Click here to post your own »

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 25, 2019

Welcome Back Families,

Our 4th and 5th graders leave for Camp Ashokan this Wednesday!  The Ashokan Center’s trails and outdoor campus offers students the opportunity to hike to the depths of the 350 million year old Cathedral Gorge and the Turnwood-Ashokan Covered Bridge.  Programming includes history, natural science including watershed studies and ecology, community building, the arts and stewardship/service learning and sustainability.  We expect that ALL students to go to camp.  The trip is an essential part a child’s TNS experience and reflects 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 this trip.  

During Building Council last Friday, the principal of STAR and I met with custodial and kitchen staff about the Alternative School Menu which was adopted by TNS/STAR last spring.  While the kitchen staff has recently added tuna sandwiches as an alternative entree (in addition to PB&J, cheese sandwiches or hummus), since adopting the alternative menu, overall entree orders have decreased and food waste has increased.  Our kitchen manager, LaToya will present at this Thursday’s PTA Meeting.

It’s at this time each year that the Department of Education (DOE) Parent Survey comes out.  The DOE survey gathers information about family’s overall satisfaction with the 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. Each student will receive 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 using your access code (in the green envelope).  Thank you!

Mark your calendars:

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

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

  • The next TNS Restaurant Night is Wednesday from 4-11PM at Boticarios (58 East 1st Street).

  • Our PTA General Meeting is Thursday at 8:35AM in the PTA Room.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 11, 2019

Dear Families,

 Last year was our first time visiting the Manhattan Country School (MCS) Farm.  Early that fall, Grace approached the 3rd grade team and me about trying something different from the camp we had been going to for years.  Part of this came out of a shared sense of dissatisfaction with our recent experiences, but more so because we were in search of a place that would make sense for our younger 2nd and 3rd grade classes.  As it turns out, The Manhattan Country School Farm is just that place. It is a small working farm in the Catskill Mountains, 150 miles north of New York City, in Roxbury, NY. The 180-acre property features a farmhouse that sleeps 24 students, a textile studio, a nature lab, a greenhouse, a barn, a recreation building, a sap house, a chicken house, and a historic stone house. The farm is staffed by full-time farmers and educators.  During the winter, students care for the animals (chickens, cows, pigs and sheep); learn to weave; explore snow covered fields and mountains and frozen streams; and study traditional and contemporary life in the Catskills. Zero-mile meals and a closed-loop food cycle are daily experiences. By sharing in these activities, attending daily classes and performing household and barn chores, children come to function as a mutually reliant community.  It is also good to know that students from Manhattan Country School begin their overnight trips to the farm at age 7 and the school’s students use the farm throughout the school year. It’s a very special place and I am so excited that each 2nd/3rd class gets to spend 2 nights and 3 days there. All 2nd and 3rd grade families are strongly encouraged to join us tonight at 5:30PM to meet John McDaniel, MCS farm director and learn more about the program.  I’ve included some pictures from my time at the farm with Grace’s class last year:  one is on a nature hike and one is during free time, when students go sledding, visit the animals, jump in the haystack in the barn and play indoor games in the farm house.

We will have a Q&A for families who can’t make tonight or have additional questions with 2nd/3rd teachers, Grace and Jane this Wednesday morning after drop-off in the PTA Room.

Mark your calendars:

  • The PTA Exec Committee meets Monday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • ⅔ Farm Trip Presentation at 5:30PM in the 4th floor gym.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets twice this week: Tuesday morning at 8:30AM and again in the afternoon at 4:30PM.  

  • ⅔ Farm Trip Q & A Wednesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • TNS Middle School Students Panel:  former TNS students will talk about how TNS prepared them for the academic and social expectations of middle school Wednesday at 6PM.  

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

  • There is no school February 18 - 22.  

Have a wonderful break.  We’ll see you Monday, February 25.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 4, 2019

Dear Families,

I want to express my deep appreciation to Wanda (Pre-K), Jane (2nd/3rd), Dianne (K/1st) and Joanne (4th/5th) for sharing their assessment practices with families last Monday.  Each year, I ask teachers who represent a range, both in terms of ages taught and classroom configurations to present so that you can get to know them better and see that there are consistent practices across classes and grades.  Teachers spoke about how formal assessments, looking at student work, the role of observation and working alongside children inform next steps and allow us to know children well. They also shared the ways students reflect on their learning and work throughout the grades.   A parent videotaped the conversation and it will be available on the website soon. Former TNS students will talk about how TNS prepared them for the academic and social expectations in middle school on Wednesday, February 13th at 6PM.  Speaking of assessments, Narrative Reports go home Wednesday!

Mark your calendar:

  • All this week, TNS to Puerto Rico with Love will once again have a handmade pop-up store to raise money for families in need in Puerto Rico.

  • There is NO SCHOOL Tuesday in honor of the Lunar New Year.

  • Mid-year Narrative Reports go home Wednesday.

  • SLT will meet Thursday at 8 AM in Room 313. Agenda:

    • Library plans for next year

    • Information Literacy (technology in the classroom)

    • Literacy at TNS:  we will look at three documents Dyanthe has shared as potential resources for families

    • New Business

  • It’s “Popcorn Friday” this week!

  • Friday night is Movie Night at TNS!  We are screening “The Incredibles 2” from 5 - 8 PM.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 28, 2019

Dear Families,

At my Morning Hour last week, we read the article, “Reading In Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose”.   It describes the ways in which experiential, play-based learning creates the foundation for print literacy.  It also sights research showing there is no evidence that children taught to read in kindergarten make long-term gains in their learning.  And while it is true that some children need extra support to learn to read, that kind of support is highly individualized and it is competent, skilled teachers who can best recognize whether a child needs specific support or is progressing more slowly and simply needs more time.  

Most public schools in NYC have traditional approaches to reading, writing and spelling.  Families choose TNS for our progressive approach (among other things) and one component of that is our developmental approach to reading: some children learn to read at 3 or 4, others not until 7 or later, and that range is quite normal.  Our goal is for all our children to become fluent readers who read with insight and passion.

We are working to create TNS literature to provide general guidelines about reading development in response to the desire for more information about decoding/comprehension strategies, book characteristics and how can families support their child at home.  Keep an eye out!

Mark your calendars:

  • What Does Assessment Look Like?  Monday morning after drop-off in the PTA Room, Wanda, Jane, Dianne and Joanne will share the ways they “measure” student growth and learning, make decisions about class instruction.  This is the first workshop in a series about assessment leading up to the NY State tests for 3rd - 5th grades.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets twice this week: Tuesday morning at drop-off in Room 307 and again Thursday at 4:30PM in the Library.

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

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

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

  • Friday is a HALF-DAY!  Dismissal is at 11:45AM.  

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 21, 2019

Dear Families,

As we approach the mid-year point, most classes switch from science to Spanish and vice versa.  If your child has had Spanish with Mara, they will begin science with Emily and if they have had science, they will begin Spanish.  All classes continue to have physical education with Teddy! Classes change over the week of January 28th.

Next Monday, January 28th, teachers will share the ways they “measure” student growth and learning and make decisions about class instruction.  This is the first workshop in a series about assessment leading up to the NY State tests for 3rd - 5th grades. We will meet in the PTA Room at 8:35AM.  

The Neighborhood School to Puerto Rico with Love Association is excited to announce that they will once again have a handmade pop-up store to raise money for families in need in Puerto Rico.  If you like to make handmade items or you know someone who does, please help by donating one or more items. The sale will be the week of February 4-8.  Popular items include Valentine cards, anytime greeting cards, hand-knit or hand-crocheted items, pins, barrettes or headbands, soap, candles, paper or fabric flowers, tote bags of all different sizes, sachets of all types, beaded jewelry, etc and so forth.  Please email dianne@tnsny.org for more information.  Thank you!

Mark your calendars:

  • Please come to my Morning Hour Wednesday at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.  We will continue to talk about literacy at TNS.  

  • The Lice Treatment Center will do a school-wide lice check Thursday morning.

  • The Diversity Committee potluck is POSTPONED to Thursday, January 31 from 6 - 7:30PM.  Childcare  will be provided.

In spite of the cold yesterday, I noticed that it was still light at 5PM and I remembered that we are month past the Solstice and the days are only getting longer.  : )

Warmly,

Dyanthe

  2345678910