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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of September 9, 2019

Dear Families, 

This is year two of our grade band reconfiguration and many students are returning for their second year together and with their teachers.  What a difference a year makes; children were already busy at work and play on the first day! One benefit of mixed-age classrooms is that returning students already know routines and can support new students to adjust.  This dynamic increases older children’s level of independence and competence while also building younger children’s spirit of belonging to a community of learners.  I always say, it’s like having thirteen teachers instead of just one or two!

Adjusting to school routines and feeling a part of the classroom community may take time, especially for children who are new to the school or class.  Some kids will start the year off easily, adjusting in stride.  Others will enter the building protesting from day one. Then there are those who rush off to school with great enthusiasm but meltdown the moment they see you.  These are all naturals reactions to the start of school and will pass in time. At school, we will make sure children have opportunities to connect with teachers individually and within the class by sharing concerns, feelings, ideas and meaningful moments.  We will use reflective language and read-alouds to help children tune into and value their own feelings, ideas and experiences and give them a foundation for positive self-worth.  

I hope every family received a TNS Handbook (if not, please stop by the office and ask for a copy).  It describes some important TNS values as well as the essential “nuts and bolts” to get started this year.  

All Neighborhood School families should subscribe to our school’s listserv. It is used for official communication from me, other school staff and the PTA. It keeps you aware of important events happening in the school. This is a moderated list and very few emails are sent out weekly.  If you know a parent who is not on the email list, please forward my letter to them with this link:  You can also learn about what’s happening by going to our school website calendar at

The TNS PTA is looking for a pair of co-secretaries to join its Executive Board. The job is fun, low-key and a great way for a new parent (YOU) to learn more about the school and get involved with the energetic group of parents heading up the TNS this year. Responsibilities include: attending PTA Executive (chocolate provided) and General Meetings; circulating agendas before meetings; taking minutes and circulating minutes after meetings; keeping a sense of humor.

Mark your calendars:

  • Pre-K/Kindergarten Families Welcome:  Noemi and I meet with new Pre-K and K families on Monday at 8:30 AM in the library. 

  • All after school programming begins this week.

  • The PTA Executive Committee meets on Tuesday at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.  All are welcome.

  • The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet Thursday morning in Room 314 at 8 AM.  The SLT is a committee made up of elected parents, teachers and me.  We write, revise and disseminate school policies.  Monthly meetings are for the School Leadership Team Representatives and are open to all TNS families.  

  • Our Welcome (Back) Breakfast for ALL families is Friday at 8:35AM in the library.  Please stop by: sign-up to be on a committee and learn about our vision for TNS this year!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Welcome Back! 9.5.19

Welcome Back Families,

It has been a wonderful first day of school.  I got to be in classrooms, at recesses, and in the cafeteria during the 4/5s lunch.  One of my favorite moments of the day was when a first grader asked me (apropos of nothing) what my favorite thing to do was in the whole world.  When I told her I would need more time to think about it, she explained that her favorite thing to do is imagine playing with unicorns. Oh, how I have missed our children!  I hope your children will share an anecdote or two with you tonight.  

I also got to catch with families at arrival and then again at dismissal.  I was so happy to see you! Which reminds me, if you would like to meet your child in the lobby, you will need to sign and return a “Permission to Self-Dismiss” form.  Older siblings can also pick-up their younger siblings at the end of the day if you sign and return the “Sibling Dismissal Form.”

This year, we are adopting a “Hybrid Lunch Menu” and serving entrees from both the Alternative and Classic menus, depending on the week.  There are 6 days in the month when the Alternative and Classic entrees differ. Here’s the breakdown for September:

  • Week of 9/5 - same

  • Week of 9/9 -  Alternative Menu entrees

  • Week of 9/15 -  Classic menu entrees 

  • Week of 9/23 -  Alternative Menu entree

Moving forward, we will have a committee made up of both schools to determine the menu each month.  One change from last June is that the kitchen will not be able to offer both entree options on days that they differ.  However, tuna fish sandwiches will be offered each day that the menus differ.  

Not sure about your child’s after school plans for the year?  Please stop by our after After School Program Fair TOMORROW at 8 AM in the Lobby.  All after school programs begin the week of September 9th.

See you tomorrow,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of August 26, 2019

Dear Families,

Summer break feels endless in July and I’m always a little surprised to find September, and the start of another school year, right around the corner.  One aspect of teaching that I love is the ebb and flow of the year. Each fall is a new beginning of sorts, with new students and at least a few new colleagues; it’s an opportunity to take all that I learned from last year and begin again.

You should have received a letter from your child’s teacher by now. Please email me or Noemi if you didn’t and we can forward it along to you!  For those of you new to our community, this is my seventh year as principal of The Neighborhood School. My name Dyanthe (pronounced: Diane-thee), is a family name from Sri Lanka.  I am a mom to an almost 13-year-old daughter, two kittens and a nine-year-old pit bull mix. Most kids recognize my approach by the “click-clack” of my shoes-- I almost always wear heels (even though I am plenty tall without them).  I try to be in the lobby at arrival each morning to greet our children and families. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.  

We have a few staff changes this year.  I am thrilled to share that Tiffany Koo will teach 4th/5th grade.  Tiffany is an experienced progressive educator who has been teaching since 2013.  Sam Larson is also joining our staff for the year as our school psychologist while Natalie Roth takes leave to be with her new baby.  Finally, both Anthony and Sarah Whitney, our beloved school nurse, will be with us this year! HOORAY!

Thursday, September 5th is the first day of school for students!  We start the day at 8:25 AM and children and their families must wait until 8:23 AM to go upstairs to classrooms.  Breakfast is available to all students and is served each morning, beginning at 7:45 AM.  Dismissal for our Kindergarteners will be at 11:30 AM for the first two days of school.  Pre-K children follow a different schedule during the first weeks of school so please check-in with Wanda or Erin, if you have questions.  The school day ends at 2:45 PM for everyone else.

I hope you can come to our PTA sponsored Welcome (back) Picnic on Wednesday, September 4th in the recess yard from 3 - 6 PM.  Please bring a dish to share!  

Enjoy these last few days of summer.  I can’t wait to see you soon!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 24, 2019

Dear Families,

June is a month in which our moods vary from elated to sad because it is a time in which we realize that we are about to separate and may not see each other until the fall.  We take a moment to thank the incredible unifying work of our outgoing PTA Executive Board. Their efforts have been tireless this year.

There are no words that can adequately thank our staff, whose dedication to our children and families is unwavering.  I continue to be inspired by their work and the complex and deep ways they think about children, teaching and learning.  

It is also time to say goodbye to a very special member of our teaching community, Mildred Guy.  Mildred has worked at TNS for 25 years with all ages, from Pre-K to 6th grade, with different classroom teachers, paras, science teachers, support teachers, 3 principals, and Teddy.  Phew! We will miss her but wish her the best of luck on this part of her journey!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • TNS and STAR Academy are hosting a Town Hall meeting about school lunch on Monday at 8:30 AM in the auditorium.  This is a chance for families from both schools to discuss the lunch menu options for next year.  Please join us.

  • Monday and Tuesday are Camp Days at TNS.  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 and may not be dropped off or picked up from the park.

  • Wednesday, June 26 is the last day of school.   Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.  It is also the last  SING of the year. We will meet in the big yard at 8:45 AM.  Please note, we do not have a bake sale.

  • Class placement letters and class lists for next year go home the last day of school.  If your child is not here that day, you can email me or Noemi over the summer and we will send the information to you.  Your child’s teacher(s) will send a supply list later in the summer.

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 in September.  I will miss you!

Much Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of June 17, 2019

Dear Families,

It is a tradition to have “Camp Days” on the last two full days of school; this year they will be Monday, June 24th and Tuesday, June 25th.  Our K/1s will go to the park at 1st and 1st and 2nd - 5th grades will go to Tompkins Square Park (the north side, near 10th Street, between Avenue A & B).  Pre-K will have camp days in the recess yard.  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 and may not be dropped off or picked up from the park.

TNS and STAR Academy are hosting a Town Hall meeting about school lunch on Monday, June 24 at 8:30 AM in the auditorium.  This is a chance to discuss the lunch menu options for next year.  Representatives from the district office and State Assembly member Harvey Epstein will also be there.  Please come and share your ideas!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • There is NO SCHOOL tomorrow, Tuesday, June 18.

  • Third Street Music School is hosting its spring open house TOMORROW from 3 - 6 PM.  Partners@3rd classes are tuition-free for students during the first year of instruction at Third Street.  Second year instruction is discounted, and financial aid is available for years three and beyond. The open house is free and will take place at its building on 235 East 11th Street near 2nd Avenue. TNS students ages 6 (by December 31, 2019) to 14 will be able to meet teachers, try out different dance styles, chorus, instruments, and apply for free and reduced-rate group classes with openings in the fall.  Children interested in attending the event must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Third Street’s Student Services office at: 212-777-3240 ext. 53.

  • 5th Grade graduation is this Thursday at 1:15 PM in the auditorium.

  • Narrative Reports go home Friday.

Have a good week,