Abbe's Weekly Letter


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posted Nov 5, 2018, 1:28 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg

THE BUZZ.....

November 5, 2018

Dear Earth School Families,

Next week is devoted to Family Conferences. Please make an appointment by signing up at the classroom or emailing your teachers. Did you know that ALL teachers and service providers are available and eager to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress? Don’t forget to meet with Patrice (Art), Emmy (Science), and Vince (Movement/PE). You can also meet with any of your child’s special service providers: Julie, Shav, and Melissa (Speech), Rachel (English as a New Language), Carmen (Occupational Therapy), Shirley (Guidance), and Chris (Physical Therapy). I try to get around to conferences as well and can be available at specific times with advance notice. We hope to see all families!

Next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, Patrice (Art), Emmy (Science), and Vince (Movement/PE) will be having a Family Open House. You are invited to come in and observe classes in session. To see your own child’s class, please check their schedule.

With love, Abbe

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posted Oct 28, 2018, 11:10 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg

THE BUZZ.....

October 29, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

Halloween is coming. For those who partake in this tradition, it's an exciting time as children look forward to festivities, treats, and costumes. All the excitement can make it hard for children to focus and to behave calmly at school. We kindly request that you wait until after school to celebrate Halloween. Please do not send costumes, candy, or sweets to school. Please remind children not to bring their candy to school on the following days.

Last week, The Earth School was reviewed by an evaluator from the School Quality Office of the Department of Education. The reviewer spent two full days observing classrooms, meeting with parents, students, and faculty, and reviewing school documents. At the end, we received ratings in 10 areas. The Earth School received the highest rating (Well Developed) in 9 areas and was found Proficient (next best) in one. I was very proud to represent the school during the Quality Review. Throughout the review, it was evident to me how years of intentional and thoughtful collaboration has kept the Earth School both strong and responsive. In approximately 8 weeks, we will receive the full report which will also be posted on the DOE website.

This Thursday from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. is the next 3Rs (Reflect, Represent, Respect) parent event. The first 3Rs meeting was very powerful and those that attended had a great experience. It is a wonderful opportunity for community members to share their real world experiences and to learn about each other. Hosted by the Representation Team. Dinner and childcare provided.

The New York State Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on a set of proposals that will punish schools--and disproportionately high poverty schools--if parents choose to exercise their legal right to opt out of state exams. The public comment period for those proposals ends soon (November 2). We know that the last time that the Regents voted on regulations of this nature, public comment played an important role in the Board's decision to reject those proposals. Like the earlier proposals, those now coming up for a vote do nothing to advance our children’s educations or improve the quality of our schools. If you commented on the initial set of regulations, please comment again--your voice made a difference! If you didn’t comment that time, now is your chance! You can send a pre-written letter with just a few clicks from here or you can send in your own comments directly to ESSAregcomment@nysed.gov (Both will be counted but your own letter may have slightly more impact.) Here is the link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/regents-reject-proposals-to-punish-schools-when-parents-opt-out?clear_id=true&source=email-urgent-regents-need-to-hear-from-you-before-nov-2

With love, Abbe

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posted Oct 21, 2018, 6:46 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg

THE BUZZ.....

October 21, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

Looking for some parenting support and camaraderie? Parent Corps is for you! Join Guidance Counselor Shirley Suares and fellow parents to share parenting strategies and challenges over coffee and a light breakfast. This is self-care for caring parents. The program runs 14 weeks so attend whenever you can! It’s also a great way to find new parent friends in the community. Find out why many parents come back for a second or third year! Mondays, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. in Room 106

As I have reported previously, beloved Pre-K and K teacher Carole Scott is retiring this month. Her last day is October 31. Our dear Art teacher Patrice Lorenz is retiring at the end of November. Tim will be taking over her classes to do some cooking, gardening, and art as we design the next phase of visual arts programming at The Earth School. Rumor has it that Patrice may even make some “guest appearances” to help with graduation projects in the spring! While this year will be a little piecemeal, the School Leadership Team (Abbe, teachers, parent reps) is now exploring a more permanent solution for providing essential visual arts programming. Since funding is very tight on both the school side and the PA side, we have to keep our vision in line with what is financially sustainable. Rest assured, we will be reaching out for community input and keeping you updated with our progress.

A little history: In 2017, when we added a certified physical education teacher, we lost our fulltime Cooking program. Many families were sad about losing Cooking so we decided to add the CookShop program into classrooms last year. I hope that our young chefs will enjoy exploring Culinary Arts again with Tim in the coming months.


 


At Cooking, students learn about wholesome foods and healthy eating. They explore where foods come from and get a chance to grow and harvest food on our amazing 2400 square foot rooftop farm! We also have a beautiful Cooking Room (B69) that is fully stocked with equipment and pantry ingredients.

Last, but not least, our school is hosting a Quality Review this week. I am so proud to share the work of our teachers and students with a reviewer on Wednesday and Thursday. She will be reviewing documents and data and meeting with staff, students, parent reps, and me over the two days. We are all busy preparing for a great review! 

With love, Abbe

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posted Oct 14, 2018, 2:47 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg

THE BUZZ.....

October 15, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

The Fall Fair was a huge success thanks to the many, many people who pitched in and who came to support!! It was great to see so many Earth School families, friends, and alumni. It was a fun day for the whole family AND we raised a bunch of money! Thanks for being such an amazing community. If you missed helping on Saturday, volunteers will be working this week to get the PA room back in good shape.

Parent Corps is now in its 5th year at the Earth School and starts again Monday, Oct 15! Join Guidance Counselor Shirley Suares and fellow parents to share parenting strategies and challenges over coffee and a light breakfast. This is self-care for busy parents. The program runs 14 weeks so attend whenever you can! It’s also a great way to find new parent friends in the community. Find out why many parents come back for a second or third year! Mondays, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.


The Diversity & Difference Study Group is designed to challenge widespread views on the state of equity, racism, and privilege in America. Building on our own stories and experiences as well as shared readings, the group explores how these issues play out in our lives and in our school. Join Abbe, Cecelia Traugh, and fellow parents in this special opportunity to speak our truths and to push our thinking about these critical issues. New and returning members welcome!!! Fall dates: October 19, November 9, November 30, 8:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

With love, Abbe

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posted Oct 7, 2018, 2:34 PM by Designer Stevie Remsberg

THE BUZZ.....

October 8, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

In striving for a more just awareness of U.S. history, some communities are re-thinking Columbus Day as a time to honor the many indigenous peoples who were lost or displaced by European conquest and colonialism. I am taking a few moments myself this Monday to remember the sad and brutal history that has benefitted some peoples at the great expense of others, a history that was NOT taught to me in elementary school.

 

Times are tough. What issues are affecting you? What can you do?

WHAT CAN WE DO TOGETHER?

October 11, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

3Rs is a series of six evenings that will provide a forum to REFLECT, REPRESENT, and RESPECT concerns of EARTH SCHOOL parents in and out of school. Childcare and food are provided. Each session includes activities to build community, to consider important issues, to voice perspectives, and to be change-makers in our community. Hosted by the Representation Team.

Sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a project of the Manhattan Community Grant Program


The Fall Fair is this Saturday in Tompkins Square Park!! We hope that everyone will come to this day of fun for the whole family! Spread the word to friends and neighbors. Hang posters. Volunteer to set up or clean up. Help out a booth. Bring a dish for the food table. Stop by the sign-up board or the PA Room for details.

With love, Abbe

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posted Oct 1, 2018, 8:50 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg   [ updated Oct 1, 2018, 8:52 AM ]

THE BUZZ.....

September 30, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

Thanks to all who attended this week’s Potluck and Curriculum Night. If you weren’t able to attend, please be sure to get the handouts with information about the year’s curriculum. 

Please check the Lost and Found. We will be bagging up unclaimed items on Monday.

The Fall Fair is coming!! We need your help! Please sign up outside office!! Thanks!


With love, Abbe

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posted Sep 23, 2018, 8:47 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg   [ updated Sep 23, 2018, 8:50 AM ]

THE BUZZ.....

September 23, 2018


Dear Earth School Families,

 

We hope you can make the Class Potluck and Curriculum Night this Monday, September 24, from 5:30 – 7:45 p.m. 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. Please NO single-use plastic bottles (Poland Spring type.)


Schedule for Potluck and Curriculum Night

• 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Potluck Dinner in your child’s classroom. Please bring a dish to share.

• 6:25 p.m. Clean up and childcare pick up. Due to space and staffing constraints, childcare is for current Earth School students only. (Other guests/siblings may remain with their parent.)

• 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. Teacher presentation of Curriculum Plans

• 7:45 p.m. Children in childcare picked up from auditorium

 

Several parents have inquired about our plans to provide arts programming after Patrice Lorenz retires later this year. Please be assured that the Earth School is fully committed to providing a robust visual arts program as we always have. Over the summer, I began researching arts organizations, such as Studio In a School, to explore options. The School Leadership Team identified visual arts programming as a priority in our first meeting on Thursday and we will keep you informed of our progress. In the meantime, Patrice is with us for another few months and they will begin Cooking and Gardening Classes with Tim using our beautiful rooftop farm.

 

The Fall Fair is coming!! We need your help! Please sign up outside office!! Thanks!

 

With love, Abbe


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posted Sep 17, 2018, 4:25 AM by Designer Stevie Remsberg   [ updated Sep 17, 2018, 4:27 AM ]

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

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posted Sep 9, 2018, 1:29 PM 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

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posted Sep 3, 2018, 1:48 PM by Stevie Remsberg   [ updated Sep 3, 2018, 1:52 PM ]

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

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