The Brooklyn New School is committed to academic and personal success for all students. We believe that children are creators of meaning. They are naturally thoughtful and curious, and they work to gain understanding of the world they inhabit. When the adults who care for children foster this effort, children become life-long learners.
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Summer is a Great Time to Read.  Our Library suggests clicking here for some suggestions.  If you children are going into 6th-12th grade at BCS or another school, check out the BCS summer reading guide:

Weekly Letter 5.4.16

Dear Families:

We present two stories from the week before vacation, which speak to the complexities of life and how that affects our carefully planned curriculum:

On Monday, April 18th, Sarah’s kindergarten class came to school to find that the catfish and one of their crabs were dead.  In a subsequent discussion the children hypothesized about the cause of death and about what to do with the deceased animals.  Kalliope Muerx said, "We could burn them in a small fire and then keep their ashes in a special place in the room, like I did when my dog died."  Leo Foley suggested, “We could draw a picture of them and take it home so we have a memory."  Hayden Letts said,  "We could dig a hole, put them in, then dig them up when we want them back." The clincher was Leon Saint’s comment, " Maybe we should take them to the garden, bury them in the ground, cover them up.  Then we could put toy people near the grave holding small umbrellas.”  When Sarah asked why, Leon explained, "Just like when real people die and go to the cemetery. "

 From early childhood to the upper grades:

Weekly Letter 4.18.16

Dear Families:

On April 7th, the last day of the state ELA test, our hearts were distracted.  It began with a visit from seven foot Dakari Johnson.  Dakari is a professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League. He played college basketball for the University of Kentucky.  But if you go back in time, you would have found him here at 610 Henry Street.  Dakari went to BNS from kindergarten to fifth grade and we remember him well.  For one thing, he was the tallest in his class so he stood out every time his group would go down the hall.  Dakari’s mom, Makini Campbell, was our guidance counselor so Dakari was a staff child.  

Weekly Letter 4.11.16

Dear Families:

The Pre-K  has been reading and having conversations about their teddy bears' emotions.  Most recently, they’ve been talking about feeling SCARED.  They have also been discussing what soothes their bears.  Two weeks ago, Amy Binin read Patricia Polacco's Thundercake to her class.

Weekly Letter 4.4.16

Dear Families:

At BNS, we have a goal of deepening staff understanding of racism in society and of its effect on education.

Last Monday, BAX teaching artist, José Joaquín García, shared with teachers and paraprofessionals, slavery's legacy in America. José spoke about his experience as an Afro-Puerto Rican male growing up in New York City. The presentation began with a short film by Equal Justice Initiative entitled, "Slavery to Mass Incarceration." After Jose’s presentation,the staff discussed ways in which we could codify curriculum around social and racial justice.  It was also pointed out that our school library has introduced our upper grade classes to this legacy with the sharing of stories of slavery in American history.  

Last Tuesday, our Race and Equity Committee, (which includes Malika, Jennifer and Bill as well as Anna, Diane and Amy Sumner) invited other staff members (Sarah, Doris, Tanya, Zahidur, Ita and Antoinette) to join us for a meeting with Dr. Raygine DiAquoi, Harvard PhD. Dr. DiAquoi is an educational equity consultant who, among other topics, has focused on racial socialization, looking at how parents speak with children about racism and how society and history inform these conversations. We set about planning our next two staff development sessions with Dr. DiAquoi, using exchanges currently happening in our classrooms as a jumping off point.

Weekly Letter 3.28.16

Dear Families:


As we move into the months of spring, a time when our school seems to be awash in a whirlwind of activity, we take a moment to recognize the backbone of the school: you, the parents.  Brooklyn New School’s history has always had the word ‘parent’ at the forefront of its story.  The school was founded by active parents who wanted something a little bit different for their children.  And the school has continued to flourish because of the support of active parents.  


When BNS first started, we were technically a ‘program’ and not a school, and therefore instead of having a PTA, we had a Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee functioned much like a PTA and a School Leadership Team.  It was a governing body of teachers and parents.  Attendance at its monthly meetings was strong and parents were involved in many aspects of the school.


Weekly letter 3.21.16

Dear Families:


On March 9th, I received a text message from third grade teacher, Steve.  He wrote, “The experience I had today in both morning and afternoon PBA sessions was euphoric. I was so stirred with positive emotions - pride, happiness, appreciation for the children..., and in the end, gratitude for the creation of this wonderful form of assessment, this chance to interact in such a respectful and meaningful way with the children and adults I work with. I still feel it. What a day! Thank you for all your hard work to lead us to this point in our development at BNS.”


Weekly Letter 3.14.16

Dear Families:


On Wednesday the PTA will decide whether or not to hire Right At School to run the After School Program at BNS next year.  If you have not been following this issue or if you are not a parent who uses the after school, you may not be aware of the strong opinions on both sides of this issue.  

As difficult as this decision is, it is hardly the most contentious one that the BNS community has had to deal with.  I can remember passionate debates in past years including disagreements about important topics such as where BNS should be located, who should work at BNS, how children were admitted to BNS, what should be taught at BNS, and of course, the favorite one: class size at BNS.  


Weekly Letter 3.7.16

Dear Families:


And so we begin our performance based assessment, starting with the third grade children telling us about their project work related to Ancient China.  We are struck by the power of this endeavor and by our community commitment to a big idea.  That commitment comes from the staff, the parents, and the kids.  As we begin the process, we understand that this is a work in progress and we recognize that all that we embark upon is a pilot, one that will continue to change and grown as we continue to learn.  


Weekly Letter 2.29.16

Dear Families:


This week we take the time to educate ourselves about asthma.  We begin with a teacher session in which teachers will review the symptoms of asthma and treatment.  Tomorrow we will conduct two town meetings, hosted by the school wellness committee with the objective of  reassuring our students about this condition that affects so many of us.  And on Friday morning, we will share what we are learning with families.  Do join us at 8:10 in room 304.  


Weekly Letter 2.24.16

Dear Families:


We welcome everyone back to school with the hope that the week was restful and comforting.  


This week I remain away from BNS as I am participating in a conference in New Orleans.  Last week I was also away, at another conference in Oracle, Arizona.  Ashoka sponsored both conferences. Ashoka is an international organization with a vision, which believes that anyone can be a ‘changemaker’ and can be a part of the solving of complex social problems.  Ashoka works with many different communities in the private, philanthropic and citizen sectors of the world.  


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