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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 15, 2020

Dear Families,

The DOE (Department of Education) is considering a variety of options for opening schools in the fall with modifications for social distancing.  While plans to reopen schools are not yet determined, schools received some information last Thursday, including school-level student and staff capacities factoring in social-distancing requirements.  We are looking at the information and trying to figure out what this might look like given our class sizes, configurations (ICT, Gen Ed, Pre-K, etc), and classrooms.  The DOE is also asking families to consider which blended models will be the most adaptive for possible changing circumstances in the fall.

Schools have still not received our budgets for 20 - 21.  We are waiting to make next year’s classes until we have this information.  This year, your child’s class placement for next year will be shared later in the summer.  

Finally, I am sharing pre-k teacher, Erin’s letter to families this week.  She addresses two issues that are probably coming up for many of our families and provides some valuable resources: children’s challenging behaviors during this time and how to talk with children about the police.  I hope you find it helpful.

I hope to see you at the PTA meeting this Thursday at 5:30 PM.  

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 8, 2020

Dear Families,

Noemi and I have been meeting with families and have been discussing the protests and how to talk about recent events, racism, and racial injustice with our children.  These are not new conversations for many families, especially our families of color.  Others are just beginning to talk about racism with their children.  Though you may not feel as equipped to talk about it, don’t let it stop you from having the conversations.  When we are at school, we often use picture books as a starting point for hard conversations.  I am resharing the link to a collection of resources that our staff put together for families.  It includes some children’s books to support you in talking with your child about race and racism: 

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

In lieu of the ⅔ parent meeting today, I invite all of our families to participate in PBS’s event “Talking to Children Authentically about Race and Racism (https://www.pbs.org/parents/talking-about-racism).  Join parents, educators, and child development and trauma experts for an important conversation about how parents can talk with young children about racial injustice and violence against Black people. They will explore questions such as: How can parents of Black children continue to instill confidence and pride in young kids while also explaining the racial inequity and barriers that continue today? And, how can parents of non-Black children help young kids understand their role in confronting anti-Black racism? They will also answer questions from parents and share tips and resources you can use to continue to have these meaningful conversations now and into the future. 

This Week at TNS….

  • Teaching artist, Leigh is leading two drawing workshops for families today

    • Times: 10:00 - 11:00 AM - Pre-k - 1st grade and 11:00 AM-noon -2nd - 5th grade

    • Format: Drawing workshop. Pencil and paper needed

    • meet.google.com/cam-mqdc-qzh

  • SLT(School Leadership Team) is Thursday, June 11 from 2 - 3:30.  All are welcome.

    • TSI (Targeted Support and Improvement) Status: Carry Chan, Superintendent will be there

    • Anti-racist, anti-bias work at TNS

    • CEP (Comprehensive Education Plan)

Looking Ahead…

June 25 - 5th-grade graduation at 1:30 PM

June 26 - The last day of school

With Love,

Dyanthe

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

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