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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 2, 2019

Dear 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 building evacuation, but the most common would be a 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 sightline 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 evacuation drill this week. Please contact me if you have any questions about any of our school safety drills. 

Studio in a School begins this week!  Our K/1, ⅔, and ⅘ classes begin art this week.  Over the course of the year, children will explore a full range of 2- and 3-D media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, 2-D design, and media technology.  Valerie Hammond will work with our K - 3rd grades and Leigh Ruple will work with our 4/5s.  

This Week at TNS

  • The School Leadership Team will meet on Thursday from 8 - 9:30 AM in Room 314.  All are welcome.

  • The ECO Committee will meet on Friday morning after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

Looking Ahead

  • There is no school on Wednesday, October 9 in observance of Yom Kippur.

School Lunch Options for October 

Week of October 2:  Alternative Lunch Menu Entrees

Week of October 7:  Classic Lunch Menu Entrees

  • 10/7 - both hot entrées will be available (veggie tacos, Mac & Cheese)

Week of October 14:  Classic Lunch Menu Entrees

  • 10/17 - both hot entrées will be available (vegetarian chili, Jamaican Beef Patty)

Week of October 21:  Alternative Lunch Menu Entrees

Week of October 28: Classic Lunch Menu Entrees

  • 10/28 - both hot entrées will be available (veggie tacos, Mac & Cheese)

Have a good week,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 23, 2019

Dear Families,

I am sharing a few pics of the signs and tee-shirts ⅘ students made for the climate protest to Tompkins Square Park on Friday morning.  In addition to cries like, “What do we want? Climate change! When do we want it? NOW,” the students thought up their own chants like, “Save the turtles!”  Once we got to the park and met up with the Earth School, our students led the entire community in several rounds of “This Pretty Planet.” The experience was exhilarating and inspiring for students, staff and the parents who joined us.

Our younger students were also spurred to action last week.  At Wednesday morning arrival, two students approached me in the lobby explaining that they needed to wash their hands before going to class because on their way to school they had been picking up garbage to “you know, help save our planet!” 

Sing is Friday at 8:45 AM in the recess yard, weather permitting.  Classes sit in concentric circles with the innermost circle reserved for our youngest students.  We ask that parents and younger siblings not join the classes seated in the circle. Instead, they are asked to remain on the outer barrier of the gathering.  Pre-K classes do not participate in September sing. 

Once everyone is there, ⅔ teacher, Chelsea will use a rain stick to signal for quiet, followed by a few repetitions of the call and response - -  leader:  HEY!, group:  HO!  Then we will begin singing the songs in the order as outlined in the Sing sheet.

In order to ensure Sing goes smoothly, we ask families to:

  • Sing during the songs and wait until the whole Sing is finished to talk to your friend or neighbor.

  • Stay quiet between songs so we can transition smoothly into the next song and start singing in unison.

  • Save your applause.

  • Wave goodbye to your child at the end of Sing and exit quickly so that classes can also exit quickly.  The last two songs, the two goodbye songs, are part of the Sing and we ask everyone to Sing along as a way of saying goodbye.

We will also have a bake sale in the lobby on Friday morning.

This Week at TNS:

  • We will have a Middle School informational meeting for our 5th-grade families on Tuesday morning in Room 314.   Come learn more about the process of applying to middle school and hear from other families who have been through it.

  • Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 26.  Childcare will be provided for TNS students (not siblings).

    • Pre-K and K/1st-grade families will meet in the classrooms from 5 - 6 PM and then will meet with out-of-classroom teachers and support staff in the Library from 6 - 6:30 PM.  

    • 2nd through 5th-grade families will meet in the Library from 5:30 - 6 PM and will meet in classrooms from 6 - 7 PM.  

    • The PTA will host a “Mix and Mingle” for families in the front courtyard garden from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.  

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

Looking Ahead:

  • There is no school on Monday, September 30 and Tuesday, October 1 in observance of Rosh Hashanah.

Have a good week,


cllmate strike poster climate strike teesclimate strike poster

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 16, 2019

Dear Families,

Young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt” business as usual” by joining the global climate strikes this Friday, September 20 (  Our 4th/5th grades will march to Tompkins Square Park Friday morning to join other schools marching for climate change.  The idea was inspired by the “Hopes and Dreams” of the children in Alexis and Corinthia’s class who said they wanted to “protest for something that matters” and teachers thought this would be a good way to respond.  The 4/5s will also make climate strike signs in classes this week.

All of our 4th/5th-grade classes are participating in a series of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy lessons with our librarian, Cheryl this fall.  “Media Literacy” is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication. In its simplest terms, media literacy builds upon the foundation of traditional literacy and offers new forms of reading and writing.  We believe this work will better prepare our students to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens. 

This week at TNS:

  • Lunch Menu Update:  On days when the kitchen offers an entree from the “Classic Menu” they will also prepare a plant-based option is from the alternative menu.  We have also implemented a system of serving the salad in the classrooms.  Yum!

  • Our first PTA meeting is on Thursday morning at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.

  • The Climate March, September 20:  Schools will excuse students who miss school and attend the march with their families.  Please send in a letter/email to me explaining that your child will be absent Friday because they are attending the march.  

  • Families are organizing a TNS contingent to the march.  There will be a sign-making event organized by parents after school on Thursday.  The march starts at 1 PM so parents will need to sign-out kids around noon and head to Foley Square.

Looking Ahead:

  • Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 26.  Pre-k and K/1st-grade families will meet in the classrooms from 5 - 6 PM and then will meet with out-of-classroom teachers and support staff in the Library from 6 - 6:30 PM.  2nd through 5th-grade families will meet in the Library from 5:30 - 6 PM and will meet in classrooms from 6 - 7 PM. The PTA will host a “Mix and Mingle” for families in the front courtyard garden from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.  Childcare will be provided for TNS students (sorry, no siblings).

Finally, a gentle reminder:  please follow the Up and Down directions posted on staircase doors to ensure safe flow in the building during drop-off and pick-up.  Thank you!

Have a good week,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 9, 2019

Dear Families, 

This is year two of our grade band reconfiguration and many students are returning for their second year together and with their teachers.  What a difference a year makes; children were already busy at work and play on the first day! One benefit of mixed-age classrooms is that returning students already know routines and can support new students to adjust.  This dynamic increases older children’s level of independence and competence while also building younger children’s spirit of belonging to a community of learners.  I always say, it’s like having thirteen teachers instead of just one or two!

Adjusting to school routines and feeling a part of the classroom community may take time, especially for children who are new to the school or class.  Some kids will start the year off easily, adjusting in stride.  Others will enter the building protesting from day one. Then there are those who rush off to school with great enthusiasm but meltdown the moment they see you.  These are all naturals reactions to the start of school and will pass in time. At school, we will make sure children have opportunities to connect with teachers individually and within the class by sharing concerns, feelings, ideas and meaningful moments.  We will use reflective language and read-alouds to help children tune into and value their own feelings, ideas and experiences and give them a foundation for positive self-worth.  

I hope every family received a TNS Handbook (if not, please stop by the office and ask for a copy).  It describes some important TNS values as well as the essential “nuts and bolts” to get started this year.  

All Neighborhood School families should subscribe to our school’s listserv. It is used for official communication from me, other school staff and the PTA. It keeps you aware of important events happening in the school. This is a moderated list and very few emails are sent out weekly.  If you know a parent who is not on the email list, please forward my letter to them with this link:  You can also learn about what’s happening by going to our school website calendar at

The TNS PTA is looking for a pair of co-secretaries to join its Executive Board. The job is fun, low-key and a great way for a new parent (YOU) to learn more about the school and get involved with the energetic group of parents heading up the TNS this year. Responsibilities include: attending PTA Executive (chocolate provided) and General Meetings; circulating agendas before meetings; taking minutes and circulating minutes after meetings; keeping a sense of humor.

Mark your calendars:

  • Pre-K/Kindergarten Families Welcome:  Noemi and I meet with new Pre-K and K families on Monday at 8:30 AM in the library. 

  • All after school programming begins this week.

  • The PTA Executive Committee meets on Tuesday at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet Thursday morning in Room 314 at 8 AM.  The SLT is a committee made up of elected parents, teachers and me.  We write, revise and disseminate school policies.  Monthly meetings are for the School Leadership Team Representatives and are open to all TNS families.  

  • Our Welcome (Back) Breakfast for ALL families is Friday at 8:35AM in the library.  Please stop by: sign-up to be on a committee and learn about our vision for TNS this year!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Welcome Back! 9.5.19

Welcome Back Families,

It has been a wonderful first day of school.  I got to be in classrooms, at recesses, and in the cafeteria during the 4/5s lunch.  One of my favorite moments of the day was when a first grader asked me (apropos of nothing) what my favorite thing to do was in the whole world.  When I told her I would need more time to think about it, she explained that her favorite thing to do is imagine playing with unicorns. Oh, how I have missed our children!  I hope your children will share an anecdote or two with you tonight.  

I also got to catch with families at arrival and then again at dismissal.  I was so happy to see you! Which reminds me, if you would like to meet your child in the lobby, you will need to sign and return a “Permission to Self-Dismiss” form.  Older siblings can also pick-up their younger siblings at the end of the day if you sign and return the “Sibling Dismissal Form.”

This year, we are adopting a “Hybrid Lunch Menu” and serving entrees from both the Alternative and Classic menus, depending on the week.  There are 6 days in the month when the Alternative and Classic entrees differ. Here’s the breakdown for September:

  • Week of 9/5 - same

  • Week of 9/9 -  Alternative Menu entrees

  • Week of 9/15 -  Classic menu entrees 

  • Week of 9/23 -  Alternative Menu entree

Moving forward, we will have a committee made up of both schools to determine the menu each month.  One change from last June is that the kitchen will not be able to offer both entree options on days that they differ.  However, tuna fish sandwiches will be offered each day that the menus differ.  

Not sure about your child’s after school plans for the year?  Please stop by our after After School Program Fair TOMORROW at 8 AM in the Lobby.  All after school programs begin the week of September 9th.

See you tomorrow,