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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 15, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

TNS will once again host several groups of Dutch educators who are part of a nationwide initiative called Platform Onderwijs 2032 (Platform Education 2032) this fall.  Each group is composed of teachers and administrators from pre-kindergarten to high school who are interested in identifying and making good educational practice visible, implementing it, organizing and supporting teacher/administrator education and taking part in the public debate on education.  During these visits, they will observe classrooms and speak with the teachers, children and parents in an effort to build upon their understanding of what constitutes a good education. Our first visit is today!

Mark your calendars:

  • The PTA Executive Meeting meets Monday at drop-off in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

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

  • We have our October PTA meeting Thursday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • Friday night is TNS Movie Night!  We will be screening Hotel Transylvania 3.  Doors open at 5 PM.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 8, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Once again this year, I will host a series of informal gatherings for families each month to discuss topics of interest to our community - so please email your suggestions!  The first “Morning Hour” will be Wednesday in the PTA Room right after drop off.  We will discuss progressive education and in preparation, I encourage you to read Alfie Kohn’s article, Progressive Education: Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find.  We usually begin each year with this article; I think it is a good starting point for future conversations.

Gifted and Talented testing applications are now available for children currently in grades Pre-K through 2nd.  If you are interested in having your child tested for the Gifted and Talented program, please stop by the office to pick up a handbook. The handbook includes information about the test and application. You may also access the handbook and application online at www.nyc.gov/schools/GT.  Applications are due online or to Carmen by November 9, 2018.

Mark your calendars:

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

  • Neighborhood School to Puerto Rico with Love meets Thursday at 3PM in the Library.  The Neighborhood School to Puerto Rico with Love is a group of parents and staff committed to supporting public school teachers, families, and children in Puerto Rico.  We began fundraising and shipping emergency and school supplies to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Public education in Puerto Rico has gotten worse over the past year and the needs are even greater.  We will review our current financial statements, discuss possible target communities/schools in Puerto Rico, and create our fundraising plans for the year. If you are unable to attend the meeting, but are interested in becoming a member of our group, please email Dianne at TNS2PR@gmail.com.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 1, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

All NYC public schools are required to practice the protocols they will follow for different kinds of emergencies throughout the school year.  The first is a building evacuation, or “fire drill”. We practice this drill several times throughout the year; it’s the one your children will be most familiar with. There are different scenarios that would call for a building evacuation, but the most common would be danger within the building such as a fire. The second type of safety protocol we prepare for is a lockdown. During a lockdown an announcement is made over the PA and children and staff respond by turning off the lights in classrooms, locking classroom doors, moving out of the sight line of the windows or classroom doors, and maintaining silence until the lockdown has been lifted. This drill is to prepare for the very unlikely event of imminent danger inside the building.  Neighborhood School teachers discuss different drill practices with children well ahead of time, so that they feel safe.   They communicate that this is our school and we want to make sure that only people who belong here are here. We will have our first lockdown drill this week.   Please contact me if you have any questions about any of our school safety drills.

Danc3rd Street Music Settlement begins working with our Pre-K and K/1 classes.   Classes are once a week and explore music through voice, movement and instruments.  Our ⅔ and ⅘ classes begin African dance with Notes in Motion. This program gives students opportunities to explore their artistic voice through movement, choreography, and improvisation.

All families must complete a Lunch Form application, whether or not your child eats school lunch.  This information determines our school’s eligibility for additional funding.  Families have received a hard copy, but you can complete it online at https://www.myschoolapps.com.  You can also get a form from Gladys in the office; one lunch form per family.  Thank you.

Mark your calendars:

  • Our 5th grade middle school meeting is Tuesday at 8:35 AM in Room 313.

  • SLT meets Thursday at 8 AM in Room 313.  This meeting is open to all families.

    • Review SLT ByLaws

    • Discuss School Survey

    • Reflect on new class configurations

  • There is no school Monday, October 8th in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 24, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Students spent a lot of time in our 3rd Street Garden with Emily this past week:

  • K-1 did a scavenger hunt (root, stem, flower, fruit, worm, etc)
  • 4-5 harvested basil and made pesto
  • K-1 also weeded the purslane patch and tasted it, too

Without exception, everyone is very excited about the garden!  It was especially lovely to have kids who had never tried pesto before asking for seconds; they literally scraped the bottom of the bowl!  Who says kids won’t eat greens?!   Find out what the excitement’s all about at the Garden Committee meeting this Friday.

Tomorrow is Curriculum Night!  This is an exciting opportunity to learn about your child’s curriculum for the year and to meet other families in your child’s class.  Pre-k through 1st grade families will meet in the classrooms from 5 - 6PM., and then will meet with out-of-classroom teachers and support staff in the Library from 6 - 6:30PM.  2nd through 5th grade families will meet in the Library from 5:30 - 6PM and will meet in classrooms from 6 - 7PM. Childcare will be provided for TNS students only.  This year, the PTA will also host a “Mix and Mingle” from 6:30 - 7:30 PM. in the front garden courtyard.  We hope to see you there!

We have a very special TNS tradition coming up next week.  “Sing” occurs the last Wednesday of every month after drop off.  Families gather in the school lobby while teachers organize their classes and escort them to the Auditorium. Song sheets are handed out at each session.  Classes sit in concentric circles with the innermost circle reserved for the Pre K and Kindergarten students. We ask that parents and younger siblings do not join the classes seated in the circle.  Instead, they are asked to remain on the outer barrier of the gathering. When we get to the final song, we wave goodbye to families (that’s your cue to leave) and classes remain seated until all of the parents have exited the auditorium.  This is a wonderful opportunity to see your child among their peers and to see the entire school community together in one place.  The entire event typically lasts 10 – 15 minutes. For our younger children Sing means two goodbyes to their families and this can be difficult. Many of the children in younger grades cry when they have to say goodbye (again) to their families, or when they see their families but can’t sit with them. Prepare yourself for this and know that your child will recover.  Our first Sing event is Wednesday, September 26 at 8:45AM in the auditorium.  

Mark your calendars:

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

  • Lice Treatment Center will be do a school-wide lice check Thursday.

  • Friday is a TNS half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45AM. 4th and 5th graders dismiss from the cafeteria and everyone else dismisses from their classrooms.

Rest up!  It’s our first full week of school.  : )

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

TNS Homework Policy 2018-19

We have weighed many factors when coming up with our school-wide homework policy.  We know that children’s lives are busy, as are the lives of the adults in their families who are asked to offer support with homework.  In addition, we know how important it is for children to have down time, family time, and plenty of opportunities for play outside of school.  Our community is made up of diverse learners, and we recognize that each child’s experience with homework will be different.

While many parents think of homework as a way for students to practice or extend what they are learning in school, homework can also be a way to give families a glimpse into the life of their child’s classroom.  While activities grow out of the needs and curriculum of each individual class and out of individual children’s needs, below are the kinds of homework a child may get at TNS:

Reading:  Children should read or be read to every day.  Your child’s teacher will let you know how long your child should read, depending on your child’s age and time of year.  Even as children get older and can read independently, they benefit from reading together with an adult.

Practice and Reinforcement:  There are skills and knowledge that children learn in order to become fluent readers, writers, and mathematicians.  While children spend time in class practicing, sometimes they benefit from additional time to practice a new skill or procedure at home.  Some examples of this kind of work are handwriting practice, math problems, or the memorization of math facts such as multiplication tables.  

Reflection:  Students may be asked to reflect upon a shared experience they have had at school.  This can include responding to questions about a field trip, a class discussion, or drawing a picture about a read-aloud.   

Connection:  Children may have assignments that ask them to talk with families about a topic or theme they are working on in class.  This might include interviewing a family member or taking a neighborhood walk. Students may also be asked to bring in something to share with the class related to a current class study.

Teachers will provide multiple options and formats for homework, as well as supports and modifications for students, as needed.  Teachers will communicate expectations around completion and production clearly to children and families, and expectations may vary per child.  A child may get assistance in completing assignments if needed during the school day. Homework is never intended to be a burden for a child or family, and communication between home and school should be ongoing.  
What to expect in each grade band:

In our Pre-K classes, children bring home and return books on a daily basis.

In our K/1 classes, in addition to daily reading, from time to time a teacher may assign a project or assignment related to the curriculum for children to work on with members of their families. 

In our 2/3 classes, homework routines will be gradually introduced, with differentiated expectations for 2nd and 3rd graders.  Reading is the daily homework, with the possibility of an additional activity, for example: math practice, social studies reflection, or literacy (spelling, handwriting, etc.).  Our intention is that a 2nd or 3rd grade student will not spend more than 20 to 30 minutes, including reading, on homework each night. Students may create their own assignments or extend them if they desire.

In our 4/5 classes, a menu of social studies, literacy, and math homework will be assigned at the beginning of the week with possibility for modifications throughout the week. Our intention is that a 4th or 5th grade student will not spend more than 40 to 50 minutes, including reading, on homework each night. Students may create their own assignments or extend them if they desire.  Homework is not graded, but teachers will track homework completion to ensure that children are getting the practice and support they need.

May 2018

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