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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Two Forums About the NY State Tests

Dear 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade Families,

This year the NY State English Language Arts tests will be administered March 28 - 30th.  The NY State Math Test will be administered April 13 - 15.  

Last year 80% of our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade families opted their children out of the State Tests.  It is important that the school knows if your child is going to take the NYS Tests this year so we can organize staffing and materials.  Please let me or your child’s classroom teacher(s) know as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly.  

This year we will have TWO forums to address families’ questions about high stakes testing and the implications for our children, teachers and school:

We will have a forum on testing at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15.  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 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 will also have a special forum to discuss the role that state tests play in the Middle School Application process on Wednesday, March 22 (right after Sing).  This is an opportunity for families to learn about the process and hear from TNS families who have been through it and have children in middle school.

At TNS, we support all parents in making the best decisions for their individual children.  We hope that by attending these forums, families will have a better understanding of what testing and test preparation look like at TNS, and what the tests mean for your child and the school.  

Please feel free to reach out any time.  I hope to see you all at these important discussions.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 6, 2017

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

It’s at this time each year that the Department of Education (DOE) Parent Survey comes out.  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 TNS family needs to complete a survey so that the Chancellor knows that our parents are involved, informed, and are advocates for our children.  Please check your child’s backpack; surveys go home today.  The deadline for completing parent surveys is Friday, March 31st.  Thank you!

Thank you to our wonderful parent volunteers who cleaned and organized the P.T.A. room and storage, lobby and Project Room!  There is a new sign-in setup for families and an area for children to peruse and take home free books just behind it.  We finally have a “Lost and Found” box in the lobby (behind the sign-in area).  Shelves were built in Room 306-the Project Room.  The scooter box is empty.  Let’s work together to keep our school clean.  Please remember:

*Put scooters in the Scooter box.

*Take scooters home everyday.

*The Scooter box is not for lost and found items.

Family conferences are this wee  Please be sure to sign-up for a conference time with your child’s teacher.  Wednesday is late night conferences and Thursday is a 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 note that conferences are with your child’s classroom teacher; you may set up a time to meet with your child’s math teacher at a later time this month, if you wish.  

Mark your Calendars:

  • Erin, Wanda, Shaniqua & Lindsey, Sofia & Joanne and Hannah’s classes go ice skating at Prospect Park Monday.

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

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

  • STAR and TNS will have a Town Hall Meeting with both family communities on Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria to address questions about lead results in water, construction and safety drills.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets this Wednesday 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.

  • Family Conferences are this week!   Wednesday is late night conferences and Thursday is a HALF-DAY for conferences; dismissal is at 11:45 a.m.

  • The PTA Executive Meeting is Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the PTA Room.  All are welcome!

  • Erin, Wanda, Shaniqua & Lindsey, Dara, Sofia & Joanne, Alexis & Corinthia and Hannah’s classes go ice skating at Prospect Park Friday.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 6, 2017

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

At TNS, we believe that children learn best through first-hand experiences with people, materials and places; that is why trips are such an important part of our school’s curriculum.  Some trips, like ice skating may not be so much about content learning, but about giving children opportunities to have different kinds of life experiences.  Many of our children learn to ice skate by going on these trips twice each year.

Similarly, every year our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders go to camp for three days and two nights: our 3rd graders go to Camp Speers Eljabar YMCA and our 4th/5th graders go to Camp Ashokan.  We expect all of our students to go camp.  These camping trips are an essential part a student’s TNS experience and reflect the values of our mission.  Our 4th and 5th graders are going to camp this week!  Please reach out to your child’s teacher, me or Noemi if you have any questions about your child participating in this trip.

Mark your calendars:

  • The Advocacy Committee will meet on Monday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Narrative Reports go home Monday.

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

  • Erin, Wanda, Shaniqua & Lindsey, Sofia & Joanne, Alexis & Corinthia, and Hannah’s classes will go ice skating at Prospect Park Tuesday.

  • 4th and 5th grades go to Camp Ashokan Wednesday - Friday.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets this Wednesday 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.  Kindergarten teacher, Dianne will lead the group as a fellow parent.  

  • The PTA Executive Meeting is Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

I will be going to Camp Ashokan with our 4th and 5th graders Wednesday and Thursday.  I will be back at school Friday morning.

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 30, 2017

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

During the month of January, teachers are hard at work in the evenings and on the weekends writing narrative reports.  Narrative reports tell the story of a child as a learner; they are descriptive, filled with precise detail, and reveal a child’s interests, strengths and areas for growth.  Children seldom progress in a neat and predictably-sequenced manner; each child is a unique individual with different life experiences and no two developmental pathways are the same.  As I read over your children’s reports, I am struck by how each one paints a distinct picture of each child.  I know you will cherish reading them.  Reports will go home Monday, February 6.

There are two opportunities TODAY to come together and stand up for the values and ideals that we hold so dear at TNS:

There is a “Rally Against Hate” in Tompkins Square Park from 6:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. It will be held at the entrance of the park on East 7th Street and Avenue A.  Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, elected officials, faith leaders, and community organizers will stand together against the Trump administration’s executive orders targeting Muslims and all immigrants.

There is a rally today at 5 p.m. in front of the Tweed Courthouse (52 Chambers Street) to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education.  We have heard from members of both the Mayor’s office and the Chancellor’s office that national media will be in attendance to cover this historic vote as NYC sends a clear message to the nation regarding the future of our public schools.

Mark your calendars:

  • Judy, Dianne & Shaquawn, Jane, Olivia & Chelsea, Grace & Caroline, and Laura & Michiko’s classes will go ice skating at Prospect Park Tuesday.

  • The ECO Committee will meet on Thursday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • We have a TNS half-day this Friday.  Dismissal at 11:45 a.m.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 23, 2017

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

In my letter last week, I wrote about how part of our work at school is to teach children to resolve conflicts respectfully.  Of course, we hope our grown-ups will model this behavior when opportunities arise.  When parents come to me to share a concern about their child or teacher, one of my first questions is, “Have you discussed this with your child’s teacher?”

TNS was formed around the belief that families and teachers can learn from each other and we have always emphasized the collaborative relationships that develop around supporting children.  Open and ongoing communication between families and staff is essential to support children’s development.  We have created a process for TNS families and staff to communicate with one another when concerns or conflicts arise; the goal being to maintain or restore collaboration so that children receive the strongest possible support.  We are committed to supporting every child and every family. We hope that this document, called, “Guidelines for Resolving Concerns Between Members of Our School Community“ will serve as a guide to keep our community strong.  

Please come to hear Jamaal A. Bowman speak Monday at 6:30 p.m.  Jamaal Bowman is the founding principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School and has worked as an educator for over 15 years. He is the author of “The Tyranny of Standardized Testing“, “Let ‘Em Play” and “End School Privatization”.  You can learn more about him from his blog: https://jamaalabowman.wordpress.com.

At TNS, we look at children and measure their development on an individual continuum.  Teachers use techniques of assessment such as anecdotal notes, running records and writing and math samples to analyze individual student’s progress.  I encourage you to come to our discussion on Thursday, January 26th at 8:40am in the PTA Room to learn more about the ways in which TNS teachers assess student learning.  Our teachers, Erin, Dianne, Jane, Grace and Corinthia will share the ways they “measure” student growth and make decisions about class instruction, and the place state testing plays in instruction and curriculum.  Please join us!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Our Garden Committee will meet at drop-off Monday in the small cafeteria.

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

  • SING is Wednesday at 8:45 in the auditorium.  Please also join us for the bake sale in the lobby beforehand (also, this is a call for donated baked goods).

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

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