De La Salle Academy Community News
January, 2019

" De La Salle makes me feel like I belong." - A current sixth grader
D ear De La Salle Community,

Last week in the New York Times, an article was published that talked about the importance of a student’s sense of belonging and quality relationships with their teachers as contributing factors to success . While we are happy to see that greater importance has been given to the social-emotional aspects of education, De La Salle Academy has from its start centered the importance of relationships in educating our students. In our mission statement we state that De La Salle Academy is a place where “students are introduced to an innovative yet challenging academic curriculum, strong core values, character development, and they learn to foster a sense of community.” Throughout its history, De La Salle Academy has served as more than just a school for gifted and talented students. The focus on the education of the whole child, the heart and the mind, is at the center of everything we do. It is what makes us unique! Today, De La Salle Academy continues to be a standard of educational excellence. We are a small, independent, global community that is stronger because of the diversity of our cultural, religious, and geographic backgrounds. We work to create a safer environment that opens up spaces for students to find their voice.
In homeroom, we asked students what makes De La Salle Academy different from other schools. A seventh-grade boy responded, “In our community, I cherish the people who make it a safe and caring environment. Another thing I cherish most in this community are the teachers who are always there every step of the way.” In this newsletter, you will hear from two of these DLSA teachers who bring different experiences to their classroom. Megan Bednarz teaches eighth-grade math and physics. She has worked across the city with youth teaching math and science. Brother David has worked at De La Salle Academy for over twenty-five years. He is an institution! He has taught everything from Astronomy to Moral. Both Megan and Brother David are exemplars of a Lasallian teacher.

As a way of strengthening our commitment to a holistic and personalized education, our faculty recently engaged in a workshop on Social-Emotional Learning with Dr. Gess LeBlanc from Hunter College. Dr. LeBlanc worked with faculty on how to use recent research in adolescent and cognitive neuroscience to inform how we plan lessons to meet the cultural and developmental needs of students.    

For many, middle school is a transformative time in their transition to adulthood. I feel fortunate to be a part of our students’ journey and I am glad that, through this newsletter, you can also experience parts of it with us.
Sincerely yours,
Michael Tapscott ‘99
Assistant Principal/ Chair of Math & Scienc e
Brother David Detje, Faith &Values Program

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to go into education?

Education was not my first choice as a profession. My preteen years were during World War II. When I was old enough to realize what was happening in the world, I wanted to be a pilot in the Armed Services. Patriotism ran high in that era. When the war ended there was far less need for young people to enter the Armed Forces, so my aspirations switched to becoming a fireman or a policeman. Times were very different then. Fewer than half the people went to college and most began work when they graduated from high school.

I had many excellent teachers in my life. The first was my Mother. She made sure I could add, subtract, multiply, divide, read books, and memorize the catechism. I was well prepared when I started in the first grade at Saint Sebastian’s school (still in existence) in Woodside, New York .

Megan Bednarz- Math/Science Dept.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to go into education?

After college, I worked in planetariums, museums, libraries and parks across NYC creating math and science workshops. My most formative experience came working with incarcerated youth. This gave me the opportunity to promote learning in a stripped down atmosphere with no extrinsic motivators to be found. What remained was human connection and a chance to practice self-determination and healthy habits of mind. This expanded my understanding of what a lesson plan and learning objective could be. Since then, I’ve been totally hooked.

Thanks to YOU - On Giving Tuesday, we reached a record high of 150 donors raising $17,614 for De La Salle Academy!

We are so grateful for your continued support. Every gift to DLSA directly impacts a student's life. Our students go on to become global ambassadors in the world, living the La Sallian values of faith, community, and social justice.
We hosted our first open house on November 15, 2018!

Despite our first snow storm of the season, o ver 100 families came out to experience the De La Salle difference for themselves. They had the opportunity to meet the faculty, tour our school, and hear firsthand from our students and parents why De La Salle Academy is the right school for their child.
We partnered with the Eye on Education Program.

We are grateful for our partnership with the Eye on Education P rogram for providing our students with no-charge eye exams and glasses. Over 30 students received new eye glasses that day.
Alumni in H.S. Reunion

Just before Thanksgiving, we held our annual Reunion for our younger alumni in high school. We are always happy to welcome back our alums. It was good to hear how the De La Salle experience continues to influence our alumni. Many of them are holding positions of leadership at their new schools, continuing the legacy which they started at De La Salle.

Represented were the classes of 2015-2018. We also invited the Class of 2014 to hold a brief panel with our alumni in their junior and senior years, in which they shared their experiences applying and adjusting to college.
DLSA visits The New-York Historical Society

In early December, the 8th grade ventured uptown to the renowned New-York Historical Society to learn from a new exhibit titled Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow . The timing of the exhibit was fortuitous as the 8th grade had just wrapped up their unit on Reconstruction in American Studies II (U. S. History). The 8th grade was split into two groups to accommodate the exhibit space and the NYHS educators who led the students through the exhibit. The students found that the exhibit, which blended a narrative, eyewitness accounts, and many unique artifacts helped bring the Jim Crow Era to life. To see more photos from the trip>>

A special thanks to Dr. Kelly and the Horace Mann School for our continued partnership and for providing the opportunity for our 7th grade students to see To Kill a Mockingbird on January 16, 2019. Our students wrote letters to a character of their choosing, which were then sent to the 8th graders at the Horace Mann School. In return, they wrote letters back to our students as the characters from the initial letter. This was a very positive collaboration.

For many of our students this was their very first Broadway show. We are looking forward to our next outing!