Dyanthe’s Weekly Letter

Family conferences are next week!  These are opportunities for the child, parents, guardians or caregivers, and the teacher to talk about the child’s progress in classes, including Spanish, Science, and Physical Education. Children actively participate in these conferences and are present during the review of their progress.  This allows children to take ownership of their learning, celebrate their successes, and discuss areas for continued growth.  Please make sure you sign-up for a conference time!  Denise will also send out sign-ups for conferences with Oli, Maria, and Julia next week.

At most schools around the city, test prep forms a significant part of the class curriculum beginning in 3rd grade. Students learn to fill out bubble sheets; teachers focus closely on materials covered in the tests, and there is little time for open, explorative, authentic learning. At TNS, by contrast, students and teachers offer a progressive education model that values intellectual and emotional development and encourages students to take active roles in their learning.  Parents have chosen our school because of our teaching and learning approach, which includes not interrupting rich and meaningful curriculum to do months of test prep.  Many of our parents have taken an active and outspoken stance to reject the state tests, as is their right. But, of course, we’re not perfect.  We are continually working to improve instruction through ongoing professional development.  We also use multiple “data sources” to inform our work with children.  But the state testing data is not one of them. 

All parents have the right to opt their children out of the NY State tests, and doing so will NOT penalize individual students; they will continue to be recorded as opt-outs. To opt out, parents or guardians must let me know that they do not want the school to give the NYS standardized exams to their children.  The Advocacy Committee will provide families with a link to a google form, but any written communication, including email, is sufficient.  

3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade families, please let your child’s teacher know during conferences next week if you plan to opt out of the state tests so that we can organize staffing and materials accordingly.  We will continue to support the families who choose to opt their children out of the tests and equally support those who do not.