, rhythm, beat and collaboration skills.

We are able to offer Media Literacy and 21st Century Digital Citizenship skills with Ms. Sophia thanks to the BSI PTO funding of this enrichment.Upper grade students have access to class sets of individual new Chromebooks and Macbooks to research, apply learning and present work in digital ways while learning about media, perspective and bias, filmmaking, internet safety, cyberbullying and digital citizenship.

The funding that is allocated to these positions allows us to offer a greater array of experiences for our children including electives, lunch clubs and advisory.

We need to raise about $75,000 more before the end of the year to stay on track with our end of the year fundraising goal.We hope you make a donation today.

The 12 Days of BSI will be skipping tomorrow. We wish a merry Christmas to all who celebrate and a peaceful close to 2019 to all.

The Fourth Day of BSI: K-3 Teaching Assistants

Imagine hosting a six-hour party with 28 children — alone, every weekday.

Having a teaching assistant in the classroom changes adult/student ratio in the classroom from around 28 students per adult to 14 students per adult.

That’s why one of the PTO’s biggest funding initiatives is raising money to hire teaching assistants.

The help and support of TAs in K-3rd grade are crucial. TAs are with the students throughout the entire school day: helping in the classroom, the cafeteria, at recess, during field trips, and at the end of day with dismissal and buses.


TAs work side-by-side not only with students and teachers, but also with parents and other members of the school staff to ensure that the school is meeting the needs of our students. They play essential roles in the team, contributing their skills in helping students grow, learn and develop.

The Third Day of BSI: Hands-On Science

Thanks to our inquiry-based approach, science at BSI is anything but boring. Mr. Dennis and Mr. Ron use PTO funded science supplies and materials to facilitate rich, meaningful hands-on learning experiences through in classroom experiments.