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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 24, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Last year, TNS partnered with the organization, Border Crossers to strengthen our analysis of how racism manifests in our school and practice utilizing tools to address race and racism with students.  We are continuing our partnership with Border Crossers this year, focusing our work on racial identity development.  We are also devoting our PD half-days to continuing to explore issues of race, racism and racial justice at our school.  This Friday we will be using descriptive processes to discuss how issues of race and racism emerge in our teaching practices and how we respond to it.

Twice each year (in November and March) we hold family conferences.  They provide an opportunity for teachers, together with the child, to talk with the adults in each child’s family about the child’s work and progress in school.  Family conferences are next week.  The building will be open for evening conferences on Wednesday, November 2nd.  Thursday, November 3rd is a half-day for conferences.  Please make sure to sign-up for a conference time with your child’s teacher.

Studio in a School begins this week.  Children will explore a full range of 2- and 3-D media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, 2-D design, and media technology.  Valerie Hammond, long-time artist/teacher is returning to work with our children and we also welcome back Amy Masters (former ⅘ teacher), who will work with our 3rd graders on Mondays.

The After School Committee wants your feedback on the offerings available to TNS students so we can better serve all families at TNS.  Please take a few minutes to fill out this short, 10 question survey. Should literally take you 3-5 mins.  This data will help the committee to work with our existing providers and new ones to provide after school offerings that parents and students want.  Thanks for your help!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R86HQBV

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Please join us for SING this Wednesday at 8:45am in the auditorium.  We will also have a bake sale beforehand, so please bring your appetite!

  • Our first Garden Committee Meeting is Thursday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • We have a TNS Half-day on Friday, October 28.  Dismissal is at 11:45am.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 17, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

All families must complete a Lunch Form applicationwhether or not your child eats school lunch.  In addition to determining the price of a school lunch if your child takes one, this information determines our school’s eligibility for additional funding.  All families have received a hard copy, but you can instead complete it online at https://www.myschoolapps.com. You will need your child’s birth date, but it is NOT required to enter the school ID number. You can also get a form from Gladys in the office.  One lunch form per family.

Third Street Music begins this week.  Monika Linkweiler from 3rd Street Music Settlement begins working with our Pre-K through 2nd grade classes this week.   Classes work with Monika once a week, exploring music through voice, movement and instruments.

The Girls’ Project and Boys’ Project begins this Wednesday after school.  The Girls’ Project and Boys’ Project are after school activities available to all 5th grade girls and boys. The girls and boys meet in gender specific groups once a week for 1 hour to address issues specific to their gender in a safe space. The daily activities are designed to have the girls and boys explore their identities, think creatively, express themselves freely, resolve conflicts, discuss bullying, their ever changing bodies and body image. The goal of the program is to empower the girls and boys and strengthen self-esteem.   If you have any questions, please reach out to Teddy or Danette.

Please join me Wednesday for my first “Morning Hour” in the PTA Room right after drop off.  We will discuss progressive education and in preparation, I encourage you to read Alfie Kohn’s article, Progressive Education: Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find.  There are some pointed questions at the end to spur collective reflection.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The Advocacy Committee will meet on Monday at drop-off in the small cafeteria:  For those who don’t know what the Advocacy Committee is about: we have traditionally worked to bring the school community’s attention to the issues that are “out there” in the political realm and that impact what goes on in classrooms day-to-day.  Recently these issues have centered around the standardized tests, which have become the driving force shaping how public schools students in New York are taught.  We have also worked on the issues of charter schools and the state education budget.  We welcome any and all ideas on these subjects, or anything else that need to be brought to our attention.

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet Tuesday in Room 301 at 8 a.m.  The SLT is a committee made up of elected parents and teachers.  Monthly meetings are for the School Leadership Team Representatives and are open to all TNS families.  

  • Please join us for our October PTA General Meeting this Thursday at 8:40 a.m. in the PTA Room.   Two teachers (one from upper grade and one from lower grade) will talk about upcoming Family Conferences.

  • Original Works:  I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to permanently showcase your child’s artwork while raising PTA money to help pay for the valuable learning experiences we provide our children!  Original Works packs went home last Friday and must be returned to your child’s teacher or the office by Friday, November 4.  We will have a workshop for children (parent/guardian must accompany) to create pieces for Original Works on our next half-day: Friday, October 28th in the afternoon.

Check out our school yard!  Our children had a great time playing on the basketball area Saturday during Multicultural Day!

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 10, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Multicultural Day is a TNS tradition when families and staff come together to celebrate our cultural heritages and share in the various cultures and traditions represented in our school-wide community.  This year, we are holding Multicultural Day early in the year because the beginning of the year is a time when teachers and children spend a lot time thinking about their identity as individuals and who they are becoming as a classroom community.  This takes many different forms (and continues throughout the year) depending on the age of children and the class: young children share pictures of their families, students make self-portraits, some classes focus on one “star” student a day, teachers have intake meetings with families, and older students often share their hopes and dreams for the year.  One of the many fun components of Multicultural Day this year will be a Gallery Walk, during which we will invite participants to talk a stroll through our school and look at the student work posted on bulletin boards with this focusing question in mind: “Where do you see identity in the work you are looking at?”  We have lots of other great things planned (some heady, some purely fun), including performances by the Urban Word poets, a killer DJ, a video project (for all community members who want to participate), and an interactive timeline activity of equity/oppression in education.  Multicultural Day is this Saturday, October 15th from 1 - 5 p.m.

Third Street Music School is hosting its fall open house on Sunday, October 16th, from 1 - 3 p.m. at its building on 235 East 11th Street near 2nd Avenue. Partner School Students ages 6 (by December 31, 2016) to 14 will be able to meet teachers, try out instruments, and apply for free and reduced-rate group classes with openings in the fall. Only classes that still have openings will be offered (currently: trombone, horn, flute, clarinet, cello, recorder, viola, string bass, drum circle, ballet, tap dance, and choir).  Families interested in other disciplines should mark their calendars for their Spring Open House on June 15th, from 3pm to 6pm, when the full complement of group courses will be accepting applications for next year.

Gifted and Talented testing applications are now available for children currently in grades Pre-K through 2nd.  If you are interested in having your child tested for the Gifted and Talented program, please stop by the office to pick up a handbook. The handbook includes information about the test and application. You may also access the handbook and application online at www.nyc.gov/schools/GT.  Applications are due online or to Carmen by November 14, 2016.

Mark Your Calendars:

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

  • No School Wednesday in observance of Yom Kippur.

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

  • Multicultural Day is Saturday from 1 - 5 p.m.

I hope to see you all Saturday,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of October 3, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

All NYC public schools are required to practice the protocols they will follow for different kinds of emergencies throughout the school year.  We practice three different protocols that cover all types of emergency situations. The first is a building evacuation, or “fire drill”. We practice this drill several times throughout the year; it’s the one your children will be most familiar with. There are different scenarios that would call for a building evacuation, but the most common would be danger within the building such as a fire. The next is a shelter-in drill. During a shelter-in an announcement is made over the PA system and the exit doors are locked and monitored. No one is permitted to enter or exit the building until the shelter-in has been lifted, but classes keep going and students can move throughout the building, as per usual. We run this drill to prepare for the possibility of a dangerous event happening outside of the building. The third type of safety protocol we prepare for is a lockdown. During a lockdown, an announcement is made over the PA and children and staff respond by turning off the lights in classrooms, locking classroom doors, moving out of the sight line of the windows or classroom doors, and maintaining silence until the lockdown has been lifted. This drill is to prepare for the very unlikely event of imminent danger inside the building.  Neighborhood School teachers discuss different drill practices with children well ahead of time, so that they feel safe.   They communicate that this is our school and we want to make sure that only people who belong here are here.  We will have our first lockdown drill this week.  Please contact me if you have any questions about any of our school safety drills.

This year, I will again host a series of informal gatherings for families each month to discuss topics of interest to our community (so please email your suggestions).  The first “Morning Hour” will be Wednesday, October 19th in the PTA Room right after drop off.  We will discuss progressive education and in preparation, I encourage you to read Alfie Kohn’s article, Progressive Education: Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find.  We began last year with this article and I think it is a good starting place for future conversations.

As we move into cold and flu season, a gentle reminder:  please call the office at (212) 387-0195 before 10am to notify us if your child is sick.  Please bring a doctor’s note to the office if your child is out for more than 3 days.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The ECO Committee will meet this Thursday after drop off outside the PTA room to discuss this year’s agenda.  Over the past two years they have developed an Earth Day Fair for the community, helped classes visit the community gardens and the LES Ecology Center, as well as worked with the students to promote sustainable practices such as upcycling, recycling and more.  This meeting is open to all.

  • No School on Monday, October 11.

  • No School on Wednesday, October 13.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 26, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

One unique aspect of The Neighborhood School is our class drop off procedure which allows for parents and caretakers to escort their child upstairs to their classroom. The ability to do this is something we value very much and is not typi­cal procedure for many schools. In order to preserve this privilege we must ensure that all adults entering the building are logged in and out.  During high traffic, such as morning drop-off and afternoon pickup, it is vital that you (and not your child) sign-in in the logs provided in the lobby before your go to your child’s classroom.  At all other times, you will be consid­ered a visitor and will have to show photo ID and sign in with the safety agent yourself.  At arrival and dismissal times, please sign-in and then escort your child to her/his classroom and pick her/him up there or at the designated location.

We have a very special TNS tradition coming up next week.  “Sing” occurs the last Wednesday of every month after drop off.  Families gather in the school lobby while teachers organize their classes and escort them to the Auditorium. Song sheets are handed out at each session.  Classes sit in concentric circles with the innermost circle reserved for the Pre K and Kindergarten students.  We ask that parents and younger siblings do not join the classes seated in the circle.  Instead, they are asked to remain on the outer barrier of the gathering.  When we get to the final song, we wave goodbye to families (that’s your cue to leave) and classes remain seated until all of the parents have exited the auditorium.  This is a wonderful opportunity to see your child among their peers and to see the entire school community together in one place.  The entire event typically lasts 10 – 15 minutes.  Our first Sing event is Wednesday, September 28 at 8:45 a.m. in the auditorium.  

Beginning on this week, our school (and STAR Academy) will participate in a Mayoral Initiative called “Breakfast in the Classroom”.  Our schools have “chosen” a hybrid model similar to what we do already called “Grab and Go”.  Students arriving early will still have the option of enjoying the usual breakfast served in the cafeteria, while latecomers will have a “grab and go” option available.  Students bring the “grab and go” breakfast up to the classroom and eat there.  Once they have finished, garbage/recycling is placed in carry bags and is removed by kitchen staff.  

Middle School Directories were sent home to fifth grade families last week.  They are a good  reference tool for you and your child to use in the next few months. Directories are also available online and at Middle School Fairs. The Middle School Fair for District 1 is Wednesday, September 27, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at University Neighborhood Middle School.  Please join Noemi, Tina, former 5th grade parents and me this Friday at drop-off in the Library to discuss the middle school process.

Mark your calendars:

  • The TNS Read-a-Thon is coming to a close!  Starting on Monday during drop off, we will be in the lobby taking donations.  Pledges may be paid in cash or check, made out to The Neighborhood School P.T.A. or pay via PayPal by going to our web page.  Thanks for supporting literacy and our school!  The week’s schedule is as follows:

    • Monday 9/26: Drop Off
      Tuesday 9/27: Pick Up
      Wednesday 9/28: Drop Off
      Thursday 9/29: Pick Up
      Friday 9/30: Both Drop off and Pick Up

    • 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).

  • The Diversity Committee is hosting a potluck on Thursday from 6 - 7:30 p.m.  This is a really lovely gathering of families and staff, and I encourage you to come!  We meet in Danette’s Room and free childcare is available.

  • Our 5th grade middle school meeting is Friday, September 30 at 8:35 in the Library.

  • There is no school Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4 in observance of Rosh Hashanah.

Just a gentle reminder, please follow the directions posted on staircase doors (Up and Down) to ensure safe flow in the building.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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