Spotlight on Teachers: Ms. Keeli and Ms. Monique February 27, 2015

Storefront Academy Harlem is fortunate to have amazing teachers. Our optimized student/teacher ratio, and the collaboration in lower grade classrooms by a head teacher and an assistant, is critical to our students' success. Storefront Academy's first grade students are taught by Keeli Davis (Head Teacher, Grade 1) and Monique Modeste (Assistant Teacher, Grade 1). Here they discuss teaching, collaboration, and their hopes for their students.

SAH first grade teachers Monique Modeste and Keeli Davis

Ms. Keeli: "Monique and I met the week before school started and I could tell immediately that we would get along well. Monique has a lot of experience working with small groups in reading and writing, which is so important. We both have a strong work ethic and expect a lot out of our students."

Ms. Monique: "When Keeli and I came together, we immediately began asking each other questions to establish a rapport. We learned that we had many things in common and concluded that this school year would be fun and interesting as we got to know each other and the students.

"Student to teacher ratio is important for student success because students can get the extra help and attention they need. Students can be pulled out for reinforcement, or broken down into smaller groups if more than one teacher is present in the classroom."

SAH first graders

Ms. Keeli: "Monique and I are communicating constantly on long-term planning as well as the layout of the day. I am a teacher who will change lessons, sometimes last minute, based on student need or circumstance. Luckily, we've developed a 'thinking out loud' strategy so that each of us is always tuned in to the goings on in the classroom."

Ms. Monique: "Ms. Keeli and I believe that students should be in a safe environment and given ample opportunities to learn through discovery by hands-on experiences. Parent involvement also contributes to the wellness of a child. Informing parents about what takes place in the class, as well as inviting them into the classroom is very important. Giving parents tools to help their child at home also aides in student success."

Ms. Monique and Ms. Keeli work as a team in the classroom.

Ms. Keeli: "Our first graders are READERS! Many of them entered first grade a bit apprehensive about their reading. Monique and I devoted a significant portion of our schedule to reading instruction, to allow our students the chance to 'catch up.' After a few months, I now look around the room and see students laughing to themselves at a funny part in a book, using the voice of a character and just engaging with their books in a thoughtful way. I'm so proud of them.

"We want our students to be responsible for their own learning, to feel a desire to succeed not only academically, but socially. I hope to inspire my first graders to not only learn for the accolades, but to learn for the sake of learning."

Ms. Monique: "I hope that each student achieves academic and social success. I want them to be self-motivated individuals. I want them to be people who take control of their learning and develop a love for learning as they get older. I want them to be upstanding citizens in the school and their community."

Storefront Academy Harlem Announces Two Board Appointments February 13, 2015

Storefront Academy Harlem is pleased to announce the appointment of two new trustees to their board. George Suttles and Jordan Lippner were elected to the Storefront Academy Harlem board of trustees on February 3.

George Suttles is the vice president, senior philanthropic relationship manager, for U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management. He serves as a foundation officer for 12 private foundations, is an advisor to 35 private foundations and develops grant-making strategies for the arts, medical research, conservation, education, health care, and social services within various regions. Suttles is a volunteer leader for: Odyssey House; The Support Center; New York Blacks in Philanthropy; The Urban Justice Center; and the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy. He received a master's degree in public administration from Baruch CUNY School of Public Affairs, and his bachelor's in African American studies from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. He was raised in Harlem.

Jordan Lippner is senior vice president and deputy general counsel of News Corporation, which represents The New York Post, HarperCollins Publishers, News America Marketing, Amplify and Dow Jones. He is responsible for employment and labor relations; civil litigation; internal investigations; medial law; and commercial contract drafting and negotiation. Lippner attended Fordham University School of Law where he was the recipient of the Addison Metcalf Labor Law Graduation Prize, and received his BA in history from Union College. He is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a past member of the ABCNY's Labor and Employment Law Committee and a member of the Fordham Moot Court Alumni Board.


7th Graders Volunteer with NY Food Pantry February 4, 2015

Storefront Academy Harlem 7th graders practice concern for others by volunteering with the New York Common Pantry.

Service learning is an important component of Storefront Academy's curriculum. Each month, Storefront Academy students celebrate a core value. January saw seventh graders practice more than one of these values while helping to reduce hunger through community service. The New York Common Pantry seeks to eliminate food insecurity through the distribution of nutritious, fresh food pantry packages. A group of seven students spent the day bagging produce and placing food orders for needy families, and fulfilling individual family orders.

Our students worked with other agencies and volunteers, such as Charity Buzz and The Sugar Hill Mission Church, and enjoyed their experience so much that two more groups of seventh graders will be supporting the pantry again on February 20 and March 6.




An Evening of Cocktails and Dance January 26, 2015


Friends and supporters joined Storefront Academy Harlem as we hosted An Evening of Cocktails and Dance on Wed., January 21 at The Ailey Studios/The Joan Weill Center for Dance in New York City.  The annual event featured performances by young artists in the Ailey Student Performance Group in The Ailey School’s Professional Division, and presentations by Executive Director Elisa Istueta and event Co-Chairs Amanda K. Low and Maria Vecchiotti. 

Thanks to our generous sponsor, Morrison and Forrester, LLP, event underwriters, and our "Helping Wall," which allowed guests to pick various areas of programming to support, we raised nearly $60,000 to support our work in Harlem and the South Bronx.


Special thanks go to our event chairs Amanda K. Low and Maria Vecchiotti, and event advisory committee members: Jill A. Davis; Anne-Marie Embiricos; Andrea Forbes; Reby B. Gulcan; Christopher J. Moore; Hiroko Murase; Jonathan Stearns; and Lisa Firenze.




Some of our eighth grade students and faculty mingled with donors and guests to share their experiences at SAH.




Dance performances included: "Aspects of a Vibe", choreographed by Darrell Moultrie; "Dreamscape" and "Escape", choreographed by Tracy Inman; "Seasons", choreographed by Everett Johnson; and "Remember", choreographed by Carlos Dos Santos.


 To view more pictures from the event, please click here.






SAH 7th Graders Sworn in as Peer Mediators December 8, 2014

At Storefront Academy Harlem, we are continually finding new ways for our students to develop self-empowerment and cultivate their skills in conflict resolution, patience, and empathy. Last Friday, six 7th Grade SAH students were sworn in as Peer Mediators as part of the New York City Commission on Human Rights Peer Mediation Program. Patrick A., Faith B. Carolina B., Nasir D., JahSean N. and Kassie R. will now be available to negotiate conflicts between SAH students from 3rd-8th grades. 

SAH Peer Mediators Nasir S., JahSean N., Patrick A., Carlina B. and Faith B. with NYC Commission on Human Rights Representatives Adneri Ponce (center) and Sophie White (far right)

The students were presented for swearing in by Director of Peer Mediation for the commission Charlene Bryant, JD and SAH's Director of Counseling and Student Support Services Audra Jimenez. Faculty members, family and students were on hand to witness the ceremony, which celebrated the completion of eight sessions of peer mediation training. 

The students raised their right hands and took an oath, led by Principal Alexis Thomason, promising to help students settle differences peacefully, keeping confidentiality and understanding their role as considerate and helpful facilitators. Each student received a certificate to commemorate the occasion, and a red bracelet for them to wear to distinguish them as Peer Mediators.

After the oath, Nasir D. and JahSean N. each spoke on the importance of mediation and how they are looking forward to being helpful to their fellow students. Ms. Jimenez gave closing remarks, congratulating the students and expressing great hope for the success of the program at Storefront Academy.

The Peer Mediation Team at SAH will begin working to resolve conflicts this week. Other 7th graders will have the opportunity to join the team after additional training this spring. 

The Peer Mediation Program is grounded in the principals that underlie the Human Rights Law -- tolerance, human dignity and respect -- principals that go hand in hand with SAH's core values. 

SAH Core Value of the Month: Concern for Others December 5, 2014

Every month at Storefront Academy Harlem, the school focuses on one of our six core values. For November and December, that core value is Concern for Others. At SAH, Concern for Others is defined as "helping others in need (academically and emotionally), making everyone feel accepted and included, and practicing selfless behavior." Here are some ways that SAH is showing Concern for Others.

In November, SAH participated in the "Pennies for Patients" project, sponsored by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our students collected pennies in individual boxes and pooled them together in each classroom. The money raised benefits LLS's mission: to "cure leukemia, lymphoma Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families." The school goal was to raise $500.00, and our students raised $738.93! The 1st and 6th grades raised the most money, and were treated to a pizza party to celebrate.

SAH First Grader Christina B. collaborating with Northern Manhattan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center resident.

On Tuesday, November 25th, our first graders went on a field trip to the Northern Manhattan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on 125th Street. The students shared their holiday spirit with residents and created multicolored paper turkeys with them. It was a festive afternoon for both the residents and our students. 

The Men's Mentoring Program at SAH is sponsoring a clothing drive to help those in need in the upcoming cold winter months. Gently used clothes are being collected in Mr. Czap's 8th Grade classroom, and will be taken to the Salvation Army clothing donation center in Harlem on December 12th. 

SAH's core values are a vital component in our philosophy of educating the whole child. The values of Diligence, Respect, Honesty, Perseverance, along with Concern for Others, help to build caring, emotionally healthy, well-rounded scholars.

SAH Health and Wellness Programs Teach More Than Just Fitness November 25, 2014

Part of our commitment to teaching the whole child at Storefront Academy Harlem are our Health and Wellness programs, which include our fantastic physical education classes and structured recess. Students engage in several P.E. classes per week taught by Mr. Meyer and Mr. Pope. The teachers not only teach games and fitness, but also include our core values and other life skills in their lessons.

Coach Slava with SAH fencers

This fall, our youngest students in Cluster 1 have been playing tag games. Besides having fun, these games teach our students about spatial awareness, teamwork, rule following and concern for others (SAH's core value of the month for November). Also, they've been working on their dance moves! The pre-k and kindergarten classes have been learning a routine, following moves Mr. Pope does, as well as leading the class themselves. First graders don't even need Mr. Pope; they're leading their own dance routine at the beginning of each class.

In Clusters 2 and 3, they've been playing cooperative games, learning teamwork, cooperation, respect, perseverance, honesty and concern for others. The students step up to every challenge and shine every day. Third and 4th graders (in Cluster 2) are also learning fencing. Coach Slava from Fencer's Club comes in once a week to teach basic fencing skills and terminology, as well as stamina, strength, coordination and confidence.

In recent weeks, Mr. Meyer started the P.E. Challenge, where students are called to run or power walk for 5 minutes without stopping. They will be adding a minute to the challenge each month and tracking their progress. Recently, 6th grader Tahlia P. challenged Mr. Meyer to a special P.E. Challenge Showdown: to jog/power walk for 20 minutes. Not only did they both complete the challenge, but other students have challenged Mr. Meyer. Now several Monday afternoons a month, you'll find Mr. Meyer and several SAH students doing the 20 minute challenge on 129th Street.

Coach Meyer being challenged by 7th Grader Amir G.

Recess at SAH is also full of fun and educational games for our students. They have many choices including 2-square, 4-square, hula hoop, jump rope and basketball. Student Nathaniel S. recently noticed his classmates respecting one another and showing concern for others during recess. "My favorite thing that I saw last month was one of my 3rd grade classmates teaching another student how to shoot a basketball," Nathaniel said, "so she would be more successful."

Our health and wellness programs give our students skills that they can use every day, and give them healthy habits to carry with them for their entire lives.

 To donate to our #GivingTuesday campaign to benefit #SAHHealthyKids, click here.


SAH #Unselfies for #GivingTuesday November 13, 2014

In anticipation of  #GivingTuesday on December 2nd this year, our Executive Director, Principal and leaders from our Health and Wellness team at Storefront Academy posed for photos. In these #unselfies, they show why they are on Team Storefront for #GivingTuesday. Want to join in and support #SAHHealthyKids? Click here for more information, or contact Alicia Camden at


Elisa Istueta, Executive Director  


Alexis Thomason, Interim Principal


Shawn Meyer, P.E. Teacher and Coach



Michelle Hand, Food Service Director and Chef and Kyesha Bates, Food Service Assistant 


Director of Counseling & Student Support Services Audra Jimenez and students

Martinelli Runs Marathon for SAH October 30, 2014

This weekend, Storefront Academy has four runners in the TCS NYC Marathon. One of them is Meagan Martinelli. 

Ms. Martinelli started running after college as an activity with friends. "With my running group I completed a few races and loved the excitement and accomplishment of a goal." 

Her running became more sporadic after she and her husband started a family. Her focus became her three sons, when a family emergency helped to change her point of view.

Meagan Martinelli with her family.

"We had a horrible explosion in our almost finished remodeled house and a week later all our belongings burned in the moving truck." She explained, "everyone survived and we rebuilt, but it changed my way of thinking: what can I do for others?" Her running group supported her and helped her to get back into running, rekindle her desire to complete a goal in tandem with a desire to give back. 

"Storefront Academy and their belief in nurturing values to develop children with resilient character and a love of learning are the traits I teach my boys," Ms. Martenelli said. "I'm honored to run my FIRST marathon and raise money for a school that focuses equally on academics and character."

We are grateful to have Ms. Martinelli as a member of the Storefront Academy Marathon Team, and wish her tremendous luck!

To make a donation to support Ms. Martinelli's fundraising efforts for the school, visit her donor page here.

Join SAH for #GivingTuesday October 30, 2014



Help us raise $10,000 in one day!

Click here to view our #SAHHealthyKids Crowdrise page

Click here to learn how to create your own fundraising page


What is #Giving Tuesday?

We have a day for giving thanks, We have two for getting deals. This year, be a part of #GivingTuesday: A day for giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday. The theme for this year's campaign is #GreatGiving, giving smarter, more creatively and in ways that most benefit you and causes close to your heart. 

The Storefront Academy community is teaming up--parents, faculty, staff, volunteers-- to participate in the national #GivingTuesday fundraising event. Our goal is to raise $10,000.00 toward the Health & Wellness programs at SAH. 


Join the team! 

Choose a goal, create your own Crowdrise page, and rally your friends and family to raise money for Storefront Academy Harlem. Using Crowdrise is easy, fun, and our Development Staff will help you every step of the way! We'll provide you with tweets, emails, and Facebook posts to use, share personal fundraising tips and tricks, and share your personal fundraiser on our own website and social media profiles. Download a step by step guide to using Crowdrise here.

Choose a #GivingTuesday fundraising goal:

Team Player: $100

Booster: $250

All-Star: $500

MVP: $1,000

Spread the word!

  • Share a link to our donate page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ello--any and all social media platforms you use! Use the hashtags #GivingTuesday, #GreatGiving and #SAHHealthyKids.
  • We'll be posting a lot of stories about our Health and Wellness programs leading up to and during #GivingTuesday. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and share our stories with your online communities.

For more information on how to be a member of Team Storefront Academy for #GivingTuesday, contact