Do you need to label camp clothing, sports equipment, lunch boxes
(or anything else that goes missing?)

Use the coupon here for a special Label Daddy discount.
Each order earns money for our school!

East Side Middle School
has the best attendance rate
among NYC middle schools!

Congrats, ESMS for over 98% attendance!



Help us maintain the programs that make us one of the top middle schools in New York state!

Donate today by using the tab on the upper right corner of this homepage.

  Principally for Parents Book Club

Parents are invited to a monthly gathering in the ESMS library with our book-loving principals.  The club will discuss great books personally selected by Mr. Getz and Mr. Colon.  Some months we read award-winning fiction or non-fiction written for adults and other months we dive into great books our middle school children are enjoying.  Please consult the website calendar for the specific date and book selection each month.

Please note, there will not be a Book Club meeting in May (too much happening at school this month!).  Our final Book Club of the year will be held on Monday, June 13 at 7:30pm.  Mr. Getz has chosen Jill Leovy's narrative non-fiction Ghettoside, a New York Times bestseller and named to many "Top Ten" lists this year.  If you plan to attend this Book Club gathering, please email our Parent Coordinator Caren (


          and the Power Women of Kenya 
Inspired by Mr. Getz's Skype Kenya program for our students, ESMS moms have begun a weekly Skype program with a group of mothers in Kibera, Kenya.  These women are HIV positive and must support themselves with the jewelry, baskets, and other artistic wares they create in this urban slum.  The ESMS Power Women program sells their goods in the ESMS community and raises money to supply them with laptops and Internet fees.  The group meets every other Friday morning -- check the website calendar for dates and times. If you're interested in participating, please email Jodi Caplan (  To purchase the beautiful jewelry and products created by The Power Women in Kenya, contact Manuela Fisher (

From The Principal’s Pen
By David Getz

Though there are many legitimate and neurotic fears that parents of young children carry around with them, few are as terrifying as the fear of losing or misplacing their child’s favorite stuffed animal. Common are the stories of panic and frenzy, usually taking place at the most inconvenient times or places. Arriving at the rented vacation home in Cape Cod only to discover that Dad left Mr. Lion on the dining room table back home, and he is either going to have to drive six hours back to New York or track down Grandma and convince her to climb through the fire escape in the kitchen window to retrieve him, bring him to La Guardia and find somebody who is flying up to Hyannis. I’ve heard stories of parents who came “this close” to temporary separations over accusations of who actually put Elly the Elephant in the washing machine. I’ve heard of parents who had to bring their child’s stuffy to the pediatrician for check ups, insurance-be-damned, because their child was convinced that the stuffy had caught “chicken pops” and was in “sooo much pain!”

Psychologists call these stuffies “attachment objects” and explain that children value them because they imbue them with life-like properties. They are, in a fashion, invented siblings. They have feelings, wishes and personality traits. They confer comfort and reassurance. They are non-digitalized avatars. They are capable of experiencing joy, physical pain and consciousness.

In Dominique Smith’s new book about classroom management, Carrots or Sticks, she tells the story of a kindergarten teacher who used her knowledge of these attachment objects to try to keep order in her classroom. On the first day of school, this teacher asked all of her kindergartners to bring in their favorite stuffed animal, which she then labeled with each child’s name and lined up along a shelf by the window. When a child misbehaved in her class, she retrieved that child’s stuffed animal and carried him to over to another shelf and made him face the wall. Smith writes, “The looks on students' faces after doing this displayed heartbreaking sadness and anger.”

No kidding! Given that the child she is punishing considers the stuffed animal to be alive, the teacher was actually using the technique of dictators and street gangs called “collective punishment” in which they keep order with the threat of harming family members of those whom they believe are not behaving. Only in this case, the teacher was resorting to humiliation rather than dismemberment. Still, the impact is similar in that it invokes in the child fear and contempt.

Smith uses the story to help us reflect on the purpose, not only of classroom management, but of the classrooms themselves. She points out that a good school teaches not only content and academic skills, but social skills, as well. And the better schools do this explicitly. She writes, “There are two aspects of an effective learning environment: relationships and high quality instruction. When students have strong, trusting relationships, both with adults in the school and with their peers, and their lessons are interesting and relevant, it’s harder for them to misbehave.”

Smith is describing the philosophy of East Side Middle. It is our goal, and it seems from past years that we are quite successful at reaching our goal, to help create smart and engaged citizens. Rather than teaching obedience, we are giving them the tools of engagement. We are inviting them to help us create nurturing and exciting classroom communities. We are helping them develop responsibility and giving them ample opportunities to pursue their own curiosity. After all, what is the value of teaching American History without teaching our students how to be better Americans?

I’m sure their stuffies would agree.

Welcome to another great year at East Side Middle School. Go Tigers, roar!

Mr. C’s
Sense of Community

By Kevin Colon, Assistant Principal

I cannot believe that it's November, already! This year is passing by quickly, so it must be true what they say about time flying by when you're having fun.  At our fall Open Houses for prospective students, Mr. Getz typically ends each session by saying, "East Side Middle School is a place where learning is fun." That is evident in the smiles I see, the laughter I hear, how involved the students are in school initiatives, the enthusiasm of the teachers and the sheer volume of parents willing to lend a helping hand.

One big initiative I'm excited about this year really speaks to our sense of community at ESMS.  It's called The Big Buddies Program, in which 8th grade students act as mentors to the 6th graders. The intention of this program is to ease the transition for 6th graders into middle school. Research suggests that this transition from 5th to 6th grade is one of the toughest students will face in their academic careers. The Big Buddies work with their assigned groups of new students and host events throughout the year. The goal is for the 6th graders to develop a comfort level with their Big Buddy so that they may seek them out if they need assistance. This could range from advice on time management, to dealing with a friendship conflict, to suggestions on where to eat lunch in the neighborhood (and get back to school on time!).  The Big Buddies have self-reported that they are thoroughly enjoying their new role.   

We are off to a great start for 2015-16.  Remember to have fun and continue to be kind to one another!

Go Tigers, roar!!!

Kevin Colon
Assistant Principal

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, May 31
Student Council Meeting
During lunch
Girls Softball Team
Ultimate Frisbee Team
Baseball Team Practice
Wednesday, June 1
After-School Announcement
Note:  No second session programs today due to incoming orientation.
The Green Team
Students meet with Mr. Colon and Sven during lunch
Wednesday Track Team
(1st session only today)
Incoming 6th Grade Orientation
Welcome to ESMS future Tigers!
Last names A-L @ 5:45-6:45pm
Last names M-Z @ 7:00-8:00pm

Thursday, June 2
GSA Meeting
During lunch w/Mr. Forigua
Girls Softball Team
Baseball Team Practice
Friday, June 3
7th Grade Parents Breakfast
9:00am in the cafeteria. Informational meeting with ESMS Counselor Jessica McInnis to review procedures for applying to high school next fall.
Monday, June 6
ESMS Debate Team
Spring Developmental Volleyball
3:35-4:35 in the gym
Spring Track & Field
Ultimate Frisbee Team
Tuesday, June 7
Student Council Meeting
During lunch
Girls Softball Team
Ultimate Frisbee Team
Baseball Team Practice

ESMS Extra Help Schedule

For students seeking further instructional support in any subject...

Each teacher at ESMS provides a weekly "Extra Help Session" before school, during lunch or by appointment. Please consult this schedule for complete information.

Students who need assistance with homework assignments (or just want a quiet place to study) can attend ESMS Study Lab, held Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after school from 3:35-4:35 and 4:35-5:50, in the library. Please register through Manhattan Youth.

What's Cookin?
Click the hamburger to find out.  Lunch is free for all middle school students!

The Elephant Corner 
Meet Murit 
(he's the cute one on the right)

Murit is an orphaned elephant in Kenya,
recently adopted by ESMS students 
through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Click here for a monthly diary about Murit's progress
and to see the impact of our funds.
If you would like to add a donation, please
email Caren Austen  (

ESMS Email Distribution List

If you are not receiving regular email communication from the school, you may not be registered in our system. 

If you have not yet registered, please click here to submit your information!

Keep in touch, Tiger!