Click here to post your own »

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of May 17, 2021

Dear Families,

The weather is turning warm, and we are heading into the last six weeks of the school year.  The end of the school year can elicit complicated feelings in children. What looks like “spring fever” maybe children beginning to feel the loss of their classroom community as the last weeks of school approach.  Children react to transitions and regression during this time normal.  Thinking about ending the year and saying, “Goodbye,” as well as considering beginning a new grade with new teachers and new peer groups can bring up a lot of anxiety for children - especially in a year where we have had to adjust to so many unknowns.  Children who have had a significant loss in their lives may have a particularly hard time these last weeks of school.  Teachers will use various ways to address end-of-year issues in the classroom (be it remote or in-person).   We ask that you also support your children during this time by keeping schedules and routines as normal as possible for as long as possible and trying to keep your anxieties about the summer and next school year at bay (this may feel particularly challenging this year).  Please check in with your child’s teacher if you notice your child is struggling during this time.  

Last week I wrote asking that you let us know if you are sure your child is NOT returning to TNS in the fall.  This information helps when we make next year’s classes.  It helps us figure out if we can accept new students.  It also helps us forecast our budget because funding from student enrollment enables us to run our school. Please complete this survey and let us know the school your child will be attending next year.  Thank you.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of May 10, 2021

Dear Families,

During this unprecedented year, our community has remained true to working and learning together. I know that as families move forward with us, we will continue supporting one another. Of course, there are also families that, for whatever reason, are leaving TNS, and we wish them well! Around this time each year, we send a letter to families asking about their plans for the following year. We do so for many reasons. This information helps when we make next year’s classes. It helps us figure out if we can accept new students. It also helps us forecast our budget because funding from student enrollment enables us to run our school.

I am writing to ask that you let us know if you are sure your child is NOT returning to TNS in the fall. Please complete this form and let us know the school your child will be attending next year. Thank you!

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of May 3, 2021

Dear Families,

As I mentioned last week, we are planning for an end of a year like no other. We are also thinking ahead to September, and while there are still many, many unknowns, one bittersweet piece of news is that our Spanish teacher, Mara, is moving to Philadelphia to be closer to her family.

Mara joined our community four years ago. She has taught Spanish, fourth/fifth grade, and this year, she co-taught Kindergarten/1st grade with Shaniqua. Mara always is willing to step up in any situation with determination and a positive attitude. We will miss her greatly! The School Leadership Team (SLT) considered other programming but agreed that there are many reasons why the Spanish program is an essential part of the TNS experience, including prioritizing and centering and Latinx children’s language and cultural experiences and families. We will begin the interview process for the Spanish position soon. If you know of any candidates you think would be a good fit for our school, please let us know.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 26, 2021

Dear Families,

With only nine weeks of school remaining, we are beginning to prepare for the end of the school year like no other. As I have previously shared, we are not making any more changes to our blended model at this point in the year. Throughout this unpredictable ordeal, TNS has programmed the school to provide all students’ consistency for the school year. We were able to offer additional opt-in periods because we intentionally created classes so that students and teachers stay together and have equitable access to instruction and teachers, regardless of remote-only or blended choices. 

That said, the mayor has stated that schools will return to 5-days a week this fall. While we do not know yet what that will look like, it is certainly the approach we are taking as we begin to plan for next year. We will be holding a series of listening meetings with families at our May and June PTA meetings to solicit feedback and ideas as we prepare for the fall. I very much hope you will be able to join us for these important conversations. As we shift to planning for the fall, I want to a share letter written by Teresa Thayer Snyder, a former superintendent of the Voorheesville district in upstate New York. I found her wisdom to be inspiring and true. I hope that we can hold onto these ideas as we begin to plan for September... however that looks! 


Dear Friends and Colleagues,
null
I am writing today about the children of this pandemic. After a lifetime of working among the young, I feel compelled to address the concerns that are being expressed by so many of my peers about the deficits the children will demonstrate when they finally return to school. My goodness, what a disconcerting thing to be concerned about in the face of a pandemic that is affecting millions of people around the country and the world. It speaks to one of my biggest fears for the children when they return. In our determination to “catch them up,” I fear that we will lose who they are and what they have learned during this unprecedented era. What on earth are we trying to catch them up on? The models no longer apply, the benchmarks are no longer valid, the trend analyses have been interrupted. We must not forget that those arbitrary measures were established by people, not ordained by God. We can make those invalid measures as obsolete as a crank-up telephone! They simply do not apply. When the children return to school, they will have returned with a new history that we will need to help them identify and make sense of. 
null
When the children return to school, we will need to listen to them. Let their stories be told. They have endured a year that has no parallel in modern times. There is no assessment that applies to who they are or what they have learned. Remember, their brains did not go into hibernation during this year. Their brains may not have been focused on traditional school material, but they did not stop either. Their brains may have been focused on where their next meal is coming from, or how to care for a younger sibling, or how to deal with a missing grandma, or how it feels to have to surrender a beloved pet, or how to deal with death. Our job is to welcome them back and help them write that history. 
null
I sincerely plead with my colleagues, to surrender the artificial constructs that measure achievement and greet the children where they are, not where we think they “should be.” Greet them with art supplies and writing materials, and music and dance and so many other avenues to help them express what has happened to them in their lives during this horrific year. Greet them with stories and books that will help them make sense of an upside-down world. They missed you. They did not miss the test prep. They did not miss the worksheets. They did not miss the reading groups. They did not miss the homework. They missed you. 
null
Resist the pressure from whatever ‘powers that be’ who are in a hurry to “fix” kids and make up for the “lost” time. The time was not lost, it was invested in surviving a historic period of time in their lives—in our lives. The children do not need to be fixed. They are not broken. They need to be heard. They need to be given as many tools as we can provide to nurture resilience and help them adjust to a post-pandemic world. 
null
Being a teacher is an essential connection between what is and what can be. Please, let what can be demonstrated that our children have so much to share about the world they live in, and in helping them make sense of what, for all of us has been unimaginable. This will help them– and us– achieve a lot more than can be measured by any assessment tool ever devised. Peace to all who work with the children! 


Lastly, our school will partner with University Settlement this summer to provide free in-person summer programming for students, Kindergarten - 5th grade. Please join us at this Tuesday’s PTA meeting (see below) to discuss this and more. As well, District 1 Superintendent Carry Chan and D1 CED President Naomi Peña will host a Summer Rising informational meeting on May 6 at 5:30 p.m. to share details about Summer Rising. You can also visit the DoE website for more information: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/summer. 

With Love, Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 12, 2021

Dear Families,

Construction on the 4th Street playground is moving along nicely! Our in-person students excitedly inspect progress each day. Our new playground is finally taking shape and is looking like it’s going to be a huge improvement. I’ve included a recent picture and the final plan below. Although we do not have an official completing date yet, we have been told that they anticipate a ribbon-cutting event in early September.

Students begin art classes next week with Studio in a School artists Leigh Ruple and Mildor Chevalier. All classes will be virtual, and for those classes with two cohorts, in-person kids and teacher(s) will log on from the classroom, either on their devices or using an interactive whiteboard. We will also distribute art kits to all remote families beginning next week. As well, garden activities are gearing up and some classes will be planting in the classroom and we will distribute home planting kits for families to grow plants at home.

A note to in-person families: We are making some changes to the line-up protocol so that families can maintain social distancing while waiting for the gates to open. We ask that families line up on a sunflower. At 8:35 AM, we will open the gates. We will send kids to their line-up spots on a first-come basis instead of waiting for teachers to arrive.

Have a good week.

With Love,

Dyanthe

  123456789  
AmazonSimile