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“Letter I is for Instruments Week” is next!

Hello all,

“Letter H is for Helping Week” was Honorable, Humbling, and of course FULL of Helping! For the first time this year, the students held off on bringing shares to school; however, the students did not come to school empty handed! All week long, the students (and their parents) entered PPA with assorted canned goods and dried food. This food was collected throughout the week and on Friday was donated to the C.A.U.S.E. Center, a local organization and food pantry located at 741 Bergen Avenue that helps feed families from all over the surrounding area. Take a look at the photo below to see the donations from the extremely generous students (and families) of Park Prep. We are sure that this donation will help fill the bellies of so many people this holiday season. Thank you to all of the families that contributed to this large and impressive donation!


food donation2


The students spent both Monday and Tuesday morning working one on one with the teachers to complete their Letter H identification/fine motor activity sheets.  The teachers were so impressed with how easily the new students recognized the letter H and also how well the older students remembered all things “H” during their morning work!  In the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, the students created the eighth letter list of the year!  Naturally, the letter H list was full with Heaps of H words!  As a whole group, the students took turns brainstorming and contributing words that begin with the letter H and also Hunted around the classroom for letter H items!  Afterwards, they participated in a discussion about what it means to HELP.  During the discussion, the students decided that helping was when you do something nice for someone else.  They also brainstormed a list of ways that kids can help out!  Take a look below.


Letter H Week MW List Shares2


The teachers informed the students that Wednesday’s morning work activity would be all about helping a very special group of people – senior citizens!  When asked if they knew what the term “Senior Citizen” meant, the students seemed a bit puzzled.  The teachers helped explain that senior citizens (or seniors for short) are people who have been alive for a VERY long time!  One student raised his hand and asked, “Alive for a long time – like 6 years?”  The teachers explained that seniors were more like SIXTY-SIX years old!

Like everyone from time to time, seniors need a little extra care – particularly around the holidays.  The seniors that the PPA students decided to help are the permanent residents of the Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park located at 525 Montgomery Street in Jersey City.  The students spent their morning crafting beautiful and elaborate holiday cards for each of the residents.  After school on Wednesday, the teachers visited Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park to hand out the cards to the senior residents.  The cards surely helped make everyone at the A.H.C.C.H.P. feel so special and happy during the holidays!


health care center


The helping continued on Thursday but this time the students would be helping animals!  The teachers explained that some animals do not have a home or owners to take care of them.  Unlike the animals in the students’ houses, these animals have to find their own food and take care of themselves.  Fortunately, there are wonderful people who spend their time to help these special animals by keeping them healthy, finding them a home and providing them with food to eat.

The students were so excited to learn that they would be helping these animals by spending the morning baking homemade cat and dog treats for them to eat!  Following the directions in the recipes, the students mixed together special ingredients and then placed them on baking trays which the teachers baked later that day.

After school, the teachers took four full cookie trays over to the Liberty Humane Society facility located at 235 Jersey City Boulevard.  The Liberty Humane Society houses both cats and dogs, all of whom were in the mood for a tasty treat!  The animals seemed so happy as they devoured the treats the students baked.  As the teachers recalled from last year, a video of the feedings was out of the question as it sounded like the doggies were in a “Who can bark the loudest?” contest!   The cats were much quieter and took their time eating the treats.  The cats all seemed to have a general rule about the cookies- play with the treat first, lick the treat, then eat the treat!  Regardless of how they went about eating them, one thing was clear – they were yummy!  Here are some of the highlights from the visit to the Liberty Humane Society.


dog and cat


Friday was another day full of helping!  This time the group was not seniors or animals but instead the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Military.  These brave men and women spend the holidays (and other days!) all over the world, away from their homes and families to help keep all of the people living in the United States safe!  While it is hard to express our gratitude entirely, the PPA students were eager to help in any way possible!

The PPA teachers knew just who to call to help the U.S. Military!   The teachers contacted a very helpful and special Paramus, New Jersey school teacher named Jane Cosco.  Back in 2003, Mrs. Cosco was driving in her car and listening to the radio when a woman called in to inform the public of plans to cut military holiday budgets and ask for civilian donations for soldiers stationed overseas during the holiday season.

Finding this unacceptable, Mrs. Cosco rallied her middle school students to volunteer their time to stuff goody bags with special treats that would be sent over to the troops stationed in Iraq and away from their families during the holiday season.  Operation Goody Bag, as it was named, started out as an after school activity over ten years ago and has grown tremendously!  Mrs. Cosco and her helpers have stuffed and sent over 600,000 goody bags to thank our troops!  Since 2009, the PPA students have contributed 2,000 goody bags to that number!  For her efforts, Mrs. Cosco was the recipient of the Call to Service Award by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.  For all of the hard work and generosity over the years, Operation Goody Bag was awarded a federal grant from the Corporation of National and Community Service!   Talk about Helping others!

The students were so excited to learn that they would be responsible for making goody bags for the men and women of the U.S. military.  The students got right to work (earlier in the week) by coloring in the heart coloring pages that were later cut out and glued onto each bag.  They were thrilled to learn that they would be visited by a special guest on Friday morning!

Before long, the time had come and the special guest greeted the students of PPA warmly!  The students were so excited to meet the PPA Daddy who is the brother-in-law of an active serviceman in the U.S. Army.  The Daddy and daughter duo photographed below explained that their family member, “Uncle Doug” as he is known to the PPA students is a member of the U.S. Army.  Uncle Doug works all over the world to help keep people safe!  After viewing some photographs of Uncle Doug and his Army comrades, the students were really eager to get to work!  The students and teachers worked feverishly until every last piece of candy was packed and goody bag was stuffed!




Take a guess as to how many goody bags they made!  100? No!     200? No!     300? No!     400?  No!


That brings PPA total to 2,500 goody bags in all! 

That is A LOT of goody bags!


A special thank you to this PPA Daddy for coming in to spend time with us!  After the students’ efforts today, Mrs. Cosco’ s Operation Goody Bag is now  600,500 goody bags!  Keep up the great work Mrs. C!

Friday afternoon wrapped up with a technology presentation which recapped the entire week of helping!  The students were thrilled to see through photographs and video clips such as the one below (which was recorded last year, just how helpful their hard work was and how much it was appreciated!



Wow!  What a wonderful and busy week of helping!  The students will surely be in the holiday spirit as we head into next week!  Park Prep Academy staff and students would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the organizations that opened their doors to us this week.   Donations on behalf of Park Prep Academy were also made to each of the groups that helped make H week so special.  See you next week!


To learn more about or to donate to any of the organizations that the PPA students helped this week, please visit any of the following links.

Operation Goodybag

Hudson County Animal League

Liberty Humane Society 

Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park


PPA Winter Holiday Party – Friday, December 19th

(2:00-3:00 p.m.)

Aftercare is not available.

Due to space, we kindly request that attendance is limited to PPA students and PPA parent(s).

Winter Recess 12/22– 1/2

School Resumes on Monday, January 5, 2015

Theme for Next Week: