Valerie Vanderpuije, Interim Acting Principal

Valerie Vanderpuije, Interim Acting Principal

August 3, 2022

Dear PS 295 Community,

As the summer weeks pass, I look forward to the new school year. This will be an extra
special year for me because it will be my first as interim acting principal at P.S. 295. Thus,
I find myself reflecting on the past.

My first assignment at P.S. 295 was in September of 2002, teaching a 5th grade class that
was looking forward to their middle school years. Since then, I have taught many other
grades, including some of our youngest students. I have been a general education teacher,
part of an ICT team, a grade leader, and DEI co-facilitator. My own son attended P.S. 295.
This is the village that helped me to raise him, so I understand the importance of a school
community. While the last few years have been a struggle for many communities and
families, school will remain a place of stability and security in a world that doesn’t always
offer enough of it. In this time of transition, the commitment of families and staff members
to our children will guide us in forging a way forward together.

Over the last few years, social distancing has tested the strength of our social bonds. Of
course we still came together virtually, but activities like school plays, publishing parties,
and Field Day were put on hold. Finally, last June our school was able to celebrate Field
Day and Family Fun Fridays for the first time in years. Families gathered together in our
auditorium to witness fifth grade graduation. It became clear that social distancing was
making way for social gathering. We will continue to close the gaps that have been brought
about by social distancing.

Not only did we make strides in strengthening social ties, but also in strengthening our
academic programming. Last year was the first year that P.S. 295 implemented the
Superkids reading program in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Superkids is an engaging,
research-based foundational literacy program that children love. Children relate to the
engaging characters and songs while getting the direct, explicit instruction necessary to
become strong readers. We will continue offering an engaging, rigorous curriculum that
empowers students to be able to express themselves not only through art, movement, and
play, but also through thoughtful speech, writing, and mathematics. We are dedicated to
nurturing all the interests and talents that our students bring. P.S. 295 will also partner
with Bank Street’s Center for Culture Race & Equity to form an equity working group
consisting of staff and families to strengthen our practices around equitable education .

I invite all members of the community to come together and connect with me and each
other. Whether by participating in PTA meetings, attending school workshops, or designing
costumes for a school performance, I am looking forward to families partnering with
educators to play a central role in the joy and learning at P.S. 295. Last year marked the
beginning of many wonderful things including the opening of our new school playground as
well as a school garden. These initiatives are only the beginning. There are many more on
the horizon. In these endeavors and all others, you can always reach out to me with any
questions, concerns or ideas. I am excited to collaborate and connect with you.

Valerie Vanderpuije
Interim Acting Principal
P.S. 295