Contents

  1. 1 THE EARTH SCHOOL HANDBOOK
    1. 1.1 The Earth School Mission Statement
    2. 1.2 The Basics
      1. 1.2.1 The Earth School Entrance
      2. 1.2.2 Security and I.D. Cards
      3. 1.2.3 Door Alarms and Surveillance Cameras
      4. 1.2.4 Arrival
      5. 1.2.5 Morning Gym and Library
      6. 1.2.6 Dismissal
      7. 1.2.7 Authorization for Pick-Up
      8. 1.2.8 Half Days
      9. 1.2.9 Absence
      10. 1.2.10 Lateness
      11. 1.2.11 Early Dismissal
      12. 1.2.12 Lunch Forms: Important!
      13. 1.2.13 Transportation
      14. 1.2.14 Healthcare
      15. 1.2.15 Counseling
      16. 1.2.16 Emergency Contact Information Form
      17. 1.2.17 Emergency School Closings
    3. 1.3 Health & Safety
      1. 1.3.1 Avoiding Colds, Flus, and other Contagious Illness
      2. 1.3.2 Safety Protocols and Drills
    4. 1.4 Guidelines for Being Together
      1. 1.4.1 Respect For All
      2. 1.4.2 Earth School’s Discipline Plan
      3. 1.4.3 Social Media Policy
      4. 1.4.4 Toys and Electronics Policy
      5. 1.4.5 The Use of Cell Phones
      6. 1.4.6 The Earth School’s Cell Phone Policy
      7. 1.4.7 Meals and Snacks: Healthy Eating at The Earth School
      8. 1.4.8 Healthy Food Guidelines
      9. 1.4.9 School Snack and Celebrations
      10. 1.4.10 Food Allergies & Peanut-Free Policy
      11. 1.4.11 Birthday Celebrations
      12. 1.4.12 Holiday Celebrations
    5. 1.5 The Classroom
      1. 1.5.1 School Supplies
      2. 1.5.2 Clothing
      3. 1.5.3 Department of Education Policy on Outdoor Play
      4. 1.5.4 Homework
      5. 1.5.5 Class Trips
      6. 1.5.6 Open Work and Community Open Work (C.O.W.)
      7. 1.5.7 Class Formation Policy
    6. 1.6 Assessment and Progress Reports
    7. 1.7 Student Assessment
      1. 1.7.1 Narrative Reports
      2. 1.7.2 Family Conferences
      3. 1.7.3 Portfolio Work Collections
      4. 1.7.4 Standardized Testing
      5. 1.7.5 Test Refusal Policy
    8. 1.8 Individualized Attention
      1. 1.8.1 Special Services at The Earth School
      2. 1.8.2 The Support Team
    9. 1.9 Parent Leadership, Collaboration, and Resources
      1. 1.9.1 Parent Involvement
      2. 1.9.2 Parents’ Association
      3. 1.9.3 School Leadership Team
      4. 1.9.4 Class Parents
      5. 1.9.5 Important All School Gatherings
      6. 1.9.6 ParentCorps
    10. 1.10 Communications Between Home and School
      1. 1.10.1 School Telephone
      2. 1.10.2 Backpack Mail
      3. 1.10.3 Staff Email Accounts
      4. 1.10.4 Email Lists
      5. 1.10.5 Newsletters
      6. 1.10.6 Robot-Calls and Texts
      7. 1.10.7 Translation Services
      8. 1.10.8 The Earth School Website www.theearthschool.org
      9. 1.10.9 NYC Schools Account
      10. 1.10.10 Surveys
    11. 1.11 The Fifth Street Farm

THE EARTH SCHOOL HANDBOOK

(download available below)


The Earth School Mission Statement

The staff, families, and support agencies that comprise the Earth School community nurture the development of our students through our ongoing collaboration and deep commitment to knowing each child through his or her unique strengths and interests. We work to be a place where children and adults from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate our differences, to appreciate our common humanity, and to contribute to our community. Our mission is to support children’s inherent love of learning through curriculum that is active, playful, socially conscious, and rigorous. The Earth School’s educational program is designed to support children’s academic achievement and to encourage their commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict and the preservation of the Earth’s resources.


 

The Basics


The Earth School Entrance

Parents are asked to use The Earth School Entrance on Avenue B and 5th Street at arrival and dismissal. At other times, parents may enter using the Main Entrance on 6th Street and Avenue B. There is a safety officer at the Main 6th Street entrance daily from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Security and I.D. Cards

Adult family members and guardians are issued Earth School ID Cards. Upon entering, you will be asked to show an Earth School ID card. If you do not have your Earth School ID, you will be asked to sign in and show a photo ID. The security of our children depends on accurate monitoring of visitors entering and leaving the building. Failure to cooperate with these safety protocols could result in restrictions to parents’ open access to the school building.

If you have a mobile phone, you may want to take a picture of your ID card and set it as your screensaver. Then you can show your ID right from your phone!

Door Alarms and Surveillance Cameras

There are door alarms and surveillance cameras at all building exits. The building may only be entered and exited through doors with posted Safety Agents: 6th Street Entrance at all times; 5th Street "Earth School" entrance at arrival and dismissal ONLY. People who exit through unguarded doors will set off loud alarms requiring an immediate response protocol to determine if an unsupervised child has left the building. These devices help insure the safety of our students. HOWEVER, it is very important that all members of our community follow these rules carefully so unnecessary alarms do not cause frequent interruptions. If you or another adult triggers an alarm, please let the office know so we can avoid the time-consuming task of reviewing the security video.

Arrival

The school day begins at 8:30 a.m. The school opens at 7:45 a.m. (We do not have supervision before that time so it is not possible to drop kids off earlier.) Parents may bring their children for breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. in the cafeteria, where they will be supervised by an Earth School staff member. The Earth School entrance on 5th Street and Ave B opens just before 8:00 a.m. Students entering earlier must use the 6th Street entrance. For safety, caregivers should escort young children who arrive before 8:00 a.m. down to the cafeteria to make sure a staff member is present. Families are always welcome to stay. All students who arrive before 8:25 a.m. must wait in the cafeteria. Children may not wait in the hallways before 8:25 a.m. without an adult. 
 

Morning Gym and Library

The gym (Grades 1 - 5) and second floor library (PreK - Gr. 5) are available for children and families beginning at 8:00 a.m. All children wishing to go to the gym must first get a gym pass from Carmen in the cafeteria by 8:10 a.m. As space is limited, no child will be admitted to the gym without a pass. Children in the cafeteria will be released to go to the library or gym beginning at 8:00 a.m. Additionally, families may bring children to the library directly beginning at 8:00 a.m. Earth School staff in these locations will escort children to their classrooms at 8:25 a.m. 
 

Dismissal

Students are dismissed from their classrooms at 2:50 p.m. Caregivers should enter and exit through the 5th Street Entrance and pick up at the classroom door. Children who are not picked up on time will signed into “Late Pick-up” in the cafeteria. Please do your best to be on time. If you must be late, please call the office so we know you are on your way. Authorized pick-up caregivers must sign out students when they are picked up after 2:50 p.m.

Authorization for Pick-Up

Parents and legal guardians are required to fill out an Authorization Form indicating all persons who have their permission to pick up their child from school. Any changes to this list should be submitted in writing and sent to the classroom teacher. No child may be released to an unauthorized person. With written parental consent, 4th and 5th graders may be dismissed on their own to walk home or to other after school destinations. This must be indicated in writing on the Authorizations Form.

Half Days

Half Days for students are scheduled throughout the year to provide time for teacher collaboration and professional development. Students are dismissed at 11:55 a.m. on all half days. Please consult the Earth School Calendar for a complete listing of half days. Please note that Earth School half days may differ from other Department of Education schools. These six days, which were approved by the PA and the faculty, are for essential professional development meeting time that is otherwise very limited. After school programming is provided on these days by advance request. 
 

Absence

It is important that healthy children come to school every day! When children are frequently absent, they miss important instruction in their classes. It may be difficult for them to catch up on projects and missed experiences.

If a child will not be attending school, parents should notify the office by phone or email (CarmenN@theearthschool.org) between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. When the student returns, a doctor’s note or written explanation of the absence should be submitted to Carmen Nieves in the main office. If the child’s absence was due to an infectious disease, a physician’s note is required for re-admission. Absences of three or more consecutive days without notification are subject to an attendance investigation by the Department of Education. Please note that attendance patterns are an important consideration on most middle school applications. Parents are required to notify in writing the classroom teacher and the office in the event of a planned absence (trip, funeral, etc.).

Lateness

One of the most important ways that parents can help their children succeed in school is by getting them to school on time. Teachers take attendance on forms that are sent to the office at 8:35 a.m. along with school lunch counts. Children arriving after 8:35 must stop in the office for a late pass and deliver the late pass to his/her classroom teacher. Failure to get a late pass may result in the child being marked absent for the day and not enough school lunches.

Here’s why it’s important to be on time:
  • Latecomers miss part of the school day. Teachers design arrival routines to allow children time to transition into the school day. By coming late, children lose sync with their classmates and begin their day in an unsettled fashion.
  • Latecomers may disrupt the class schedule or create distractions for other students.
  • Lateness and absences are monitored by the Department of Education and are part of your child’s permanent record. They count heavily in Middle School admissions and negatively impact The Earth School’s attendance ratings.
  • Time management is an important life skill that helps children succeed. 

Early Dismissal

If a child must leave school before dismissal time, parents or authorized caregivers must sign the child out in the main office (Room 140) where they will receive a dismissal slip to give to the supervising teacher. No child will be released early without an authorized adult to accompany them.

Lunch Forms: Important!

Whether or not your child eats school lunch, all families MUST complete a lunch form application. In addition to determining the price of a school lunch if your child takes one, this information determines our eligibility for additional school funding (i.e. Schools with more low-income families get more funding.) The lunch forms will be sent home in paper OR can be easily completed online at https://www.myschoolapps.com. You will need your child’s birth date, but it is NOT required to enter the school ID number. You can put all children in your family on one form. We receive weekly updates on who has completed their applications so please complete them promptly.
 

Transportation

MTA bus and train passes are available for students who live more than one mile from school. Applications are available in The Earth School Office.
 

Healthcare

The School Nurse and the Ryan-NENA Health Clinic are located in Room 128. Practitioners are available during the school day for medical emergencies. Parents can sign up with the clinic for free health screenings, immunizations, and other services.

Occasional head lice break-outs are an unfortunate aspect of classroom life. Left unchecked, lice can spread quickly from head to head. To prevent such infestations, the Parent Association sponsors a service to periodically check all students’ hair for lice. Any child found to have live lice will be sent home with written instructions for lice removal. Children can return to school once the lice and nits are removed and the hair is re-checked. Tying long hair back, not sharing headwear, and not playing with others’ hair can reduce the risk of getting lice. 

Counseling

The Earth School is home to a University Settlement School-Based Mental Health Clinic. Counseling services for children are available in school and scheduled conveniently to complement your child’s class schedule. This program is paid for by your insurance provider (Medicaid, Health First, etc.) not the Department of Education and does not require a school referral. For more information or to find out if they accept your insurance, please reach out to AliK@theearthschool.org.

Emergency Contact Information Form

Each year, parents are required to update their child’s Emergency Contact Information. We need this important information to provide for children in the event that they become ill or injured in school, are not picked up on time, or if we should need to contact you immediately. Please notify us of any changes in phone numbers, address, or other information by using an Emergency Contact/Authorizations Update Form available in the main office. 

Emergency School Closings

The Schools Chancellor will announce any citywide decision to close or delay the opening of schools prior to 6:00 a.m. Please check the Department of Education website (schools.nyc.gov) or call 311 for the latest information. School closings are also broadcast on local radio and television stations.


Health & Safety


Avoiding Colds, Flus, and other Contagious Illness

To restore your child’s good health and to reduce the spread of illnesses to others, children must stay home when they are sick. Children who have been ill with fever, chills, vomiting, or diarrhea should stay home a full 24 hours after all symptoms have cleared.

Please inform the school immediately if your child has contracted strep, scarlet fever, conjunctivitis, pink eye, chicken pox, measles, etc. so we can prevent the spread of these highly contagious illnesses.

Tips for avoiding illness:
  • Rest at home if you are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth with your inner arm. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Safety Protocols and Drills

As per Department of Education Regulations, we conduct fire and emergency drills throughout the year using the General Response Protocol (GRP). Teachers introduce these drills in age-appropriate discussions that emphasize safety and preparedness.

Over the first two months of school, we will be teaching and practicing GRP safety protocols with all students, including Fire Drills (evacuations) and Lock Down Drills which are practiced throughout the year. Parents and others visiting the school are required to follow all drills and safety procedures. For details, see Emergency Readiness Information Letter.

Families are also encouraged to register with Notify NYC to receive information about emergency events, and call 311 for additional information about a school during an emergency or evacuation. As soon as possible, we will activate the Robot-call and text service with important notifications. 



Guidelines for Being Together


Respect For All

The NYC DOE is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and/or bullying and from discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, citizenship/immigration status, religion, creed, national origin, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or weight.

The Earth School was recognized by the DOE as a 2016 “Respect for All” school.
 

Earth School’s Discipline Plan

Teachers and staff at The Earth School are committed to maintaining a learning environment in which all students feel safe, respected and supported. Educators work collaboratively with students to establish rules, brainstorm consequences, and solve conflicts as they arise. When a student struggles with meeting community expectations, we view this as a “teachable moment,” an opportunity to build the social and emotional skills needed to be a helpful community member. Our approach to discipline is based on a set of beliefs and principles that guide our work in this area of social and emotional learning. Please see the “Earth School’s Discipline Plan for Community Members of All Ages”: Guiding Beliefs and Principles, Rights and Responsibilities, and Non-negotiable Behaviors for details.

For serious matters, we also take guidance from the DOE’s Discipline Code which is available in ten languages on their website.

Social Media Policy

The Earth School personnel communicates with families in various ways, such email, newsletters, and through posts on classroom blogs and websites. The school acquires yearly written consent from families for posting photographs of children on public not-for-profit websites. Families are welcome to take photographs of their children at school events and field trips, but may not share photographs that include images of other people’s children on Facebook, or any other social media site. Please see DOE Social Media Guidelines for more information.

Toys and Electronics Policy

Classrooms at The Earth School are provisioned with a variety of educational games and play materials appropriate to the developmental level of the students. Children are not allowed to bring toys to school, including action figures, dolls, trading cards, skateboards, heelies, electronics, tablets, cameras, iPods, etc., without the expressed permission of the teacher. Scooters, skateboards, and strollers used for transportation may be parked in the designated area off the Earth School lobby (the entrance room to the women’s restroom, near the auditorium). These items must be picked up at the end of each day. 
 

The Use of Cell Phones

Students are not permitted to keep cell phones in their possession during the school day. If a student needs to bring a cell phone to school, it must be turned off and given to the teacher at arrival and picked up at dismissal. To foster opportunities for conversation, the use of cell phones and other devices in the school hallways before and after school should be limited to necessary communications. Please no: social media, games, web browsing, entertainment. We kindly ask that parents support these school habits by limiting their own cellphone use in the hallways.
 

The Earth School’s Cell Phone Policy

  • Cell phones may be brought to school, but must be turned off and stored with classroom teacher during school hours.
  • Cell phones that are not stored with the teachers during the school hours will be taken and returned to the child’s parent.
  • Repeated (4 or more in one year) violations of the cell phone policy will result in the loss of the privilege of having a cell phone on school property.
  • We request that the use of cell phones, tablets, and other devices be limited to essential communications in the school hallways before and after school.

Meals and Snacks: Healthy Eating at The Earth School

At The Earth School, children’s health and safety is our first priority. We take nutrition very seriously. Two organic gardens and a full-time Cooking and Nutrition teacher allow children to learn about healthy foods from seed to table. We ask that our Healthy Food Guidelines are considered whether packing a lunch, donating snack, or celebrating a birthday. 

Healthy Food Guidelines

  • When available, choose fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole, unprocessed and homemade foods are generally healthier choices.
  • Read the labels: avoid foods that contain peanuts and multiple unknown ingredients.
  • Limit sugary drinks and fruit juices.
  • NO candy, gum, or soda.
Breakfast is free for all students in the cafeteria beginning at 7:45 a.m. Children wishing to eat should arrive in the cafeteria before 8:10 a.m. Parents are welcome to stay. A staff member supervises the children and escorts them to their classrooms at 8:20 a.m.

Lunch from the school cafeteria is available for all students. Families complete a lunch form to determine their eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch. Lunch can be purchased for a small fee. To pay for school lunch, may sign up for an account at myschoolbucks.com. You will need to pick up your child’s school identification number from Jocelyn. Younger children eat in their classrooms. Older students eat in the cafeteria. Children may bring a lunch, if preferred. Please note: Candy, gum, soda, highly sweetened beverages, glass bottles and foods containing peanuts are not allowed. 

School Snack and Celebrations

Snack routines vary from class to class. Teachers and class parents will communicate procedures for donating snack at the beginning of the year. Please check with teachers to find out if there are children with specific food allergies. The Earth School is a peanut-free school. Please check allergen warning labels.

Here are some terrific choices:
  • Fresh fruit (apples, pears, grapes, bananas, melon, blueberries)
  • Fresh vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, green beans, celery, peppers)
  • Crackers, cheese, popcorn, pretzels, yogurt, raisins, tortilla chips, rice cakes, sunflower butter

Food Allergies & Peanut-Free Policy

To make our community safe for students with allergies, The Earth School is peanut-free. 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.
 

Birthday Celebrations

We ask that birthday celebrations be kept short, simple, and “not too sweet.” Check with your child’s teacher to find out if, how, and when birthdays are celebrated in the classroom. When bringing food to school, please consider our Healthy Eating Guidelines. Please note that decorations and goody bags are not permitted. Birthdays are also acknowledged each month during Weekly Town Meeting. Families who wish to abstain should inform their teachers so accommodations can be made.
 

Holiday Celebrations

At The Earth School, we invite and honor cultural diversity. Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to share family traditions, home languages, and stories. The school community does not celebrate individual ethnic and religious holidays. We do recognize and learn about the changing of the seasons by marking Equinoxes and Solstices at community gatherings. Families who wish to abstain should inform their teachers so accommodations can be made.



The Classroom


School Supplies

Every child is required to have a backpack or school bag. Classroom teachers distribute supply lists before school starts and periodically request donations. If you have difficulty getting essential supplies when needed, please speak to Jocelyn as we have some extras available. Children are responsible for the return of books and materials borrowed from their classrooms. 

Clothing

Children learn through active exploration and play. They frequently use paint, clay, sand, soil, and water. Please send children to school in clothing appropriate for these activities. Children also need fresh air and exercise all year to stay fit, healthy, and focused. Since we take kids out in the weather as much as possible, please be sure that they are dressed for the weather, including gloves, hats, scarves, and suitable footwear. An extra set of clothing labeled with your child’s name should be left in the classroom for Pre-K and K students. 

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.”

Homework

Homework expectations vary by teacher and grade although it is recommended that all students spend time reading or being read to each day. We believe that homework should never be overwhelmingly burdensome to our students and their families. When the homework experience is overly stressful, the negative impact will outreach its benefit. In general, the amount of homework increases each year as students become more able to complete independent assignments. Since students are actively engaged during the school day, many are exhausted by the time they get home. Teachers are aware of the other important activities that happen after the school day. Since research and parent opinion vary on the benefits and desirability of homework in the elementary years, it is a topic that continues to surface in our community discussions.

Class Trips

Field trips are an integral part of the class curriculum and should not be missed. One way that parents participate in the school community is to accompany their child’s class on trips. Parents are notified in advance of class trips. Signed permission slips must be returned to the classroom teacher before each trip. Suggested fees are collected by teachers to cover the cost of school trips as needed. Funds are available to supplement the costs of trips, as needed. All children may participate whether or not they have paid.

Overnight camping trips to Camp Speers and Frost Valley are planned for third through fifth graders. These trips are an important part of The Earth School experience. Teachers will send information well in advance. Representatives from the camps visit to answer questions prior to the trips. While families and students may be at first nervous to participate, this wonderful opportunity should not be missed.
 

Open Work and Community Open Work (C.O.W.)

An Open Work period is a time in which students choose their own work based on 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. Community Open Work (C.O.W.) is a time in which all Earth School classes simultaneously have Open Work periods and students have opportunities to work in other classrooms. Students, teachers, and parents also run special “C.O.W. clubs” at this time to work on a common interest or activity. Please consider volunteering to run a C.O.W. Club in your child's class. It is a terrific way for you to share your own interests with the school community, to get to know students, and to contribute diverse and rich experiences for our children. Please let your child’s teacher know if you are interested in running a club.
 

Class Formation Policy

At the end of each year, the faculty meets to create the new class groupings. A committee of the teachers and paraprofessionals who know the children well meets with the principal and the teachers who will be receiving the students. The placement of each child is discussed and a decision is arrived at through consensus. The decision is guided by two major considerations: the creation of good working groups and the needs of individual children. Our thorough process is guided by these principles and questions:
  • Groups must be balanced by gender and grade.
  • Is there a balance of age and gender?
  • Groups must be balanced by learning styles.
  • Are the strengths of students well balanced in each group?
  • Groups must be balanced socially.
  • Does each group offer individual students opportunities to maintain old friendships and create new ones?
  • Parent input, weighed with the above principles, is taken into consideration.
Once the groups are formed, they are assigned to classrooms and teachers. The process of forming these classes is taken very seriously by the staff. We use our best judgement and professional experience when placing the children in classes. It is not our policy to consider requests for particular teachers.



Assessment and Progress Reports


Student Assessment

The Earth School is committed to accurately assessing student learning and knowing children well. We believe that this is best accomplished using a variety of techniques over the course of the year. Teachers determine children’s literacy and math skills using a variety of tools and techniques, such as individual reading assessments, sound-letter surveys, performance tasks, quizzes, and classroom observations. These ongoing records inform daily decisions and are communicated to families during conferences and in written reports in January and June. 
 

Narrative Reports

Each student receives a Narrative Report in January and June. Based on data collected by the teacher, these reports document each child’s development, interests, and progress in school subject areas. The process of creating these reports ensures careful reflection on each individual child’s growth. To prepare for writing, teachers spend time reviewing the student’s work and written observations and records. They synthesize this data in detailed summaries. Individualized goals are created for each child to prioritize their next steps. Though labor intensive, we feel that Narrative Reports and the reflective process that they require are far superior to “letter grades” or checklist report cards. Please read the report carefully and share it with your child. If you have questions, your teacher is available to review the report with you. Your written feedback is also greatly appreciated and lets the teachers know that the report has been read. 

Family Conferences

Frequent communication between school and home is very important in supporting students’ success. Family conferences are held three times a year to discuss individual progress and goals and to review student work. Sign-up sheets are posted in advance outside the classroom. Afternoon and evening time slots are provided. Additionally, teachers are available throughout the year to meet with families if needs arise. 

Portfolio Work Collections

Cumulative portfolios are kept for each child at The Earth School. These large envelopes contain work from each year the child attends. Students and their teachers select work to place in the portfolio. Reviewing work over several years is an interesting way to look at how learning is taking place for that student. Prior to graduation, each student is assigned an adult mentor with whom to go through the work and select pieces to exhibit during the final weeks of school. The portfolios are stored in each classroom and are available for viewing by parents upon request. 
 

Standardized Testing

As mandated, The Earth School administers standardized tests in grades three to five. The test schedule is contained in the School Calendar of The Earth School website. Teachers in testing grades conduct review sessions and teach test-taking strategies to prepare students for the testing experience. However, curriculum is designed with student achievement in mind, not test results.
 

Test Refusal Policy

Recent public scrutiny of high stakes testing practices has given way to a growing movement of families who are opting out of the State exams. Parents around our city and state are asserting their right to refuse the tests without penalty. The Earth School is committed to acknowledging the diversity of our community and to respecting each family's right to make this personal decision for themselves. 


Individualized Attention

Special Services at The Earth School

A variety of special services are available at The Earth School, including speech, occupational and physical therapy, counseling, and language instruction for English Language Learners. Parents and teachers can request screenings for these services to determine student eligibility. Parental consent is required for full evaluations and to receive ongoing services to address special needs. Please speak to your child’s teacher if you have concerns.

The Support Team

The Support Team is a group of educators and specialists who strategize with classroom teachers to support the needs of individuals and small groups of students. The team devises a plan which is implemented over several months using resources from within the school. Examples of areas that the team might target include organization, making and keeping friendships, confidence, specific academic skills, and self-expression. The team may suggest modifications to existing curriculum and routines to better support individuals. Working with children who are ready for greater challenge or to pursue a topic in more depth is another area that the team considers.


Parent Leadership, Collaboration, and Resources


Parent Involvement

All parents and caregivers are encouraged to get involved in our school community in some way. Being involved supports children’s success in school and contributes to creating a rich and diverse school community. Parent involvement has made the school what it is today and has the power to shape its future in meaningful and lasting ways. There are many ways to contribute: become a class parent, lead a C.O.W. club, volunteer in the garden, or office; or become a part of a shared decision-making body such as the School Leadership Team (SLT) and the Parents’ Association (PA).

Fundraising is another important way that parents support the school. Each year, the Parents’ Association needs to raise around $350 per child to pay for classroom materials, enrichment programs, camping trips, and special events. The major fundraisers of the year are the Fall Fair, the Annual Appeal, the Read-A-Thon and the Spring Auction. Smaller fundraisers, such as Friday Popcorn, movie nights, bake sales and the Coffee Club are held as well. Your participation and new ideas are welcome and greatly appreciated!

Parents’ Association

The Parents’ Association oversees all fundraising activities and orchestrates many school events. The money raised by the PA supports several enrichment programs all children benefit from at the Earth School: music, dance, camps and creative movement. The PA is also a forum for parental concerns and represents the views of the parents at District, S.L.T. and Principal meetings. Parents’ Association officers -- Co-Presidents, Vice President, Secretary, Large and Small Events Coordinators, Communications Director and Co-Treasurers -- are elected each year. PA Committees form to coordinate other initiatives throughout the year. Parents’ Association meetings are held monthly and all parents are encouraged to attend. In addition, the PA sends a weekly email newsletter with important news and upcoming events.

School Leadership Team

The School Leadership Team (SLT) is comprised of the principal and elected representatives of the parents and staff. The SLT meets monthly to discuss and decide on matters relevant to the overall functioning of the school community, including budget, the Comprehensive Educational Plan, hiring, and programming. These meetings are open to all members of the school community and minutes are available.
 

Class Parents

Class parents are classroom ambassadors, communicating information from the Earth School PA and administration to their classroom community and vice versa. Each classroom needs two class parents. As a class parent your job will include:
  • Connecting class families through an email list
  • Maintaining communication between your child’s teacher and class families regarding field trips, class events, volunteers, and classroom needs
  • Organizing class breakfasts and class celebrations
  • Being a positive presence to help every family have a sense of belonging and voice
  • Promoting school and fundraising events
  • Class Kick-Off Evening

Early in the year, we invite parents to visit their children’s classroom to meet the teacher and the other parents in the class and to get important information about the class curriculum. Teachers describe plans for the year including topics of study, the daily schedule, and homework routines. Parents can ask general questions and find out ways that they can support their children at home. There will be an opportunity to express your availability to help out in the classroom or become a class parent. All parents are encouraged to attend. Childcare is available.

 

Important All School Gatherings

School gatherings reinforce community among parents, children, and staff. A schoolwide Weekly Town Meeting is held on Friday mornings after drop-off in the Blue Play Space downstairs. Parents are encouraged to attend when they can. The Annual Potluck Dinner is a fun way to meet other families, staff members, and parent leaders. At the Annual Town Meeting, parents and teachers come together to review the year’s work and plan for the future. Children attend special activities while the adults participate in the day’s events.

ParentCorps

ParentCorps is an interactive support group for families of Pre-K and K children. ParenCorps builds on the strengths of culturally-diverse families and engages parents as partners in helping children succeed. Each session focuses on an important topic for parenting young children and provides a comfortable atmosphere for sharing strategies and learning from one another. Parent Corps meets one morning a week for a 14 week cycle. For more information, contact Shirley (Guidance), or Jocelyn (Parent Coordinator).


Communications Between Home and School


School Telephone

The Earth School Office may be reached by calling (212) 477-1735. Follow prompts for the nurse, guidance, and parent coordinator. Children may use office phones for emergencies only. Teachers are discouraged from giving out their cell numbers and may not receive calls in their classrooms. The office staff can get important messages to classrooms as needed. 
 

Backpack Mail

Please establish a routine with your child so that you receive any “mail” sent home with your child. Notices, homework, fliers, and permission slips are sent home with children. Please respond in a timely manner. While some notices such as permission slips must be signed, we aim to be a mostly “paperless” community through our website and email communications. If you do not have regular access to email and prefer to receive “hard copy” notifications, please indicate this on your yearly School Authorizations Form.
 

Staff Email Accounts

All staff members have @earthschool.org email accounts. You may contact teachers and other school personnel via email, but please keep in mind that teachers have limited time to check their email during the school day.
 

Email Lists

To reduce the use and expense of paper notices, many important announcements are communicated via email lists. While we try to limit the number of emails that go out, there are always crunch times with a lot going on. Thank you for your patience. If you do not have regular access to an email account, please let Jocelyn know so we can backpack hardcopies of newsletters and notices. 

Newsletters

A newsletter from the Principal and a Parent Association digest are sent every week via email and/or paper (upon request). Teachers and grade teams also put together newsletters to highlight class events, make announcements, and share information about classroom life. Many teachers have individual class websites where you can find a variety of photographs, assignments, book lists, and blogs.
 

Robot-Calls and Texts

The Earth School subscribes to an automated call, text, and email service to disseminate important information to the entire community. We use this sparingly for important events, such as half day reminders and school closings. We would also activate this service in the event of an emergency. The service uses the contact information that you submitted with your official registration (“ACS”). If you need to update, please contact Carmen G (carmeng@the earthschool.org). Non-emergency information will be after school hours.
 

Translation Services

Chancellor’s Regulation A-663 requires translation and interpretation services in the nine most common languages other than English spoken by parents of New York City school children. These languages are Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu. Services are available upon request. خطة امكانية الوصول إلى اللغة লয্াǩেয়জু aয্াকেসস pয্ান 語言使用計劃Plan de acceso lingüístico

The Earth School Website www.theearthschool.org

The Earth School website contains continually updated information about the school, a weekly letter from the Principal, as well as links to the staff and student portals, class websites, after school programs and the school calendar. Please check the calendar regularly for meeting schedules, school closings, half days, and special events. The Earth School website is maintained by parents and volunteers in collaboration with our technology coordinator. Parents with computer experience are always needed to keep the site updated with photos, events, and school news.
 

NYC Schools Account

With a NYC Schools account you will be able to access key information about your child's progress in school, including attendance, general student information, and test scores in one of ten languages on a computer, phone or tablet. You will need your child’s student ID and access code from Jocelyn (Jocelyn@theearthschool.org) to log in.

Surveys

The DOE Annual Parent Survey gathers information about your overall satisfaction with our school and results are published on the DOE's public website. Completion rates reflect the level of parent involvement. Each family receives a green envelope with the survey to fill out along with postage-paid envelope. You can also complete the survey online using your access code (provided in the green envelope). The survey takes less than five minutes to complete.

The Earth School’s Leadership Team (SLT) conducts its own “In-house” Parent Survey to get feedback that is specific to our school. Paper and online versions are sent out each spring. The results of this survey are reviewed by the SLT to obtain feedback and to inform future planning and the development of our yearly Comprehensive Education Plan. This internal Parent Survey is by and for our own community. While our school budget severely limits the scope of what we can provide through public funding, many initiatives have been realized as a result of constructive critique and from ideas generated in community forums, such as the Parent Survey and Annual Town Meeting. In addition to sharing your feedback, please consider getting involved in committees and other venues which further shape and realize our goals. 
 

The Fifth Street Farm

The Fifth Street Farm is a 2400-square-foot rooftop farm on top of the Robert Simon Building. Opened in 2012, the Farm is available to the three schools that share our building. It is designed for young people to experience growing their own organic produce and to learn about the importance of plants in our world. All classes may reserve times to visit the farm. Interns, parent volunteers, and teachers lead gardening activities. Vegetables and herbs from the farm are harvested for our cooking classes, our annual picnic, and the school cafeteria. For more information or to volunteer, visit the www.5thstreetfarm.org or contact info@5thstreetfarm.org.