District 1 Diversity Initiative

Our core values are inclusion, kindness, social action, self-awareness, and joy of learning.

Dear EVCS Family,

Yesterday afternoon the Chancellor officially announced the details of the District 1 Diversity in Admissions Initiative. This initiative is by far the boldest step ever taken to desegregate schools in the history of the New York City public school system. I firmly believe that classrooms and schools are better when they include a range of students and families and authentically reflect their communities, and I know this is the right move at the right time for District 1. You can read about it in today’s NY TimesChalkbeat (with a nice pic of yours truly), Wall Street Journal and Politico.

Here are the headlines from the plan:

Students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, students who live in temporary housing, and students who are learning English will be given priority for 67% of the Pre-K and Kindergarten seats at every District 1 elementary school.
Students who do not meet any of those criteria will be given priority for 33% of the Pre-K and Kindergarten seats at every District 1 elementary school.
Within each of these two priority groups, an additional priority will be given to students who have IEPs for a percentage of seats near the District average.
Priority for siblings of students currently enrolled, and for students continuing on from Pre-K to Kindergarten will remain.

If you have any questions about how this admissions protocol will work, or how it will impact your family or our school, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d be happy to talk about it in greater detail.

Apropos, one part of our school instructional focus this year is to implement anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy. We are united in our commitment to raising, not just non-racist, but anti-racist citizens of this country. One way we are embarking on that endeavor as a whole staff is by reading together the outstanding book, The New Jim Crow. I would like to invite and encourage any and all of our parents to read it along with us. We will have two gatherings in December, one in the morning and one in the evening, for parents and staff to discuss the book together. Pick up your copy of the book and be on the lookout for more info about the book clubs in December.

Today, even more than usual, I am proud to be a District 1 educator and parent, and I am looking forward to what the future brings for our community.

As ever,


School Wide Morning Meeting Message 10/16/2017

Dear EVCS Students,

Our core value is social action.

Just like we sang this morning in Free to Be you and Me, we are committed to doing all we can and making a change in the world.  One way we can do that here at school every single day is by recycling, composting, and reducing the amount of trash we produce.  You may have noticed that our cafeteria has three different bins to throw your garbage in.  Different stuff belongs in each one and it’s really important that we all try our best to learn how to do it correctly.


There are separate bins for food scraps which are composted, recyclable materials such as plastic, metal and glass, liquids which are poured down the drain, and trash which ends up in a landfill.  Our goal is to put as little trash as possible into the landfills!  

Learning how to recycle our plastic, metal and paper, compost our food scraps, and reduce the amount of stuff that goes into landfills will make us better stewards of our planet.

My good friend Jacob Pearleman in the 3rd grade has also brought something to my attention that he is concerned about.  Jacob has noticed that a lot of kids are throwing away perfectly good food!  While we work to reduce the amount of garbage that goes into landfills let’s also please try to reduce our food waste.  Thanks for looking out, Jacob.

Big thanks to our second grade hosts, to all of the parents who came this morning, to the SWMM house band, and thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud this morning.  Have a great day and great week everyone.



School Wide Morning Meeting Message 10/2/2017

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome back!  It’s great to be with all of you again for our second School-Wide Morning Meeting of the year.  Our weeks get so busy, it’s really nice to spend this time, all of us together as one community, singing joyful songs and reflecting on our core values.

Last week we visited many of your classes with our school comfort dog, Lola.  Give me a quiet thumbs up if we visited your class with Lola.  If we haven’t visited with Lola yet, we will this week for sure!  Lola really seems to love meeting all the students in our school, and I think she is starting to love her new job as EVCS comfort dog.  Now, I have a request for all of you.  You will see us with Lola in the hallways very often.  We know you will want to say hi to Lola but we need to ask that you do that by waving a quiet hello.  Please don’t leave your class line to pet Lola! Continue reading

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 9/18/2017

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome to the first School-Wide morning meeting of the new school year!  Every other Monday morning our whole school community will get together to sing songs, share things we’ve been working on in music class, and think about what is most essential in our learning.  SWMM is one my favorite traditions we have at our school.

At each SWMM we will reflect on one of our core values.  These are the things that are most important to us, and are universal and relevant no matter what grade we are in.  Our core values represent what we stand for at EVCS.  Since it’s our first SWMM and it was a long summer, so some of us may have forgotten, let’s review what each of our core values is.

Our Core Value is kindness.

Kind people show concern for others, for our school and for the environment.  Kindness can be shown through compassion, empathy, generosity, and service.  Kindness is maybe the most important thing to have in a community. Continue reading

Mark your calendars!

Dear EVCS Family,

The first full week is almost in the books, and though we are still getting used to some new routines for arrival, dismissal and recess, things are starting to settle in. There are a few important things coming up that I want to make sure are on everyone’s radar.

School-Wide Morning Meeting

This coming Monday we will have our first School-Wide Morning Meeting of the year. For our new parents – SWMM is one of our very favorite traditions. Every other Monday morning our entire school gets together in the auditorium shortly after drop off for a sing along. Parents are welcome (encouraged!) to come, sit with their child and sing loud and proud with us. The vibes are guaranteed to be good.

Curriculum Night

This coming Tuesday evening is Curriculum Night. This is where you will hear from your child’s teacher about all of the awesome stuff your kid will learn and experience this year, and you can have all your questions about curriculum, homework, snacks, field trips… answered. We’ll start gathering in the lobby around 5:30 to mingle and schmooze, and opening remarks will be in the auditorium at 6:00. Unfortunately, childcare will NOT be provided for this event. Sorry about that – please try to line up a sitter.

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See you soon!

Dear EVCS Family,

I hope you have all had a fabulous summer filled with family time, sunshine, eclipses and fun! Our family got to spend a bit of time in Greece where we swam in the Mediterranean Sea, relaxed under the olive trees, ate lots of feta, and explored antiquity. See below for the #nofilter family Greek selfie.

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And now as we bid farewell to August we are getting all of our ducks in a row here at EVCS for another outstanding school year. As usual, there are a bunch of exciting new initiatives that you will be hearing about in detail over the coming weeks and at Curriculum Night (September 19, mark your calendars), but I’ll give you a few headlines here to get psyched up about. So as not to bury the lede, I’ll start with the important information on logistics for the first days of school, and get to the exciting stuff after.

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Happy summer!

Well, another school year is in the books! It’s been a great year at EVCS, and though I will miss seeing your kids’ beautiful smiling faces every day, I am grateful that we all get the summer to recharge our batteries, reflect on our successes and challenges this year, and enjoy time with friends and family. You should expect a serious lull in EVCS emails over the next several weeks, but before you unplug entirely, I want to make sure you have some important info for next year. We’ll send it again in August, but for the planners among you:

School begins Thursday, September 7th.

Our start time will continue to be 8:30 am and we will use the schoolyard as our arrival space. There is a very good chance that the schoolyard will be under construction in September (fingers crossed) in which case we will have an alternate arrival plan at the very start of the year, TBD. Stay tuned for more information on that in late August.

The first day of school will be a half day for Pre-K and K students, with dismissal at 11:30. The second day of school is a half day for Pre-K only, full day for K.

Families will be notified of their children’s class placements by email from their new teachers in early August. This will allow us to continue to form classes over the summer based on enrollment. We ask that you notify us as soon as possible if you will not return to EVCS in the fall.

End of year reports went home today, Wednesday, June 28th. If your child was not in school today, the report will be mailed home next week.

I’ll be around this summer if you need anything or want to stop by and hang out in my air conditioned office. The Tree of Knowing Garden will be booming, so come by to grab some greens for dinner.

Finally I just want to tell you what a privilege and an honor it is to work with you as partners in our children’s education. Thank you for all you do to make our school such a magical place. I’m looking forward to another magical year, starting on September 7. All the best for a happy, safe, and adventurous summer!



Human Rights for Syria

Syria screen

Our Core Value is Social Action

Dear EVCS family,

Holy moly, we’re on the other side of the middle of June and we’re starting to tick off “the last (fill in the blank) of the school year” moments, including this coming Monday morning when we will have our final School-Wide Morning Meeting. I won’t get too nostalgic here – I’ll save that for next week – but I do want to fill you in on the culminating event for one of the coolest projects our kids have been in engaged in this year.

I mentioned back in April that our 4th and 5th graders have been studying the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria. They have done much reading, writing and discussion about the situation, and because they are EVCS kids who have internalized our Core Values, they felt determined to do something to affect change in this part of the world. To that end – the 4th and 5th grade classes will be launching a fundraiser on Monday morning in the schoolyard, where they will sell hand made silk screened T-shirts ($20) and posters ($5). They look beautiful and all of the money raised will go directly to support The White Helmets in Syria. Big ups to EVCS parents Naomi Mizusaki who designed the image, and Anselm Dastner who made the screens. And a huge thanks to all of the kids, parents and teachers who helped silk screen the merch this week. Items will be on sale at arrival and dismissal all week, while supplies last!

Hope to see you on Monday for our last sing along and share of the year! (sniff, sniff)

Yours truly,


Spring Updates

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Dear EVCS Family,

It’s an exciting time of year! The plants in our Tree of Knowing Garden have all woken up from their winter slumber and the Kindergartners and First Graders are busy planting spring vegetable crops. Our Second Graders are getting ready to go sailing in New York Harbor next week on the 19th Century schooner Pioneer, and our Fifth graders are getting ready for their overnight camping trip in the Catskills. And of course our parents are getting very psyched to party down this Saturday at our annual gala. It’s spring time at EVCS!

Our core value is social action.

I’m very excited to tell you about a project our older students have been working on recently. Our Fourth and Fifth graders have been learning about the crisis unfolding in Syria. They learned a bit about the history of the crisis and the forces at play, but we have kept the majority of the focus away from the politics of the region, which are very complicated, and more on the plight of the many displaced citizens who are victims of the crisis. Our students have been struck by the abject human suffering and the numbers of people who have been affected, and have felt determined to do something that might help. You should expect awareness raising and fund raising efforts to come from these classes soon! And we have planned a very special event for the entire school community – a concert of traditional Syrian music performed by the New York Arabic Orchestra, right in our school auditorium. The concert will be on May 11th at 1:30 PM and all family members are invited!

Our core value is joy of learning.

I have great news to report! We recently found out that we received a grant from the DOE to have a fully funded Physical Education teacher at our school next year, and subsidized funding over the following few years. This means our children will have regular PE opportunities next year and beyond, which is something that we have been needing and wanting. Now we just need to hire an excellent PE teacher — if you have any leads please let me know.

That’s all for now. See you on Saturday!

Kind regards,


Betsy DeVos would be bad for public education

Our Core Value is Social Action

Dear EVCS Family,

I feel compelled to share with you my deep concerns about President Trump’s nominee to lead the US Department of Education, Betsy DeVos. As Secretary of Education she would be in a position to create policy that would directly affect our school and all public schools. Please consider these actual facts (and a few personal opinions).

Betsy DeVos has absolutely no experience in public schools – not as a student, not as a parent, and not as a teacher or administrator. She has no background in education whatsoever and would not meet the baseline criteria to qualify for a job as a teacher in New York State, let alone a school or district leader. How can she possibly be qualified to lead the United States Department of Education?

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