Math at EVCS

Dear EVCS Family,

Every day, within our walls and out in our community, our kids are learning to do so much! And whether your child is in Pre-K or in 5th grade – or anywhere in between – one thing they’re doing is exploring numbers and mathematical concepts each and every day. As adults, we work with math so often we often don’t even realize it: From paying the bills to modifying a recipe, from figuring out whether a new chair will fit in the room to figuring out the change at the deli, we all are mathematicians. So often I hear from parents, though, that they don’t understand how we are teaching math – that it’s not how they learned math as children. And it’s true! It’s certainly not how I learned math growing up, but our kids are thinking flexibly about numbers in ways high above what was expected of us years ago. The work is messier now than it once was – we value conceptual understanding of big ideas over computational fluency, and we prefer incorrect answers with high-level thinking over rote completion of an algorithm. You may not hear our teachers instructing students to “carry the one” – but it’s rich and meaningful work happening across our school.

Just today I visited one of our second grade classrooms. Students were working in pairs to solve addition and subtraction problems. These kids could talk about their mathematical thinking in such an impressive way. But their work didn’t look anything like how I learned to solve problems! I’d like to share these problems and solutions with you to highlight the sort of ways our kids are thinking about math and how it might not be the way you feel prepared to help support your kids. In a few days we’ll be having a workshop for parents and kids to talk about just that!

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Talking to children about trauma, tragedy and disturbing news

Dear families,

The links below are some resources for talking to children about trauma, tragedy and disturbing news. Of course, it is your decision about when and if to speak to your children about these types of subjects.

A suggested guide for helping you make these decisions is as follows:

If…Child/family/immediate community directly experiences the trauma/tragedy: Talk about it! Follow developmentally appropriate guidelines. Assure children of safety and care that’s in place. Follow up, stay on it.

If…Child is talking or asking questions about direct or indirect trauma/tragedy: Answer questions. Follow developmentally appropriate guidelines. Assure children of safety & care that’s in place. Follow up, stay on it.

If…No direct experience, child not aware: Take time to consider – age, development, temperament, personal history, cognitive ability, access to emotional support, emotional intelligence, other present stressors, etc. If deciding to expose, follow developmentally appropriate guidelines. Assure children of safety & care that’s in place. Follow up, stay on it.

Some helpful links:

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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.


KEEP ON READING! (plus the link for online sponsors)

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Just a friendly reminder to keep on reading and logging and getting sponsors for the READING OLYMPICS! A great way to get sponsors is to email friends and relatives or post on social media. Here is the link you can send to people so they can sponsor your kids online:

Happy Reading!

Happy Reading,
Allison Gordon (mom of Elias- 4th grade)

EVCS Weekly March 12 – 16

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Dear Parents and Guardians,

The First Battle of the District 1 Family Bands was last weekend and it was a great event! Our family band made us all proud! If you have photos or videos please share on EVCS FB and social media!

Next week is Parent Teacher Conferences. Please be sure to take time to review your Mid-Year reports that went home in backpacks Wednesday. Remember to sign-up to meet with your teachers. Teachers will be giving you a green envelope containing the parent survey. The envelope contains a form with a unique code required to complete the survey online, or you can complete the paper survey and mail it in. This anonymous survey let’s us know how we are doing, and we are striving for 100% completion. Let your voices be heard.

Let’s see what else is happening in March and beyond…

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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,


Reading Olympics- in like a lion.

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It’s still a little cold out there and there is a storm on its way, but just think, after a month of reading and raising money for our school, the weather will be warming up and spring will be here! READING OLYMPICS 2018 has begun!

Materials should have been sent home yesterday- please take them out of your children’s backpacks, and put them in a safe, but visible place so you remember to read and get sponsors everyday!

Thanks in advance for your participation.

Happy Reading,
Allison Gordon (mom of Elias- 4th grade)

Reminder: Tomorrow, March 7 Safety at EVCS

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Dear EVCS Parents and Guardians,

All are welcome and encouraged to join Bradley, Liz and some of our teachers for an open forum discussion on Wednesday, March 7th after drop off in the auditorium. We will begin at 8:50 a.m.

We will discuss a range of things, including our safety protocols, ways that we talk to students about current events and safety in school, our school position on upcoming walkouts and other demonstrations in response to school shootings, and whatever else is on your mind related to safety.

Complimentary Coffee and Tea

Hope to see you there.


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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