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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 30, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

At long last, spring has sprung!  I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend; it looks like there is more to come soon!

Two years ago, our school began to examine issues of race and racism at TNS in partnership with the organization Border Crossers.  Through professional development and parent workshops, we strengthened our analysis of racism in our school and classrooms, enhanced our understanding of how racism affects children and practiced utilizing tools to address race and racism.  Needless to say, this work is ongoing.  This Friday from 6 - 8 PM,  he Diversity Committee will host a special potluck workshop with Border Crossers, “How to talk to kids about race.”  Parents will 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.  Childcare will be provided.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • The NYS Math Exam will be administered Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week.  Students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.

  • School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet in Room 301 at 8 AM Thursday.  We will work on our 2018-19 CEP (Comprehensive Education Plan).  All are welcome.

  • Our Spring Book Fair is open Thursday and Friday from 8 - 10 AM & 2 - 4 PM and Saturday during Artisan Fest.  

  • Please swing by Artisan Fest this Saturday from 11 AM - 4 PM.  Artisan Fest is the place to find your favorite local artisans under one roof.  Join us in supporting local artists and raise money to support arts programming at TNS!



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 23, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

I hope you enjoyed our spring weather this weekend.  I think we may finally be able to put away those parkas!  

Our 4th and 5th graders leave for Frost Valley Camp this Wednesday!  Activities include an ecology hike comparing ecological communities through hands-on investigation, a high ropes course,  orienteering, water quality monitoring and stream gauging and a night hike, where we will exploring nature at night using listening skills and night vision.  We expect all of our students will go to camp. The trip is an important part a child’s TNS experience and reflects the values of our mission about how children learn best.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher, me or Noemi if you have any questions about your child participating in this trip. I will be at camp Wednesday and Thursday.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Please join us Tuesday for a “Day of Wellness at TNS”.  There will Adult Health Screenings from 8:30 - 9:30AM by Ryan-Nena Health Clinic in the lobby, alternative lunch menu student tastings from 11AM - 2PM, and family fitness night.  5:45 - 6:30PM Free yoga. 5:30 - 7PM Climbing wall obstacle course in the 4th floor gym with Teddy.

  • Join us in the Library for the “Celebration of Cookbooks” Tuesday, 2 - 4PM and Wednesday, 8 - 9:30AM.  Get to know our library’s collection of cookbooks, sample food prepared from recipes in our library’s cookbooks and buy new, used and vintage cookbooks.  

  • SING is Wednesday at 8:45AM in the auditorium.  We will have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.



Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 16, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

Recently, a parent asked what our staff does on TNS half-days.  During these afternoons, we participate in something called descriptive reviews.  The descriptive process begins with immersion – observing a child or space or activity.  It has a focus or focusing question that the presenting teacher or administrator work out thoughtfully ahead of time and that gives the participants a sense of how to listen and respond to the review. The process is always collaborative.  It has rules and roles necessary for making the inquiry democratic and inclusive, and for guaranteeing respect and privacy for the individuals involved. A review typically takes about two hours. Descriptive reviews are a powerful way of opening up one’s practice and learning from each other.   Especially now, in a time of high stakes testing, accountability and enforced standardization, we try to ensure that education starts and builds from the strengths of children and teachers and values human capacity; descriptive reviews do just that.  We devote all our PD half-days to this work.

TNS and Star are celebrating Earth Day Tuesday in the 4th Street Courtyard from 12 - 4PM.   Once again, TNS parents have teamed up with local organizations to create awesome activities for our kids.  Yes, the bug eating is back from the Island School! We will also make mud balls to clean up the East River, learn more about our footprint and  explore a Sensory Station. NYC Grow will bring seeds and cups to start plants and GOLES will be here to educate people about GO BAGS and emergency planning.  Emily will share innovative work from our students. The Girls Project and a few classes are creating presentations and so we can look for some recycling games, information about worms and much more!  This is an opportunity for all of us to deepen to our commitment to the environment-please stop by!  

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Noemi and our Pre-K social worker, Alice are facilitating a workshop for families, “Taking Care of Ourselves” Monday at drop-off in 301.

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

  • The Earth Day “family playdate” will bring together the PreK and K children from STAR and TNS to MAKE CRAFTS WITH NATURAL AND RECYCLED MATERIALS.   The event will take place on TUESDAY 2:40-3:30PM in the 4th Street Courtyard.

  • April’s PTA Meeting is Thursday morning at drop-off in the PTA Room.

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

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

Have a good week,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of April 9, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

The chickens are back!  Once again, we will have 2 egg laying hens living in our 4th Street side courtyard for a month, beginning this week.  Most questions about our chickens-in-residence can be answered here:  Please make sure to ask your children about them; all classes will have a chance to visit.

The 3rd - 5th grade NYS English Language Arts Exams will be administered Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  We support parents in making the best decisions for their individual children; teachers will have conversations with students to create an environment that is respectful of the diversity of opinions surrounding this issue.  It is vital that all members of our community feel supported during this time and that we maintain a sense of calm for our students.

I am sure that some of you have been wondering who is teaching what next year as we re-configure our mixed-age groupings to Pre-K (stand alone), K/1, ⅔, and ⅘.  While your child’s placement letter will go out at the end of June as it always has, we will let families know grade team configurations and ICT partnerships in May.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions before then.

It’s a very busy week at TNS:

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

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

  • We will host “What to Do About Guns: A Community Discussion” Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA room.  TNS parent Matthieu Cornillon will lead a discussion about gun violence, the state of the movement to prevent it, and how people can get involved even while juggling parenthood and other responsibilities.

  • The PTA Executive Meeting is Wednesday morning at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • The SLT (School Leadership Team) meets Thursday at 8AM in the Library. All are welcome.

  • Please join the ECO and Diversity Committees for a potluck dinner Thursday from 6-7:30PM in Room 304.  Kids will play and have a pizza dinner!  Please bring a dish, if possible:

  • Parent’s of Unique Kids Support Group meets Friday morning at drop-off in Room 301.

  • The Wellness Committee and Barbara DiGangi from Families Thriving will host a series of workshop for families.  Each workshop will have a theme to help parents navigate and discuss important issues with their kid(s) such as child developmental stages, gender stereotypes and body awareness.  The first workshop will be Friday at 6PM in the PTA Room.

Welcome Back,


Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of March 26, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

This year, the NY State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will be administered in April.  TNS students who do not take the state tests will continue the important and meaningful work they engage in everyday.  Please let me or your child’s classroom teacher(s) know as soon as possible if your child is going to take the NYS Tests this year so we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  We will have a Forum on testing Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.  Most of the meeting will be Q&A, but 3rd - 5th grade teachers, members of the Advocacy Committee and I will give some context to the discussion first, including:

  • What do “high stakes” mean?

  • What does “test prep” look like at TNS?

  • What does opting out of the tests mean for middle school admissions?

  • What do the testing days look like for those children taking the state tests?

  • What do the testing days look like for those who will not be taking the state tests?

  • How do we talk with children about about opting out (or not)?

We hope that by attending this forum, you will have a better understanding about what testing looks like at TNS and what the tests mean for your child and the school.  

One of our school pets, Maxsene the rabbit needs a home over the break!  Care is exceedingly easy: mostly ensuring that Maxsene has food (provided) and water.  The caretaker should not be planning to be away for more than 2-3 days over break without someone to feed Maxsene.  Please speak with Catlin ( if you’re interested!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Sofia, Joanne, Edgar and Liz leave with their class to the Manhattan Country School Farm Monday morning; they return Wednesday.

  • SING is Wednesday at 8:45AM in the auditorium.  We will have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.

  • There will be an information session for 4th/5th grade families about Frost Valley Camp Thursday at drop-off in the Library.  The 4/5s go to camp April 25 - 27.

  • School is closed for Spring Recess:  3/30 - 4/6.

Have a wonderful break.  We will see you Monday, April 7.