Message from PTA

Hello everyone! 

Wow, it was amazing to see so many of you at our first PTA meeting of the school year! Thanks to all you (whether you were at the meeting or not) for supporting our kids and our school!

Do you remember that part of the meeting where we said giving of time is as important as giving of money? We bring this up because, as we write this email, the gift of service is very much on our minds. We are fortunate to have many events this week and next that offer an opportunity for you, dear Parent or Guardian, to get involved.

Your involvement not only benefits your children by giving them a firsthand lesson in civics, it also is a gift to yourself: Get involved and suddenly you have a group of parent friends to help when you need support. And believe us when we say that at some point, you will need their support

As promised, here is an outrageously long list of upcoming items we have to share, most with available volunteer opportunities. We hope you will join us!

 A fond farewell to Sandra Noreen. On Friday, September 20, 3:00 to 4:30 we will have an informal reception to thank Sandra Noreen for her work with SMS. Please join us on the Kaufman Music Center mezzanine from 3:00 to 4:30 pm for light refreshments and a chance to thank Sandra in person and wish her the best in her new position. If you’d like to contribute money for Sandra’s going away gift, please leave an envelope with your child’s name on it in the SMS lower school mailbox. Inside the envelope should be cash (preferable) or a check made out to SMS. Any amount is the right amount. If donating toward a gift, please leave money by Thursday (tomorrow) 12:30 noon to give the gift committee a chance to collect the money and purchase a gift before the party. Volunteer opportunity: Please bring nibbles and non-alcoholic beverages at 2:50 and/or help set up and clean up. For more information, please email

— Special Music School Picnic at Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. This is a casual outing for lower school and upper school students and their families to get to know each other. If you’d like to attend bring your own blanket, food, and drink. Please keep in mind that SMS is a nut-free community if you’re bringing anything to share.  Bring frisbees, nerf balls, any outdoor fun things that won’t injure anyone, if you’d like. Just a casual community welcome for fall (weather permitting!). Sheep’s Meadow is near 67th Street, not too far from Tavern on the Green. Saturday, September 21, 2:00 pm, Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park.  For more information, please email

High School Curriculum Night: Meet your child’s teachers, SMS academic and music staff, network with other parents, and discover what your child will learn this year at Special Music School High School. There will also be discussion about outside language study and language lab. Thursday, September 26 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Special Music School High School (located in the MLK Campus). For more information, please email Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for lower school or high school parents to work the PTA table, answer questions, sell SMS merchandise and collect dues. This would been arrive around 5:15. We will take what we can get: If you can only work the table for a short time, just let us know.

—High School Parent Gathering,. All high school parents are warmly invited—and encouraged—to join us for a special welcome cocktail party at Kaufman Music Center. Get to know parents from all high school grades, connect with SMS staff and Kaufman Music Center staff, ask questions, learn more about how to be involved in your high school student’s academic and musical success, and hear more about the special connection between Special Music School High School and Kaufman Music Center. Monday, October 7 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at Kaufman Music Center. For information, or to help, please contact

Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for donations (of any size) of food, beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), cups, plates, napkins, and people-power to set up and clean-up.

A Musical Afternoon with Joshua Bell and Alessio Bax at Merkin Hall. This benefit concert will help raise funds for Special Music School. Joshua Bell, in partnership with his longtime musical collaborator, renowned pianist Alessio Bax, will visit Merkin Hall. Some of our students will appear onstage with Mr. Bell and Mr. Bax. Tickets to this benefit concert can be counted as your family’s contribution toward Kaufman Music Center. Wednesday, October 23 @ 12:30 pm, Merkin Hall. (Light buffet lunch begins at 12:30; concert begins at 1:30.)

—Lower school Halloween Party, Saturday Oct. 26. More details to come, but right now, we have a Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for donations of refreshments, decorations, and supervision. For more details, please contact

Online Auction. One of the things we do to earn money for our PTA (which in turn pays for everything from workshops to field trips to teachers for extracurricular classes) is our annual fall online auction. This year, the auction opens on November 18 and remains open for five days, in order to allow everyone a chance to do their “pre-black Friday” shopping. We’ll be back in your inbox soon with specifics, but for now, be thinking of donations of time (lessons, homework help, tutoring, etc.) or physical items. Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for up to five people to help write up item descriptions of the donated items. For more information, please contact Barbara Rellstab at

—Lower school performance opportunities:  The lower school would like to start doing outreach concert series in the neighborhood again now that the Esplanade has been renovated. This is a fantastic opportunity to give young musicians performance opportunities, as well as publicize the school. Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for one or more volunteers to organize 3 or 4 concerts throughout the school year at the Esplanade, or at spaces nearby.

—Lower school indoor recess cart: This cart is stocked with art supplies and games for winter indoor recess. Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for one or two people to take on the job of maintaining the cart and stocking it.

—Lower School Committee member. Are you interested in becoming a lower school committee member? This is a volunteer opportunity! Please contact

—Looking for a presentation/public speaking coach for the lower school (and possibly the high school). Is there an actor or public speaking pro who would like to donate a few hours of time working with our kids to polish their Town Hall presentations and help with high school and college admissions interviews and auditions. This is a volunteer opportunity! Please reach out to if this is something you can do for the school.

Donations vs reimbursements: The Special Music School PTA always welcomes donations—of time, money, services, and items. However, if you would like to be reimbursed for what you provide, please check first with our PTA presidents or treasurers. Our budget this year is tight and paying for unexpected items or services may leave the PTA without enough money to pay for a club or field trip for your children. Therefore, we kindly ask that you do not purchase any item, order supplies, have printing done, etc. without first checking in with the PTA. If we give you the okay, we will require you to complete our pre-purchase permissions form, as well as a sales tax exemption certificate we ask that you use. For more information, please contact

—Think ahead to Palooza: Brooke Bryant and Rachel Hauser, from KMC, joined us to talk a bit about the Palooza, which will happen on April 3, 2020. We’ll start sharing more about the Palooza in a few months, including how you can volunteer. Keep an eye out for emails!

 The SMS Grants Committee had some great news: SMS has won $150,000 from Gale Brewer and Helen Rosenthal to be used for a desperately-needed upgrade to the high school science room. Great job, SMS Grants Committee!! We can’t wait to see photos of the finished science room! Volunteer opportunity: Do you love research? Do you know how to write grants? Please contact to be connected to the Grants Committee.

Have a great rest-of-your week, everyone!

Kind regards,

Clara Kalhous and Stephanie Pedersen

SMS PTA Co-Presidents