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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 9, 2020

Dear Families,

Last Wednesday, the Advocacy Committee, a few teachers and I met with over 30 parents to discuss testing, why we are a TSI school, the impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on curriculum, teaching, and learning and on numerous practices/structures that reflect our values about what we believe is best for children.  Here’s the link to the video of the meeting, in case you missed it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbHMhGHakk8. Grade 3 – 5 families, please speak with your child’s teacher(s) about opting out of the State Tests so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  I am also happy to meet with any family to discuss.

There are several additional meetings for families from TNS and Earth School that involve advocating at the city and state level:

  • Thursday, March 19 at 4 PM at CEC (PS 20):  Families are working on a petition to the state that they will share.  

  • Monday, March 23 at 8:30 AM at TNS:  Earth School and TNS families meet with the superintendent.

  • Thursday, April 23 at 6 PM at ES:  Earth School and TNS families meet with Harvey Epstein, Robert Jackson, and other elected officials.

Only 14% of TNS families have completed their DOE survey!  The survey helps me and our School Leadership Team better understand what members of our school community think about our school. The information captured by the survey is designed to support a dialogue among all members of the school community about how to make the school a better place to learn. Completion rates are also important as they reflect the level of parent involvement at the school.  Each TNS family needs to complete a survey so that the DOE knows that our parents are involved, informed, and are advocates for our children. Please do yours today: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/reports/school-quality/nyc-school-survey.

This week at TNS….

  • Caroline and Grace’s class go to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.  Lindsey and Oli’s class go Wednesday and return Friday.

  • There is a PTA executive meeting Tuesday after drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • There is a Town Hall Meeting at 8:30 AM on Wednesday with families from STAR and TNS to discuss renovations as well as to share plans to accommodate children from both schools during recesses.  

  • The School Leadership Teams meets Friday at 8 AM.  All are welcomed.

    • Math Collective share

    • TSI/Opt-outs

    • After-school partnerships for next year

    • Yard Closure Plans

  • Camp Trip Fundraisers alert! Pi Day is coming up and we are celebrating this Friday with a raffle and... pie of course! Get a whole pie for $31.40 or a slice for $3.14. Coffee is $2, or $1 if you bring your own mug.  BONUS (students only): get an M&M for every digit of pi memorized. 

Looking Ahead….

  • Chelsea and Jane’’s class go to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday, March 16; they return Wednesday.  Matt’s class goes Wednesday, March 18 and returns Friday.

  • Tuesday, March 17 is a non-attendance day for Pre-K.

  • Friday, March 20 is a TNS half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

News & Announcements

March Lunch Menu

To see individual options, please see the Alternative and Classic Menus on the DOE website.

3/2 - Classic

3/9 - Alternative

3/16 - Combined Classic/Alternative

3/23 - Classic

3/30 - Alternative

News & Announcements

PTA Weekly Newsletter, March 2, 2020

Family conferences are this week! Plus Girls On the Run and lots of ways to get involved as we head towards Spring (it’s coming, we know it!). Read on . . . 

TNS PTA Newsletter - 3-2-2020

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

3.2.20

Dear Families,

As I explained in last week’s letter, the NY State Ed Department has identified our school as in need of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) for the 2019-20 school year.  This designation is a direct result of changes made in how opt-outs were calculated last year. A group of about 30 parents met last Tuesday to discuss our school’s TSI designation.  We agreed that families need to respond in two ways. The first is within the TNS community; families need to reach out to other families to ensure that they understand the threat the TSI status poses to our school.  The second response involves advocating beyond the school community, at the city and state level. Community Education Council will help coordinate some of this outreach, especially as we organize across other NYC schools and families similarly impacted by this designation. 

Please join me, the Advocacy Committee, and teachers this Wednesday after drop-off for another discussion, “What’s Up with the State Tests and Being a “TSI” School?”  

We will address:

  • The NY State ELA (English Language Arts), Math and Science Tests

  • Why we are a TSI School

  • The impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on curriculum, teaching, and learning

  • The impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on numerous practices that reflect our values about what we believe is best for children (think no farm trips, no Camp Ashokan before May, no 50 minutes of recess or lunch in the classroom in 2/3s, no morning recess in 4/5s, less Project Time, and many more...)

Family conferences are this week.  Grade 3 – 5 families, please speak with your child’s teacher(s) about opting out of the State Tests during conferences so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly. 

The side of our recess yard that includes the play structure and comfort station is undergoing renovations beginning April 13.  Construction is anticipated to last 9 months to a year and that portion of the recess yard will be closed during renovations. We are having a Town Hall Meeting at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, March 10 to discuss renovations as well as to share plans to accommodate children from both schools during recesses.  

This Week at TNS...

  • Thursday a half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.  

  • The ECO Committee meets Friday morning after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Dara, Shaquawn & Dianne, Caroline & Grace, Matt, Tiffany, and Joanne & Sofia’s classes go ice skating on Friday.

  • Movie Night is this Friday at 5:30 PM.

Looking Ahead…

  • Caroline and Grace’s class goes to the farm Monday, March 9 - 11.

  • Lindsey and Oli’s class goes to the farm Wednesday, March 11 - 13.

  • Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, March 10 at 8:30 AM: Q & A about park renovations.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 24, 2020

Dear Families,

Right before we left for mid-winter break, I received an email informing me that the NY State Ed Department has identified our school as in need of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) for the 2019-20 school year based on the 2018-19 performance of one or more student accountability subgroups on the state tests.  As a result of changes in how opt-outs are calculated by the state, schools with high opt-out numbers now being are penalized.  It is a parent’s legal right to opt their child out of the state tests.  Families choose TNS because of our progressive approach to teaching and learning.  This includes not interrupting the rich and meaningful curriculum to do months of test prep.  Of course, we’re not perfect.  We are continually working to improve instruction through on-going professional development.  We use multiple data sources to inform our work with children. But state testing data is not one of them.  Moreover, state test data from 27 (out of 117) children who did no test prep cannot be used to cull meaningful information about our school. Please join the Advocacy Committee and me after drop-off on Tuesday in the small cafeteria to learn more. 

Family conferences are next week!  Please sign-up for a conference time with your child’s teacher.  Wednesday, March 4 is the late-night and Thursday, March 5 is a half-day; dismissal is at 11:45 AM.  You can also sign-up to meet with our science teacher, Emily, our physical education teacher, Teddy, our Spanish teacher, Mara and our speech teachers, Amanda and Sara. If you need support, please call the school office and we will help coordinate a time for you. 

Our 4th and 5th graders leave for Camp Ashokan on Wednesday morning!  The Ashokan Center’s trails and the outdoor campus offers students the opportunity to hike to the depths of the 350 million-year-old Cathedral Gorge and the Turn wood-Ashokan Covered Bridge.  Programming includes history, natural science including watershed studies and ecology, community building, the arts and stewardship/service-learning and sustainability.  We expect all students to participate in this experience.  The trip is an essential part of a child’s TNS experience and reflects our values about how children learn best.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher, me or Noemi if you have any questions.  

This Week at TNS...

  • The Advocacy meets Tuesday after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The Garden Committee meets on Wednesday after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • 4th/5th graders go to Camp Ashokan Wednesday - Friday.

Looking Ahead…

  • Family conferences are next week!  Wednesday is late-night conferences and Thursday the half-day for conferences.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.  

  • Dara, Shaquawn & Dianne, Caroline & Grace, Matt, Tiffany, and Joanne & Sofia’s classes go ice skating on Friday, March 6.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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