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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

May 12, 2020

Dear Families,

During this unprecedented time, our community has remained true to working and learning together.  I know that as families move forward with us, we will continue supporting one another.  Of course, there are also families that for whatever reason are leaving TNS and we wish them well!  Around this time each year, we send a letter to families asking about their plans for the following year.  We do so for many reasons.  This information helps when we make the next year’s classes.  It helps us figure out if we can accept new students.  It also helps us forecast our budget.  This is because funding from student enrollment is what enables us to run our school.

The Mayor released the budget for 2021 detailing over $500 million in education cuts, including a $100 million reduction in direct funding to city schools.  While we don’t yet know what the budget will look like for TNS, we need to anticipate and plan for cuts.  

I know that so much feels uncertain right now.  However, I am writing to ask that you let us know your plans if you are certain your child is not returning to TNS in the fall.  Please complete this survey link: and let us know what school your child will be attending next year.  Thank you.

With Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

May 4, 2020

Dear Families,

Over these past weeks, I have received emails from different families across the school expressing appreciation and gratitude for their child’s teacher.   Every parent email reminds me of how wonderful TNS teachers are.  They are the best part of our school and what makes TNS so special.  I cannot imagine doing this job with any other group of people.  Please will take a few minutes this week to let your teacher know how much they mean to you.

Last week, the DOE came out with a Remote Learning Grading Policy for schools.  This policy decision doesn’t affect our school as we don’t give grades like most schools, but I want to reiterate that no child will be held over or coded as “needs improvement” based on their level of participation or work in this distance learning situation.  

Noemi and I are continuing our meetings with families through Google Hangouts.  Alice Auth and Barbara DiGangi will also continue to participate.  I will post the meeting code and directions on your child’s classroom stream the morning of:

  • Pre-K Families:  Monday, May 11 at 4 PM

  • K/1 Families:  Tuesday, May 12 at 4 PM

  • ⅔ Families:  Monday, May 18 at 4 PM

  • ⅘ Families:  Tuesday, May 19 at 4 PM

We are having a special meeting for 5th-grade families Tuesday at 4 PM to share the questions, feelings, and concerns that are arising during this time - both for your children and you.  I will email you the meeting code and directions tomorrow.

The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet this Thursday from 2:30 - 4 PM on Google Meets.  This meeting is open to all.  

Teddy, Mara, Emily, and Cheryl will begin to offer live times for students this week.  Mara and Teddy will have office hours Monday - Thursday from 1 - 1:30 PM and Emily will have science meetings with her classes.  Cheryl will have “Open Checkout with Cheryl” on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 2:00 - 2:45 PM.  Please check your child’s classroom for details!

With Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

April 28, 2020

Dear Families,

It was so wonderful to see the parents who were able to join us last week for our informal family check-ins.  While each meeting was unique, with different challenges and themes emerging, it is clear is that families’ experiences during this time and with remote learning are vastly different.  We agreed to continue to host regular family meetings so that we can stay connected.

The families who participated in my meetings represent only a percentage of our community.  We want to hear from all our families about how they are doing.  We have decided that the best way to gather this information is for teachers to send surveys to families about their child’s online learning experience so far.  In soliciting feedback, please keep in mind that what is ideal for your family may not work for the whole class.  Each family’s situation is unique and as professional educators, teachers will consider families’ responses and make decisions about what will work for their class.  

Some of the sweetest moments during last week’s meetings were when families expressed deep-felt gratitude and appreciation for their teachers.  Please remember that while teachers are doing their best to support children and families, they, too, are living through this crisis.  They, too, worry about the health of parents, children, and other loved ones, about getting groceries or refilling a prescription or whether it’s safe to take a trip to the store.  Recognizing our shared humanity and coming together in solidarity is the way we will get through this time and emerge stronger.  

With Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Remote Learning at TNS

Dear Families,

As you know, it’s not possible to recreate the Neighborhood School approach in this online environment.  Much of the work in our school depends on children interacting with one another, with materials, and with teachers.  Communicating via screens and working without regular and ongoing opportunities to collaborate with and get feedback from peers and teachers diminishes the experiences and the learning for children.  

Despite this, we are committed to offering what we can and continue to think about how best to serve and support children and families. We write to share our thoughts about remote learning. 

Our primary goal is to help the kids feel connected to one another and to their teachers. Secondly, we hope the activities we offer provide structure if that is what you are looking for.  Our activities/assignments are connected to work that we have already done in school, and we hope that this provides a sense of continuity.  To the extent possible, we hope to engage children in work and experiences that are meaningful for them.  That said, we invite you to make a plan that works for your family.  It is OKAY if you do not do every assignment every day - please do only as much in the Google Classrooms as makes sense for you and your child. 

Everyone is navigating this crisis and managing the accompanying stressors and burdens in the best way they can.  We know that each family’s situation is unique.  Some parents are not able to work at this time, some are juggling working at home with family responsibilities.  Some families have several devices while others are sharing one device among children and adults with competing schedules and needs.  Some families are also having to care for a sick family member(s).  Every family has very different and specific challenges they are facing and we cannot have identical expectations for all families.

Parents have expressed concerns about how “behind” their children will be, or how this will impact next year.  No child will be held over based on their level of participation or work in this distance learning situation. We will all work together to get children back on track in the fall.  We will meet children where they are and modify our expectations as we need to and build children’s skills while dealing with any fallout from this interruption in their education.  Our primary responsibility now is to help our children and one another through this experience.  Parents can best support children by modeling calm and strength, sharing joyful and playful experiences, and keeping the lines of communication open so that children can express their feelings and ask questions.  We’ll be here, doing the same.

We have to prepare for the likely eventuality that we will not be able to return to our school building this year.  All of the members of the school staff miss being with the children and families of our community (and with one another!).  This is a difficult situation on many levels, but we have to keep health and safety as our top priorities.


Alexis, Anthony, Caroline, Catlin, Chelsea, Cheryl, Corinthia, Dara, Dianne, Dyanthe, Emily, Erin, Grace, Jane, Joanne, Lindsey, Mara, Matt, Oli, Shaniqua, Shaquawn, Sofia, Teddy, Tiffany, and Wanda

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters


Dear Families,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy and that you have had some time to unwind and unplug this past week.   

Online learning resumes tomorrow!  As you know, each classroom at TNS does things a little differently - both when we are together in school and now online.  Teachers plan assignments and meetings with their students in mind and will introduce new platforms and new routines as families become more comfortable and familiar.  Please reach out directly to your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

We are trying something new this week!  Noemi and I are setting up meetings with families through Google Hangouts each day at 4 PM.  I have invited Alice Auth, Pre-K social worker and Barbara DiGangi, Families Thriving Director and social worker to participate as I imagine many questions and concerns may be about social/emotional issues that are arising during this time - both for your children and you!  I will post the meeting code and directions on your child’s classroom stream in the morning:

  • Pre-K Families:  Monday at 4 PM

  • K/1 Families:  Tuesday at 4 PM

  • ⅔ Families:  Wednesday at 4 PM

  • ⅘ Families:  Friday at 4 PM

I anticipate that there will be a few technical glitches, nevertheless, it will be wonderful to each other after soon long!  

The PTA is hosting an informal gathering for TNS families on Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  During the gathering, families will check in with each other, learn how remote learning is going, provide some updates on the PTA budget and activities, and hear from me and the teachers.  Most of all, this as a chance to connect. 

I went to school on Friday.  It felt so good to be there. The flowers in the garden are bloom (see pic below).  It might have been my imagination, but the children’s artwork in the hallways looked more vivid and the third-floor was a lot cleaner than I remembered.  The kitchen staff was there preparing and handing out meals to people in need. They are all doing well and I was deeply moved to see them greeting people with kindness and sustenance.  

Take care, stay safe and please give your kids a hug from me.  I’ll see you soon.

With Love,