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Weekly Letter 10.16.17

Dear Families:


Last week our fourth grade students participated in a Day in the Life of the Hudson at Valentino Pier in Red Hook.   Our children were one hundred of the five thousand students who took a "snapshot" of the health of the river from ninety sites from the New York Harbor to Mohawk Valley.  This was the fifteenth Day in the Life of the Hudson and the fifth one in which we participated.  Valentino Pier is of course located at the southern end of the river.


The day summed up that, which is best of BNS:  

  • Teachers and out of classroom staff co-planning in the days leading up to the event.

  • Children outdoors despite the rain and wind.  

  • Authentic work; BNS data will actually be used by scientists.

  • Integration of subjects; this day is connected to the fourth grade year long study of water and the impact humans have on its health.  This is work that links science, sustainability and social studies.

  • Networking and welcoming support from adults outside of BNS.

  • Joyful learning:  students screaming at the crashing waves, cheering a neutral pH, asking for updates about the kind of plastic being collected, and cheering the fact that this end of the Hudson River can support aquatic life.

  • Curious adults modeling active learning.

  • Great support staff helping students stay on task.

  • Financial and other support from the PTA making so much of what we do possible… compasses, pH testing tablets, waders, seining nets, all made possible by parents.


On this special day in October, Barent Roth, a Parsons/New School Professor and a parent of a BNS kindergarten student, brought along his two college students. Taina Guarda and Shreen Bhansali worked with Barent to show our students how to use trawls that fish out plastic from the river.  (Eleven out of twelve trawls found visible plastic.)  Robert Pincus, a Climatologist and a parent of two BNS students, taught our students about how scientists need common terms to communicate with each other.  Another scientist, Chelsea Robinson, from the Student Conservation Association, helped students understand the significance of our catch of silversides fish. How exciting it was to realize that the Hudson was healthy enough to support marine life.  


Other people noticed our fourth graders and their teachers.  Sarah Mount, a Department of Environmental Conservation employee and Day in the Life runner remarked that BNS had such a wonderful set-up and great teachers.  The teachers themselves felt satisfaction.  As fourth grade teacher, Nneka said, “ I have never seen so much learning packed into one and a half  hours.”


All for now,



Quote of the Week:

When Earon Greenidge from Eva and Kaelyn’s class was asked how the trip was, he responded by pulling out a pocketful of crab legs that he had collected on the shores of New York Harbor.