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What’s Up February 2016

What's Up February 2016

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 1, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Children learn by making sense of their world and their experiences.  Dramatizations and simulations are one way for children to recreate the themes and concepts they are studying.  A wonderful example of this is happening in our school over the next couple of weeks:  the first and second grade classes are engaging in a study of the post office and have created a postal service for our school. This service will be in operation for two weeks, beginning on February 1st and running through February 12th.  Anyone can mail a letter to any student or staff member in the school.  You will see mailboxes posted around the school (in each of the 1st/2nd grade classrooms, in the lobby, outside the office and in the 4th/5th grade hallways).  Each day, children from each 1st/2nd grade class will be responsible for collecting mail from the mailboxes, canceling the stamps, sorting the mail by floor and then by room, and then delivering the mail.  You can use the Neighborhood School Postal Service, too!  All you need is a stamp (you can choose free stamps designed by our first and second grade postal workers or fund raising stamps which cost 25¢) which you can get in any of the 1st/2nd grade classrooms, address your letter with the room number of the person to whom you’re writing and then drop your letter into any school mailbox.  Think how exciting it would be for your child to receive mail from you when the daily mail is delivered to the classroom!

Each year at this time, we send home progress reports.  Like a typical school report card, the idea is to give you a sense of the progress your child has made up to this point in the school year.  Unlike a typical report card, our reports offer a written narrative that will hopefully give you a picture of your child’s life in school: what is your child successful with, what’s hard for your child, and what does that look like in school, what are some possible next steps and goals for your child?  You’ll also receive information about the work your child has been doing with the other teachers they see during the week.  We hope that the report will help you to feel more connected and able to participate in your child’s academic development.  Narrative reports go home on Thursday.

Last Thursday morning, teachers discussed what assessment looks like at TNS:  we look at closely at the whole child and “measure” growth and development on an individual continuum.  Teachers use varied assessment techniques such as observational notes, running records (reading assessments), writing and math samples and work from Project Time to analyze individual student’s progress and make decisions about instruction.  We will have a follow-up discussion focusing on the state tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in March.  We plan the discussions early and hope that the message from our school is clear: teachers and I support all parents in making the best decisions for their individual children.  

Mark your calendars:

  • This week is our annual coin drive.  We will have containers in every classroom and a big collection container in the lobby.  All proceeds go to the Neighborhood School PTA and help support our arts programming.  Thank you!

  • The Diversity Committee meets Wednesday morning after drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • Laurie, Dianne & Shaquawn, Dara, Erin, Jane, Laura & Michiko and Alexis & Corinthia’s classes go ice skating this Friday.  Please remember, there is no food allowed in the rink.  Buses leave by 9:20am.

  • There is no School on Monday, February 8 in honor of Lunar New Year.

Have a good week,


News & Announcements

NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival

NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival is thrilled to announce that 2016 Festival Tickets are now on sale. For every ticket purchased, NYICFF is donating $3 back to our Parent Association!

4 Weekends. 100 Films. 35 Countries. New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival presents the best new films from around the world for ages 3-18. February 26-March 20, 2016.

Explore the world without leaving New York! The Festival takes place at venues throughout NYC and includes premieres, filmmaker Q&As, workshops, parties and special preview screenings for children and families.

To buy tickets and raise money for our school simply:

  1. Go to www.nyicff.org/tickets  
  2. Select our school from the “Select My School” Menu (IMPORTANT!!!!) and choose PS 363 Neighborhood School
  3. Purchase tickets

Voila!  Our PA earns $3 of each ticket you purchase!


Registration is still open for NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival Film Camps. Make a movie during the February public school break! Kids will learn all aspects of filmmaking - storyboarding, set creation, camerawork, lighting, sound design, and more - to create their own short film. 

PLUS: All films completed during the February workshops will be shown on the big screen during the 2017 festival!


Receive a $50 discount by using the following code during registration:

  1. Go to www.nyicff.org/film-camps
  2. Enter Access Code schd2016 during checkout to receive a $50 discount
  3. Complete registration

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 25, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

School will be open tomorrow.  Please don’t worry about being late--we anticipate there will be travel delays as the city returns to normal operations.  

If the yard is (mostly) cleared of snow, children will be going outside to play tomorrow.  Please make sure your child has all the necessary accessories (hat, scarf, mittens, snow pants, etc.) to stay warm and active!  Remember, our Pre-K - 2nd graders play outside for 50 minutes and our 3rd - 5th graders are outside for 25 minutes.

Mark your calendars:

  • The SLT (School Leadership Team) meets tomorrow from 5:30 - 7pm in Danette’s room.  All are welcome.

  • SING is Wednesday, January 27 at 8:45am in the auditorium.  We will have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.

  • Please join teachers for a discussion about assessment at TNS:  On Thursday, January 28th at 8:40am, teachers (Pre-K through 5th grade) will share ways they “measure” student growth and learning, make decisions about class instruction, and the place state testing plays in instruction and curriculum.  

  • Please join us for our family support group on Friday at 8:30am in the PTA Room.

  • Friday, January 29 is a half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:35am.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 19, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

This spring, our staff will explore the issue of diversity, specifically race and anti-racism work at TNS.  The Diversity Committee is reaching out to an organization called Border Crossers to help support our school community with this endeavor.  The objective of Border Crossers’ trainings is to change the ways that educators and parents think, speak and teach about race and is based in the belief that we must model equity, empathy, honesty and courage in conversations about race with children from a young age.  Through these trainings, educators strengthen their analysis of how racism manifests in schools and classrooms, enhance their understanding of how racism affects children, practice utilizing tools to address race and racism with students, and gain strategies to support a school-wide culture of respect, equity and inclusivity.  I very much hope that you will join us for our PTA Meeting on Thursday at 8:30am to discuss Borders Crossers’ work with TNS staff and families this year.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The Advocacy Committee will meet on Wednesday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.  

  • Our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students’ dance shares will take place during their regularly scheduled dance times in the auditorium.

Wednesday’s Classes:

9:10 Sofia

9:55 Jane

10:45 Grace

Thursday’s Classes:

8:25  Laura/Michiko

9:10  Alexis/Corinthia

9:55  Hannah/Desmond

  • January’s PTA Meeting is Thursday at 8:30am in the PTA room.  Members of the Diversity Committee will discuss the possibility of our school community working with Border Crossers.

  • The ECO Committee will meet on Friday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Debbie, Judy, Chelsea & Olivia, Christie & Meg, Grace, Desmond & Hannah and Sofia’s classes go ice skating this Friday.  



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