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News & Announcements

Week of April 5, 2021

Dear Families,

Welcome back! I hope you have had a restful break and that you and your loved one are healthy and well.

TNS is starting a support group for transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary, and gender questioning students. Matt, 2nd/3rd-grade teacher, and our guidance counselor, Tina, will co-facilitate. The group is open to students ages 5 - 11 years, and the first meeting is this Wednesday from 4 - 5 PM. Please email matt@tnsny.org for more information and to sign up.

When the new CDC guidelines came out about children needing to be only three feet apart, we understand this must have been exciting news for so many families across the city. While the DoE has yet to adopt these guidelines, keep in mind that CDC guidelines are created by people who don’t work in schools. The science behind it envisions an empty classroom with desks spread three feet apart. However, this is not how we teach. For early childhood classrooms, this means getting rid of meeting and block areas and, in our case, removing the lofts from the classrooms. It also requires children to stay at their desks all day. Moreover, children need to be six feet apart anytime they have their masks off, like during breakfast, lunch, or rest time.

The window to opt-in to blended learning closed for TNS families on March 19, and we have created cohorts based on current social distancing guidelines. To accommodate the new in-person students, we will open second cohorts in Mara/Shaniqua, Amann/Shaquawn, and Jane/Chelsea’s classes. We will also continue offering five days a week of in-person learning for PreK families who want it. It took a lot of time, creativity, and crunching numbers to figure out how to offer this, but we managed it, thanks in part to our current number of families who have opted in and the fact that some families are choosing to stay in just one cohort.

Families who sign-up for in-person beginning the week of April 12 will receive detailed information from their teachers later this week. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 22, 2021

Dear Families,

TNS teachers continue to have conversations with students in response to on-going Anti-Asian violence in this country and teach about Asian American history and identity. Parents must also engage in conversation about race and racism with their children. I am sharing an event happening Wednesday evening, Violence Against Asian Americans: How Do We Support the Children, sponsored by the group Embrace Race that may also support anti-racist actions and solidarity. I also encourage all of our parents of color and white parents of children of color to join our monthly BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) support group. The next meeting is Thursday, March 25 at 5 PM. Here’s the link to register.

On Friday afternoon, the mayor announced that, due to new CDC guidance around social-distancing in schools, the DoE would change its policy. We have yet to receive any direction from the DoE about implementing these changes. As you know, TNS’s last opt-in period begins the week of April 12. At this time, we are planning to open second cohorts in Mara/Shaniqua, Amann/Shaquawn, Erin/Wanda, Catlin/Emily, and Jane/Chelsea’s classes to maintain social distancing in classrooms. I hope to notify families about their cohort assignments by the end of the week.

I am happy to share that we received funding for K - 5th grades to have seven weeks of Studio in a School, TNS’s arts partner, beginning the week of April 19. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to continue the arts, and I am very excited about working with Studio teaching artists Leah Ruple and Mildor Chevalier. They are longtime Studio teachers and have been working with students all this year. All classes will be virtual during school time, and for those classes with two cohorts, in-person kids and teacher(s) will log-on from the classroom, either on their devices or using an interactive whiteboard. Teaching artists will also assemble art kits to distribute to families.

I hope that you have a good Spring Break with your family.

With Love,

Dyanthe

News & Announcements

Responding to Anti-Asian Violence and Georgia Shootings

Dear Families,

I am sharing this article from Learning for Justice in response to the ongoing Anti-Asian Violence in this country and the Georgia Shootings on Tuesday night.  It calls on each of us to reflect on our role in the constant struggle for racial justice.

TNS teachers and staff are sharing resources to support classroom conversations about Anti-Asian Violence in this country and ABAR lessons, resources, and read-alouds about Asian American history and identity.

We will continue to support our AAPI students, families, and staff to feel safer in school and beyond.  To that end, I encourage all of our parents of color and white parents of children of color to join our monthly BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) support group.  The next meeting is Thursday, March 25 at 5 PM.  Here’s the link to register.  We are also in the process of partnering with NYU’s Education Justice Research and Organizing Collaborative to organize a workshop series for families this spring.  To do ABAR work as a community, we adults must have tools to talk about racism with each other and our children.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 15, 2021

Dear Families,

Several families have reached out to me recently to inquire about plans to return to school in September.  We all want some certainty as we try to plan, but they’re still many unknowns, and we need to await further guidance from the CDC, the mayor, and DoE before making our plans.  As our new Chancellor, Meisha Porter, reiterated last week, “Yes, schools need to know. Families need to know. Right now, I don’t have the answer….  We have to lean into conversations with principals, with teachers, and with families around what they need from us.”  

The health and safety of all community members are our overall priority.  As such, we will continue to follow CDC and DoE guidelines, including wearing masks, frequent hand washing, weekly testing, and social distancing.  Please remember that most of our classrooms can only accommodate 9 - 11 people safely at this time.  Once the DoE shares new programming and policy guidelines, we can begin to plan together for September.

Best,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 8, 2021

Dear Families,

Sorry... I forgot to post on Monday! ; )

I want to highlight current work happening in classrooms because it illustrates how students and teachers create curriculum that is responsive to the classroom community’s needs and interests, the events in our world and is rooted in social justice.

  • Students learned about change-makers like Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia Gilmore, Rosa Parks, Fred Hampton, and Wangari Maathai in a kindergarten and first-grade classroom. The class then thought about how they could be change-makers in our community and decided to make ‘The Little Free Food Pantry.’  Families in the neighborhood can take what they need and leave what they can.  Mara, one of their teachers, built the pantry with her woodworking teacher, and the class organized donations.  I have attached pictures of the pantry, which is in the 3rd Street Garden, and the posters students made to advertise in the school and neighborhood. 

  • Students read biographies about people who have shared their passions and light in the world in a second and third-grade class. The students were especially captivated by the story of Arab architect Zaha Hadid, who designed buildings inspired by the natural world and faced sexism and racism in having her buildings built despite winning multiple competitions. The class decided to design and build a city of their own (on a small scale).  Last week, an architect came to present various buildings inspired by different purposes. In the end, the teachers chose food (this is another class study this year) as the theme, and the students have been designing buildings inspired by food.  This coming week, TNS parent David Stadler will come to speak to them about building our designs!

  • A fourth and fifth-grade class is beginning the read-aloud, How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle.  It is a Choctaw story about a boy’s experience on the Trail of Tears, which they have been studying in Social Studies.  As a part of this study, the class has a virtual field trip scheduled with the National Museum of the American Indian. Museum educators will speak to the class about the Native American experience during the Removal Act of 1830 time period. 

TNS offers a progressive education model that values student intellectual and emotional development and encourages students to take active roles in their learning.  This rich environment would not be possible if not for our teachers and our school’s commitment to providing authentic and meaningful learning experiences for children.  And it is not possible when teachers have to balance the demands of preparing students for the State tests.  At most public schools, test prep forms a significant part of the class curriculum, especially at this time of year.  Students learn how to fill out bubble sheets; teachers focus closely on materials covered in the tests; and there is little time for open, explorative, authentic learning.  Here are some essential links to help you make your decision about opt-in out of the NY State tests this year:

Warm Regards,

Dyanthe

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