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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 12, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

The TNS Handmade for Puerto Rico Pop-up store is open all this week!  Proceeds will be used to purchase and ship supplies for our partner school in PR.  There are three ways to get involved: make a handmade item to donate (use this link for INSTRUCTIONS), volunteer to work at the store (CLICK HERE to sign-up) and come shopping!

The Diversity Committee is listening and discussing “Seeing White”, a series of podcasts and a deep dive into the notion of “whiteness”.  Where did “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is it for?  How is this discussion important to our work as a school?  The premise of this series is that the American conversation about race, and the stories we tell ourselves about race and ethnicity are deeply incomplete and often misleading.  We need new stories and new understandings about our history and our current racial and ethnic reality.  I hope you will take the time to listen and join Diversity this Tuesday at drop-off for what promises to be a rich conversation.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The Auction Committee meets Monday at drop-off in the the PTA Room.

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

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

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

  • There is no school February 16 - 25.  

Have a wonderful break.  We’ll see you Monday, February 26.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 5, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

I am thrilled to share that we are opening a second Pre-K section next year and will be able to offer more children and families these much coveted spots at our school!  If you know of prospective families interested in coming to TNS, spread the word!

Every three years, NYC public schools partake in an evaluative process called the Quality Review.  A Department of Education (DOE) evaluator conducts a two-day school visit; they talk with parents, students, teachers and school leaders, visit classrooms, and use the Quality Review Rubric to evaluate how well the school is organized to support student learning and teacher practice.  After the school visit, the school receives a Quality Review Report that is published on its NYCDOE webpage.  Our quality review will be February 14 - 15.  I am looking forward to sharing the inspiring and exciting work happening at TNS!

Children learn by making sense of their world and their experiences.  Dramatizations and simulations are one way for children to recreate the themes and concepts they are studying.  A wonderful example of this is happening in our school over the next couple of weeks:  the first and second grade classes are engaging in a study of the post office and have created a postal service for our school.  Anyone can mail a letter to any student or staff member in the school.  You will see mailboxes posted around the school (in each of the 1st/2nd grade classrooms, in the lobby, outside the office and in the 4th/5th grade hallways).  Each day, children from each 1st/2nd grade class will be responsible for collecting mail from the mailboxes, canceling the stamps, sorting the mail by floor and then by room, and then delivering the mail.  You can use the Neighborhood School Postal Service, too!  All you need is a stamp (you can choose free stamps designed by our first and second grade postal workers or fund raising stamps which cost 25¢) which you can get in any of the 1st/2nd grade classrooms, address your letter with the room number of the person to whom you’re writing and then drop your letter into any school mailbox.  Think how exciting it will be for your child to receive mail from you when the daily mail is delivered to the classroom!

A new semester starts today.  Children in Pre-K/K, ½ or ⅘ who have been taking Spanish, will start science with Emily (Room 317).  Those who have had science, will begin Spanish with Catlin (Room 304).  Third graders do not make a switch; they have Spanish and science all year.  

Mark Your Calendars:

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

  • Narrative Reports go home Tuesday.  Teachers prefer handing reports to an adult for privacy and safekeeping.  If you cannot pick up the report personally, it will be backpacked.

  • There is a PTA Exec meeting Wednesday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • Please join me on Thursday at 8:40AM in the PTA Room for my morning hour.  

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

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



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.