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330- 18th Street

Brooklyn, New York 11215

(718) 965-0390

Frank Giordano                                Laurie Cianciotta/Angela Lopez

Principal                                 Assistant Principals

Parent/Student Handbook

Welcome to New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts/M.S. 443.  This handbook is provided as a source of information for all parents and legal guardians of students attending our school.  Our mission statement, educational philosophy, programs/course offerings, schedules, and grading policies are included.


Strengthened by the diversity of our school community we believe that each child has the potential to meet high standards.  With a deep commitment to the arts, New Voices strives to provide quality, academically rigorous, developmentally appropriate, standards-based instruction through integrated teaching practices that are experiential, child-centered and project-based.  With the support of strong parent involvement and community partnerships we create an environment that nurtures the soul artistically and academically.  An ongoing, teacher-driven, professional development program inspires a commitment to learning and ensures a sustainable future for all our students.


New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts was created as an academy through a grant from the Annenberg Foundation.  The school was housed in its present location on the upper floors of 330 – 18th Street, where we share a building with the Studio School of Arts & Culture, P.S. 295.  New Voices started with a small staff and equally small student body.  The intent was to establish a small middle school that was committed to the teaching of humanities and the arts in a nurturing, intimate environment.  Since that time, New Voices has grown in staff, student body and educational philosophy.  New Voices continues to provide a challenging educational environment in which instruction in all the core academic subjects are infused and enhanced by the integration of the visual, performing and literary arts.  New Voices provides an arts education together with a comprehensive, academically rigorous curriculum.  We work to nurture and develop the intellectual potential as well as the creative potential of each student.  Our arts program is designed to not only develop the talent and knowledge of our students, but to also rouse their artistic and intellectual passions.  Children who are exposed to standards-based instruction in the arts become more intelligent, disciplined, well-rounded human beings.  

Our goals for all students center on:  High Standards, Personal Expectations, Exacting Discipline, and Creative Risk-taking.  These are the elements needed for success in learning and in life.

We expect our students to excel academically and artistically.  We have grown a school culture that is unique in many ways.  The staff and administration are always ready to explore and implement new and better avenues of curriculum, instruction and assessment that best suit the needs of our students.  

New Voices Staff


Frank Giordano, Principal                        Rm 317      

Laurie Cianciotta, Assistant Principal   Rm 310      

Angela Lopez, Assistant Principal        Rm 310       

Liz Gifford, Secretary                        Main Office

Enid Parra, Parent Coordinator                Rm 310      

Dina Miller, Guidance Counselor                Rm 310      

Lindsey Bernstein, Social Worker        Rm 310       

Staff                                         Subject                                        Grade

Agostino, Maria                        Humanities                                        8th

Alvarado, Henry                        Mathematics/ICT                                7th 

Baffuto, Joseph                        Mathematics                                8th

Burnworth, Jeremy                S.T.E.M                                        6th, 7th, 8th 

Brocco, Michael                        Science                                        8th 

Desrochers, Peter                        Mathematics                                6th 

DiRenzo, Adele                        Theater                                        6th, 7th, 8th 

Eisenberg, Keri                        Graphic Arts                                6th, 7th, 8th

Freese, Michael                        Mathematics                                6th 

Gomes, Francesca                        Humanities                                        7th 

Gonzales, Cherish                        Humanities/ICT                                7th 

Hart, Missy                                 Humanities                                        6th

Herlinger-Thompson, Lisa           Dance                                                  6, 7, 8

Herrity, Kelsey                        Visual Art                                        6th, 7th, 8th 

Holmes, Miriam                        Humanities                                        6th 

Kahn, Josh                                Mathematics                                8th

Karcz, Kimberly                        Mathematics ICT                                8th

Keely, Cristin                             ENL                                                          8th

Kraus, Layla                                Mathematics                                7th

Koutsavlis, Steven                        Mathematics                                7th

Kraus, Layla                                Mathematics/ICT                                8th 

Labovitch, Hannah                        Humanities                                        7th 

Man, Megan                                Humanities                                        7th 

Mann, Rachel                              ENL                                                      6th               McDonagh, James                        Mathematics/ICT                                7th

Mitchell, Janene                        Humanities/ICT                                6th

Nason, Sean                                French                                        8th 

O’Neal, Tim                                Science                                        8th 

Pignataro, Danielle                        Humanities                                        8th 

Piscopia, Traci                        Humanities/ICT                                6th 

Poniatowski, Devon                        Humanities                                         7th 

Rivera, Teresa                        Humanities                                        8th

Rose, Susan                                Science                                        6th 

Stapleford, Alessandra                Humanities/ICT                                8th 

Shzu, Elisa                                Mathematics/ICT                                6th 

Tappitake, Catherine                Humanities                                        6th

Windbish, Cherise                        Science                                        6th 

School Leadership Team – Our school is governed by a School Leadership Team made up of school administrators, PTA officers, parents, teachers, and school staff.  The team meets to look at school concerns such as parent involvement, building maintenance, security and other school issues as they arise.

The PA (Parent Association) - The PA encourages all parents to actively participate in the school community activities.  The PA serves as a vital liaison between the home and school by providing information and communication.  The PA also supports the school in many other ways through the funding of support services and resources.  The work of the PA is accomplished through parent committees organized around specific needs to improve, develop and support the education of our students.  All parents are invited to join and become active partners in the education of their children.  

Building Relationships

In order to build community and nurture a sense of camaraderie, the two schools that house this building (P.S. 295 and M.S. 443) have joined together and envision our schools as distinct parts of one philosophical whole.  A most important concern is our school environment.  We seek to reflect a warm, supportive and literate environment.  We hope that when you enter our building, you are met by an inviting and exciting learning climate in which education is respected and admired.

Mapping Curriculum

In an effort to build congruence and consistency of instruction without repetition, teams of teachers work across the grade and disciplines to develop curriculum maps that assist teachers in planning for instruction.  Using Next Generation Standards, teachers develop maps to share among the entire staff.  The curriculum maps are used to design units of study in all grade levels and in all content areas.

Nurturing a Commitment to the Humanities

Our school embraces an interdisciplinary approach to the teaching of English Language Arts and Social Studies.  All genres of literature are used and connected to the social studies content, creating a unified Humanities program.  This commitment exists because of our belief in understanding-based education.  Facts alone are isolated pieces of knowledge, but coupled with literature, they acquire greater meaning.  The more meaning that knowledge carries with it, the longer it will stay with our students.

Strengthening Content Areas of Math and Science

Our objective in mathematics is to create an atmosphere that balances basic skills and conceptual understanding.  The curriculum is based on Next Generation Standards.  Teachers meet weekly in planning lessons, analyzing student work and creating assessments.  This assures that our students are constantly engaged in mathematical inquiry, discussion and process.  

The integration of science with literacy and hands-on lab activities exposes students to necessary critical thinking skills.  Teachers meet to plan collaborative lessons and labs.

Integrating the Arts and Technology into Content Areas

With a goal of creating a comprehensive and curriculum based arts program for all students, New Voices offers the arts disciplines of music, dance, theater, visual arts, chorus, and graphic arts.  Through this variety of arts forms, students are exposed to the purity of each discipline.  The academic curriculum is enriched and enhanced by the integration of the arts and technology into the instructional program.

Supporting Our Students

In order to meet the needs of the “whole child” we support our students emotionally, socially and academically.  By providing the service of a full-time guidance counselor the emotional needs of our students are addressed.  

Addressing the Specific Needs of English Language Learners

To assist our second language learners, our ESL program provides both push-in and pull-out services.  Working with classroom teachers and teaching artists, the ESL staff develops programs that develop English language skills throughout the grades.  

Recognizing Parents as Partners

With the belief that parents are the first and best teachers of our students, we recognize that student success is largely dependent upon active parental involvement.  Communication, collaboration and shared decision-making strengthen and encourage parent involvement and participation.

Special Programs

Special Recognition - New Voices has been recognized as an Exemplary Site for Arts Education by the New York City Department of Education, Office of Arts & Special Projects.  

Speech and Language – This program provides services to our students in need of speech and language therapy.

Technology/Research Center – A computer lab furnished with the most updated IMAC’s supports and extends the learning in all content areas.  Students also have access ipads and laptops in the classrooms


General Information - School and PA newsletters, calendar of events and special event notices are sent home on a regular basis via email.   If you need to contact your child’s teacher for any reason, please email using Jupitered.

School Website:  Please check the school website for updated information:  

Student Progress – Communication regarding your child’s progress is extremely important to both the home and the school.  We provide a formal report card three times during the course of the academic year. Teachers also use google classroom and an online grading system in which you will have access to your child’s progress on a daily basis.  Please make every effort to attend parent-teacher conferences and be sure to sign all report cards and return them to school in a timely manner.

Report Cards and Teacher Conferences -Report Cards are issued 3 times a year.  Two Parent-Teacher Conferences are held for all classes in October and March.  Individual conferences can be arranged at other times by appointment only.

Honor Roll Criteria

Gold Honor Roll

Over 90% Average;

All Grades 90 or above

Satisfactory Conduct

Less than 7 times late

Silver Honor Roll

Over 85% Average

All Grades 80 or above

Satisfactory Conduct

Less than 7 times late

Arrival and Dismissal

School Hours -  School will be in session from 8:30 am until 2:35 pm.  We operate on an eight period day with the instructional schedule as follows:

Homeroom         8:15- 2:35

Period 1         8:30 – 9:15

Period 2        9:15 – 10:00

Period 3        10:00– 10:45

Period 4        10:45 – 11:30

Period 5        11:30 – 12:15  

Period 6        12:15 – 1:00  

Period 7        1:00 –1:45

Period 8        1:45 –2:30

Homeroom         2:30- 2:35

Attendance – Regular attendance is critical for student success.  However, we do recognize that there are times when an absence from school cannot be avoided.  If your child is going to be absent, please send a note to your child’s teacher and Enid Parra, Parent Coordinator via Jupitered, explaining their absence.

Lateness – The school day begins at 8:15 am promptly.  Homeroom is from 8:15 - 8:30.  Homeroom teachers begin to take attendance after the hallways have been cleared, which is around 8:20 am. Any student who enters homeroom after the hallways have been cleared will be marked late by their homeroom teacher.  Students arriving to school too late to make it to homeroom, around 8:25 am, are required to sign the late book located at the security desk until 9 am. The late book is used to adjust student attendance. Students arriving after 9 am are required to  report to Room 310 to update their attendance for the day.   Please note that students who are late more than 6 times during a marking period will not be eligible for honor roll.  

Emergency Procedure Cards – Each student must have an emergency procedure card (blue card) on file in the main office.  Please complete this card and return it to school as soon as possible at the beginning of each school year.  Update the blue card in the event of any address or telephone number changes.  It is our policy to notify you in the event that your child is ill or hurt and it is important that there is always someone to reach in case of an emergency.

Illness and Medication – If your child is out due to a contagious illness, you must provide a note from a physician indicating a return to school.  All medications, prescription and non-prescription, must be administered in the nurse’s office.  Medication must be brought to school by a parent and labeled for the intended student.  All medications must be in the original containers.  Students are not permitted to maintain prescription and non-prescription medications.

Metrocards – Metrocards are issued twice a year in September and February.  Eligibility  for a full or half fare card is based on the student’s traveling distance to and from school and home.  If a Metrocard is lost or damaged, please report it immediately to Ms. Nunez in Room 310.  

Rules and Regulations

School Rules – Our students will follow the guidelines outlined below:

Discipline – Disruptive behavior infringes on the learning rights of all students in our care.  Unacceptable behavior will be discussed with the student and/or parent as the situation warrants. A formal discipline code, with behaviors, infractions and their severity will be provided to you separately.  Infractions such as graffiti, vandalism to school property, and physical aggression will be dealt with severely.

Dress Code Policy:

Homework – Most teachers will assign homework on a daily basis.  Homework is intended to reinforce and extend the instruction of the day.  Questions about homework should be directed to your child’s teacher.

Food and Nutrition – All students eat lunch in the school cafeteria.  Lunch applications are sent home every year and also can be completed online and it is important that you complete these forms.  The school offers both breakfast and lunch with a variety of choices.  Students who eat breakfast at school may enter the building at 8:00 am.

Field Trips – Field trips are planned to enhance and support the school curriculum.  All students and parents will be notified well in advance of a planned trip.  Students must have written consent from a parent/legal guardian before going on any field trip.  

Personal Property –.  The school will not be held responsible for personal items.  Cell phones must remain off and not visible (not silent mode) for the duration of the school day.   Items may be confiscated until parental contact is made. Personal phone calls will not be permitted on student cell phones.  Cell phones will be confiscated until parental contact is made if rules are not followed.

Special Events

Our school hosts a variety of special events throughout the school year including the following:

School Pictures – Individual pictures are taken annually, usually in early fall.  Information about these occasions will be sent home in advance.

Other Special Events and Activities – As our school continues to grow so do the number and kinds of special events. Special events may include PTA Fundraising activities (Candy Sales, Bake Sales,etc…), Book Fairs, Arts Showcases and Art Exhibits.  These events are important because they help our families get to know each other and build our school sense of community.


School Phone                                  (718) 965-0390

School Fax                                     (718) 965-0267

Frank Giordano, Principal ------------------------------------------------– Room 317

Laurie Cianciotta, Assistant Principal -----------------------------------– Room 310

Angela Lopez, Assistant Principal-----------------------------------------Room 310

Dina Miller, Guidance Counselor-------------------------------------------Room 310

Lindsey Bernstein, Social Worker—--------------------------------------Room 310

School Based Support Team--------------------------------------------Room 217

Enid Parra, Parent Coordinator        ---------------------------------------Room 310

Liz Gifford, School Secretary----------------------------------------Main Office