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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 1, 2020

Dear Families,

In my letter yesterday, I shared a link to a collection of (growing) resources that our staff put together to support families navigate conversations about race and racism with their children.  Please keep checking the link as it is updated daily.  Thank you to those of you who have shared additional resources.  

While we are all wondering about the start of the next school year, our school is also preparing for the end.  It will look different this year as we translate our end-of-year traditions online.   Teachers will not send home the usual narrative reports this year.  Instead, as a way to provide closure, teachers will either write end-of-year letters or have end-of-year meetings with children and families.  Your teacher(s) will let you know what they are planning.  5th-grade graduation will also look different and will include both live and prerecorded parts.  It will only be for 5th graders, their families, and staff because we will have it on Google Meets.  The rest of our community will have the opportunity to watch it at a later time.

Noemi and I are continuing our meetings with families through Google Meets in June.  Alice Auth and Barbara DiGangi will also continue to participate.  I will post the meeting code and directions on your child’s classroom stream the morning of:

  • K/1 Families:  Wednesday, June 3 at 4 PM

  • ⅔ Families:  Tuesday, June 9

  • ⅘ Families:  Monday, June 8

There is no online “live” school for students this Thursday, June 4 or Tuesday, June 9.  Students may use this day to catch up on unfinished work, including work from Emily, Teddy, and Mara.  We will also have additional activities provided by the DOE available.  

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Response to Recent Events

Dear Families,

I am reaching out to you in light of the recent protests around the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. I do so knowing that we are all experiencing a deep range of emotions during this time. I also do so knowing that the ways in which we are impacted by current events are closely connected to our own racial identities. My Black colleagues express that they are tired and angry. It is now up to the rest of us to dig deep and figure out how we all can be allies in this fight.

In thinking about the next steps for our school community, we are committing to doing better for all our children. This means developing anti-racist, anti-bias curriculum that lives in all our classrooms all year long. This also means that we as adults must talk about racism; the work is ongoing and never-ending, and we must rededicate ourselves to it as a school. Please join me in taking action in ways that lead to the kind of community and world we hope to build.

Parents also need to be talking about race and racism with their children. Children are not too young to have these conversations. Research shows that by 4 or 5 years old, children begin to show racial prejudice and bias. Don’t let uncertainty get in the way of these conversations. You are your child’s most important teacher.  Here is a link to a collection of (growing) resources that our staff put together, which can support you in talking with your child about race and racism: 

https://wke.lt/w/s/970iGM

If you have additional resources, please share them with the community.  

With Much Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

May 25, 2020

Dear Families, 

At one of my recent family meetings, there was a general sense of anxiety about going outside with kids in the city and for good reason!  I asked Emily to share some activities you can do to engage kids outdoors while staying safe.  

The Importance of Sun

It’s important that we all get sun on our skin. We’ve been indoors so much and the vitamin D that we make in response to sunlight strengthens the immune system. So please try to sit in the sun (with sunblock). 

Wildlife Spotting

Look for wildlife.  How many birds can you spot? What do they look like? 

Sketch them, write down their color and appearance so later at home you can look them up and try to find out what kind they are.

What are they doing?  How about squirrels?

Look up at the trees. Can you spot any nests? There may be chicks (baby birds) in nests. Can you find any parents that are flying to the nest to feed the chicks?

There are also fledglings at this time of year. Fledglings are baby birds that are just learning to fly. They can hop and fly around outside the nest, but they are smaller than their parents and still have some of their fluffy baby feathers. Their parents still feed them. Can you spot any fledglings hopping around? 

If near flowers, can you spot any pollinators? Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds?

Senses

Close your eyes and listen: see how many different sounds you can hear, and try to identify what they are.  Which one is coming from furthest away?  Which one is closest?  Then open your eyes and see if you can find where they came from.

Do the same thing with smell.

Here’s a game you can play with touch: close your eyes and have someone hold something soft close to your skin. Then they either touch you or don’t, with the soft thing. You have to guess whether they are touching you or not. You may notice that different parts of your skin are more sensitive than others. Your elbow, for example, is less sensitive than your face.

Does your family have an activity to do outside that avoids touching surfaces and is mindful of other people who might get too close?  Please email me and I’ll share them with other families.  

I hope to see you at our PTA Meeting on Thursday at 5:30 PM on Zoom.  Follow the link below:   

https://gc-cuny.zoom.us/j/92225860445?pwd=YmFWYXJTSWprVWs4dVBRY1JoRXE3QT09

Meeting ID: 922 2586 0445

Password: 386369

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

May 19, 2020

Dear Families,

Many of you have reached out to ask about plans for school next fall.  At this time, we don’t yet know what the start of the year will look like for our school.  While this makes preparing for next year very complicated, we are beginning to think about class configurations.  This is a thoughtful process and we carefully consider the makeup of each class at the school. We strive to have well-balanced classes and consider gender, ethnicity, friendships, academics, and the social and emotional dynamics of the group. Whenever possible, we uphold one of the school’s founding principles that children remain with the same teacher(s) and the same grade cohort for two years.  Our goal to have children and families be known well to their teachers and each other remains an important standard.  

We are sending home a form later this week to invite you to let me or your current teacher know if there is anything you’d like us to consider in making your child’s placement for next year.   Please know that we do not accept requests for specific teachers.  Our goal is to make well-balanced classes all around.  We carefully consider your input along with information from teachers and other school staff, but please understand that we may not be able to honor every request.  As we plan the classes and spaces for September, we also need to know who will or might be leaving.  Please complete this survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlvGqZA5pLlrQfVzYlavpchBNX-ajhUDmxJX6aRB3-Zt53zQ/viewform if your child is not returning to TNS next year.

I am attaching a link with updated information about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)— formerly Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS): https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/translations/letters/coronavirus-letters.  Please reach out to me or Noemi if you have questions.

The PTA meeting has been moved to Thursday, May 28 at 5:30 PM.  More details are forthcoming.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

May 12, 2020

Dear Families,

During this unprecedented time, our community has remained true to working and learning together.  I know that as families move forward with us, we will continue supporting one another.  Of course, there are also families that for whatever reason are leaving TNS and we wish them well!  Around this time each year, we send a letter to families asking about their plans for the following year.  We do so for many reasons.  This information helps when we make the next year’s classes.  It helps us figure out if we can accept new students.  It also helps us forecast our budget.  This is because funding from student enrollment is what enables us to run our school.

The Mayor released the budget for 2021 detailing over $500 million in education cuts, including a $100 million reduction in direct funding to city schools.  While we don’t yet know what the budget will look like for TNS, we need to anticipate and plan for cuts.  

I know that so much feels uncertain right now.  However, I am writing to ask that you let us know your plans if you are certain your child is not returning to TNS in the fall.  Please complete this survey link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlvGqZA5pLlrQfVzYlavpchBNX-ajhUDmxJX6aRB3-Zt53zQ/viewform and let us know what school your child will be attending next year.  Thank you.

With Love,

Dyanthe

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