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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 29, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

According to The NY Times, This Flu Season Is the Worst in Nearly a Decade (  I can only speak to our school community’s experience:  we have had an unusual number of sick children and staff this winter.  To help keep our community as healthy as possible, never send your child to school with fever.  Please also remember that in order to return to school, your child must be must be fever-free for 24 hours (“fever-free means” without the help of Tylenol, Motrin, etc.).  Thank you!

We believe that children learn best through first-hand experiences with people, materials and places; that is why trips are such an important part of our school’s curriculum.  Some trips, like ice skating may not be so much about content learning, but about giving children opportunities to have different kinds of life experiences.  Many of our children learn to ice skate by going on these trips twice each year.   This Friday, Erin, Dianne & Shaquawn,  Jane, Olivia & Chelsea,  Catlin & Caroline and Grace’s classes go ice skating.  Remember to check-out our skate swap in the PTA room (left-hand side).  You can drop off a pair of skates your child has outgrown and/or pick up a pair that fits.  Open to all!

Mark your Calendar:

  • Auction Committee meets Monday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.  

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

  • 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).

  • SLT meets Thursday at 8AM in Room 301.  Agenda:

1. Review 2017-18 School Budget.

2. Talk about advocacy in terms of tests. What are the consequences of having high opt out numbers, does it allow more flexibility?

3.  In preparation for our Quality Review on February 14 - 15, we will work on the School Self Assessment Form.

4. Follow up on parent responses, esp. related to IEPs.

5. Recess, as it relates to new grade/class configurations for next year, as well as preserving cross grade friendships.

6. SLT members survey items and how we can add them (if necessary) to the bylaws.

  • The Diversity Committee is hosting a potluck on Thursday from 6 - 7:30PM in Mara’s Room.  Childcare and pizza provided.

  • The Advocacy Committee will meet Friday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 22, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

At TNS, we look at children and measure their growth and development on an individual continuum.  Assessment practices include anecdotal notes, reading alongside children, looking at work samples and portfolios; and children are often a part of this work.  TNS teachers, Erin, Chelsea, Grace and Alexis will share the ways they “measure” student growth, make decisions about class instruction and address the place state testing plays in instruction and curriculum this Thursday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.  I hope you can join us!

In lieu of report cards, TNS teachers prepare mid-year written reports that provide detailed information about your child.  During the month of January, teachers are hard at work in the evenings and on the weekends writing narrative reports.  Narrative 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.  As I read over your children’s reports, I am struck by how each one paints a distinct picture of each child.  Reports go home Monday, February 5.

Is your child in Pre-K, K, 1st or 2nd grade?  Join Amanda, our speech pathologist this Friday from 12 - 1 for an informational session about Sounds in Motion, the literacy program implemented in our early education classrooms to promote phonemic awareness and early literacy skills.  It pairs kinesthetic gross motor movements with phonemes to teach articulation, phonemic awareness and sound/symbol association.  We will meet in Room 303.  Children are encouraged to attend, too!

Mark your calendar:

  • I will host an information hour about next year’s reconfiguration of our grade bands to Pre-K (stand alone), K/1, ⅔, ⅘ on Monday at drop-off.  We will meet in Room 301 (down the hall from the Main Office).

  • TNS Auction Committee meets Monday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.  

  • 3rd Grade Camp Information Night is Monday at 5:30PM in the Library.

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Tuesday morning at drop-off in Room 301. This is a support group for parents and caretakers; it is an opportunity to share experiences, defeats, and strategies with each other.

  • TNS to Puerto Rico with Love Committee meet Tuesday at 3:15PM in the Library.

  • The Garden Committee meets Friday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • Friday is a half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45AM.  



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 16, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

When The Neighborhood School was founded 26 years ago, we intentionally created mixed-age groupings for every grade band.  We believe that children are well served in mixed-age groups. They can work with a wide age range of classmates; mentor children younger (and sometimes older) than themselves; be mentored by classmates; and, because they are with the same teachers for two years, they are taught by those who know them on a deeper level.  We followed this model until 2006, when the Department of Education (DOE) moved 6th grade to middle school.  This shift left us with an odd number of grades and a decision about how to adjust our mixed-age groupings.  Ultimately, we decided to have 3rd grade stand alone.  This model has proven to be challenging, both philosophically and logistically.  

With the full support of our teachers and the School Leadership Team (SLT), we have decided to re-configure our mixed-age groupings beginning next year to Pre-K (stand alone); K/1; 2/3; and 4/5.  As with any decision that affects students and teachers’ daily experience and curriculum, the staff and SLT have spent time exploring the effects of this new configuration.  Teachers and I are confident that these new grade arrangements will continue to support our children’s educational and social-emotional needs within TNS’s progressive model.

I am sure you have many questions about these changes.  I will host an information hour Monday, January 22 at drop-off.  We will create an informational handout for those unable to attend.  I hope to see you there.

Mark your calendar:

  • TNS Auction Committee meets Wednesday at 8:40 AM in the PTA Room.

  • STAR and TNS family and friends are invited to the Library this Wednesday from 3 - 4:15 to make posters for the 2018 Women’s March.  Info about the Women’s March, Saturday January 20th:  The rally (starting at 11:30) will be at Central Park West & 61st/62nd street.  We will march (starting around 12:30) past Columbus Circle, East on 59th Street, and South on 6th Avenue.

  • Our January PTA General Meeting is Thursday at 8:40 AM in the PTA Room.  

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

  • Judy, Wanda, Dara, Shaniqua & Lindsey, Sofia & Joanne, Alexis & Corinthia, and Hannah’s classes go ice skating this Friday.  



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 8, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Art is a vital part of children’s experience at TNS.  The arts often offer a “way in” to academic subjects for many children who learn best through modalities other than reading and writing.  In addition, the arts introduce different ways of seeing and understanding the world.  I am very excited to share that our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders will participate in a residency with New York City Ballet (NYCB) this semester.  Teaching artists will lead ten in-school movement workshops that focus on the creative process, culminating in a presentation of student generated choreography.  Students will be challenged to think critically, act creatively, and engage collaboratively as they learn how to choreograph their own group dances.  Students will also attend a lecture demonstration and a live performance at Lincoln Center.

Ice skating trips are around the corner and money for your child’s first trip is due to your child’s teacher today.  Each class ice skates two times during the winter:

  • Friday, January 19th:  Judy - Wanda -Dara - Shaniqua & Lindsey - Sofia & Joanne - Alexis & Corinthia

  • Friday, February 2nd:  ‪Erin - Dianne & Shaquawn - Jane - Olivia & Chelsea – Grace - Catlin & Caroline- Hannah

  • Friday, February 9th:  Judy - Wanda -Dara - Shaniqua & Lindsey - Sofia & Joanne - Alexis & Corinthia

  • Friday, March 2nd: ‪Erin - Dianne & Shaquawn - Jane - Olivia & Chelsea – Grace - Mara & Caroline - Hannah

Finally, I want to let you know about a shift in staffing that will happen at the beginning of the new semester.   After considerable thought, we are going to make the following change:  beginning the week of February 5, Mara will join Caroline to co-teach in the 4/5s and Catlin will begin teaching Spanish with the new round of classes and the 3rd grade, which has Spanish all year.  It is always challenging to make staffing changes mid-year and I am deeply appreciative and grateful to Mara, Caroline and Catlin for their willingness to ensure our students’ success.

Mark your calendar:

  • The Wellness Committee meets Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • The Grants Committee meets Thursday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 1, 2018

Happy New Year Neighborhood School Families!

I am sending out my weekly letter a little early because it looks like we are in store for more very chilly weather this week.  Just a reminder: winter weather does not keep our students inside at recess.  It is very important that children come to school dressed for the weather.  Please make sure your child has all the necessary accessories (hat, scarf, mittens and snow pants) to stay warm and active outside!

Please join me for my Morning Hour Wednesday, January 11 at 8:40AM in the PTA Room for a discussion about mixed-age classrooms.  Most of our classes are grouped in multi-age configurations to allow each child to develop both academic and leadership skills.  When the school began, one fundamental belief we held was that children are well served in mixed-age groups where they can work with a wide range of classmates, mentor children younger (and sometimes older) than themselves, be mentored by classmates, and be known well by their teachers by remaining in the same class for two years.  I encourage you to read this short article ahead of time: Mixed-Age Grouping: What Does the Research Say, and How Can Parents Use This Information?

Mark your calendars:

  • Important Organizing Meeting for TNS to PR with Love this Wednesday at 3PM in the Library.  There are lots of ways to help us mobilize our school community to support our adopted school in Puerto Rico.  All are welcome.

  • The SLT (School Leadership Team) meets Thursday at 8AM in Room 301.  All are welcome:

    • Adopt the Alternative School lunch menu

    • Analyse the parent responses to the DOE survey

    • How we as a school can make the middle school process better for families

  • Popcorn Friday is this week at dismissal.


I hope that you had a wonderful break and were able to enjoy some downtime with friends, family and by yourself!  

Welcome Back,