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.

Our Core Value is Social Action

Next week, our school will join schools all around the country in recognizing the Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The Black Lives Matter movement is a powerful, non-violent peace movement that systematically examines injustices that exist at the intersections of race, class, and gender. The goal of the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversations in school communities for people of all ages to engage with critical issues of social justice. The content and level to which our students will be engaged in the Black Lives Matter Week of Action at EVCS will of course vary depending on the grade level. We will kick off the week together, first thing Monday morning, with a special School-Wide Morning Meeting. Hope to see you there.

Apropos, I wanted to tell you about an exciting initiative that we are working on this year. The writer Adrienne Rich once said, “When someone with the authority of a teacher describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.” It is so important to us that when our students come to our school and and learn to make sense of the world in our classrooms, that they see themselves reflected in the worldview we have presented. To that end, we have recognized a need to improve and expand all of our classroom libraries, so that everyone in our school community is represented and reflected in the books we have available for kids to read, and our school has allocated thousands of dollars this year to begin the process of upgrading our classroom libraries. This will be an ongoing project over the next few years, and lots of people are involved in making it happen in a thoughtful, intentional and inclusive way. Big shout outs to our teacher Noelle Mapes, and parents Pippa Barak and Erica Fontana for their efforts, and to the EVCS Diversity Committee for supporting the work. More on this soon.

Finally, if your child is in grades 3-5 you have probably begun to contemplate the New York State standardized tests that are coming up in a couple of months. You may have questions, such as “What are the stakes involved for my child, or for the school?”, “Can I opt out?”, “Will opting out affect my child’s chances of getting into a good middle school?”, “How is EVCS preparing kids to take the tests?”. I want to say first of all, everything is going to be OK. Next, I want to let you know that I will be speaking about all things related to the tests at the next PA meeting on February 14th. It’s not the world’s most romantic topic for Valentine’s Day, but I do recognize that it is on folks’ minds and we want to make sure you have all the information you need. All are welcome, including parents of kids in non-testing grades.

That’s it for now. See you in the schoolyard.