Parkside recently joined other New York City Independent Schools in signing an 'Open Letter' to the President and nation's lawmakers calling for action to ensure the safety of students. We stand with our fellow educators throughout New York and the entire country in support of the Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors to call for gun reforms. 

The following is a copy of the draft later as of Friday, February 23:

Heads of Schools Speak Out Against Gun Violence
An Open Letter to the President and Our Nation’s Legislative Leaders

As Heads of Independent Schools in the New York City metropolitan area and across New York State responsible for the education and physical safety of tens of thousands of children, we are heartbroken over the recent massacre in Parkland, Florida. We stand in support of the Parkland survivors and their efforts to effect change.

It was five years ago last month we wrote following the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut. Sadly, we have seen too many school shootings since cut short too many innocent lives with little to no change in gun laws. But the horrific dimensions of the Parkland tragedy are so profound that we are compelled to rise up again and say, “Never Again!” As the recent events in Parkland and the scenes of other mass shootings teach us, the easy and virtually unrestricted availability of highly lethal, semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition places our schools, most especially our children, in jeopardy.

We implore you, Mr. President and our national legislative leaders, to do everything necessary to stem this tide of senseless gun violence. Address, and ultimately deny, unrestricted access to weapons and ammunition that have no legitimate sporting, recreational or protective purpose. Recognize that the proliferation of military-grade guns and ammunition leads to more gun violence and more gun deaths. The statistics are compelling and cannot be ignored.

The United States leads the world in the number of guns per capita; it leads in homicides, suicides and accidental deaths involving guns; and it leads the world in the number of children killed by guns, every year. In these grim statistical categories, no nation comes close to our level of violence and gun-related deaths. The United States of America can and must do better. Now is the time to take action. As educators, we believe in the United States Constitution. We also believe our country need not choose between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence and that both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful legislation.

Never before have so many Independent School leaders in our region spoken with one voice on behalf of a single issue. We are moved to do so out of a duty to our students and all of our nation’s children and we find inspiration in the voices and actions of the students who are refusing to go about business as usual. We stand ready to help in this effort, and encourage our colleagues leading schools across the country to join us. Above all, we demand that reason and compassion prevail.

We are Heads of schools serving children from nursery through high school. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We are responsible for the education, safety and welfare of children each and every day, and we know the time for action is now.


Heads of Schools (Listed Alphabetically)

John Allman, Trinity School

Concepcion Alvar, Marymount School of New York

Jessica Bagby, Ethical Culture Fieldston School

John Baldi, Vincent Smith School

Bart Baldwin, St. Luke’s School

Audrius Barzdukas, Poly Prep Country Day School

Mimi Basso, West Side Montessori School

Alan Bernstein, Lawrence Woodmere Academy

John Botti, Browning School

Micaela Bracamonti, The Lang School

Susan Braun, Waldorf School of Garden City

Bodie Brizendine, The Spence School

John Buck, Long Island Lutheran

Paul Burke, Nightingale-Bamford School

Frank J. Carnabuci III, Birch Wathen Lenox School

Brian Carty, De La Salle Academy

Drew Casertano, Millbrook School

Maria Castelluccio, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

Carrie Catapano, West End Day School

Ken Catrone, Soundview Preparatory School

Benedict Chant, Poughkeepsie Day School

Joseph J. Ciancaglini, Convent of the Sacred Heart

David S. Ciancimino, Canisius High School

Chad Cianfrani, Oakwood Friends School

John Cissel, Harbor Country Day School

Pam Clarke, Doane Stuart School

Bill Clough, Nichols School

Donna Cohen, International Preschools

Virginia Connor, St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School

Angela Coombs, Academy of St. Joseph

Bob Cunningham, Robert Louis Stevenson School

Melissa Dan, School of the Holy Child

Laura Danforth, The Masters School

Eileen Davidson, The Ursuline School

George P. Davison, Grace Church School

James Dawson, Professional Children’s School

William DeHaven, Winston Preparatory School

Andre Del Valle, George Jackson Academy

Bruce L. Dennis, Packer Collegiate Institute

Christopher Devron, Fordham Preparatory School

William Donohue, Columbia Grammar and Prep

Jesse Dougherty, The Green Vale School

Dianne Drew, Dwight School

Ariela Dubler, Abraham Joshua Heschel School

Jim Dunaway, Manilus Pebble Hill School

David Egolf, Corlears School

Caroline Erisman, Cornelia Connelly Center

Gina Farrar, Blue School

Charles Fasano, Bay Ridge Preparatory School

Anthony G. Featherston IV, The Town School

Dean S. Foster, Hoosac School

Jane Fried, Brearley School

Michael Frosch, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School

Scott Gaynor, Stephen Gaynor School

Patricia Geyer, Long Island School for the Gifted

Ward Ghory, The Harley School

Nancy Glauberman, Barrow Street Nursery School

Evan Glazer, Avenues New York

Felicia Gordon, The Brownstone School

Laura Graceffa, Robert C. Parker School

Laura Graham, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Day School

Martha Haakmat, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School

Tully Harcsztark, SAR High School

Patricia T. Hayot, The Chapin School

Matthew Heard, Dutchess Day School

George Higgins, The Beekman School

David Hochschartner, North Country School

Simon Holzapfel, Darrow School

Adrian Hood, Woodstock Day School

Stuart Johnson, St. Bernard’s School

Jean-Marc Juhel, Buckley Country Day School

Susan Kambrich, Woodland Hill Montessori School

Danny Karpf, Rodeph Sholom School

Phil Kassen, LREI Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School

Michael Kay, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester

Andrea Kelly, Friends Academy

Thomas M. Kelly, Horace Mann School

Donna Kennedy, Gillen Brewer School

Eve Kleger, Village Community School

Tara Christie Kinsey, The Hewitt School

William Knauer, Harvey School

Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy

Daniel K. Lahart, Regis High School

Jonathan Lamb, Storm King School

Robert “Bo” Lauder, Friends Seminary

Christopher Lauricella, The Park School of Buffalo

Lee Levison, Collegiate School

Avi Levitt, Magen David Yeshivah High School

Sharon Lickerman, Resurrection Episcopal Day School

Jed Lippard, Bank Street School for Children

Sean Lynch, Lycée Français de New York

Colm MacMahon, Rippowam Cisqua School

Carla Jantos MacMullen, The Kew-Forest School

Timothy P. Madigan, Churchill School and Center

Helen L. Marlette, Buffalo Seminary

TreeAnne McEnery, Green Meadow Waldorf School

Albina Miller and Leslie Thorne, Parkside School

Brenda Mizel, Metropolitan Montessori School

Scott Moran, City and Country School

Kim Morcate, Rockland Country Day School

Ronnie Moskowitz, The Washington Market School

Nicole Nash, Hannah Senesh Community Day School

Eve Nealy, Westbury Friends School

Marsha K. Nelson, The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Scott Nelson, Rye Country Day School

Douglas North, Albany Academies

Virginia O’Brien, Notre Dame School of Manhattan

Michael O’Donoghue, Holy Child Academy

Eavan O’Driscoll, St. Ignatius School

P. David O’Halloran, Saint David’s School

Greg J. O’Melia, Buckley School

Tony Oroszlany, Loyola School

Simon Owen-Williams, Portledge School

Maria Palandra, La Scuola D’Italia Guglielmo Marconi

Susan Paynter, High Meadow School

Joel Peinado, French-American School of New York

Kevin Pendergast, Kildonan School

Margaret Poggi, LearningSpring School

Dominic A. A. Randolph, Riverdale Country School

Jenny Rao, Emma Willard School

Jack Raslowsky, Xavier High School

Amani Reed, School at Columbia University

Jim Regan, Martin Luther School

Scott Reisinger, Trevor Day School

Jean Rosenberg, Chelsea Day School

Janet C. Rotter, The Studio School

John Russell, The Windward School

Carolyn Salzman, The Gateway School

Joe Santos, International School of Brooklyn

Diana Schlesinger, Greene Hill School

Susan Sheahan, Episcopal School

Karen Smith, Smith School

Michele Sola, Manhattan Country School

Steven Solnick, The Calhoun School

Jeffrey Spade, Rudolf Steiner School

Stephen Spahn, Dwight School

Lydia Spinelli, Brick Church School

Todd Stansbery, Tuxedo Park School

Ellen Stein, The Dalton School

Matthew Stuart, The Caedmon School

William W. Taylor, Trinity-Pawling School

Michael Termini, The Cooke School and Institute

Kristen Tillona-Baker, The Knox School

Barbara Tischler, The Speyer Legacy School

Vincent Tompkins, Saint Ann’s School

David R. Trower, Allen-Stevenson School

Salvador Uy, United Nations International School

Jennifer Vest, All Souls School

Patti Vitale, Brown School

Bob Vitalo, Berkeley Carroll School

Daniel Vitow, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Larry Weiss, Brooklyn Friends School

Michael Wirtz, Hackley School

Janet Wolfe, IDEAL School

Debbie Zlotowitz, Mary McDowell Friends School

Parkside Celebrates 30 Years

The Parkside School community gathered on Thursday evening at Arena in celebration of the school's 30th anniversary. It was a night like no other! From Al Roker's remarks, to The Dance Cartel's performance, to the Parkside parents, alumni and friends dressed to the max in 80s/90s gear, a fun time was had by all. 

The event benefited new outdoor play and learning spaces for Parkside students, and thanks to the generosity of our benefactors and donors, raised more than $260,000 that will enable construction to begin on the third floor terrace within the next year. 

One of the highlights of the evening was the video above, produced by Craig Kabrhel and Melissa Gelade to commemorate this important milestone. 

The following slideshow, a look back at 30 Years of Parkside, was also shown at the event:

Many thanks to all who attended the event and gave in support of Parkside's 30th anniversary, and special thanks to Heidi Green of Heidi Green Photography for capturing the night for us!

Alumnus Conor Devlin '06 Delivers Graduation Speech

Alumnus Conor Devlin '06 Delivers Graduation Speech

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, The Parkside School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2017. Our thirteen graduates will be going on to school's including the American School of Milan, Community School, The Computer School, Lowell School, Mary McDowell Friends School, Summit School, and York Prep.

During the ceremony, which was held at the JCC on 76th and Amsterdam, Conor Devlin '06 reflected on his Parkside experience, and gave our newest class of alumni some great advice. The following is the full trascript of his speech.

Parkside's Fund for Teacher Excellence

Parkside's Fund for Teacher Excellence

In 2014, The Parkside School held a benefit at Del Posto honoring Al Roker and Deborah Roberts. It was a festive evening, featuring “A Night of Comedy” exquisitely crafted by Sherri Shepherd with comic Joy Behar, Judy Gold, Diane Neal, and Tammy Pescatelli. Leading up to the event, Parkside set the goal of creating a dedicated fund that would help our school attract, develop and retain exceptional teachers and offer outstanding professional development opportunities.

The event raised more than $3.1 million thanks to 64 donors and a generous leadership challenge from the Isenberg family. Today, the fund’s balance has grown to more than $3.5 million, and the impact of that support can be seen throughout our school. Parkside’s annual budget for professional development includes more than $65,000 specifically for teacher training, consultants, conferences and initiatives that strengthen our curriculum and allow our staff to be leaders among special education professionals in New York City.

There is exceptional work happening year round to support our teachers and therapists. The following is a representative sampling of the type of impact the Fund for Teacher Excellence has had on our school.

An Inside Look at Occupational Therapy at Parkside

An Inside Look at Occupational Therapy at Parkside

Occupational Therapy in an integral part of Parkside’s educational program. Our team of therapists provide treatment in the classroom and in a fully-equipped sensory gym in order to facilitate the improvement of fine motor skills, develop and refine handwriting skills, support improved sensory processing and self-regulation, and ultimately provide students with the tools they need to achieve greater independence at school and at home.

Parkside’s four Occupational Therapists – Christine Yen, Michelle Redler, Tara King and Shannon McDowell – are a close-knit team. They recently sat down together to respond to some questions about why they choose to work at Parkside. These are their responses.

Staff Spotlight: Roberta Favant

Staff Spotlight: Roberta Favant

Before coming to Parkside full time in the Fall of 2016, Roberta Favant worked in an inclusion program but was looking for a school whose resources were dedicated 100% to special needs students. “As a speech and language therapist, my purpose is to support special needs students, and I wanted to work is a setting designed for them. The Parkside program places a particular emphasis on language learning, and that has been the focus of my practice over the years,” she said. Ms. Favant had attended professional development workshops at Parkside, including the Constable Reading sessions as part of the Parkside Summer Institute, and a Carol Gray lecture on social stories. “The workshops were excellent, as is the reputation Parkside holds in the special education community, she recalls. 

Ms. Favant took some time to share with us her unique perspective on The Parkside School, our students, and our philosophy of teaching.  

Alumni Spotlight: Robert Stewart ’00

From his post in Morocco, where he and his wife Kate are serving in the Peace Corps, Parkside alumnus Robert Stewart '00 took some time to reflect on what his Parkside experience meant to him. There isn’t one thing he remembers most vividly, he says, “rather, it is a mix of everything -- the tight knit social groups, the library on the first floor, the music room, the ball pit in the occupational therapy room. There are too many good memories to count.” He recalls that Parkside did a wonderful job preparing him for the future.

Why I Give

Why I Give

Every day I feel lucky that my son William goes to Parkside. William is a funny, smart, loving, happy and in many ways a complicated little boy. He needs to be at a school where the directors, teachers, therapists, and staff not only recognize, but understand his strengths and challenges, are attuned to his feelings and appreciate him for his unique self. A place where he can feel part of a community and develop an identity. Parkside gives him all of these things and more. 

The Importance of Giving in Uncertain Times

The Importance of Giving in Uncertain Times

We are very fortunate at Parkside to benefit from a caring educational environment with an amazing student/staff ratio addressing the needs of our children. This has made for many smiles and sunny days at Parkside.  In the distance, however, there are ominous storm clouds brewing.  The current political environment may lead to an uncertain future for specialized programs like Parkside’s. There are proposals out there that threaten funding from the federal Department of Education.  There are proposals to eliminate federal laws which guarantee IDEA funding for learning environments like the one we have at Parkside. In New York, the push towards Charter Schools has come at the expense of public programs, and support for tuition reimbursement at special education schools.  Future funding levels for our school are not guaranteed.

Staff Spotlight: Audrey Eisenberg

As part of our Staff Spotlight series, we recently sat down with Audrey Eisenberg to learn about her experience at Parkside. Ms. Eisenberg is a Group Teacher in 4-1. 

This post is part of a series designed to highlight the outstanding staff that support Parkside students. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Anthony Kapp.

The Parkside School relies on the generous financial support of our community to ensure the individualized curriculum we offer for each child while maintaining our commitment to a diverse student body. Whether you are a grateful alumnus, thankful parent, or caring friend, your support enables Parkside to meet our day-to-day operational needs while offering a thoughtfully designed, comprehensive array of academic and support services. 

Q&A with Mr. Tramontana

Q&A with Mr. Tramontana

Mike Tramontana is Parkside's gym teacher and head of the arts and movement program. 

Q: Why do you teach? 
A: At first I wanted to become a teacher because I knew I wanted to have a family of my own, and I’ve seen many friends complain of “not having enough time” for their children. I thought having the same schedule as a child in school would increase my overall time with my future children, something that is very important to me. Now that my wife is pregnant with our first child, due in April, I’ll finally get to see if my plan worked.

Once I began teaching, I lost sight of that original idea. Ensuring the children in my class were always safe, smiling and having fun during gym became my priority.

"Black & White" Auction Raises Important Funds for the Art & Movement Programs

On March 15, Parkside's Auction culminated with a beautiful event at Bryant Park Grill, where more than 110 members of the Parkside community came together for a live auction featuring 11 original pieces of art by Parkside students.

The auction is an annual tradition at Parkside, each year offering a unique array of silent and live auction items. This year, there were more than 360 items offered in the online silent auction - there was truly something for everyone.

All proceeds from the event, which raised nearly $110,000, support library, art, music, drama, yoga and physical education as crucial elements of a Parkside education. Support of the auction allows our students to pursue learning in their areas of strength, to acquire tools and strategies to progress in their area of challenge, and to develop respect and understanding for themselves and others.

During the event at Bryant Park Grill, many had the opportunity to see the unveiling of this year’s all-school collaborative art piece. Titled “My Favorite Part of Me,” the photo collage
featured the self portraits of every student’s favorite body part, and was accompanied by a 164 page hard cover book with each child’s photo and a quote about why they chose their favorite part. The book was so popular during the event that we spontaneously offered it for sale during the live auction paddle raise. If you did not have the opportunity to order a copy of the book during the paddle raise, but would like to have one, please download the order form  and return it to Anthony Kapp no later than Wednesday, April 5. 

The Parkside School extends our sincere thanks to everyone who supported the event by bidding in the auction, attending the event at Bryant Park Grill, soliciting auction items, and volunteering to ensure the auction went off without a hitch, especially auction co-chairs Bindia Malhotra and Linda Davidoff, and our sponsors, Maxwell Jacobs, Edelman Financial Services and Carnegie Framing



WHY I TEACH: Always Learning and Growing

Always learning and growing: That’s my motto. And, that’s why I love being an art teacher at The Parkside School. I have the freedom to create my own curriculum, and I maintain a balance of open-ended and guided projects throughout the year. I am inspired every day by my students who come up with original “WOW” art which might end up being the seed for an idea in a larger group project. I'm also inspired when children want to work together as team -- this mentality is perfect for actualizing large collaborative projects like the ones our classes have created for the upcoming “Black & White” Spring Auction.

Your Dollars at Work – New Directions in Social Studies

In 2015-2016, because of generous donations to our Annual Fund, Parkside embarked on a journey to expand our Social Studies curriculum to encourage experiential learning, opportunities for students to interact with living history in their local environment.  With the help of curriculum consultant Lisa Greenhut, an educator from The Museum of Natural History, a dynamic new curriculum was introduced. Topics included timelines and mapping, our American Flag, The Statue of Liberty, the history of New York City, Slavery, Founding Documents of American Democracy, Italy, and more - all with engaging classroom activities and resources, integrated technology experiences, and exciting field trips.

Alumni Spotlight: ARMAND KLISIVITCH ’08

“There’s nothing to be scared of.” That’s the advice alumnus Armand Klisivitch ’08 would give to Parkside’s eldest students as they prepare for the next phase of their education.

“Everything I learned at Parkside prepared me for the journey ahead. We all face challenges, but the skills and independence I learned at Parkside help me overcome them without a problem.”