“The Key to Unlock Fun”

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Dear Families: 

We enter the second half of the 2020- 2021 school year in a reflective mood, being struck by how much has changed in the past eleven months.  We look towards the anniversary of March 13th, the last day of in-person schooling in the 2019- 2020 school year and we marvel at what we have learned.   

We leave the month of February reflecting too on the thirteen principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, noting the emphasis on freedom and justice, globalism, struggle that is restorative, affirmation of the trans community, queer people and women, as well as the need for empathy, intergenerational support and recognition of the power of the village. 

It feels important to acknowledge and celebrate the ways in which we have come together to do the best we can in the worst circumstances some of us have ever experienced.  

Our BNS village is strong and became that much stronger because of the equalizing of roles over the last eleven months. Much of the work that had for so long gone on behind the scenes now shines as our support staff have moved into center view.  We applaud our educational assistants who are now visible to all, supporting our youngsters both remotely and in person.  We give gratitude to the cluster teachers who have taken on different roles this year in order to make sure that every student has a person to turn to.  And we say bravo to the many substitute teachers who have shown us that it is not the license that makes the educator, but rather the commitment and dedication.  And finally, we thank all of the parents who have taken on way too many responsibilities as they oversee remote learning, and deal with the ever changing structure of in person hours and days at school.   

Consider for example this page from Mary Ann’s Google Classroom and note how the posting has been made by Portia, the educational assistant.  

MaryAnn’s, Portia and Matt’s Kindergarten Crew
Celebrating the Lunar New Year Portia Rose • Feb 11 

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, we had a very special read aloud done by Amalia’s parents called Bringing in the New Year, which spoke about many different parts of the Chinese New Year. One part of the Chinese New Year we learned about from the read aloud was the lantern decorations and how the lions and dragons scare away last year’s bad luck. Posted below is another read aloud I did of a book called Celebrate the Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto as well as a video recording of today’s Puppet Workshop featuring the children sharing the puppets they made for the Chinese New Year! Enjoy!

Celebrate Chinese New Year: https://www.loom.com/share/8922611483864f229b5314d77e058146

Video: Mary Ann K Class-Lunar New Year 2-11-21.mp4

“Collective Value and Black Villages,”  these BLM principles express a way of being that has always been a part of BNS. A family is people taking care of each other and we see our school community as working in just that way. We believe that every member of our community is important, valuable beyond measure, and should be trusted and treated with respect as adults who support the learning experiences of every child. Without our educational assistants, our cluster teachers, and our substitute teachers, we could not have successfully operated this year’s unusual academic program.  As each member of our community pulled their weight both in the building and in front of their screens, a miracle happened.  We were able to continue to teach and to learn.  In our BNS way we did more than survive.  We thrived.

All for now, 
Anna, Diane, and Malika

Quote of the Week: 

Margie Dotter, mother to fourth grader, Cliona, and kindergarten student, Juniper, as well as BNS grad, Abbie, sent an email the other day.  She told a story about Juniper who is in Marisol’s kindergarten crew.   Margie writes, “We were playing school and Juniper was Anna and I was a kindergarten kid who wasn’t doing good listening and had to take a walk with you to figure out how to do better listening (they’re always working something out in play :). We couldn’t start playing until Juniper was wearing her necklace with a homemade key… she said she needed the keys to the ballfield because that’s part of what principals use at school. I think she sees you as having the key to unlock fun, which you actually

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