School Closed Monday, March 31

As posted on the School District of Philadelphia web page:

McCall Elementary School Closed  Due to Power Failure

The Gen. George A. McCall School is temporarily closed today, Monday, March 31, due to a power failure.  Teachers are to report to Greenfield Elementary.


Weekly Update March 28, 2014

Women's Career Day

Ms. Bottaro reports that Women's Career Day was a lot of fun. Thanks to Siqi Zheng, Callie Chen, Michelle Hu, Elaine Sei and Benjamin Sei as well as the many student volunteers who served as escorts throughout the morning. After coffee, tea and pastry, each volunteer spoke in four classrooms and then enjoyed a luncheon in the Cybrary. Thank you to all the 5th through 8th grade teachers, Ms. Rock, as well as the specialist teachers, Ms. Craven, Ms. Gooding, Mr. Sykes and Mr. Jacobs. Also, thank you to Ms. Phillips, Ms. Layden and Ms. Becker for helping both before, during and after the event. And of course thanks to the speakers for so generously donating your time. The message seemed to come across loud and clear to the students: Work hard, follow your passions and do what you love to do. [Photos by Elaine Sei; more photos by Elaine Sei and Siqi Zheng will be posted on our website.]

Art to Remember

Thank you for your support of Art to Remember. If you haven't turned your form in, the last chance is Monday.

Upcoming Events

Alice in Wonderland

McCall's Drama Club's production is approaching -- May 13 and 15.

Purchase an ad in the Playbill to wish the cast members good luck.

Ads range from $5 for a single line to $50 for a full page.

Ads must be submitted by Friday, April 11. Here is the form.


Senate Bill 1333

Senator Vincent Hughes and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers would like everyone to support Senate Bill 1333. This bill would require the big businesses in Pennsylvania that are using our natural resources to pay a tax. Currently Governor Corbett is not taxing these big corporations. This tax would generate up to 200 million dollars a year which would in turn go to the School District of Philadelphia. Please let everyone you know to support Senate Bill 1333.

Thanks so much,
David Brown
Bldg Union Rep. McCall

Neighborhood News

Participate in Starr Garden's part of the 7th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 5 from 10AM - 1PM. If you would like, you may register at Projects may include: collecting leaves, trash, and recycling material, planting annuals, sanding the benches for painting, and removing graffiti. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information about Starr Garden's revitalization, email

The Office of Early Childhood Education is excited to announce its sessions:

Monday, March 31st
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Widener Library - 2808 West Lehigh Avenue

Monday, April 7th
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Queen Memorial Library - 1201 South 23rd Street

Tuesday, April 15th
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Northeast Regional Library - 2228 Cottman Avenue

Wednesday, May 7th
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Wadsworth Library - 1500 Wadsworth Avenue

Monday, May 12th
4:00pm - 5:30pm
McPherson Square Library - 601 East Indiana Avenue

A copy of the Kindergarten Registration Information Sessions flyer can be downloaded at:


Fun(d)raisers: AmazonSmile and Art to Remember


Mccall Home & School Association

Shop at between now and March 31, 2014, and Amazon will donate an extra $5 to the charity of your choice. Make sure you select "McCall Home & School Association" as your charitable organization of choice.

Make all of your future Amazon purchases through AmazonSmile, too, and McCall will always earn 0.5% of the purchase price. (Restrictions apply.)

This is an easy way for HSA to earn hundreds of dollars this week. Spread the word to family and friends.

Art to Remember

The orders for our exciting "Art to Remember" fundraiser are due Friday. You can purchase your child's creation on lovely mugs, magnets, iPhone covers, and more. They make great gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day, and birthdays, too.

Students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 have received the forms (or will by tomorrow) with their printed artwork scanned. If others want to participate, it's not too late. The office has additional paper and order forms.

If you have questions, please email Sheri Watson.


Weekly Update March 21, 2014

George Washington Carver Regional Science Fair

Congratulations to all the George Washington Carver Regional Science Fair participants. Students that received awards at the fair were:

Catherine Raspanti - Honorable Mention in Zoology and a Special Award from the SPCA
Zoe Chernowski - Honorable Mention in Chemistry
Enwei Zhang - Honorable Mention in Physics
Jingru Lin - Honorable Mention in Computer Science
Siqi Zheng - Honorable Mention in Physics
Hannah Layton - 3rd Place in Engineering
Jennifer Mach - 3rd Place in Physics
Sarah Ye - 2nd Place in Microbiology
Elaine Sei - 1st place in Chemistry


RecycleBank Project

The McCall Green team would like to announce that McCall's project was awarded an additional $500 due to the last minute push last Sunday for donations of RecycleBank points to our project.

McCall raised $1,932 for our greening project in the spring. Thanks to all who registered and donated points. Let's make McCall the greenest school in Philadelphia. Way to go McCall!

Note: Flowers are now sprouting in the Sixth Street beds; please don't tread on them.

Happy Spring

Check out Ms. Rock's selfie when she took Room 001 to Rita's Water Ice to celebrate the first day of spring.

She also treated the kids to some playground fun and a Pre-PSSA party with music, outdoor fun and giving the children a cup of their favorite flavor of water ice! She really does ROCK!

Dress Down Days

Thank you for participating in our Dress Down Day (wear green) last Monday.

April's Dress Down Day (Tuesday, April 1) will be "Backwards Day" in the spirit of April Fools' Day!

We appreciate your support of HSA. These dollars add up.

This Week in and Around McCall

Women's Career Day

March 27th
9AM to 12PM

If you are able to help out, please contact Ms. Bottaro.

Learning Network 3 Parent Monthly Meeting

The Learning Network 3 Parent Monthly Meeting will take place on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 5:30pm at Robert Morris School located at 2600 W. Thompson St. Philadelphia, PA 19121. The topic will be, "How to Look At the School Budget" and it will be facilitated by Dr. Dennis Creedon. Please fill out this form and return it to the office by March 25 if you plan to attend.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 9th for our next Coffee with Principal Rock… and an HSA Meeting, too.


Weekly Update March 14, 2014

Dress Down Day is Monday, March 17.

The Theme is "Wear Green."

Students who choose to dress down will be asked to make a donation of $1 on Friday morning (to be collected by the teachers).

BoxTop Results Through February Are In

A few classrooms have over 1000 BoxTops. Keep them coming.

Your child's class could win an afternoon with the ice cream truck in the spring. Ask your friends, relatives, and neighbors to clip those box tops and save them for you to submit.


Lice has been discovered on some students at McCall and some after care providers. If your child has been around anyone who has been affected and/or if lice has been detected, please notify nurse Benjamin immediately.

Upcoming Events

McCall Family Night at the Sixers Game (playing the Brooklyn Nets)

Saturday, April 5th
Wells Fargo Center
7:30 PM

Join McCall students and families at the Sixers game.

$25.00 per person -- first come, first served.

Families must provide their own transportation and all children must be supervised.

Here is the flyer.

For more information, please email Merle Becker.

Kindergarten Registration Panel

The Office of Early Childhood Education is excited to announce the rescheduled kickoff of its Kindergarten Registration Panel on Thursday, March 27th from 6:00-8:00pm at The Free Library of Philadelphia, Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. Branch (1935 Shunk Street). This event gives parents the opportunity to ask questions regarding the Kindergarten Transition and Registration Process.

A copy of the Kindergarten Registration Panel flyer can be downloaded at:

The Silk Road Bazaar

Thursday, April 24
4:00 PM to 7:30 PM

The Silk Road Bazaar will recreate an authentic medieval style bazaar with the sale/trade of goods, materials, foods, music, arts and crafts. Here is a YouTube video of a real life bazaar.

There will be six Trading groups represented: Central Asians, Chinese, Indians, Persians, Turks and Romans that will be selling and exchanging wares. Other participants will be designated to play a variety of roles from working tables, serving food, performing music, painting faces/tattoos - and "act" as currency traders, security guards and thieves.

Please fill out and return this form (by March 31) indicating how you would like to participate. Parents and kids of all ages can participate - we will find a role for you. Additionally, if you would like to donate ethnic food representing any of the above trading groups or wares that can be bought, sold or traded we would welcome your donations.

Adults must accompany K-5 students.

Any questions? Please contact Larry Levin @ 267-808-6565 (Chair); Jesse Gardner @ 215-805-1406 (entertainment); Sam Khalifa @ 856-905-7101 (food)


Chess Club

A neighbor would like to start a chess club at McCall. It wouldn't start until 4PM, so we would need a parent liaison to watch all of the children in the club each week until 4 PM. If you are interested, please contact Andrea Layden.

Neighborhood News

Give Kids Sight Day - Free eye care and eyeglasses for Philadelphia region children

Give Kids Sight Day returns on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Children from around the Philadelphia region (18 and under) are invited to receive free eye care and eyeglasses. This free event takes place from 8:30am - 2:00pm at Wills Eye Hospital and Jefferson Medical College. The event is open to all children from Philadelphia and surrounding counties, and is geared towards kids who did not have or did not pass an eye screening this year. No health insurance? No problem. All children are welcome.

Walk-ins only, no appointment is needed.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to volunteer please register.

Philadelphia Book Festival

Join the Free Library for a celebration of literacy and the arts at the eighth annual Philadelphia Book Festival. This beloved celebration continues with events at neighborhood libraries throughout the city, along with headlining author events in the Parkway Central Library's Montgomery Auditorium every evening during National Library week from April 13-19, 2014. The Book Festival now stretches into every Philadelphia community, ensuring that book worms and literacy lovers from across the city can get in on the fun. Headlining authors that will appear throughout the week at Parkway Central include Debbie Macomber, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Pat and Gina Neely.


Weekly Update March 7, 2014

Thank you for Attending Casino Night.

The Second Annual Casino Night and Silent Auction was fabulous.

Thanks so much to Event Chairs Andrea Layden and Merle Becker and to Silent Auction Chair Marissa Post for a truly successful (and fun) evening.

Thanks to the Committee Leads: Kimberly Callahan Schlacterman, Laura Sepe, Sharri Horowitz, Sheri Feinberg, Francis Giron, Laurel Landau, Miranda Thompson, Frank Schaffer, Kim Dorazio, April Meidt, Ellen Shraeder-Charpentier, Sheri Watson, Kathy Phillips, and Ennis Carter.

Thank also to our bankers (those not already listed above.): Brent Landau, Pete Sepe, Jack Post, and Lisa Hardy.

Thanks to our bartenders: Dan Layden, Michael Moss, Rob Becker, Harry Feinberg, Pierre Charpentier, Reiner Pelzer, and Jamie Lokoff.

Thank to our auction table helpers: Judy Afantchawo, Sara & Noah Chrismer, Stephanie Ahmed, and Wendy Ramunno.

Special thanks to: Tony Ortiz for assisting with food, Deb Shick for assisting at registration, Kathy Lewis and the dozens of parents who generously donated their time to collect donations, and Larry Meidt, too.

Thanks to: Kevin Loreaux for photography and of course Officer Brown for his DJ services.

And this event would not have been possible without all of our McCall friends, relatives, neighbors, businesses, and special guests who supported our children, including the many teachers and our wonderful Principal Rock in attendance.

Extra Tribute Books will be available for pick-up in the office. Please see the full list of our donors and support their businesses.

This Week in and Around McCall

Early Dismissal

Early Dismissal is Wednesday, March 12 at 12:09 PM (12:00 PM for Kindergarten). (Note: this was originally scheduled as a Professional Development Day)(no school), but is now Early Dismissal.)

Scholastic Book Fair

The Scholastic Book Fair will continue in the auditorium on Monday from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM (for classes originally scheduled for last Monday's snow day).

If your child would like to buy a book, please send him/her with money.

Vote for Ms. Hantman's Grant Proposal

Ms. Hantman, a third grade teacher, submitted a "Thank a Million Teachers" grant proposal of $2500.00 for books, trips, and technology for the students. The award is based on votes, and you may vote daily, through the month of March. To vote, click here and search for "Hantman." Thirty grants will be awarded through the country. Please spread the word.

Learning Network 3 Parent Monthly Meeting

All parents of Learning Network 3 are invited to the next Parent Monthly Meeting to meet with the Assistant Superintendent to discuss the Key Topic: How to Look at the School Budget. The meeting is at Robert Morris School on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, from 5:30-7PM.


Standardized Testing

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSAs) will be administered to some of our students beginning on March 24 (note postponed date because of weather).

For general information regarding the PSSA, click here.

For important information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education prohibiting electronic devices from the test site, click here.

For the School District's Assessment Calendar, click here.

Neighborhood News

MacGuffin Spring Classes

MacGuffin Theater and Film Company (a partner with our Drama Club) is offering Spring Classes starting March 15.

Beyond Flowers: Faces of Bullying

For information on a free upcoming informative program on Wednesday, March 12 at 6:00 to 8:00 PM called "Beyond Flowers: Faces of Bullying," visit the website for the Rittenhouse Square Flower Market.

Sundays on Stage

Sundays on Stage is a series of cultural programs featuring live performances by a variety of artists and entertainers. These family programs celebrate diversity through music, dance, storytelling, and more. Join us at 2 pm in the Montgomery Auditorium of the Parkway Central Library on select Sundays.

Starr Garden's Spring Fest: Pottery Painting Party

Saturday, March 22

11AM to 1PM

Get Green and celebrate Spring at Starr Garden's Pottery Painting Party. Use the resident kiln to fire your freshly painted flower pot ($10). Receive free gardening tips and seed packets to create your own container garden. Make flower crafts and see a bucket drumming demo. Hot dogs, drinks, and baked goods will also be available for purchase.

All proceeds will benefit the park.


School Closed Monday, March 3

As posted on the School District of Philadelphia web page:

Due to the severe weather forecast, all School District of Philadelphia schools will be closed on Friday, March 3, 2014.


Weekly Update February 21, 2014

Thank you for attending the Chinese New Year Banquet at Joy Tsin Lau in Chinatown on Thursday.

This was Silk Road Philadelphia's inaugural event and the theme this year was "Silk Road Journeys; From Xi'an to Rome." Over 270 guests, including McCall families, staff, and local dignitaries, enjoyed a 9 course traditional Chinese banquet including fantastic musical performances. Special thank you to the Silk Road Committee, chaired by Larry Levin and Jesse Gardner. Yu Hong Chen handled reservations, Laurel Landau organized seating, and Laura Sepe helped with registration. Thanks to Sam Khalifa for his Silk Road wine presentation and Chris Hill for his efforts in having the City Council citation written for Silk Road. Thanks also to Kevin Loreaux for the event's photography.

The next Silk Road event is an Interactive Story Reading for all third grade classes, including donation of 40 books to McCall, to be held on February 26th at 1:30 PM.

Read Jesse Gardner's complete report of the event.

Thank you for your participation in the very successful Dress Down Day (wear red) on Friday.

This Week in and Around McCall

The Scholastic Book Fair will take place on Thursday night as well as the following Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

We need volunteers.


Weekly Update February 14, 2014

Thank you to all of the businesses and people who made the Chinese New Year Party on February 10th a great success.

Thanks especially to Officer Brown, Mabel Sei, Thinthin Loo, Winnie Mei, Sharon Herschman and Kids on 12th, Laura Sepe, Marissa Post, Sharri Horowitz, Sheri Feinberg, Ellen Schraeder-Charpentier, Shek Yu Sei (Ms. Sei's mother), and the Chinese American Sisterhood Society of Pennsylvania.

Also a huge thank you for the delicious food from our restaurant sponsors:

Joy Tsin Lau - 1026 Race Street
Tasty Place - 143 N. 11th Street
Ocean Harbor - 1023 Race Street

Thank you, Kim Dorazio, for spearheading this event.

Dress Down Day (wear red) will be rescheduled for Friday, February 21st. Teachers will collect $1 from each participating student on Friday morning.

School District Calendar Changes

Changes have been made to the calendar to make up for lost instructional days due to inclement weather. Schools will now be open on April 15, 16, and 17, days originally slated for Spring Recess. The projected last day of school for students at this time is Thursday, June 19.

In the event that schools are closed due to inclement weather or emergency in the coming weeks, District leadership will review the calendar and make further updates as needed. The general public and media are urged to monitor the District's website for updates.

This Week in and Around McCall

Silk Road Dinner will be held on Thursday, February 20th at Joy Tsin Lau Restaurant at 6:00PM

Here is the flyer: Silk Road Dinner

Expect an evening of great food, company, entertainment, and education about the Silk Road.

Thanks to those who already registered.

If you haven't, it's not too late.

Buy a class table (10 people for $300) or register individually.

Children are welcome (must be accompanied by an adult).

Soft drinks and gratuity included in price.

Cash bar available. BYO also an option -- $10/table corkage fee, no matter how many bottles -- please pay cash to server.

RSVP by Tuesday, February 18th (but limited space may be available at the door)


Literacy Night is Thursday, February 27th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

It is Dr. Seuss's Birthday and we celebrate with authors, speakers, literacy booths/crafts and our Scholastic Book Fair.

Each class will be decorating its door with a specific theme. Come in to check out your children's creations (please sign in first at the office).

If you are interested in having a Literacy Booth or helping out in some way, please contact Ms. Pigford ( or Andrea Layden (

To attend the event, please let Ms. Pigford know how many in your family will attend. Pizza and water will be available for purchase.

Silent Auction Collections for Casino Night 2014 Donation Extension to February 18th

Thanks to all the parents collecting and soliciting donations for the 2nd Annual Casino Night and Silent Auction. Special Thanks to the parents who have already hit the streets to find new supporters for McCall. It isn't easy to do and you did a fabulous job.

Due to the series of inclement weather days, the date to be placed in the Tribute Book has been extended to February 18th. Please make a final attempt to collect those business donations and use your Class Territories to visit businesses in our catchment.

Please direct all questions about the silent auction to Marissa Post at Please directly hand over any gift certificates (don't leave in the HSA basket) or valuables to Andrea Layden or Marissa.

McCall Skate Night

Saturday, March 1st
7:30 to 9:00 PM

Join McCall students and families at Rizzo Rink (Front and Washington).

$5.00 per person for admission and skate rental.

Spectators are free (adults need to accompany K-5 students).

Please purchase tickets in advance by completing the flyer received at school.

Ways to Help Give Back to McCall

Office Supplies are running short. If you would like to make a donation, copy paper, pencils, staples, masking tape and post it notes are in demand.

The office is also in need of a fax machine if anyone has one to donate.

Neighborhood News

Do you know about the Family Programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, including FREE Sunday workshops from 2PM to 4PM? Check out these weekly Family Arts Academy Workshops presented by PNC Arts Alive.


2013-14 School Year Calendar Amended

As posted on the School District of Philadelphia press release web page:

Changes have been made to the SY 2013-14 calendar to make up for lost instructional days due to inclement weather. Schools will now be open on April 15, 16, and 17, days originally slated for Spring Recess. The projected last day of school for students at this time is Thursday, June 19.