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About Us

I.S. 281 Joseph B. Cavallaro Middle School
Mission Statement

“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.”

School Motto

Being humble and kind is part of our daily drive - #FullSTEAMahead!

Vision Statement

At I.S. 281 – Joseph B. Cavallaro, it is our vision to fulfill our mandate as a N.Y.C. Middle School helping ALL students attain the highest standards as established by the city and state. Staff, parents and students will effectively communicate, collaborate and support our high academic and behavior standards. As we address the needs of ALL learners, it is our vision to allow students to become active learners who think critically and creatively, set goals and accept challenges, display respect for self, others and the environment, and demonstrate qualities of responsible, productive citizens.


Core Values – team model: equity (fairness), integrity (honesty), open communication, perseverance, empathy and trust.

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.”



It's time together to celebrate OUR success...Cavallaro has been designated by New York State as a RECOGNITION SCHOOL!! Only 2 Middle Schools in District 21 have been named Recognition...Mark Twain and CAVALLARO!! In Queens, only Scholars Academy Middle School was named. We will be receiving a special certificate of recognition by New York State DOE Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.


Recognition schools are identified as having High Achievement and High Progress under New York State's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), serving as models of the levels of performance the Department of Education seeks for all schools to achieve in the future. Recognition schools are among the top performing under ESSA in student growth, performance, graduation rate, met or exceeded state progress in ELA and Math, chronic absenteeism rate, high College, Career and Civic Readiness and meeting the 95% participation rate in NYS assessments! As you know, the state bases their results from the prior year, so the 2017-18 school year.


We work very hard TOGETHER all with the same goal in mind...Student Success in the purest form!! I am very PROUD  of our staff, students and families...through focused teamwork, perseverance and trust we grow together with the clear understanding that we are here to develop the whole child.   We have created something pretty spectacular at I.S. 281! I have said it many, many times before, we have the most important job in the world - educating our future generation. 


We are proud!


Educationally and Genuinely yours,

Ms. Bender