• Abbe's Letter

  • Abbe's Letter

    January 16, 2018

    Dear Families,

    Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looking back at some of the shocking events of the past year, I am saddened that our country has not moved closer to King’s dream. As a leader, I look to King for guidance when I doubt my course of action or consider the easier, more comfortable path. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King recognizes allies to the cause, but calls out the White pastors who opposed his protests and who told him to wait. He calls out those who opposed segregation, but were unwilling to take a stand. “We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts of [those] willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.”

    I am awed by our wonderful community where diverse children and families live together in peace and don’t shy away from the hard work of human progress. Our students have battled biases aimed at the LGBTQ community and have stood up for the equitable representation of world diversity in children’s literature. They are leading the way with eyes open not just for overt racism, but the more subtle imprint of omission (being left out). I awed by our partnership with Children’s Arts and by our teachers’ recent inquiry into the harmful effects of negative gender representations in the media. I awed by our multi-age, academically-inclusive classrooms led by faculty skilled at accommodating all kinds of learners. I am awed by our parents and teachers who have led the charge in opposing high stakes standardized tests and their use as instruments of segregation and exclusion. I am awed that The Earth School took part in Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative joining with our district and Community Ed Council to create more equitable schools for all of our students. I am awed by of our staff’s ongoing commitment to examining the structures and unconscious biases that still retain the mark of our country’s ingrained racism and marginalization of non-dominant groups. These accomplishments and many others are evidence of the Earth School’s longstanding commitment to take on issues and to have “courageous conversations” both within and beyond our school community.

    We have some special events this week. On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., students will attend a dance performance by the Rod Rodgers Dance Company in the auditorium. Families are welcome. On Wednesday, the 4/5th Graders will have a book talk and sing-along with Meryl Danziger, author of Sing It!: A biographer of Pete Seeger. Ms. Danziger will be in the lobby at drop off selling and signing her book.

    Love, Abbe

    Posted Jan 15, 2018, 6:28 AM by Designer Vanessa Lemonides
  • Abbe's Letter

    Posted Jan 2, 2018, 9:55 AM by Designer Vanessa Lemonides
  • Abbe's Letter

    January 2, 2018

    Dear Families,

    Thanks for your warm holiday cheer and abounding generosity this season. I hope you had an enjoyable Winter Break and wish you all a Happy New Year!!

    A few months back, Theresa and Rob’s 4th/5th graders were reading a book called Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed. The book has a lovely message about helping others with acts of kindness. At the end of the story, kindness has spread around the whole world. The student teacher Adrienne invited the class to respond to the book. The children were surprised that all the people in the world were depicted as only one race (White). Three students decided to write letters to the author and publisher. Just before vacation, the class received a letter and package. Because of our students’ critique, they published a revised edition to better reflect the world’s diversity!!! Enclosed were five copies of the new edition to add to our libraries. I am very proud of our students for taking a stand and helping these adults to see the world in a new, more inclusive way: 

    “It is understandable why each of you expressed concern with the artwork of the different children of the world being only one race. This is not an accurate display of the variety of people that this world has to offer and the message that is throughout the book.” – Addison Sharp

    January is a busy month for our teachers. After months of observations and assessments, it is time for them to write narrative report cards about each child. Though the workload is intense, the burden is outweighed by the value of the close, individual attention paid to each child. At The Earth School, we believe that knowing children well is the key to teaching them well. Though most parents are not used to “narrative report cards," we hope that reading them provides a window into the work that teachers do to get "inside" the thinking of young learners. The narrative reports will be sent home the first week of February. Please understand that teachers may be less available than usual for parent meetings and communications.

    Love, Abbe

    Posted Jan 2, 2018, 9:54 AM by Designer Vanessa Lemonides
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This Week

1/15. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. No school

1/16, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. PA Meeting, library.

1/16, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Rod Rodgers Dance performance, auditorium.

1/17, 8:00 a.m. Book signing Sing It!: A biographer of Pete Seeger by Meryl Danziger

1/19, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Diversity & Difference Study Group, library (see email for reading)


Department of Education Policy on Outdoor Play

“Children benefit from vigorous exercise and should be given the opportunity to play outside whenever possible. Unless it is snowing, there is ice on the playground, or the wind chill factor creates an effective temperature below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius), temperature alone should not be a barrier to outdoor play. You are encouraged to work with your staff to maintain outdoor play periods, and you should take precautions to keep students warm and to ensure that they are appropriately dressed on very cold days. When outdoors, please ensure that your students and staff cover exposed skin, wear warm clothing, and use multiple layers to maintain warmth. For more information, see this guide to staying warm outdoors.”

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