News and Announcements

November Events

November 25, 2014
Interpreting the IEP Parent Workshop - 2:30 pm

November 27-28, 2014
Thanksgiving Day Recess

News Around Halsey

Halsey MOUSE Honored at City Hall by Councle Member Kozlowitz

Council Member Karen Kozlowitz presented a Proclamation to the Halsey MOUSE Squad in honor of their being names Squad of the year. "So happy to be able to congratulate the Mouse Squad from Halsey Junior High School on their achievement of being named the Top Mouse Squad of the Year in all of the United States! I honored them today with an official Proclamation in the City Council Chambers. So proud of the amazing work by the hard working talented students of District 29! What an amazing honor to represent these brilliant young minds!" You can read more about it in the Queens Chronicle article here:

Halsey MOUSE Squad Helps Ring the Bell at NASDAQ

On October 22, five students from Halsey's award-winning MOUSE Squad were joined by Mr. Suraci and the MOUSE Squad coordinators to help Youth I.N.C. ring the closing bell at NASDAQ. The 9th annual Trading Day for Kids, a day in which traders donate proceeds to Youth I.N.C. to help youth programs around the city, was hosted by Canaccord Genuity. For more information go to this link:

Halsey's New Playground in the News

October 14th, 2014 marked the long awaited ribbon cutting of Halsey's new ecologically friendly playground. Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz did the honors with Halsey students and Mr. Suraci. The playground was designed with students under the guidance of Ms. Lamere and designers from the Trust for Public Land, who funded the revitalization and greening of the playground. For more on the event go to the DNAInfo article at this link:

Honors for Halsey’s MOUSE Squad and Technology Teachers

The vibrant hum oftechnology can be heard throughout the classrooms in Halsey JHS 157 in RegoPark, New York, but nowhere is it more apparent than in rooms 202 and 301, thetwo computer labs dedicated to the use of technology as creative tools. Lastyear both Ms. Elfers-Wygand and Ms. Stahl-Van Brackle received the DOEExcellence in School Technology award after implementing the SEP (SoftwareEngineering Pilot) Program. However, the two teachers have long been using atechnology based curriculum stemming from MOUSE Squad. Along with the DOEaward, the Halsey MOUSE Squad, run by Ms. Elfers-Wygand with Ms. Stahl-VanBrackle assisting, also won MOUSE Squad of the year for 2014.

“It’s a great pleasureto work with the kids, to give them opportunities to work with technology andlearn about it, no matter what their class program is,” Ms. Elfers-Wygandexplained. “Students from all grade levels and learning levels can enjoyworking with technology. It helps to build collaborative problem solvingskills as students build self-esteem through creative computing. It makeslearning fun!”

Last year’s squadboasted over 40 members, many of whom graduated and went on to specialized highschools and schools with MOUSE Corps, the high school equivalent to MOUSESquad. “MOUSE is one of the most powerful tools you can give a school, with adedicated staff who will find unique opportunities such as Maker Faire orEmoticon, as well as inspire teachers with curriculum steeped in Common Core,”said Mr. Suraci, Halsey’s Principal.

Among the opportunitiesMOUSE Squad has designed are the honors for Halsey’s Squad of the Year. OnOctober 22nd senior members of the MOUSE Squad, theircoordinators, and Mr. Suraci will be ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ. Tofurther honor the spirit and drive of the Halsey MOUSE Squad a special Proclamation isbeing issued to Halsey at City Hall. Member of the MOUSE Squad and theirparents will be presented this at City Hall on November 13th.

Halsey MOUSE Squad hasbeen in existence since 2006 and has grown as a diverse and interestingexperience for all the students involved. Students participate in monthlymicro-project competitions that incorporate all different types of softwarethat are used for programming, game design, and graphic arts, among otherthings.” We have had some winners both last year and this year,” Ms.Elfer-Wygand said proudly. “Ben won first runner up in 6th gradeand 7th grade for the “I Believe I Can Flyer” poster design for enticingstudents to join Mouse Squad. Also, Scott won first runner up last year in 6th gradefor designing a video game under the title “Winter Funderland.” We alsohad honorable mentions for students SchoolCraft3D design of a futuristic schoolwith Shametaj and Scott’s projects mentioned!” Students won small paperprototype projects and Arduino kits for the squad.

This year MOUSE hasteamed up with the SEP Program which is now funded by a generous grant fromAT&T. Besides training and supplies for the SEP Program, a Hackathon isbeing sponsored by SEP with help from MOUSE Squad students on October 25th.“A hackathon is the computer programming industry practice of encouragingcreativity in programmers,” Ms. Stahl-Van Brackle explained. “For a set amountof time, often 24 hours, a group of programmers will “hack” a problem ortechnology with the goal of creating a prototype (working first draft) for asolution or new technology.” The participants of the Halsey SEP Hackathon willbe working all day that Saturday and pitch their projects to parents and otheradults from the community. “This is a great opportunity for us to show what wedo creatively with computers and how programming can be a problem solver.”

There are many otherexciting opportunities in store for Halsey’s SEP and MOUSE Squad students,including a year-end Showcase. Utilizing programs such as Scratch, Arduinomicro-controllers, and Mindstorm Robotics, the Halsey technology program trulyis an example of excellence in school technology.

Halsey MOUSE Squad #1 in the Nation

On June 18th, National Maker Day, Ms. Elfers watched as Mr. Suraci informed her MOUSE Squad of almost 45 students that their squad had been selected by MOUSE as Squad of the year. "MOUSE does its research and looks at all the squads around the country, and there are hundreds of them, to see which squad does the most, has the best support, participates in the most activities," Mr. Suraci explained during the MOUSE celebration. "This year Halsey was not only nominated but it won top honors."

Ms. Elfers, assisted by Ms. Stahl-Van Brackle, has been running the MOUSE Squad for five years. This was a stellar year in the number of students participating in the squad, completing DIY (Do It Yourself) projects and events students attended. Two students won prizes for their projects and a group of students attended a three day internship at the American Museum of Natural History during February break. Also, many students attended MOUSE Squad training and Playtech Saturdays. Two groups presented at this years EMOTICON and were the only middle school presenting. 

"We just try to do what's best for the kids, get as many kids the opportunity to work in technology no matter what their talent is," Ms. Elfers explained. The squad meets three days a week and offers teachers technical help with problems ranging from update issues to printer connections. "My squad is very professional," Ms. Elfers said proudly. If you ever have a problem, don't hesitate to put in a ticket with Halsey's award winning MOUSE Squad.

Halsey MOUSE Squad Celebrates

Two Halsey Teachers Earn NYCDOE Excellence in Technology Awards

     Halsey's innovative technology programs have caught the attention of the media and have earned awards in the DOE. Ms. Elfers-Wygand, the SPOC for Halsey as well as the Special Education Computer Teacher and MOUSE Squad coordinator, was featured with her MOUSE Squad in the Queens Chronicle's June 5th article "Kids become tech whizzes at JHS 157" (  Ms. Stahl-Van Brackle,who besides teaching Computer Talent and SEP assists Ms. Elfers-Wygand with MOUSE, has been working hard to get students ready for the June 14th Emoticon Expo. Both teachers have been recognized by the NYC Department of Education and will receive the NYCDOE Excellence in Technology Award at the July 30th NYC DOE School Technology Summit ( After receiving their awards the two will be hosting panels on innovations in the classroom and resources for educators seeking a broader technology community. The panels will feature speakers from the SEP Program, MOUSE and Halsey's very own principal Mr. Suraci.


Summer SEP

     Whether you’re in the Computer Talent program at Halsey or just interested in learning more about using computers in creative ways, Halsey’s SUMMER SEP is for you. Learn or expand your knowledge of Scratch, explore robotics with Lego Mindstorm EV3s, try your hand at DIY projects and take all you’ve done and create a Web site to show off your Summer SEP experience. Classes will meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 11am July 7, 8, 9 during which we’ll be working in Scratch and July 14, 15, 16 in which we’ll be working in Robotics. The week of July 21 there will be a selection of Maker Camp DIY (Do It Yourself) projects to try on your own. The final week, July 28 and 29 will be Web design using Mozilla. July 30 a select number of students will join Ms. Stahl-Van Brackle and Mr. Suraci at the NY Tech Summit where they’ll get to show off what they have done. 
     Go to to the SUMMER SEP Registration page to register. Seats are limited to students not attending summer school. Accepted students will be notified by June 16th.

Select Chorus Gets the Gold!

On Friday, May 9th, Halsey's Select Chorus attended the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) evaluations. The students sang three songs in front of experienced music educators. They were evaluated on their vocal tone, posture, and musicianship. They were honored to receive the highest evaluation of a gold ranking. They represent Halsey to the fullest by being professional and respectful. Congratulations to the Select Chorus for their musical achievement.
Select Chorus Gets the Gold

AmericanMuseum of Natural History Interns from Halsey

     Five of Halsey’s Mouse Squad members will be working over the mid-winter break at the American Museum of Natural History as Interns.Charged with making digital copies of artifacts in the museum’s collection,Interns will be researching artifacts, using the MakerBot 3D Digitizing Scannerand then printing copies of artifacts out on the MakerBot Replicator 2. Copiesof the objects will be on display after the break as well as photographs and interviewswith the Interns. 

Mouse Squad Runner Up
Mouse Squad Winner

     Halsey's Mouse Squad is going strong this year with over 35 students signing up under Ms. Elfers-Wygand's lead. Students from the Mouse Squad compete in national contests including the flyer contest. This year first year Mouse Squad member Ben N. 625 was the first runner up. The prize was a Radio Shack Build-It-Yourself Project kit. "We loved that Ben showed us a picture of his flyer hanging up at school," the Mouse Squad press release reported. "We also want to give a shout out to the entire Halsey Mouse Squad."

Halsey Googles It
Google Tour

     Select 8th Grade Computer Talent students and Ms.Stahl-Van Brackle joined Congresswoman Grace Meng on a tour of the Googleoffices on May 31st. Some of the highlights of the tour included themassive fiber optic network, the Lego Break Room and the awesome Game Roomwhere students got to play pool, ping pong, get a massage and just googlearound.

Halsey Chose for Software Engineering Pilot Program

     Mr. Suraci is proud to announce that Stephen A. Halsey, JHS157 has been chosen to be a part of the Department of Education’s New SoftwareEngineering Pilot Program.

     Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M.Walcott today announced the 20 schools selected for the new SoftwareEngineering Pilot program to begin at the start of the next school year. Theschools will receive comprehensive computer science and software engineeringcurriculum for the 1,000 students expected to participate this fall.

     “The tech industry in New York City continues to expandsignificantly under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, and our public schools arerising to meet the challenge,” said Chancellor Walcott. “The SoftwareEngineering Pilot will provide students with the foundational skills they needto compete for high-paying, career track jobs in a variety of professionalfields. I would like to thank the educators at our 20 pilot schools who areworking hard to make this wonderful opportunity a reality for their students.”

     Kids at the schools will be taught a range of computerskills, include computer programming, web design, e-textiles, and robotics, andwill get the chance to take elective classes in "digitalfabrication," 3-D printing and animation.

     Mayor Bloomberg said the pilot is intended to better equipkids with tech skills they'll need in the future and cement the city'sreputation as a growing technology center.

     The schools were selected via a competition that judgedtheir current technology offerings, and teachers at the schools will receivespecial training before the classes start.

     Article in part provided by; Jill Colvin, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

St. Jude's Mathathon

Since 1985, Stephen A. Halsey Junior High School 157has participated in the St. Jude Math-A-Thon.  The Math-A-Thon is aneducation-based fundraising program for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Theproceeds from the Math-A-Thon benefit some of the world’s sickest children whoare battling cancer as well as other serious diseases.  Every student whoparticipates receives a St. Jude Math-A-Thon “funbook”. The “funbook” isdeveloped by Scholastic and encompasses mathematics curriculum that is alignedto National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM’s) standards. Theparticipating students complete the math problems that are in the “funbook” andcollect donations for each problem that they answer correctly. Prior to thisyear’s fundraiser, J.H.S. 157 has raised a total of $48,363.68, over the past28 years. 

During the week of January 7, 2013, Ms. Turriciano,the Assistant Principal of the Mathematics Department, hosted JHS 157’s 24thAnnual Math-A-Thon kick-off with an assembly for each grade.  Followingthe kick-off, each teacher in the mathematics department distributed sponsorform envelopes and Math-A-Thon “funbooks” to each of theirstudents. Thanks to the dedication of our students, faculty, and parents,this year’s Math-A-Thon was a great success.  JHS 157 students raised$6,400.85.  These funds will support St. Jude’s Children’s ResearchHospital’s mission of finding cures for children, through research andtreatment.

Mathcounts Mathathon


This year Halsey JHS held a school-wide mathcompetition.  The top 10 students fromthis competition formed our school math team. These exceptionally talented students were: James Yang, Wilson Wong,Bernard Saks, Ivy Mao, Daniel Blyakher, Nikhil Devraj, Sharon Yu, CaylaEinstein, Andrew Shao, and Alecs Sipitec.

These 10 students met with Mrs. Norwich (the team coach)after school to work on advanced problem solving skills and on February 2ndthey attended the county-wide Mathcounts Competition.  Mathcounts is a program designed to be funand challenging for middle school students while increasing their academic andprofessional opportunities.  The studentshad an intense day of problem solving and did very well against moreexperienced teams.  Great job math team!!

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