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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of December 9, 2019

Dear Families,

What a busy and wonderful week at TNS!  There are so many events happening that are unique to our school and reflect both our values and the rich diversity of our community.  

I am sharing a write-up from Emily, our Science teacher about her work with some of our Kindergarten and 1st-grade students in the garden.  I do so to illustrate the ways in which teachers at TNS are free* to create curriculum and experiences that are both responsive to the environment and follow students’ and teachers’ interests and passions. Also, notice the ways in which Emily purposely integrates reading and writing (poetry!) into the sciences.  She also shows how curriculum can reflect and teach compassion, sympathy, and deep understanding. 

*This creative and responsive curriculum does not happen at many NYC public schools.  In most NYC public schools, the curriculum is circumscribed ahead of time, without those children or their environment in mind, and is designed to prepare students for the state tests.  

I hope that you will have a moment to read Emily’s write-up and attend an event at TNS this week.  This is a very special place and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it!

This week at TNS...

  • The PTA Executive Committee meets Tuesday morning after drop-off in the PTA room.

  • My Morning Hour is on Wednesday in the PTA Room right after drop off.  We will discuss the work our staff and students have been doing around gender this year, why it is crucial to our community and future plans to make the 2nd-floor girls’ bathroom an all-gender bathroom.

  • Hip-Hop Open Classes for Families:  It’s time to share the work our children have been doing all semester!

Wednesday:  Joanne & Sofia, Tiffany, and Lindsey & Oli

Thursday:  Corinthia and Alexis, Caroline & Grace, Matt, and Chelsea and Jane

  • Please join Cheryl for the HOUR OF CODE in the Library on Wednesday from 3:45 to 6:30 PM.  Learn the basics of computer programming.  Play on- and off-line activities. All ages are welcome and no experience necessary!  

  • The TNS Book Fair will be open Thursday and Friday from 8 - 10 AM & 2 - 4 PM and Sunday during the Holiday Fair.  

  • Dara, Shaquawn & Dianne, Caroline & Grace, Matt, Tiffany, Joanne & Sofia, and Alexis & Corinthia go ice skating on Friday!  We are going to Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park at 171 East Drive in Brooklyn.  

  • Popcorn Friday is this week.

  • The Holiday Fair and Artisan Fest are Sunday, December 15th from 11 AM - 5 PM.  Please look for opportunities to volunteer... to set up, work a booth the day of, or clean-up.  This is a wonderful community event for the whole family and friends. I hope to see you all there.

Have a great week and see you at the Holiday Fair!

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of December 2, 2019

Dear Families,

This Friday is a TNS half-day for professional development.  During the afternoon, we will participate in a process called descriptive reviews.  The descriptive process begins with immersion – observing a child or space or activity.  It has a focus or focusing question that the presenting teacher or administrator works out thoughtfully ahead of time and that gives the participants a sense of how to listen and respond to the review. The process is always collaborative. It has rules and roles necessary for making the inquiry process democratic and inclusive, and for guaranteeing respect and privacy for the individuals involved.  A review typically takes about two hours. Descriptive reviews are a powerful way of opening up one’s practice and learning from each other. Additionally, in a time of high stakes testing, accountability and enforced standardization, we must ensure that education starts and builds from the strengths of children and teachers and values human capacity; descriptive reviews do just that.  

This Week at TNS:

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

  • Wednesday, December 4 at 8:35 AM:  Amanda, our Speech-Language Pathologist will lead an informational session on “Sounds in Motion”, the literacy program implemented in our early childhood classrooms that promote phonemic awareness and early literacy skills.

  • The School Leadership Team meets Thursday from 8 - 9:30 AM in Room 314.

  • Lice Busters (http://www.licebustersnyc.com/) will do lice checks Thursday morning.

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

  • Friday, December 6 is a TNS Half-Day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.  

Looking Ahead:

  • Dyanthe’s Morning Hour is Wednesday, December 11 after drop-off.  Join me for a discussion about the work our staff and students have been doing around gender this year and why it is crucial to our community.

  • The TNS Book Fair is December 12 - 15.

  • We have our first school ice skating trip for Dara, Shaquawn & Dianne, Caroline & Grace, Matt, Tiffany, and Joanne & Sofia’s classes on Friday, December 13.

  • The Holiday Fair is Sunday, December 15th from 11 AM - 5 PM. 

School Lunch Options for December:

  • Week of December 2:  Alternative Menu Entrees

  • Week of December 9:  Classic Menu Entrees (12/9:  veggie tacos will also be served)

  • Week of December 16:  Alternative Menu Entrees

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of November 25, 2019

Dear Families,

TNS has a long-standing partnership with Hudson Guild, a Community Based Organization that provides mental health services for our students.  Working alongside our staff, an on-site therapist develops relationships with students and families and provides individual counseling to children in the school. The on-site therapy fosters children’s growth, provides support to families and helps our school function more efficiently and effectively.  We have been waiting all this Fall for a new social worker and I am very happy to share that Ashleigh Hertzig is joining our community this week! Ashleigh is legally blind and has a guide dog named Yuri. Over the next few weeks, Ashleigh and Yuri will visit classrooms to introduce themselves and answer students’ questions.  Please read her letter below.

Dear Students and Families,

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My name is Ashleigh Hertzig and I am so excited to join The Neighborhood School community as the new Clinical Social Worker! I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet and work with each of you this year. 

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I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with experience working with children, families, and individuals who have diverse needs and backgrounds as an agent of support and guidance. I’m committed to providing a safe and welcoming space where, together, we can strengthen each child’s educational experience and achievements, and ensure that every family in The Neighborhood School has the tools they need to succeed.

I would also like to take a moment to introduce you to my Guide Dog, Yuri. As an individual who is legally blind, Yuri acts as my eyes. Yuri’s job is to guide me around any obstacles in our path and alert me to changes in elevation. It is a lot of work, but he gets plenty of rewards in the form of treats and belly rubs when he does a good job! When he is wearing his harness he knows he is “on duty” and when I remove the harness he knows he is free to be a regular, goofy dog and gets plenty of time to play, chase his tail, and get loved by others. Together, we have traveled all over the country.

Yuri and I cannot wait to meet you! Please feel free to reach out or stop by with any questions or to say hi!

Sincerely,

Ashleigh Hertzig, LMSW 

This Week at TNS…

  • We will have a pie bake sale on Tuesday and Wednesday morning in the lobby.  Baking not your thing?  The Bake Sale crew has your back… or better yet, your pies!  All proceeds fund the PTA.

  • There is no school on Thursday and Friday.

Looking Ahead…

  • Wednesday, December 4 at 8:35 AM:  Amanda, our Speech-Language Pathologist will lead an informational session on “Sounds in Motion”, the literacy program implemented in our early childhood classrooms that promote phonemic awareness and early literacy skills.

  • Friday, December 6 is a TNS Half-Day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.

Whatever family traditions you honor this weekend, enjoy the long and very well deserved break with your children.  I hope that it feels restful and rejuvenating.  

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of November 18, 2019

Dear Families,

Community Day is this Saturday from 10 AM - 3 PM.  This TNS tradition requires a little context for our newer community members.  Community Day involves one part helping to clean and care for our classrooms and shared facilities, and one part thought and reflection.  Families are invited to volunteer to help out any or all of the day! This year, Tiffany, Jane and Chelsea, Erin, Dara, Matt, Teddy, Sarah, Dianne and Shaquawn need help in their rooms.  We will shampoo classroom rugs, remove closet doors, clean and organize closets, and hang hooks and bulletin boards. In the afternoon, Leigh Ruple, Studio in a School teaching artist will lead families and staff in an art project.  Please reach out to Freddy (azulblue@gmail.com), Timothy (jenmit@earthlink.net) or me about volunteering to help.

This Week at TNS…

  • The Grants Committee meets Tuesday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The PTA General Meeting is on Thursday at 8:30 AM in the PTA Room.

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

  • Picture Retakes/Make-ups and Sibling Pics are Friday. 

Looking Ahead…

  • There is no school next Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving.

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of November 12, 2019

Dear Families,

It’s conference week at TNS.  Twice each year, in November and again in March, we hold family conferences.  In our early childhood classes, it is an opportunity for teachers, together with the child, to talk with the adults in each child’s family about the child’s work and progress in school.  In our upper grades, children lead conferences, speaking about their work alongside teachers and their adults. Want to learn more about what your child is learning in Spanish, Science or Physical Education?  Please stop by the Science Room (317) to meet with Emily, the office (307) to meet with Teddy, and Spanish Room (301) to meet with Mara.  You can also sign-up outside of Room 303 to meet with your child’s speech teacher, Amanda or Sara. Conferences are Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon (dismissal is at 11:45 AM). 

What does being a “potential” targeted support and improvement (TSI) school mean?  Last year, New York State counted opt-outs to determine public school’s standing. All around the city, schools with high opt-out numbers are being identified at potential TSI and CSI  (comprehensive support and improvement) schools. Please join me and the Advocacy Committee Thursday morning in the PTA Room to discuss the implications of the designation and how families can advocate for our school.  

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

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