The BUZZ ...

January 15, 2017

Dear Earth School Families,

This is a truly historic week as we honor Dr. King, inaugurate our 45th President, and bear witness, either in person or via media, to the Women’s Marches in Washington, NYC, and other cities. It’s a great opportunity for children to learn about their country and how democracy is enacted. In addition to learning about Dr. King, each class will be exploring the topic of leadership. Children will brainstorm what is mean to lead and to lead well. We will share some of these ideas at Town Meeting on Friday. This week’s song will be “This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie. If anyone knows the tune on a guitar, sitar, kora, uke, or bango (etc.), please join us to strum along.

On a similar note, there will be a hearing tomorrow to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. I urge you to oppose her nomination. She has no background in education and is a proponent of voucher programs and charter schools that divert funding from public schools and that shirk regulations, such as admitting all students. Here is a video and an article. Do your own research.

Our third graders have been working with legendary storyteller, Laura Simms. A few students will be sharing their stories at Town Meeting. Others will share them with their buddy classes. Laura has introduced the craft of storytelling with stories from around the world.

The School Leadership (SLT) Team debates school issues that affect the entire community. It is a governing body that approves the yearly school plan, represents the parent body on hiring and other committees, and has input on decision-making and programming. The Earth School has always enjoyed a great level of parent involvement and support. However, there is always a core group of parents who are most active in the PA, on the SLT, and at community events. For a variety of reasons, these most active parents tend to have similar socio-economic, racial backgrounds, and/or educational backgrounds. On average, our most active parents are lighter and have more economic security than our average student.

How do we include and represent the priorities of underrepresented groups? Why is this important? The SLT is charged with making decisions for the community that it represents. Without a wider range of participation, there are voices missing in our conversation. Decisions will not be balanced by the needs and concerns of many different families.

The SLT is a great way for folks who have limited time to become involved. Anyone can attend any meeting. The meetings are only once a month. We are also still seeking a parent interested in becoming a member of the Team. The SLT meets one Thursday a month from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. In addition, members occasionally volunteer for subcommittees. Please let Jocelyn, the PA, or me know if you are interested. If you feel that your unique background and perspective may expand our conversation, we especially hope that you will consider running.

Love, Abbe

This Week

Mon, 1/16. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Schools closed

Tues, 1/17, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Parents Association Meeting. School library

Tues, 1/17, 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. Evening Parents Association Meeting. School, Room 126

Wed, 1/18, 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. The Works, Professional Dance Performance. Families welcome. Auditorium

Sat, 1/21. Women’s March. Please see the attached flyer, if you're interested in attending the march in NYC with your kids. Some Earth School families will be marching with the other groups listed in the flyer. Although we as a school don't promote one political party over another, we do support the values described in the mission of the march. Their website states, "On January 21st, New York City will proudly join the international community to march in support of equality and promote civil rights for every human. This historic and peaceful event is open to the public and we warmly welcome ALL to participate."

Looking Ahead

Mon, 1/23, 6:30 pm. Jamaal Bowman, Middle school principal and author of The Tyranny of Standardized Testing and Holistic Schools, will speak at 6:30pm at The Neighborhood School (121 E. 3rd St.)

Fri, 3/10, evening. Magic Show. Auditorium. HOLD THE DATE!

Sat, 3/18, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Annual Town Meeting, Library. Awesome activities for kids, too. HOLD THE DATE!

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