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Advocacy News

What does Assessment Look Like at TNS?

Hello Neighborhood School Community,

Dyanthe and some of our wonderful teachers held an information session at 8:30AM, on Monday, January 28th.  The information session was held in the PTA room and is called, “How do teachers know how our children are doing?”  Pre-K to 4th/5th Grade Teachers shared the many ways they “measure” student growth and make decisions about class instruction.

This was the first of five discussions about assessment, academic progress & testing at TNS.

The other four sessions are:

1.  “TNS graduates return to talk about middle school,” on February 13, 6 PM

Learn how TNS prepares students for the academic and social expectations of middle school and beyond.

3.  “What doesn’t assessment look like at TNS?” on March 4, 8:30 AM

Dyanthe will talk about assessment systems and metrics used in most public schools in NYC and why/how TNS has been able to use measures more aligned with our progressive philosophy.

3.  “State testing days at The Neighborhood School,” March 25, 8:30AM

Second/third and 4th/5th grade teachers and Dyanthe will share what testing days look like at TNS for students who take the tests and those who don’t.

4.  “What is performance-based assessment?”, date TBD

Learn about The Neighborhood School’s pilot program using Performance Based Assessment for graduating students

These information sessions are organized in collaboration with the Advocacy Committee, an independent parent- and guardian-led group dedicated to informing the school community about education policy.

All events will be held in the PTA room unless otherwise announced.

Please address questions to advocacy.tns@gmail.com

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 4, 2019

Dear Families,

I want to express my deep appreciation to Wanda (Pre-K), Jane (2nd/3rd), Dianne (K/1st) and Joanne (4th/5th) for sharing their assessment practices with families last Monday.  Each year, I ask teachers who represent a range, both in terms of ages taught and classroom configurations to present so that you can get to know them better and see that there are consistent practices across classes and grades.  Teachers spoke about how formal assessments, looking at student work, the role of observation and working alongside children inform next steps and allow us to know children well. They also shared the ways students reflect on their learning and work throughout the grades.   A parent videotaped the conversation and it will be available on the website soon. Former TNS students will talk about how TNS prepared them for the academic and social expectations in middle school on Wednesday, February 13th at 6PM.  Speaking of assessments, Narrative Reports go home Wednesday!

Mark your calendar:

  • All this week, TNS to Puerto Rico with Love will once again have a handmade pop-up store to raise money for families in need in Puerto Rico.

  • There is NO SCHOOL Tuesday in honor of the Lunar New Year.

  • Mid-year Narrative Reports go home Wednesday.

  • SLT will meet Thursday at 8 AM in Room 313. Agenda:

    • Library plans for next year

    • Information Literacy (technology in the classroom)

    • Literacy at TNS:  we will look at three documents Dyanthe has shared as potential resources for families

    • New Business

  • It’s “Popcorn Friday” this week!

  • Friday night is Movie Night at TNS!  We are screening “The Incredibles 2” from 5 - 8 PM.



News & Announcements

The Crisis in Public Education in PR

The Public Education Crisis in Puerto Rico

And How We Can Help

Less than a year after devastating Hurricanes ripped through Puerto Rico and only a few days before the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the Department of Education followed through on plans to close almost a quarter of all public schools in PR.  Our partner school was one of those schools. Public schools in PR, especially in more rural areas, are often the heart of a community. Now these buildings sit abandoned. Most reports are that students have been re-assigned to schools that are far away from their homes and were already overcrowded without any additional funding for staff or materials.  

La Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR) is actively fighting against school closures. The FMPR has “rescued” a few of the closed public schools by opening them as community centers for the local families and children.  One of these centers is Lorencita Ramirez school in Tao Baja. On Saturdays, free breakfast and lunch is served and children can participate in sports and arts clinics (activities no longer provided in the public schools) and on Wednesdays, students can receive tutoring.  All of the staff are unpaid volunteers. These “rescued schools” are providing much needed community support for families and children who have been through multiple traumas. They provide a safe and happy place for the community to come together and support each other.


The Neighborhood School to Puerto Rico with Love Association will be using funds raised to provide art and school supplies, books, and snacks for the program at Lorencita Ramirez.  There are lots of ways YOU can help make a difference in the lives of families in Puerto Rico:

  • Make a handmade item for our Handmade for PR event (Feb 4-8)

  • Shop at our Handmade for PR event (Feb 4-8)

  • Make a cash donation in our donation box

  • Purchase a TNS2PR mug (some are still available!)

  • Purchase a TNS2PR t-shirt (we will be selling again in the Spring)      

  • Join our group!!

  • Follow these Facebook pages:

Al Rescaté de Mi Escuela

Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico

Please email TNS2PR@gmail.com or dianne@tnsny.org

For more information!  

Puerto Rico School Closings Hit Families, Communities Hard


Puerto Rico’s Schools Are in Tumult, and Not Just Because of Hurricane Maria


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 28, 2019

Dear Families,

At my Morning Hour last week, we read the article, “Reading In Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose”.   It describes the ways in which experiential, play-based learning creates the foundation for print literacy.  It also sights research showing there is no evidence that children taught to read in kindergarten make long-term gains in their learning.  And while it is true that some children need extra support to learn to read, that kind of support is highly individualized and it is competent, skilled teachers who can best recognize whether a child needs specific support or is progressing more slowly and simply needs more time.  

Most public schools in NYC have traditional approaches to reading, writing and spelling.  Families choose TNS for our progressive approach (among other things) and one component of that is our developmental approach to reading: some children learn to read at 3 or 4, others not until 7 or later, and that range is quite normal.  Our goal is for all our children to become fluent readers who read with insight and passion.

We are working to create TNS literature to provide general guidelines about reading development in response to the desire for more information about decoding/comprehension strategies, book characteristics and how can families support their child at home.  Keep an eye out!

Mark your calendars:

  • What Does Assessment Look Like?  Monday morning after drop-off in the PTA Room, Wanda, Jane, Dianne and Joanne will share the ways they “measure” student growth and learning, make decisions about class instruction.  This is the first workshop in a series about assessment leading up to the NY State tests for 3rd - 5th grades.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets twice this week: Tuesday morning at drop-off in Room 307 and again Thursday at 4:30PM in the Library.

  • SING is Wednesday at 8:45AM in the auditorium.    Please also join us for the bake sale in the lobby beforehand (also, this is a call for donated baked goods).

  • The Diversity Committee is hosting a potluck on Thursday from 5:30 - 7:30PM in Mara’s Room.

  • The Garden Committee meets Friday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Friday is a HALF-DAY!  Dismissal is at 11:45AM.  

Have a good week,


News & Announcements

Movie Night!

TNS Movie Night