The Middle View

A Publication of Garden City Middle School ~ January 2023

📌Principal's Message

Greetings GCMS Family!

Welcome to 2023!!! With the New Year comes new adventures at the middle school and I'm so pleased to be able to reach out to you as we head into the second half of our school year. Very often, we look at the new year as an opportunity to make improvements, to make resolutions for change, or to identify areas where we want to see growth. This year, though, I'm advocating for an exception to that routine; this year, the first year that feels back to "normal," let's focus on what's working and what we want to honor. In today's message, I'm going to look to highlight some wins.

During the first half of the school year, we saw iterative growth in two new programs at the middle school. First, we saw closure on our first Student Spaceflight Experiment Simulation Project (SSEP) voyage with the launch (and return) of our students' experiments from the International Space Station. In recent weeks, we also identified the winner of the 2022-23 contest and we're already deep in the process of preparing to launch GCMS SSEP 2.0! We learned a lot from our first trip around the solar system and we've made some thoughtful improvements to our practice. We are thrilled to leap ahead with the new team and investigate what exactly we learned from our interstellar travels. We've also seen that iterative design process work its wonders in our 6th grade Exploratory program, specifically in our Genius Hour. This work, aimed at fostering a love for independent inquiry and design philosophy, is a challenging one. It pushes our students to be extraordinarily creative and to think BIG while, at the same time, to consider parameters and guidelines. It's a balance for our teachers and our learners. We identified a few areas for growth after last year's rollout and we're so pleased with our improvements. Is this year's version the final iteration? No! We are always looking to reflect, to reconsider and to identify opportunities for improvement. That's the theme: Iterative reflection and revision towards our goals!

Yes, there was innovation in the first half of the school year, but there was also continued success in our tried-and-true areas of learning. Classrooms have maintained that same level of enthusiasm and energy, leveraging expert teachers and curious learners, as well as some fantastic new flexible furniture and technological resources. Our GCMS athletic program continues to sparkle and grows each and every day. We've offered new programs in our morning intramurals and we continued our history of success, athletic and otherwise, on each of our teams. Thank you to each of our coaches and to Mr. Tullo, our Middle School Athletic Director.

We continued to show that same drive to excel as performed on the stage, too, with fabulous winter concerts from our chorus, band, jazz ensemble and orchestra and we started our training for this year's Music Box Players musical, The Descendants (March 16-18). New displays of art sprouted all over the building as our young painters started their brush with success. We've also continued our tradition of community activism and our drive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for everyone with amazing events like Unity Day and GC Cares-a-Thon, speakers like David Flood, and programs like Don't Press Send. Thank you to our incredible partners in the building and out, in particular our allies in the PTA and SEPTA!

There is a lot to be proud of during the first half of the year and a lot to be excited about in the second half! We have some big projects in the GCMS Library and Learning Commons wrapping up in the coming weeks and we're excited about all that these new spaces will bring to our family. I look forward to reaching out to you in February with updates and joy about the amazing things we're doing!


Matthew Samuelson

💘February 2023

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📌Winter NWEA

Students in grades 6,7,8 will be taking the Math NWEA on Monday and Tuesday, February 6-7, 2023.

📌 7th and 8th Grade Winter II Athletes and Parents

Below you will find some of our more commonly used Middle School Athletic links. These links can be used to help ensure that you have a smooth start to the season.

To contact a coach:

To check game schedule:

To take your child directly home from an away game: complete form and hand it in to your coach the day of the event.

(Note: you must fill out a form and hand it in to your coach the day of the event)

To view previous emails from me:

Mike Tullo

GCMS Athletic Coordinator

📰Extra! Extra!

The Fall/Winter 2022-2023 edition of the Garden City Middle School's newspaper Phoenix is here! Read it today!

📌Order Your Yearbook!

It's never too early to order your copy of the 2022-2023 Garden City Middle School Yearbook, Spearhead!


The GCMS library provides access to a growing collection of eBooks and audiobooks. These eBooks and audiobooks are accessible through desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones with an internet connection. The eBooks can be accessed using a web browser or an iOS or Android app. The GCMS Library owns a limited number of licenses for each title. This means all titles may not be available at all times.


You can access Sora/Overdrive through ClassLink. You can download the Sora App for easy access to eBooks. When you "borrow" these books, you will have access to them for two weeks.

FollettShelf eBooks

Access the eBooks here. Use this link for computers, laptops, phones, and tablets

A username and password are required to access the FollettShelf eBooks.

Username: gcmslibrary

Password: gcmslibrary

Borrowing books from Follett Shelf is different than borrowing books from Sora. With FollettShelf books, readers have access to the title while interacting with the eBook. After thirty minutes of inactivity, the book returns to the shelf for use by other readers. If this happens, the eBook can always be "pulled" off of the shelf again.

📌Academic Intervention Services (AIS)

If your child will be attending AIS classes, please note the following information:

English Language Arts Classes

  • Classes begin January 23, 2023 and end April 17, 2023.
  • Classes meet Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Morning classes will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • Afternoon classes: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Math Classes

  • Classes begin January 31, 2023 and end April 27, 2023.
  • Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Morning classes: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • Afternoon classes: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

📌Math Lab & English Studio

The Math Lab and English Studio provide drop-in support for Math and ELA/Writing. Math Lab will run on Mondays and Wednesdays; English Studio will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

As this is a drop-in service, classes may fill up quickly, so it is important for your child to come to school with a back-up plan in the event that a teacher’s space is occupied by other students. Good back up plans include meeting with another teacher for help or quiet reading/studying in the library.

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📌Morning Routine and Dismissal

Proper supervision is critically important, and we want to make sure that all of our students are engaged, safe, and supervised early in the morning. The following process is in place for the beginning of the school day:

  • At 7:00 a.m. for students participating in the school AIS program;

  • At 7:20 a.m. for students looking to take advantage of our Math Lab/English Studio

  • At 7:30 a.m. for students looking to participate in a teacher-led activity (extra-help, clubs, intramural sports);

  • At 8:05 a.m. for any other students. Students who are not attending a teacher-led activity must report directly to the cafeteria upon arrival.

Afternoon Dismissal: If you are picking your child up from school, please be sure to do so from a curb location on the GCMS campus. The parking lots on Cherry Valley Avenue are dangerous places for students to meet parents.

📌5th Into 6th Grade Parent Orientation

On January 4, 2023, we welcomed parents of rising 6th grade students at The Rising 6th Grade Parent Orientation Night.

The event was a wonderful opportunity for parents to connect with GCMS guidance counselors, the administrative team, our world language, and music teams. The evening also provided information about our structures, programs, and clubs at the Middle School.

If you were not able to attend, view the presentation here.

🏀Hoops for Hope

Join on us Monday, March 6, 2023, at the Garden City High School for Hoops for Hope!

Hoops for Hope is an event run by Michael and Katherine O'Hanlon, conceived of four years ago by their older brother, Tim, and features the Garden City High School/Middle School Challenger basketball team. The goal of Hoops for Hope is to help bring attention and fans to the Challenger athletes, and the Challenger program in general.

The event includes the entire community: the basketball team, cheerleaders, kickline, high school musicians and various student clubs. Sponsors from all over Garden City (and beyond) support the event, and on game day, there are many volunteers from both the high school and the middle school assisting with raffles, the bake sale, music, photography, the Challenger players, and more. Students from the primary schools through the high school attend the event, as do many community members who no longer have children in the schools.

Hoops for Hope is also a charitable event. The proceeds will support I'm Not Done Yet's programs for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients and survivors at NYU Langone - Mineola. I’m Not Done Yet was founded in memory of Bobby Menges, an active member of the GCHS Class of 2015 who died in 2017 after a life-long battle with cancer. Bobby was an engaged member of the overall community as a fundraiser and an advocate for many causes.

We hope you will join us!

🏀Hoops for Hope

Click here for more information and to donate.

🏃‍♂️“GC For A Cure”

Garden City Teachers' Association's (GCTA) 14th Annual “GC For A Cure”

Saturday, April 29, 2023 — Rain or Shine

5K (3.1 mile) Timed Run/Walk — 9:00 am

1 Mile Untimed Fun Run/Walk — 8:30 am

Start/Finish at Garden City High School

170 Rockaway Avenue, Garden City, N.Y.

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🏃‍♀️DONATE to "GC for A Cure"

If you can't attend the event, you can still donate!

🏫In & Around GCMS

⭐GC Cares-A-Thon

🚀Student Spaceflight Experiment Simulation Project

Great news! Our students’ experiment and artwork flew back to Earth from the International Space Station!

As you might remember, the experiment titled How does microgravity affect the germination of a tomato seed? was designed by the student team: Bridget Coviello, Isabelle DeNoto, Samantha Racich, and Elsie Ross. The experiment was launched into space in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket on November 26, 2022.

Upon arrival to the International Space Station, the students’ experiment was conducted by the astronauts while our students conducted the control experiment in the classroom.

In addition to the students’ science experiment, two pieces of artwork (two mission patches) designed by our students Maggie Rogers and Sophia Cresciullo also were launched into space on November 26, 2022, from the Kennedy Space Center. The patches also spent several week orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station.

On January 10, 2023, SpaceX-26, carrying our students’ experiment and patches back to Earth, undocked the International Space Station. It is scheduled to return to Earth on January 11, 2023.

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⭐GSA Club Celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important festival to Chinese people. Families gather to celebrate the festival, similar to how American families gather for Thanksgiving.

2023 is the year of the Rabbit. Chinese New Year begins on the evening of January 21, 2023 and lasts for fifteen days. On the first and last day of the festival, everybody is expected to wear red in order to avoid the Nian Monster, which symbolizes bad luck. During the festival, families gather for meals. Adults give both children and grandparents money in red envelopes.

⭐The Miracle Club

Thank you for donating to the Miracle Club’s band aid collection! It was a great success! Our school collected a total of 343 boxes, which adds up to 12,415 band aids!

Ms. Drogin's homebase was awarded a Dunkin' party for collecting the most band-aids, 52 boxes or 3,358 band-aids!

⭐First Chapter Friday

The seventh grade English teachers, Ms. Aguilo, Ms. Cafaro, and Ms. Fasulo collaborated with Library Media Specialist Ms. Wenger to start a "First Chapter Friday" program in their classrooms. This month the teachers chose a book to highlight the science fiction genre. Ms. Wenger read the first chapter of the novel, Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, to the students. Students recorded the title and author of the book introduced to them on "book spines" and wrote a short response rating the first chapter. Found is the first book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series. Students will be eager to read the sequel, Sent.

In Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Found, Jonah Skidmore feels like an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy. His family consists of a slightly annoying but smart younger sister named Katherine and a mom and dad who love him unconditionally. Jonah is adopted and has known this fact for a while but it’s never been a big deal for him because his parents have always been open about it with him. Life definitely feels normal for Jonah. That is, until the mysterious letter arrives--the letter that contains just six words: YOU ARE ONE OF THE MISSING. The letter does not contain a signature or a return address. Who sent it? Where did it come from? What does it mean?

⭐GCMS Students Hard at Work!

⭐Kindness Counts!

Students are nominated for the “Kindness Counts” award when they are caught in the act of committing a random act of kindness.

Congratulations to December's recipients: Joseph Barry, Cooper Bromberg, Brianna Kashimer, Charlotte Kohner, Emily Potter

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⭐Writing Book Reviews

Grade six ELA teacher, Ms. Tarazi, and Library Media Specialist, Ms. Wenger, collaborated to create a fun way for students to share their favorite independent reading books with their classmates. As part of Ms. Tarazi’s ELA Exploratory class, students took part in a multi-step process to create book reviews. The process began with the students writing book reviews, which were then converted into scripts. Finally, using Canva, the students created videos from the scripts. These videos will be embedded into QR codes which will be attached to the physical books. Now, when students are searching their classroom libraries for a new book to read, they can scan QR codes with their classroom iPad to watch and listen to reviews made by their classmates.

⭐Best Buddies

Ms. Novack, Speech Pathologist, and Ms. Tufano, Special Education Teacher, helped get their Best Buddies Club in the holiday spirit as they engaged in lots of friendship activities. The students engaged and interacted in several different activities including creating creative magic snowmen color-scratch ornaments, penguin door hangers, playing Christmas password, participating in Candy Cane Lane relay races, Christmas tree ring toss, and Name that Holiday Song from emojis.

⭐ Jazz Saxophonist and Educator Ronald Carter Leads Workshop for GCMS Musicians

On Friday, January 13, 2023, Mr. Ronald Carter, esteemed jazz saxophonist and jazz educator, led inspiring workshops with our middle school and high school jazz band students.

Jazz is an American art form that was developed from Afro-American cultural traditions. Professor Carter brings his unique cultural approach to teaching jazz with emphasis on the importance of using the human voice to learn style, phrasing, and interpretation. His dynamic personality draws students of all ages in! His technique gets them singing, dancing and “swinging” together better than almost anyone in the business. Great jazz musicians are not always the best teachers of jazz, but Professor Carter is one of the few who has developed a method that reaches all students of jazz.

Jazz is a “feel” best learned by listening to the masters and working to emulate their sound; it is not nearly as concrete as playing classical music. Like all languages, music is not void of dialects or accents. Developing the proper accent is the greatest challenge for all students of language. Jazz can be considered a dialect in the language of music and requires the proper accent and feel when being performed. What better way to learn than from one of the masters in person!

The students were captivated by his talent, humor, and unparalleled performance experience. Eighth grader Alex Kfuri described Carter as “enthusiastic and interactive” and eighth grader Evie Mohan said: “I loved his work and he really inspired me to keep pushing and doing my best! It was great to work with someone who is world renowned and has worked with and taught so many famous musicians.”

GCHS Senior Christopher Roukis said: "Professor Carter influenced us by showing his passion for jazz. His creative insight taught us how to stylistically play better as an ensemble, and be more open as musicians. He resembles what teaching from the heart looks like, by showing us as much as he could in our workshop through his singing, dancing, and talking about his past experiences with famous jazz musicians. It was a pleasure to work with him, as his influence should be passed on to all jazz musicians."

Professor Carter, retired as the director of the world-renowned Northern Illinois University (NIU) Jazz Ensemble and Director of Jazz Studies, a position he held from 1904-2014. He continues to educate students in jazz education and performance throughout the United States and around the world. During Carter's tenure at NIU, he also served for 23 years as the Lead Artist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Director’s Academy, New York, NY, and as a Mentor, and Education Consultant for the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Program. Middle School Band Director Ms. Iovino studied with Professor Carter for many years at Lincoln Center’s Band Director Academy.

Prior, Carter worked eighteen years in the East St. Louis School District as the former director of the Lincoln Senior High School Jazz Band. He performed professionally in the St. Louis metropolitan area as a freelance musician on saxophone, clarinet, flute and as a vocalist. Also, he has also performed professionally with Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, The Jimmy Dorsey Band, The Temptations, The Dells, and many others.

Carter’s accolades also include three books in the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz” series.

Many thanks to the Garden City Friends of Music for supporting these exceptional clinics and partnership.

🎨Mrs. Biondi’s Art Corner

Art Tip of the Month: For left-handed artists, turn your spiral bound sketch upside down and work from the back of the book. The spirals will be on the right side and not interfere with your hand! For all painters, use a magazine that you have finished reading as a palette for your acrylic paints. The glossy paper won't absorb the paint and after you are finished your session, just flip over the page. This saves a ton of time on cleanups and saves washing paint down the sink. Just toss it out when all pages are used up.

“I dream my painting then I paint my dream” – Vincent Van Gogh

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Our students are working hard in art class and showing their most creative selves! This semester the eighth grade students will be finishing their watercolor landscape paintings. Students in 6th grade are using colored pencil to create beautiful dragon drawings, and in seventh grade they are working on their Illuminated Initial Designs inspired by Art of the Middle Ages.

🍏Garden City PTA

🍎All Schools PTA Meeting

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: GCMS

🍎Annual Fundraising Dinner

Garden City PTA will hold its Annual Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at the Garden City Hotel. This year’s dinner theme is “Making a Difference." Every educator, parent and member of our school community can truly make a difference for our students!

We are looking for donations of exciting raffle baskets ($250+ value) and enticing silent auction items ($500+ value) to help make the evening a success! If you would like to show your support of the PTA and this event, please consider joining together with your family, friends, neighbors or club and donate a raffle basket or silent auction item. If you have a connection to sports tickets, concert venues, vacation properties or experiences, please consider donating as these make very exciting prizes. Donated items will be on display at the dinner and listed in the evening's program. Email if you plan to donate or have any questions. Please help us make a difference!

🍎General Membership Meeting

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Location: Virtual meeting

Join us at our next General Membership Meeting. Presenter Isabel Londono,

Program Manager, Community Engagement for BEST BUDDIES International, will be sharing information about the Best Buddies Program and how it can benefit all of our students.

🍏Support Everyone - Join SEPTA today!

Our mission is to ensure a quality education for all students. SEPTA collaborates with parents, administration, and teachers to advocate for each and every student.

📚Garden City Public Library

💜Community Service Opportunities

Take advantage of these wonderful community service opportunities at the Garden City Public Library! Garden City Middle School students are encouraged to earn at least 10 hours of community service. Hours should be logged on the GC Cares forms from October 19, 2022, Unity Day, through April 28, 2023, Pay It Forward Day. Completed forms should be dropped off in the main office.
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