Dear EVCS Families,
As you may know EVCS had a Quality Review the week before last. We worked hard to prepare for it, and the two days of the review were super intense, but I am happy to report that the review went very well. The reviewer did observations in most of our classrooms, met with two groups of students in grades 3-5 to discuss their work and school experiences, met with groups of teachers to understand the professional culture at EVCS, and met with a group of 8 EVCS parents to hear their point of view. And of course Liz and I spent a lot of time with the reviewer describing our systems, processes and protocols and sharing many reams and gigabytes of artifacts and evidence of our work. In all aspects of the review our school vision for high quality teaching and learning, our core values, and our strong community were clear to see. It’s not at all surprising to me that we performed as well as we did, but it is really nice to have our work recognized and validated! Congratulations and THANKS to all of our teachers and students for letting their light shine always, and on these two days in particular.
Is there anything better for bringing a community together than music? I think the answer is no, and one of the ways we like to do this at EVCS is through the Family Band. Not to be confused with it’s sister outfit the illustrious School Wide Morning Meeting House Band, the EVCS Family Band is a super group of parents, teachers and principals who put together a killer set of music every year to be performed at our annual spring gala. Last year we started a new tradition called the District 1 Battle of the Family Bands, where we challenged all of the other schools in the District to put together their own bands for an honest-to-goodness throwdown, involving celebrity judges, a beautiful trophy, and hosted at the world famous Bowery Ballroom. The event was a huge success and so much fun – and we are doing it again! Please mark your calendars for the evening of Sunday March 3, 2019. More information to follow – BUT the EVCS band is just starting to get our act together and we want to put out a call for new members. Any closet horn players out there? Shower singers looking for a bigger audience? Looking to finally put all those years of piano lessons to good use? If you are interested in rocking out with us, please contact me directly.
Finally, you may be aware of the City’s effort since Hurricane Sandy to put a coastal resiliency project in motion. The current proposal would involve shutting down East River Park for at least 3 1/2 years in order to create a sea wall and raise the entire park to an 8 foot elevation. If you are interested in learning more and adding your voice to the discussion, please note that there is a public meeting tonight at 6:30 at the Hunter-Brookdale Rotunda, 425 East 25th Street (between First Avenue and the FDR Drive).
If I don’t see you before we break at the end of next week, happy holidays!
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.
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.