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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 16, 2019

Dear Families,

Young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt” business as usual” by joining the global climate strikes this Friday, September 20 (https://globalclimatestrike.net/).  Our 4th/5th grades will march to Tompkins Square Park Friday morning to join other schools marching for climate change.  The idea was inspired by the “Hopes and Dreams” of the children in Alexis and Corinthia’s class who said they wanted to “protest for something that matters” and teachers thought this would be a good way to respond.  The 4/5s will also make climate strike signs in classes this week.

All of our 4th/5th-grade classes are participating in a series of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy lessons with our librarian, Cheryl this fall.  “Media Literacy” is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication. In its simplest terms, media literacy builds upon the foundation of traditional literacy and offers new forms of reading and writing.  We believe this work will better prepare our students to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens. 

This week at TNS:

  • Lunch Menu Update:  On days when the kitchen offers an entree from the “Classic Menu” they will also prepare a plant-based option is from the alternative menu.  We have also implemented a system of serving the salad in the classrooms.  Yum!

  • Our first PTA meeting is on Thursday morning at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.

  • The Climate March, September 20:  Schools will excuse students who miss school and attend the march with their families.  Please send in a letter/email to me explaining that your child will be absent Friday because they are attending the march.  

  • Families are organizing a TNS contingent to the march.  There will be a sign-making event organized by parents after school on Thursday.  The march starts at 1 PM so parents will need to sign-out kids around noon and head to Foley Square.

Looking Ahead:

  • Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 26.  Pre-k and K/1st-grade families will meet in the classrooms from 5 - 6 PM and then will meet with out-of-classroom teachers and support staff in the Library from 6 - 6:30 PM.  2nd through 5th-grade families will meet in the Library from 5:30 - 6 PM and will meet in classrooms from 6 - 7 PM. The PTA will host a “Mix and Mingle” for families in the front courtyard garden from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.  Childcare will be provided for TNS students (sorry, no siblings).

Finally, a gentle reminder:  please follow the Up and Down directions posted on staircase doors to ensure safe flow in the building during drop-off and pick-up.  Thank you!

Have a good week,


News & Announcements

TNS PTA Newsletter - 9/9/19

Please click on the image below to download a PDF version of our first newsletter of the year.

TNS Newsletter 9-19-2019

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 9, 2019

Dear Families, 

This is year two of our grade band reconfiguration and many students are returning for their second year together and with their teachers.  What a difference a year makes; children were already busy at work and play on the first day! One benefit of mixed-age classrooms is that returning students already know routines and can support new students to adjust.  This dynamic increases older children’s level of independence and competence while also building younger children’s spirit of belonging to a community of learners.  I always say, it’s like having thirteen teachers instead of just one or two!

Adjusting to school routines and feeling a part of the classroom community may take time, especially for children who are new to the school or class.  Some kids will start the year off easily, adjusting in stride.  Others will enter the building protesting from day one. Then there are those who rush off to school with great enthusiasm but meltdown the moment they see you.  These are all naturals reactions to the start of school and will pass in time. At school, we will make sure children have opportunities to connect with teachers individually and within the class by sharing concerns, feelings, ideas and meaningful moments.  We will use reflective language and read-alouds to help children tune into and value their own feelings, ideas and experiences and give them a foundation for positive self-worth.  

I hope every family received a TNS Handbook (if not, please stop by the office and ask for a copy).  It describes some important TNS values as well as the essential “nuts and bolts” to get started this year.  

All Neighborhood School families should subscribe to our school’s listserv. It is used for official communication from me, other school staff and the PTA. It keeps you aware of important events happening in the school. This is a moderated list and very few emails are sent out weekly.  If you know a parent who is not on the email list, please forward my letter to them with this link: http://lists.theneighborhoodschool.org/listinfo.cgi/tns-list-theneighborhoodschool.org.  You can also learn about what’s happening by going to our school website calendar at http://tnsny.org/docs/calendar.

The TNS PTA is looking for a pair of co-secretaries to join its Executive Board. The job is fun, low-key and a great way for a new parent (YOU) to learn more about the school and get involved with the energetic group of parents heading up the TNS this year. Responsibilities include: attending PTA Executive (chocolate provided) and General Meetings; circulating agendas before meetings; taking minutes and circulating minutes after meetings; keeping a sense of humor.

Mark your calendars:

  • Pre-K/Kindergarten Families Welcome:  Noemi and I meet with new Pre-K and K families on Monday at 8:30 AM in the library. 

  • All after school programming begins this week.

  • The PTA Executive Committee meets on Tuesday at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet Thursday morning in Room 314 at 8 AM.  The SLT is a committee made up of elected parents, teachers and me.  We write, revise and disseminate school policies.  Monthly meetings are for the School Leadership Team Representatives and are open to all TNS families.  

  • Our Welcome (Back) Breakfast for ALL families is Friday at 8:35AM in the library.  Please stop by: sign-up to be on a committee and learn about our vision for TNS this year!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Welcome Back! 9.5.19

Welcome Back Families,

It has been a wonderful first day of school.  I got to be in classrooms, at recesses, and in the cafeteria during the 4/5s lunch.  One of my favorite moments of the day was when a first grader asked me (apropos of nothing) what my favorite thing to do was in the whole world.  When I told her I would need more time to think about it, she explained that her favorite thing to do is imagine playing with unicorns. Oh, how I have missed our children!  I hope your children will share an anecdote or two with you tonight.  

I also got to catch with families at arrival and then again at dismissal.  I was so happy to see you! Which reminds me, if you would like to meet your child in the lobby, you will need to sign and return a “Permission to Self-Dismiss” form.  Older siblings can also pick-up their younger siblings at the end of the day if you sign and return the “Sibling Dismissal Form.”

This year, we are adopting a “Hybrid Lunch Menu” and serving entrees from both the Alternative and Classic menus, depending on the week.  There are 6 days in the month when the Alternative and Classic entrees differ. Here’s the breakdown for September:

  • Week of 9/5 - same

  • Week of 9/9 -  Alternative Menu entrees

  • Week of 9/15 -  Classic menu entrees 

  • Week of 9/23 -  Alternative Menu entree

Moving forward, we will have a committee made up of both schools to determine the menu each month.  One change from last June is that the kitchen will not be able to offer both entree options on days that they differ.  However, tuna fish sandwiches will be offered each day that the menus differ.  

Not sure about your child’s after school plans for the year?  Please stop by our after After School Program Fair TOMORROW at 8 AM in the Lobby.  All after school programs begin the week of September 9th.

See you tomorrow,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of August 26, 2019

Dear Families,

Summer break feels endless in July and I’m always a little surprised to find September, and the start of another school year, right around the corner.  One aspect of teaching that I love is the ebb and flow of the year. Each fall is a new beginning of sorts, with new students and at least a few new colleagues; it’s an opportunity to take all that I learned from last year and begin again.

You should have received a letter from your child’s teacher by now. Please email me or Noemi if you didn’t and we can forward it along to you!  For those of you new to our community, this is my seventh year as principal of The Neighborhood School. My name Dyanthe (pronounced: Diane-thee), is a family name from Sri Lanka.  I am a mom to an almost 13-year-old daughter, two kittens and a nine-year-old pit bull mix. Most kids recognize my approach by the “click-clack” of my shoes-- I almost always wear heels (even though I am plenty tall without them).  I try to be in the lobby at arrival each morning to greet our children and families. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.  

We have a few staff changes this year.  I am thrilled to share that Tiffany Koo will teach 4th/5th grade.  Tiffany is an experienced progressive educator who has been teaching since 2013.  Sam Larson is also joining our staff for the year as our school psychologist while Natalie Roth takes leave to be with her new baby.  Finally, both Anthony and Sarah Whitney, our beloved school nurse, will be with us this year! HOORAY!

Thursday, September 5th is the first day of school for students!  We start the day at 8:25 AM and children and their families must wait until 8:23 AM to go upstairs to classrooms.  Breakfast is available to all students and is served each morning, beginning at 7:45 AM.  Dismissal for our Kindergarteners will be at 11:30 AM for the first two days of school.  Pre-K children follow a different schedule during the first weeks of school so please check-in with Wanda or Erin, if you have questions.  The school day ends at 2:45 PM for everyone else.

I hope you can come to our PTA sponsored Welcome (back) Picnic on Wednesday, September 4th in the recess yard from 3 - 6 PM.  Please bring a dish to share!  

Enjoy these last few days of summer.  I can’t wait to see you soon!