CPE II Family Handbook

The CPE II Family Handbook outlines the Philosophy, Policies, and Procedures for the CPE II Community.

You can download the handbook in PDF format here: Central Park East 2 Parent Handbook 2017-2018

or Read it below:

Central Park East II Elementary School

Parent Handbook 2017 – 2018

Message from Our Principal Naomi Smith

Welcome to the 2017/18 school year at CPE II. This is an especially exciting year because our first 8th graders will be graduating.  Please remember that your active participation in our school, whether it be a few hours or many days, is key to our building the kind of community we all seek for our children.

Our School

History of the School

The Central Park East schools were founded in 1974. In February of 1981, Deborah Meier and the Central Park East staff founded Central Park East II (CPE II) as a sister school to Central Park East I (CPE I). The original school was actually housed in the very building CPE II is in now. Deborah Meier, the founder, believed that schools needed to be small, democratic, nurturing places in order to be able to encourage children to develop a love of learning and the ability to think for themselves. Demand grew for such a learning environment. Her educational vision helped to make the CPE schools a vital force in the movement for progressive education in New York City and throughout the country. In September 2004, both CPE I and CPE II became  fully recognized schools. In 2014 CPE II was approved to extend to the middle school grades.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide progressive education to children in East Harlem, as well as to children in New York City. By challenging children through active exploration of content and by allowing them to develop at their own pace, we teach them to be critical and creative thinkers, readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists and artists. Furthermore, by emphasizing their place in the school community, as well as our school’s place in the civic community, we aim to inculcate in them the importance of taking part in society as a whole. We want our children to be activists who make a difference in the world.

Educational Philosophy CPE II is committed to providing a progressive education to its students. Our emphasis is on critical, creative and independent thinking. We build the curriculum based on the staff’s understanding of pertinent research on children’s development, as well as on city and state curriculum requirements. Our curriculum promotes choice, independence, and student agency. We believe that children learn best when they feel safe and cared for. We will continue to utilize the Responsive Classroom approach, Restorative Practices and our work with Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) to create a calm, caring and safe atmosphere in our school. We also recognize that In order for children to feel truly safe and cared for, they must also feel valued and included. Our practices are assessed through racial and social justice lenses to ensure we are intentionally countering bias and discrimination. At CPE II, we believe in applying our learning outside of school walls to make our society more fair and just. This often includes explorations of social justice issues and community projects.


CPEII is part of the NYC public school system and is subject to all its rules. We are a PROSE school, through which the DOE and UFT are committed to giving flexibility to schools that have a history of excellence as well as strong collaboration among staff and parents. At CPEII we are committed to making consensus-based decisions, with ultimate power vested in the principal, who is guided by the faculty and input from parents via the School Leadership Team.


CPEII is an un-zoned school, which means anyone residing in New York City may apply. However, as a DOE school, we follow the DOE regulations on admissions for Pre-K and Kindergarten admissions which are centralized. Siblings of current CPE II students in grades pre K through 4th  have priority admission for Pre K and Kindergarten for the following school year. It then opens to District 4, then District 5 and then to students outside these districts. If a child is accepted to Pre K or Kindergarten at CPE II we expect that the child will remain at our school (unless the family moves away.) Please note that CPE II teachers do not complete recommendations or school applications for students applying to other NYC schools (public and private) for grades K through 4.  Families are welcome to use the school reports should they seek admissions elsewhere. Students are admitted to our 6th grade through the centralized DOE  Middle School application process. Priority goes to CPE II 5th graders, then CPE I 5th graders and then to District 4 students. First to fifth graders apply directly to our school. We strive to create a diverse school community that includes parents and guardians who understand and choose our philosophy. To this end, we offer tours in the fall so that families will understand our philosophy and community before applying.

Our Community

Central Park East II is a public PreK-8th grade school in Community School District Four in East Harlem. Most of our 450 students come from all parts of Harlem. We work hard to maintain a diverse community. 

Our Space

CPE II Elementary School (Pre K through 5th grade) is located on the entire fourth floor of 19 East 103rd Street, spanning the entire block of Madison Avenue from 103rd to 104th St. The elementary school shares our building with PS/IS 171. CPE II Middle School is located on the 3rd floor, East Wing, of PS/MS 108, located at 1615 Madison Avenue between 108th and 109th Streets. CPE II shares the auditorium, cafeteria, gym, and playground space at both sites.

Our Staff

We have 18 classes, many of which are inclusion classes, serving pre-kindergarten through eighth graders. In additional to our classroom teachers, our staff includes a licensed librarian and specialists in visual arts, science, physical education and reading. We also have full-time specialists who provide mandated services in counseling, speech, and occupational therapy.

Addressing One Another 

Adults and children address each other on a first name basis within our community. We have found that this simple informality of address contributes to a close and special bond between students, their families, and school employees. It reminds us, with every interaction, that we are a school family, working together as equally respected individuals, to foster and delight in the development and learning of our children.

School Day


The official hours for CPE II are 8:20 am to 2:40 pm Monday through Friday. 

Morning Meeting  

Our morning meetings are a very important part of our school day. Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. While this may look a bit different in the Elementary  and Middle Schools, it is essential that students and teachers gather together and interact with one another on a regular basis. We have found that this makes a big difference in how the children navigate their school day and their overall school experience. The morning meeting has four purposeful components:

  • Greeting: Students and teachers greet one another by name and practice offering hospitality.
  • Sharing: Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions.
  • Group Activity: Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social or academic skills).
  • Morning Message: Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher(s). The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they’ll do in school that day.

  This looks a little different in the Middle School, where students move from class to class. We adapt these same principals for the Middle School students.


As a Title I school, CPE II is part of the Universal Free Lunch program. All students are entitled to a free school breakfast and lunch daily . The daily menu can be found at http://www.schoolfoodnyc.org/schoolfood/MenusDailyDisplay.aspx  Students may eat a school lunch or bring a nutritious home lunch if they choose to do so, but all students must eat lunch. All food brought into school must comply with the CPE II healthy foods policy which does not allow: high-fat, high-sugar junk foods such as: all types of candy, chips, pudding, cakes and cookies. Students who cannot drink milk can bring a note from their doctor and receive juice with their lunch. Fruit snacks, granola/cereal and nutrition bars, that follow the healthy food policy are allowed. This means sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners cannot be a main ingredient.   Note: the school lunchroom is not nut free. We can separate students with nut allergies from those students eating food with nuts. However, classrooms that have a child with a nut allergy are nut free. Classroom teachers will advise parents at the beginning of the year.

Early Dismissal Days

CPE II has early dismissal days for family conferences and for additional staff professional development and collaborative planning. Please check the school calendar for these dates. On these days pickup is at 11:30 am. Yellow school buses run on these days and load at about  12 noon.  This year’s Early Dismissal Dates for Staff PD are:

  • Friday, October 20 
  • Friday, December 8
  • Friday, January 26
  • Friday, May 11


Regular attendance is critical to successful achievement in school; conversely, poor attendance is one of the most significant indicators of potential risk. Every absence (and lateness) represents a loss of instructional time and is recorded in the ATS (Automate the Schools) system of the Department of Education (DOE). Your child’s attendance becomes part of your child’s permanent record and is one of the main criteria Middle Schools and High Schools use to assess incoming students. A Form 407 Attendance Follow-up and Outreach Referral is automatically generated for excessive absence.

  • Students should not miss school except in the case of illness. Please call or email Yhane@cpe2.org for each absence so it can be marked accordingly as an “excused absence.” (It is still an absence.) A doctor’s note is required after two days.
  • Please do not schedule vacations during school days. Use school vacations.
  • Please make every effort to schedule doctor’s appointments after school hours. If this is not possible, please have your child attend for part of the day. If a child is scheduled for an afternoon appointment, an adult must pick the child up from school. Children may not leave school on their own before 2:40 pm. Please make sure that all adults with permission to pick your child up are listed on the emergency form.
  • If a child wakes up late, it is better for them to arrive late than miss the entire day.
  • There are only two situations where a child can be absent from school, but can still be marked present. They are on a visit to another school, with a note from that school, or when a child is participates in a performance, film/TV/photo shoot or audition (with confirmation).


Arrival is at 8:20 am. If your child arrives late, he or she must get a late pass in the CPE II main office (both Elementary and Middle School locations). Do not take your child directly to class. Please realize that class has already started and the teachers are taking care of their students and cannot talk. Each classroom day starts with Morning Meeting to provide our students with a “welcome,” involve them in community building, and give them the support they need to have a happy, productive day. When your child arrives late, s/he misses this important part of the day. Morning Meeting is generally followed by a major academic period, such as math, reading, or writing workshop, which begins with a mini lesson. Your child’s lateness prevents him/her from receiving this lesson, leaving him/her lost for the duration.  Finally, when a child arrives late, teachers must offer him/her information on what s/he needs to do and thus, interrupts all other children’s learning to do this. Finally, we want to remind you that every lateness, along with every absence, is recorded in the ATS system and thus becomes part of your child’s permanent school record.  This becomes particularly important when children apply to Middle School and High School because absence and lateness are scrutinized.

Notification of School Closings and Delayed Openings

If there are going to be school closings or delayed openings, the Department of Education will make an announcement as early as possible before 5 AM on the affected day. As soon as Naomi gets any information, she will send it out to the entire community by email. Please don’t call the school, because even if school is open, we are not upstairs in the office early in the morning. The DOE will notify news media outlets and make announcements on their website and social media. 1010 WINS always announces. You can get school status on:

If schools are open, yellow school buses should be operating. Yellow school bus service is delayed when school opening time is delayed. You can get the status of school buses from the Office of Pupil Transportation. http://www.opt-osfns.org/opt/vendors/busbreakdowns/default.aspx?search=YES You can call the Customer Service Hotline at (718) 392-8855 between 5:00 am and 7:00 pm, although this line is often busy.  If schools remain open during severe weather or Citywide emergencies, parents should use their discretion when deciding whether to allow their children to attend school.

In the Classroom

School as Safe Space

Our school community places a priority on being a safe space where children and adults value empathy and non-violence. Children learn best where they feel cared for and safe.   There is NO HITTING and NO HITTING BACK at CPE II. Teasing, name-calling and other forms of verbal harassment are also not tolerated. The staff of CPE II works to support students in finding ways to express their anger and solve problems without hitting or name-calling. Students and adults are all expected to speak respectfully to each other, to use kind words and avoid unkind words, and to work out any disagreements or struggles through conversation, debate, and consensus. Parents can support this process by reminding their children of these rules. Please speak to your child about their school day on a regular basis. If a child reports that these rules are being broken, parents should alert the child’s teacher or the principal immediately.   In order to create a safe space, CPE II uses programs aimed at teaching children how to be kind and how to negotiate conflicts. These include Responsive Classroom, Restorative Practices and Emotionally Responsive Practice, as well as with the Center for Compassionate Community (CCC) at Adelphi University to develop a comprehensive empathy-building program. We also have been working with the DOE and the Morningside Center to have our staff trained in Restorative Practices.   Using the Responsive Classroom approach, teachers promote social and emotional learning in the classroom. CPE II staff has worked to mold the RC approach to a CPE II-wide program that supports our safe, joyful and challenging learning environment. Each class starts the year with each student’s Hopes and Dreams. Class rules are then developed based on what the class community needs for students to realize their Hopes and Dreams. Classes start the day with a Morning Meeting that is structured to build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. 

Schoolwide Logical Consequences

We want children to cooperate all the time. We want them to care about the entire school community and beyond. We keep these ideas in mind when children are not cooperating. Each room has a “break” space where students can make themselves ready to return to the classroom activities under way.   When a child’s behavior does not match what we expect of them, we support them in learning what is appropriate.  This is not done through punishment, but by redirection and logical consequences. This includes redirecting students when behavior is not appropriate, giving a child an in-class break when redirection has not worked, and then giving them a break in a buddy room.  The goal is to reintegrate them into the work as soon as they are ready to do so.

Disruptive Behavior

“Respect for All” DOE Policy This policy supports the maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and/or bullying and from discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, citizenship/immigration status, religion, creed, national origin, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or weight.

Special Education Services 

CPE II is an inclusive school and has many students receiving special education services.  Students are serviced in a variety of ways, based on the requirements of their IEPs.  More than half of our classes are currently ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching). The ICT model allows all children in a class to get the support and attention they need by funding two teachers for a class with one class’s worth of children. In addition to ICT classes, we currently offer OT,  PT,  counseling, as well as Speech and Language services.

Standardized Testing

CPE II administers all standardized tests mandated by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Currently the NYSED administers standardized ELA and Math assessments in grades 3 through 8. Fourth and Eighth graders also have a State Science assessment. Over the last few years, many CPE II families have chosen to opt their children out of State testing. We support all families to make the best decision for their children. Dates for standardized test will be published in CPE II Notes.   CPE II believes that assessment should be authentic; that is, related directly to the work each child is doing in school. We are troubled by the trend in public education towards increased standardized testing, which takes assessment out of the hands of those working closest to the students. While some standardized tests may be useful, CPE II opposes the use of standardized tests for grade promotion (high-stakes testing) or for the evaluation of teachers and schools. CPE II is pleased with the current NYCDOE Promotion Policy for Students in grades 3-8 that uses multiple measures, rather than State tests for promotional decisions.  

Assessing and Reporting Student Progress

Conscientious and effective teaching methods depend on regular assessment. Methods of assessing students’ progress are integral to teachers’ methods at CPE II. Children learn and exhibit their understanding in many different ways. Therefore, our teachers use a variety of assessments, formal and informal. Some of the assessments our teachers use are daily recording of observations, note-taking, clipboard inventories, book logs, student journals and one-on-one conferences. Teachers then analyze this data, looking for patterns, concerns, strengths, areas of avoidance, areas of interest, and areas that may need intervention or follow-up.   CPE II uses both in-person family (parents and student) conferences and written reports to provide ongoing feedback on students’ progress.  

  • Family Conferences are held in November (Goal Setting) and February, students must attend these conferences. Parents will be requested to sign up in advance for a specific conference time. We look forward to 100% participation in these conferences – this is one of the commitments you make as a CPE II parent or guardian, and the sharing of information is critical to the success of your child.


  • Written reports are issued twice a year, in February and June, with a briefer goal setting report in November. Reports describe the child’s learning progress, growth and development, as well as strengths and challenges.


Home/School Communication aka “The Purple Folder” 

The Home/School communications folder (better known as “The Purple Folder”) is essential for good communication between families and staff. Each child carries this purple folder daily to and from school. A Yellow Contact Form is kept in the outer back pocket of the folder at all times. Home practice, teacher notices, permission slips, forms, and other important communications from the teacher are sent home in these folders.

Parents should check each child’s purple folder daily

Parents can then return absence notes, completed forms, trip money, and letters to the teacher and other communications to the school in the same folder.  

Parent-Teacher Communication

CPE II encourages and expects parents to be vital supporters of their children’s school experiences and to communicate with teachers about issues affecting their children. Open, honest communication is in everyone’s best interest as we all have the same goal – the positive growth and learning of our children.   Individual teachers will notify you of their preferred method of communication. Some prefer a phone call to the school to schedule an appointment. Some are happy to correspond by email. Sending a note to your child’s teacher in the purple folder is also a good way to communicate a concern or ask for a meeting. Drop off and dismissal is not the best time to start an in-depth discussion of your child.   If you have a concern about your child’s experience at school, please follow the communication protocols outlined below:

  • If it pertains to your child’s classroom, please address your concern to your child’s teacher. Parent–teacher conferences may be scheduled at any time during the year, by the parent or the teacher. If this does not address your concern, please contact the Principal.
  • If it pertains to something outside of your child’s classroom or another student, please address your concern to the teacher and/or the Principal.


CPE II Notes

Published every Sunday, the CPE II Notes e-newsletter is a major means of communication within the CPE II community. The e-newsletter contains important upcoming dates and announcements. Please make time to read it over and discuss it together every week. CPE II Notes is emailed to parents by Naomi. Please email Naomi (nsmith3@schools.nyc.gov) directly if you are not receiving this weekly e-newsletter. If you need a paper copy, please email or contact Yhane and it will be sent home in your child’s Purple Folder.  

When a Student Needs Extra Support

The staff at CPE II monitors the progress of their students very closely. We strive to meet the needs of each of our students through a variety of instructional practices. For students that need extra help, we are able to offer several types of services including extra support from math and literacy specialists, as well as IEP service providers.   We also offer other services, including counseling, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. These services are provided based on evaluations by a team of professionals. Any parent who feels that their child requires such services may contact the teacher or the principal for assistance.  

Working Together

Parents and caregivers are key in creating a great school. We need you! We welcome your participation in our school community.  There are plenty of opportunities to contribute, from volunteering in the Parents Association, working with a committee, volunteering during lunch/recess, or helping to clean and organize your child’s classroom. At CPE II there is a role for every parent. Our School/Parent Compact (in the Parent Volunteer Involvement section of this handbook) provides guidelines for the school’s responsibility to parents, as well as the parents’ responsibility to the school.   Over the course of the year CPE II offers a variety of parent workshops to help you support your child academically and emotionally. Read CPE II Notes each week to hear about these workshops. 

Hopes & Dreams

Hopes and Dreams are the main vehicle for parents to voice ideas for our school. Every May the CPE II community comes together and creates a Hopes and Dreams action plan which serves as our mandate to what the community wants to work towards  for the coming year. Our school garden and our after school program are examples of ideas that were born at a Hopes and Dreams session. Committees work  together throughout the year. Our goal is to have 3 meetings during the school year to check in/work on the projects that have been identified. All parents are welcome to come and get involved and work on the action plans we have started.   Our Hopes & Dreams work has been categorized into 4 working groups: -Creating Compassionate Communities/Social Justice -Parent Communication & Engagement -School Advocacy -Sustainable CPE II


The emphasis at CPE II is on supporting critical, creative, and independent thinking. We want students to have voice, choice and agency.  We build our curriculum from our knowledge of children’s intellectual development in accordance with city and state curricular guidelines. While the basic components of our curriculum remain the same, we reevaluate each content area every year.


Our goal at CPE II is for our students to develop a love of reading and become life long readers and writers. We use the Balanced Literacy approach as a way to teach reading.  Each day students have Reading Workshop which means that lessons begin with mini-lessons on a particular topic, (such as how proficient readers make predictions as they read),followed by reading independently, in pairs or in small groups. In addition to reading workshop each day students engage in other components of Balanced Literacy such as Read Aloud, Shared Reading (such as a poems) and developing phonemic awareness and understanding spelling patterns.  Students at CPE II learn to understand many literary genres such as Realistic Fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction Informational Texts and Biography to name a few. Although reading looks  different for different grade groups, all students are assessed on a regular basis and read “Just Right” books based on their individual assessment. All students book-shop weekly or as needed for books at their “just right” level. Students are expected to read at home, and are asked to maintain book-logs that track their reading at school and at home. We count on parent support to maintain the logs and ensure that students are reading.   In Writing Workshop, students study particular authors and genres as “mentor texts” and learn to write in different  genres over the course of the school year. This might be writing about a “small moment” or personal narrative based on his or her own experience, or a non-fiction book based on a topic they study and know well. Students learn to draft, revise, edit and publish their work. In grades 3-8 our students all maintain a real Writer’s Notebook which is used to capture their ideas and memories to use in their writing pieces. Writing units often end with a classroom celebration that  parents are frequently invited to attend.  


CPE II elementary students use a math curriculum called “A Story of Units,” from Engage New York. Our Middle School students use the Connected Math Program (CMP3), which emphasizes student investigations and real-world applications. Both curriculums address the various mathematical strands, such as numbers and operations, fractions, geometry, etc. They allow students to build their understandings sequentially.   The goal of our math curriculum at CPE II is not only to help students understand mathematical content, but it aims to help students develop skills and practices that will allow them to be successful, lifelong mathematicians. CPE II teachers take into account the following eight Standards for mathematical practice when planning and structuring their math periods.

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  4. Model with mathematics
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically
  6. Attend to precision
  7. Look for and make use of structure
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

These Standards describe the thinking processes, habits of mind, and dispositions that students need to develop a deep, flexible, and enduring understanding of mathematics. To further embrace the standard about “sense-making,” mathematics instruction at CPE II aims to develop students’ number-sense by using an inquiry-based approach that incorporates the 21 Big Ideas designed by Randall Charles. A Big Idea is defined as a statement of an idea that is central to the learning of mathematics.  It links numerous mathematical understandings into a coherent whole. When one understands Big Ideas, mathematics is no longer seen as a set of disconnected concepts, skills, and facts. Rather, mathematics becomes a coherent set of connected ideas. Therefore, teachers at CPE II typically begin their mathematical inquiries with their classes by first introducing and discussing the Big Idea(s) of the lesson. Similar to the way teachers build routines to help students function as readers and writers in literacy.  Teachers at CPE II develop routines in math workshop with the following in the mind:

  • Encourage students to take risks – to put out their ideas and defend them.
  • Promote the search for generalizations though conjecture  – will this always be true? Why does it happen?
  • Allow reflection by the mathematicians on their responsibilities to themselves, to their partners, to their community.

Parents can help their students become more powerful mathematical thinkers by considering recent exciting research, which shows that students’ brains grow precisely when they are cognitively challenged by a task and when they make errors. So don’t worry and help celebrate mistakes and the new growth! Math Resources for Parents:


All classes, pre-K through 8th grade, have some form of Worktime or project time. In the early grades, this is a time during which students learn to use a variety of materials. Worktime choices can include block building, sewing, writing, cooking, etc. Worktime is also a time when students learn about and care for classroom pets. As children progress through the school,  building on children’s early learning about use and care of material, Worktime becomes more structured and it becomes a time in which to work on content-related projects, such developing a project around the Billion Oyster Project in the middle school. Watch “The Work of Play” video to learn more about Work Time at CPE II:

Social Studies

Social Studies topics are classroom based. CPE II focuses on exploring social studies topics deeply and over time, rather than jumping quickly from topic to topic to “cover” a great number of topics. There is also a focus on Social Justice within each topic. Curriculum letters are distributed by classroom teachers at the fall Open House and indicate what studies will happen in the classroom over the year. Examples have included 2nd graders studying the history of East Harlem, 5th graders studying social justice through the Civil Rights Movement and 6th graders studying Manahatta, (The Lenape, Manhattan’s original inhabitants, called the island Manahatta, which means “hilly island.”) Every year our 5th graders collaborate with Manhattan Country School and Children’s Workshop School in Living the Dream. Though this collaboration students explore the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. by evaluating picture books published the previous calendar year that relate to Dr. King’s vision. A Living the Dream book award is given annually. See http://www.manhattancountryschool.org/nyc-fifth-graders-present-2017-living-dream-book-award-i-dissent-ruth-bader-ginsburg-makes-her-mark for last year’s award.


CPE II considers the arts an essential part of a child’s education, not a luxury. Students receive instruction in the visual arts and performing arts. In addition, varying by grade level, CPE II students also are exposed to the performing arts through the partnerships listed below:  

  • 92nd Street “Y” Musical Introduction Series – For 2nd and 3rd grade. Music teacher professional visit each class 12 times over the year, following a set music curriculum tied to four concerts at 92nd Street Y that students attend. More information: http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Educational-Outreach-Programs-in-the-Arts/School-Programs/Musical-Introduction-Series  
  • 92nd Street “Y” Choral program – For 4th grade. Students participate in a chorus led by a Choral Director from the 92nd Street Y. There are chorus performances during the school year open to parents and the CPE II community. More information: http://www.92y.org/Uptown-Microsites/Educational-Outreach-Programs-in-the-Arts/Programs/Schools-Partnership-Program/About.aspx#music
  • Rosie’s Kids – For 5th grade. Students participate in a free 15-week, in-school program designed to introduce students to American musical theater, culminating in their own performance as well as attending a Broadway show. More information: https://rosiestheaterkids.org/our-programs/
  • Opus 118 – For 1st grade and on. In-school violin instruction for about 60 CPE II students. Students are selected through a first grade lottery for participation in the violin program. Students then remain in the program throughout their time at CPE II. The history of Opus 118 is described in the movie Music of the Heart and the documentary Small Wonders. This group instruction program is funded by the school and is free of charge to families. (OPUS 118 also provides after school lessons in violin, viola, cello, guitar and piano. For more information about after school lessons, visit http://www.opus118.org.)
  • About The Swing – For all students. This annual concert happens during Community Meeting. The concerts features some of the finest jazz musicians working today. Ahead of the concert, the foundation works with CPE II to prepare students by exposing them to the music, art, life of the selected composer(s) for that year, as well as historical background of the time period in which the music was written and originally performed.
  • Jazz for Young People Let Freedom Swing– All middle school students will participate in this program based on Wynton Marsalis and Sandra Day O’Connor’s conversations on jazz and democracy, Let Freedom Swing includes three in-schools jazz concerts throughout the year: Jazz and Democracy, Jazz and the Great Migration, and Jazz and Civil Rights.

Finally, our Pre-K and K families are given Cool Culture passes (https://www.coolculture.org/) which provide free admission to most museums in New York City. The mission of Cool Culture is to promote literacy and an appreciation for the arts in the early grades. CPE II pays to participate in this program so that our Pre-K and K families can enjoy the many opportunities in New York City.  

Physical Education

CPE II also considers physical education an essential part of a child’s education. CPE II has PE teachers in both the elementary and middle school locations. Our PE programs stress fitness and group work, as opposed to competitive sports. In addition, CPE II partners with the following organizations to provide additional physical education experiences for our students:

  • Lasker Rink in Central Park – All students in grades Pre K through 1st ice skate weekly from November through March, weather permitting. Parents are welcome to attend as well! The rink is located in Central Park (entrance just south of park entrance at 110th Street & Lenox Avenue).
  • Waterproofing at Asphalt Green – All 2nd grade students participate in this weekly swim instruction and water safety program at Asphalt Green (555 E 90th St.).
  • John McEnroe Tennis Academy – All 3rd grade students participate in this free weekly tennis instruction program at Sportime Randall’s Island. http://www.sportimeny.com/Manhattan
  • Operation Explore All 4th thru 6th grade students go on a three-day, two-night camping trip each year. More information will come from your child’s teacher.
  • Recess Enhancement Program of Asphalt Green – For grades K – 5 during open recess. This program supports all students during their recess time twice a week, making it an active and cooperative time.


CPE II considers field trips an essential part of the school curriculum. Different field trips take place throughout the school year. Teachers look for field trips that connect to the work that is going on in the classroom. No child is ever denied participation in any trip or activity based on their inability to pay. Please contact Naomi (Nsmith3@schools.nyc.gov), Yhane (yhane@cpe2.org) or Saramit should there be a problem with paying for any CPE II activity.

Home Practice

Your child’s teacher will let you know at the beginning of the year how and when home practice will be distributed and collected. Please support your child in providing a structure for completion of his or her home-practice. Students should complete this work independently. The point of home practice is the practice what students worked on in school. We ask that parents not correct home practice or attempt to teach in their own way.   Research shows that school success is linked to the amount of time a child reads. Although this will vary from grade to grade, daily reading is an essential part of all students’ home practice. From grades 2 and up, children will keep a reading log as well.   Home practice is given when independent practice can support learning in the classroom. Because our students are very busy each day in their classes, it is important that they have time to engage in other activities outside of school, or simply have “free time.” Thus, home practice is kept to a minimum and is never busy work.  Parents who would like more extensive home practice can discuss this with teachers, who can make recommendations for fruitful home learning.

Student Health & Safety

Parent Contact Forms

Parents will be asked to complete a form with emergency information at the beginning of school. These forms are our lifeline to you. They are our quick-reference guide for your child. Since it is critical that the school is able to reach you, please remember to update the information during the year as soon as any changes occur. In addition, parents complete a shorter yellow form, which is kept on the back of the purple folder, for quick easy access, especially during dismissal.

Health Forms

Good health is crucial to learning. Students should get yearly checkups from the doctor and dentist. It is important that the school is aware of any health or medical related issues for your child. If your child has a medical condition (asthma, allergies, etc.) and/or needs to take medications during the school day, please complete a 504 Form. You can download the form at: http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/Health/SchoolHealthForms/default.htm or email Yhane (Yhane@cpe2.org) to request this form sent home via the purple folder.


It is essential that all students have the mandated Immunizations. Immunizations are the vaccines (shots) that protect your child from these serious childhood diseases including: Measles, Mumps, Rubella, polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Hib Meningitis, Hepatitis B, Chickenpox, and Pneumococcal Disease. The Citywide Immunization Registry can help to keep children’s records up to date – and to make those records available to parents and health care providers. Visit the Citywide Immunization Registry online at www.nyc.gov/health/cir. Call the Health Department’s Immunization Hotline at 311 for further information about available vaccination services. Parents who do not wish to have their child immunized based on religious beliefs or advice from a doctor that it poses a risk to the student’s health must submit their request for a waiver in writing and, if a health issue, include a physician’s statement. Children who do not have the appropriate immunizations or an approved DOE waiver will be excluded from school.

School Nurse

There is a full-time nurse who services both CPE II and IS 171 in the elementary school building. The nurse can be reached at 212-426-8297. The nurse’s office is in Room 201 on the second floor. We are very lucky to have a School Based Health clinic at the Middle School. The clinic provides a range of services for any Middle School student who has a completed permission form. We strongly encourage all Middle School students to have a form on file.

Student Support & Counseling

Our Guidance Counselor, Norma, is the point person for students that need to talk with someone about a problem. In addition, through long-time, strong collaboration with IPTAR (http://iptar.org/), our school is able to provide individual counseling to a limited number of children. Referrals for counseling can be made by school staff, parents or students themselves. Parents who feel that their child needs such support on a short term or ongoing basis should contact Naomi.


If your child has a fever, nausea or diarrhea or any other adverse symptoms, please keep your child at home to recover. If these symptoms develop at school, you will be asked to take your child home. Before sending your child to school, be sure your child feels well enough to have a positive, productive day and be considerate of the health of others around your child. If your child contracts a communicable illness, please inform us so that we may inform other parents of their child’s exposure. If your child gets sick or hurt at school, we will take the immediate action necessary (first aid, the nurse, the hospital) and we will call you. Please make sure that we have up-to-date phone numbers and addresses for your family and emergency contact people. We must be able to reach every family. Please be aware that unless your child is seriously ill, he or she will remain in our office until you arrive. The school nurse’s office is not available to us for children to rest or lie down.

Accident Reports

Any serious accidents that occur at CPE II will be documented in an online DOE report by the responsible adult present at the time of injury. The usual bumps and scrapes requiring a band-aid and/or a bit of sympathy do not generate such reports.


Elementary and middle school-aged children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night in order to function at their best during the day. Even mild sleep deprivation can have a significant toll on a children during the day. Research shows that sleep deprivation often manifests itself in the inability of a child to concentrate and can also cause behavioral problems. Please set up a regular evening routine (a time to start getting ready, a book or two, etc.) to make sure your child gets adequate sleep.


All children — with any hair type — can get lice. Having lice is not an indication of poor hygiene or poor parenting. If a staff member sees that a student is showing symptoms of having lice (itching, red bumps on the neck, shoulders, sores from too much scratching) s/he will do a lice check. If a child has nits and/or lice, their parents are notified.  There is a “no head lice” policy for all NYC public schools, but not a “no nit” policy. If there are live lice, the child needs to be picked up from school as soon as possible. The parents are asked to treat the case immediately. Students found to have live head lice will be excluded from school and not allowed to return until they are lice-free. The child can return to school once there are no longer any live lice in the hair. Students will be reexamined in 14 days to confirm that they have remained lice-free.  Students with nits but no evidence of live head lice will not be excluded from school. Mandatory Safety Drills:  CPE II, like all NYC public schools, has mandatory evacuation (formerly fire) drills and lockdown drills (Remain in classroom quietly, lock the door.) several times a year.

CPE II’s School Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition

CPE II is committed to providing a school environment that promotes and protects children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by encouraging students to adopt lifelong habits that promote a healthy lifestyle.   The school will engage students, parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing school-wide nutrition and physical activity policies through the Health and Wellness Committee. Health and Wellness meetings will be held 2nd Wednesday of the month. Meetings will be held at Mt Sinai Hospital, 1470 Madison Ave, between 101 and 102 Street. All CPE II parents and guardians are invited to attend. Mariama Duncan is H&W co-chair and they are in need of another co-chair. Contact Mariama at: healthwellness@cpe2.org All students will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis. School will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.

Foods and Beverages

Snacks served during the school day or in after-school care or enrichment programs will make a positive contribution to children’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Therefore, foods and beverages consumed by students should comply with the following:   Beverages

  • Allowed: Water, low-fat milks, drinks with 100% fruit juice (including a mix of water and juice with no added sugar).
  • Not Allowed: Quarter drinks (red, blue waters), soft drinks, sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.), Vitamin Water, etc.


  • Flavored milks, such as chocolate milk, are considered a treat. Students in pre-K through 1st grade should not bring these to school at all. Students in grades 2 and up can have flavored milks only on Fridays, as a treat.


  • Allowed: nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits & vegetables, string cheese, rice cakes, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, low-fat yogurt.


  • Not Allowed: high-fat, high-sugar, high salt  junk foods such as: all types of candy, chips, pudding and cookies.

Please note that there are healthy granola/cereal and nutrition bars, we ask that if students bring any snack bars to school they are in line with our healthy food policy. (i.e. fruit and nut bars are ok, chocolate chip bars are not ok) https://outlook.office.com/owa/?realm=schools.nyc.gov&exsvurl=1&ll-cc=1033&modurl=0&path=/attachmentlightbox  For Healthy Snack guidelines.

Fundraising Activities

To support children’s health and school nutrition education efforts, the school community will not use any fundraising programs that undermine the school nutrition program.


CPE II will not use foods or beverages, especially those that do not meet the nutrition standards for foods and beverages (above), as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages (including food served through school meals) as a punishment, nor will recess be withheld from any student, unless their recess behavior poses a safety problem for students.

Birthday & Other Celebrations

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average child under 12 years old in this country consumes about 49 pounds of sugar annually.  The “sugar high” kids get from eating candy and drinking sodas is followed by a sugar crash when the body receives too much insulin, causing fatigue and difficulties concentrating.  This can lead to behavioral problems and difficulties learning, problematic in the school environment. For this reason, CPEII is implementing a healthy celebration policy as a way to reduce sugar intake during the school day. Your child’s teacher will let you know if the class can host a small birthday celebrations for your child, or if the class will have monthly collective shared birthday celebrations (ex. all of the children with September birthdays will have a shared celebration). Please follow our school-wide Health & Wellness policy of healthy foods whenever bringing snacks to school and communicate your snack choice with your child’s teacher. Traditionally, birthday party menus have included sugary snacks.   At this time, we encourage parents to bring -low sugar, fruit or vegetable-based foods. Water is always the best beverage. Here are a few other suggestions.

-Whole or cut fruit

-Yogurt and fruit parfaits

-100% fruit juice ice pops

-Whole grain tortilla chips and guacamole

-Cinnamon pita chips with fruit &salsa



-Homemade trail mix

-Low sugar, fruit or vegetable-based muffins, such as zucchini bread or carrot muffins

No candy, no goody bags, no soda. CPE II has a policy that siblings do not participate in classroom birthday celebrations. If you are having a party outside of the school, unless the entire class is being invited, party invitations should not be distributed at school.

Parent Volunteer Involvement

Every child at CPE II benefits from the work that parent volunteers do. Of course, the availability of each parent is different. And while fundraising is important, parent participation goes beyond that and WE NEED YOU.

The Parents Association

The Parents Association (PA) works to support and supplement the education provided to the children of CPE II. People like you—parents and other caregivers who care about their children’s education—make up the Parents Association. The small student body of CPE II is part of what makes the school a vibrant and effective educational institution; however, a small student body means a small parent body. In order for our school to thrive, all parents need to be involved. All adults with a child at CPE II are automatic members of the Parents Association. Meetings alternate between morning and evening on-site meetings to accommodate parents’ schedules. If you can’t make a meeting, but have some thoughts you want to share, please contact members of the Executive Board, who will raise your concerns at the meeting.   The PA has an active Google group and maintains the CPE II PA website at www.CPE2.org. To join the Google group, go to the website and click on the link. The group moderator will send you an invitation. The group is at http://groups.google.com/group/cpe2parents. The PA has several very active Committees, including the Health & Wellness Committee and the Garden Committee. Please come to a meeting and get involved!  

School Leadership Team 

School Leadership Teams (SLTs) are charged by New York State with making policy decisions for their school and supporting implementation of these policies. CPE II, like every public school in the state, has a team made up of equal numbers of staff and family representatives. These representatives are elected for 2-year terms.   The SLT meets every month on Friday afternoons. Family members and staff not on the SLT are free to attend meetings, but not able to vote on issues under discussion. Families and staff can contact any of the SLT members to raise questions and concerns, voice opinions, and suggest ideas. You can find out about what issues are being discussed and what policies are decided from CPE II Notes or through Parents Association meetings and staff meetings.   Please note that personal concerns about particular children/teachers are not the purview of the SLT.  If you have a specific concern about your child, please contact your child’s teacher first.  

Long Range Planning (aka “Hopes & Dreams”)

Starting in 2006/07, the SLT began articulating a long-range plan for the school. All faculty and parents are encouraged to attend these Hopes & Dreams meetings to discuss and plan for CPE II’s future. This committee is sponsored by the SLT, but anyone in the CPE II community may join. The 2017-18 Hopes & Dreams include: 1) creating compassionate communities/social justice 2) parent communication 3) school advocacy 4) sustainable CPE II.   These groups will be meeting throughout the school year.  

Parent Volunteering

What else do parents do?  We are only limited by the talents and capabilities of our parents.  Here are some examples:

  • Be a Garden Volunteer
  • Come to a PA meeting
  • Join a committee
  • Volunteer to support school wide events (Fall Fair, Spring Fair, Talent Show, etc.)
  • Dust the books in the library or organize books
  • Keep the computers in the art room clean
  • Serve from the Salad Bar at lunch
  • Help organize performances and exhibits, especially the Talent Show and End of Year Art Exhibit
  • Help your child’s classroom teacher keep the room clean and tidy
  • Fit skates and/or go ice-skating
  • Prepare salad from our very own Garden produce
  • Organize a classroom Pot Luck
  • Collect and send in BoxTops via the Purple Folder
  • And so much more!


School/Parent Compact

CPE II agrees:

  • to provide high quality curriculum and instruction.
  • to facilitate communication between school and family through:
    • free distribution of a purple folder to each child
    • weekly CPEII Notes
    • reasonable access to staff
    • opportunities to participate in their child’s class
    • parent/teacher conferences
  • to provide opportunities for parents to participate in school-wide activities.
  • to provide parent workshops
  • to work together with the entire school community through the Parents Association and the School Leadership Team to provide an optimal educational experience for children.
  • to provide annual meetings for parents to inform them of the programs at CPE II and their right to be involved. A flexible number of meetings at various times will be arranged to take into account parent needs.
  • to actively involve parents in planning, reviewing and improving programs and parental involvement policies at CPE II.
  • to provide parents with timely information about all programs.
  • to provide performance profiles and individual student assessment results for each child.

  CPE II parents agree:

  • to attend the annual open house as well as two family conferences
  • to read the weekly CPEII Notes every Tuesday
  • to check the purple folder daily.
  • to become involved in developing, implementing, evaluating and revising the school/parent involvement policy.
  • to use or request assistance that the school may offer on child rearing practices and teaching/learning strategies.
  • to establish a regular bed time that allows their child to receive sufficient sleep to be successful in school
  • to make sure that children arrive at school by 8:20 daily
  • to monitor children’s attendance at school, to achieve the Chancellor’s promotional standard of 90% or better.
  • to monitor and provide time and space for homework and daily reading
  • to share the responsibility for improving student achievement.
  • to actively participate in the CPE II Parents Association.

CPE II Parent Involvement Policy

  • Each child at CPE II will be provided with a home/school communications folder, which will be carried daily to facilitate school communication with the family.
  • CPE II will publish a weekly school newsletter, CPE II Notes, featuring up-coming events, school news, minutes from the Parents Association, and information from the School Leadership Team.
  • Classroom teachers, along with Class Parents, will regularly produce classroom letters discussing themes being studied in the particular classroom, projects and homework, including a curriculum letter at the beginning of the school year indicating the course of study for their child’s class.
  • The Parent Coordinator will actively support parents.
  • 90% or more of parents/guardians will attend November and February/March family conferences.
  • In order to maximize parental involvement and participation in their children’s education, arranging school meetings at a variety of times, or conducting in-home conferences between teachers or other educators, who work directly with participating children, with parents who are unable to attend those conferences at school
  • CPE II will host an orientation early in the school year to welcome families, articulate the school’s philosophy of learning, and provide teachers with the opportunity to discuss with parents the year’s curriculum and competencies to be developed, with 75% family attendance for this and other school-wide events such as concerts, etc.
  • The CPE II Parents Association will meet at least monthly and will include both evening and morning meeting times to accommodate the maximum number of parents. Childcare and refreshments will be provided.
  • The School Leadership Team will meet monthly.
  • A variety of workshops will be held to accommodate the needs of the parent body.
  • Childcare will be provided at all events related to parent involvement.
  • Periodic surveys will be issued to parents to obtain parent opinions on a variety of topics that will provide data to the SLT and the staff to use in planning.

Here are the CPE II Afternoon Bus Routes




CPE II recognizes the importance of the religious beliefs of its students, parents, and staff.  While the school is sensitive to religious observances and may, on occasion, use these as vehicles for exploring diverse cultures, it does not celebrate religious holidays or promote or endorse any particular religious belief. 

Dressing for school

CPE II encourages students to dress in clothing that is comfortable. School activities often require sitting on the rug or floor. Students are likely to paint, use markers and glue several times a week. Daily recess is best enjoyed in sneakers, or other sturdy footwear. Please avoid fancy clothing that students “cannot get dirty.” 

Electronic items, Cell phones, etc.

We know that some children travel long distances to school. It is preferable that students not bring cell phones or other electronic devices to school. All cell phones are to be turned off when students enter the school (or with permission and supervision call parents to notify them of their safe arrival.) Contact between parents and students during the school day should take place through the school office. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Electronics, including cell phones, will be confiscated if taken out or used during the school day. Please review with your older children.  These infractions are taken very seriously. Students may not use electronic devices to engage in prohibited behaviors, which include but are not limited to:

  • making sexually suggestive comments, innuendos, propositions or similar remarks, or engaging in nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature (Discipline Code Infractions A38/B34);
  • engaging in harassing, intimidating and/or bullying behavior, including using electronic communication to engage in such behavior (cyber-bullying) (Discipline Code A36/B39);
  • using slurs based upon actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, national origin, citizenship/immigration status, weight, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or disability (Discipline Code Infractions A23/B23); and
  • posting, distributing, displaying or sharing literature or material containing a threat of violence, injury or harm, or depicting violent actions against or obscene, vulgar or lewd pictures of students or staff (Discipline Code Infractions A32/B35).

The Discipline Code also prohibits students from taking unauthorized photos and audio/video recordings of others (Discipline Code Infractions A21/B19).  

CPE II 2017-2018 School Year Calendar of holidays and days of non-attendance

September Thurs. and Fri., September 21st and 22nd, Rosh Hashanah: schools closed October Mon., October 9, Columbus Day observed:school closed November Tues., November 7,  Election Day: students do not attend school Thurs. and Fri., November 23 and 24: school closed December Mon. – Fri. December 25 – 29, Winter Recess January Mon., January 2, Winter Recess, cont’d. Tues., January 3, School resumes Mon. January 15. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: school closed February Fri., February 16, Lunar New Year Mon. – Fri., February 19-23, Winter recess: school closed March Fri, March 30, Spring recess: school closed April Mon. – Fri., April 2-6, Spring recess: school closed May Mon., May 30: Memorial Day June Thurs., June 7, Anniversary Day: students do not attend Mon., June 11, Clerical Day: students do not attend Fri., June 15, Eid al-Fitr: schools closed Tues., June 26, Last day of school for all students CPE II Student Early Dismissal Dates for Staff PD Friday, October 20 Friday, December 8 Friday, January 26 Friday, May 11

Main Office: 212-860-5992 -- Address: 433 East 100th Street, New York, NY 10029

Copyright © 2018 - Central Park East II

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