Please check back regularly for updates.

Covid-19/School Related Links and Resources can now be found at:

Remote Learning/Covid-19 Messages from the Administraton

  • June 3, 2020 - June 4th revised: anti-racism work for students (from Mr. Getz)

    Dear Friends and Families,

    On Thursday, June 4, our students will need to sign in for attendance and they will do assignments that are due the following day. They will be receiving an assignment which leads them through an exploration of the killing of George Floyd and how that killing functions as a lens on racism and its impact on our country. 

    The purpose of the lesson is two-fold. First, we would like to give our students the opportunity to learn more about what has happened and what is happening in our country. Secondly, we would like to help ESMS become more actively engaged in anti-racist education. This killing and these protests have reminded me of all that we have done and how much more we need to do to develop a school identity that is explicitly anti-racist. Similarly, we will be providing students with additional anti-racist lessons on Tuesday, June 9. Those lessons are currently being developed; students should sign in for attendance. I welcome you to participate in these lessons with your children.

    When I speak of anti-racism, I find the following definition useful:

    Anti-racism is the practice of identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism. (Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat)

    Clearly, this is not something we achieve just by offering two student-directed lessons on two days of remote learning. We are committed as a school to being much more purposeful and systematic in our learning and our teaching about racism and in our work to making anti-racism part of our identity as ESMS.

    With that in mind, I welcome your thoughts and ideas, and if you are eager, your involvement. If you are interested in being part of a parent committee to help us work on this, please let me know.


    Assignment for June 4:

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • June 1, 2020 - Letter From Our Teachers and Administration

    June 1, 2020 

    Dear Friends and Family of East Side Middle School,

    Each morning at East Side Middle School, the morning announcements end with a reminder to "Be kind to each other, Roar."  The first statement is a reminder to have empathy, to have compassion, to care.  The second is a mark of our grit, our determination, and the strength of our voice.

    In this moment of great national pain, we as a school can come together behind these two ideas of compassion and strength.  We can use our kindness and compassion to support those in pain and suffering, especially those who are facing violence and injustice.  We can use our voices to break the silence and use our grit to face the discomfort in addressing that violence and injustice.  And we can be determined in our support and allyship of the black community and communities of color who face systemic discrimination and violence, with an aim to form a more just and equal society.

    We grieve the death of George Floyd, and condemn the racism that fuels such targeted harm against our black community members, neighbors, and family members.  We stand together as a community against such racism, against such suffering, and we commit to practicing compassion, kindness, and grace, so that this, plus our determination and grit, will carry us to learn how to fight it better each day.   

    In the coming days, we plan as a community to provide resources and opportunities for students to come together, learn more and discover how we can join to make our world a better place.  We invite your ideas.  You will hear more from us in the coming days about resources and conversations.  


    Your Teachers and Administration at East Side Middle School

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 21, 2020 - Outreach by the DOE Office of Student Health (from Mr. Getz)

    May 21, 2020 

    Good Afternoon, ESMS - 

    The DOE's Office of Student Health (OSH) emailed me today about their current family outreach regarding "Chronic Disease Management." The information below came to us from the Magdalene Gomes, Health Director at OSH Manhattan. 

    Ms. Gomes shared that doctors from OSH have been calling families to follow-up/provide case management regarding students who are on record with OSH as having chronic diseases, especially asthma and allergies. OSH wants to ensure that the students' conditions are well controlled and managed. OSH has reached out to principals to quell a any concerns that may arise in our community about the legitimacy of this unusual/unexpected physician outreach. 

    They also wanted families to know that OSH physicians have the temporary ability to write prescriptions for a student who is unable to contact their primary care provider/medical provider and are, thus, unable to get their prescription orders that way. (Families would need to try reaching their child's providers before requesting this from OSH.) 

    Should you have have questions about any of the above in relation to your child's medical needs, please email Magdalene Gomes directly:


    Resources shared by OSH:


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 20, 2020 - Summer School Dates Revised (as per the Chancellor)

    Summer School 2020
    May 20, 2020 Updated Summer School Dates

    Earlier this week, we announced our plans for summer learning, to ensure that our students can continue to engage and receive the academic supports they need to be ready for returning to school in the fall. We are writing to you today with an update on the summer calendar, informed by feedback from DOE communities.

    For elementary and middle school students who are required or recommended to attend summer school, the program will start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Tuesday, August 11. There is no change to the duration or structure of the program. 
    For high school students who are attending summer school, courses will also start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Friday, August 14. There is no change to the duration or structure of this program either. 

    For students with 12-month Individualized Education Plan (IEPs) services, there will be no change to the calendar. Our teachers start on Wednesday, July 1 and students are expected to participate from Thursday, July 2–Thursday, August 13.

    These changes will help accelerate learning for all students. Beginning summer school earlier—closer to the end of the regular school year—allows for continuous learning for students. Concluding programs earlier also allows more time for continuous rest for your family in the month of August.

    We appreciate your ongoing patience and flexibility as we adapt to this crisis in real time. Nothing is more important than the health, safety, and continued academic success of your child: we thank you for your partnership in this important endeavor now more than ever. 

    For more information, visit -

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 12, 2020 - PMIS in Children, Student Led Conferences, and HS Deadline (from Mr. Getz)

    May 12, 2020

    Good morning, East Side Middle School,

    Please read this important letter from Chancellor Carranza regarding important information for families pertaining to Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, or PMIS, a new health condition appearing in children in New York City and elsewhere. 

    In addition, I wanted share an update on ESMS conferences. As I mentioned at last month's Town Hall, our student-led conferences obviously cannot take place in the classroom as planned. Instead, teachers and staff have been, and will continue to be, talking to parents throughout this time, so the May 'parent conferences' have become embedded in our virtual work. Over the next few weeks, teachers or the administration will be reaching out to the families of students who continue to struggle during online learning. Parents can reach out to David, Amanda or Jessica with any questions.

    Eighth graders: Friday is your deadline to accept/decline high school offers in MySchools. Please reach out to Jessica McInnis ( if you need assistance, and complete her Google form if you have chosen a private, boarding or parochial school over your DOE placement or are moving out of the city. Thank you.


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 7, 2020 - DOE's new, secure Zoom platform and iPad tech help (from the Parent Coordinator)

    May 7, 2020

    Chancellor Carranza has announced that the DOE and Zoom have collaborated to address issues of user privacy and platform security. Please find the Chancellor's letter HERE; it outlines information about free use all all Zoom functions through a central DOE Zoom account - teacher/student/staff DOE emails and passwords. Information on how to access and use the DOE-licensed Zoom can be found HERE. Zoom will be added to all DOE-issued iPads.

    Other news for families who borrowed iPads from the DOE:

    If you need technical support with a device you have borrowed from the DOE, you may now request it directly, rather than having to wait and go through school staff. Visit for support:

    • Status or delivery of iPad request
    • Reporting a lost or stolen device
    • Support for sign in and use of iPad or other DOE devices
    • Help with applications (including Google Classroom)
    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 5, 2020 - Forest Bathing (from Mr. Getz)


    In Japan, a practice called shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is popular. In essence it is immersing yourself in nature. Thousands of studies have shown a host of positive effects associated with being in nature. I have included links for you to read about the positive effects of nature on health, and to read more about forest bathing. I hope you find time to read these after your practice.

    Research indicates that 2 hours a week of being in nature can be life changing and life sustaining. Many people have a bit more time now. For those working harder than before because of the Corona Virus, you have even more reason to try find a little time to get outside. For those in the Northeast, warmer weather is here and plants are growing, birds are singing, and the sun is shining. 

    Today, for your practice, dress comfortably for the weather where you are and find a place to sit or walk where you can see trees and grass. For those in cities, take a walk through a park if you can. If you are in the country, even easier. For those who are unable to get outside for any reason, no worries, you can watch the following clip to experience nature.


    The instruction for the practice is simply to use all your senses to experience nature. When you are outside, look, smell, listen, and touch...If you are watching video, look and listen and you may use your imagination to connect with smells and feelings that are associated with the experience on the nature video clip. Don't forget to really breathe in and out as you make your way through your practice. Make it as long as time allows. 

    Clip for virtual practice (less than five minutes)

    Clip for virtual practice (20 minutes)

    After your practice take a moment to experience gratitude for your time with nature. Consider how much you spend time outside and whether you would like to make time outside with nature a part of your regular habits. 

    Hoping for some moments of peace in your day today!


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • May 1, 2020 - Kindness (from Mr. Getz)

    May 1, 2020

    Be kind to each other. Go Tigers, Roar



    * * * * *

    Spreading Kindness

    Good Morning!

    Today, I thought that we might focus on kindness. Kindness mindfulness practices provide us with access to positive feelings. They make us feel happy and secure and help us to remember that even in difficult times all is not lost. 

    Another thing about kindness mindfulness practices is that they often generate positive energy. I think energy is something that can be difficult to maintain in our current circumstances. Many of the small interactions that happen every day during life before COVID are absent. Those interactions provided little rewards to keep us motivated. So, today, I thought we could use a kindness practice to generate energy.

    What will you use your energy for today? You might need it to focus and to do work. You might need it to be attentive to how you treat other people in your environment. You might need it to find activities to fill your day. One of the great things about the kind of energy generated by this type of practice, is that it is positive energy...not nervous energy or energy derived from anger. Don't get me wrong, all energy can be helpful and can motivate us to action. But there is a special thing that happens when one has joyful, compassionate energy from kindness practice.  Kindness is something that spreads. We are acutely aware how interactions can spread germs quickly. One person touches many who touch many others and so on. Each of us has the ability to impact the people we live with and work with, or even people we are apart from with kindness and good feelings. Just like a virus can spread, so can kind acts and good feelings.  When there is tension and sadness and stress, even small kind acts create positive feelings in others and in the environment. When passed on, kind acts multiply and change our environment. 

    So today's practice is a very short guided practice in kindness. Please sit comfortably, take a few breaths to settle in and to become ready to practice, click the following link and begin...

    Now reflect, do you feel differently than before your practice? With whatever energy or good feelings you notice in yourself, make a decision to do something that will spread that feeling to at least one other person. Try to spread kindness in all you do today. 

    Be well...


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 28, 2020 - DOE Update re: 2019-20 Grading Policy

    April 28, 2020

    Attached HERE, please find the Chancellor's letter to families describing the DOE's updated 2019-20 grading policy.

    The information and an FAQ document is also available on the DOE website at

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 28, 2020 Tuesday Mindfulness (from Mr. Getz)

    April 28, 2020

    Good morning, East Side Middle. Have a good day.


    * * * * * * * * * * *

    Settling into Breath Mindfulness Practice

    Good Morning!

    Today, I thought I would share my practice this morning with you. The practice is to settle into your breath. There are times in your life when you need to shift focus hear a noise and you need to look to see what it was. But for today's practice, rather than an abrupt shift, we will coax ourselves into mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh said, "Life is both dreadful and wonderful." Have you ever noticed though that we pay more attention to the dreadful? So much so that we might miss little pockets of wonderful. Even small moments of wonder and peace restore us so that we can face the dreadful (or just the irritating).

    If you are anything like me, mindfulness is often the last thing you feel like doing when you get up. Perhaps you are thinking of the urgency of all you need to do, or perhaps you are worried for someone and that's the first thing that grips you in your day. Maybe you are having thoughts that tell you the day will be terrible, or there are no solutions for your problems. Perhaps you have just resigned yourself to suffer...the day will be horrible. All of that is referred to in Zen as 'forgetfulness'...It seems like the problem is more like you can't forget worries or stressors.  It's called forgetfulness because you are forgetting the present...missing it. We can get stuck in feelings about the past or worries about the impending day. In either case, we ensure we will have a painful day. If, on the other hand, you ground yourself in the present-even for five minutes, you increase the likelihood that you will experience some comfort or pleasant feelings, even if your day does prove to be painful or challenging in parts.

    Today's practice is about connecting to the present by settling into your breath in order to "press reset" on negative thoughts or feelings from yesterday or what you assume today will be like. Sitting in the present moment provides energy to face any hurdles you might be confronted with in the day.

    Find your space to sit, and remember to practice non-judgment about the novice video recording skills. Pay attention to your physical state, note aches and pains. Do you have a headache? Any Tension? Notice any unwillingness to practice, any urges to skip it. Just observe those thoughts and any experience of preoccupation, worry, or unwillingness for a few breaths. Then, throw yourself into your breath anyway. Find a pace, like a runner might. Whatever pace is comfortable for you. Focus on sounds and on your breath.

    Take one last deep breath. Notice that even when you are distracted or in pain, you can get to that focused place by giving yourself a moment to acknowledge what's causing you upset and gently shifting your focus towards breath. Take a few breaths to settle into it.

    I wish you lots of energy to embrace your day. 


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 27, 2020 - Mindfulness (from Mr. Getz)

    April 27, 2020

    Good morning, East Side Middle. Have a good day.


    * * * * * * *

    Kissing the Earth Walking Mindfulness

    Today, I want to speak to you about the way we begin our day. Often, we begin in negativity before we are even consciously aware. In this way, we invite negative emotions. Perhaps, you had an unpleasant dream, or you were stressed about something the night before. Perhaps you woke up and before you even put a foot on the floor, you were thinking about the least pleasant thing you had to do in the day to come. Mindfulness enables us to be intentional about our thoughts and actions.

    What if, instead of attending to the last upsetting thing or fearing the next one, you began the day with intention to be gentle and accepting. How differently would you feel?  One of the easiest ways to get your mind to settle is by settling your body first-then the mind follows. We can do this as we are moving to brush our teeth, to make tea or coffee, to prepare to eat breakfast...We can walk not with focus solely on where we are going, but also on how we are going.

    We can walk gently. This does not need to be super slow, just with care and attention. The way we walk through the world literally and figuratively can impact our days and our life. The idea of Karma in Buddhism has been misunderstood. A mischaracterization is that you are mean to people in this life and you come back in the next as a cockroach. I am not a Buddhist scholar, but one way to understand karma is the idea that if you radiate kindness and peace, that energy spreads and returns to you in the here and now. Science demonstrates that people who smile to others receive more smiles back.

    So today, we will read a brief quote about mindful walking and we will practice walking in a particular way...Get settled, cue up this timer:

    Stand, breathe in and out deeply, then begin the timer and read the following quote:

    We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth... Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet."

    - Thich Nhat Hanh

    Walk until you hear the second chime. When you are finished, notice what the experience was like. If it was not calm-if it felt annoying, that's fine. It is difficult to cultivate willingness and attention. Make it your intention to feel your feet on the floor anytime you need to move today. Make an effort to walk with peace as if your feet are kissing the earth. Notice and invite the pleasant in today, even if only in interludes throughout a challenging day.

    Be well.


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 24, 2020 - ESMS Town Hall, Book Club and Friday Mindfulness (from Mr. Getz)

    April 24, 2020

    Hello, East Side Middle - 

    Next Thursday, April 30, ESMS will hold a virtual Town Hall at 6:30pm. Ms. Hyman and I are eager to check in with all of you; your PTA Board will also give some important updates. Details are still being worked out, but I plan to send out an invitation and link early next week. To streamline the event, I would appreciate receiving as many questions as possible in advance - you may begin submitting them here any time.

    I hope some of you will also join other ESMS parents and me for a virtual Book Club on Wednesday, April 29 at 6:30pm. The book is Belonging (Nora Krug).

    If you are interested in attending, be sure to email Beth Servetar by noon on the 29th, so we can send you the link.

    Today's mindfulness exercise from Dr. Michele Galietta, is below. Have a good day and a restful weekend.


    * * * * * * * * *

    Good Morning!

    Breath is Always Available

    Today, I would like to share with you some information about mindfulness in Thich Nah Hanh's own words. He describes mindfulness as, "the energy that helps us to recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives." He goes on, "You don't have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life."  He notes that we often live in a state of forgetfulness--being here, but not really here...having divided attention. He says, "You are caught in the past or the future." But he teaches us that when we ruminate on things we regret or get stuck in fears or anxiety about the future, we can return to the present instantly through our breath that is always here for us. There is some degree of happiness in breathing in oxygen and just knowing we are alive. Through connecting to our body, our mind, and our surroundings, we can draw on the energy of mindfulness for whatever we need. Thich Nhat Hahn has said that our breath is always is always there for us to take refuge in.

    Breathing is the great equalizer, it costs nothing. Moments of peace and even joy are possible in good times, as well as in times of pain. In fact, we are often more aware of acts of kindness that bring us joy or relief when we are suffering. I remember a time in my life during graduate school when I lived in an apartment that was very tiny; it was above a bar in the South Bronx. Walking from the train to my apartment was scary as indeed I had been robbed once trying to get home from the library. I had run out of my student loans, owed my landlords (who were nice enough not to throw me out until my next loan check arrived.) I was living alone and I was lonely and feeling overworked. A friend of mine sent me a package containing a fashion magazine, a funny card, a clay face mask, and a large bar of chocolate. That evening, when I read the magazine and ate that chocolate was pure joy...relief in a sea of difficult tasks.

    If we reflect on these teachings, we need to ask ourselves how many times we have said, I will be happy when this is over or when I have done this or that, or I will relax if I have time at the end of the day. Breathing takes no more time. Today's practice involves finding your happiness now because it is always available. Through breathing in oxygen, filling our lungs to capacity, and breathing out, we know we are alive. We know our lungs and our bodies are functioning. By connecting to something beautiful, even if only for one stop and notice it, we know happiness...

    Practice: First, fast forward past the ads so that when you click the link below, you will begin with nature sounds. Adjust your volume to a soft background so that sounds are not overwhelming. Breath is the primary focus of this practice.

    Now, stretch your back. Curve forward hunching our back, then breathe and sit tall, ready to begin...

    Click here:

    Focus your attention simply on the sensation of your breath coming in through your nose, filling your lungs, cresting, and then leaving your body on the exhale. If you like, you can silently say to yourself, breathing in: I know I am alive and breathing out: I am content.  Continue until the clip ends.

    Now, you might want to make a commitment to yourself to breathe deeply today whenever you are worried or struggling or stressed. Commit to allowing in the moments of refuge provided by a single breath. I'm also 100% in favor of mindfulness to chocolate to bring joy, so if that's available to you as well...enjoy!

    Have a peaceful day.


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 23, 2020 - Mindfulness: Letting Go of Ineffective Patterns (from Mr. Getz)

    April 23, 2020

    Today's mindfulness exercise from Dr. Michele Galietta, is below.



    Good Morning!

    Letting Go of Ineffective Patterns

    As I am writing to you this morning, I hear a solid thud against my house. There is a tree outside my window where a robin sits most of the day every day. However, for at least the last month, every morning and every early afternoon, this robin repeatedly flies into the top portion of my window and bangs into the top the of my window. She does this over and over, day after day. I have been worried for her, and worried for my window. So, each day I have tried to signal to her that her actions were incorrect, futile, unhelpful...I knocked on the window, I put my drapes halfway open-all the way closed...anything, so that she could see that this was not open space. I hung red paper. I put a bird house out in the same tree, all to no avail. I just thought of wind chimes, so I will try that after our mindfulness. However, as of this moment, she is persisting in doing this over and over. As I have written this, she has banged into the window exactly 27 times.

    I know that yesterday's practice asked us to consider persistence and determination. This bird is nothing if not persistent. However, she appears to continue blindly, without taking in new information, repeating an ineffective behavior over and over again. Take a moment to consider your own life. Are there any ways in which you continue to do the same thing over and over, even though it is ineffective? Any habits you repeat without thought, or that you slide into simply because they are familiar or automatic?

    Today's mindfulness is designed to shake us awake and out of futile or ineffective patterns. Beginner's mind is something we have practiced. Recall that it involves seeing the present moment as if it is novel, without preconceived notions. There is a saying by Zen Master, Shunryu Suzuki, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few" ...Beginner's mind involves seeing the world, yourself, and your actions with fresh eyes, like someone else without your experience might, noticing each detail. Mindfulness requires that we observe and describe our world, and that we do so with undivided attention, without judgment or preconception, and that we act wisely and effectively. I have no doubt that this Robin is looking for a nice place to make a nest, but it seems evident that my dining room is not the pace to build her nest. The thud count is up to 37...If only she could take in all the other places around the house and yard to build.

    For today's practice, let's not be like this little robin. My wish for her is that she sees the nice house I put outside, or that she finds a nice tree, or sheltered corner or awning where she could build a safe nest. Let us today recall the principles of beginner's mind and practice. Sit comfortably, take a few breaths and when you are ready to begin, click the following link.

    Now that you have directed your attention to observing without preconception, consider patterns in your life when you might be behaving like my little robin. Where you are repeating something that is ineffective? When do you continue to engage in an unhelpful but familiar dance in the face of the same situations or triggers? Do your best to breathe and to observe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors surrounding the situation. What have you missed? What would be more effective? How could you find a different response or path? If you don't have an answer, that is fine, just commit to paying close attention and to noticing without judgment the next time you encounter the situation. Through mindful attention, a different response is possible. As we continue to notice and gather new information, effectiveness, also known as wise mind can be actualized.

    Wishing for effectiveness in all the places we feel stuck! 


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 22, 2020 - Teen Emotions and Resilience (from Mr. Getz)

    April 22, 2020

    Hello, all  - 

    I read an article that I thought we all might find helpful at this time. It is pasted below and accessible through this link:

    Helping Teens Make Room for Uncomfortable Emotions

    Psychological health includes being able to bear unpleasant feelings.

    by Dr. Lisa Damour


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 22, 2020 - Persistence Mindfulness (from Mr. Getz)

    April 22, 2020

    Today's mindfulness exercise from ESMS mom, Dr. Michele Galietta, is below.

    A quick reminder from the DOE: If your child still needs a device for remote learning, you must apply by 5pm tomorrow, Thursday, April 23. Request an iPad online HERE or by calling 718-935-5100 (select option 5).



    Good Morning!

    I think it is safe to say that we are all getting tired of self-isolation and the discipline of keeping our environments and ourselves safe and clean. Today, I thought we would focus our practice on the concept of persistence. 

    I work with an amazing group of professionals and girls at an agency called POETIC. The Mission of POETIC is to equip girls who have experienced child maltreatment, sexual exploitation, and sex trafficking to find their voices, reclaim their narratives, and persist forward.  I thought, who better to consider as a model for persistence in our lives than the women and girls of POETIC. So, ladies, thank you for the inspiration for today's mindfulness practice! 

    A bedrock principle of POETIC is that youth are not defined by their circumstances or their experiences, that each moment is fresh and holds possibility for movement forward. However, actualizing this is not easy or simple. It requires letting go of doubt and messages you have been told about yourself or that your mind tells you about yourself and the world that it's too hard or you can't overcome things. It requires not judging yourself in your sincere efforts. Change requires patience and determination, and lots of work. What is required to move forward is persistence. Simply put not giving up...sticking with it. Mindfulness, is one tool that helps POETIC girls to move forward towards creating the life that each girl wants to live. 

    Persistence refers to perseverance in spite of fatigue or frustration. Persistence has been measured and studied in psychology as a personality trait...something about a person 's temperament that is stable. However, recent research has demonstrated that mindfulness practice can increase a person's willingness to persist in the face of difficulties. This, of course, makes complete sense when we consider that mindfulness practice is all about setting a task for one's self and then catching yourself when you lose focus, and bringing yourself back to the task over and over with persistence and determination. When we practice mindfulness, we learn at least two things: 1) we train our brain to actually stay on task and connected to the present moment, and 2) we train ourselves, like an athlete, to persist despite frustration, fatigue, or obstacles. What great training for overcoming anything in life. 

    So today, sit tall and breathe, noticing any feelings of fatigue or frustration, take a few deep breaths and watch the brief practice on persistence:

    For the rest of your day, and your life, remember that persistence can be developed. You just need to practice. When you have any frustrations or obstacles today, take a breath and keep at it without judgment, over and over until you overcome the obstacle.

    I wish you good training!


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 21, 2020 - Loneliness (from Mr. Getz)

    April 21, 2020

    Today's mindfulness exercise from ESMS mom, Dr. Michele Galietta, is below.



    Good Morning!

    Today, I thought we would talk about loneliness. Loneliness is in the sadness family. Loneliness is experienced when one is alone and unhappy about it. Being alone can be experienced as solitude (which may be peaceful or pleasant) or it can be experienced as a sense of wanting to be connected to others and related feelings of sadness.

    The Buddhist view on loneliness is that periods of loneliness can useful. In moments of loneliness, we are able to explore parts of ourselves and the world that we might otherwise miss. However, balance is everything. Chronic loneliness, or being set apart from the world, is not good for your health. It lowers immunity and is linked depression, to a host of physical problems, and to higher rates of mortality. We can and should reach out to others and engage virtually or from 10 feet away! But sometimes, we are still lonely.

    Research has shown that mindfulness decreases feelings of loneliness. Mindfulness helps in at least three ways. The first way is that accepting being alone can transform loneliness into solitude that has pleasant moments. The second way that mindfulness helps is to see yourself in connection to the entire world which dissipates loneliness. The third way mindfulness helps is that mindfulness can give us self-compassion which soothes and nurtures you.

    So, today's practice will allow you to explore mindfulness, but also to move through it to connectedness.

    Breathe and then play this clip:

    Notice the feelings in your body? Are you feeling sadness, or an ache in your chest? Are you missing anyone? Perhaps you are in a place in your life where you do not have connections to anyone and wish you did. You can build connections, but for now, you can practice. You can experience sadness without suffering.

    Whatever you are feeling now, continue to breathe and listen to the music. Jazz is often unplanned and intimately connected to others. Listen to all the musical links and connections. Now, think for one moment about how we are all connected to each other. If our recent times have taught us anything it is that each of our actions are connected. If any feelings of sadness arise, just notice them with empathy and compassion for yourself. Do not judge yourself or tell yourself you should be doing or feeling anything different. Just breathe and offer yourself comfort. Imagine holding yourself like a parent might cradle a child, continue to breathe in and out.  Hold onto nothing. With each exhale, bring your attention to the music and know that in this moment you are connected to the music. You are connected to all the people who practice this very mindfulness today. You are not alone.

    Now, notice this state. Throughout your day, do not be afraid of lonely feelings. Embrace them, show yourself compassion, and you will hurt less. Dive into the natural world...take a walk and feel connected to the universe. Speak to anyone around you, close or not, and pay attention to their feelings and the interaction. Make a call...Nurture yourself by putting up something you like to look at or listen to music you enjoy. Finally, remember that everything is temporary and that this period will pass. In the meantime, find ways to make it a little easier on yourself.

    Have a peaceful day. 


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 13, 2020 - Resource and Updates (from the Parent Coordinator)

    Hi, everyone -

    Jessica McInnis would like to share a video that she and and Mr. Getz think is quite valuable: Talking to and Supporting Students and Ourselves During the Pandemic. It is about 25 minutes long and contains some information that is useful for all of us right now

    In addition, this weekend's update letter from the mayor and chancellor is available HERE.

    Be well!

    Beth Servetar
    Parent Coordinator

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 10, 2020 - Holidays and the coming week (from Mr. Getz)

    April 10, 2020

    Dear ESMS friends and family,

    This week our family, like many other Jewish families around the world, held our Passover Seder via Zoom. Though the Department of Education has banned the use of Zoom for educational purposes, it appears to still be acceptable for religious ones.  The Seder, Hebrew for procedure or sequence, is the ritual in which Jewish people retell and reflect upon their escape from slavery in Egypt. For many Jews, it is also a time to reflect on our current situation and other stories of injustice. Our eldest daughter, Maxine, organized this Seder and asked us to begin by talking about what we thought the world would be like after COVID-19. As much of the Passover story concerns the plagues that were visited upon Egypt, talking about COVID-19 seemed especially appropriate.

    Quickly, our conversation over Zoom went from what we thought the world would be like to what we hoped the world would be like. And from there we moved on to what COVID-19 has revealed about our world and how we should respond to this new knowledge.

    Which got us right back to education and schools, and so Zoom accidentally became a teaching tool again.

    Forgive us, oh, New York City Department of Education! We have  Zoomed and we are abased!

    But back to school. This coming week, we will be looking at what COVID-19 is revealing about our country and our values and asking our students to reflect on their own values.  They will find their own answers to the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" They will then write to their elected officials with their thoughts. Throughout the week, they will tour American history and America's national parks. They will study children inventors and then be tasked to come up with their own inventions to make the world a better place.

    In times of crisis, people often seem to divide themselves into rescuers and the rescued, with the majority of us in the latter group. This forced passivity can be quite frustrating and debilitating.  In this coming week, our students will start thinking of their potential to be rescuers. When COVID-19 leaves our city, our students will be active in the work of rebuilding our city.

    Our teachers will not be assigning new work this week. They will hold extra help sessions for students whom they have identified as needing some extra support. They will also continue to hold office hours.

    Amanda, Jessica and I will continue to be available to students who would like to talk about anything.

    Stay well.  Our best to all of you who are celebrating this week. 

    And please continue banging your pots and pans together at 7pm every night.  I hope that sound of resilience and appreciation lingers well past the retreat of COVID-19.


    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 9, 2020 - Daily mindfulness on a rainy day (from Mr. Getz)

    April 9, 2020

    Dear ESMS friends and families,

    Below, I am sharing a mindfulness exercise for today from Michele Galietta.
    And here are relaxation techniques for you and your children, from our school counselor, Jessica McInnis.

    Best to all,


    Good Morning...

    It is a rainy day here where I am writing to you. One of the principles of mindfulness is doing what is effective. Rain is soothing and helps to wash things away. Being effective means not wishing for sun, rather using what is here in the present. So, today I ask you to consider for a moment the emotion of anger and where and when it is effective in your life.

    Anger is a very interesting emotion. Unlike fear which is really only justified if something is actually a danger to you in the present moment, anger is almost always justified. In other words, anytime something blocks you from getting something you want or anytime you are misunderstood or treated unfairly, anger makes sense and it is justified. The problem, however, is that anger is not always effective. When is it ineffective? Anger is counterproductive when it is so intense that it interferes with your ability to communicate effectively, or when it creates urges to say or do things that are not consistent with who you want to be. Anger is also unhelpful when it lingers, creating long lasting unpleasant feelings for you which make it harder to get through your day and your life.

    To be clear, anger has a purpose. It tells us when we have been wronged; anger provides energy to change things you can change. However, anger about something in the past or anger about things you can't change can be something you wish to let go of.

    There are many things right now that can make us angry. Being socially isolated from friends and perhaps in too close quarters with people we are sheltering with can make us angry and irritable. The fact that innocent people are suffering, the fact that important plans have been cancelled--all of these things can make us angry.

    One last fact about anger. It is not an all or nothing emotion. It comes in gradations from irritated to annoyed, to very angry, to rageful. We can, if it is helpful, choose to reduce anger just a bit or try to let it go altogether depending on how the emotion is affecting us today and how useful it is for us.

    Today's mindfulness practice asks you to consider any anger you might be holding today and think about its usefulness. First set your timer for 7 minutes (or however much time you want to practice for). Sit and try to find anger about a situation or a person that you would like to reduce or that you'd like to let go of.

    When your bell to begin rings, take a few deep breaths and as you exhale let go of physical tension in your body. This is often where we hold anger, in our jaws and our shoulders. Adopt a position of willingness, palms facing upwards, and keep a soft tiny, half-smile on your face. This is one practice where you may wish to keep eyes closed.

    Click this clip link

    Continue to breathe in and out, listening to the rain sounds on this clip, releasing tension and judgments with each exhale. Allowing the sound of rain and your breathing to melt resentment.

    When the timer rings signifying the end of your practice, open your eyes, breathe deeply, and make it your intention to notice things that prompt anger in you today. If you do not wish to feel angry or if it is counterproductive for you in its intensity, take a deep breath and recall this morning's practice, and allow the feeling to leave making way for the next moment.

    Be well today.

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
  • April 8, 2020 - Chancellor update and clarification on Thursday /Friday (from Mr. Getz)

    April 8, 2020

    Dear friends and families,

    As we head into the holiday weekend, I wanted to clarify the April 9-10 arts assignments sent to the students. Completion of these assignments is not mandatory if you are taking the school days off to celebrate a holiday on Thursday and/or Friday. Students who are doing the virtual field trips should continue completing attendance sheets on those days. I encourage you to participate in the trips with your children, if you would like to and have the time.

    Please see the attached update from Chancellor Carranza. It includes important information for students in all grades and includes notice that the school closure has been extended to April 29, 2020.

    Wishing you the best,

    Covid-19 Related Updates for ESMS Students
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Our amazing art teacher, Ali Mainhart, has created stunning virtual galleries to showcase the art of our ESMS students.
More projects to come, and all students will be featured in at least one gallery.  Enjoy! 

Upon entering the galleries, click on individual artworks for a closeup and artist information.
Depending on your device, the images may load slowly, but the inventiveness on display is well worth the wait.

Gallery #3
Art created by our 7th graders!
Click HERE or on the image above for an interactive map sampling our 7th grade animal artwork.

Gallery #2
Art created by our 8th graders!

Click HERE  or on the image to see beautiful typography portraits by some of our 8th graders.

Gallery #1
Art created by our 7th graders!
Please enter the gallery HERE or on the above image to view 7th Grade mythological creatures!


The Tiger Times (Issue #11)
is hot off the presses!
Read it  HERE

* * * * * * * *

My Life in Corona Social Imposed Distancing

 - A Poem Memoir written by 7th Grader, Leah Mesuk

Read Leah's poem HERE

* * * * * * * *

Watch, listen, and be prepared to be inspired by Tessa's slam poem celebrating NYC workers on the front lines.
Tessa  is a 7th grader at ESMS!

Tessa and her poem were also covered by WNBC local news

 This photo is of four letters R-E-A-D to highlight our Principal's Book Club.  Each letter is a bookshelf and contains books.

Parents are invited to join Mr. Getz and Ms. Hyman for our
Principally For Parents Book Club

Each month Principal David Getz and Assistant Principal Amanda Hyman invite parents to join them for our Principally for Parents Book Club. Participants read the selected book prior to the class and then join Mr. Getz and Ms. Hyman to discuss it in detail.


Update:  The 5/20 Book Club meeting is still on as described and will be held remotely, by video. Please email Beth Servetar by noon on 5/19 so she can enter you into the system.

Title Update!!


June 10, 6:30pm
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (story by Gabriel García Márquez)
"...a short story by Gabriel García Márquez which touches on both humanity and aspects of the supernatural.")
Read it online here:


When purchasing books on Amazon, please be sure to use ESMS' Amazon Smile Account (see bottom of ESMS home page for details).

Please email our Parent Coordinator ( if you plan to attend.

NY Plastic Bag Ban Solution

The ESMS PTA is selling reusable ESMS eco bags! The bags conveniently ball up into their own carrying pouch so they can be thrown into backpacks, work bags, and briefcases. 

Bags are
$5 each or
3 bags for $12.

To purchase, students can visit Beth Servetar's office on the first floor.
Exact Change Please!

ESMS School Store

ESMS Merchandise Available for Sale Online!  
Temporarily, we have moved sales online.

You can order at

This is a photo of two hoodie t-shirts, one gray, one blue.  Both have the letters ESMS on the chest.  The graphic is used to bring attention to the school's spiritwear available for sale.

Show us your school spirit, Tigers!

Questions? Contact our
ESMS Spiritwear Coordinator, Kara Fic at:

Fairway Community Partners


Every dollar you spend, ESMS gets 3%
On Double Days, we get 6%
  Shop hard / Shop often
For a Fairway Community Partners card, please contact
Parent Coordinator, Beth Servetar

ESMS Supports Immigrant Families

 This is a photo of a racially diverse group of young children.  The caption below it reads Protections for Immigrant Families and reference that the DOE is committed to protecting the rights of all their students and families.  The graphic precedes a link for more information.



 A graphic that reads "Jazz at Lincoln Center".  Each year, Lincoln Center Jazz comes to ESMS to present a program called Democracy & Jazz 

Thank you to the talented musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center for performing at East Side Middle School!

This series of concerts at ESMS was part of

Democracy & Jazz,

illustrating the ideals of American democracy through the lens of America’s greatest and most democratic art form: jazz.

8th Grade Field Trip

East Side Middle School

Would Like to Thank the Cast and Producers of 

 This is a graphic of the Playbill magazine from the Broadway show, Come From Away.  ESMS students were invited to attend the show and do a Q&A with the cast following the performance. 

for a great Broadway experience and for the private Q & A session following both matinee performances!

 ESMS Student Q&A withe cast from Come From Away (2018) 

Make Your Amazon Purchases Work For ESMS
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases to the ESMS PTA when you shop via our Amazon Smile. If not signed up, register at the Amazon Smile Page:, select:
East Side Middle School PTA
Location:  New York, NY

Remember to begin all future purchases at  Bookmark it in your browser now!


We are working to make this website easier to access for people with disabilities and will follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
If you need assistance with a particular page or document on our current site, please contact or call (212) 360-0114 request assistance.