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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

News & Announcements

Prospective Family Tours

To sign-up for March 16th’s tour:   bit.ly/tnstourmarch16

To sign-up for March 23rd’s tour: bit.ly/tnstourmarch23

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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 1, 2021

Dear Families,

It is family conference week.  3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade families, please speak with your child’s teacher(s) about your intentions to opt-out of the State tests during your family conference this week so that we can plan accordingly.  Please note, there has been no guidance about how schools will administer the tests yet.  

I am “retweeting” the Chancellor’s statement about the state tests this year:  “As an educator, I would say to parents, there is an opt-out, and if there is ever a time to consider whether that opt-out makes sense for you, this is the time.  We do not want to impose additional trauma on students that have already been traumatized.”  It is astonishing that when schools are deservedly being asked to rethink grading and attendance policies in response to the pandemic, the state and federal governments are mandating testing this year.  You can read the entire article here.  

At most public schools, test prep forms a significant part of the class curriculum. 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. At TNS, by contrast, students and teachers offer a progressive model of education that values student intellectual and emotional development and encourages students to take active roles in their learning.  We encourage you to watch these videos of TNS parents and teachers talking about authentic assessment, education, and state testing.

We have also provided some essential links to help you make your decision:

Opting into blended learning in April:  This is the last chance to let us know if you intend to begin in-person learning this school year (remember, you can opt into remote at any time).  Blended learning for new students will start the week of April 12, 2021.  If you do not submit a survey, your child will remain in 100% remote learning.  You do not need to complete this survey if your child is currently attending in-person.  Please fill out the survey here.  The final day to submit the survey is Friday, March 19.

With love,

Dyanthe

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