Principals's Page

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to a new school year! While this will be an opening like no other we have faced before, I want to assure you that the safety, health and emotional well-being of our staff and students will be our top priority. It is with great pride and pleasure that I welcome back our 7th and 8th grade students, as well as open our doors to this year’s incoming 6th grade students.  As Principal of Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281, it is my hope that together we will provide each student with a nurturing and educationally challenging school year.  Please join us in setting high standards of excellence and expectations for each and every child aligned to the Chancellor’s Instructional Framework, with an emphasis on ensuring the social and emotional well-being of our students. 

Our mission statement reads, “As the magnet school for STEAM, we at Joseph B. Cavallaro will provide every child with the support to grow intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. In an advanced inquiry based learning environment, we will serve as leaders for the 21st Century, in both technology and the arts.”  As a school that prides itself on offering their student’s an educationally and culturally rich environment, it will be our goal to continue forward in that direction.  This year’s Instructional Focus reads, “Students will engage in targeted instruction using advanced literacy and high level questioning to meet the individual needs of all learners, as determined by unified, data based assessments tracking students’ progress towards proficiency within each standard.”    

In partnership with the entire school community, it is my vision to provide every child with a safe, nurturing and educationally equitable learning environment complete with a rigorously challenging curriculum setting all students on the road to college and career readiness.  If together we hold true to the values of equity, integrity, communication, perseverance and trust, it will ultimately permeate into the hearts and minds of our students through our example.  Please join us in the many events we hold throughout the year.  Thus, our mission of preparing each and every child on a successful path will be attained with your involvement.  I look forward to a promising school year.



Maria Bender

Principal, Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281

"If you cannot fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Principal’s Educational Philosophy: 


“I believe that it is crucial to provide students with a safe and nurturing learning environment, whereby consistent goals are set and monitored, pedagogy is coherent, standards-based and data-driven, activity is motivating (relevant), engaging and measurable, and education is equitably distributed to promote the success and progress of each and every child.”


 Reflection Quotes:



Reflection Quote #24:

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud”

- Maya Angelou


Reflection Quote #23:

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking”

- Brian Tracy


Reflection Quote #22:

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners”

- Laurence Sterne


Reflection Quote #21:

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, your smile and a grateful heart”

- Zig Ziglar


Reflection Quote #20:

“Stay true in the dark and humble in the spotlight”

- Harold B. Lee


Reflection Quote #19:

“You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Reflection Quote #18:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


Reflection Quote #17:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

- Thomas Jefferson


Reflection Quote #16:

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

- Carl Bard


Reflection Quote #15:

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”

- Mother Teresa


Reflection Quote #14:

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

- William Arthur Ward


Reflection Quote #13:

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

- William Arthur Ward


Reflection Quote #12:

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving”

- W.T. Purkiser


Reflection Quote #11:

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.”

- Camille Pissaro


Reflection Quote #10:

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

- Frederick Douglass


Reflection Quote #9:

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”

- Thomas Paine


Reflection Quote #8:

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

- Colin Powell


Reflection Quote #7:

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”

- Mark Twain


Reflection Quote #6:

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Reflection Quote #5:

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity …. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” 

- Yehuda Berg


Reflection Quotes #4:

“Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service and character.”

- William Arthur Ward


“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

- Abraham Lincoln


Reflection Quote #3:

“A great man is always willing to be little.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Reflection Quotes #2:

“Treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.”

- Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


“Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.”

- Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Reflection Quote #1:

“Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.”

- Gordon B. Hinckley