• Abbe's Letter

  • .

    THE BUZZ.....

    January 22, 2019

    Dear Earth School Families,

    This week, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From my small post, I look up to Dr. King for courage when I doubt my course of action or consider avoiding the necessary tensions of change. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King calls out the White pastors who opposed his protests and told him to “wait.” He calls out those 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.”

    After 30 years of working in NYC public schools, I am heartened to find evidence of a reinvigorated commitment to the “human progress” to which King refers. Brilliant new voices and visions have emerged: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin D’Angelo, Michelle Alexander, Ava DuVernay, and Bryan Stevenson, to name just a few. While we as a people still suffer the effects of overt racism, such as hate language and White Nationalist movements, and of deeply-rooted “structural” and “cultural” forms, such as pervasive segregation, mass incarceration, police brutality, and the disproportionality of opportunity and access, the focus on equity increasingly visible through media, in our public spaces (museums, monuments, marches), in our history books, and up and down the NYC school system, is promising:

    • Mayor De Blasio committed $23 million to mandate that all Department of Education and Police Department employees receive Implicit Bias awareness training.

    • Schools Chancellor Carranza has made integration and  “advancing equity” one of his top priorities.

    • The Department of Education now has an Office of Equity and Access to coordinate system-wide trainings and initiatives.

    • School District 1 has contracted Pacific Education Group to train school principals in the Courageous Conversations Program to examine disproportionality and the achievement gap.

    • The NYC Council sponsored 250 teachers to train with Border Crossers (Center for Racial Justice in Education) and 125 teachers to work with NYU’s Critically Conscious Educators Rising program.

    • Healthy conversations, learning, and debates about equity, race, access, and representation are happening regularly within the Earth School Community by staff and parents, in the PA, SLT, the Diversity and Difference Study Group, Representation Team, and at 3Rs gatherings.

    • The Earth School has augmented classroom libraries and enriched class curricula so that more students see themselves reflected in the books that they read and the lives and histories that they study. Children have more opportunities and resources to learn about themselves and each other in ways that rectify historical biases and omissions.

    • Historically underrepresented peoples are recognized by our community year round as “Movers and Shakers” and permanently displayed on the Wall of Brilliance.

    As we honor Dr. King’s vision and courageous action, let us recognize our achievements while we acknowledge that there is much work left to do: King’s bell tolls “for you, for me, for all of us.”

    Warmest regards, Abbe

    Posted Jan 22, 2019, 3:59 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg
  • .

    THE BUZZ.....

    January 14, 2019

    Dear Earth School Families,

    It is with concern that I report that elevated lead levels were discovered at two water locations in our school-- in Rooms 114 and 110. Both of these locations were within "acceptable" limits when tested just a year before (see attached). The two locations have been taken out of service for drinking until the pipes are replaced and the water is re-tested. I am attaching the letter from the Department of Education with further information. I will be discussing the situation with the SLT this week. 


    The staff has begun a discussion of the Grade 1 – 5 recess period with the hopes of making it more peaceful and enjoyable. While recess “downtime” is an important part of the school day, it is also the time when most of the conflicts and excessively rough play occur. Next, teachers will discuss recess play with their classes to gather student feedback and ideas. After this information gathering, we will meet again to come up with an improvement plan.

    Warmly,   Abbe

    Posted Jan 14, 2019, 5:16 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg
  • .

    THE BUZZ.....

    January 7, 2019

    Dear Earth School Families,
    Hap-py New Year!! It was wonderful to hear these words translated by our students and staff into fourteen different languages at Town Meeting on Friday. January is the first month of the solar or Gregorian calendar. We look forward to recognizing other celebrations, such as the Lunar New Year coming up in February. On Friday, we also heard from our Green Team who has been collecting single-use plastic grocery bags for recycling. They urged us to bring reusable bags when shopping. We had trivia about an extraordinary environmentalist. To find out more about Dr. John Francis, please check out this TED talk. I am very excited to announce a special film screening taking place this Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The Representation Team/3Rs will be hosting an evening of film and discussion about the documentary, Tre Maison Dasan, “an intimate portrait of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison. Directly told through the child’s perspective, the film is an exploration of relationships and separation, masculinity, and coming of age in America when a parent is behind bars.” We will be joined by Executive Producer and ES parent, Andrew Freiband, and Director, Denali Tiller. See attached flier in my email for further details!!

    December’s Lost and Found will be bagged this week. Please check for lost items. November’s Lost and Found bag will go to the collection box.

    Warmly, Abbe
    Posted Jan 7, 2019, 7:05 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg
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Tues, 1/22, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Parent Association Meeting, Library

Tues, 1/22, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Jennifer Muller/The Works Dance Performance, Auditorium. Families welcome!


(visit our website for full calendar)

2/5. Schools closed for Lunar New Year

2/7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. 3Rs Get Together. Childcare and Dinner

2/8, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Diversity & Difference Study Group, Art Room B4

2/10. District One Battle of the Bands. Adult-only event

2/11 – 2/15. Family Conference Week

2/13. No School for Pre-Ks only. DOE Non-Attendance Day for PD. Teachers will be back for Family Conferences

2/18 – 2/22. Schools closed for Midwinter Recess



Saturday, 3/16, 9:00 – 1:00 p.m. Annual Town Meeting Community Gathering. Events for the whole family!


In the absence of a fulltime art teacher, several artist parents have been coming forward to lead art experiences for our students. If you are interested and available to do art with students, please reach out to your child’s teacher or me. One of the easiest ways to work with students is during Community Open Work (aka C.O.W.) time on Tuesdays, from 1:40 – 2:30 p.m. During C.O.W., students work on independent activities in small groups in the classrooms. Sign up to work with a few kids on long or short-term project.  


If you have been personally affected by the government shut down, please let Jocelyn, Shirley or Abbe know. We would like to help out.



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