And so we begin our second week of school in the most chaotic year in memory. We welcome our in-person pre-K students who start with a phase in program this morning. We welcome too our remote learners, zooming in from their different homes. We recognize the complications of this beginning and ask that you remember that all of this is new for all of us. It is also quite different from what we did in the spring. Then, we knew each other and were responding to familiar faces on the screen.
Perhaps, the most powerful moments at 610 Henry Street last week were the ones in which children surfaced in our school yard and on the ballfield. We had to identify them by looking closely at their eyes sneaking out above their masks. A challenge this was as many little beings had grown into bigger and more powerful bodies.
With the second week of school redesignated remote for all elementary aged children, we ask that you bear with us as teachers and families use digital media and get to know each other. A few of you have not successfully joined your classes. Email Malika at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need support with remote programming.
As remote learning gets started, we continue to perfect the building, while also further developing our outdoor learning plan. Many thanks to David Seitar for helping us as we reimagine our use of the school yard and Rapelye Street.
As families opt for hybrid learning, remote learning or being full time in school, we have worked hard to juggle individual and group needs. This has resulted in a staffing list complete with educational assistants, substitutes, teachers and administrators working together to create a learning experience effective for all.
A few words about A, B, C, and D. In the last week or so, Diane has made fifty changes as parents reconsider what is best for their children and families. We are always open to supporting you as you deal with this situation and will continue to consider changes related to blended, full time, and remote options, as long as such a change is possible.
2020 has certainly been a year forcing reflection on values and requiring greater dedication to inclusion and further commitment to social justice. With this in mind, we celebrate our faculty, a group of human beings, hard working, persistent and dedicated to humanity. We also reaffirm our commitment to each other, working to support our colleagues as they pursue their professional and life long dreams.
Congratulations to Valerie Moses and Candacy Meusa for getting their teaching credentials! For both Valerie and Candacy, the path to the classroom has been a long one, full of hard work, resilience and perseverance. It has not been easy.
Valerie has been a part of the BNS community for thirteen years and through that time, she has plugged away at her own education, first getting an Associates and then a Bachelors degree from Medgar Evers College and now, pursuing a Masters in Special Education at LIU, all this, while working full time and raising two children. For many of those BNS years, Valerie worked alongside her second grade colleagues, Andrew and Greta. This hands-on experience is the best kind of readiness for the classroom. Keep in mind that Valerie accomplished all of this while also arriving early to do morning duty and staying late at our AfterSchool.
Candacy has been a part of the BNS community for six years. She discovered our school when LaGuardia College placed her in Laurie’s fifth grade class, where she was a student observer. She liked what she saw and ended up returning to work here as a paraprofessional while studying education at Brooklyn College. Candacy has been in many grades, but ultimately, became a regular in the fourth grade where she worked alongside Kaelyn and later, Zack, perfecting her teaching practice. Now, with Josh as a co-teacher, she is more than ready for the title, ‘teacher’.
At BNS, we have worked hard to confront systemic racism. As a white woman, who has been a teacher since I was twenty-four years old, I, Anna, have seen the difference between my path and the path of others who have not had as many opportunities. We couldn’t be more proud of Valerie and Candacy. This grand step into the world of the teacher is a big one and not always easy to attain. As leaders of BNS, we like to think that Valerie and Candacy’s title change is just one example of a school community not just chanting Black Lives Matter, but embracing the deep meaning of these words.
All for now,
Anna and Diane and Malika
Quote of the Week
At a Zoom meeting last week, our library teacher, Karen, read the picture book, Saturday by Oge Mora. This book is about a girl and her mother experiencing a Saturday when things do not go as they had planned. Sabine Thomason, a first grade child in Abby and Jennifer’s class, commented, “You know, sometimes things don’t go the way we want them to and we just have to make the best of it.”
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