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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Spring Break Announcement

Dear Families,

Last night, schools received notice from the NYC Department of Education that we will not have Spring Break this year.  We have been anticipating this announcement and teachers are working to prepare a menu of engaging optional activities for children and families during this time.  I know that all of us - children, families, and staff were looking forward to the break to rest, rejuvenate and step away from our devices.  Please know that we are keeping this in mind as we develop plans. Teachers and I will be in communication with details soon. Please see the attached letter from the Chancellor.

With Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Dyanthe’s Letter: 3.21.20

Dear Families,

The past week has been incredibly challenging for our school as we prepare to move our entire community to remote learning.  Perhaps not surprisingly, our staff has been AMAZING! Although we can’t be physically together, in many ways I feel we more connected than ever.  

We will be moving our classes to a remote learning environment using Google Classroom.  Google Classroom is a virtual classroom; teachers will be posting messages, videos, and assignments daily - it’s going to be our school for this period of time when we can’t be together in our classrooms at TNS.  I have attached a Youtube video about Google Classroom so that you and your child can become familiar with this new platform. This is learning a curve for us all!  

Needless to say, getting all our students onto Google Classroom this week has been challenging and we have experienced a lot of technical bumps.  We are having trouble getting some students into classrooms, so please be patient. Please try to get onto Google Classroom as soon as your teacher email’s with directions.  In order to join a class, you will need to have activated your NYC Schools Account. You will also need your child’s DOE email address and password. 

Teachers have also been thoughtfully creating their on-line classrooms this week.  Next week, many activities and assignments will be about getting your children and you familiar with Google Classroom.  The work we’ll do in this new remote learning situation will evolve over time as we learn what works best for our community.  During the school day, teachers will available to answer emails and interface with kids from 8:30 AM -1:00 PM.  If you email after 1:00, please know that teachers may not get back to you until the following day. 

Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you directly next week via phone if your child has an IEP (Independent Education Plan) to review the services in your child’s IEP and share the current expectations for service delivery.  

NYC will continue to distribute Grab and Go meals from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM at TNS.  I know that not everyone is in the neighborhood; here is a link: of over 400 schools around the city that will also have Grab and Go. 

I hope you and your children are continuing to manage during this very trying time.  A tremendous amount is being asked of all of us at this moment in time and we will figure it out, even if it’s not by Monday.  ; ) This is a very steep learning curve for us all. We will need to be patient, understanding and flexible, both with ourselves and each other.

We miss you!  

With love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Schools Are Closed Until April 20, 2020

Dear Families,

Over the weekend, all of us at TNS consumed with worry about the health and safety of our students, families and each other.  I am very relieved that today the Mayor and Chancellor announced that schools will be closed tomorrow and are scheduled to reopen to students following Spring Recess on Monday, April 20.  Students will not report to school buildings for instruction during this time. Beginning Monday, March 23, we will move towards a “Remote Learning Model” for all school days until Spring Recess. 

There will be a one-day full system closure tomorrow, March 16.  Grab-and-Go meals will be available for students at all schools until Friday at which time the city will designate sites for families to get breakfast and lunch.  I know that not every family is in a position to “stock their pantry.” Please reach out to me directly if this a concern for your family so that we can help.  

Please check the DOE for details and reach out to me if you have any questions.  I will be in touch very soon!

With Love,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 9, 2020

Dear Families,

Last Wednesday, the Advocacy Committee, a few teachers and I met with over 30 parents to discuss testing, why we are a TSI school, the impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on curriculum, teaching, and learning and on numerous practices/structures that reflect our values about what we believe is best for children.  Here’s the link to the video of the meeting, in case you missed it: Grade 3 – 5 families, please speak with your child’s teacher(s) about opting out of the State Tests so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  I am also happy to meet with any family to discuss.

There are several additional meetings for families from TNS and Earth School that involve advocating at the city and state level:

  • Thursday, March 19 at 4 PM at CEC (PS 20):  Families are working on a petition to the state that they will share.  

  • Monday, March 23 at 8:30 AM at TNS:  Earth School and TNS families meet with the superintendent.

  • Thursday, April 23 at 6 PM at ES:  Earth School and TNS families meet with Harvey Epstein, Robert Jackson, and other elected officials.

Only 14% of TNS families have completed their DOE survey!  The survey helps me and our School Leadership Team better understand what members of our school community think about our school. The information captured by the survey is designed to support a dialogue among all members of the school community about how to make the school a better place to learn. Completion rates are also important as they reflect the level of parent involvement at the school.  Each TNS family needs to complete a survey so that the DOE knows that our parents are involved, informed, and are advocates for our children. Please do yours today:

This week at TNS….

  • Caroline and Grace’s class go to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.  Lindsey and Oli’s class go Wednesday and return Friday.

  • There is a PTA executive meeting Tuesday after drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • There is a Town Hall Meeting at 8:30 AM on Wednesday with families from STAR and TNS to discuss renovations as well as to share plans to accommodate children from both schools during recesses.  

  • The School Leadership Teams meets Friday at 8 AM.  All are welcomed.

    • Math Collective share

    • TSI/Opt-outs

    • After-school partnerships for next year

    • Yard Closure Plans

  • Camp Trip Fundraisers alert! Pi Day is coming up and we are celebrating this Friday with a raffle and... pie of course! Get a whole pie for $31.40 or a slice for $3.14. Coffee is $2, or $1 if you bring your own mug.  BONUS (students only): get an M&M for every digit of pi memorized. 

Looking Ahead….

  • Chelsea and Jane’’s class go to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday, March 16; they return Wednesday.  Matt’s class goes Wednesday, March 18 and returns Friday.

  • Tuesday, March 17 is a non-attendance day for Pre-K.

  • Friday, March 20 is a TNS half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.

Have a great week,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters


Dear Families,

As I explained in last week’s letter, the NY State Ed Department has identified our school as in need of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) for the 2019-20 school year.  This designation is a direct result of changes made in how opt-outs were calculated last year. A group of about 30 parents met last Tuesday to discuss our school’s TSI designation.  We agreed that families need to respond in two ways. The first is within the TNS community; families need to reach out to other families to ensure that they understand the threat the TSI status poses to our school.  The second response involves advocating beyond the school community, at the city and state level. Community Education Council will help coordinate some of this outreach, especially as we organize across other NYC schools and families similarly impacted by this designation. 

Please join me, the Advocacy Committee, and teachers this Wednesday after drop-off for another discussion, “What’s Up with the State Tests and Being a “TSI” School?”  

We will address:

  • The NY State ELA (English Language Arts), Math and Science Tests

  • Why we are a TSI School

  • The impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on curriculum, teaching, and learning

  • The impact of test prep in 3rd - 5th grades on numerous practices that reflect our values about what we believe is best for children (think no farm trips, no Camp Ashokan before May, no 50 minutes of recess or lunch in the classroom in 2/3s, no morning recess in 4/5s, less Project Time, and many more...)

Family conferences are this week.  Grade 3 – 5 families, please speak with your child’s teacher(s) about opting out of the State Tests during conferences so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly. 

The side of our recess yard that includes the play structure and comfort station is undergoing renovations beginning April 13.  Construction is anticipated to last 9 months to a year and that portion of the recess yard will be closed during renovations. We are having a Town Hall Meeting at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, March 10 to discuss renovations as well as to share plans to accommodate children from both schools during recesses.  

This Week at TNS...

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

  • The ECO Committee meets Friday morning after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • Dara, Shaquawn & Dianne, Caroline & Grace, Matt, Tiffany, and Joanne & Sofia’s classes go ice skating on Friday.

  • Movie Night is this Friday at 5:30 PM.

Looking Ahead…

  • Caroline and Grace’s class goes to the farm Monday, March 9 - 11.

  • Lindsey and Oli’s class goes to the farm Wednesday, March 11 - 13.

  • Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, March 10 at 8:30 AM: Q & A about park renovations.