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Weekly Letter 4.19.17

Dear Families:


Just before vacation, Jennifer Donlin, our early childhood art teacher covered for Paola in the art room.  She introduced some third and fourth grade classes to the Japanese concept of Kintsugi, a method for repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum.  The idea is simple: Damage does not end an object’s life.  Repairs are celebrated as being part of the object’s history and symbolize healing and growth.  The end result is stronger, more beautiful and valuable than the original unbroken object.  


Weekly Letter 4.3.17

Dear Families:


Tomorrow on April 4, 2017, fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, at Riverside Church and forty nine years after he was shot and killed, we will join with communities across the country, by reciting a few excerpts from those  words.  This reading is an initiative organized by the The National Council of Elders.  Just as Martin Luther King saw a need to condemn silence in 1967, so too does the National Council of Elders see that need today. They have asked schools, churches, civil rights groups, labor organizations, museums, community organizations, and others to join in the building of a movement to break silence, promote dialogue and engage in nonviolent direct action.


Weekly Letter 3.27.17

Dear Families:

It isn’t every day that a school gets a lengthy article featuring its work in a national magazine.  For this reason, we wanted to bring your attention to a piece in the spring issue of American Educator, A Quarterly Journal of Educational Research and Ideas, published by the AFT and distributed to teachers across the country.  The article by Jennifer Dubin is entitled “Spread the Word: In New York City, Encouraging Successful Schools to Share and Grow.”  


Vote March 25-April 2 for BNS/BCS Participatory Budgeting Proposal

Please vote for our project on Councilmember Brad Lander’s Participatory Budgeting Ballot if you live in the 39th City Council District!

Project: We would like to host a professional development series related to Race and Equity issues, open to all staff and families from District 15 schools.  We will organize four workshops led by Border Crosses to train educators and parents in strategies for addressing race and promoting equity.

Weekly Letter 3.20.17

Dear Families:


The New York State ELA test is scheduled for March 28, 29 and 30 while the Math test is scheduled for May 2,3, and 4. These three day exams have been the source of much discussion and debate since the spring of 2012 when a standardized test went from being something schools, kids and parents put up with to something that some perceived to be a destructive force with many questioning its purpose and rationale.


On Thursday, March 23 at 5:00, Diane, Malika and I will be at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange for the final BNS presentation on standardized tests. If you feel that you do not yet understand what all the fuss about the state exams is, I strongly encourage you to come. The presentation is complete with sample test questions and a thorough review of standardized testing.  

Weekly Letter 3.13.17

Dear Families:


It is Monday, March 13th and so begins another week of performance based assessments, this time for our third grade children.  


On Friday I happened to go into Doug and Malika’s third grade classroom where I found everyone immersed in practicing the PBA process with small groups of children talking to teachers, paras, and a few volunteer parents.  Based on the hum of voices, it looked like these third grade children are ready to talk about what they learned about West Africa as well as their projects.  


Weekly Letter 3.6.17

Dear Families:


In Steve and Katherine's class, students learn every year about "the domino rule" in stories - something happens, and that makes something else happen. After a while, kids start noticing how this happens in real life too, and comment, "It's the domino rule!" We are thrilled to report to you the following story that follows the domino rule.


Weekly Letter 2.27.17

Dear Families:


Years ago, our fourth grade study of Native Americans, was taught in third grade.  In 2002, Carmen Fariña, then superintendent of District 15, instituted a District-wide Social Studies curriculum and suggested some changes to our program here at BNS. The 4th grade would now study the Lenape, along with colonial New York. The 3rd grade curriculum would be "Communities Around the World." Carmen's vision was 3 units: China, because of the rising importance of China in our world, Africa, because of the number of students of African heritage, and a 3rd region of the school's choosing based on their population.


Weekly Letter 2.15.17

Dear Families:


It is progress report season.  Some of you have already received a report while others will get one in the next few days.  Make no mistake about it, these are precious documents.  Many an hour went into their production and they reflect the teachers’ knowledge of your children, their observations and their educational assessment of academic progress. The reports vary in length from a page to many pages.  In fact, some will need to be read in more than one sitting.  


Weekly Letter 2.6.17

Dear Families:


The other day I was making my way to the art room to ask Paola if I could borrow some colored pencils to use with some of my fourth grade buddies, a group of girls with whom I get to draw once a week.  (Right now we have been studying the chickens.)  


En route, I got distracted.  I could hear fourth grade singing emanating from the auditorium and then there was this:


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