Let’s get rid of our plastic bottles!

Did you know: Plastic water bottles take many hundreds of years to disintegrate?

Did you know: Of every six water bottles we use, only one makes it to the recycling bin?

The EVCS Green Team and fourth grade class are here to help! On June 15th the entire school will be visiting our fourth graders to view the results of their science project on the environment. Students will learn about the many man-made issues facing our planet, including the modern scourge of plastic water bottles.

And to help everyone at EVCS do one small thing to lessen our negative impact on the environment, each student will have the chance to receive a tempered glass water bottle with protective sleeve. And adults can get one too, just in time to address all your summer hydration needs!

Child-size (9 oz) bottles cost $10*. Adult-size (16 oz) bottles cost $15. (That’s half the price of these same items at Whole Foods!) We do need to get order forms and checks collected by Wednesday, June 6. Please click here for the order form and return it to your child’s teacher.

*EVERY Student will receive a child-size bottle whether the parent or caregiver is able to contribute or not.

Checks can be made out to: EVCS PARENT ASSOCIATION. All forms must be returned ONLY to their classroom Teacher, no later than June 6th 2012.

Thank you,
The Green/Food Committee

Demolition Begins on Corner of 12th and B

Looks like the long-abandoned building on the corner of 12th and B is finally set to be demolished, reports blogger EV Grieve. Apparently, a 7-story mixed-use building is planned to take its place.

Photo by Matt Lambros.

Photographer Matt Lambros took photos of the interior of this old theater earlier in the year. So in case you never made it to a movie here, you can see what’s been hiding right around the corner all these years.

As you may know, we will have to manage more than our fair share of construction and scaffolding over the next two years, with a major renovation of our auditorium in the works, as well as brickwork and window replacement on our entire building.

Tired of Testing?

High-stakes testing is now firmly established as part of our public schools. And the stakes keep getting higher. Students’ admissions to middle school and high school are based on these tests, school rankings are too, and teacher evaluations are also now deeply enmeshed in the grades their students receive.

Predictably, and importantly, a backlash has been gaining momentum, spurred this spring by widely publicized test questions that were ridiculed by students and teachers alike and then discarded by the state.

Last week EVCS hosted a talk on the impact standardized tests are having on progressive schools like ours. (You can find some resources from that meeting on our website.) Since then, some parents at EVCS have been asking, What can we do?

If you are one of those parents, then read on …
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What’s Next for Our Students

A couple of meetings coming up (one tonight!) for parents interested what’s down the road academically:

Meet District 1 Middle School Principals Tonight

Tonight’s Community Education Council (CEC) meeting will include a public discussion about District 1 middle school choices and a meet-and-greet with middle school principals. If you have a child in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, this might be a very useful event for you.

P.S. 142 Amalia Castro School
100 Attorney Street, south of Rivington
Auditorium
Tonight! 6pm – 9pm

Childcare is available (email George Rizzo if you need it).

Next Year’s Curriculum at EVCS

A lot of useful discussion about our curriculum takes place at monthly School Leadership Team (SLT) meetings with parents, teachers, and administrators. Meetings are open to all parents. The next SLT meeting is on Tuesday, May 29th at 3:30. It will be held in the conference room in the library on the fourth floor.

Meeting Minutes April 2012

Official minutes from the April General Membership meeting are available here.

Why are these minutes always a month late? Because each meeting’s minutes are not officially approved until the following month’s meeting. So these April minutes were only approved by the PA this week.

Resources for Education and Action Related to High-Stakes Testing

A lot of useful information and context was presented at Wednesday evening’s conversation with Prof. Celia Oyler from Teachers College. For those of you who couldn’t make it, Prof. Oyler handed out a list of books and blogs that might be helpful to parents in understanding the effects of high-stakes standardized tests and how you can get involved in improving the system:

Good basic book about testing:
The Truth About Testing: An Educator’s Call to Action

Good academic book about testing:
Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools

Good short book to remind us about what matters:
Why School? Reclaiming Education or All of Us

National websites

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing
Save Our Schools (activist group of educators and families)
United Opt Out National (currently organizing boycott of Pearson)

Local websites

New York City Public School Parents (a blog of “independent voices”)
Class Size Matters (local, state, and national news and organizing)
Time Out from Testing (started by a NYC mom)
A Sociological Eye on Education (Prof. Aaron Pallas’s blog that is often about value added scores)
Opt Out of Standardized Tests (a state-by-state wiki space for information and organizing)

New PA Officers Elected

This morning’s meeting was well attended. New officers were elected and a preliminary budget was approved for the 2012-13 school year.

President: Elizabeth Puccini

Vice President: Camille Marlow

Secretary: Jeremy Sherber

Treasurer: Tricia Davies

Thanks very much to the other candidates, who of course will be strongly encouraged to remain involved in other ways.

The PA is required to approve a budget during its May meeting, which is a little silly because the school budget has not yet been finalized and several curriculum decisions have not yet been decided on, so our budget is very preliminary. Essentially, expected costs and income from this past school year were moved across to next year with a 7-10% increase representing the addition of a third grade class and expected increases in some programs. We are estimating a larger increase for the InFlight program based on initial recommendations from the administration about expanding that program. But changes to this budget will certainly be made over the summer and presented again to parents for approval in September.

With that said, you can review the budget that was approved this morning.

Wednesday Morning: PA Officer Elections and Budget Vote

Notices went out today about next Wednesday’s very important PA meeting. Elections will be held for next year’s officers, and a budget needs to be approved by parents for 2012-2013.

The meeting will start at 8:45am sharp in the auditorium (we need to be finished by 9:30, when the town meeting & music share begins). Please take the time to stick around for the votes even if you are not in the habit of coming to PA meetings — this is a great opportunity to re-commit yourself to the Parent Association.

We are lucky that this is the first year in anyone’s memory that PA positions are actually being contested — that is, for vice president and treasurer we have more than one fantastic parent to choose from! This is undoubtedly a sign of EVCS’s strength — parent involvement this year has been unprecedented, and we are looking forward to that trend continuing. (Needless to say, anyone who does not win one of these spots on Wednesday will be encouraged to participate in other ways.) But it means your choice — your vote — is more important this year than in years past.

And, just in case the names aren’t familiar to all of you, you might recognize our candidates’ faces from the schoolyard (or the ¡Fiesta!):

President

Elizabeth Puccini

Vice President

Ned Eisenberg

Terry Lewis

Camille Marlow

Secretary

Jeremy Sherber

Treasurer

Tricia Davies

Ned Eisenberg

Wednesday at 6pm: Talk on Standardized Testing in Progressive Schools

Next Wednesday evening, EVCS is hosting a community talk on the implications of standardized testing in progressive learning communities.

Facilitated by Professor Celia Oyler, PhD, head of the Inclusive Elementary Education Department at Teachers College, Columbia University, the meeting will explore the political landscape of public education in the age of No Child Left Behind.

Standardized tests and core curriculum requirements will continue to become more pervasive throughout public schools across the country. In addition to our children’s promotion and middle school options, school and teacher evaluations are now tied heavily to the results of these tests. How does EVCS continue to provide a more thoughtful curriculum when the state is demanding conformity?

The meeting will take place in the auditorium, 6pm – 8pm. Pizza and childcare will be available — please email Mary Talbot to RSVP for these services.