• Abbe's Letter

  • .
    THE BUZZ.....

    Dear Earth School Families,


    Here at The Earth School, we view all families as essential partners in their children’s school experience. To this end, there are a few school events that we hope all will attend, such as the Class Potluck and Curriculum Night, Annual Town Meeting (in spring), three Family Conferences, and class work shares and performances. We hope that everyone can attend some Weekly Town Meetings and Seasonal Celebrations. 


    The Class Potluck and Curriculum Night is next Monday, 9/24, 5:30 – 7:45 p.m. This is an opportunity to spend time with other families in your child’s class, to meet the teachers, and to learn about the curriculum for the year. Each class needs one or two people to volunteer to be “Class Parents” to help the teachers organize class events and communications.


    This year, the staff and I are working to expand opportunities for parent involvement. Why do we need MORE school events for families when there are so many already?!? Through formal and informal research, we learned that the very wide-ranging diversity at The Earth School means that we need lots of variety. We noticed that some families were coming to most parent events and were involved in planning and running them. Through surveys and conversations, we have been able to identify some of the causes that discourage other families from being as involved. To better serve our full range of families, we are working to address structural factors, including scheduling, input regarding the topics and kinds of activities, language access, event leadership, etc. At the same time, the Parents Association is trying to streamline its operations so its amazing community-building and fundraising events are not quite so labor intensive and draining to the organizers. What does all this mean to you?


    You are not expected to attend all of the events and offerings! The idea is that everyone finds a comfortable way to learn and get support with parenting and educational issues, that everyone finds an impactful way to voice concerns and to contribute ideas to the work of the school, and that everyone finds a fulfilling way to contribute time or resources that are so essential for providing the amazing, high-quality programming to our students. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing about many of these offerings, such as:

    •Parent Corps in partnership with NYU 
    (open to new and returning families) is a parent education and support group led by Guidance Counselor Shirley Suares

    •Parent Teacher Home Visits (open to all Pre-K families) See http://www.pthvp.org/

    The Diversity & Difference Study Group, with Abbe and Cecelia Traugh, examines the state of equity, racism, and privilege in America

    •Representation Team is charged with making sure that historically underrepresented groups have voice and visibility in the community

    •The 3Rs (Reflect, Represent, Respect) Program, a new forum for parent involvement that will take place in the evening so parents can attend after work


    I look forward to working with you and hope that each of you finds the resources that you need to sustain you personally and as a parent in these complex and challenging times.


    With love,  Abbe
    Posted Sep 17, 2018, 4:27 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg
  • .
    THE BUZZ.....

    Dear Earth School Families,


    Happy holidays to those who are celebrating this week!


    It was a wonderful first few days. The community feels vibrant and refreshed. Thanks to the parents who attended the orientation. It was great to see new and returning families.


    This is the time when the entire school is focused on establishing clear structures and routines for being together as a community. From where to keep one’s things to “good listening” or cleaning up after oneself, rules and routines are what make school run smoothly. Once internalized, these structures are hard to notice and look "easy." When routines are not carefully established, classrooms appear chaotic and children feel off-balance. I invite you to consider some of the routines you have at home-- for bedtime or bath, or nightly reading-- to see if you have designed predictable structures for your child to work within. As children grow, their routines and responsibilities must be adjusted. Please come to Wednesday’s “Have a Great Day!: Smooth Transitions and Relaxed Routines” for more on this!


    We need to push back the Class Potluck and Curriculum Night to Monday, September 24. Please make note of the new date. The class potluck is an opportunity to spend time with other families in your child’s class, to meet the teachers, and learn about the curriculum plans for the year. Each class needs one or two people to volunteer to be “Class Parents” for the school year. Class parents help the teachers organize class events and communicate with parents in the class.


    Allergy Safety and Peanut-Free Policy To make our community safe for students with allergies, The Earth School strives to be a peanut-free environment. Please check labels carefully when sending lunches or snacks. Please indicate on your child’s emergency contact card and notify your classroom teacher of any allergies or dietary restrictions. Teachers will notify parents of classmates or staff with serious food allergies so you can plan accordingly. Because we are aware that one of our teachers has a life-threatening allergy to shellfish, we ask that you do bring foods containing shellfish to school events.


    One of our favorite traditions at The Earth School is sharing favorite family foods at potlucks, picnics, and class breakfasts. Labeling foods so others are aware of foods that contain nuts or other common allergens, which are gluten-free, or vegan is greatly appreciated. We appreciate your help in creating a safe environment for all.


    Important: BLUE FOLDER Back-to-School Paperwork

    Please return completed forms to your classroom teacher in the BLUE FOLDERS by September 14.


    Please check out the attached letters from the Department of Education.


    Love, Abbe

    Posted Sep 9, 2018, 1:29 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg
  • .
    THE BUZZ.....

    Dear Earth School Families,

    It’s time to get back to school!! The staff and I send everyone a warm welcome.

    Returning to school brings up lots of feelings. Your child may be excited, nervous, shy, frightened, brave or, like me, a little of all of these. During the first few weeks, we know that many of our youngest students will experience some big feelings about separating from their families. Extra staff will be on hand to help calm nerves and ease the separation. Shirley, our Guidance Counselor, is also available to help support children as they get used to their classrooms and school. We have found that young children benefit from a more gradual transition to the school year so Pre-K and K have a shortened schedule on the first few days. The long weekend will interrupt the separation process so we can expect a few more tears at drop off on Wednesday.


    There are lots of activities designed to get the year off to a great start. Pre-K, K, and all new families are encouraged to attend the Earth School Orientation meeting on Friday. Next Wednesday, 9/12, Shirley will lead an interactive workshop, "Have a Great Day: Tips for Smooth Transitions and Relaxed Routines." We hope you can attend.


    There are lots of ways to stay informed about all things Earth School. Most information is sent out via email, however, we do provide hard copy “paper” notices (backpack mail) upon request. Please indicate your preference on the Authorizations form. We have several computers (in the library and PA room 126) that are available for your use. If you need help finding one or creating an email account, please ask Jocelyn. Did you know that the Earth School website contains lots of useful and up-to-date information? It has most items that are sent via email and paper such as my weekly BUZZ newsletter, the school calendar, the welcome letters and supply lists (see class pages), and more. Another great resource for getting to know us is the Parent Handbook. The latest version is coming soon in hard copies and on our website.


    Important: BLUE FOLDER Back-to-School Paperwork

    Each student will receive a blue folder of IMPORTANT Back-To-School forms. These forms must be completed each year. Sending your forms back on time is GREATLY appreciated by teachers and office staff. We will also be enclosing a paper School Day Calendar with school closures and early dismissals to post in your home. Please return completed forms to your classroom teacher in the BLUE FOLDERS by September 14.


    Each year, the Department of Education collects information about family income in order to determine federal subsidies that support schools to serve students who are economically disadvantaged.The Family Income Inquiry form (previously called the School Meals Application or “Lunch Form”) can be completed online or by using the paper copy in the folder. Whichever way you choose, we need to collect one per family. The good news is that it only takes 5 minutes and it could lead to increased school funding!


    Love, Abbe

    Posted Sep 3, 2018, 1:52 PM by Stevie Remsberg
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Mon, 9/17, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Representation Team Meeting, Abbe’s Room 140

Tues, 9/18, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. First Parent Association meeting of the year!! All welcome. Library

Wed, 9/19. School Closed for Yom Kippur

Thur, 9/20, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. First School Leadership Team (SLT) Meeting of the year! All welcome. Room 114

Fri, 9/21, 8:40 – 9:10 a.m. Fall Equinox Celebration. All welcome!


Mon, 9/24, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Open School Night Class Potluck and Curriculum Night. Meet the teachers and other parents! Find out about the year’s curriculum plans! Childcare available.

Thur, 9/27, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. District 1 Middle School Application Information Session, Family Resource Center (FRC), @PS 20, 166 Essex Street. 5th Grade families please attend!

Mon, 10/8. School Closed for Indigenous People’s Day (aka Columbus Day)


#1 What’s the difference between Weekly Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting?


# 2 What’s the difference between Open Work and C.O.W. time?




Open Work All classes at the Earth School have regularly scheduled Open Work periods. During Open Work time, students have the opportunity to pursue their own interests and creative inspirations. Activities are wide-ranging from developing writing, art, or science projects, to building with blocks, making jewelry, or playing math games.


C.O.W. Time (Community Open Work) occurs every Tuesday from 1:40-2:30 p.m.  C.O.W. is a time in which all Earth School classes simultaneously have Open Work. This allows students to work in other classrooms. Students, teachers, and parents also run special “C.O.W. clubs” to visit other classrooms to work on a common interest or activity. C.O.W. is an opportunity for parents to share their own interests with the school community, to get to know students, and to contribute diverse and rich experiences for students. If you are interested in running a C.O.W club, please contact Emily (emily@thearthschool.org). Past C.O.W. Clubs include sports, Japanese, gardening, school newspaper, sewing, and knitting.


Weekly Town Meeting is a schoolwide gathering on Friday mornings from 8:40 – 9:10 a.m. in the Blue Play Space downstairs. Emceed by science teacher Emmy and a team of 4th and 5th graders, Town Meeting is a community forum for singing, sharing work, addressing community concerns, and dancing. Parents are encouraged to attend when they can.


Annual Town Meeting is an important event where parents and staff gather to explore topics of relevance to our school. It is a time to learn more about the school’s history, its mission, and the challenges that we face. It is a time for parents to join with our educators to dream, plan, and review various aspects of school life. It usually takes place on a Saturday in the spring.

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