Elysian Charter School of Hoboken
Elysian Charter School of Hoboken
www.ecsnj.org friendsofelysian.org
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director
Elysian Charter School
Weekly Newsletter

A Positively Different Public School

May 15, 2017         Vol. 12  Issue 34
The school newsletter is sent out on Mondays.  When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day. 

Please note:  send news to lynne.shapiro@ecsnj.org by 1:00 PM on Mondays.
Harry's Corner

Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying
Originally Published in Edutopia.org,October 17, 2014 | Updated: August 10, 2015   

Phrases like "random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward" have become popular terms in modern society. This could perhaps be best explained by those who have identified a deficiency in their lives that can only be fulfilled by altruism.
It seems there are good reasons why we can't get enough of those addictive, feel-good emotions, as scientific studies prove there are many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits associated with kindness.
As minds and bodies grow, it’s abundantly clear that children require a healthy dose of the warm-and-fuzzies to thrive as healthy, happy, well-rounded individuals.
Patty O'Grady, PhD, an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology, specializes in education. She reports:
Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.
A great number of benefits have been reported to support teaching kindness in schools, best summed up by the following.
Happy, Caring Children
The good feelings that we experience when being kind are produced by endorphins. They activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. These feelings of joyfulness are proven to be contagious, encouraging more kind behavior (also known as altruism) by the giver and recipient. Acts of kindness help us form connections with others which are reported to be a strong factor in increasing happiness.
Greater Sense of Belonging and Improved Self-Esteem
Studies show that people experience a "helper's high" when they do a good deed. This rush of endorphins creates a lasting sense of pride, well-being, and an enriched sense of belonging. It's reported that even small acts of kindness heighten our sense of well-being, increase energy, and give a wonderful feeling of optimism and self worth.
Increased Peer Acceptance
Research on prosocial behavior among adolescents determined that being kind increases popularity and our ability to form meaningful connections with other people. Being well liked is an important factor in the happiness of children and it was demonstrated that greater peer acceptance was achieved through good deeds. Better-than-average mental health is reported in classrooms that practice more inclusive behavior due to an even distribution of popularity.
Improved Health and Less Stress
There are a number of physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved by being kind. Altruistic actions trigger a release of the hormone oxytocin, which can significantly increase a person's level of happiness and reduce stress levels. Oxytocin also protects the heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing free radicals and inflammation, which incidentally speed up the aging process.
Increased Feelings of Gratitude
When children are part of activities that help others less fortunate than themselves, it provides them with a real sense of perspective, highlighting their own good fortune. Being generous helps them appreciate what they have, makes them feel useful, and fosters empathy.
Better Concentration and Improved Results
Kindness is a key ingredient that enhances positivity and helps children feel good about themselves as it increases serotonin levels. This important chemical affects learning, memory, mood, sleep, health, and digestion. Children with a positive outlook have greater attention spans, more willingness to learn, and better creative thinking to improve results at school.
Reduced Depression
Internationally-renowned author and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer explains that an act of kindness increases levels of serotonin, a natural chemical responsible for improving mood. This boost in happiness occurs not only in the giver and receiver of kindness, but also in anyone who witnesses it. This makes kindness a powerful, natural antidepressant (PDF).
Less Bullying
Shanetia Clark and Barbara Marinak are Penn State Harrisburg faculty researchers. They say, "Unlike previous generations, today's adolescents are victimizing each other at alarming rates." They strongly believe that adolescent bullying and violence can be confronted with in-school programs that integrate "kindness -- the antithesis of victimization."
Many traditional anti-bullying programs focus on the negative actions that cause anxiety in children. When students are instead taught how to change their thoughts and actions by learning about kindness and compassion, it fosters the positive behavior that's expected and naturally rewarded with friendship. Promoting its psychological opposite is key in reducing bullying to create warm and inclusive school environments.
Maurice Elias, Professor at Rutgers University Psychology Department, is also an advocate for kindness in schools. He says:
As a citizen, grandparent, father, and professional, it is clear to me that the mission of schools must include teaching kindness. Without it, communities, families, schools, and classrooms become places of incivility where lasting learning is unlikely to take place . . . [W]e need to be prepared to teach kindness, because it can be delayed due to maltreatment early in life. It can be smothered under the weight of poverty, and it can be derailed by victimization later in life . . . Kindness can be taught, and it is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood, and society.
It's become quite clear that modern education ought to encompass more than just academics, and that matters of the heart must be taken seriously and nurtured as a matter of priority.
How do you teach kindness? Has it reduced bullying at your school?
A Tribute to Mom
One of my favorite children’s books is called, I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  It is a tribute to mothers on this Mothers’ Day.  Please listen to it by clicking on the link below:
It started out as a song, with the refrain:
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
Listen and enjoy!
Friday Bake Sale, After School!

The fourth graders will be holding a bake sale this Thursday at 2:45 right outside our main entrance, to raise funds for their end of the year field trips.  Please support the fourth grade and enjoy some tasty treats!  
After School Clubs

Basketball Skills Club and Fashion Lab will run from 12:45-1:45 this Wednesday on the 1/2 day.

Chess Club has ended for the school year.
Donate a New Book, Blanket or Stuffed Animal for a Kid's Tote Bag
After reading the book, Crenshaw, about what is it is like for children today to live in homelessness, our students in third and fourth grade English  Language Service classes have decided to collect  books, stuffed animals and blankets to fill tote bags for kids that they can take with them to wherever they may be living now or in the future. 
We chose to do this through Project Night Night and the York Street Project in Jersey City.  York Street provides housing and services to homeless families in our area.  Project Night Night, based in San Francisco, provides the tote bags as a way of kids having something to take with them wherever they may find themselves.  They link with shelters throughout the country. 

Starting on Thursday, June , there will be three boxes at the entryway to Elysian where children can bring these donations.  For younger children, I will be discussing this briefly with them, but we will not read the book as it is more appropriate for older children or for individual family discussions.  If you wish to read it with your child, you can request a copy through the Hoboken Public Library or Little City Books. 

If you or your family is able and would like to contribute to this drive, please donate a new book, blanket or stuffed animal to this drive.  Taking your child to get such a good is an excellent way to teach them about helping others and families that may find themselves struggling at this time.   

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. 


Alicia Weinstein

Teacher of English Language Services.
Good News
  • 7th Grade Humanities Teacher, Leah Oppenzato, is one of 25 teachers from throughout the United States selected to join The Religious Worlds of New York Summer Institute. Teachers will work with leading scholars, meet diverse religious leaders, and visit local houses of worship to develop their own curriculum projects.  The Insitute, a program of the Interfaith Center of New York and Union Theological Seminary, is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • Lynne Shapiro will be an artist-in-residence at the Bee Time Artist Residency, Emerson College, East Sussex, England.  She will join other artists and writers to explore the ecology of the honeybee  and creatively engage with hives in their landscape.  The residency includes visits to beekeepers, neighboring biodynamic farms, the Natural Beekeeping Trust as well as work with the School of Sacred Geometry.  The residency will culminate in a public exhibition of work in progress and a talk given by the artists at ONCA Gallery for Arts and Ecology in Brighton.

  • Elysian graduate,  Hannah Mack ('14), is starring in Peter Pan as Peter Pan at Hoboken High School, May 19 at 7:00 PM, May 20 and May 21 at 2:00 PM,  Tickets are $10 general admission/ $5 students and seniors.  "Flying is her favorite part of the role, but it is not as easy as thinking happy thoughts. 'I’ve actually had to do a lot of core training,' said Mack. 'I now wake up in the mornings and exercise and eat better."  
  • Rebecca Weintraub ('16), another Elysian graduate, is a dancer and Peter Pan's shadow in the same production.

  • Elysian graduate, Natasha Persaud ('04), has been accepted into prestigious Cuny Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. Persaud plans to use her time to complete her memoir titled, The Dirt from the Yard. "As a child, Persaud was raised by her grandmother in Guyana. Persaud didn’t know her parents - except as an occasional voice on the end of a long distance phone call. Her parents left Guyana in order to find a betterlife in the U.S.  Once they felt they were settled—nearly eight years later—they sent for her - and she became a student at Elysian Charter School
Campaign For Elysian 
What a great start! Thank you to everyone for such a generous and quick response!
Our tally so far, including the Auction and other smaller fundraisers this year, is $78,335 ($17,140 from just the Annual Appeal)! Our goal is $125,000 by June 15.
A FEW SPORTS BAGS ARE STILL AVAILABLE! We still have a few Elysian sports bags left so please donate today (or this week)! 

ONLINE: You may make a secure on-line donation by visiting our website at:
BY CHECK: If you'd like to donate by check, please download a pledge form at this link: www.ecsnj.org/CFE-Year3-PledgeForm.pdf 

You may be able to double your giving. A number of companies match employee gifts, so be sure to check whether your company will match your donation. We will provide any information needed to complete your request form. (Any questions, please email friends@ecsnj.org.) Company matching has been a huge part of the Campaign’s success, so please keep it in mind! 
Our thanks to the following recent donors for their generosity (as of 5/14/17; includes donations from before last week’s Appeal launch):

Mary Beth Alter and Matt Laskowski
The Auerbach family
Lauree and Derek Barnes
Dr. Debra Beneck and Ted Green
Lisa Chernick and Lyle Hysen
Chris and Trista DeFilippis
The Goodman family
Carrie and Michael Granit
Sara Green and Kevin Goldberg
Carolyn Hartwick and Paul Jung
Zoran Kanlic
The Katell family
Samantha Leone
Jacob Linder and the Linder family
Maria Muller and Luis Kaplun
The Napolitani family
Monika Nemeth and Zsolt Szerdai
Rahul & Sonia Puri
Preeti Singh and Jelke Terpstra
Joan and Danny Spiegel
The Stanin family
Sherry Tomasso
Barath Vasudevan and Katrina Virtusio
Cynthia & Jason Villaluz
The Weintraub family
Jen Weiss and Dan Vassallo

Company Matches
Morgan Stanley (via Joan Spiegel)

See Screenagers, The Movie!
Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. at Miles Square Theater
We will be showing the movie Screenagers on Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m.for students and their families.  The film will be shown at Miles Square Theatre, 1400 Clinton Street, Hoboken. To encourage families to attend together there is a single $10 charge for all family members.  Click on the picture below for the trailer, more information and to purchase tickets. Although the film is recommended for 5th grade and up, any children who has a cell phone or use the Internet will enjoy and learn.
Click image below to purchase tickets!

Letter from Elysian's Speech Teacher 
May Is Better Speech and Hearing Month:
The  Many Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children 
Dear Families: 
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recognizes May as “Better Speech and Hearing Month.”   While we encourage good communication every day at Elysian, ASHA uses this annual “campaign” as an opportunity to raise awareness about communication,  speech, language, and hearing development, and the role of Speech-Language Specialists/Pathologists in schools and other settings.
For this third installment in my four-week series, I am focusing on the many benefits of reading aloud to children.   Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns regarding the speech and language development of your child.
Gail Prusslin, M.S., M.Ed., CCC
 Elysian Speech-Language Specialist
Why Read Aloud? 
At Elysian,  “Read Alouds” are part of every classroom. At home, the benefits of reading aloud to your child are enormous, even after they become independent readers.
I found an article about the benefits of reading aloud is very useful:
“The Hidden Benefits of Reading Aloud - Even for Older Kids,” by Connie Matthiessen.
She interviews Jim Trelease, the author of the Read-Aloud Handbook. Here are some highlights of the article I find particularly useful: 
1. Reading aloud and vocabulary development: 
 “So parents need to talk to their children — but reading aloud is important, too. Because where are children going to be hearing the most words? In conversation, we tend to use verbal shorthand, not full sentences. But the language in books is very rich, and in books there are complete sentences. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated, more sophisticated. A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words.” 
2. Listening skills and developing a love reading: 
“Reading aloud also increases a child’s attention span.... When you read aloud, you’re whetting a child’s appetite for reading...A child who has been read to will want to learn to read herself. She will want to do what she sees her parents doing. But if a child never sees anyone pick up a book, she isn’t going to have that desire.  (or will be much less likely to - my comment
3. Reading to older kids:  (This part of the article is full of great information!)
People often say to me, ‘”My child is in fourth grade and he already knows how to read, why should I read to him?” And I reply, “Your child may be reading on a fourth grade level, but at what level is he/she listening?”
A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh grade books to fifth grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. A fifth grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her, because when you get to chapter books, you’re getting into the real meat of print — there is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.
Reading aloud to your kids is also are good way to grapple with difficult issues. For example, if you read a book about a kid who gets in trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd, your child is going to experience that directly, and she’s going to experience it with you at her side, and you can talk about it together.”
Reading books at a higher level than your child can read independently will expose him/her to rich vocabulary and more complex language. Your conversations around these books will go a long way toward the ongoing listening and language development of your child.
This article ends with some comments about electronics and their impact on learning and reading.  It also includes some links to suggested books to read aloud.
Be sure to find some time on a regular basis to read to your child - and yes, your middle school child too- if he/she will let you!
 Keep it relaxed and enjoyable. Happy reading!      
Ben & Jerry's is the Place to be on Thursday!
Celebrate your school spirit and win a chance for an ice cream party for Elysian when you join Hoboken Family Alliance at the School Spirit Event at Ben & Jerry’s on Thursday, May 18. Some of your favorite teachers will be scooping ice cream from 4:30 - to 5:00 PM, but come anytime from 3:00  to 9:00 PM to earn points for Elysian. The school that earns the  most points will qualify to win an End of School Ice Cream Party for the entire school, courtesy of Ben & Jerry's.
Elysian earns points by:
1.  Coming out to buy ice-cream on May 18 ANYTIME throughout the event (1 point for each purchase)
2.  Entering a unique flavor combo in The Flavor Contest (1 point for each submission) http://form.jotform.us/form/41415368838159
3. Showing in words, picture or paintings what makes ice-cream so good. Entries should be posted on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HobokenFamily?ref=hl (2 points for each submission)
The benefit helps HFA generate awareness and recruit volunteers for the Hoboken Bike Camp, June 26-June 30. Ben & Jerry’s, a founding sponsor for the Bike Camp in its 7th year, will donate a percentage of sales from School Spirit Night to the camp. The event will feature performances, giveaways and raffles, including an autographed Eli Manning Giants jersey.

VOLUNTEERS AND TENTS STILL NEEDED! Anyone have a tent we can borrow for Wednesday morning? We need three! PLEASE email elysianptso@gmail.com or contact Lauree Barnes about tents or volunteering! 

Elysian Field Day is all about teamwork! Get ready for it!  Field Day t-shirts in our school colors will be handed out in advance at school. Please remember to send your child(ren) on Wednesday with their Field Day t-shirt and FILLED water bottle with name on it, sneakers, sunscreen and a cap/hat directly to 1600 Park. Everyone is in for a fun-filled, jam-packed morning of relays, races and other goodies!    

Drop your child off between 8:30 and 8:45am directly at 1600 Park (not school unless before care)! 

Field Day will conclude around 11:30 am and children will be brought back to school by teachers and staff for lunch. 

PLEASE NOTE: Self-dismissal is not allowed from the park. Parents can sign their kids out through their classroom teacher at the field. If another parent/caregiver is picking up child(ren) from the field, you must have provided advance written notice to the school.     

Please also remember that WEDNESDAY IS A HALF DAY. DISMISSAL AT 12:30pm at the school.


We still need a few more chaperones!  Please contact Michele McCue if you are available!

Get those permission slips and payment in!! No one will be granted access without a permission slip. Please return permission slips and payment to your homeroom teacher.

The Middle School Dance for 6th, 7th and 8th graders is Friday, May 19th from 7:30 pm – 10 pm at Local Barre West, 720 Monroe Street, Suite C300. Cost is $10 per student. There will be food provided. 


Save the date! This year’s picnic is set for Wednesday, June 7th – rain date Thursday, June 8th. More details to come!
Please Help Elysian Raise Funds By Joining the "Swing Fore The Schools Fundraising Golf Tournament
For the seventh year in a row, Elysian Charter School will be participating in the "Swing Fore The Schools Golf Outing". This is Hudson County's largest golf outing benefiting six local schools which serve over 1,400 students. Last year our school earned over $10,000 by identifying sponsors and registering enthusiastic golfers.  

This year's tournament will be held on Thursday, June 8th (beginning with lunch at 11AM) at the Crystal Springs Golf Resort in Northwest New Jersey. Tee off is 1PM. Bus transportation to and from Hoboken will be provided.

Please consider being one of the 300 golfers who will play 36 holes, participate in fun contests, win prizes and enjoy a delicious lunch and dinner while raising money for our schools!  We are hoping for at least 20 golfers from Elysian so we can do our part with this fundraising event.  

We also need sponsors and have several sponsorship packages available that provide for great visibility for companies interested in reaching families in Hudson County. Please contact Jeff Joss (jeff.joss@gmail.com) or Malin Kallberg-Shroff (malinkallberg@yahoo.com), chairpersons for the tournament, for more details.

Thank you for your support!
Upcoming Track Meets:
Saturday Races:  June 3   Participants should Arrive by  9:30 / 9:45 AM 

Sunday Races:  May 21,  June 4   Participants should Arrive by  9:30 / 9:45 AM

The 1st race begins 10:00 AM.   Races should end no later than noon.  We do not Run in the rain.  

Blue Running Track, Lincoln Park, J. C./ Entrance - Duncan Ave. near Route 440. Parking is Available.

Clothing Drive Through the May 26!

All Saints Church and the Jubilee Center are collecting gently used children's clothes, to be given away at an event at the Jubilee Center in late May.  We are collecting clothes, shoes and coats in baby up to juniors/high school sizes.  There's a particular need for clothes size 5T through 15. Hola and Hoboken Charter are joining the clothing drive as well.  Look for the labeled box inside Elysian's front door. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.  Thanks, Elysian - keep your clothing donations coming!
  • Spots still available for each week
  • Registration open to ALL students both in & out of the Elysian community currently in kindergarten through 5th grade
  • Registration ends on Thursday, June 1st 
  • Daily activities include arts & crafts, cooking, sports, woodworking, science, outside vendor visits, Idlewild Pool Club, field trips and much more
  • Camp staff will be primarily Elysian teachers, coordinated and run by John Rutledge (5th grade teacher/rugby coach) and Pam Gorode (Business Office and Club Coordinator)
  • 2 one week sessions - the weeks of July 31st and August 7th - you can sign up for one or both weeks
  • Hours of fun, air conditioned classrooms, familiar counselors....and no one hour bus rides there and back!
  • Registration forms and more information about the camp at www.ecsnj.org/elysian-summer-camp/camp-registration-form/  
  • Questions can be directed to John and Pam at summercamp@ecsnj.org
Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education: 
Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office!  Thank you! 
As per state law, we no longer publish the exact location of trips for security reasons.
Please read the calendar weekly, as changes are updated regularly.
    Wednesday, May 17
    • Field Day, 7:45 AM – 12:00 PM – come join the fun! Volunteers needed to help with set-up, water station, activity stations, Italian ice scooping and clean-up.
    • Half Day of School for Staff Development.  12:30 dismissal.  After School Program available as usual.
    Thursday, May 18
    • Film seminar trip
    • 4th Grade Bake Sale, 2:45 at Elysian's Entrance
    • Ben and Jerry's School Spirit Event - see above.
    Friday, May 19
    • 9:00 AM Community Meeting, 6th Grade Concert
    • Spring Fling, the Middle School Dance for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, 7:30 – 10:00 PM, Local Barre West, 720 Monroe Street, Suite C300. Cost is $10 per student. Volunteers needed to help with set-up, chaperoning the dance and clean up.
    Saturday, May 20
    •  Middle School Rugby Club tournament, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM, Randall’s Island, NYC.
    Sunday, May 21
    • Elysian Track Meet, participants should arrive by 9:30/9:45.  Meet begins 10 AM, Lincoln Park, Jersey City
    •  Elementary Rugby Club tournament, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, Chelsea Waterside Park, NYC
    Monday, May 22
    • High School Meeting for 7th Grade Parents
    • Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 PM
    Wednesday, May 24
    • Elysian School Play
    Thursday, May 25
    • Orientation for in-coming Kindergarteners
    • Screening of Screenagers at Miles Square Theater, 7 PM, $10 per family, 4th grade and up.
    Friday, May 26
    • Half day of school, 12:30 dismissal.  After School Program available as usual.
    Monday, May 29
    • Elysian closed for memorial Day.
    Tuesday, May 30
    • 6th and 7th grade all day trip.
    • Exhibition, 3rd grade illuminated manuscripts, Morgan Library Book Project.  All are welcome!
    Wednesday, May 31
    • Grades 4 and 8 NJ ASK Science test
    Please make note of the following calendar changes:
    1.   The June 9th Community Meeting is changed to June 16th
    2.   On June 9th there will be the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade concert which will begin at 9:00 AM
    1460 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
    Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director | harry.laub@ecsnj.org | Phone:201.876.0102 | Fax:201.876.9576
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