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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 1, 2019

Dear Families,

The 3rd - 5th grade NYS English Language Arts Exams will be administered Tuesday and Wednesday 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.

Our annual Spring Fling & Auction is this Thursday from 6 - 10PM at the Manny Cantor Center.  Want to know what is in store for the evening?  The TNS Parent Band, In Utero, is working hard on an incredible night of live music.  Dinner that evening will be catered by the fabulous TNS-owned restaurant, Bricia.  80s Costume is completely optional, but we do have a celebrity auctioneer, Ally Sheedy, lined up to go with our 80s theme!  Hundreds of great auction prizes donated by supportive and generous TNS families and local businesses.  Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful night!

Only 34% 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 has been extended to Thursday, April 11th.  Thank you!

Mark your calendars:

  • SLT meets Thursday morning at 8AM in Room 313.

  • The Garden Committee meets Friday at drop-off.

  • It’s “Popcorn Friday” this week.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 25, 2019

Dear Families,

This year, the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade NY State English Language Arts Tests will take place April 2 - 3 and the Math Tests will be administered May 1 - 2.  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 Monday at drop-off in the PTA Room.  Most of the meeting will be Q&A, but teachers, members of the Advocacy Committee and I will give some context to the discussion first, including:

  • What do “high stakes” mean?

  • 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 to 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.  

Our annual Spring Fling & Auction is April 4, 6-10pm, at the Manny Cantor Center.  Want to know what is in store for the evening?  The TNS Parent Band, In Utero, is working hard on an incredible night of live music.  Dinner that evening will be catered by the fabulous TNS-owned restaurant, Bricia.  80s Costume is completely optional, but we do have a celebrity auctioneer, Ally Sheedy, lined up to go with our 80s theme!  Hundreds of great auction prizes donated by supportive and generous TNS families and local businesses.  Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful night!

Mark your calendars:

  • Tuesday is TNS Restaurant Day at Wagamama.  Wagamama has generously agreed to donate 15% of sales back to the TNS PTA; just mention TNS when you dine.  Friends, family, neighbors are welcome, too. 55 Third Ave @ 11th St.

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

  • Friday is a TNS Half-Day.  Dismissal is at 11:45AM.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 18, 2019

Dear Families,

In my letter last week, I shared that NY State now manipulates the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math test data in ways that penalize our school and schools like TNS, who have a large number of parents choosing to opt their children out of these tests.  

I want to remind you that in NY State, parents have the right to decide if their child will take the State tests or opt out.  Students who do not take the tests are not subject to any penalty or disciplinary action, and in TNS’s case, students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.   

I will speak about this more at Thursday’s PTA meeting, but in the interim, I am including a letter about NYC parents’ rights from Brad Lander, a councilmember from Brooklyn.  

Mark your calendars:

  • Caroline, Grace and Dianne leave with their class to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.  Matt’s class leaves Wednesday and returns Friday afternoon.

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

  • Parents of Unique Kids Support Group meets twice this week: Tuesday morning and again Thursday at 4:30PM in the Library.

  • The PTA meets Thursday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.

  • Wanda, Dara, Dianne & Shaquawn, Caroline & Grace, Jane, Alexis & Corinthia and Erin’s class go ice skating Friday.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 11, 2019

Dear Families,

For the past 6 years, our school has had a high opt-out rate with respect to NY State Math and English Language Arts tests.  Last week, I learned that last year and moving forward, all opt-outs will be weighted as 1s (well below proficient in standards) and will be included in our State Performance Accountability Data.  Opting out of the NY state tests will NOT penalize individual students; they will continue to be recorded as opt outs.  The DOE seems unclear about what this means for schools with high opt out numbers like TNS.  For now, TNS and others are on “potential Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) Status.” I hope to have more information to share at our next PTA meeting on Thursday, March 21.

We will continue to support the families who choose to opt-out their children out of the tests and equally support those who do not.  TNS students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  Grade 3 – 5 families are asked to speak to their teachers about opting out of the State Tests during conferences so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.   

Teachers and I will meet with families Tuesday morning at 8:35AM to discuss the implications of standardized testing and test prep in NYC elementary schools.  Our opt out numbers have allowed us to maintain higher standards for assessment and to enjoy greater academic freedom in curriculum.  Grace and Sofia will talk about the challenges and pressure teachers and students faced when when test prep and the state tests played an important role at TNS.  Anthony and Mara will share their experiences working at other NYC DOE schools. Please join us for this very important meeting.

Mark your calendars.  It’s a really busy week at TNS:

  • Olivia, Lindsey and Mildred leave with their class to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.  Jane’s class leaves Wednesday and returns Friday afternoon.

  • Family conferences are this 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.  Dismissal is at 11:45AM. If you have any difficulty signing up for a conference, please call the school office and we will help coordinate a time for you.

  • There is a bake sale with meal deals Wednesday during conferences.  Folks can grab a slice of pizza and a cookie for $5! Or choose Mac N Cheese with a side of ‘slaw for $5!  Lots of other baked treats will be available, and we will also have coffee and juice available. This is a fundraiser for the TNS Yearbook + Graduation.

  • Pie Day is Thursday!  This is a fundraiser for the Farm and Camp trips.  Slices will be on sale at drop-off and all afternoon.  The cost? $3.14 per slice of pie.  Coffee is $2, or $1 if you bring your own mug

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

  • Hannah, Catlin, Shaniqua & Chelsea, Lindsey & Olivia, Matt and Joanne & Sofia’s classes go ice skating Friday.  

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 4, 2019

Dear Families,

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.  Dismissal is at 11:45AM. If you have any difficulty signing up for a conference, please call the school office and we will help coordinate a time for you.

Please join us Tuesday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room for a discussion about the ways TNS does not do assessment.  Many other schools get caught up with test preparation, so much so that it affects curriculum.  Dyanthe, Grace, Sofia, Mara and Anthony will share their thoughts about what we don’t to do at TNS, and their experiences with other educational environments focused on testing and test preparation.  This will be the third information session in a series organized with the Advocacy Committee. If you missed the first session on assessment at TNS or would like to revisit our teachers’ remarks please see the video recording available here: http://tnsny.org/posts/view_news/6512

One unique aspect of the Neighborhood School is parent access to classrooms at drop-off and pick-up.   Being in the classroom builds connections, both with the community and to the curriculum and the ability to escort your child to and from the classroom is something we value very much and is not typical of most DOE schools.  However, these are not times to have in-depth conversations with your child’s teacher.  Please reach out to set-up another time to meet if you have something important to discuss.  Noemi or I are also happy to support scheduling a meeting for you.

Mark your calendars:

  • The Diversity Committee is hosting a potluck on Wednesday from 5:30 - 7:30PM in Mara’s Room.

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

Agenda:

  • Literacy Documents for families

  • Library Update

  • Teacher Differentiation Survey results and noticings

  • CEP (Comprehensive Educational Plan) work

We have PE in the upstairs gym this month.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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