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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 12, 2021

Dear Families,

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

Yesterday was Indigenous Peoples’ Day -- a holiday dedicated to highlighting indigenous peoples’ cultures and suppressed histories. 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 complex and challenging 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 for families navigating 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 is wrong, the message children get is, “I shouldn’t talk about this.”  Instead, we want to show children that it is safe to talk to and play in front of adults, and that way, we open the doors for communication.  Please reach out directly to your child’s teacher if you have questions.

The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet on Wednesday, October 13, at 3 pm.  The SLT is a committee made up of elected parents and teachers, and me.  We write, revise, and disseminate school policies.  Monthly meetings are for the School Leadership Team Representatives and are open to all.  Here is the meeting link.

Community Board 3 is holding a meeting to discuss our students’ access to the McKinley playground on Thursday, October 14, at 6:30 pm.  Please come to advocate for our children’s use of the playground during the school day.  

Online:  https://zoom.us/j/97669441619

By Phone:  +1 646 518 9805, +1 929 205 6099

Meeting ID:  976 6944 1619

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 4, 2021

Dear Families,

Our children’s access to our beautiful new playground is in jeopardy!  McKinley playground is a “Jointly Operated Playground” that serves as a schoolyard during school hours and is open to the public the rest of the time.  However, members of the Community Board 3 (CB 3) are challenging this.  They want the playground to be open to the community during school hours, which means that students would not use the playground during the school day!

The McKinley playground project was years in the making and was designed with input from both schools and the community.  Our local Councilwoman and the Manhattan Borough President funded the project.  In addition, a former STAR parent donated to the construction of the slide in memory of her son, Finn, a pre-k student who died in a horrible car accident years ago.  

Community Board 3 is holding their next meeting to discuss the playground on Thursday, October 14 at 6:30 PM.  They need to hear you!  Please come to advocate for our children’s use of the playground during the school day.  

Parks, Recreation, Waterfront, & Resiliency Committee

Thursday, October 14 at 6:30pm

Online: 

By Phone:  +1 646 518 9805, +1 929 205 6099 - Meeting ID:  976 6944 1619

Finally, a few reminders...

  • Please do not enter the building to use the bathroom or retrieve students’ belongings after school.  

  • First through fifth-grade families, please complete consent for your child to participate in the school’s weekly random COVID testing program. You can fill out the form in your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) or download the form online at schools.nyc.gov/covidtesting.

  • Every student and staff member must complete the Health Screening Form before entering the school building each day.

Please remember that school is closed on Monday, October 11, in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Dyanthe’s August Updates

Dear Families,

I hope that your family is well, safe, and enjoying summer. 

I want to share some changes with our staff for next year.  First, Emily is moving to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she has lived with her family for the past year. Second, we hired Julia Broach to teach Science. Julia impressed the hiring committee with her thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, and understanding of curriculum planning (a must for TNS teachers!).  We are thrilled to have her!  Finally, after 23 years at TNS, Yolanda is retiring.  We will miss Emily and Yolanda, but we wish them the best! 

I imagine you have many questions about September, especially as concerns grow around the Delta variant. Unfortunately, schools have yet to receive updated guidance about health and safety measures.  However, we expect the NYC Department of Education’s forthcoming reopening guidance, in alignment with CDC recommendations, to prioritize ventilation, cleaning, vaccination, and mask-wearing along with 3 feet of social distancing where possible.   At this time, there are no remote learning options in NYC public schools.  Our planning team has been meeting regularly over the summer, and we anticipate:

  • Adults and students will wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.  Please remember to send a mask your child is comfortable with (stays over their nose when they talk) because they will be wearing it all day, except when eating. 

  • All school DoE employees must have proof of vaccination for COVID-19 or, if not vaccinated, be tested for COVID-19 weekly. 

  • Drop-off and pick-up will be in the courtyard and recess yard, except for our youngest students.  The school day will go from 8:25 AM to 2:45 PM.

  • Students and staff will wash their hands throughout the day.

  • Every classroom and common space will have open windows to provide proper ventilation and at least two air purifiers.

  • PPT will continue to be provided at no cost to our school.

  • Students will need their DoE emails and devices in case a class or the school needs to pivot to remote learning at any time.

  • We will have after-school programming in the building.

At the forefront of our planning team’s decisions is the physical and emotional health of our students, families, and staff.  Please join us on Wednesday, September 1st at 6 PM for a Town Hall about what school will look like in September. https://bit.ly/tnstownhall

The DoE recognizes that all schools must be prepared to work with their students’ trauma and social-emotional needs when school begins in September.  Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter recently announced that schools would prioritize social-emotional support, “Children in every community are carrying trauma from the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful academic recovery can only happen when the emotional and mental health needs are also addressed.”  

We will support children’s social and emotional needs this year through the Teddy Bear curriculum.  Every new child and staff member will get a Teddy bear in September.  If your child has a bear from last year, it can return with them in the fall.  The Teddy Bear Curriculum is part of our ongoing work with Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College.  They support us to develop emotionally responsive school routines, curricula, and adult-child interactions that help all children, including those with a traumatic history.  I am also happy to share that we will have school social worker Troy Nicholas back this year.

I expect the DoE to share more details in the upcoming weeks, and we will continue to communicate how this impacts our reopening in September. I strongly encourage you to keep connected to school and the PTA using Konstella.  

You will receive a welcome letter and supply list from your child’s classroom teacher(s) in the next week or so.  It will detail the materials your child will need and essential information about the classroom and expectations to start the year.  The primary focus at the beginning of the year is on getting familiar with routines, the flow of the day, and getting to know each other.  We can’t wait!

I hope that you enjoy the rest of the summer.  I will be in touch soon!

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 14, 2021

Dear Families,

June is a month in which our moods vary from joyful to sad because it is a time in which we realize that we are about to separate and may not see each other until the fall. We take a moment to thank the incredible work of our outgoing PTA Executive Board. Their efforts have been tireless this year, and honestly, I cannot imagine having navigated this year without their support.

There are no words that can adequately thank our staff, whose dedication to our children and families is unwavering. I continue to be inspired by their work and the multiple and profound ways they think about children, teaching, and learning.

Finally, thank you for your flexibility, understanding, and support during this challenging and unpredictable year. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to returning to school in September with all our children in the building five days a week!

We want to hear from all our families about their child’s experience this year! Please complete your DoE survey if you haven’t yet. The due date is this Friday, June 18. You’ll need your child’s nine-digit Student Identification (OSIS) Number to access the survey which you received from Denise in an email to you or log into your New York City Schools Account (NYCSA). You will have to fill out a survey for each of your children. Visit the link below and when it asks for your access code, enter a lowercase “f” first and then your OSIS number immediately after. You can also contact our Parent Coordinator at denise@tnsny.org if you need help with your student’s OSIS number or logging in. Denise will also be in the lobby all week at arrival (8:40 - 9 AM) to help families complete the survey. Please stop by! Fill out the survey here.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 7, 2021

Dear Families,

Last Thursday, our staff came together to share ideas and suggestions about decisions we need to make for September. One thing we agreed to continue is the Teddy Bear curriculum. It has been a powerful way to support children’s social and emotional needs this year. Many of our students still carry their bears to and from school each day! Teddy bears help teachers address unresolved emotional issues that hinder children’s socialization and learning processes. They can help children connect to their feelings and express them in constructive ways, establishing a safe and supportive learning environment for students. Please hold onto and take of your child’s teddy bear this summer so that it can return with your child in the fall.

We are in the process of making classes for next year. This is a thoughtful process, and we carefully consider the makeup of each class. There are a few changes in configurations next year. We will have two Integrated Co-teaching or ICT classes (these are classes with two teachers) and one general education class (a class with one teacher) in our 2nd/3rd grades. All of our 4th/5th grade classes with be ICT. As we plan the classes and spaces for September, we need to know who will or might be leaving. Please complete this survey to let us know if your child is NOT returning next year. Thank you.

With Love,

Dyanthe

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