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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of November 5, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

In the mood for a good laugh?  Join TNS families, friends and staff tonight at Gotham Comedy Club, beginning at 6:30.  Tickets are $25 each or 2 for $40.  Bring your friends, neighbors, family members. This is always a fun event and all ticket sale proceeds support our PTA.  

There is NO school tomorrow.  It is both Election Day and a city-wide professional development day for the Department of Education.  Most paraprofessionals will participate in the conference, “Paraprofessionals: Crucial Members of the Classroom Team”, sponsored by Teachers College Inclusion Classroom Project.  Most teachers, service providers and I will gather with colleagues from like-minded progressive schools at Brooklyn New School for the day; the focus of our work is “Progressive Education, Inquiry, Race and Equity”.

It’s almost family conference time.  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. Conferences will be held the evening of Wednesday, November 14th and in the afternoon on Thursday, November 15th (dismissal is at 11:45 AM).

Pests update:  Over the weekend, holes were sealed on the 2nd, 3th, 4th floor with steel wool and foam sealer.  Glue traps were placed in all the rooms. Going forward, our custodians will seal some of the larger holes with metal or wood.  Door sweeps will be installed on exterior doors and glue traps will be placed in classrooms and office as needed.

Mark your calendars:

  • There is no school Tuesday, November 6th.  

  • The Advocacy Committee meets Wednesday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Thursday morning at drop-off in Room 313.  This is a support group for parents and caretakers; it is an opportunity to share experiences, challenges and strategies with each other.

  • Diversity Committee hosts our first evening potluck meeting Thursday, beginning at 5:30 PM.  It’s a time to come together and discuss strategies for making it through these sometimes trying holidays.  Childcare provided!

  • There is no school Monday, November 12 in observance of Veterans Day.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 29, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As I’ve done too many times before, I write to express grief and anger in the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack in Pittsburgh which followed the bombs mailed to several public figures; and to think about how we can come together as a community for our children and each other.  Saturday’s event underscores how deeply troubled we are as a nation. When a place isn’t safe for one person - one people, it is not safe for anyone. Until we can think and act as though we are plural, no one can really be free.

Teachers will listen for what comes up and reassure children that they are safe at TNS.  They will communicate with you directly about conversations and actions that emerge over these next days and weeks.  For your part, turn news off when young children are in earshot.  Listen carefully to what kids ask so that your answers are in sync with what they really want to know.  Answer questions honestly. Assure children that in NYC, the police now protect all houses of worship so that people are safe.  Talk about your own community’s proactive efforts to fight prejudice and value differences. If your family is Jewish, your child may feel especially and understandably vulnerable or may be worried about your safety when you are apart. Try to be generally available, reassuring and involved.  If children want to do something to help, they can make a drawing/dictate/write a letter to the congregation in Pittsburgh that was targeted. In talking with older children, offer and think about all of the above, but make sure there are a lot of opportunities for conversations over the next few days and weeks.  Listen for indications that this reminds them of other threats or losses. Offer ways to help the Pittsburgh congregation. Invite proactive activities (letters to editors, politicians, etc. re: gun control, support for religious and cultural diversity, etc.). I find that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance is an excellent resource for educators and families.

A few items that fall under “housekeeping”:

Many of you have written me about concerns around the rodent and roach issue in our building.  Staff and I share your concerns and have been frustrated by the lack of response from the DOE. An exterminator finally came last week to assess the situation and suggest next steps.  Charlie Forte, the Deputy Director of School Facilities has assured me that the custodial staff will begin sealing holes both inside and outside the building this week. I will keep you posted.

The adult bathroom on the first floor (near the exit to recess yard) is the designated adult bathroom for children and their grown-ups.  Please do not bring children into adult bathrooms on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th floors. Thank you.

Please do not leave strollers in the Lobby during the day.  They block access to scooters, the safety agents’ area and most importantly, pose a fire hazard.  Thank you.

Please take an active role supervising your children after school on the recess yard and playground.  Sometimes play can get rough and adult intervention and support is needed. Your children thank you.  ; )

Mark your calendars:

  • SING is Wednesday in the auditorium.  We will also have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.  

  • Our Halloween Parade Wednesday, October 31st at 6, but activities start at 5:30 in the recess yard.  Children and families from our school and the surrounding neighborhood gather in the TNS recess yard to show off their costumes.  Please remember to save candy and costumes for the parade!   

  • Thursday is Picture Day.  Individual shots will be taken in the PTA Room and class pictures will be taken in the small cafeteria.  Every child will have their picture taken. Families will get a code specifically for their child and they can go to the Cool for School website to order their child’s pictures.  November 29 is saved for sibling pictures and make-ups.

  • SLT meets at 8AM in Room 313.  All are welcome.

Agenda:

School Survey
Vote on Article V and Mission Statement for the SLT ByLaws
Gender Neutral Student Bathrooms
Community Day (with a focus on rodent prevention)

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

Finally, moving forward, 5th grade Girls and Boys Projects will now be called The Leaders Project.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 22, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

You may have read Sunday’s NYTimes article, ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.  Two years ago, our SLT published a letter in response to the 2016 presidential elections that spoke to our united stance and response to Donald Trump’s campaign and election.  I am including an excerpt here because I want to remind you of the values we hold dear at TNS:  

At TNS, we have a long history of working to serve all of the children and their families from all over the 5 boroughs of NYC.  We believe all people are unique and valuable with infinite potential. We value an inclusive community and TNS will continue to stand for these values in the face of adversity.  Now, more than ever, we must take a hard look at our own assumptions and prejudices, the effects of our own actions and inactions, and what we have been willing to live with. On an everyday level, this will mean, particularly for those in more privileged positions, watching out for acts of prejudice and hate (both spoken and unspoken) and intervening to protect and support people who are targeted.  This involves educating ourselves and taking action against institutions and policies that threaten to remove or interfere with the rights of historically marginalized groups and the values that support democracy.

I also share because this is the first year our 5th grade Girls and Boys Project will meet together, facilitated by Chelsea, Shaniqua and Teddy.  The group meets once a week for an hour to address issues in a safe space; daily activities are designed to explore identities, think creatively, resolve conflicts, discuss bullying and ever changing bodies and body image. The goal of the program is to empower students and strengthen self-esteem.  At times, students will separate into groups, dependent on how they identify by gender. The children are still working on a new name for the group; I will let you know once they decide. I have also attached the SLT letter in its entirety here.

Mark your calendars:

  • Little Siblings Story Time (ages 0 - 4) with local librarian and parent, Thea Taube begins Wednesday at 8:30 AM.  

  • Tuesday, both schools will participate in a DOE Garden to Cafe tasting during their lunch period. This is a great opportunity for all students to try recipes made with not only locally sourced foods but food harvested from our very own garden.

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

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Thursday from 5 - 6:30 PM.  This is a support group for parents and caretakers to share experiences, defeats, and strategies with each other.  Our K/1 teacher, Diane will facilitate.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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

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