Lion's Share: Sept. 13

News from The School at Columbia University: September 13, 2013

Monday, Sept. 16

After School Program Begins

Tuesday, Sept. 17
New Families Orientation Group, 8:30-9:15 am (North Dining Room)
NEW DATE: Welcome Back Dinner and 10-Year Anniversary Celebration! 5-7:30 pm (Hudson Beach Cafe, Riverside Park at 105th St.)

Wednesday, Sept. 18
PA Town Hall Meeting, 8:30 am (North Dining Room)

Thursday, Sept. 19
PA/Casa Latina First Meeting! 8:30 am and 5:45 pm (North Dining Room)

Monday, Sept. 23
Admissions Info Session for Sibling Applicant Families, 8:30-9 am (Library)

Wednesday, Sept. 25
PA/Kaleidoscope First Meeting! 8:30 am (North Dining Room)
Primary Division Curriculum Night, 5:30-7 pm

Thursday, Sept. 26
PA/Neurodiversity Support Group First Meeting! 8:30 am (North Dining Room)
Intermediate Division Curriculum Night, 5:30-7 pm

Friday, Sept. 27
Grade 8 Bake Sale
Middle Division Fall Dance

Monday, Sept. 30
Sibling Applications Due

Tuesday, Oct. 1
New Families Orientation Group, 8:30-9:15 am (North Dining Room)

Thursday, Oct. 3
PA/Nutrition and Health Committee First Meeting! 8:30 am (North Dining Room)
Middle Division Curriculum Night, 5:30-7 pm

Friday, Oct. 4
School Picture Day!

2014-15 Admissions Inquiry Forms Available
The School’s admissions inquiry form for the 2014-15 school year is now available online. The inquiry period closes and forms must be submitted by Oct. 31, 2013. Families residing in Public School Districts 3 and 5, and families from the University who would like to apply for 2014-15, may find and submit the form on The School’s website. Spread the word!

The Year of Collaboration: New York Maker Faire
Maker Faire is billed as “the world’s most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food and more.” The School’s award-winning RoboTeam will have a booth at the New York Maker Faire (held at the New York Hall of Science in Queens) next Saturday, Sept. 21, to show their robots for RoboCupJunior competitions and explain how they work (you can see photos here of last year’s team at the Faire).

Our faculty participated in a Maker Event during this year's orientation to foster collaboration, and our Technology Department is organizing a faculty trip to this year's Faire on Sunday, Sept. 22. Families can buy tickets to the event, or volunteer as a member of Maker Corps and attend the Faire for FREE! Information about Maker Corps and volunteering can be found here, and information about the Faire can be found on their website,

New on The Gallery!
First Day of School
First School Assembly

Please contact if you need help logging in to The Gallery or The Tube!

Welcome to the Year of Collaboration
Welcome to the new school year. For parents and guardians of returning students, much of this information will be familiar. For those of you new to The School, I hope this edition of Lion’s Share makes it easy for you to get a sense of what an amazing year lies ahead of us.

Over the past few months, the building has again been quite busy. During the summer we renovated the fifth and sixth floors of the school. When you tour the new spaces you will find new classrooms for the Primary Division that demonstrate our commitment to healthy, joyful, collaborative, flexible and inclusive learning environments; renovated music spaces; and redesigned offices dedicated to support services for our families and children. The new spaces are beautiful. We will be providing a time for families to come and have a guided tour of the fifth and sixth floors.

Our improved facility reflects the values of The School and continues to provide an increased level of safety and security for our community. Like many schools around the country, we have been examining how we can provide the greatest level of security for our building. Families will find changes to the arrival and dismissal process throughout the year, as we update our access systems and policies. Please look for communications from Security & Safety Director Warren Glover and our security team for more information about these changes.

This year we also welcome 97 new students and their families, and 21 new faculty and staff members to the community. I hope you will join me at the Welcome Dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 17. This event is a great opportunity for you to meet new families, reconnect with friends, and celebrate the official 10-year anniversary of the start of The School at Columbia University.

-- Amani Reed, Head of School

Our New Faculty and Staff
A big welcome to the new members of The School at Columbia University community:

Johnny Chu, Grade 5 Teacher
Brianne Collins, Grade 7 Science Teacher
Jessica Colonel, Grade 4 Associate Teacher
Shauna Dixon, Middle Division SEL Intern
Matthew Graziano, Intermediate Division SEL Intern
Cyrus Huang, Grade 3 Associate Teacher
Arielle Krieger, Grade 4 Associate Teacher
Katelin O’Hare, Art Teacher
Talia Neffson, Grades K-4 Librarian
Natascha Patterson, Grade 1 Teacher
Shanique Pinnock, Grade 2 Teacher
Benedick Raikes, Grade 6 Science Teacher
Katy Saintil, Director of External Programming and After School Program
Massiel Santos, Kindergarten Associate Teacher
Jamie Schrager, Primary Division SEL Intern
Amanda Siegel, Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher
Amanda Tavel, Grade 7 Social Studies Teacher (maternity leave replacement)
Peter Weiss, Grade 6 English Associate Teacher
Conor Wellott, Grade 5 Associate Teacher
Pablo Zatz, Director of Technology
Christina Zembruski, Grade 6 Math Associate Teacher

Welcome Dinner and Ten-Year Celebration!
The annual Welcome Back Picnic Dinner has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Sept. 17, still at the Hudson Beach Cafe in Riverside Park (on the lower level at 105th Street) from 5 to 7:30 pm. The 17th is also the date that, 10 years ago, The School first opened its doors to 195 students, and this special anniversary will be celebrated at the dinner! We know the rescheduled date presents conflicts for some families, especially in the upper grades. If your family is not able to attend on the 17th, please contact next week, so we can arrange for your family to have their part of the celebrations. The School and the Parents Association hope to see many families on Tuesday.

Sibling Kindergarten Admissions Information
It is time to launch the early sibling admissions cycle. The Columbia University Office of the Provost has confirmed the admissions policies for sibling admission, stating that the percentage of siblings admitted to the incoming fall 2014 Kindergarten class will be 20%. Please call or stop by the Office of Admissions and we will generate your access to the online sibling application form. The deadline for applications is Monday, Sept. 30. Please attend the information session on Monday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 to 9 am in the Library to have any questions answered. For additional information, please contact Director of Admissions Rekha Puri at 212-851-4220 or

Family Directory
Many have asked about this year’s directory with addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for all families, to help coordinate playdates and other events. We are pleased that this directory will be moving online this year, and all families will be able to securely log in and look up contact information. Our team is inputting this year’s information and adding final tweaks, and we hope to have the directory live and available before the end of the month. We will let all families know when it’s ready, and thank you for your patience!

Security & Safety: ID Checks
As our Security & Safety team prepares to upgrade some of The School’s building access systems, they will begin asking all parents, guardians, authorized caregivers, faculty, staff, and self-dismiss students to display their photo ID cards each time they enter The School, including in the mornings. Next week, please be prepared to show your ID card in the morning during dropoff, and at any other time you come to the school, so our Security & Safety team can see and verify it as you enter the building. These new policies are meant to enhance safety for our students, not to present extra hassles or challenges for families, and we thank you in advance for your help, cooperation and patience as we work to make everything run smoothly! Our Security & Safety team wishes all families good -- and of course, safe -- weekends.