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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Sharing thoughts and concerns about school reopening

Dear TNS Families and Colleagues,

I hope you doing well.  I am reaching out to share what I’ve been thinking about lately and how very concerned I am at this moment.  With only two weeks before school begins, I do not feel comfortable recommending that school reopen in-person given the current condition of our school building and the guidelines we’ve been given as a school by the DoE and our local and state governments.  I cannot, with confidence, guarantee the safety of all of our students, staff, and families.  This is very hard for me to say, but that’s the reality we face right now.

There is nothing more I would love than for school to open in-person in September.  Teachers and I have spent the entire summer planning with hope and good faith that we truly could.  This is a difficult position for schools and families and regardless of what happens, we are putting all of our efforts into making the launch of school, whether remote or in-person, as smooth and welcoming as possible for students and families.

Last Friday, principals and assistant principals from our district joined school leaders from around the city to voice our concerns and call to keep school buildings closed.  I am excited to start the school year, but I want us to be safe and healthy - this has to be our priority and I hope you’ll join me in demanding that our students and staff are given the best conditions to start the year.  I look forward to having a Town Hall on Tuesday, September 1 at 5 PM, and hearing from you; I will send the link for the meeting this week.  

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Town Hall on Thursday, August 6 at 4 PM

Dear Families,

I know that the issue of school buildings reopening and what school will be like for our students and school community is on everyone’s minds.  

Over the summer, our school reopening committee is meeting weekly to make sense of each wave of guidance coming from the DOE and to shape plans that work for our community.  At this time, schools are required to select a programming model that provides for Blended Learning (in-person and remote) and Full-time Remote Learning and submit it to the District for review by August 14.  This means we won’t know the exact, approved details of our plan and model until August 21st, so we’ll have to wait until at least that date to send out class placements and more specific information about the fall at TNS. 

I would like to share information about our process and the programming models that appear to be most viable for our community at this time, given the information we have.  To that end, we are hosting a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, August 6 at 4 PM.  We will also address school-wide questions and clarify DOE guidance - knowing that there are still many more questions than answers. 

Finally, thank you for taking the time to fill out our TNS returning and remote learning survey.  To date, we’ve received over 200 out of about 300 responses.  Please complete our survey if you haven’t done so yet.  This is not a commitment but is just to help our planning.  Our school reopening committee is using this information to inform planning for the fall as much as we can.  

We will be in touch and I hope to see you on Thursday at 4 PM.

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With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Two Surveys About Fall Re-Opening

Dear Families, 

I hope that you are well, safe, and healthy.  

I know that there is a lot of information, some of it conflicting, about what school will look like in the fall.  I am writing about two important surveys that I need you to complete to help us plan and prepare for school in September.  

About 40% of our families responded to the Return to School 2020 Survey for Families sent out by the DOE in June and it has yielded some good information that will help us as we prepare for September.  In an effort to hear from all of our families and also considering this ever-changing situation, our School Leadership Team is sending out our own brief survey later this week.  We ask you to take a few minutes to complete so that we can effectively plan for the TNS community.  

The second survey is from the DOE and will also go out this week.  It is the opportunity for families to opt-in to remote instruction only at the start of the year if schools follow a blended model in the fall.  A blended model means sending your child to in-person school on certain days like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday.  On the days that your child is not in school, they would be learning at home.  The deadline to submit this request is August 7.

I know that there are many unanswered questions about health and safety protocols, and it is my hope that in the upcoming weeks the Department of Education will be sharing more details which we will pass along and take into consideration in our planning.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

With Love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 22, 2020

Dear Families,

My last letter of the year is usually filled with goodbyes and well-wishes.  But with so many unknowns ahead, I am writing to share what we do know and promise to be in touch as we work out the rest.  

It is time to say “goodbye” to two cherished members of our teaching community, Dara and Teddy who are retiring after 28 and 27 years, respectively.  I cannot say enough about their leadership during my time as principal: they have each been a compass for our school, always reminding us of our values about children, teaching, and learning.  We wish them luck on their future adventures, and our entire community will properly celebrate and honor them when we can come safely together again (think a big picnic in the park!).   

I am happy to share that long-time K/1 teacher, Dianne will take over teaching Dara’s K/1 class next year.  Dianne has taught K/1 with Shaquawn for the last 6 six years right down the hall from Dara.   Before that, Dianne taught 1st/2nd grade and worked as an out-of-classroom teacher supporting students with disabilities. While Dianne may not know many of her new students and families yet, she is an experienced and trusted teacher in our school.  Shaquawn will continue with her students and families, and once we have the budget for next year, we will be able to share who will be co-teaching with her.  I hope that these new placements give students and families much-needed stability and comfort during this transition.

While much is unknown about our future, I am very hopeful about the developments happening around our country in response to ongoing protests over police brutality and racial injustice.  At TNS, this means recommitting ourselves to anti-racist, anti-bias work, and acting in ways that lead to the kind of community and world we hope to build. 

This has been an extraordinary year.  I cannot imagine going through it with any other group of people.  With each new challenge, everyone... our teachers, paraprofessionals, office staff, related service providers, PTA, custodial, and food service staff came together to support our community.  I am eternally grateful for their devotion to our children, families, each other, and our school. 

I hope that you and your children are able to enjoy the beginning of summer.  We will be in touch soon.

With much love,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 15, 2020

Dear Families,

The DOE (Department of Education) is considering a variety of options for opening schools in the fall with modifications for social distancing.  While plans to reopen schools are not yet determined, schools received some information last Thursday, including school-level student and staff capacities factoring in social-distancing requirements.  We are looking at the information and trying to figure out what this might look like given our class sizes, configurations (ICT, Gen Ed, Pre-K, etc), and classrooms.  The DOE is also asking families to consider which blended models will be the most adaptive for possible changing circumstances in the fall.

Schools have still not received our budgets for 20 - 21.  We are waiting to make next year’s classes until we have this information.  This year, your child’s class placement for next year will be shared later in the summer.  

Finally, I am sharing pre-k teacher, Erin’s letter to families this week.  She addresses two issues that are probably coming up for many of our families and provides some valuable resources: children’s challenging behaviors during this time and how to talk with children about the police.  I hope you find it helpful.

I hope to see you at the PTA meeting this Thursday at 5:30 PM.  

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

With Love,

Dyanthe

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