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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of May 14, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As the school year begins to wind down, I want to share the work that we have done with Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street.  We have 6 more weeks of school and while many children are looking forward to summer vacation, the end of the school year can elicit complicated feelings in children. Children come to school everyday and spend many hours with their teachers and friends. They become attached to the adults in their school environment and connected to their peers in deep ways. Saying goodbye may feel sad.  In addition, children usually feel a sense of ease and comfort in their current classrooms having become familiar with their everyday routines and environments. Thinking about beginning a new grade, with new teachers and new peer groups, can bring up a lot of anxiety for children. Children worry about what it will be like: will it be too hard and will they have friends? All of these reactions are very normal.  Some children may share their feelings with you and some children may choose not to. As we come closer to the end of the school year, teachers will be talking with children about their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the end of the year. We will be reading books, sharing memories, and counting days so the end will not feel like a surprise. We are committed to having a good goodbye. Some families have asked how they can support their children as they prepare to end school and move into the summer.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask children how they feel about the end of the school year.  Don’t make any assumptions. You can say, “So, it will be the end of school soon. How are you feeling about that?”

  • Be supportive. If kids express that they are sad, or scared, for example, you can say, “Yeah, the end of the school year can be hard. I understand.”

  • Kids may show some regression around this time. It’s completely normal! Don’t worry if your child is acting “younger” or more disorganized. We see this every year in every school. It is just part of how kids act at the end of the year.

  • Ask Cheryl or your teacher(s) for book recommendations. We have lots of good books to help kids with saying goodbye, and other themes related to the end of the school year.

  • Children who have had significant loss in their lives (the death of a loved one, a recent move, family illness, etc…) may have a particularly hard time saying goodbye. We are here to talk and support you and your child. We have some ideas about how to help them.

Mark your calendars:

  • This week is Penny Pandemonium!   We will have containers in every classroom and a big collection container in the lobby.  All proceeds go to the Neighborhood School PTA and help support our arts programming. Thank you!

  • The Diversity Committee meets Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • 3rd, 4th and 5th grade families are invited to the final workshops of the NY City Ballet residency Tuesday and Thursday in the auditorium:

Tuesday

9:10 Mara and Caroline

9:55 Grace

Thursday

8:25 Alexis and Corinthia

9:10 Hannah

9:55 Sofia and Joanne

  • The Grants Committee meets Wednesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • We will have elections for PTA and SLT Thursday morning in the PTA Room.

  • Our Rhythm and Rice festival is Thursday from 4 - 7PM in the courtyard.

  • The Garden Committee meets Friday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

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

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of May 7, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Recently, a friend called me a luddite, and rightly so.  I have never had a Facebook account, don’t know what Instagram is and have never understood Twitter.  I also have an eleven-year old daughter who started middle school this year and recently got her first smartphone.  She’s not on social media yet, but when we do decide she’s ready, we want her to be thoughtful about her communication.   Much of my thinking has been influenced by Devorah Heitner’s TED talk, “The Challenges of Raising a Digital Natives” in which she asserts that young people can “use the power of digital sharing for positive outcomes.”  Please join me for my Morning Hour this Thursday at drop-off in the PTA Room.  Cheryl and I will facilitate a conversation about raising “digital natives.”  Even if you can’t be there, I encourage you to watch Devorah’s TED talk.

Mark your calendars:

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Tuesday morning at drop-off in Room 301.  This is a support group for parents and caretakers; it is an opportunity to share experiences, defeats, and strategies with each other.

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

  • 5th Grade Parent Night with STAR is Tuesday at 6 PM in the auditorium! Over the past few months, STAR at the Directors Company has explored issues around puberty through drama and discussions with our 5th graders.  Now is your chance to find out more about what former parent, Harvey Epstein called a “game changer” for TNS!

  • The PTA Executive Meeting is Wednesday at 8:30 AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • Border Crossers will facilitate a second workshop for families this Wednesday, from 6 - 8 PM.  Participants will break into two “affinity groups”:  one for parents of color and the one for white parents.  Border Crosser facilitators will lead deeper discussions of race and racism, responding to individual questions from each group.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 30, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

At long last, spring has sprung!  I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend; it looks like there is more to come soon!

Two years ago, our school began to examine issues of race and racism at TNS in partnership with the organization Border Crossers.  Through professional development and parent workshops, we strengthened our analysis of racism in our school and classrooms, enhanced our understanding of how racism affects children and practiced utilizing tools to address race and racism.  Needless to say, this work is ongoing.  This Friday from 6 - 8 PM,  he Diversity Committee will host a special potluck workshop with Border Crossers, “How to talk to kids about race.”  Parents will learn how children see race, gain skills for approaching age-appropriate conversations with a racial equity lens and practice strategies to promote positive racial identity development in children.  Childcare will be provided.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The NYS Math Exam will be administered Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week.  Students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.

  • School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet in Room 301 at 8 AM Thursday.  We will work on our 2018-19 CEP (Comprehensive Education Plan).  All are welcome.

  • Our Spring Book Fair is open Thursday and Friday from 8 - 10 AM & 2 - 4 PM and Saturday during Artisan Fest.  

  • Please swing by Artisan Fest this Saturday from 11 AM - 4 PM.  Artisan Fest is the place to find your favorite local artisans under one roof.  Join us in supporting local artists and raise money to support arts programming at TNS!

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 23, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

I hope you enjoyed our spring weather this weekend.  I think we may finally be able to put away those parkas!  

Our 4th and 5th graders leave for Frost Valley Camp this Wednesday!  Activities include an ecology hike comparing ecological communities through hands-on investigation, a high ropes course,  orienteering, water quality monitoring and stream gauging and a night hike, where we will exploring nature at night using listening skills and night vision.  We expect all of our students will go to camp. The trip is an important part a child’s TNS experience and reflects the values of our mission about how children learn best.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher, me or Noemi if you have any questions about your child participating in this trip. I will be at camp Wednesday and Thursday.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Please join us Tuesday for a “Day of Wellness at TNS”.  There will Adult Health Screenings from 8:30 - 9:30AM by Ryan-Nena Health Clinic in the lobby, alternative lunch menu student tastings from 11AM - 2PM, and family fitness night.  5:45 - 6:30PM Free yoga. 5:30 - 7PM Climbing wall obstacle course in the 4th floor gym with Teddy.

  • Join us in the Library for the “Celebration of Cookbooks” Tuesday, 2 - 4PM and Wednesday, 8 - 9:30AM.  Get to know our library’s collection of cookbooks, sample food prepared from recipes in our library’s cookbooks and buy new, used and vintage cookbooks.  

  • SING is Wednesday at 8:45AM in the auditorium.  We will have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 16, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Recently, a parent asked what our staff does on TNS half-days.  During these afternoons, we participate in something 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 work 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 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.   Especially now, in a time of high stakes testing, accountability and enforced standardization, we try to ensure that education starts and builds from the strengths of children and teachers and values human capacity; descriptive reviews do just that.  We devote all our PD half-days to this work.

TNS and Star are celebrating Earth Day Tuesday in the 4th Street Courtyard from 12 - 4PM.   Once again, TNS parents have teamed up with local organizations to create awesome activities for our kids.  Yes, the bug eating is back from the Island School! We will also make mud balls to clean up the East River, learn more about our footprint and  explore a Sensory Station. NYC Grow will bring seeds and cups to start plants and GOLES will be here to educate people about GO BAGS and emergency planning.  Emily will share innovative work from our students. The Girls Project and a few classes are creating presentations and so we can look for some recycling games, information about worms and much more!  This is an opportunity for all of us to deepen to our commitment to the environment-please stop by!  

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Noemi and our Pre-K social worker, Alice are facilitating a workshop for families, “Taking Care of Ourselves” Monday at drop-off in 301.

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

  • The Earth Day “family playdate” will bring together the PreK and K children from STAR and TNS to MAKE CRAFTS WITH NATURAL AND RECYCLED MATERIALS.   The event will take place on TUESDAY 2:40-3:30PM in the 4th Street Courtyard.

  • April’s PTA Meeting is Thursday morning at drop-off in the PTA Room.

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

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

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

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