BSI Family Film — Come See “Coco” Sunday March 11

Coco follows the magical journey of 12-year-old Miguel, an aspiring musician determined to unravel the mystery behind his family’s centuries-old ban on music at home that’s been holding him back from playing guitar to his heart’s content. As he travels through the lyrically beautiful Land of the Dead, Miguel finds happiness and laughter by connecting with his ancestors. This uplifting folk tale taps into the wonders of Mexican culture and recasts the afterlife through a child’s eyes.

Come join us in the BSI auditorium on Sunday, March 11 at 3:30 pm to watch this inspiring film. Tickets are $10 for the entire family. Order tickets by March 10th. Doors will open at 3pm. The film will begin at 3:30pm. Snacks will be sold at the event. Order tickets before March 10th. See you there!


Last Call to Submit Donations to the Camp Auctions — Deadline Saturday February 24!

Here’s all you have to do:

STEP 1: Claim a camp. Put your name in the BSI Contact 2018 column on our donation grid. You are now the main BSI contact for this company. If questions come up, just email New camps and companies are welcome! Add them to the grid.

STEP 2: Reach out to the camp via email, phone, or in person (we’ve included a sample email below)

STEP 3: Once you have confirmation of a donation, either you or the camp must input the auction items using our Online Donation Submission Form. This is where descriptions and restrictions (e.g. “first time families only”) are noted. Then please go back to the donation grid in STEP 1 and fill out columns E & F. Haven’t heard back? Follow up in a week. If a camp declines, simply note that in column E.

Please help us make this auction a big success! For all questions, please email

For more details including sample emails visit this link.

Volunteer of the Month — Natalia Guarin-Klein

Natalia is a mom to three kids, Evan (6th grade at BSI) and Natalia (1st) and Elaina (3rd) who are at TAOTS. This year Natalia had the idea to organize a Q&A with STEM professionals in a variety of exciting careers and give our kids a chance to engage with them. She organized the STEM Career Panel and brought together a Conservation Educator from the Prospect Park Zoo, a Volunteer/Intern Supervisor in the Behavioral Husbandry Department of the NY Aquarium, a Wildlife Biologist from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Data Scientist from IBM, a Technical Manager in Cloud Engineering at Google, a Computer Science Sophomore/Web Developer Intern/Co-Director of the Women in Computer Science Club at Brooklyn College to answer questions from our kids. Here’s what some parents said:

  • “It was an amazing discussion. I think the kids learned a lot and so did I! Thank you for organizing! I hope it can be repeated in the future.”
  • “I just wanted to let you know that tonight’s event was really great! Thank you so much for putting it together and for including alumni. I wish I had been exposed to some of that information when I was a kid. You really gave the kids a valuable gift tonight. Thank you !”
  • “I found it very helpful in guiding our kids to make decisions that will have a positive impact for their future. The panel covered a lot tonight!”

We checked in with our Volunteer of the Month for some advice and inspiration.

Why did you want a STEM Career Panel for BSI and TAOTS kids?

In my line of work I help [college] students prepare for their careers. We hosted a similar event and I thought it was important for students to hear the advice in the younger grades. STEM careers continue to be in demand and I believe that by the time students get to high school if they haven’t chosen a career in the area that they are likely not going to pursue it. The earlier they are exposed to it, the more likely they will feel confident to continue to pursue it as they get older.

How did you make it a reality?

Most of it involved sending the proposed idea to the respective principals and making it clear that if they were interested that I would do the heavy lifting in regards to work load. Once they gave me the green light I reached out to my contacts to see if they were interested. The BSI staff were very easy to work with and were instrumental in helping with the logistical aspects of the event.

Do you have any thoughts about how we share our building with TAOTS or other ideas for working together?

As a parent with kids in both schools, I volunteer as much as I can to help both every year whether it be PTO, class parent or just organizing events for my grade. I was very happy to organize an event that benefited both schools and think events such as these help to build a connection and for the schools to work together to share resources. BSI has been great at opening up events such as chess and/or fall harvest to include TAOTS as well. Perhaps we could start some kind of sports game, movie night or other event where kids can showcase a project or other idea.

What advice would you have for other parents at BSI who are thinking about volunteering or starting something positive at BSI?

Just do it!  Pick one thing that you can do, maybe it is organizing an outing for your grade, helping maintain the website or offering to help your teacher with coordinating field trips. Despite both of us working full time and having 3 kids, we each make it a priority to give back to both schools for the past 7 years because it is that important.

1) Helped us build stronger ties to our schools. It has helped us feel connected.

2) Makes it easier to approach the teacher or principal when we have a concern, a request or constructive feedback. It is hard to bring up an issue, if that is the first interaction they have had with you.

3) It is an opportunity to show our kids the importance of giving back. We teach them that helping is important even when there isn’t an immediate payoff and that in the long run when you might need something others will be there to help you because of your giving nature.

Natalia, you and your family have been incredibly active and reliable volunteers, always working to make our school great. Your positive attitude and collaborative spirit make us all want to do more and do better! Thank you for your work and your commitment to our kids and their futures.

Help Choose the Winning Design for BSI’s Spring T-Shirt

Seventh and eighth grade students have been crafting designs for this year’s BSI T-shirts in Ms. Nanna’s classes. Students will voluntarily submit their designs to the BSI T-shirt contest.

The winning design will be chosen by a Selection Committee made up of parents and students from the school.

We need 150 folks to join the Selection Committee. 


Here are the details:
• Each Selection Committee member will receive 5-7 designs by email.
• They will have 5 days to review and rate each design based on a rubric.
• Reviewing and rating should take less than an hour.
• You have to be connected to the school as a parent, student, teacher or administrator to be part of the Selection Committee.
• You will need an email address.
• Families may work together as a team, especially if you have kids who do not have an email address.
• 7th and 8th grade students are not allowed to be members of the Selection Committee.

• March 7th – Each member of the Selection Committee receives the designs by email with instructions and a rubric
• March 12th – Ratings due
• April 19th – Semi-Finalists, Finalists, the Runner-Up, and Winner will be announced at the PTO Meeting and will receive a certificate of achievement.
• May 8th – Shirts go on sale


Sign up before February 28th

BSI/TAOTS STEM Career Panel, Wednesday Feb 7, 6pm to 7:30pm

“The future of the economy is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. “That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be.” Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) support that assertion. Employment in occupations related to STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022.

Come to a Q&A with professionals who work in STEM careers from organizations including IBM, JPMorgan, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NY Aquarium, Google and others.

Space is limited and students should be accompanied by their parents. The event is for 4th to 8th graders from BSI or TAOTS. If space is permitted older siblings of current BSI/TAOTS students will be able to attend.

If you do not register we can’t guarantee that space will be available for those who walk-in.

Register for the STEM Career Panel Here.