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During this extraordinary time when New York City’s educators are working closely with students and families from the confines of their homes, we will be publishing a series of posts describing their experiences in their own words. We are now #DOEconnected!

Follow our hashtag, #DOEconnected, join the conversation, and connect online with your neighbors across the City. Share stories of how you, your child, a teacher, or a school community member has become your hero. Remember, not all heroes wear capes.

Dominic Armano, assistant principal of P.S. 84 Steinway School in Astoria, Queens.

“Remote learning has opened up my creative juices. I’m not afraid to try new things. Everything we’re doing is new.”

Dominic Armano doing some indoor yoga with his child

The greatest challenge P.S. 84 is working through is similar to what other schools are dealing with: facing the unknown. What will happen in the coming months of June, July, August, and September? What is happening to pre-planned graduation activities for fifth graders? Although Assistant Principal Armano does not have a clear cut answer to those questions, he does have a vision for a simple, yet workable solution to navigate the unknown: “Constant communication and working as a team. We have a video conference with our staff members daily. We communicate with them every step of the way. We problem solve together.”

P.S. 84—the teachers, staff members, students, the whole community—is all in it together. “Our collective efforts have been the true definition of teamwork! Words can’t describe how lucky I am to be part of this community.”

With that being said, Assistant Principal Armano is positive that their “success as a school is the result of all [the teachers and staff members’] hard work and dedication. They continue to inspire me with their innovative and engaging ideas, which motivate our children to succeed. My staff members go above and beyond to serve their children and families. They have been working around the clock to ensure that all children understand the tasks and assignments. Words can’t describe just how amazing they are. Simply put, they are caring, compassionate educators that always do what’s best for children!”

Home office desk with two laptops and a printer on top

AP Armano and his fellow P.S. 84 staff members have been able to make the most out of their makeshift home offices to stay in touch with students and families. They even created a dedicated P.S. 84 YouTube channel!

As of now, Assistant Principal Armano has been working with the open line of communication to build creatively upon all the initiatives that they had in physical school. For example, P.S. 84 has a PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) system centered around their mascot, a bee named Steinway Stinger. Before P.S. 84’s transition to remote learning, Stinger used to fly around the school and shout kids out for “Beeing the ‘I’ in ‘Kind’”! He hosted spirit days and weeks to make sure that students were engaged and recognized for their kindness.

Today, we are happy to note that Stinger is still buzzing around, remote learning-style! P.S. 84 recently had a virtual spirit week, and Stinger recognized students for their kindness. Assistant Principal Armano was excited to share that although students are not able to be at school in person for spirit week, they have been able to use the magic of Photoshop to make it seem that like they never left P.S. 84.

Dominic Armano is emblematic of how New York City’s educators are adapting to these unprecedented times on behalf of our students and families. We thank our educators for helping all of us stay #DOEconnected.

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NYC Department of Education, 2019