School Wide Morning Meeting Message – May 18, 2020

Dear EVCS Students,

How great was that to see so many different people contributing to School-Wide Morning Meeting today!  I want to give a massive shout out and THANKS to Yaeli, Yonatan, Yuval, Manuel, Annabel, Ellie, Craig and Terry for sending in videos to use in this week’s SWMM.  Our next SWMM will be on June 1 – and then we will have one every Monday until the last week of school.  If you would like to be included please record yourself singing and/or playing any of the SWMM songs and send the video to bradley@evcs.me.

And if you would like to participate in this year’s talent show, the deadline to submit performances has been extended to this Sunday, May 24.  We have so many talented students at EVCS – I can’t wait to see what you do.  Submissions should be sent to talentshow@evcs.me.  

Keep up the incredible work everyone!  You’re doing great and I’m so proud of all of you for staying focused and staying positive throughout this unusual time.  Don’t forget, whatever happens… 

Thanks again to everyone who led us in the singalong today, and a big thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud from their homes! Have a great day and great week everyone.  

Love,
Bradley

May Parent-Teacher check in

Dear EVCS Families,

First, I want to thank you for your collaboration throughout each stage of the process of updating our remote learning framework. From the survey you filled out in April to the grade level Q&A sessions last week, your voices were heard and I think the plans that were developed through this process represent this collaborative effort well. If you weren’t able to participate in the Q&A in real time and would like to see the recording, they are all archived here. And as a reminder, you can read the overview of our remote learning plan for the next two months here.

Ordinarily at this time of the year we would be organizing our annual evening open house, when families get the chance to meet the teachers in the next grade level and get a preview of the classrooms, curriculum and expectations for next year. Given all the ways that we are restricted in our ability to do that now, not to mention the unknowns about exactly what next year will bring, we are instead going to use this as an opportunity for parents to have an individual check-in with their child’s teacher. Think of it as an abbreviated version of the parent-teacher conferences we just held at the beginning of March. The intention is to make sure we have clear, actionable goals and next steps for every student, so that we can finish this school year strong. Your child’s teacher will be reaching out this week to schedule a time for your check in, which will happen via phone or video conference.

I hope you are all feeling and doing well. I miss our school so much, your kids most of all. You’re all very much in my thoughts and I just can’t wait until we are all back together again. Please give your kids a squeeze for me.

As ever,
Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 05.04.2020

Click here for link to video

May 4, 2020

Dear EVCS Students,

It’s been 7 weeks since we were all together at school, and I miss you guys so much!   I’ve also really missed our School-Wide Morning Meetings, and even though it was fun to sing the songs by myself for you, I really want to hear your voices and share the music – because that’s what SWMM is all about.  So, for the next SWMM I would like to ask YOU to please video yourself singing one of our SWMM songs – it can be alone, with your family, with instruments or acapella (just singing voices).  Of course it’s optional – but if you send me a video of you singing a SWMM song, I will try to include it in next Monday’s School-Wide Morning Meeting!   

And I have some exciting news to share.  Even though our Multicultural Share was cancelled this year, we are still going to have a talent show!  Any EVCS student who wants to participate will be able to share a 3-4 minute video recorded performance.  We will be sending an email home this week with the details of how it will work and when you have to submit your video by, but please start thinking about if/what you would like to share.  Fun!

Also I will be starting a read aloud this week of one of my all-time favorite chapter books, Jenny and the Cat Club.  I will place a link in everyone’s Google Classroom starting this Wednesday, so look out for that.

I can’t wait until the time that we can be together again.  I’ve been visiting your remote classrooms and I see how hard you are working, and I feel so proud of all of you for your persistence and determination.  I know it hasn’t been easy, and that nothing compares to being in school together, but it won’t always be like this.  Stay focused and keep up the great work, and we’ll be back at school one day soon! 

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud from their homes! Have a great day and great week everyone.  

Love,
Bradley

Updates to Remote Learning Plan

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Dear EVCS Family,

Over the last few weeks we have been engaged in a large-scale deliberative process, gathering feedback from our staff and families about their experiences with remote learning through surveys and meetings, with the intention of developing a cohesive vision that will carry us through the end of this school year. We think it’s essential that we take into account the voices and perspectives of our different constituency groups, the things we have learned about what our students and families need in this time of crisis, and also – as much as possible – preserve and center our school’s vision and mission and our shared beliefs about what makes high quality teaching and learning. We still have more than two months of school before we break for the summer, and we intend to make the most of it! Please have a look at our school-wide remote learning plan here.

I’m sure that after reviewing the principles and guidelines for remote learning in our framework that questions will emerge about how this plan will take form at specific grade levels, and we want to make sure that we are creating space for those questions to be asked and answered. Therefore, we will be hosting grade-level Q&A sessions for parents next week. Each session will last about 45 minutes and will include the classroom teachers, Liz and me. In order to use the time most efficiently we are suggesting that questions be submitted in advance in this form. The schedule for Q&A sessions can be found here, and please note that we will be recording the sessions so parents who were not able to attend can access later.

As an important sidebar to our remote learning plan, I want to highlight the fact that a significant amount of feedback we received from parents about their experience with remote learning was lamenting the fact that their children are now spending such a dramatically increased amount of time on screens. While we recognize that the digital interface is a necessary part of remote learning, we also want to make sure that we are encouraging our students to be learning in analog formats, whenever that is an option. Perhaps the most important way that we can create continuity for our kids’ learning and also get them off their devices is by encouraging reading of old fashioned books. Having said that, I know that families’ supply of grade-level books in their homes is limited and/or has already been exhausted and in need of refreshing. If you are able to order more books through booksellers that are currently shipping, please do so! If you need advice on what books would be on your child’s level, please reach out to their classroom teacher or consult the handy Scholastic Book Wizard. And if ordering anything is not possible at the moment, I am very pleased to tell you that our world class Parents Association is currently putting the finishing details on an initiative to get actual books in the hands of every EVCS student who needs them, at no cost to our families. Our PA is the best! More information on that initiative will be coming very soon.

I want to put in a plug for a few additional initiatives that we will be rolling out this spring, in order to keep things interesting and fresh. I enjoyed reading books to our kids so much over our “spring break” week, that I will be starting a new read aloud cycle from a magnificent, but somehow lesser known classic chapter book called Jenny and the Cat Club. Be on the lookout for links to that in Google Classroom next week – it’s great for all ages. And our Multicultural Share may be cancelled, but we will be hosting a school-wide talent show! It’s going to be great, and all will be welcome to share their special talents in pre-recorded 3 or so minute clips. Stay tuned for more information from our Master of Ceremonies Eric, but please tell your kids to start polishing up their acts. And finally, this Monday morning we will be posting a link to our first ever remote School-Wide Morning Meeting. Given our constraints with the permitted technologies, the first remote SWMM will be pre-recorded – and hopefully we can figure a way to do live SWMMs soon.

I hope you are all staying healthy, safe, and relatively sane. Hang in there folks!

With love,
Bradley

Message from Bradley : Spring recess & video conferencing

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Dear EVCS families,

I hope this message finds you all healthy and well. As we get ready to enter our third week of remote learning I want to check in with all of you on some big picture and DOE policy updates, and also ask for your input on our long term plans.

I’ll start with the headline. On Friday afternoon the Chancellor announced that our previously scheduled spring recess, including the days of Passover and Good Friday, is cancelled, and that remote learning should continue uninterrupted this week and next. My understanding of the intentions behind this policy shift is that the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City is expected to hit exactly at the time of our scheduled break, and the City is doing everything they can to encourage everyone to stay home and be occupied and safe. While I get the rationale, I know this information came as a surprise and was disappointing for many of our students, parents and staff, all of whom have been working really hard during this stressful time and were looking forward to a well-deserved and restorative break. The teachers and I will be meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss our plans for keeping students engaged during the break and I will update you soon so you know what to expect. My intention is to create a plan for that time that provides continuity for our students as well as a breather for everyone.

Since it is seeming more and more like remote learning will be our reality for the foreseeable future, we are starting to draft longer term plans and would like your input. Please take a moment to fill out this survey so we can understand from the student and parent point of view how this experience has been over the last two weeks and how it is working for your family.

Finally, it was announced on Friday that because of security and privacy concerns, the DOE is no longer allowing the use of Zoom as a video conferencing platform. They are reviewing other platforms including Google Hangouts – but for the time being the only approved platform for video conferencing is Microsoft Teams. Building the plane while flying the plane indeed! We designed our entire remote learning platform around Google applications, so before we pivot to adopt another platform, we are waiting for more guidance from the DOE, which should be coming soon. In the meantime though, I have advised our staff to hold off on all live teaching, small group instruction and individual conferences, including teletherapy – anything that requires the use of video conferencing. I believe this will be a very temporary shift, and we will be back to having video conferencing ability very soon, so please stay tuned.

Thank you all so much for your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters. Please tell your kids that I miss them, and that I am so proud of all the ways they have risen to these challenges over the last few weeks. More soon.

Yours,
Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 02/03/2020

February 3, 2020

Dear EVCS students,

This week in cities all across the United States, schools are participating in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. EVCS is proud to be a part of this national event. Black Lives Matter is a movement that is working to create a world where Black people, and all people, are valued and treated equitably. Black Lives Matter continues the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement, because even though some things have changed over the years, the lives of black people aren’t always treated as equal in our society.

Our core values at EVCS are kindness, inclusion and social action, so EVCS is a school where Black lives matter, and this week we are taking the time to recognize this.  Every day this week we will be thinking and talking about different guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, and special guests (EVCS parents) will be coming into your classrooms to read books that will shine a light on the Black Lives Matter at School principles. We hope this week will spark rich conversations between all the members of our EVCS community in and out of the classroom!

Thanks as always to the SWMM house band. A very special thanks to all the parents who have volunteered to come in this week to read books to our classes.  And thanks to everyone who came this morning and sang loud and proud!

Have a great day and a great week.

Love,
Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 01/13/2020

January 13, 2020

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome to the first School-Wide Morning Meeting of 2020!  Next Monday we will have a day off from school to observe Martin Luther King Day.  Every year at this time we like to remember who Martin Luther King Jr. was, what he accomplished and why he was so important.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a true hero of our country and someone who embodied all of our core values at EVCS.   Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  He fought to bring racial justice and equity to this country.

Martin Luther King Jr. lived during a time in America when people were treated very differently according to their skin color, but Martin believed that all people should be treated kindly, fairly and equally, no matter what color skin they have.  He fought very hard for civil rights in America, and he was a great leader who used non-violence to bring about change, social justice and racial equity. He was a great role model!  


Unfortunately, the fight for racial justice and racial equity in America is not over.  Our core values are kindness, inclusion and social action, and it is our hope that every member of the EVCS community learn how to become an anti-racist so each one of us can help carry on the work of Martin Luther King Jr in our own ways.  In that spirit, we are inviting every adult in the EVCS community – parents and staff – to read a book called How To Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi.  We’ll have a gathering to discuss the book on the evening of  February 26th. More information on that coming soon!

Next week when we have the day off from school, let’s all try to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in some way.  I’d love to hear about how you choose to do it!  

]Thanks so much to our friends in the 3rd Grade for hosting today, thanks to all of the parents who came this morning, huge thanks to the SWMM house band, and thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud. Have a great day and great week everyone. 

Love,
Bradley 

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 12/09/2019

Dear EVCS Students,

Today is our final School-Wide Morning Meeting OF THE DECADE!  The next time we come together in our auditorium for SWMM it will be the year 2020…      

Our Core Value is Self Awareness.

It’s always a good idea to hit the pause button and reflect on how far we have come and where we want to go.  But it’s an especially good time to do this at the end of the year – and especially at the end of a decade! Can you remember your hopes and dreams you identified at the start of the school year?  Do you know the academic goals that were set at your parent teacher conferences last month?   How is your progress towards meeting those goals?  

Becoming a self aware student means that you are learning to know yourself as a student, that you learn to reflect on your work, your words and your actions, and that you are beginning to think about your thinking.  There are three things you can do to practice thinking about your thinking: Plan, reflect, and evaluate.

First, plan. This might mean setting goals, 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?

Please take some time over the next two weeks to think about how much you have already grown this school year (and this decade!), and let’s get ready to start the new decade with strong goals and clear intentions.   

Thanks so much to our friends in the Pre-K for hosting today, thanks to all of the parents who came this morning, huge thanks to the SWMM house band, and thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud. Have a great day and great week everyone.  

Love,
Bradley

 

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 11/18/2019

Dear EVCS Students,

Our Core Value is Joy of Learning

Students at EVCS get regular instruction in art, music, dance, physical education and chess, and work with visiting teaching artists and specialists.  We work in mixed age groups in clubs, get intensive enrichment programs through electives, and go on lots of field trips. We want your experiences at school to spark wonderment and awe and a love for learning!  

Sometimes joy of learning can be experienced in small and subtle ways, like when you work hard on a challenging task and feel proud of your accomplishments.  Other times joy of learning is experienced in really big and memorable ways. I want to share with you one such moment from a field trip the 5th graders went on a couple of weeks ago, fishing in the East River.

Our Core Value is Kindness

If you have already donated can or boxes of food for our annual Harvest Festival food drive, thank you for your kindness and generosity!  If you haven’t yet, don’t worry there’s still time! And if you aren’t able to bring in cans or boxes of food this year there will be other ways to get involved at the harvest Festival, by singing loud and proud, carrying the food we have collected over to the Trinity Church food pantry and soup kitchen, and thanking the good people who work there every day to help address food insecurity in the East Village.   

Thanks so much to our friends in the Kindergarten for hosting today, thanks to all of the parents who came this morning, huge thanks to the SWMM house band, and thank you to everyone who sang loud and proud. Have a great day and great week everyone.  

Love,
Bradley