Dear EVCS Fam,
Hopefully, you have seen the information that has gone about the annual reading Olympics, and your kids have started to hustle your friends, neighbors and family members for pledges. This is a great way to raise some funds for the PA while also encouraging our kids to read lots of books. And for the second year in a row we will be issuing the “Principal’s Challenge” to encourage students 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 the end of the month. 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. Here is a great resource to find recommendations for excellent, diverse books.
Dear EVCS families,
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I sincerely hope that you and your kids have had an opportunity this weekend to not only have an extra day to chill (so important!), but to reflect on the meaning and significance of this national holiday – not just from a historical perspective but as it relates to the ongoing urgency for racial equity and justice in our society today. It’s been 56 years since Martin Luther King delivered his beautiful I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and yet his call to action is just as salient today as it ever was.
We have committed ourselves at EVCS to doing what we can to support our students – your children – in becoming a generation of anti-racist people. In service of that commitment, we understand the important of teaching about civil rights and racial justice in America from the point of view of past, present and future – not just as a historical event. In that spirit, I am proud to let you know that for the second year EVCS will again be endorsing the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action on February 4-8. The 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter at School movement are ones that overlap significantly with our school’s core values, and we aspire to weave these principles into our curriculum in ways explicit and implicit throughout the school year. During the week of action we will shine a light on these principles through read alouds from picture books (including some led by EVCS parents), discussions in class on relevant topics including structural racism, black identities, black history and anti-racist movements, writing prompts in the upper grades and other focused lesson activities. We will gather as a whole school community on Wednesday morning February 6 for a special SWMM, followed by a short march around the block led by the famous EVCS marching band drum line because as MLK Jr. put it so perfectly so many years ago, Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. and that’s what we intend to do. Students will continue to get regular academic instruction in all subject areas that week, in addition to these special activities and events.
If you’re interested in learning more about our plans for the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action or if you’d like to get involved please plan on sticking around in the auditorium after School-Wide Morning Meeting on Monday January 28th where we can share books, materials and lesson ideas, brainstorm activities together and answer any questions you have.
I always feel grateful to be a part of the EVCS community. But it’s times like these, when we set our intentions to be a force for what is right and we teach our kids that they can be agents of change in an imperfect world, that I am reminded of just how special this community is. Thank you for your support of this initiative.
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!