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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 8, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As I mentioned in a previous letter recently, our staff is exploring issues of race and anti-racism at TNS this spring.  Last week, the Diversity Committee (made up of staff and parents) met with Border Crossers to identify challenges we face as a school community around race, racism and racial justice.  The group identified the following needs:  professional development for staff and workshops for families, infusing racial equity into the curriculum, creating intentional spaces for race-based conversations and changing the culture of the PTA.  I will share notes from the session with you as soon as I get them.  Over the weekend, several staff also attended a Border Crossers workshop, Talking About Race in the Classroom: A Training for Educators Committed to Racial Justice.  We learned and practiced strategies for creating racial equity in the classroom/school.  I think that it is a promising beginning to this work at our school.  

Mark your calendars:

  • We will have our orientation for Camp Ashokan for 4/5th graders and their families on Wednesday morning at drop-off in the auditorium.  4/5th graders will go to camp March 9 - 11th.

  • Please come to my Morning Hour tomorrow at drop-off in the PTA Room.  We will discuss our school’s work with Border Crossers and the CEC’s (Community Education Council) resolution for controlled choice (what’s that?).

  • Please join families and me for our first Diversity Potluck on Thursday from 5:30 - 7pm.  This event is organized by TNS Diversity Committee.  Childcare will be provided.

  • Mid-Winter Break is Monday, February 15 - Friday, February 19.  NO SCHOOL.

Have a great week and a wonderful break,


News & Announcements

NEw York International Children’s Festival


Dear Parents,  

Tickets are moving quickly for NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival 2016, showcasing the best new films for ages 3-18. The Festival is thrilled to be presenting their annual short film programs, several of which include Academy-award nominees!

To buy tickets and raise money for our school simply:

  1. Go to http://nyicff.org/tickets/ 
  2. Select our school from the drop down (IMPORTANT!!!!)
  3. Purchase tickets

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

Check out Iron Giant, Little Door Gods, Phantom Boy, and Shorts 1 or 2!:

Iron Giant - a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small town of Rockwell, Maine, in 1957. Imaginative and head-strong 9-year-old, Hogarth, discovers the robot and soon forms an unlikely friendship with him

Little Door Gods - Door Gods are traditionally placed as ornaments to ward off evil, but in Little Door Gods, these ancient characters come alive in a stunning 3D, cross-dimension adventure.

Phantom Boy - From the Academy Award® nominated directors of Festival 2011 favorite A Cat in Paris comes a new crime thriller set in — well, above — the streets of New York City


In this hands-on animation camp that is grouped by grade and given a theme for the session, students will use a variety of techniques from claymation and pixelation to hand-drawn and cutout animation to create their own movie. Students will collaborate to conceive, write, storyboard, construct sets, shoot, and produce a completed mixed media animated short film using professional grade animation software Dragon frame stop-motion.    

The camps will take place from February 15th - 19th and April 25th - 29th at PS 89 in Lower Manhattan. Students aged K - 9th grade are all welcome to attend. 

As a school partner, we receive a $50 discount off registration by using the code SCHD2016.

To register, please visit www.nyicff.org/education/film-camps and enter the discount code when prompted at checkout.

News & Announcements

Coin Drive Extended

Coin Drive

News & Announcements

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,


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