Volume 05 | September 2018
Year Three, We Made It!
Dear S2 Community,

Year three has begun. For the two weeks leading up to the start of the school year, new and returning S2 staff spent time bonding, learning together and preparing to receive our students. We are so proud of the community we continue to build. At long last, we have +300 students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades, plus an amazing staff of 45 full-time employees dedicated to their growth and wellbeing.

Each year, we get smarter about our approach to education. Last year, we worked hard to create a system of academic data collection and analysis that further personalized our program to students’ specific needs; that system will continue to deepen. This year, we have an informed plan to assimilate our 6th graders more efficiently and the first days are proving successful. In addition, we have thoughtfully reworked teachers' schedules to facilitate real collaboration and are putting greater energy towards enhancing our teachers’ skills through more regular feedback cycles.
A final remark: I compare our new 6th graders with our 8th graders and am gratified to see how the students in our inaugural class now confidently assert themselves. When they look me in the eyes, I now see a light that, to me, is a recognition of the overarching lesson we have been working so hard to teach them: “I matter!”.

As always, we welcome visitors, so please come see the school in action. Reach out to me to schedule. You are sure to leave well informed and inspired!

Please know, we constantly pause to reflect on how lucky we are to have so much generous support. Thank you.
Evan Meyers
Executive Director
PS: Your feedback on our communications is always welcome and appreciated. Please email me with any comments or suggestions.
SUMMER IN THE SQUARE

At S2 we believe that summer school should not be a punishment, but an opportunity to learn and create in a fun environment, especially for the many students who have nothing enriching planned all summer. S2's optional three-week summer school program saw enthusiastic attendance by over 30% of the student body. Students engaged in innovative STEM invention projects brought to S2 by Invention Project . They also practiced ELA and math skills, enjoyed pleasure reading time, and worked with a literacy coach for some truly specialized learning.

BECOME A MENTOR!
Want to get more involved at S2? We are bringing back our mentoring program for the third year in a row!

"Mentoring at S2 was both a rewarding and challenging experience for me. I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself and others. I feel very lucky to have developed the trusting relationship I had with both of my mentees."
Last year culminated with an emotional luncheon where both mentors and mentees reflected on the time they spent together.

"The mentoring program was a great chance to get to really know one of the students, to hear his life stories and concerns, and to help a little with them. Plus to have some fun!"

ORIENTATION

S2 staff worked throughout August to absorb S2's culture and to create a bright, friendly, educational environment for their students. Fully prepared, S2 held two successful days of orientation to welcome its new class of 6th graders and celebrate the return of its 7th and 8th graders. Students were all hugs and smiles, excited to be reunited with their friends and teachers as they happily enjoyed pizza in our newly renovated dining hall! Later, students were asked to reflect on their past selves, to make an effort to rid themselves of behaviors or habits that they want to leave behind, and to consider their personal and academic aspirations for great a new year.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
Maeve Pfeifer, 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Maeve grew up hoping to combat systemic injustices as a civil rights attorney, before she realized that her arena wouldn’t be the courtroom, but the classroom. Maeve spent 7 years teaching social studies before joining S2. She feels strongly that “if the leaders of the world would listen to kids more often, the world would be a better place” and she maintains that philosophy in her classroom, where learning is a two-way street. Another theme in her class is "the personal is political”, which is why she grounds lessons about history using her students’ lived experiences. Students love her class because they are being taught to think about big, important ideas in the context of their communities, which is particularly empowering for them in our current political climate. At S2, Maeve feels trusted as an educator and appreciates being part of a school community that celebrates diversity. Looking to the new year, Maeve said: “I really miss the kids and I want to continue building on the social activism work we did last year”.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING...
"As a new science teacher at S2, I have been so impressed by the individualized attention provided to each and every child. The promise of this care and focus was a tangible feeling during the first days of orientation when I met our amazing team, complete with social workers, ENL and Special Education teachers, and reading specialists. My new colleagues make it feel possible to reach every child, support every child, and provide every child with the tools they need to be successful. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and School in the Square has truly created a village for all 300 students we are serving."
-Ms. Scheinfeld, 7th Grade Science Teacher
WE CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU!
You can help us make a difference in the lives of countless children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to thrive. For more information or to make a donation:
School in the Square | 718.916.7683 |  schoolinthesquare.org