Parent Handbook

P.S.161Q – Parent Handbook




Our mission at the Arthur R. Ashe Jr. School is to provide a comprehensive and nurturing learning environment where students will excel.  Staff and parents will work collaboratively to improve the quality of standards-based instruction while respecting the diversity of our school community.



The school hours are 8:00am until 2:20pm. We would appreciate if you make every attempt to pick up your child on time.


Breakfast is from 7:30am – 8:00am Monday through Friday



  1. Grades 1-5
    • The rear doors open for morning arrivals for students at 7:45am Monday-Friday.
    • Bring your child to the rear or front entrances so they can go upstairs. * Kindergarten, First & Second graders sit outside of their classroom doors.

* Fourth graders stay in the lunchroom at their designated tables.

* Third and Fifth graders go to the auditorium in their designated rows.

  1. PreK & Kindergarten
  2. All doors in the Kindergarten playground (the yard behind the parking lot on the right side of the building) are open at 8:00am for the teachers to receive their students, except for Class PreK-131, which will meet in the lobby.
  3. All PreK students have breakfast in their rooms daily.



  1. PreK & Kindergarten dismissed at 2:20pm Monday-Friday
    • Dismissal takes place at the PreK students’ classrooms, except for PreK-131, which is in the lobby.
    • The kindergarten teachers escort their students to room 142, then into the kindergarten playground thereby released to a parent or a blue card designee.
  2. Grades 1-2 dismissed at 2:20pm Monday-Friday

Dismissal takes place in the small yard near the jungle gym.  First graders

line up again the wall.  Second graders lines up against the fence of 125th Street.

  1. Grade 3 dismissed at 2:20pm Monday-Friday

Dismissal takes place in the large yard.  The Third graders line up against the school. 

  1. Grades 4-5 dismissed at 2:20pm Monday-Friday

Dismissal takes place from the green doors on 124th Street, which are located to the right of the front when facing the schools.




  • Please make every effort to pick up your child on time at the designated exiting doors.
  • Written notes, your child’s teachers or call the office 718-441-5493 regarding any special arrangements at dismissal.
  • Please ensure a speedy and safe exit, please do NOT double park



  1. Parents are encouraged to be involved in all areas of their child's education. Two Parent-Teacher conferences (please see calendar) and two additional Parent Meetings (one in the fall and one in the spring) will be held this year. Please see calendar for dates.  Additional Parent-Teacher Connections will be held.  Flexibility in timing for Parent Teacher Conferences can be arranged.  Telephone conferences can be held, but they are by no means a substitute for a face-to-face meeting.


  1. Parents need to be actively involved in their child's homework. Please
    check to see that it is brought home, is completed and as accurate as
    If your child needs help, try to spend the time to help him/her. If
    you are unable to help your child, perhaps another member of your family
    can do so.   Homework is a continuation of school work.   If there are any
    questions about your child's homework, feel free to write a note to his/her


  1. Parents need to keep the communication between the school and home
    Please be sure to inform the school of any changes in the home that
    may affect your child's performance at school.


  1. Parents can encourage appropriate behavior at home and in school. If your
    child is continually acting inappropriately in school, you can work with a
    team of professionals to develop a behavior management plan that will be
    consistent between the home and school.


  1. Parents are urged to become active members of the PTA. All parents
    and/or guardians are automatic members of the PTA.


  1. You are welcome to see your child in school to observe how he/she is
    This visit must be arranged through the Principal or the
    Principal's designee.


Remember, education should never be limited to just school hours. The valuable time spent time at home working with your child will help them meet his/her potential. Your child's progress will depend upon the quality of the partnership between the home and school.




Parent involvement plays an important role in your child's education. Parents are strongly encouraged to join the PTA and participate in as many events as possible.

The following is a list of PTA officers:

Co-President - Nadia Carter

Co-President – Mirna Hoosein

Recording Secretary - Krystal Lopez

Correspondence Secretary – Christina Sapigoo-Hamid

Treasurer - Shena Khan



It is essential that each year parents complete the following documents:

  • Blue Emergency Cards
  • Application for School Breakfast/Lunch
  • Signed consent to photograph and videotape students for educational purposes
  • Medical forms with a listing of all immunization
  • Discipline code letter



Emergency contact information must be kept up to date. In the event of a medical or national emergency or school closing, we must be able to reach you or a family member. Please be sure to notify the school of any changes in address, phone number or emergency contact.



The school staff works closely with the Office of School Food and Nutritional Services. We will be providing high quality breakfast and lunch to our students. During the first week of school your child will bring home a lunch application form. Eligibility for free or reduced lunch is based on the data that is filled in on BREAKFAST AND LUNCH PROGRAM(continued):

this form. Please complete and return this form to the school immediately. There is only one form needed per family.  Eligibility does not carry over from one year to the next. A new form must be completed each year. If you have any questions, you can call the site your child attends.


If your child is going to bring lunch to school, please do not send your child to school with glass bottles, soda, imitation sugared juice, or candy of any kind.



Children's birthdays can be celebrated at school with a simple party. Parents can contact the classroom teacher a few days before their child's birthday to arrange for the celebration.  Please note that no adults will be permitted into the classroom.  The party will be no longer than 20 minutes due to the break of instruction.





Homework has always been recognized by the school community as an important medium to foster the academic achievement of students and extend school activities into the home and community. Homework assignments are given on a daily basis.

  1. Value of homework:
  • Increase time spent on academic tasks, thus enhancing the academic
    growth of students.
  • Enable parents and other family members to become familiar with the
    education program of PS161Q and to be aware of homework assignments.
  • Meet the needs of individual students through use of varied assignments.
  • Help to prepare students for class participation and to reorganize material studied, so that new insights are developed.
  • Reinforce concepts taught in areas of academic need.
  1. Objectives of Homework
  • Reinforce, extend and enrich skills and knowledge learned in school
  • Stimulate and further individual interest, thus forming a basis for
    productive use of leisure time
  • Develop independent study skills to foster initiative, responsibility and self-direction
  1. Characteristics of Effective Homework Assignments
  • Be an outgrowth of classroom instruction
  • Be clear and definite
  • Be graded in line with a system that is understood by the class


  1. Frequency and Quantity of Homework Assignments
    Grades          Frequency            Daily Total
    K-2                         daily                   30 minutes
    3-4                          daily                   30-50 minutes
    5                              daily                   50-60 minutes


There are several criteria areas used to determine whether a student will be promoted to the next grade:

  • A student’s attendance record.
  • A student must perform at or above grade level on New York City and

New York State standardized assessment.

  • A student must pass the core curriculum subjects appropriate to his/her level.



Students receive report cards three (3) times a year. The cards/reports are part of your child's permanent record.


You are urged to make comments in the space provided on the cards/reports. If you desire further explanation, call the school to arrange a meeting with your child's teacher(s). Please use REPORT CARDS(continued):

this as an opportunity to discuss your child's progress.


In addition to these reports, your child's teacher may contact or write to you in order to maintain a closer alliance between the home and school.



Your child may be receiving AIS tutoring services throughout the school year. AIS are provided to children who have received a score of two or below on standardized assessment.  They are based on teacher recommendations. You will receive notification in the fall if your child will be benefiting from these services.



Regular school attendance is extremely important and will be closely monitored. However, if your child is ill, he/she should remain at home until well. If the child comes to the school ill, the school nurse will contact you. In some instances, you may be required to come to the school to pick up your child.


Information pertaining to school absence should be provided to the school in the form of a note after each absence, including a doctor's note if appropriate. You may also call the school when you know your child will be absent. You will be required to notify the school of the date your child is expected to return to school.



As winter approaches, the following procedures have been put in place by the Chancellor's Office. Only the Chancellor's Office can make the decision to open or close schools due to weather conditions. The decision will be made as early as possible prior to 6:00 A.M. on the affected day. The NYCDOE website ( ;  Twitter (@NYCSchools; Facebook (NYCSchools);  Vimeo(,  Notify NYC (, Radio stations WINS (1010) and WCBS (880) will carry this information.

In case of a delayed school opening, the Chancellor's Office will announce a two-hour opening delay citywide. Please be advised that regular school buses will run, but at a later time to accommodate the two hour delay. If the weather is severe, parents are advised to use discretion as to whether their children are to ride to school on a stormy day. Understand that travel time will be longer and there may be delays in the schedules in the morning and afternoon. In the event of a delayed school opening, all trips are cancelled.


Should there be an early dismissal, contingency plans need to be made well in advance. Parents should make arrangements with a family member or friend for emergency pick up if students are dismissed early. Your child's teacher will contact you early in the year to request that an emergency card be completed. The school must be notified of any changes in the emergency information reported on the blue card.



Before your child leaves for school each morning, check to see that your child is feeling well. What might only appear to be a little "sniffle" may be the sign of some infectious disease?  Keep your child home from school if you notice the following: flushed face, running nose, sneezing, coughing, red throat, pink eyes, skin rash, sores or blisters on the skin. By keeping him/her home, you are not only helping him/her to recuperate faster, but you are preventing the illness from spreading to other members of the class. Let the teacher know as soon as possible that your child is ill. When your child returns to school, provide a note for the teacher explaining the absence.


Every child should have a check-up annually. Also, every child should have his/her teeth examined by a dentist once a year. After each of these visits, please send in the doctor or dentist's note.


Good hearing and good vision are both essential to a child's comfort and progress in school. The child who cannot see well or hear well becomes restless and bored and will fall behind in the schoolwork. In general, he/she will feel insecure. Tests for vision and hearing are administered at the school once each year. You will be notified if there is an indication that your child requires further testing. In the meantime, you can help by making sure that there is good lighting at home and by checking with your physician during annual check-ups.



It is the right of every child to have the benefit of health insurance. Throughout the year you will receive information and surveys addressing this matter. Our school guidance counselor has been provided with resource information in order to assist parents in obtaining health insurance for their children. You are urged to contact Ms. Freed or Nurse Karon Gregory if your child is without health insurance.



New York State is sponsoring a health plan for all children under the age of nineteen (19). This low cost health plan is called Child Health Plus. Your child or children can receive health care benefits at a very low cost. For more information, please call 1-800-698-4543. If you need assistance, please contact Nurse Gregory.



The New York State Department of Education and the Board of Health require that documentation be secured proving that all students who come to school are fully immunized. We are required to exclude students if they are not immunized and do not have documentation from a physician indicating that they have received all required immunization.





IMMUNIZATION (continued):

If your child has. . . .               He/she must be kept out of school   

**(Your child must have a doctor's note stating clearance

to return to school prior to coming back)

Chicken Pox                                     Six (6) days after appearance of the rash

Rubella (German measles)                 Until rash has disappeared

Measles                                           Five (5) days after appearance of the rash

Mumps                                           Until all the swelling of the glands disappear

Whooping Cough                             Fourteen (14) days after cough begins

Hepatitis                                         Until temperature is normal for (24 hrs.)

Meningitis                                       Until temperature is normal for (24 hrs.)
Streptococcal (Sore Throat)

Including Scarlet                              Until temperature is normal for (24 hrs.)

Fever                                              Until temperature is normal for (24 hrs.)

Immunization Requirements appear in the appendix at the end of this handbook.



All current medical information should be on file with the school nurse. Please be sure that the nurse is aware of any medical condition your child may have MEDICATION (continues): including allergies.

Please be aware that students may take medication in school if there is:

  • Written permission from parent or guardian; and
  • Written statement from prescribing physician with dosage; and
  • Original dated medication bottle which contains a legible label


Medication will be kept in a safe place and administered, at times directed by the prescribing physician, by the school nurse. The school nurse will monitor careful administration of medication. Detailed records, as they pertain to the administration of oral medication, will be maintained at the school.


Please be sure to keep the school nurse updated on any changes in your child's medication or dosage. If you have any questions or need to call the school about the change in your child's medication, please contact the nurse, Karon Gregory.


Please make sure that you renew your child's medication before it runs out.

If at some time during the school year your child becomes ill, we will notify you immediately. It is your responsibility to come to the school and pick up your child. If you are unavailable, the person designated on the blue emergency card will be contacted. If your child suffers any of the following symptoms, please do not send him/her to school:

-fever of 100 degrees or higher -earache              -upset stomach

-Infected skin patches               -sore throat          -conjunctivitis (pink eye)

-swollen glands                       -head lice             -vomiting or diarrhea

-unusual spots or rashes           -persistent cough



All students are to visit a dentist annually.



Sometimes it is necessary for a family member to pick up a child at school before dismissal. Please try to let your child's teacher know in advance if you are planning to pick him/her up early. All parents must sign in at the security desk and present a form of identification.  They will report to the general office to sign their child out of school. No child will be released without a parent signature. If someone other than a parent will be picking a child up, please make sure that their name is listed on the blue card; otherwise we will not release the child.



Radios, CD players, walkman, video games, trading cards, beepers, cell phones, toys, money, candy, soda and any bottled beverages are not permitted in school or on the bus.



A student who is directly involved in a major behavioral incident which presents a clear and present danger of injury to any student or any member of the school staff will be suspended according to the Regulations of the Chancellor for Safe and Orderly Schools. All procedures are followed as outlined in this regulation pertaining to SAVE legislation. Shortly, you will receive an updated version of the New York City Department of Education Code of Conduct.



Any person carrying a weapon in a school building is subject to suspension as well as possible criminal or juvenile prosecution as explained in the Regulations of the Chancellor A-445.






Students must:

  • Get on the bus quietly
  • Fasten seat belt immediately
  • Remain in seat until the matron gives permission to leave the seat
  • Keep arms and legs out of the aisle
  • Get permission from bus personnel before opening a window
  • Follow directions of bus personnel
  • Act in an appropriate, responsible manner so that everyone can have a
    safe bus trip



BUS SAFETY RULES (continued):

Students must NOT:

  • Talk to the driver while he/she is driving
  • Leave your seat until told to do so by bus personnel
  • Fight, throw objects in or out of the bus, annoy others, smoke, light
    matches, scream, yell, curse, damage the bus, open the door, or do
    anything that is considered dangerous



  • Proper table manners will be expected at all times
  • Students must be seated during the lunch period
  • Talk is permitted but students are to talk quietly with students at their
    own table
  • Students are responsible for the cleanliness of the table and the area
    under it (where they are seated). All trays and paper are to be removed when leaving the table. Recycling rules apply in the cafeteria.  Students are to follow the staff directions for recycling.
  • Food is NOT to be carried outside of the cafeteria



Important Reading Comprehension skills, and some questions you can ask to reinforce them, while your child reads at home.


It is recommended that each child read for 20 additional minutes per night in Grades K-2, and for one half hour or more in the upper grades.  You can sit with your child and have your child read silently, but ask some of the following questions about his/her reading:


  1. Summarizing: Have the child retell the story, part of story, or chapter, depending on the child’s    reading level.  Have them put it in their “own words”, and encourage them to tell “the important parts” leaving out the unimportant details.  A simple question could be “What was the story about?”


  1. Cause and Effect: You can practice this skill by asking your child.  “Why did that happen?” or “What caused _____________ to happen?”  Also you can ask:  “What happened because of that?”


  1. Main Idea: A child should be able to identify the main idea of a short story or non-fiction article.  A good way to practice finding the main idea would be to ask, “What would be another good title for this story, etc.?”  The main idea should tell what the whole story is about, rather that just telling details about what happened.


  1. Story Elements: A students should be able to identify the basic story elements of what he/she is reading.  Every story should have the following:

Setting:  Where and when is the story taking place?

Characters:  Who are the important people or animals in the story?

Problem:  What is the problem the characters are trying to solve?

Plot:  What important events happen while they are trying to solve the problem?

Resolution:  How is the problem solved?  What happens in the end?”


  1. Sequencing: “In what order did the events of the story take place?”  “What happened first?”  “What happened next?”  “What happened before/after that?”  “What happened last?”


  1. Fact vs. Opinion: Opinions are what people think about something.  Facts can be proven, by looking them up in an encyclopedia, measuring, counting, etc.  Students should be able to tell whether a statement in a fiction or non-fiction book is a fact -- or just someone’s opinion.


  1. Inferring: A child infers when he tells something about the story that the author doesn’t come right out and say.  This is a very hard skill for a child to master.  They must put facts or events from the story together with what they already know from their own experience.  Some good inference questions might be:  “How do you think the character felt when that happened?” or “What did the character mean when he said that?”  “Drawing a Conclusion” is another way of making an inference.


  1. Predicting: A good reader should always be thinking about what’s going to happen next in a story.  You can simply ask “What do you think will happen next?” Do this at various times throughout the story.


  1. Comparing and Contrasting: Tell how some element of the story, or how two characters, are “alike” and “different”.  You can ask “Can you compare this story to another story you have read?  How is it the same?  How is it different?”


  1. Author’s Purpose: What was the author trying to do with this story or article?  “Was he/she trying to entertain you or make you laugh?”  “Was he trying to teach you about something?”