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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 9, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

The chickens are back!  Once again, we will have 2 egg laying hens living in our 4th Street side courtyard for a month, beginning this week.  Most questions about our chickens-in-residence can be answered here: http://www.RentACoop.com/Chicken-Q-A.html.  Please make sure to ask your children about them; all classes will have a chance to visit.

The 3rd - 5th grade NYS English Language Arts Exams will be administered Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  We support parents in making the best decisions for their individual children; teachers will have conversations with students to create an environment that is respectful of the diversity of opinions surrounding this issue.  It is vital that all members of our community feel supported during this time and that we maintain a sense of calm for our students.

I am sure that some of you have been wondering who is teaching what next year as we re-configure our mixed-age groupings to Pre-K (stand alone), K/1, ⅔, and ⅘.  While your child’s placement letter will go out at the end of June as it always has, we will let families know grade team configurations and ICT partnerships in May.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions before then.

It’s a very busy week at TNS:

  • The Wellness Committee meets Monday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

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

  • We will host “What to Do About Guns: A Community Discussion” Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA room.  TNS parent Matthieu Cornillon will lead a discussion about gun violence, the state of the movement to prevent it, and how people can get involved even while juggling parenthood and other responsibilities.

  • The PTA Executive Meeting is Wednesday morning at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • The SLT (School Leadership Team) meets Thursday at 8AM in the Library. All are welcome.

  • Please join the ECO and Diversity Committees for a potluck dinner Thursday from 6-7:30PM in Room 304.  Kids will play and have a pizza dinner!  Please bring a dish, if possible:  http://bit.ly/2uP61IpPOTLUCK.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Friday morning at drop-off in Room 301.

  • The Wellness Committee and Barbara DiGangi from Families Thriving will host a series of workshop for families.  Each workshop will have a theme to help parents navigate and discuss important issues with their kid(s) such as child developmental stages, gender stereotypes and body awareness.  The first workshop will be Friday at 6PM in the PTA Room.

Welcome Back,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 26, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

This year, the NY State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will be administered in April.  TNS students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  Please let me or your child’s classroom teacher(s) know as soon as possible if your child is going to take the NYS Tests this year so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  We will have a Forum on testing Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.  Most of the meeting will be Q&A, but 3rd - 5th grade teachers, members of the Advocacy Committee and I will give some context to the discussion first, including:

  • What do “high stakes” mean?

  • What does “test prep” look like at TNS?

  • What does opting out of the tests mean for middle school admissions?

  • What do the testing days look like for those children taking the state tests?

  • What do the testing days look like for those who will not be taking the state tests?

  • How do we talk with children about about opting out (or not)?

We hope that by attending this forum, you will have a better understanding about what testing looks like at TNS and what the tests mean for your child and the school.  

One of our school pets, Maxsene the rabbit needs a home over the break!  Care is exceedingly easy: mostly ensuring that Maxsene has food (provided) and water.  The caretaker should not be planning to be away for more than 2-3 days over break without someone to feed Maxsene.  Please speak with Catlin (catlin@tnsny.org) if you’re interested!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Sofia, Joanne, Edgar and Liz leave with their class to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.

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

  • There will be an information session for 4th/5th grade families about Frost Valley Camp Thursday at drop-off in the Library.  The 4/5s go to camp April 25 - 27.

  • School is closed for Spring Recess:  3/30 - 4/6.

Have a wonderful break.  We will see you Monday, April 7.

Love,

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 19, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Every year, our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders go to camp for three days and two nights.  This year, our 3rd grades are going to Manhattan Country School farm.  Students will care for the animals (chickens, cows, pigs and sheep); learn to weave; explore fields, mountains and streams; and study traditional and contemporary life in the Catskills.  Zero-mile meals and a closed-loop food cycle will be daily experiences. We expect all of our students to go to camp.  These trips are an essential part your child’s TNS experience and reflect our values 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 these trips.  Grace’s class leaves for camp today (I’m going with them) and Joanne and Sofia’s class goes next week.  

This year, the NY State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will be administered in April.  TNS students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  Please let me or your child’s classroom teacher(s) know as soon as possible if your child is going to take the NYS Tests this year so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  We will have a Forum on testing Tuesday, March 27th at drop-off in the PTA Room.  Most of the meeting will be Q&A, but 3rd - 5th grade teachers, members of the Advocacy Committee and I will give some context to the discussion first, including:

  • What do “high stakes” mean?

  • What does “test prep” look like at TNS?

  • What does opting out of the tests mean for middle school admissions?

  • What do the testing days look like for those children taking the state tests?

  • What do the testing days look like for those who will not be taking the state tests?

  • How do we talk with children about about opting out (or not)?

We hope that by attending this forum, you will have a better understanding about what testing looks like at TNS and what the tests mean for your child and the school.  

Only 26% of our families have completed their Department of Education (DOE) Parent Survey.  The DOE survey gathers information about your overall satisfaction with our school and the results are published and used to determine our official rating.  Completion rates are also important as they reflect the level of parent involvement to the DOE.  Please complete your family survey!  The deadline for completing parent surveys is Friday, March 23rd.  Thank you!

Mark Your Calendars:

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

  • The PTA Meeting is Thursday at 8:30AM in the PTA Room.  Emily, our Science teacher will talk about STEM at TNS.

  • Our Diversity Potluck is Thursday from 6 - 7:30 in the Spanish Room (304).  Childcare is available.  Please come and bring a dish to share!

  • Erin, Dianne & Shaquawn, Jane, Olivia & Chelsea, Grace, Hannah and Mara & Caroline’s classes‬ go ice skating Friday.

Happy Spring,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 12, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Because the majority of our students have not brought up the Parkland, Florida shootings or responses to it, we have decided not to do a school-wide walkout on March 14th.  Some families may decide to sign their children out of school to join other protests around the city.  If you choose to do this, please let your child’s teacher know ahead of time and please be in the office no later than 9:45AM to sign your child out.   As always, teachers will continue to listen for what comes up and reassure children that they are safe in school.  I am attaching a helpful article for how to have conversations with young children to process grief and fear in a healthy way (thanks, Jane):  https://childmind.org/article/helping-children-cope-frightening-news/.  TNS does plan to participate in “March for Our Lives” Saturday, March 24th (more info to come).  We are also planning a conversation for TNS families about gun violence prevention.

It’s conference time.  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 families. 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 Spanish Room (304) to meet with Catlin or the Office (307) to meet with Teddy!  Conferences will be held Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon (dismissal is at 11:45AM).

I often get the question, how does our school’s progressive approach to teaching and learning prepare kids for middle school and beyond?  Please join us Thursday at 8:30AM in the PTA room for our TNS graduates panel.  Former students will discuss how TNS prepared them for the challenges of middle school and high school, and much beloved 4/5th grade teacher (and former TNS parent) Amy Masters will moderate.

Mark your calendars:

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

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

  • Wednesday is Pi Day!  Buy a slice before or after school and support TNS!

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

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

  • Friday is Movie Night!  Come see Oscar winner Coco at 6PM!  Kids cost $3 and adults are free.  

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 5, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As I mentioned previously, our school recently participated in a Department of Education (DOE) 2-day evaluative process called the Quality Review.  Schools are rated underdeveloped, developing, proficient or well developed on 10 indicators.  I am so proud of our school!  Not because of our high ratings, but because it was absolutely clear to the reviewer how much staff and families care about our school.  We earned 7 well develops and 3 proficients.  

Family conferences are next week!  Please be sure to sign-up for a conference time with your child’s teacher.  Wednesday is late night conferences and Thursday is a DOE half-day for conferences.  If you are having any trouble signing up for a conference, please call the school office and we will help coordinate a time for you.

Please complete your Department of Education (DOE) Parent Survey.  The DOE survey gathers information about your overall satisfaction with our school and the results are published and used to determine our official rating. Completion rates are also important as they reflect the level of parent involvement to the DOE.  Each student received a green envelope containing a hard copy of the survey to fill out along with postage-paid envelope.  You can also complete the survey online.  Thank you!

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 PTA Room.

  • My Morning Hour is Wednesday morning in the PTA Room.  I will host an hour about reading development.  What does it look like?  What kind of books do children read when learning to read?  How do we identify struggling readers at TNS?  

  • I hope that you will join me between 6 - 10 p.m. for the TNS Spring Auction this Thursday at the Manny Cantor Center (197 East Broadway).  Even if you can’t make the Spring Auction Event, you can still get some great deals (and support TNS) at the online auction. Check it out: http://tnsny.org/auction.

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

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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