Parents » Notices


December 14th, 2019 | 12:00 PM at Long Island National Cemetery - Wreaths Across America
Wreath Across America
December 5th, 2019 | 5:30 PM - Annual Holiday Festival
Annual Holiday Festival
December 2nd, 2019 | 7:00 PM at PS 195 Manhattan Beach 131 Irwin St. Brooklyn, NY 11235 - VAPING AWARENESS FORUM
Vaping Awareness
November 26th, 2019 | 5:00 PM - PTA Meeting
Saturday, October 26th, 2019 | 12 PM - 4 PM - 5th Annual Spooktacular:
October 1 - 31, 2019 - Street Safety Essay Contest:
You’re Invited to the Fall High School Fairs
Come to a high school fair to meet schools in that borough and attend workshops on how to apply to high school! Want to see high schools in multiple boroughs? You can! Come to fairs in as many boroughs as you’d like.
Find fair locations, the workshop schedule, and register at Registration is not required, but it will help us plan for the best events possible.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 - District 21 High School Showcase:
District 21 will be hosting a High School Showcase for our current 8th graders to highlight the many wonderful academic and CTE programs District 21 has to offer. Staff members and students from each High School will be in attendance to provide information about their school’s unique programs.
Join us on
October 3, 2019
From: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: John Dewey High School
50 Avenue X
Brooklyn, NY 11223
  • Kingsborough Early College Secondary School
  • Brooklyn Studio Secondary School
  • International High School at Lafayette
  • Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies
  • High School of Sports Management
  • Abraham Lincoln High School
  • John Dewey High School
  • Life Academy High School for Film and Music
  • William E. Grady Career and Technical High School
  • Leaders High School
  • Edward R. Murrow
    7th graders are encouraged to attend also
Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 - Eye On Education:
Dear Parent/Guardian,
On Wednesday, October 30th, we will have the privilege of offering our families a mobile eye exam service, Eye On Education. Licensed Optometrists will give your child a comprehensive eye exam. As part of this eye exam, they will be dilating your child's eyes to check for proper eye health.
Should their team of doctors determine that your child would benefit from eye glasses, they will be provided to you at No Cost to you or our school. To cover administrative costs you will be required to provide your health insurance information, including your ID number, on the attached form. This process will help fund the cost of the program and allows Eye On Education to provide professional eye care to New York City school children.
Again, there are no out-of-pocket costs, no co-pays and no deductibles. You will not receive a bill for their services. If you are interested in having your child receive an eye exam from Eye On Education, please fill out the attached form and return it to the main office no later than October 16th. 1 encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to evaluate your child's vision.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ms. DiMatteo in the main office.
Maria Bender
District 21 Middle School Open Houses: Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 - I.S. 281
Monday, September 16th, 2019 - ELA and Math Afterschool Tutoring:
Monday, September 16th, 2019 - MLL Afterschool Preparatory:
Friday, September 13th, 2019 - Volleyball Team Permission Slip:
Friday, September 13th, 2019 - SHSAT Afterschool Preparatory Program:

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 - Welcome Back Letter - Maria Bender:

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to a new school year! 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 Equity and Excellence for All. 

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 feel free to 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

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 - Welcome Back Letter - Richard A. Carranza:

Dear Families,

Happy first day of school, and welcome back! I hope you’re as excited as I am to start the 2019–20
school year.

This is a great time to be a student in a New York City public school. So many of our students and schools are doing better than ever. We have the highest-ever graduation rate, and more students graduating ready to succeed in college. And I expect more great things for our students this year.
From our youngest learners to our oldest in high school, our children are the next generation of thinkers, leaders, creators, and change-makers. We are ready to propel each of them on that path.

Our commitment holds steady regardless of a student’s family income, race, religion, nationality, disability, language spoken at home, sexual orientation, gender identification, or any other dimension of their identity. Everyone at the DOE is working hard to ensure that every student gets the rigorous, inspiring, engaging, nurturing education they deserve.

I call this the Children’s Agenda—every day and every decision is about getting each student what THEY need to succeed. We understand that no two students, classrooms, or schools are alike, and recognize the beautiful and distinctive nature of each.
At the same time, we are offering our students and families strong support, creating more welcoming schools, and ensuring a rigorous curriculum for all. Students across the city will benefit from social emotional learning, restorative justice practices, and culturally responsive curriculum that reflects who they are.
This is what it means to advance equity now.

All of us at the DOE hope you love what you see today, and wish you a successful school year.

Richard A. Carranza

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 - Technology Usage Letter:

Dear Parent/Guardian,


As a STEAM School, our students have many opportunities to benefit from using available technology. As responsible members of our school community, students are expected to follow all IS 281 and Department of Education policies regarding use of this equipment (Infraction B19 of the Citywide Discipline Code – inappropriate use of electronic technology).   Here are some guidelines that students are expected to follow when using school computers:


  • Students are expected to take proper care of the computers & other technology equipment.
  • Students are not allowed to cause any type of intentional damage to the equipment, including but limited to damaging screens, keyboards, mouse, headphones and improperly shutting down computers, causing them to crash.
  • Students are not allowed to download any programs, games, extensions, etc (such as Spotify, Roblox, Minecraft) on school computers.
  • Students are not allowed to modify, change or disable any settings on school computers, including proxy settings.
  • Students are not permitted to access and/or edit other students’ work that is on school computers.
  • Students are not permitted to eat, drink or chew gum in the Computer Lab.
  • Students are expected to leave the Computer Lab in the same condition that they found it in.


Students were required to complete and sign the Computer Acceptable Use Policy. The guidelines as stated above are in addition to those guidelines.


Please review & discuss this document with your child. Students will only be permitted to use available technology if both parent/guardian & student sign below. Upon the first violation of these guidelines a parent must attend a conference at school. Upon a second violation parent must attend a conference at school & student will be mandated to attend detention after school & may be excluded from use of technology in the future.


Any questions please contact Ms. Bailey (tech. supervisor) at 718-996-6706; ext. 1261



Ms. M. Bender


Consent Form to Photograph, Film, or Videotape a student for non-profit use:

Dear Families,

Your safety is our number one concern. As you and your children enjoy New York’s beautiful beaches this summer, the Department of Education wants to remind you of ways you can stay safe near and in the water.

The best way to protect your family is to make sure everyone knows how to swim. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation offers many free and low-cost swim lessons. To find classes near you, visit and search for “swim programs.”

Also follow these tips:

  • Swim only in areas supervised by lifeguards. They’re on duty from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day. Please follow their directions.
  • Always swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Set water safety rules for the whole family based on each person’s swimming ability; for example, tell inexperienced swimmers to stay in water less than chest deep.
  • Watch out for dangerous waves and rip currents. If you get caught in a current, try to remain calm and swim parallel to the shore. When you’re away from the current, return to the beach.
  • Never leave children unattended. Teach them about water safety and stay near when they’re swimming.
  • Obey all posted signs and flags. Swimming is only permitted in certain areas, and is never allowed when a red flag is posted.
  • Wear a life jacket when boating. This applies to even expert swimmers.
  • Wear sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid alcohol while swimming.
  • Check weather conditions before heading to the beach (visit and search for “beach conditions”) and don’t swim in bad weather.

For more information about beach safety, visit and search for “Be Water Safe.”

We wish you a wonderful and safe summer.


Maria Bender




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




Thursday, June 6th, 2019 - School Supply list: 2019 - 2020

Thursday, June 6, 2019 - Summer Assignments: 2019 - 2020


Good afternoon parents,
Today our 6th and 7th grade students received their summer reading bundles, the assignment sheet, and a brightly colored drawstring bag. Each class was spoken to and the summer reading assignment was explained to them, along with the expectations.  6th and 7th grade ELA teachers will reinforce the following bullet points with their students:
  • 6th grade students (incoming 7th graders) mandated reading book The Lightening Thief
  • 7th grade students (incoming 8th graders) mandated reading book Magnus Chase and the Sword of the Summer
  • The assignment is to complete 2 short response and 1 extended response which must be submitted to their new ELA teacher in September 
  • Encourage the students to read the other books in the bundles
  • Reinforce that the books are theirs to keep
  • Incoming 6th grade students are required to read Wonder
The idea behind this year's summer reading selections are author studies. While we are not asking the students to deliberately engage in an author study, we are hoping that having access to multiple books by the same author will motivate them to read and want to complete a series. Please emphasis this important piece with your child.  Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Ms. Bender


Summer Assignments

Summer in the City 2019

Attention all 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders:

Summer in the City offers a variety of free and exciting opportunities through the Summer Academy and Summer School programs. Students spend the summer participating in engaging lessons and hands-on STEM activities, along with taking field trips to museums, parks, and other cultural sites.

Summer in the City provides transportation and all students will receive a free, healthy breakfast and lunch. Click on the link below for more information:

Help ensure funding is available at your Child's School
Visit and submit a Family Income Inquiry Form Today!
Thursday, May 30, 2019 - Exhibition Kickoff Event
Washington Square Park
Dear Families,
Come out to support NYC public school students as they speak out on major issues through art. Join CEI and students from 30 schools in five boroughs at the opening event of CEI’s citywide student parks exhibition, developed in partnership with NYC Parks.
Thursday, May 9, 2019 - Career Day 
Dear Fellow Community Member,
It is with great anticipation and honor that we announce our upcoming Career Day event at Joseph B Cavallaro, I.S. 281! We are actively seeking parents and family members, as well as members of our community, to attend this special event for our students. Career Day will take place on Thursday, May 9th from 8am-12pm, with light refreshments in the morning and lunch to follow. Our ultimate goal is to provide students with a varied sense of the working world, as well as what requirements are necessary in order to obtain positions within a given field.
May 7, 2019 - Vaccinations
Dear Families,
The health and well-being of New York City students, families, and staff is a top priority for the Department of Education, and we would like to share important information about two recent measles cases in public school students. These students did not attend school while infectious, and students have not been at risk of contracting measles while at school. We are sharing this information out of an abundance of caution and to remind you of our vaccination policy.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Anyone who has received two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly unlikely to get this infection. At this time, the risk to students in public schools remains extremely low given the high rate of vaccination in students. 
As a reminder, New York State Public Health Law requires all students, except those with approved exemptions, to be vaccinated or show immunity to measles to attend public school. You can see the school immunization requirements at
May 6th - 7th, 2019 - Smile NY Dental Program
Dear Parent/Guardian,
On, May 6th & 7th, 2019, we will have the privilege of offering our families a mobile dental exam service. Licensed professionals from Smile NY Dental Program will give your child a comprehensive dental exam. Services include: cleaning, exam, fluoride treatment, sealants and x-rays when needed.
There is no cost to families. Parents must provide insurance information if they have it since Smile NY is required to submit for services, however parents never receive a bill for services provided. All children are seen, regardless of ability to pay. All students leave with an oral health report card so you know the health of your child.
Again, there are no out of pocket costs, no co-pays and no deductibles. If you are interested in having your child receive a dental exam, please fill out the attached form and return it to the main office by May 1, 2019. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to evaluate your child's teeth.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ms. DiMatteo in the main office.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Cohort Initial Results
Dear Families,
This is a follow up to a February letter informing you that your school’s operational water fixtures would be tested for the presence of lead in 2019. On 4/19/2019, all operational sources of water at I.S. 281 - Brooklyn (I.S. 281 Joseph B Cavallaro at 8787 24 Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11214), including for drinking or cooking, were tested for the presence of lead. The laboratory results showed elevated levels of lead in 6 of the 117 fixtures from which water was taken and tested. Any drinking or cooking fixture with elevated levels was immediately taken offline, and will remain offline until it is successfully remediated. Details of elevated results are attached and complete test results are posted on the DOE website at Click “Data and Reports” and look for the “Facilities” heading.
Monday, April 1, 2019 
Calling all 6th & 7th Grade parents:
Meet the principals of the Specialized High Schools
Meeting Date: Monday, April 1st, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Brooklyn Tech High School Auditorium, 29 Fort Greene Place Brooklyn, NY 11217
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - Parent/Teacher Conferences 
Dear Parents/Guardians,
We will be holding Parent/Teacher Conferences on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, which will be a 1/2 day for students. Students will be dismissed at 11:10 a.m.  Report cards will be distributed during open school. You will be able to pick up your child's report cards in the gymnasium before meeting with his/her teachers.

Open School Afternoon 12:10 — 2:10 p.m. Open School Evening 4:30 — 7:30 p.m.
Those parents who have not yet registered for PupilPath, our online student information system, can do so in Room 128 with Mrs. Wiederhold during open school. 
March 19, 2019 - Family Fun Night
Dear Parents/Guardians,
Our next Family Fun Night event will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Please join us for a "P.1, Popcorn and a Movie Night" featuring a special screening of Bed Time Stories. Our PTA will have their snack stand open to purchase additional treats for the movie, which will be held in our school's auditorium.
We welcome all of our families with the understanding that student's must come with an adult. If you are interested, please fill out the tear off below and return it to Ms. DiMatteo in the main office. Seats are limited so we are accepting consent slips on a first come first served basis.
March 6, 2019 - "Momo Challenge"
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Some of you may have been hearing reports about the "Momo challenge," an apparent viral hoax that has been generating media attention. We want to take this opportunity to remind our school community of the importance of being aware of what our young people are watching, how they use social media, and how you can encourage safe online practices. Online safety is a critical component of our work in schools, as well as at home with you as our partners.
February 26, 2019 - PTA Meeting
Meeting Date: February 26th, 2019
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: IS-281 Auditorium 
February 12, 2019 - Family Fun Night
Dear Parents/Guardians,
Our next Family Fun Night event will be held on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Please join us for a "PJ, Popcorn and a Movie Night" featuring a special screening of licd. Time Stories. Our PTA will have their snack stand open to purchase additional treats for the movie, which will be held in our school's auditorium.
We welcome all of our families with the understanding that student's must come with an adult. If you are interested, please fill out the tear off below and return it to Ms. DiMatteo in the main office. Seats are limited so we are accepting consent slips on a first come first served basis.
February 7, 2019 - Respect for all
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The Respect for All Program is a NYC initiative that was established in order to help schools combat bullying and harassment. The goal of the program is to create within schools a community of inclusion, where everyone feels safe, valued and respected. Schools are working toward becoming places that are free of harassment and discrimination, where all students are safe, regardless of their race or perceived race, color, religion, disability, gender, weight, or other demographics. 
February 4, 2019 - Water

Dear Families and Staff,
I would like to provide an update on the ongoing measures at the NYC Department of Education (DOE) to ensure that the water in our schools is safe for students and staff. First and foremost, New York City water is safe. Families and staff should rest assured that our drinking water is of the highest quality in the world.
January 29, 2019 - Picture Day - 8th Grade
Please fill out all of the necessary information on the order form. Select your Package choice that best fit your needs. 
December 5, 2018 - PTA Holiday Festival

Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am pleased and excited to announce that our school staff and PTA will be hosting a Holiday Festival for all of our Cavallaro families this year. The festival will take place on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 from 5:30 — 8:00 p.m. Families, students and staff will be able to enjoy a beautifully decorated cafeteria with delicious food, student performances and music. There will be a photographer available to take family photos with a winter wonderland backdrop.