Our 2016-2017 PTA Members are...
Cornell Cooperative Extension introduced the Healthy Children, Healthy Families (HCHF) curriculum to PS244Q families and conducted a free 8-week workshop from February through May 2015 for parents to learn about new foods, make healthy changes and try fun activities to do at home with children. Cornell Community Educator Monica Gopaul facilitated the group.
This is the second year that Cornell has partnered with PS244Q but the first time parents followed the HCHF plan. Under HCHF’s Keys to Success strategies, parents learned to teach by example, help children feel good about themselves, offer choices within limits and change environments to make healthy choices easier.
At each workshop, participants identified a new healthy step to try with their families and then discussed their challenges and successes with the group. Over time, these steps became healthy habits for both parents and children.
We had 12 committed parents who participated in the workshop this year and some of the feedback heard included: “I buy less soda for my family now and drink more water”, “I added a new food to our daily meals and my kids tried it and didn’t hate it”, “I offer my child a fruit or vegetable snack and limit sugary snacks”, “My whole family is losing weight since we go out and play together and be more active instead of sitting home and watching TV”.
Along with practicing the strategies, the group went on a supermarket trip to a local grocer and compared freshness of produce and learned what to look out for when something was past its peak. The group also discussed food preparation and food safety. At the end of each workshop, the group participated in light physical activity including stretching, jumping jacks, jogging in place, standing leg lifts and squats.
At the closing party in May, each participant received a Certificate of Achievement from Cornell. The group also brought in dishes to share such as samosas, biryani rice with broccoli, stuffed mushrooms, tofu noodles with shredded carrots and celery, spicy edamame beans, bruschetta with tomato and basil, and zucchini muffins.
Write up and photos submitted by Karen Lee
The Queens United Federation of Teachers invited PS244Q TALES Parent Book Club to make a presentation at its culminating event on May 12, 2015. We were one of 18 public elementary and middle schools to present that day.
In our sophomore year of PS244Q TALES Parent Book Club, we read some heart-tugging stories including The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. The common thread in these stories is the choices people make.
Our group had many emotional discussions after reading these books because choice is something many of us feel limited by, especially in our East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures where our choices are often dictated by our spouses, children, parents and elders.
Is this choice expected of us? Is this the choice someone else wants from us? Will this choice lead to a better outcome for our loved ones? Will this choice hurt anyone? Could we live with the end result from this choice?
What we learned from our talks is that choice doesn’t have to be a heavy burden. It is putting one foot in front of the other and stepping firmly onto the path you have chosen to take at a particular moment in time. You are uncertain where this path might lead you but you know you can’t just stand there so you move forward.
Choosing to be part of a book club really opens your mind and heart and starts a dialogue with others. We enjoy the camaraderie that has developed because of our book club. We appreciate the members in full dimension through our personal exchanges. Without the catalyst of a book club, we wouldn’t have been able to see beyond the surface of some extraordinary people and we truly believe that a book club is the sum of all its parts.
A book club could be the best choice you make for yourself. When you move beyond the text and make meaningful connections, watch what grows out of it. You may be surprised all the places you’ll go with good friends and even better conversations.
Write up and photos submitted by Karen Lee
The PTA of P.S. 244Q celebrated a fantastic year end by hosting a holiday potluck dinner on December 16th, 2014.
Assistant Principal Tu Harris, School Aides Anran Wang and Tracy Fung, along with the PTA Board and parent volunteers helped serve over 200 attendees cuisine from the U.S., China, India, Italy and Mexico. Families enjoyed dishes such as lo mein with sprouts and broccoli, fried rice with peas and carrots, vegetable samosas, sweet and savory curries, pizza, baked ziti, spaghetti, rice and beans, red velvet and carrot cake, fruit salads and more.
The cultural food tasting was accompanied by holiday songs and dancing. Families also helped raise over $150 in raffle ticket sales and some lucky folks won prizes such as tea cup sets and school spirit wear.
Thank you to our amazing school community who came together to make this event such a memorable and happy one for the children!
Members of the PTA of PS 244Q participated in the United Federation of Teachers’ Queens Parent Book Club in February 2014. Parents met once a month to discuss the selected book and share their thoughts and impressions. Retired UFT librarian June Schwarz facilitated the book club meetings at our school.
The first book the club read was Animal Farm by George Orwell. Since our school has many English Language Learners, parents requested a young adult novel that would be a quick read and at an appropriate reading level for members. A satire of the Russian Revolution, the book prompted members to discuss the complexities of societal situations. Members made connections between themselves and which animal/role they most related to in the book.
The second book the club read was Love, Loss and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman. In her memoir, which was performed Off Broadway, the author reflected on how her fashion choices impacted different stages of her life over the years. Accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations, members said it felt as though they were looking at a scrapbook of the author’s life story. Members also shared their own emotional recollections of what a particular article of clothing meant at significant milestones such as a graduation, job, first date, wedding, and birth of a child.
The club chose to discuss the second book for its presentation at the Queens UFT Reading Groups End Term Celebration on June 4, 2014. The theme for this year was motivation. Members made a poster and included pictures of themselves in clothing representative of American, Chinese and Indian culture. Members also made new words from the letters that make up motivation to tie in what all these words personally mean to us. The parent book club of PS244Q was one of eight schools that presented that day and we did it with pride. Love of reading brought us together and shared experiences made us friends.
Dosa Hutt Fundraiser with PS 244Q The PTA of PS 244Q held its first restaurant fundraiser event with Dosa Hutt on May 8, 2014. Dosa Hutt, located at 45-63 Bowne Street in Flushing, is a South Indian Vegetarian restaurant started by three friends in the early 1990s. The most popular item on the menu is the Masala Dosa, a lentil crepe filled with potato and onion served with chutney and sambar. Dosa Hutt is open 7 days.
PS 244Q staff, teachers and families came out for the event and enjoyed a delicious meal and good company. Mystery teachers were Mr. Andy, Ms. Esther and Ms. Pat. We also had members of CAPA stop by. PTA board members gave away school T-shirts and coloring books to every child. Families got the chance to get together and make some new friends. Some of the favorite items requested by the children were the medhu vada, or fried lentil patties, and the mango lassi, a yogurt and mango drink. Dosa Hutt gave personal attention to the PS 244Q crowd and generously donated 20% of the meal proceeds from the event to go towards raising money for the school’s playground.
Thank you everyone for your support of our first restaurant fundraiser!
The PTA of PS244Q invited Monica Gopaul from Cornell University Cooperative Extension to run an 8-week nutrition and health workshop for parents at our school. Ms. Gopaul is a supervising community educator and has been with Cornell for over 12 years.
The workshop started on Oct. 10, 2013 and ended with a closing party Dec. 19, 2013. During the 8 weeks, fourteen parents participated in classes that covered topics such as MyPyramid/ChooseMyPlate.gov, menu planning, tips on feeding children, food budgeting and food safety.
One of our classes was at FoodPlus supermarket where we compared the nutritional content of popular items and learned how to make better food choices for our families. At the end of all classes, parents participated in light physical activity such as stretching, aerobics and dancing.
Some of our parents even got so inspired that they ran mini presentations on their own with the group to share their knowledge of things they had learned. At our closing party, parents received a Certificate of Achievement from Cornell and we celebrated with homemade dishes and treats.
The PTA at TALES
The PTA of PS 244Q is dedicated to promoting our students’ health, well-being and educational success through strong parent, teacher and community involvement.