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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

August 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

It has been another busy summer at TNS.  The custodial staff has been working hard to move and ready classrooms for September.  Construction is underway each and everyday (including Saturdays and some Sundays, too).  Members of the Health & Safety Committee and I have met biweekly with the SCA (School Construction Authority) throughout the summer.  It looks like, with the exception of the east and west sides of building in limited stairwell areas, all scaffolding will be down and classrooms will be ready when school begins!  And although the play area that has been the staging area may still not be accessible for the first couple of weeks of school, the play structure will open!

I want to share some exciting additions to our staff for next year.  Over the summer, Christie was approved to take a one year teaching leave from TNS.  The hiring committee was aware of this possibility and brought on Shaniqua Pippen, who has worked as a teacher for The Co-op School for 6 years.  In addition to teaching, Shanique is passionate about social justice and does political work in relation to raising awareness about issues in urban communities, especially for people of color.  Shaniqua will be co-teaching 1/2 with Lindsey Molina.  Lindsey comes to us from Central Park East 1, where she has taught for the last 7 years.  During her time there, Lindsey worked to create dynamic learning environments grounded in hands-on investigations (for her demo lesson with the hiring committee, Lindsey brought worms!), emergent curriculum and projects inspiring greater interest, depth and understanding.  Wanda Cruceta has been teaching early childhood at Purple Circle in the Upper Westside for over 9 years.   Wanda comes with a passion for developing developmentally appropriate curriculum that promotes social emotional and intellectual growth, encourages curiosity and creativity, develops problem-solving skills and fosters independence and self-esteem.  Wanda will be teaching Pre-K/K.  Lastly, our speech teacher, Rebecca will be part-time beginning in the fall so that she can spend more time with her family.  We are excited to welcome Amanda Zarrielo as our new full-time speech pathologist.

Very soon, you and your child will be receiving a letter and supply list from your child’s classroom teacher(s).  It will detail some important materials your child needs to get started this year.  Read it with your child (or have her/him read it to you).  Please also be on the look-out for the PTA summer mailing that details many of this year’s events.  It’s going to be a wonderful school year!

I very much hope to see you at the PTA sponsored Welcome (back) Picnic on Wednesday, September 7th in the recess yard from 3 - 6pm.  In addition to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, our after school programs will be available for sign-up.  

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep cool!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 27, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

With only a couple of days remaining in this school year, I want to share the final version of the class configurations for next year.  We will have have three 4th/5th grades, two 3rd grade classrooms, four 1st/2nd grades, two kindergartens and two pre-K/Ks classes.  Some of our teachers will also be teaching different grades: Erin will teach Pre-K/K, Jane will teach ½, and Sofia and Desmond will move down to teach 3rd grade.

Just a few reminders:

  • Tomorrow, June 28 is a half-day (and the last day of school).  Dismissal is at 11:35am.    

  • Tuesday is our last Sing of the year in the courtyard at 8:45am.  Please note, we do not have a bake sale.

Lastly, it is time to say “goodbye” to some cherished members of our teaching community.  Two of our beloved founding teachers, Laurie and Debbie are retiring.  Meg, who has taught ½ at TNS for the last four years, is moving on to teach at a new school.  Vanessa, our Occupational Therapist (OT), is leaving to take care of her soon-to-be baby girl.  We will miss them all, but wish them luck on their next adventure and look forward to when they come back to visit!

Thank you for another wonderful year. I am so honored to be a part of such a remarkable community.  I hope that it is obvious to you how much I love being your principal and how much fun I’ve had working with you and your children again this year.  I hope you have a wonderful summer with your children; full of adventure and play and have lots of stories to share when we see each other again on September 8th.  

Much Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 20, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Happy Summer Solstice!

It is a tradition at TNS that we have Camp Days on the last two full days of school (Friday and Monday, June 27).  In the morning, kindergarten students will go to the recess yard and the 1st and 2nd grade students will go the 1st Park.  In the afternoon, upper grades go to 1st park.  Students will get wet if the sprinklers are on (and we hope they are), so please send a change of clothes to school for your child.  If you do not want your child to go into the sprinklers, please let your teacher know.  Please note, students must come to school to participate in Camp Days.

Just a few reminders:

  • 5th Grade graduation is Thursday, June 23 at 1:30pm in the Auditorium.

  • Narrative Reports go home Thursday.

  • Tuesday, June 28 is a half-day and the last day of school.  Dismissal is at 11:35am. 

  • Tuesday, June 28 is also our last SING of the year in the courtyard at 8:45am.  Please note, we do not have a bake sale.

Have a good week,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 13, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

During the month of June, teachers are hard at work in the evenings and on the weekends writing your children’s progress reports.  Progress reports tell the story of a child as a learner; they are descriptive, filled with precise detail, and reveal a child’s interests, strengths and areas for growth.  The end-of-year reports will detail the growth your child has made this year.  Reports go home June 23.  

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with my 9 year old daughter Kaya about the horrific events in Orlando Saturday night.  I imagine that some of our students will come into school today knowing a lot, a little, or nothing at all about what happened.  We believe that the best approach to supporting our children is to take our cues from them:  listen carefully their questions/thoughts, respond with what we know and assure them that they are safe at TNS.  

Word of mouth is often the best way to share information.  Please let your friends, family and neighbors know that The Neighborhood Schools has spaces in our 3rd grade classes for next year; they can reach out to me ( or Noemi ( for more information.  

Mark Your Calendar:

  • We will have the Scholastic Book Fair today in the front courtyard.

  • Our final SLT meeting of the year is tonight, June 13 at 5:30pm in Danette’s room.  All are welcome.

  • THERE IS NO SCHOOL TOMORROW.  It is a Department of Education Clerical day for staff.

  • We will have elections for PTA and SLT positions for next year Thursday morning at 8:30 in the PTA Room.

  • Please join families for the Multicultural Family Potluck Thursday in the yard beginning at 5:30pm.

  • Thursday, June 23 at 1:30 is 5th Grade Graduation.  

  • Tuesday, June 28 is a half-day and the last day of school.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 6, 2016

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As I discussed in my letter a couple of weeks ago, teachers and I have begun to work on class configurations for next year.  Although we always try to preserve students’ experience of staying two years in our mixed aged classrooms, sometimes it is not possible.  Next year, we will have one fewer ⅘ class.   As a result, we will have three ⅘ classes.  We will also have 2 full-time 3rd grade ICT (these are classes with two teachers) classrooms.  If you have a fourth grade child in Sofia’s class, please make sure you let her if there are particular friendships you’d like to see continue, or if there are particular children you think your child should not be placed with, or if there are other things you want us to consider about your child’s learning and social needs.  While we will carefully consider your input along with information from teachers and other school staff, please understand that we may not be able to honor every request.  Our goal is to make well balanced classes all around.  We will be in clear communication with children and  families about any changes in class placement before the end of the school year.

Our PROSE Diversity Grant was approved!  Monies will support staff work with Border Crossers next year as well as compensate our early childhood teachers to outreach to District 1 Headstarts and Universal Pre-K programs.  Borders Crossers will have a parent workshop Tuesday from 6 to 8 pm.  This training provides parents, guardians and caregivers with strategies for how to talk about race and racism with their children. Parents learn how children see race, gain skills for approaching age-appropriate conversations with a racial equity lens, and practice strategies to promote positive racial identity development in children.

Friday is Field Day!   Our entire school is going to Prospect Park for a picnic and outdoor activities.  Younger students will take school buses and some upper grades will take the train.  Please check with your child’s teacher about departure time.   We will gather near the Picnic House.  Parents wishing to take students out early or directly from the park must sign out with their classroom teachers. This will insure that all students are safely accounted for.  Thank you.

Mark your calendars:

  • The NYS Written Science Test is today.

  • Please join our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes for their Theater Residency Shares in the auditorium this week:

    • Tuesday:  8:25 Laura & Michiko, 10:45 Alexis & Corinthia, 11:35 Hannah & Desmond

    • Wednesday:  9:10 Sofia, 9:55 Jane, 10:45 Grace

  • Thursday, June 9 is Chancellor’s Day.  There is NO SCHOOL for students.

  • Tuesday, June 14 is a DOE Clerical Day for staff.  There is NO SCHOOL for students.

  • Narrative Reports go home on on Thursday, June 23.  Scored TNS ELA and Math Alternative Assessments will go home with students’ Narrative Reports.

  • Tuesday, June 28 is a half-day (and the last day of school!).  Dismissal is at 11:35am.