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News & Announcements

Windows for Changing to Blended Learning Program

Dear Families, 

Earlier this week, I wrote to share that the DoE had changed its policy from quarterly opt-ins to only one opt-in period for the entire school year. This was new information for all of us.

Our School Leadership Team, a group made up of elected parents, teachers, and me, have agreed that we will offer families two additional times (as originally promised by the DoE) to make the shift from remote-only to blended: after February Mid-Winter Break and after April Spring Break.  We believe that this will support families to reach decisions for their unique circumstances and also keep the number of in-person students low at a time when COVID rates are rising.  

We are able to offer additional opt-in periods because we intentionally created classes so that students and teachers stay together, regardless of remote-only or blended choices.  In a time of so much uncertainty and anxiety, we believe that these relationships and classroom communities ground all of us - children, families, and teachers.  (As students shift to blended learning, many children around the city will have new teachers and students in their classes, but not at TNS.)  This is only possible because our teachers are working beyond their union’s contract expectations and many are teaching both remotely and in-person.  

 At this point in time, we have two cohorts (A and B) that are blended/in-person. Please remember that if a large number of our all-remote students opt into the blended program, there is a good chance that we would need to switch from a two-cohort model to a three-cohort model school-wide. This would mean that in-person students would be divided into three cohorts and attend school for 1 to 2 days per week (instead of the current 2 to 3 days per week). 

 If you would like to request that your child move from 100% remote to blended learning beginning the weeks of November 30 - December 7, you must complete and submit the Learning Preference Survey between Monday, November 2 – Sunday, November 15.

We will be hosting a Town Hall on Thursday, November 5 at 4 p.m. to explain the process of opting into blended learning in 2021. We will also share building and safety updates at that time.

Sincerely,

Dyanthe

 

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 26, 2020

Dear Families,

We are devoting all our TNS professional development half-days to anti-bias, anti-racist work this year.  The first part of the afternoon is spent reflecting together on a shared text or webinar and during the second half, we meet in racial affinity groups.  The purpose of our work in our racial affinity groups is to have a space to unpack the ways race and racism have affected each of us personally and to unpack the implicit bias we might be carrying with us.  Today we are watching a conversation between the co-authors of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and discussing implications for curriculum, teaching and learning.

This week at TNS…

  • Today is a TNS PD half-day.  Dismissal for both in-person and remote students will be at 11:10 AM.

  • The DoE is hosting a Health and Safety Town Hall on Tuesday, October 27 from 6:30-7:30 PM.  Dr. Jay Varma, Senior Advisor for Public Health in the Mayor’s Office, and DOE Deputy Chancellor for Community Empowerment, Partnerships, and Communications Adrienne Austin will be taking questions from callers.  Whether you have questions about COVID-19 testing in schools, ventilation, PPE and cleaning, or more, dial 1-800-280-9461 on Tuesday, October 27 at 6:30 PM to ask and listen.

  • TNS Virtual Halloween Party is on Friday, October 30, from 4 - 5 PM.  Your participation is needed to make this event great! Songs decided by you, our TNS community, basic dance routines taught online, your costume reveals, TNS Halloween art gallery, and more!  Stay tuned for more details!

Looking ahead…

  • Family conferences are next week!  All conferences will be conducted remotely.  Wednesday, November 4 is set-aside for evening conferences, and Thursday, November 5 is half-day.  Dismissal for both remote and in-person students will be at 11:10 AM.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 19, 2020

Dear Families,

Teddy bears are everywhere!  There are so many reasons we are doing the teddy bear curriculum this year.  Bears can support children’s separation from home and connection to the teachers, classroom environment, and to peers. As children bring their Teddy Bears “to life” and develop their identities, they become a vehicle for self-expression for children, and a way of communicating about children’s feelings, identity, and experiences in the world both inside and outside of school. They can also serve as a bridge to making friendship connections between children and support a curriculum of “Celebrating Same/Similar/Different,” which supports children’s self-worth in the school setting and beyond.  It is joyful watching the different ways bears are becoming a part of the fabric of the classroom culture. 

This week at TNS…

  • Material distribution:  Materials and supplies that your child needs for remote learning this year will be distributed from 12 - 2 PM on Thursdays and Fridays during the month of October.   Your child’s teachers will let you know the dates that materials will be ready for pick-up.  If a parent cannot make any of those times, we can arrange a pick-up time with the office staff.  Similarly, please let your child’s teacher know if you need us to mail supplies to you. 

Looking ahead…

  • Monday, October 26 is a TNS PD half-day.  Dismissal for both in-person and remote students will be at 11:10 AM.

  • TNS Virtual Halloween Party is on Friday, October 30, from 4 - 5 PM. Your participation is needed to make this event great! Songs decided by you, our TNS community, basic dance routines taught online, your costume reveals, TNS Halloween art gallery, and more!  Stay tuned for more details!

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

FYI:  School COVID Cleaning/Disinfectant Protocols

1. High touch surfaces (doorknobs, door pulls/push plates, staircase handrails, light switches, flush valves on urinals, bathroom partition handles/latches, faucet handles, drinking fountains) are continuously disinfected during the day with COVID combating disinfectants.

2. All operable windows are opened and ACs turned on upon staff arrival every day to increase ventilation (this means the rooms are a little chilly, so send your child with a sweater for the classroom)

3. Student and staff bathrooms are regularly checked for cleanliness, touchpoints disinfected, stocked with hand soap, toilet paper, and paper towels at all times. [Logs are completed at least 3x a day and also completed in the evening]

4. At the end of each day, every occupied area (classrooms, offices, bathrooms, common spaces, staircases, public assembly spaces, and vestibules) must be cleaned and disinfected using an EPA listed disinfectant and electrostatic sprayer suited for the elimination of COVID.

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 12, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope that you enjoyed the long weekend and are doing well. 

For many communities around the United States, yesterday was Indigenous Peoples’ Day -- a holiday dedicated to highlighting the cultures and suppressed histories of indigenous peoples. Indigenous Peoples’ Day emerged as a direct challenge to the narratives that undergird Columbus Day—the federal holiday used to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ purported “discovery of America.”  

Teachers are having conversations with students about the history of Columbus and indigenous people’s experiences.  We want children to process and express their thoughts and feelings about this difficult and complex topic.  I am sharing a resource, “Here’s How You Can Talk About Christopher Columbus in Your Classroom” because I think it may be helpful as families navigate follow-up discussions.  Remember to listen and give children a chance to talk, process, and play out their thinking without interruption.  When we react by interrupting or judging that something wrong, the message children get is, “I shouldn’t talk about this” and that shuts down the conversation. We want to show children that it is safe to talk about, and that way we open the doors for communication.  Please reach out directly to your child’s teacher if you have questions.

Ideas for Supporting children (and caregivers) during remote and blended learning

I am sharing notes from Friday’s workshop with Patricia Winter, our family social worker, about the emotional challenges that children and families are experiencing during this time.   While it is was geared to 2nd - 5th grade families, I think it is helpful for all of us!  

The pandemic has children and adults feeling out of control. Remote learning is difficult for children for many reasons. Your child may be feeling bored, completely out of control, and/or depressed because they crave social contact with peers. Here are some ideas about how to make remote learning more productive.

Time and Place:

  • Help your student be independent by keeping the time. The student should make a weekly schedule to hang up for easy reference. Before the school week begins, set different sounding alarms on the phone to signify the beginning and end of each school period. 

  • Set up a space for your student that says to them “I’m am in my school-work-mode.” That can be done by clearing a corner of the room and setting up a table and chair - ideally, the child’s feet should touch the floor.  Sliding the dining room table to a different spot was one idea. 

  • Make sure to hear yourselves say, “it’s a school night. Time for bed!” on weeknights. Your student will have better cognition after a good night’s sleep. 

Optimizing concentration:  you can only recall or learn the information if are able to focus when it is being taught!

  • Creating novelty is great for this.  If the student has zoom classes, three days a weekend, change something to signify that it’s Monday vs. Wednesday. For example, lay down a red bandana on the table on Monday and a green one on a Wednesday (or sit one stuffed animal out of sight on the table on Wednesday—and a different one on Friday).  Food can also help signal that one day is different from the next. One parent suggested popcorn Fridays as a continuation of a TNS tradition. Taco Tuesdays or Pizza Fridays is another example.

  • Make sure you build in movement breaks like wall push-ups, squat thrusts, tumbling, or headstands (yoga). 

  • When Patricia asked students what they wanted parents to know, they said, “We need to go out and play with other kids!“ Do your best to get your child out to a park or plan a socially distanced play date. 

Resistance to learning

If your child is having a hard time in any subject or with any part of the school day, email the teachers and let them know what’s going on!  You should let your child know that you are confident that the teachers will help figure out how to solve the problem. 

Your role in terms of partner with your child’s teacher has definitely increased but you should not feel like you are the teacher. Do not correct your child’s work. It undermines their confidence. If you feel that they are giving up too soon or not putting in enough effort, you can suggest they give themselves another minute to see what else they can produce. It is key that they are in charge of setting the timer. You can say, “I’m sure your teacher would like you to see if you can push yourself a bit more.“ If your child is panicked or crying because they’re having a hard time, rather than helping them complete the work, which fosters dependence and makes them feel incompetent. Remind them that other students are also having a difficult time. Perhaps they can take a break to reset. Let them be in charge of the type of break and the timer but you say how many minutes they can take. You can share a story about a learning curve that you had as a child to encourage them.  Partner with your child asking, “What should we do?”  Be mindful of the conversation that follows so that you build on their ideas and they feel like they are the ones who are problem-solving.

Life is changed in so many ways during this quarantine. There are some bright spots though and it is important to highlight them.  Have a family “check-in” every so often regarding life in the time of Covid.  Ask what parts of the day were good and what parts of the day were difficult. Everyone should have a chance to answer (including the parent) but “passing“ is allowed to give the child time to collect their thoughts.  Please email Patricia at patricia@tnsny.org if you have any questions.

This week at TNS…

  • Materials and supplies that your child needs for remote learning this year will be distributed from 12 - 2 PM on Thursdays and Fridays during the month of October.   Your child’s teachers will let you know the dates that materials will be ready for pick-up.  If a parent cannot make any of those times, we can arrange a pick-up time with the office staff.  Similarly, please let your child’s teacher know if you need us to mail supplies to you. 

  • “Welcome to the Library” is Thursday at 5 PM.  Cheryl will talk about how the library has reinvented itself during remote learning.  She will give a tour of our “virtual library,” and focus on independent reading and reading aloud with your child/ren.  She will also demonstrate how to borrow an ebook from our library and also how to place materials on hold for curbside pickup.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81053701155?pwd=eTE4TnJ2cnFVU3ZIei9FYjhHand1UT09

Looking ahead…

  • The PTA will meet on Tuesday, October 20 at 5:00 PM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87802763540?pwd=TFM4cU43MnVQUnFFOXlkdnZNQklyUT09

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet on Thursday, October 22 at 2:30 PM

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.  Matt (2/3), Grace (2/3), and Wanda (pre-k) will be on the SLT this year.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82770123717?pwd=ckNaTVR5RFNoWFl1bjYxN08rNmVIdz09

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

News & Announcements

PTA Welcome Letter

Dear Parents, 

On behalf of the newly-elected PTA at the Neighborhood School, a belated welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!

We are looking forward to a productive partnership with you to ensure our children are safe and can achieve their highest potential. We recognize that to be successful in school, our children need support from both the home and school. We know a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education. As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities. We know that our school year may look different, but the TNS PTA will continue to work for every child in the areas of Education, Advocacy, and maintaining our Community. 

To contribute to our community, please consider joining our school volunteer programs. Our students can greatly benefit from your involvement and contributions to the schools’ programs and their operations. As of this date, we are still in need of classroom parents and a PTA Secretary.  Another thing that we can use some help with this year is fundraising.  We spend a lot of money on the programs and events that enhance our children’s learning experience.  As we continue from year to year, we would like to add more to the schools’ endowment because more funds will allow our programs to grow.  So, if you have any ideas that you believe would help with fundraising or would like to help in any way, please contact a member of the PTA.   

We value our families here at TNS, and we will continue to achieve great things thanks to the tremendous support of our families, staff, and community partners. Your volunteering of time, financial contributions, and advocacy for our students make an immeasurable difference at TNS.  Throughout the year we will continue to provide valuable tools for our students and teachers throughout the year to enhance the educational opportunities and school setting. Although our world is topsy-turvy right now, we as a PTA and school community can ensure that we will maintain many of the activities (although virtual) that make the TNS community so special (i.e., Sing, guest speakers, and virtual events).

It is very important that you and your child are informed regarding the events and activities the school community offers, so please be sure to check our website (http://tnsny.org) for updates. We have a wonderful administration and staff at TNS, and we feel privileged to be a part of this school family.

 

Thank you for your support and look forward to meeting you throughout the year.

 

Sincerely,  

The TNS PTA

 

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