News - Jacqueline Y. Pelzer is honored

Roy Wilkins Outstanding Service Award, September 17, 2011 - Jacqueline Y. Pelzer was honored by the Manhattan Branch of the NAACP at their 10th Annual Freedom Fund Benefit Luncheon (VIDEO). She was given the Roy Wilkins Outstanding Service award "in honor and recognition of her commitment to the education of our children and realizing the value of learning and giving direction to their dreams”.

Absalom Jones Award, February 25, 2011 - Jacqueline Y. Pelzer was honored by the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine at their benefit evening for the Absalom Jones Initiative supporting financial aid at the Cathedral School. She was given the Absalom Jones award for her outstanding commitment to equity in education and social justice.

Community Reflections - Wilson's Dream for his Son

For one year, Wilson Sr. kept an Early Steps brochure taped to his mirror as a reminder to call on the first possible day to set up an interview. Although he was nervous on the day of his interview, hoping that his 4 year old son would be on his best behavior, he was immediately put at ease by the caring and professionalism of his Early Steps school advisor, an experienced educator of color.  She eased his concerns about the daunting application process, and provided guidance about the challenges of applying to independent school in New York City.

After many advisory sessions and armed with great information, Wilson and his son participated in interviews, open houses and tours at several different schools. At first, Wilson thought that he wanted a particular type of school for his son but his Early Steps advisor suggested that he expand his view and consider an all-boys school such as St. Bernard’s School.  Wilson met with Headmaster Stuart Johnson and still recalls the words which had a great impact on him, “We’re firm but we’re fair.”  This resonated deeply for Wilson because it was exactly what he wanted for his little boy.  After the interviewing process was completed and St. Bernard’s School extended an invitation for acceptance, Wilson Sr. was overwhelmed with emotion. With the help of Early Steps and St. Bernard’s School, he was going to be able to fulfill his dream and promise to his son.

So how’s it going so far? 
According to Wilson, he and his son could not be at a better place.  Dad is already involved in the Parent Association and is co-chairing the upcoming Multi-Cultural Day event.  The staff is “phenomenal” and he feels as if he’s part of the school.  At the first parent-teacher conference, Wilson Jr. was described as “elated” to be in school. 

Giving back to Early Steps
Wilson believes that what Early Steps has given him is invaluable and wanted to do something to express his appreciation. At the final parent workshop in May 2008, Executive Director Jacqueline Y. Pelzer spoke of the importance of giving back, no matter the size of the donation.  Wilson decided to set up Early Steps as a monthly payee through his bank account.  He’s happy to do what he can to give back to the organization that helped him to achieve a major goal for his child’s life.

Featured School - St. Bernard’s School

Early Steps partners with member New York City independent schools to guide families of children of color through the process of applying to member schools for kindergarten and first grade. (Click here for a complete listing of EARLY STEPS member schools.)

St Bernard’s is an all boys independent school located at 4 East 98th Street in New York City and a member of Early Steps since 1986.

St. Bernard’s describes itself as a school that: “…offers  able young boys of diverse backgrounds an exceptionally thorough, rigorous, and enjoyable introduction to learning and community life. We wish to inspire boys to value hard work and fair play, to develop confidence, consideration for others, and a sense of citizenship, and to have fun while doing these things.”  (Click here to view the St. Bernard's School website)

The Difference That EARLY STEPS MAKES
by Stuart Johnson
Headmaster St. Bernard’s School

In 1997 Joseph Noel became the first boy from Early Steps to receive his school shield on his commencement from St. Bernard's, the boys' elementary school he had entered as a first grader eight years before.  At commencement St. Bernard's awarded Joseph the Faculty Prize, given to "the boy who personifies, in class and out, the integrity and cheerfulness that the school values and hopes to inspire."   Joseph went on to Browning for high school and then to New York University.
In 1998 Ijah Mondesire-Crump became the second Early Steps boy to receive his St. Bernard's shield.  Ijah was awarded the science prize at his commencement, then headed off to Riverdale and later to Harvard.   Both he and Joseph are now studying medicine.  Not a bad start to a productive and happy relationship between St. Bernard's and Early Steps!  At each commencement ceremony Jacqui Pelzer was there, to help us celebrate the success of the not-so-little boys whom she had sent to us almost a decade earlier. Read more…

On The Lighter Side - Everything I Needed To Know about Parenting I Learned (Too Late) at Dog Obedience School

 Bassett Blog 2008/09: September 1, 2008
 Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President  (Originally published by Valleykids in May 1999, and by ISACS. Reprinted with permission.)
At the demise of my last basset, an octogenarian named Buffy, I became disconsolate, and obviously very much in need of a new basset puppy. My wife did not empathize with the gravity of my emotional need and insisted on jointly preparing one of those annoying decision-maker charts of plusses and minuses, her side the minuses, my side the plusses, before proceeding with adding a new family member. Suffice it to say, her side was substantially longer than mine (actually, the only plus I could think of was that I needed someone happy to see me when I came home from work, no matter at what time).  Read more…