Reading at EVCS

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Dear Parents,

At EVCS, your kids read every day. They read letters sent through the 1st Grade Post Office from friends. They read books in their classroom book clubs. They read articles to learn more about the world around them. They read their own writing to themselves and peers. They read funny stories with their Reading Buddies. They read complex math problems before solving them. And they read library books they’ve picked out themselves.

The way we teach reading at EVCS has many components. I want to highlight just one way we approach learning to read – with Just-Right Books.

Each child at EVCS is assessed multiple times each year and his/her reading level has been determined by the use of a Fountas & Pinnell Running Record. This assessment consists of your child reading a story fluently aloud to a teacher, retelling what they read, and answering comprehension questions about the text. Through this running record assessment a teacher can pinpoint the reading level your child is currently at. Levels range from A-Z, with A books being the easiest to decode and to understand (kindergarten) and Z books being more complex (7th grade). While there are benchmarks for each grade level, students move at their own pace, progressing through the alphabet as they master new reading skills and strategies. Below are the goals for each grade level, but at EVCS we know that every child is different and is growing as a reader.

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School Walkout Tomorrow, March 14

Dear EVCS Family,

Tomorrow morning at 10 AM students, parents and educators all across the country will be walking out of their schools for 17 minutes as a symbol of their solidarity with the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting, and to protest gun violence in schools. Given the wide range among our students in terms of their age and readiness to process the context for this event, we will not be doing anything school-wide to recognize the walkout. If any parents want their child to participate in the walkout they will need to sign them out of school. If you plan to participate, with our without your kids, I invite you to join me in front of the school at 9:45. We can walk over to Tompkins Square Park and have a moment together under the elm trees.

And if you haven’t already seen it, there is an apropos piece in the New York Times today that ponders the question How Young is Too Young to Protest? A National Gun Violence Walkout Tests Schools.

Be safe, see you soon.

Bradley

Follow Up on Safety Meeting and School Walkout

Dear EVCS Family,

We had a good turnout of parents, teachers and staff on Wednesday morning for our open forum on school safety. The conversation was positive and productive, as usual. And while it’s difficult to arrive at a place of absolute consensus around such a complex and emotionally charged issue as this, there were clear areas where we were all in agreement.

We all feel strongly that our kids should always feel safe at school. Any discussion, curriculum or action we take in response to this or other school shootings, should not only help kids make sense of the world we live in, but also instill or reinforce the idea that their parents, teachers, and school staff are in charge and taking care to keep everyone safe. It can also help them to feel empowered by the notion that they can use their voices to show support for victims and their families and change things in our world that are clearly not OK. Yet, many parents of students of all ages at our school feel unsure about their own children’s readiness to process a violent tragedy such as this. Most of the parents in attendance said that they either have not spoken to their children about school shootings, or they have done so very carefully. There was a common feeling among many in attendance that direct discussion of school shootings in school, or a large scale action such as a walkout might actually work against our goal of helping kids to feel safe, and cause them to feel scared and unsafe. The last thing we would want to do is contribute to the collective fear and anxiety our kids may already be experiencing.

To that end, EVCS will not be organizing any sort of unified action on March 14th during the national walkout. However, if any parents are interested in having their kids participate as individuals in the walkout they will be supported by our school. Parents would need to sign their kids out of the office if they want to participate. On a personal note I want to let you know that as an educator and as a father, I plan to walk out for the 17 minutes on Wednesday in honor of the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and in support of ending gun violence in schools. My daughter Roxy will stay in school with her teachers and classmates. If anyone wants to join me – with our without your kids – I’d love your company. We can meet in front of the school at 9:45 and walk to Tompkins Square Park, where we’ll sing This Little Light of Mine under the “Hare Krishna” elm tree.

There is also an interest in gathering a group to march together at the March for our Lives rally on Saturday the 24th. Be on the lookout for more information about that.

I always appreciate being a part of this wonderful community. But it’s moments like this, when we are confronted so directly with the violent and awful realities of our world, that I take tremendous solace in all the goodwill, kindness, fellowship and joy that we have here at EVCS. We are truly lucky.

As ever,

Bradley

Think Diversity this Reading Olympics!

Dear EVCS Fam,

Today marks the first day of the Reading Olympics fundraiser! Check your child’s backpack for the sponsor sheet and instructions, and start hitting up your neighbors, friends and relatives for pledges.

This year, please encourage your child to read books by a diverse array of authors, and books that feature characters and topics that reflect a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. The sponsor sheet asks for students to log in 10 books (grades PK-2) or 10 hours (Grades 3-5) between now and April 9. All students who participate in the Reading Olympics will get a prize, but students who log in more than half of their list with diverse books will get an extra special prize! On the sponsor sheet simply highlight the books that honor and reflect the experience of LGBTQIA, Native people, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities. If you’re looking for some ideas for award winning books that reflect our diversity, check out some of these lists:

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D1 Battle of the Family Bands

Dear EVCS Family,

I really hope you’ll join us for what is guaranteed to be a memorable event. This Sunday marks the first (hopefully annual) District 1 Battle of the Family Bands at the world famous Bowery Ballroom.

There will be four schools participating in the event: The Earth School, PS 110, Orchard Collegiate Academy, and of course EVCS. We have a fantastic MC named Emily Panic (former touring member of bands Foxygen and Phenomenal Handclap band, as well as the host of Max Fish’s Sunday Roast Comedy nights), and we will have a panel of celebrity judges, TBA. The winning band will get to take home a fabulous trophy and will have District 1 bragging rights – both of which I want desperately.

The EVCS Family Band has been rehearsing and I think we have a real shot at D1 glory. The band is made up of parents Martha Hornthal, Cresta Kruger, Steve Shiffman, Brad Worrell, Kevin Colden, James Askew, PT Walkley, and Kelland Thomas, music teacher Terry Campbell, and yours truly. Come support us!

Here are the details:

Sunday, March 4, 2018
The Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey Street
Doors: 4pm / Show 4:30pm -7:30pm
Tickets: $20
Adults Only (21+)

You can buy tickets from James in the yard (cash only), at the venue, or with PayPal here.

We realize that 4:30 is kind of a lame time for a rock show, but Sunday night also happens to be the Oscars, and we want to make sure everyone is home in time to catch the red carpet action. And please note that this event is just for the grown ups.

The Battle of the Family Bands is a fund raiser for all of the schools involved, but more importantly it is a community building event intended to build bridges between schools in our District. And it’s going to be really fun(ny). I hope to see you there!

Bradley

District1BotB 2018 WEB

Midyear Update

Dear EVCS Family,

Believe it or not we are right at the halfway mark for this school year. Time sure flies when you are having fun. I wanted to take a quick midyear pause to check in on a few things that are happening and others that are coming up soon.

At our last School-Wide Morning Meeting I promised to make a playlist of the songs our school sings together, and here it is. Some of the tunes in the playlist will be very familiar to you, others we haven’t done in a while but will probably reintroduce at some point, and others are on the docket for a SWMM in the near future. I hope you enjoy listening to these songs at home with your kids! And if you have any recommendations for new songs to add to our repertoire, please let me know.

I know from the schoolyard buzz that many of our students are getting excited for this year’s Multicultural share! For our new families, the Multiculti is a really fun event where we have a potluck dinner and a talent show. If your kids are busy plotting their performance, please note that we are holding the event a little later than last year, on May 11th. Mark your calendars.

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Happy MLK Day!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Dear EVCS Family,

I hope you are all enjoying this day off in honor of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been more than 50 years since MLK delivered his brilliant I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and yet the call to action for racial equity and justice in the United States remains as relevant and urgent as ever. Angela Davis said, “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” It is our goal at EVCS that our curriculum and pedagogy be anti-racist, and that our students learn to be anti-racist citizens. In that spirit, I hope that you will join me on Wednesday evening for a book talk of The New Jim Crow. We’ll meet from 6:30 to 8:00 in room 406. There will be snacks, something to drink and we’ll have childcare next door.

Also in the spirit of Our Core Value is social action, I hope to see many of you on Saturday at the 2018 Women’s March! Dust off your pink beanies and make some provocative signs! I’ll be there, cowbell in hand.

As ever,

Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 12/11/2017

Dear EVCS students,

Welcome back!  I have some exciting news to share with you: We can finally start using our schoolyard again!  This week will be our “soft opening” of the schoolyard.  Every class from each of the three schools in our building will get their own scheduled time this week to go down and explore all of the new features in the yard. We’ll start having regular recess, arrival and dismissal in the schoolyard next Monday.

Earlier this year at SWMM we spoke about bullying and how we can prevent it.  Today we are going to look more closely at one aspect of bullying, and to help me out I’m going to bring up all of the teachers on our Bullying Prevention Committee: Selena, Chloe, Jenna, Megan, Eric, Maggie, Noelle, and Liz.

Good morning!

Today we are going to talk about bullying. Do you remember how we define bullying at EVCS?

Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.

When someone is bullied, it is never just one person’s fault. There are so many people who play a part in bullying.

Let’s take a minute and look at all the roles people play in bullying.

 

 

Today, we are going to think about one participant in the bullying cycle, the disengaged onlooker. They watch what’s happening, they know it’s wrong, and they do not do anything.  Take a minute and think about one thing you could do when you see someone being bullied.

 

Another word for an onlooker is a bystander — someone who stands by and does nothing.  Instead of being a bystander, be an upstander — someone who stands up and does the right thing when they see bullying behavior.  Let’s all try our best to be a community of upstanders!

One way you can be an upstander at EVCS is by telling a grown-up when you see bullying behavior.  If you see bullying at our school and you think something should be done, please let someone on the Bullying Prevention Committee know.

Thanks and have a great day,

Bradley, Liz, Selena, Chloe, Jenna, Megan, Eric, Maggie, and Noelle.

 

Let’s finish with our candle breathing exercise.

Thanks very much to our friends in Kindergarten for sharing their work and hosting this morning!  Thanks, as always, to  the amazing EVCS SWMM House Band!  And thanks to everyone who joined us today and sang loud and proud.  Have a great day.

Love,

Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 11/27/2017

Dear EVCS students,

Welcome back!  I hope you had a restful and fun holiday weekend with your families!

This year we have an extra focus on our core value of self awareness.  Your teachers, your parents and I think it’s important that you strive to know yourselves, that you learn to reflect on your work, your words and your actions.  We want you to always try to improve and do your personal best.  One of the most important skills you can learn in elementary school is how to think about your thinking.  There are three things you can do practice thinking about your thinking: Plan, reflect, and evaluate.

First, plan.  This might mean making an outline, a mental map, or rehearsing what you are going to do in your mind before starting a task.

Then, reflect throughout each step of the task.  Sometimes we may need to change our plans a little once we have started.

Finally, evaluate.  Was this your best effort?  What could you have done differently?  What are your next

steps, or goals for the next time?

This year we are using a portfolio platform called Seesaw to help our students learn to think about their thinking, and become more self aware as learners.  I’m looking forward to seeing how you use Seesaw to reflect on and evaluate your great work!

 

I want to make sure everyone knows – this Friday our school will be having a movie night for kids!  We will be screening 4 different films: Sing, Boss Baby, Moana and a mix of short programs for our youngest students.  There will be popcorn and other treats, and pajamas are encouraged. It’s a fund raiser for the Parents Association, but it’s also an opportunity for parents to go out for a few hours, so please consider signing up.

Let’s finish with our candle breathing exercise. On the first breath make a wish for yourself.  On the second breath make a wish for someone you love.  On the third breath make a wish for someone who needs some extra love today.

Thanks very much to the amazing EVCS SWMM House Band!  And thanks to everyone who joined us today and sang loud and proud.  Have a great day.

Love,

Bradley

Gratitude

Dear EVCS Family,

Some of the things I am thankful for:

The unbelievably dedicated staff of teachers, paras and service providers at EVCS. They approach their work with love and compassion, they’re all about the kids, they work their butts off, and I’m humbled to work alongside them.
Our school comfort dog Lola. She’s learned so much in the past couple of months (very food motivated), she offers unconditional love to our students, and she hasn’t peed on my floor in at least a month.
Our newly renovated schoolyard, which will be open to us for arrival, dismissal and of course recess in a matter of days! It looks amazing, by the way.
That we are a community that sings together. SWMM is my favorite thing we do, and I love it when you come and sing loud and proud along with your kids!
That we are a school with a House Band. I am so thankful to PT, James, Ethan, Craig, Terry, Jenna and Clara for providing the tunes and good vibes at SWMM.
The amazing parents of the East Village Community School. There’s no way we could do what we do here without your support and involvement. Thank you!
Your beautiful kids. They work had, inspire us to work hard, and crack us up every day. Watching them learn and grow is a joy. Thanks for sharing them with us.

It’s an honor to be the principal of this school. Really, I have the best job in the world. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and THANK YOU.

Love,

Bradley