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

 

School Wide Morning Meeting Message 11/04/2019

Dear EVCS Students,

Our core value is social action.

Social action involves identifying things that are wrong in our world and then taking steps to make them better.  There are so many ways individuals, including children, can work to make the world a better place, but one of the best ways is by making a small impact right here in our own community.  And one of the most important issues in our community is food security. Food security is when people have access to enough nutritious food to take care of themselves and their families.  Every person deserves to have enough food to eat, but sadly not everyone does.

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 want to help address food insecurity in our community. Will you help us collect food for our Harvest Festival?

This year the Harvest Festival will be on Wednesday November 27th.  You can start bringing in food to donate this week. And once again our Harvest Festival procession to Trinity Church soup kitchen and pantry will be led by the EVCS marching band drumline and the EVCS Fish King!        

Thanks so much to our friends in the 1st 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 10/21/2019

Dear EVCS Students,

Welcome back!  I hope you had a beautiful fall weekend.  The leaves are turning, the weather is getting colder, and that means that the Fall Ball is coming soon!  I hope everyone will try to make it to the Fall Ball this Saturday from 12-4. Admission to the event is FREE!  We’ll have a bounce house, games and activities and of course the legitimately creepy haunted house. There will also be a pumpkin carving contest and a costume contest with prizes for the winners.  If you’re still not sure what you’re going to dress up as – there is a costume exchange after school today in Sauer Park where you can upcycle old costumes for someone else to wear, or pick up a gently used costume free of charge.  I’ve got my costume ready, I can’t wait to see you all there.   

You may not realize this, but just like all of you, your teachers and I are also constantly learning new things and working to become better at what we do.  Right now our whole staff is studying together about the best ways to teach reading. One thing we have learned is that the single most important thing that kids can do in elementary school to become stronger readers is to: 

Read independently from a book that is on their level at school
and at home every single day.  

Your teachers will teach you the skills and strategies that you need, but it is the independent reading practice that is the most critical thing.  Let’s all commit to making sure we are selecting books on our level and taking the time to read independently every day! You can do it!

Thanks so much to our friends in the 2nd 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, September 24, 2019

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.  We will gather here in the auditorium every other Monday morning to sing together, share our work, and connect as a whole school community.  Parents are always welcome and encouraged to join and sit with their kids.  

Each time we get together at SWMM we reflect on one or more of our core values.  Does anyone think they can name all five of our core values?  

Our Core Value is Social Action

This past Friday millions of people around the world, including hundreds of thousands of people in New York City, left their schools or their jobs to demonstrate against climate change.  Many of our own students and families attended the march.   

People marched with signs and chanted slogans to urge our government and corporations to take greater responsibility for the environment and adopt policies that would slow the effects of climate change, which is maybe the most important challenge we are facing today.  This is a youth led movement, organized by kids like you! Never forget how powerful your voice can be, when you stand up for what you believe in. 

The East Village Community School stands in solidarity with our youth activists who are leading the way on this critical issue.

This coming Saturday we will have a potluck picnic and playdate in the schoolyard, from 10 to 2.  Everyone is invited! It’ll be a nice opportunity to parents and kids reconnect with old friends and make some new ones.  I hope to see you there.

Finally, for our parents: This Wednesday morning we will have our very first Parents Association meeting of the year.  It’s a packed agenda, including voting in new parent SLT members. It’s a great way to get involved in the school – please try to make it if you can.  

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 5/20/19

Dear EVCS students,

 

Thanks to everyone who came to FleaVCS on Saturday!  It was a beautiful day and we had a great time rummaging through the clothes and finding treasures, enjoying treats from the bake sale, fixing up our bicycles, listening to the EVCS drum line and a special performance by the giant puppet making team.  This event, which we hope to make an annual tradition, was organized in the spirit of taking care of our environment and upcycling – which is a word that means repurposing or reusing old things instead of throwing them out.

And this morning many of us met up at the North or South ends of our district to ride our bicycles to school together in a show of support for a dedicated bike lane on Avenue B. Our core value is social action and this is what it looks like!

Who else thought that today’s sing along song choices were especially good?  Well, they were chosen by a very important person – our Principal for the Day, 1st Grader Kairos Yoon!  Principal for the Day will actually take place next week on Tuesday – but I wanted to introduce you to Kairos today and let him to tell you all about his special rules for the day next Tuesday.
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School Wide Morning Meeting Message 5/6/19

Dear EVCS students,

First, let’s all officially welcome Terry back to school!    

What a great time we had at the Multicultural Share on Friday night!   The delicious food representing so many of our families’ cultures and traditions shared with our whole community, and the excellent performances make it one of my favorite EVCS events year after year.  Thanks again to everyone who brought food to share, to the brave kids who shared their talents, and to all of you who were such an encouraging and supportive audience. I thought this year’s was one of the best one we have had in a long time.

This Friday is the Notes in Motion Poetry Carnival!  At 5pm families can sign in and grab some dinner in the cafeteria.  Then from 5:30 until 7:00 the fun begins. We’ll be dancing and moving along with the Amanda Selwyn Dance Company, to the poetry of well-known poets as well as our EVCS Poetry contest winners!  So many of our classes have been reading and writing poetry over the last month, and this Friday we’ll be celebrating poetry together through dance. I hope you can join us!

One final announcement. We have been noticing that the newly plants bushes and shrubs in the schoolyard along the fence have been getting really damaged, with lots of broken branches.  PLEASE be careful not step on those bushes or break the branches off. Let’s take care of our school environment!

Thanks as always to the SWMM House Band, and thanks to everyone who sang loud and proud this morning.   

Have a great day and a great week.

Love,

Bradley