Week of October 29, 2018

Dear Neighborhood School Families,

As I’ve done too many times before, I write to express grief and anger in the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack in Pittsburgh which followed the bombs mailed to several public figures; and to think about how we can come together as a community for our children and each other.  Saturday’s event underscores how deeply troubled we are as a nation. When a place isn’t safe for one person - one people, it is not safe for anyone. Until we can think and act as though we are plural, no one can really be free.

Teachers will listen for what comes up and reassure children that they are safe at TNS.  They will communicate with you directly about conversations and actions that emerge over these next days and weeks.  For your part, turn news off when young children are in earshot.  Listen carefully to what kids ask so that your answers are in sync with what they really want to know.  Answer questions honestly. Assure children that in NYC, the police now protect all houses of worship so that people are safe.  Talk about your own community’s proactive efforts to fight prejudice and value differences. If your family is Jewish, your child may feel especially and understandably vulnerable or may be worried about your safety when you are apart. Try to be generally available, reassuring and involved.  If children want to do something to help, they can make a drawing/dictate/write a letter to the congregation in Pittsburgh that was targeted. In talking with older children, offer and think about all of the above, but make sure there are a lot of opportunities for conversations over the next few days and weeks.  Listen for indications that this reminds them of other threats or losses. Offer ways to help the Pittsburgh congregation. Invite proactive activities (letters to editors, politicians, etc. re: gun control, support for religious and cultural diversity, etc.). I find that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance is an excellent resource for educators and families.

A few items that fall under “housekeeping”:

Many of you have written me about concerns around the rodent and roach issue in our building.  Staff and I share your concerns and have been frustrated by the lack of response from the DOE. An exterminator finally came last week to assess the situation and suggest next steps.  Charlie Forte, the Deputy Director of School Facilities has assured me that the custodial staff will begin sealing holes both inside and outside the building this week. I will keep you posted.

The adult bathroom on the first floor (near the exit to recess yard) is the designated adult bathroom for children and their grown-ups.  Please do not bring children into adult bathrooms on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th floors. Thank you.

Please do not leave strollers in the Lobby during the day.  They block access to scooters, the safety agents’ area and most importantly, pose a fire hazard.  Thank you.

Please take an active role supervising your children after school on the recess yard and playground.  Sometimes play can get rough and adult intervention and support is needed. Your children thank you.  ; )

Mark your calendars:

  • SING is Wednesday in the auditorium.  We will also have a bake sale in the lobby beforehand.  

  • Our Halloween Parade Wednesday, October 31st at 6, but activities start at 5:30 in the recess yard.  Children and families from our school and the surrounding neighborhood gather in the TNS recess yard to show off their costumes.  Please remember to save candy and costumes for the parade!   

  • Thursday is Picture Day.  Individual shots will be taken in the PTA Room and class pictures will be taken in the small cafeteria.  Every child will have their picture taken. Families will get a code specifically for their child and they can go to the Cool for School website to order their child’s pictures.  November 29 is saved for sibling pictures and make-ups.

  • SLT meets at 8AM in Room 313.  All are welcome.

Agenda:

School Survey
Vote on Article V and Mission Statement for the SLT ByLaws
Gender Neutral Student Bathrooms
Community Day (with a focus on rodent prevention)

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

Finally, moving forward, 5th grade Girls and Boys Projects will now be called The Leaders Project.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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