School Wide Morning Meeting Message 12/10/2018

December 10, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  As you might remember from the last time we were together for SWMM, our school had our Quality Review last week.  I’m happy to report that it went very well!  Over two days the reviewer visited almost all of our classrooms and met with groups of teachers, students and parents.  In every aspect of the review she saw high quality teaching and learning, evidence of our core values, and a strong school community.  Thanks to everyone for making it a success!  A special thanks to all of the students who were called upon to talk about their work and their school experience: Lena Jones, Sylvan Garrelts, Otis Bartlett, Oona McGinty, Soraya Gibbs, Sebastian Askew, Leo Rosenberg,  Declan Resch, Chloe Parsons, Amelia Mirsky, Teo Stabler, Gianna Delgado, Aiman Nurhadiat, Tenzin Phenthok, Emma Waldroop and Jacob Perleman!

We all know that Joy of Learning is a top priority at EVCS.  If you can stick around after today’s SWMM you will see joy of learning on full display, as our 5th graders share work from their Alvin Ailey West African dance residency.  All are welcome to watch.

Finally, make sure you stop by the EVCS holiday craft sale in the lobby today!

Big thanks to our Kindergarten friends for hosting, 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

December Updates

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!

Yours,

Bradley

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 11/26/2018

November 26, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving.  As I was reflecting this weekend on all of the things I am thankful for, I need to tell you that I am especially thankful to be a part of this school community that values kindness, inclusion and social action.  I’m so proud of the effort that all of you put into making this year’s Harvest Festival the best one yet.  Did you know that we collected around 2000 cans and boxes of food?  That’s more than we have ever collected before!   Thank you to everyone who helped make it a success – and special thanks to the EVCS Marching Band Drumline for leading the procession.

We have another important event coming up this week!  On Wednesday and Thursday our school will have something called a Quality Review.   On those two days a guest from the Department of Education will be coming to visit our school to see firsthand all of the great things at EVCS that she’s heard so much about.  Let’s do what we can to welcome her to our school and show her what we are all about.  I have no doubt that we will shine!

Big thanks to our 1st Grade friends for hosting, 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 11/5/2018

November 5, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

Our core value is Kindness.

Kind people show concern for others, for our school and for the environment.  Kindness can be demonstrated through compassion, empathy, generosity, and service.  Kindness is one of the greatest qualities a person can have, and it is necessary to have kindness in a community.

While we all work on becoming kinder people here at school, it’s important that everyone in our school community understand our policy on bullying.  Bullying is very serious and we can never let it happen here at EVCS.  I’ve asked five very important people to come up and help me deliver this message.  Natasha, Selena, Tess, Megan, Liz and I are all on our school’s Bullying Prevention Committee.

Here is how we define bullying at our school:

Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself. Continue reading

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 10/22/2018

October 22, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome back to another week of school. Usually at our School-Wide Morning Meetings we check in on one of our core values, discuss what it means to us, and think about how we can apply it in our daily lives at school.  We have five core values at EVCS.

Kindness
Inclusion
Social Action/Social Justice
Self Awareness
Joy of Learning

Today we are going to take a closer look at our core value social action.

Social action involves identifying things that are wrong in our world and then taking steps to make them better.  One of the best ways we can make a difference in the world is by making a small impact right here in our own community.  We have a tradition at EVCS that every year our school collects cans and boxes of food for our annual Harvest Festival.  The food we collect is then donated to a local soup kitchen that helps to feed people in our neighborhood who don’t have enough to eat.  We believe that everyone should have enough food to eat, and that no one should be hungry.  Will you help us collect food for our Harvest Festival?

This year the Harvest Festival will be on Wednesday November 21st.  You can start bringing in food to donate this week.  And new this year: Our Harvest festival procession to Trinity church soup kitchen and pantry will be led by the EVCS marching band drumline!

This Saturday is our annual Fall Ball!  Give a thumbs up if you will be coming.  Turn to the person next to you and share what will you be dressing up as this year.  We can’t wait to see you there in your costumes.

Big thanks so much 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 10/1/2018

October 1, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend!  Today is the first day of October, which means that colder temperatures and falling leaves are right around the corner.  Give a thumbs up if fall is your favorite season.

Next Monday school will be closed in honor of Columbus Day.  Columbus Day commemorates Christopher Columbus arriving in North America over 500 years ago.  People generally give Christopher Columbus credit for being the first European to come to America.  But here’s a fun fact: He was lost!  Columbus was actually looking for India when he arrived in America!

Here’s another fact: There were millions and millions of people living here in America before Columbus arrived – the Native Americans or American Indians.  The Native Americans who lived here in New York City were called the Lenape.  They lived in dome houses called wigwams, or sometimes big families lived in longhouses.  The Lenape were great hunters and fishermen and they grew vegetables, like corn, beans and squash, which they called the Three Sisters.  Our 2nd graders and 4th graders learn all about the Lenape in Social Studies.

Some states have started recognizing the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, or Native American Day instead of Columbus Day.  When we have a day off next weekend please take a moment to honor the original Americans, too.

Big thanks so much 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 9/24/2018

September 24, 2018

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome to the first School-Wide morning meeting of the new school year!  It’s so great to be with all of you, singing loud and proud together again.

Each time we get together for SWMM we reflect on our school’s core values.  Today I want to focus on our core value self awareness.  The teachers and I want you to learn more about  how your brains work so you can be in charge of your own learning.  We also want you to become good at setting meaningful goals for your learning, and then tracking your progress towards meeting those goals.   This is part of what it means to have self awareness in school.

The start of the school year is a great time for all of us to think about what we hope to accomplish, or ways that we may want to grow as a student and as a person.  Give a thumbs up if you have been working on writing your Hopes and Dreams for the year in your classroom.

Right now I want everyone to think about one really big goal for the year.  We’re going to take three deep breaths together, and when we do I want you to focus on that goal.

I know that with hard work every one of you will be able to meet your goals!  And we are here to help you along the way.  I’m looking forward to watching you grow this year.

Big thanks so much 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

Reading at EVCS

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Dear Parents,

At EVCS, your kids read every day. They read letters sent through the 1st Grade Post Office from friends. They read books in their classroom book clubs. They read articles to learn more about the world around them. They read their own writing to themselves and peers. They read funny stories with their Reading Buddies. They read complex math problems before solving them. And they read library books they’ve picked out themselves.

The way we teach reading at EVCS has many components. I want to highlight just one way we approach learning to read – with Just-Right Books.

Each child at EVCS is assessed multiple times each year and his/her reading level has been determined by the use of a Fountas & Pinnell Running Record. This assessment consists of your child reading a story fluently aloud to a teacher, retelling what they read, and answering comprehension questions about the text. Through this running record assessment a teacher can pinpoint the reading level your child is currently at. Levels range from A-Z, with A books being the easiest to decode and to understand (kindergarten) and Z books being more complex (7th grade). While there are benchmarks for each grade level, students move at their own pace, progressing through the alphabet as they master new reading skills and strategies. Below are the goals for each grade level, but at EVCS we know that every child is different and is growing as a reader.

Continue reading

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.

Bradley

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,

Bradley