News and Events » Mr. McLaughlin's Weekly Wrap Up

Mr. McLaughlin's Weekly Wrap Up

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,
I asked my staff to fill in the blank of this sentence.... The last two days have been_______________ for me and my students.  The feedback I've gotten has been, "exciting, engaging, fun, memorable, lively, extraordinary, amazing...." and I hope you and your children have felt the same!  Feel free to share your "fill in the blank" when you see me.
For me, the last two days have been overwhelmingly, positive, and affirming for me and my students.  The positivity in the building is palpable and it affirms to me that we are going to have a great year!  
This Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of September 11, 2001 and so I am asking that all students wear red, white and blue.  We will be commemorating the anniversary during our morning announcements. 
Beginning Monday, 9/11/23, our early morning drop off program will take place in the auditorium starting at 7:05am and will be supervised by Mrs. Lam and Mrs. Ehrhardt.  If you are interested in signing your child up for early morning drop off, I have attached the google form below. 
I want to take a moment to officially welcome our new and returning staff to the Castlewood family.  
  • Kerry Mackenzie Grade 5 Teacher
  • Dayna Stechel, Grade 1 Teacher
  • Stella Chung, Technology Teacher
  • Jessica DeMartino, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Seth LeRea, Social Worker
  • Camille Satchwell, Social Worker 
  • Susan O'malley, School Aide
  • Janice Cabello, School Aide
  • Nusaiba Ally, Speech Pathologist
  • Melanie Aguinaga
Attached below is a very important google form that I need all parents to fill out.  This form will give Castlewood permission for a few opportunities that take place at school.  For example, it will allow us to take photographs and share on our social media platforms (such as our Instagram page and school website.  It will also allow us to announce your child's birthday during our daily announcements as well as give them certificates with their names on it (i.e. citizen of the month, perfect attendance etc.).  Please take the time to fill this out so that we can begin to engage in and memorialize these opportunities for you and your families.
Finally, as a reminder, Fridays are our official Castlewood spirit day, and we encourage all community members to show their Castlewood pride by adorning school attire.  In related news, we are working on getting our school store up and running so stay tuned for further information.

Enjoy your weekend!


Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
Well, our first full week flew by at Castlewood because as the saying goes, "time flies when you're having fun".  This first week has been filled with fun activities, getting to know your children, getting them back in routines and gearing them up for the academic work ahead.  At this point every class is engaged in rigorous work with our HMH literacy program at the forefront!  
Parents if you have not done so already, please fill out the attached parent consent form.  In order for our students to be recognized for their achievements (i.e. Citizen of the Month), birthdays announced, pictures taken that can be placed on social media, etc. this form needs to be completed.    
On Tuesday September 26th Castlewood welcomes our first assembly of the 2023-2024 school year - The Ned Show

About the Show

NED’s Mindset Mission is an entertaining and impactful 45-minute performance. We use storytelling, puppetry, illusions and yoyo tricks to take your students on an exciting journey with our character NED. He follows clues, meets memorable characters and learns valuable lessons.


First, a yeti teaches NED to overcome Mt. Everest’s toughest obstacles and Never Give Up. With Captain Kindly, NED discovers inner treasures on a Caribbean island and how to Encourage Others. Finally, while repairing a sputtering spaceship, NED grows his brain while learning the message Do Your Best.

Parents will have the opportunity to purchase items for their children from the show that range from $4.00 to $12.00.  More information to come.
Enjoy your weekend!
Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
Our second full week of school is in the books and the fall weather is beginning to settle in (jeans and sweatshirts are my favorite).  Tomorrow we officially welcome the Fall season into 2023.  That means that tonight is the Autumn Equinox, or as Jake Adam York wrote, "The year's last firefly winking like a penny in the shoulders weeds".  Thank you to everyone for all the kind birthday wishes and happy birthday to all our September children (Virgos and Libras rock)!  
Please visit our new school store as it is filled with all kinds of great Castlewood gear!  The back-to-school sale ends September 30th so jump in on the savings now!
The "Ned Show" will be joining us for our first full assembly in the auditorium on Tuesday, September 26th at 1:15.  
LUNCHTIME CLUBS ARE ALMOST HERE!!!!  I want to send a shout out Ms. Cageao, Mr. Bogart, Mrs. Chung, Mr. Gomes and Mr. Zwang for coming up with a variety of engaging opportunities for your children to participate in during their lunch periods.  A full schedule of the clubs is forthcoming.
We opened Castlewood's doors earlier than ever in the morning to encourage all of you to get your children to school as early as possible.  Please do your best to get your children to school no later than 7:50am.  EVERY MINUTE COUNTS AND THEY ADD UP.  We will also begin selling snacks in the auditorium to students in the morning (more information to follow).
On Thursday, October 12th we will be hosting our first movie night at Castlewood!!!  Tickets will be $5.00 per person, and we will be selling snacks, water, juice and ices/ice cream.  All proceeds raised from the movie night will go towards future student celebrations.  
Lastly, I want to wish a happy Yom Kippur to everyone who celebrates and a remind everyone that school is closed... "Yom Tov".
Warm regards,
Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
"A guarantee of rain comes with the promise of sunshine 🌞author unknown.  Something that brought me a little sunshine today was the recognition that today marked exactly 365 days that I have been the Principal of Castlewood.  For me, it marks the anniversary of one of the greatest years of my career in the department of education and for that I wanted to say thank you to this amazing community that I've been lucky enough to inherit. ❤️
As a reminder our school store is open, BUT the back-to-school sale ends tomorrow!  A link to the school store is always available on our website and will remain open year-round!  As always, we encourage our families and staff to rock their Castlewood gear every Friday!
I want to send a shout out to Mrs. Polanco and Mrs. Schlecter for braving the awful weather conditions this morning!  I watched as they walked every child they possibly could out of their car and into the school building under an umbrella.  This unwavering commitment is what makes our school great and why visitors like Justin Stark from our district office said to me, "I've never seen such wonderful school spirit as I have today".  Keep up the good work everyone because all your efforts don't go unnoticed!  I also want to thank those parents that go out of their way to make sure they arrive before 8:00 as this makes our morning arrivals run so much smoother!
Google classroom invites have been sent to your children from their classroom teacher(s).  Please make sure you accept the invitation.
Please join us for our first Movie Night of the year on Thursday October 12th as we watch Hotel Transylvania at 6:00pm.  Doors will open at 5:45pm.  Snacks and beverages will be sold along with ices and ice cream.  We look forward to spending the evening with those that can make it.  
We are excited to announce that beginning in October Castlewood will now offer various clubs for students to join during their lunch period.  Please talk with your child and begin to see which club they are interested in.  In order to ensure that many children can have the opportunity to join a club they may only choose one.  Students who do not get a club will be placed on a wait list and Kindergarten students will be offered clubs in the 2nd half of the year.  Below you can find a schedule of the clubs that will be offered. 


First Grade 2nd and 3rd Grade 4th and 5th Grade
Art (Monday) Robotics (Tuesday) In-School Play (Tuesday and Thursday)
STEM (Thursday) Games (Wednesday) Games (Friday)
  Soccer (Wednesday)  Flag Football (Friday)
Also, beginning in October we will be selling snacks to students in the morning while they are in the auditorium.  The cost for the snacks will be $2.00 a bag.  Snacks will include chips, pretzels, mini-Oreos, welches fruit snacks and more!  There will be both peanut and gluten free options available . 

Stay dry and stay safe,

Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰 ,
It has been a busy week here at Castlewood- not unlike many others- with lots of great conversations and classroom visits.  
On October 2nd we celebrated Custodian Appreciation day and I want to reiterate how appreciative we all are for their hard work.  A building cannot run without the hard work these men and women do across all the great schools of New York City and Castlewood is no exception.  Their tireless efforts to keep our building clean and safe do not go unnoticed by our community.  I want to thank the staff and students who went out of their way to make sure our guys felt appreciated!
We are working to get the clubs up and running.  We plan on sending out a Google form soon!   Further instruction will be forthcoming.  
Please remember to bring in any unused socks to contribute to our "Socktober" collection that is taking place in partnership with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.  Up until October 27th you can bring in any new or unused socks and drop them in the boxes in the main lobby.  Shout out to Mrs. Castillo, Mrs. Koegel and the Kindness Committee for setting this up!
We hope that you and your families will join us for our first movie night of the year on October 12th as we will be showing "Hotel Transylvania."  Please reach out to Mrs. Kruger if you need more information or need tickets!
Remember parents that every minute counts to ensuring your child receives the best education possible so please get them to them to school every day and on time.
Lastly as a reminder school will be closed this Monday in recognition celebration of Italian Heritage/Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Have a great weekend!


Thomas McLaughlin

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,


Hard to believe we have reached our 25th day of school! 



I want to send a special shout out to Mrs. Tricamo, Mrs. Petromanolakis, Mrs. Kruger, Ms. Verde and Ms. Gerlach for helping to make out first movie night a huge success!!  It was so nice to see our auditorium filled (over 200 movie goers) with children and extended family members from uncles and aunts to grandparents and cousins.  We even had some Castlewood alumni attend this event!  These kinds of events go a long way in building relationships between the school and families that will benefit your children.  I also want to thank our amazing custodial staff for helping to clean up the tons of popcorn left behind!


The PTA will be bringing back the Halloween Party (Hallway) on Saturday October 21st form 4:30-7:30 PM.  From what I understand this was quite the event that has not happened since 2019.  I certainly will be bringing my sons to participate in the festivities and hope to see you there with your families as well.  They will also be hosting fundraisers (see flyer on IG page soon) by selling "Philly's Pretzels" through 10/23/23 and picture day will take place on 10/24/23.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a big fan of efficiency and paying attention to details.  With that said, moving forward I will be sending my weekly wrap ups in this format because it is both more efficient and it allows me to pay attention to those important details!

This week we had a visit from our Deputy Superintendent, Mr. Anthony Inzerillo, from the district office, to visit classrooms, speak with teacher teams, student groups as well as parent groups.  This was all part of what's called a Principal Performance Observation (PPO) which is a two part evaluation of my leadership of the school.  I want to send out a special thank you to the parents who volunteered their time to join me in that meeting.  Your insight and feedback about the school is valuable for us to continue to work to get better each day!  I also want to thank the parents who took the time to fill out the surveys which  helped me evaluate my leadership.  

A strong PTA helps make a good school great and I truly appreciate all the hard work that our PTA does each and every day.  I want to thank the PTA for putting together tomorrow's Halloween celebration at the school which will take place from 4:30-7:30 PM.  Tickets are $15.00 per person and are available at the door.  I am looking forward to seeing many of you there! I will be joined by  my 3 sons who are very excited to be part of it.   The PTA has also begun to sell pretzels.  Order forms for the pretzels are due back on October 23rd.

Starting next week we will be selling snacks to students in the auditorium during morning arrivals.  Students will be asked to put them in their lunch bag or backpack to be enjoyed at lunch.  We will be finalizing our lunchtime clubs and logistics this week and you will be getting more information from the teachers who are supervising the clubs soon!

As a reminder to all parents, our SLT meetings are open to you and the public.  If you would like to attend SLT meetings, please feel free to let me know so that I can be sure to accommodate the correct space.  SLT minutes and agendas are available on our schools website, once they are approved.

On October 31st, we will be posting our newsletters for November on the school website.  Please be reminded that you can click on the underlined links for access to family letters pertaining to our curriculum.  

Lastly, please be sure to follow the guidelines for birthday celebrations.  

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” –John F. Kennedy

To say that the staff and students of Castlewood lived those words today would be an understatement!  The love and support I felt in the auditorium this morning to celebrate “Principal Appreciation Day” was overwhelming for me and I hope that you all know how much I appreciate you.  Thank you to everyone for making this year's Principal appreciation day such a wonderful day for me.  It is a day that I will NEVER forget!!! 👁️‍🗨️❤️🏰.

I want to thank the PTA for organizing the Halloween dance, pumpkin patch and the upcoming wonder walk.  They were also in the building this week handing out books for students on their birthdays.  As a reminder parents are invited to attend the halloween/fall parties so please reach out to your teacher if you would like to attend.  I also want to thank the parents who attended my first “Coffee and Conversation” with the Principal this week.  A lot of great ideas were shared and questions answered.  I look forward to continuing this throughout the school year.  I want to thank the parents who volunteered their time and supplies to help us organize a Diwali celebration.  There will be more information to follow. All grade newsletters will be posted on the school website by Wednesday, November 1st.

Parents please see this important letter regarding the halloween/Fall walk.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  If you need me I’ll be on the baseball field with my sons hopefully securing our first playoff win

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: "What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

This week at Castlewood we were busy celebrating, honoring, conversing with parents about their child’s progress.  What a wonderful and taxing week it was as we had yet another amazing Halloween/Fall celebration!  Huge shout out to our PTA for all their efforts in decorating the school playground so that this celebration was festive and fun!  I was in awe of all of you between the costumes, the treats and the overall commitment to ensuring our students had a fun time was a sight to behold.  The staff and students of Castlewood shared with me just how much fun they had and what a positive experience it was- THANK YOU!

We had our first of what will be many assemblies to come, honoring our students who lived the precept of September and became the Citizen of the month.  We also honored those students who achieved perfect attendance for the month of September.  EVERY MINUTE COUNTS parents, so please be sure to send your child to school everyday and on time 👍.


Special shout out to our Pre-K teacher Mrs. Passero as she takes on one of the greatest physical and mental challenges a person can take on.  On Sunday, November 5th, Mrs. Passero will become part of an elite group of people that completed the NYC marathon.  Please join us as we cheer her on! 

Parents please read this important letter regarding the WIN periods that will begin Monday.  


I want to thank  Ms. Gopi Patel, Ms. Makadia Vismita, Ms. Jaini Shah, Ms. Shagun Khanna, Ms. Bhagyeshwari Patel for reaching out to us to help organize some activities for Diwali.  This will take place on November 9th and 10th.  Mrs. Kruger has sent specific information so If you have any questions, please reach out to her.   

On Tuesday, November 14th we will have our Town Hall Safety meeting.  Every school year we open one of our monthly safety meetings to parents to discuss the purpose of the school safety committee.  We will also be joined by the FDNY and they will provide a fire safety presentation to the parents.  Please fill out this form if you would like to attend. 

Have a great weekend

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“Duty, honor, country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” - Douglas MacArthur

As the son and brother of a Marine veteran I truly appreciate the call for duty, honor and country.  Thank you to all the veterans who have sacrificed so much to live up to these three hallowed words which helped to build and sustain the foundation of this great country we are fortunate enough to call home.

I want to take a moment to congratulate our students who ran for student council positions.  You all did an amazing job preparing for and executing a great election run.  Congratulations to our winners: Secretary, Eva Philip, Treasurer Caroline Mathews, Vice President Malani Mangaroo and President Param Shah.  I look forward to working alongside these students to continue to make Castlewood the best school it can be!  

Shout out to Mrs. Passero for completing the NYC marathon last Sunday!  We are all so proud of you and we thank you for sharing a salty treat with us on Wednesday.  Shout out to some amazing parents for helping to create a wonderful and educational Diwali celebration.  We were joined by Ms. Gopi Patel, Ms. Vismita Makadia, Ms. Jaini Shah, Ms. Shagun Khanna, Ms. Bhagyeshwariben Patel, Ms. Kushangi Patel, Ms. Anubhuti Nagpal, Mr. Miguel Bautista as they read with the children, engaged in some artistic activities and decorated the school. Please visit our IG page @Castlewoodps186  to see all the wonderful things that went on this week!

As a reminder, next week, Tuesday November 14th will be our town hall safety meeting.  This meeting is open to the public and this year we'll be joined by a member of the FDNY who will conduct a presentation on fire safety.  This meeting is for members of the safety committee and any other adults from the Castlewood community who wish to attend.

As a reminder to all parents we are now selling snacks in the auditorium every morning for $2.00.  Proceeds of the snack sales go towards future student events and celebrations.  Next Tuesday please be sure to wear blue in recognition of “World Diabetes Day”.  Next week we celebrate “World Kindness Week” and every morning we will hear from our kindness committee as they read some inspiring  kindness quotes.  Lastly, on Tuesday night the PTA will host their monthly PTA meeting.  Parents can find the PTA zoom link and all other things PTA related on our school website.  

Have a great weekend

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty as if nature had been saving up all year for its grand finale”- Lauren DeStafano.  

If you haven't had the opportunity to take a drive out east I highly recommend it.  This may be our last weekend to really enjoy the beauty of the autumn foliage. A 

BIG shout out from Mrs. Gregory to all the parents that chaperoned the K/1 and 1st grade trip to California Pizza Kitchen!  Parents were actively engaged in supervising groups of children and jumped right in to assist teachers and the staff at CPK.  It was a great trip, and we are thankful for all the moms and dads that helped it run smoothly!  

Recently parents have been asking for help accessing various platforms such as TeachHub, Iready, HMH, Envision… Well, I have great news.  Thanks to Mrs. Castillo and Ms. Chung, we now have an awesome parent resource page on our school website just for that!  Please take a moment to visit and see all it has to offer including how to videos and access to all kinds of great educational resources.

This past Tuesday we held our annual town hall safety meeting.  We informed parents of the purpose of the School Safety Committee and we had a presentation on fire safety from the FDNY.  Parents were also able to share their concerns such as school buzzers and cameras and I was able to escalate that issue to our Queens borough safety director.  I have been assured that this project is underway and that it is only a matter of time before we will have this critical safety mesaure added to our school.  I also had the opportunity to speak with our Custodian Mario this week and the internal/external surveillance system project that has been slated to begin is nearing its start date.  A reminder to all parents to please drive safely during morning arrivals.  It is critical that you stay to the left as you come down 72nd avenue so the buses may pull into the right alongside the school. 

This monday we will be hosting our first ever book of the month collaborative event between the school and families.   All families are welcome to come to the school after student arrivals have concluded.  Special thank you to Mrs. Schlecter, Mrs. Ribando, Mrs. Castillo, Mrs. Koegel and the kindness committee for helping to create this event.  We look forward to seeing you there!  

This past week was the last week of ballet tech.  Congratulations to all those students and families who participated in this wonderful opportunity.

Our next coffee and conversation with the Principal is coming on December 12th so please be on the lookout for the google form going out Monday.

Lastly, thank you to our PTA who agreed to pay for our school basketball uniforms that will be custom designed!  Our team is going to look sharp for their first game coming up December 4th- more information to follow after the Thanksgiving break.

Enjoy your weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing. And sweet to remember. We are nearer to spring than we were in September. I heard a bird sing in the dark of December." — Oliver Herford

It is hard to believe that we have turned our leaf’s over and have moved into December but here we are.  Reflecting back on the first 3 months of this school year has made me so appreciative of this wonderful school community.  

Next week we will be conducting a pivot to remote readiness with our students.  Please see all necessary information here.

Our Christmas/Holiday tree is getting more festive by the day!  If you have not done so already please feel free to check it out when you drop your children off at school!

Coming this December 14th, in collaboration with the PTA, we will be hosting our second movie night of the year.  We will be showing the movie “Polar Express” and we have lots of holiday fun planned.  Get your tickets now by submitting this form and all movie goers will receive a special movie ticket!


Please join us for coffee and conversation on Tuesday 12/12 at 8:30am.  Please use the form here to sign up. 


The PTA had the students with November birthdays pick books from the book vending machine this past week and it was great to see the children's smiling faces as they chose their book.  The PTA will hold their Holiday Boutique on 12/7/23 and 12/8/23 


Each year we celebrate CSED Week in honor of Admiral Grace Hopper’s birthday. The theme this year will be Artificial Intelligence! AI has and will continue to have a big impact on our lives, which is why it is so important to understand it. Your child will be working on different Computer Science activities that may involve coding, teaching datasets to machines and even learning about the Principles of 


Responsible AI within technology class! The P.S.186 Tech Site has also been updated to find additional Computer Science activities and games that you can do as a family! There will be announcements all next week regarding CSED week so stay tuned!  Thank you to Ms. Chung on all her hard work getting us ready for computer science education week.

Thanks to the efforts of the staff, and especially Mrs. Castillo, our school website continues to grow with resources and information- it is a one stop shop for all things Castlewood!!

Enjoy your weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

“Everyone should be so lucky to be part of a workplace that truly feels like a family”. -Unknown author.

I have always said that If I were ever to become a Principal, creating a work environment that felt like family would be a cornerstone of the work we did.  How lucky was I to walk into a school where a family already existed.

On Thursday, December 14th we will be holding our student makeup picture day.  

Congratulations to our co-ed basketball team as they had their first home game against PS 31.  Although it was a tough loss, you could see the team getting better with every possession!  Thank you to our wonderful PTA for purchasing the uniforms!  In addition, our CHAMPS program has begun and according to Mr. Gomes the kids are picking up the game of kickball very quickly and really enjoying themselves.  Next week starts our Morning Motivation Program for our first and second graders.  Those who requested to be in the program received a letter and permission slip.


Parents please review the approved birthday treats from when planning your child's school celebration.  If you send in items that cannot be served, they will be returned to you that day.  In addition, please be sure to drive slowly when dropping students off in the morning as well as pulling over all the way to the curb when dropping off.  Failure to do so creates an unsafe environment for our school community.


As a reminder we will be hosting our second movie night of the year.  “The Polar Express” will be shown Thursday, December 14th at 5:30 so get your tickets now!  Children will receive a special train ticket and everyone will come in their most comfy pajamas!   


Today is the last day of the holiday sale at our school store!!!  After today you will lose out on the 20% discount so be sure to get your family and friends some awesome Castlewood gear on sale while you can!


Lastly I would like to take a moment to say thank you to our Superintendent, Danielle Giunta.  As many of you know, Mrs. Giunta has taken on a new role working alongside the Chancellor's office as the Chief of School Leadership Development.  As the saying goes, “timing is everything” and I could not have been more lucky but for the timing in my life when I crossed paths with Mrs. Giunta.  I am so thankful for her leadership, her wisdom, her advice but most of all her friendship over this past year and change.  The Castlewood community wishes you nothing but happiness and success moving forward and I look forward to the day when our paths cross again ❤️


Have a great weekend everyone!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰, 


“In the symphony of office life, your absence creates a poignant pause, reminding us that each colleague is a unique note in the melody of our shared journey”- Tom (via ChatGPT 😂)

Sorry but I couldn't resist using chat gpt to emphasize just how much I missed my better half Ms. Gerlach the past few days.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to use Chat Gpt I suggest you give it a whirl.   If you'd like to learn more about Chat Gpt I’ve included an article here that covers the basics.

Before I wrap up this exceptional week, I want to take a moment to shout out our technology teacher, Ms. Chung and her creative lessons as she led us during Computer Science week last week, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence!  Please visit her website at: to take part in some Computer Science home activities!


We had Coffee and Conversation with the community with a main focus on reading, the Science of Reading and the purpose of our shift in our reading curriculum.  Parents you should be receiving letters from your teachers showing you your child’s i-Ready and/or Acadience results.  Thank you to our literacy coach, Mrs. Verde and our AIS specialist/Acadience Mentor, Mrs. Schlecter for leading our discussion.  You can find the presentation that was given here.  

As a reminder to all parents that the teachers monthly newsletters can be found on our school website.  These newsletters give you all the information you will need in terms of what aspects of the curriculum are being taught for that month as well as special events and our school calendar.

On Wednesday, we had the privilege of having Council Member, Linda Lee, lead us in our Swearing in Ceremony of our Student Council.  Congratulations to our 2023-2024 Student Council members! Thank you to Mrs. Montes for guiding our Student Council. Ms. Gerlach and I always look forward to our meetings with the Student Council to hear their ideas of how to make Castlewood an even better place.   

I want to send a huge shout out to our Custodian Mario and the guys who have been working so hard after school hours.  One of the first conversations  I had with Mario was that I wanted to brighten up the paint color inside the building and that vision has begun to fall into place.  The custodial staff have been working hard at night to get the walls of the first floor painted a beautiful light blue.  Shout out to Ben who is one of the lead Painters.

On Thursday, our basketball team played against PS 266.  It was a great game and our team is getting strong with each practice, each play and with each game.  We lost by only 3 points! At night, we held our 2nd movie night!  It was another success as we watched The Polar Express together as a community. Shout out to the PTA for providing bells, snacks and drinks for our movie!

Next week, on Wednesday, December 20th, we will go caroling again with Mr. Zwang leading our community around the community! We will be leaving Castlewood at 5:30 PM.  The PTA will be serving hot cocoa around 5:00 PM! I hope you and your family are able to join us! On Thursday, December 21, 2023, we will hold our Citizen of the Month Assembly and give out the October and November awards.  We will also hold our annual Multicultural Day event!  We have staggered the times for grades.  Please see the attached letter that explains the times for each grade.  Parents, if you would like to take your child (children) home after the celebration, you will be able to sign out from your child's class. 


Next week, before heading into the winter recess, we will also have the “Battle of the Staff” event.  Mrs. Castillo and Mr. Gomes have been planning and being extremely creative.  This year the teams will be the Penguins, Snowflakes and the Holiday Lights.  Parents, be sure to look for all the amazing pictures on our school instagram page @Castlewoodps186

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years” - Henry Moore

Short and sweet and for me, it rings true.  Many of us make New Year's resolutions but if we simply focus on the daily resolutions- those small victories will lead us to our more lofty goals for the year. I hope you all achieve the goals you've set for yourselves this year!!!

I would like to take a moment to thank those that made our last week together of 2024 so amazing!  Thank you to Mr. Zwang for the wonderful caroling experience we had.  This old time tradition is one that I hope to keep alive for many years to come!  I also want to thank the PTA for providing the hot chocolate for the event - the smiles on the kids faces said it all.  I also want to thank all the staff and parents who helped to make this year's multicultural day such a huge success!  It truly is wonderful to get to know each other’s culture as well as share some amazing food!  In addition, thank you Ms. Gabby Tinnirello for all the amazing decorations that she was able to put up in her spare time around the building.  The school looked so festive as well as diverse for our multicultural day -  Gabby you rock!

I want to send out a special thank you to our grade 5 graduation committee headed up by Mrs Riley.  Her, along with amazing 5th grade parents  Mrs. Lewis,  Mrs. Mawjzada, Mrs. Socci, Mrs. Murton, Mrs. Patel and Mrs. Rana, are working hard to make sure this year's senior activities and yearbook will be a success.  From our meetings, I know it will be!

You may have received a voice message from me before we left for break reminding you of our return date in 2024.  If you did great!   If not, that means your phone number is not up to date in our system.  For parents, please reach out to Mrs. Kruger to update your phone  number.  Staff should call the help desk so they can guide you through how you change your number in the system.   I will use this voice messaging system from time to time, so please make sure your phone number is up to date.  

Parents and staff please be sure to remind the children when they come into the auditorium in the morning to get their breakfast right away.  Too often students are waiting until the end of morning arrival to do so and it can make for a chaotic transition to class.  

Here are some upcoming events to look out for!

  • The NED Show at Castlewood will take place on Monday January 8th at 1:20pm.  Please see attached flyer for more information including items that will be for sale ranging between $4-$16. 
  • January is Healthy Living Month by the Student Council. They are planning a Healthy Living Spirit Day on Tuesday 1/9/24- dress in your favorite fruit color or wear something with a fruit on it. 
  • PTA Bowling Fundraiser on Saturday January 20th from 11-1 at Bowl 360 in New Hyde Park.  I am looking forward to spending some time with all of you!
  • Tuesday January 9th is “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day”.  Perhaps the next time you see a police officer thank him or her for their service to our community.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Good afternoon, Castlewood Families 🏰,

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."- Martin Luther King Jr.

There are so many wonderful quotes to choose from as we celebrate Martin Luther King day this Monday and I encourage you to read some of them.  Change does not come easy but if you are willing to put in the work you can achieve anything. Whether that means strengthening relationships with others, bettering your health, changing your philosophy of teaching and learning or any other manner in which you want to make a change - anything is possible.  

In speaking with the students after the NED assembly, it was clear that the show was a huge hit with many of them!  I think we can all learn something from NED and remember to keep that GROWTH MINDSET that will allow us to tackle those difficult moments in life.  Thank you to Mrs. Kruger for organizing this experience for our students.

Congratulations to Mr. Gomes and the Castlewood Knights!  The school  basketball team secured their first WIN this past Monday as they defeated PS 26 by a final score of 31-13.  The team is clearly starting to gel together and we are excited to continue to see them grow.

On Monday, 1/15 from 4 - 9 PM, the 5th grade Committee will have a fundraiser at Luigi's Pizzeria.  Come down, have a slice and support our school!   There will be a PTA Meeting Zoom meeting on Tuesday January 16th at 7:00 p.m. Families of students who received Citizens of the Month in October and November should attend since the names will be announced on the Zoom.

Next Saturday, the PTA will be hosting an afternoon of bowling from 11-1 at Bowl 360, in New Hyde Park.  Money for this event is due by January 17th. Unfortunately the PTA will NOT be accepting money at the door the day of the event. In order for kids to be able to bowl with their friends, please arrive 15 minutes earlier so they can be set up in a lane together.  Be sure to stop by 

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”- John Steinbeck

The sight of snowflakes and dropping temps may send you running for your shovels and warm winter gear.  However before you know it spring will be here!  So I say we relish what winter brings so we can truly appreciate all those great spring and summer things!

First off I want to thank the staff, students and parents who made our first indoor dismissal run so smoothly!  This kind of effort requires true collaboration and communication by all and it’s safe today we all did a great job!  We will continue to conduct indoor dismissal until the school yard is safe to use again.  Please continue to look for updates from me via the DOE messenger system (text/voice/email). 

I also want to send a special shoutout to our custodial staff for working through the night and day to shovel, salt and make sure our sidewalks and entryways were safe!

We are very excited to announce an after-school dance residency coming to Castlewood! The program is scheduled to begin in February and runs for 8 weeks. Grades K/1/2 will meet on Fridays at 2:30-4:30 p.m. Grades 3/4/5 will meet on Thursdays at 2:30-4:30 p.m. Families will be invited for a recital performance during the final week.  

A little bit about the program: "Notes in Motion” is thrilled to partner with Castlewood to provide active and engaging dance learning. The dance program will include collaborative dance projects that celebrate student creative expression. Students will work with Notes in Motion Teaching Artists to learn dance skills and techniques, and cultivate individual expression.


Please only fill out the attached Google form if you are interested and can commit to the full 8 week program.  Seats are very limited.

We all know that the key to any good relationship is good communication!  If you're still not receiving my text and voice messages please make sure your NYCSA account has the correct number.  If you need any assistance with this please speak with Mrs. Kruger.  


Congratulations to Coach Gomez and our basketball team as they secured their 2nd win of the season!  In a real nail biter the Castlewood Knights eked out a 1 point victory over PS/IS 266  by a score of 22-21.  We are now 2-2 on the season and looking forward to our next match up on February 15th against PS 133! GO KNIGHTS!!!

I am looking forward to seeing you all at bowling tomorrow!!!

Good afternoon Castlewood Families 🏰,

“Believe and you are halfway there”- Theordore Roosevelt

We have reached the halfway point of the school year and as I reflect on my first full year as Principal, “I Believe” that we have continued to grow and foster a positive home-school connection.  If you have not done so already, please fill out my most recent survey that I shared on Tuesday.  The feedback you share is invaluable to  me as I continue to grow and become a better school leader!

Effective Thursday, February 1st, parents who bring their children late to school past 8:15 will be required to bring their child to the main office to sign them into the building.  Parents will receive a visitor's pass from the school safety agent and proceed to the main office to sign in.  Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions  

In an effort to continue to expand our before and after school programs we will be starting an after school intramural program for students in grades 3-5.  The program will run Wednesday through Friday from 2:30-3:30.  Please speak with your child to see what sports they are interested in and fill out this interest survey if you would like your child to participate.   Please be advised that we cannot provide transportation and you must pick your child up by 3:30.

Our school store has been updated with all new “Castlewood Knights'' apparel!  Many people don't realize this but the Castlewood Knight is our school mascot.  Instead of a sword, the knights wield a pencil so that they can slay their school work!  Please check out our new Castlewood gear as the next big Spring sale is coming in March!

Shoutout to our student council whose idea to put “stop” and “go” signs on all our double doors has improved student and staff safety.  Student council is always looking for ways to improve our quality of life at the Castle and this is yet another example of that!

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

What's a frog’s favorite year?  LEAP year!!! 😂🤣😂Excuse the dad joke but I couldn't resist.

This week I had my second “Principal Performance Observation” of the school year (PPO).  Superintendent Inzerillo was more than impressed with how far we have come since his last visit in October.  He visited our teachers as they engaged in a teacher team meeting as well as several classrooms.  He had the opportunity to sit with some of our illustrious parents and students to gauge the effectiveness of my leadership. We also had the pleasure of visiting the student council as they polled their constituents on how they felt this year's civics for all participatory budgets should be spent.  Thank you to our parent groups consisting of Mrs. Richa Lewis, Mr. Sayed Hasan, Mrs. Saige Seyfert, Mrs. Izzy Fujiwara and Mr. Sandler Benjamin who provided some insight into their experience at Castlewood.  Our student group (Student Council) met with the Superintendent and expressed what they loved about the school and we had open dialogue on what we can do to continue to improve life at Castlewood.  The feedback that I received from all of you, through my google survey, helped me to consider ways I can improve my leadership. You provided great ideas for next year!  

Please see the school's website for all upcoming PTA events and fundraisers as well as this month's newsletters from your child's classroom teacher. Be sure to click on links to see specific content that is being covered in your child's class.  Our parent coordinator, Mrs. Lisa Kruger sent out our February calendar via email today.  It was also sent home via backpack.  We have some upcoming events this month! The week of February 12th is Respect for All Week. Thank you to Mrs. Koegel, our RFA Liaison, and the Kindness Committee for organizing the upcoming, fun activities and events! Our parent letter was backpacked home today.  


When we return from February mid-recess break, it will be College and Career Week at Castlewood!  Mrs. Montes and Student Council have been hard at work putting together the activities and events for the week.  More information will come closer to the week.  However, on Friday, March 1st, it will be Career Day! We are interested in volunteers willing to speak to the children about their jobs.  We have scheduled the date for Friday, March 1, 2024  from 8:15 am until 9:05 AM.  Please let us know if you are able and willing to join us on Friday, March 1st to share your expertise about your career with classes!  If you are available to speak, please fill out this google form, so that we can prepare and organize the day!

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

Xiào kǒu cháng kāi (Chinese Translation: “May your year be filled with abundance of smiles and laughter.”)  

Tomorrow we celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year in this year of the dragon!   The dragon symbolizes power, good fortune, and strength and is associated with auspicious traits like intelligence, ambition and charisma.  I wish all those who celebrate a happy Lunar New year!

The learning environment surveys for parents are here and will be backpacked home on Monday.  Attached to the survey is a receipt that you need to send back to your child’s classroom teacher.  The class on each grade who has the most surveys completed will receive a PIZZA PARTY!  We truly value your opinion and this is your opportunity to help our school improve, so please take the time to fill them out!

“At Castlewood every day matters… Every minute counts.” This is our motto when it comes to your child’s attendance.  With that said, parents please be advised that our school day begins at 8:00.  There is a 5 minute grace period so that means after 8:05 your child is considered late to school and they must be signed in by an adult.  From 8:05 until 8:15 students can be signed in by the security desk.  

March 7th is parent teacher conferences.  There is an afternoon and evening sessions.  You will be receiving a letter home with details next week!  Please be on the look out for this letter next week.  Also, please make sure to speak to our cluster teachers (Mr. Zwang, Mr. Bogart, Ms. Chung, Ms. Cageao and Mr. Gomes).  They are available as well during the same hours as the teachers.

Monday, February 12 begins Respect for all Week.  There has been a program change to the week.  Unfortunately due to the special election and expected snow we will have to move our assembly scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th to Wednesday, February 28th.   Thank you Mrs. Leah Koegel for putting this together!  

Monday, February 26th begins College and Career Readiness Week!  Student Council and Mrs. Montes have spent hours putting this week together!  Here is a sneak peak at some of the activities! Friday, March 1st, is Career Day.  We have received about 16 requests to come in and speak about your jobs to different classes.  Please reach out to Mrs. Lisa Kruger and fill out this google form, if you or a family member or friend would like to speak to the students! We will close the google form on Monday and start putting together the logistics of the day! The week of March 4th is Literacy Week! Full details will come shortly (Thank you to Mrs. Heather Sheehan and Mrs. Brittany Castillo for organizing).

I hope to see many of you at today's PTA fundraiser at Pump it Up!  I am sure all the kids attending will have a blast and it's also a good time for parents to meet and continue to build our community.  The PTA is also working to support our school play this year so be on the lookout for a  Moana order form that was emailed to you today.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoys the Super Bowl on Sunday with family and friends!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”. “Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining”.         ― Theodore Roosevelt

In celebration of our upcoming Presidents week, I thought I’d share two of my favorite quotes from one of our greatest Presidents.  When faced with adversity we must always try and do something to overcome it.  When faced with problems we need to seek solutions.

I’d like to start off by thanking all the staff, parents and of course our wonderful students for all their efforts during the remote school day on Tuesday.  Although many of the systems we needed to make the day successful were not functioning as best they could, we all found solutions to the problems and made the best of it.

Today we celebrated all of our citizens of the month as well as those students with perfect attendance for the months of December and January.  Congratulations to all those students who were recognized.  Your efforts to live up to the month's precept are to be commended!  Parents please remember that at Castlewood, “Every day matters and every minute counts!”  Please be sure to send your child to school everyday and on time (8:00 AM).  As a reminder, citizen of the month award winners will also be recognized at our next PTA meeting.  I also want to extend a thank you to the PTA for hosting an amazing night last Friday at Pump It Up.  Based on the children’s smiling faces, it’s safe to say it was a huge success!

As a reminder to parents, we will be hosting our third coffee and conversion of the school year on Thursday, February 29th at 8:30am.  If you would like to attend, please fill out the attached formMoving forward we will also attach these presentations to the school website here.  

I’d like to point out that the idea of posting the coffee and conversion to the school website came from a parent who filled out one of the surveys I sent out.  This parent wanted to attend but was not able to because they had to be at work and made this suggestion.  With that said, I want to reiterate how important your voice is to me and so I encourage you to fill out the learning environment survey that was sent home in your child's backpack on Monday.  This learning environment survey is your chance to voice your opinion on how the school is doing and your feedback is important so that we can continue to improve.  You can fill out the paper copy  and send it back to the school or place it in your nearest mailbox.  You can also fill the survey out online.  Please be sure to send back the receipt to your child's teacher so your child’s class has the opportunity to win a pizza party!

The week of February 26th is “College and Career Week”.  Attached here is a flyer describing some of the activities for the week. We are also looking forward to welcoming parents into the building to share with students their  parents who would like to come in and talk about their career with the students.  Big shout out to the student council and Mrs. Montes for working so diligently to put together such an amazing week.  

We will be celebrating Literacy Week March 4th through the 8th. As a kick-off for the week and in celebration of the beloved author Dr. Seuss, we will be hosting "guest readers" to Castlewood on Monday 3/4. Grades PreK-4 will be from 8:20-9:00 and Grade 5 will be from 9:15-9:50am. Classroom teachers will be reaching out for volunteers via ClassDojo after the winter break. As part of Literacy Week, we will also be hosting a nighttime BOM event at school. In order to be best prepared please RSVP here if your family plans on attending.

I also want to thank our amazing custodians for their work painting our hallways.  The first and second floor are completed and I am hopeful that this summer we can begin to paint the classrooms.  We will also be painting our interior doors, frames and other areas from the dark green to a colonial white which will match our soon to be new exterior windows and doors.  Castlewood truly is getting a facelift and I am so grateful to our custodians and construction crew for making that happen.  

Enjoy the mid-winter recess!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." — Ella Fitzgerald

This week we celebrated college and career readiness.  This quote made me think of my love and inspiration for what I really want to do- work with children.  If you can do what you love then you won’t work a day in your life and I truly love my job!  

Thank you to Mrs. Montes and the student council for their incredible work creating this year's “College and Career Readiness” week!  I also want to thank the countless parents and community members who came to school today to share with our students what makes their career special.  

I’d also like to acknowledge a huge omission from last week's wrap!  Last week we celebrated“Respect for All Week”.  During this week we remind ourselves of the importance of promoting respect for diversity in our daily practice.  This helps us to create and sustain an inclusive school climate and culture so that all students feel valued, supported and safe.  Huge shout out to Mrs. Koegel for all the incredible work she did alongside our kindness committee to make this such a huge success.  

I also want to thank our parents and staff who made this month's “Coffee and Conversation” such a huge success!  It's through conversations with parents and staff like these that we continue to grow and get a little bit better everyday!  You can find this month's presentation on our school website hereI’d also like to send a special shout out to our Parent Coordinator, Mrs. Kruger!  Without her efforts organizing these events and communicating with families, none of this would be possible.  Go Lisa!!!!

Parents remember to check out our instagram page (@castlewoodps186) for all the great photos from these day's events!

Next week we will be celebrating literacy week.  A flier with all the week's events was sent home by Mrs. Kruger earlier today.  If you missed it you can find it linked here.   Also as a reminder to all parents that Thursday March 7th is parent teacher conferences.  This is a half day for students so dismissal will be at 11:20.  Also as a reminder, all student report cards are posted in your child’s NYCSA account which you can find here.


Our science expo and STEM celebrations are almost here!  Please see the attached letter here for more information.  


Our basketball team will have a home game on Tuesday, March 5th.  This will be our final home game of the season and we will have a homecoming celebration to start off the game!  Parents of our players are invited to attend up to 2 guests per student.  Please be sure to let Mrs. Kruger know if you plan on attending. 


Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you will go”- Dr. Seuss

This past week we celebrated literacy week which also coincided with Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  The week consisted of a “word scramble” spirit day, Dr. Seuss Celebration with parents and staff acting as  guest readers in the classrooms, a vocabulary parade and our first “Reading Under the Stars” night event for families.  It was a week that highlighted all the ways we can celebrate just how important literacy is to us as a culture and the impact it has on our lives.  I want to send a special shout out and thank you to Mrs. Sheehan, Mrs. Castillo, Ms. Siciliano, Ms. Pollack and Mrs. Verde and all those that helped her to make this year's literacy week such a huge success.  I also want to thank all the parent volunteers who came to read to their child's class.

Literacy week is concluding with a "D.E.A.R @ home" activity this weekend. Directions were backpacked this week and sent via email on 3/1. If you would like your child highlighted on Castlewood social media participating in D.E.A.R., please email one photo of your child to [email protected] by Monday, March 11th. Keep an eye out over the weekend for new social media posts of all of the wonderful literacy week activities that took place in school! 

Next week we celebrate civics for all week.  The “Civics for All” program at Castlewood is geared towards helping students to understand their role in the community as activists and agents of change.  We want students to understand that their voice matters and they have a responsibility to their community to get involved!  Recently our school's civics team worked collaboratively with the student body to vote on how they would spend our participatory budget money for the school year. We look forward to hearing from the team on what the Castlewood student community decided!  You can find all the events for the civics week attached here

PLEASE REMEMBER TO FILL OUT YOUR LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SURVEY!  We already have a few classes who have sent back 100% of their survey receipts and so their pizza party is locked up!  Don't forget to send back the tear off so we know you filled out the survey.

We are coming to an end of our first round of recess clubs and are excited to announce that we will be reopening them for new students to join.  Please click on the link here to access the letter and google forms to sign up.  Mrs. Kruger will follow up next week by sending the forms out again. 

Here are some housekeeping items for parents:

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences yesterday. Check your  NYCSA for report cards
  • Please support the current PTA fundraisers: World's Finest Chocolate, smencils and black & white cookies, Family Fun Night 3/15 
  • Summer rising applications are now open! Please contact Lisa Kruger with any Summer Rising questions [email protected]
  • The next virtual PTA meeting will be on Tuesday 3/12/24 @ 7:00 p.m. If your child received the Citizen of the Month for December and January, please attend this meeting as the student council will announce all of the recipients.
  • We will soon be selling tickets for our upcoming theater production of Moana Jr. by the Castlewood Players. Save the dates - Friday 4/5 @ 7:00 p.m. and Saturday 4/6 @ 2:00 p.m.

Lastly I want to once again thank all the staff and parents who made today's kindergarten (Happy Healthy Me) and first grade (Adventure Away) performances so much fun.  The kids' smiling faces said it all and it brings me great joy to see our families inside Castlewood’s walls  enjoying all that our wonderful school has to offer.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

By its very definition, civic responsibility means taking a healthy role in the life of one’s community. That means that classroom lessons should be complemented by work outside the classroom. Service-learning does just that, tying community service to academic learning.” ~ John Glenn, astronaut and senator.

I recently attended a presentation with Chancellor Banks in which he emphasized the importance of educating today's children on the importance of civic duty and participation in government.  In order for us as a society to engage one another in discourse regarding government and policy, it is critical that we educate our children in these skills so that it is both productive and respectful.  I would like to thank Mr. Triola and all the students who participated in presenting this week.  I look forward to growing this program at PS 186 every passing school year.

This week our 5th grade students were treated to a visit to MS 67 where they got to embrace some of the middle school experience as well as see act one of their latest play, “Grease”.  These types of opportunities act as another stepping stone for our 5th graders' journey to middle school.  

We are looking forward to seeing all those who are attending our first ever Game Night tonight at PS 186!   We had such a huge turnout that we wanted to inform you of where everything will be happening. BINGO will take place in the auditorium where you will also be able to purchase your raffle tickets.  The food that is available for purchase will be in the cafeteria.  Please keep all food and drink inside the cafeteria.  Lastly, if you have not yet filled out your learning environment survey we will have computers set up for you to do so tonight!  Anyone who does will have their child's name submitted for the class pizza party as well as a special treat from the PTA!

Wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day 🍀!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing...” Our curiosity leads to better performance and creativity and is essential to motivation and innovation! As a former middle school science teacher, I was truly inspired this week to see our students problem solving using critical thinking skills and truly enjoying the art of science.  I’m confident that even Albert Einstein himself would have been proud of you.  Special thanks to our lead teacher, Tracy Auerbach who spearheaded much of this work.  I would also like to thank Mr. Darnell Weir who gave his time to come and help judge the Science Expo.  Thank you to our teachers who held frequent check-ins and provided guidance with all the experiments. Congrats to our finalists, Camrin, Jordan, and Yusef, Param, Ayra and Shane and Sophie, Eva and Caroline.  These three groups will move on to participate in the District Science Expo at the end of May.  Lastly, of course I want to thank all the parents who dedicated their time to help their children in their pursuit of finding the answers to their scientific questions. An additional event that began our week was an assembly given by Jordan Blit, a computer graphic designer.  He shared his experiences with computer graphic animation!  

Some of our students, led by our technology teacher, Ms. Stella Chung, participated in the Battle of the Boroughs!  This year, Minecraft Education and C40 (a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis) joined forces to create an opportunity for students to get involved in creating change in their city. Through this challenge, students were able to propose social and environmental solutions for our city.  I am happy to announce that we had one fourth grade student, Divyanka qualify for  the next round! She and a team of students (who will be notified soon) will move on to the Borough Qualifying Rounds & Semi-Finals which will take place on April 6!

We are 2 weeks away from the Castlewood Players production of Moana Jr!  The show will take place on Friday, April 5 at 7:00 PM and Saturday, April 6 at 2:00 PM.  Tickets are ready to be purchased!  The flyer for tickets is attached and a hard copy is being sent home.  Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase your tickets!  Please make sure to fill out the entire form.  Send the bottom half of the flyer, with the amount, in a sealed envelope  and address the envelope to Lisa Kruger. 

Lunch/Recess Clubs are still running strong at Castlewood! The Spring Recess Club Google Form has officially closed.  After our upcoming Easter Weekend,  some clubs will continue and two new clubs (such as Ukelele and Soccer) will begin!  Letters will be sent home from our content clusters who will be running the clubs.  The Castlewood Knights, our first basketball team at Castlewood, had their final game this past week.  They played an incredible season and we can’t wait to celebrate them.  In the Spring, Castlewood will have a soccer team for 4th and 5th grade that will compete with other schools within our district.  More information about try-outs will come soon! 

Moving Up Ceremony dates have been chosen for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Pre-K will take place on Thursday, June 20 and Kindergarten will be Friday, June 21, 2024 (Logistics to come at a later time.  Ceremonies will most likely take place in the morning).  5th grade graduation is on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 9:00 AM!

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen”- Joe Dimaggio

Even after all these years of playing and watching baseball I still get a kick out of opening day as hope springs eternal at the start of the baseball season.  I wish the best of luck for both our local teams (with just a little more luck for one of them) as the weather warms and the boys of summer take the field.  I also want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter.  I hope that all of us spend time on this long weekend with family and friends enjoying each other's company and maybe watching some baseball.

This week we celebrated the end of our first Castlewood basketball season with a well deserved pizza luncheon for all the players.  The children shared with me their highlights from the season and how much they enjoyed the experience.  Thank you to Coach Gomes and all the adults that helped make this experience for our students so enjoyable and now we look forward to soccer season beginning! Also, thank you to the families who came and cheered on our team at the games! Any parent of a 4th or 5th grade student who would like their child to try out for the soccer team, please see the letter from Mr. Gomes. 

Parents, please check our school's website for next month's newsletters that will be posted by next week.  Our monthly grade newsletters give you the opportunity to engage your child in what is happening in the classroom by providing valuable resources as well as keeping you apprised of upcoming events.  In addition, our school’s monthly calendar was backpacked home today and can be found here.


Parents on behalf of the recess team, this is a reminder to please keep your children's toys at home so that they do not bring them to recess. The recess team has been noticing an increasing number of issues as a result of toys from home being brought to recess. We thank you for your cooperation. Lastly, Moana Junior will take place on Friday 4/5 @ 7:00 p.m. and Saturday 4/6 @ 2:00 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale for $8.00 each. 

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

During this Assistant Principal appreciation week I want to thank my amazing Assistant Principal, Ms. Gerlach.  Although we circle this week as a place and time to appreciate her, there is not a day that goes by that I do not appreciate all her hard work and dedication to the students, staff and parents of Castlewood.  

In speaking with many of you this week, I know that you feel the same!

This week we also celebrated our very hard working paraprofessional staff.  They are our heartfelt heroes that use their talents to help students discover their own! We truly appreciate all that you do to help our classrooms and our children succeed each day!

On Wednesday, we hosted our first district wide visit as 40 mega math participants all met in our gym space and visited classrooms.  The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive from both the district 26 teachers and district representatives;

“The teachers had seamless transitions… The grouping of students were purposeful… Students were sharing voices... There was plenty of think time for students to respond… There were inclusive teacher affirmations for students… Opportunities to revise thoughts and access for all students.

It is through opportunities like these that enable us to continue to grow and learn from each other.  I look forward to many more visits such as this one in the future as well as perhaps other distinguished guests.

The day has finally arrived in which we will see our students in action as they perform Moana Junior for the Castlewood community!  Mr. Bogart, Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Culmone have been working tirelessly with the children to prepare them and I am confident that you are all in for a special treat tonight and tomorrow!  A few reminders that doors open to the auditorium at 6:30 tonight and 1:30pm for tomorrow's show.  Tickets may be purchased at the door, however there are a limited amount of tickets left.  There will be some time before the show as well as during brief 15 minute intermission to purchase snacks and drinks from the PTA.

Our technology teacher, Ms. Chung will be taking a team of 5 students to compete in a live, in-person Esports competition to become the borough’s champions!  Send them your well wishes as Battle of the Boroughs will take place this Saturday!

Parents please be advised that on Monday, April 8th a partial solar eclipse will start at approximately 2:15 and peak at 3:25pm.  We will prepare students for this event by educating them on what it is as well as safety precautions they need to take.  Please speak with your children about the eclipse and feel free to use this resource from NASA attached hereThere will be normal dismissal procedures on this day.

Next week on April 11th and 12th we will be conducting the New York State ELA exams for our third and fourth grade students.   Fifth grade students will take their ELA exam on April 15 and 16th.  Parents, it is imperative that in preparation for these testing days you ensure your child gets a good night's rest, has a healthy start to their day with a good breakfast and arrives at school on time.  

To get our students pumped up for the NYS exams, we will be having a Spirit day on Monday called “Rock the test!”  Please dress like a rockstar!  We will also have a “Paparazzi Parade” for them on Tuesday.  

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

Sssooo… not much to talk about this week except that an earthquake and a solar eclipse within 5 days of each other!!   Since my wrap up went out early last week I did not have the chance to thank all of you for remaining calm under pressure.  A special shoutout to Ms. Gerlach for leading us through this crisis in my absence.  

As a reminder to grade 5 parents, next week we will be holding our computer based testing for your children.  It is imperative that you ensure they get a good night's rest, have a healthy breakfast and arrive to school on time.  Children who arrive late may not be permitted to start the exam and will have to take it on a make-up day.  

At Castlewood, we celebrate neurodiversity on a daily basis. This year we are dedicating a spirit day to celebrate "Minds of All Kinds!"  This coming Friday, April 19, 2024, we will celebrate Neurodiversity!  Shout out to Ms. Ali Siciliano for suggesting the book, Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor and Ms. Donna Mizrahi for helping to create the spirit day.  The link to the read aloud is in the weekly calendar.

This past Saturday for the first time ever Castlewood qualified for the “Battle of the Boroughs.”  This was a citywide event in which through “Minecraft Education” prepares students for the future workplace by helping build skills like collaboration, creative problem-solving, communication and systems thinking.  Huge shout out to Ms. Chung for all her hard work in preparing our students for this event.  We learned a lot and will be back next year stronger than ever!

Also this past weekend, Moana was a HIT.  Shout out to Mr. Michael Bogart, Ms. Anna Fitzpatrick and Mr. Chris Culmone for a sensational theater production.   The students sang, danced, acted and stole the audience's heart.  The New York Times Theatre Guide gave it 4 out of 4 stars and Broadway World said, “Moana is a show you have to see to believe ''!

I am asking that all parents please fill out the learning environment survey if you have not done so already.  As of April 9th our response rates for families have gone up by 6%!!!  Thank you to everyone who already filled out the survey.  Once the survey closes we will celebrate those classes on each grade with the most surveys by throwing them a pizza party!!!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” - Frederick Douglass.  This quote made me think to myself quite a bit over the vacation.  Personal and professional growth is never easy but the reward is truly inspirational when you get to where you strive to be.  

I want to thank all the parents and staff who took the time to fill out the survey.  Your feedback is so very important to me so that I can continue to grow as a Principal and so that as a community we can continue to strive for excellence.  I would also like to announce the classes who won a pizza party in June!  These classes submitted the most learning environment surveys on their grade. The winners are:




Mrs. Louie


Mrs. Eagan/Mrs. Zwang


Mrs. Han-Lam/Mrs. Mugavero


Mrs. Chen/Mrs. Tewksbury


Mrs. Connors/Mrs. Coughlin


Mrs. Oliveira/Mrs. Rotondaro


Mrs. Auerbach/Mrs. Riley

Today we hosted another amazing event at Castlewood as District 26’s Principals joined us for the new leaders meeting.  We highlighted our theater program as Mr. Bogart, Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Chris worked with the Castlewood Players one last time this year to showcase 2 Moana songs.  The feedback I received from the new Principals was of awe and amazement!  Just like the rest of us felt, they were star struck and in disbelief that what they were witnessing was a theater production by elementary students.

SAVE THE DATE!!! May 20th will be our “Celebration of the Arts” at Castlewood!  Details to follow 😃

Lastly, I want to congratulate the New York Knicks on their first round playoff win against the Philadelphia 76’ers!  On to the Indiana Pacers and hopefully an NBA championship in the near future!

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰, 

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." –Albert Einstein. Even Albert Einstein was inspired by a teacher and for that I am sure he was as thankful and appreciative of the amazing work our teachers do on a daily basis.

This past week, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, and we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of our amazing educators. Your passion, creativity, and tireless commitment to our students do not go unnoticed. We are grateful for the difference you make in the lives of our children every single day.  We also want to recognize our incredible school nurses- in particular our Nurse Gemma- for their unwavering dedication to keeping our students safe and healthy. Thank you for your compassion, expertise, and care.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the PTA for their generosity in organizing a delicious lunch and successful plant sale last week. Your ongoing support and dedication to enhancing our school community are truly appreciated.  As a reminder, this month's PTA meeting has been rescheduled to Monday at 7:00 pm. Don't miss the opportunity to join us as we discuss upcoming events and initiatives. We'll also be announcing the Citizen of the Month recipients at this meeting.

A special shout out to the Patel family for their generosity today in celebration of our amazing teachers.  All our staff were very appreciative of the pizza today!

I want to thank all the parents who attended the last parent-teacher conference of the school year. Your involvement and support are vital to your child's academic success.

I am going to ask that parents please refrain from parking in the driveway near the park on the west side of the building.  It is becoming a safety concern as cars are pulling in and out during dismissal time with students, parents and staff walking through. Thank you for always putting the safety of our community members at the forefront.

A reminder to parents that our “Notes in Motion” after school program has ended.  We were so pleased to see the children's culminating performances  this past week and we look forward to hopefully having  this program back again next year!

Finally let’s go Knicks and Rangers as both New York teams lead their playoff series!

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You do not have to have a college degree to serve. You do not have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.  Most importantly, you only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today at our yearly President's Council breakfast, we celebrated the service and dedication of our incredible PTA leaders and all those parents who go above and beyond to support our community.  These parents along with our wonderful parent coordinator Lisa Kruger, who serve our school do not get nearly enough credit that they  should.  With that said I want to thank Melanie Ingegno, Jennifer Leonardis, Rosan Harriram Ramrup, Bernice Agrelo, Nicole Fedorczuk and Michelle Simonelli for their tireless efforts ensuring that the students of PS 186 get all they deserve and more.  

Our grade 5 students have begun their visits to the local intermediate schools this week in preparation for their transition to 6th grade.  This past Monday our students visited IS 172 where they learned how to navigate a day in the life of a middle school student as well as curriculum expectations by visiting classrooms and asking questions of staff.  Next week we will be visiting IS 67 for their tour and there will also be visits scheduled for the families in the evening.  Should you have any questions please reach out to our parent coordinator Mrs. Lisa Kruger.. 

We are proud to announce that through a recent “Resolution A” grant, Castlewood’s technology lab has begun a complete overhaul.  Along with a new technology lab we are also receiving 100’s of new Chromebooks along with several new SMART boards and I-pads.  Special thanks to our technology coordinator Barbara Linder and our technology teacher Stella Chung for spearheading this work. 

As a reminder please be sure to come to Castlewood this Monday, May 20th at 5:15pm for our first annual “Celebration of the Arts”.  This is an exciting new way for us to celebrate all the arts programs that make Castlewood such an exceptional school.  Parents please be advised that children must have an adult accompany them at all times.   The schedule for the evening is as follows:

5:30-6:00 PM- The Castlewood Player’s Presents “The Fairytale Network”

6:00-7:00 PM- Art Exhibit and Activities

7:00- 7:30 PM- The Castlewood Chorus Concert

Happy Speech Pathologist day (Saturday, May 18th)!  Our speech teacher’s are committed to making a positive impact on our students' lives every day and we appreciate you.  

Have a great weekend!