Letter from Claire - Oct 24

October 24, 2016

Dear Families,

Middle school open house was a huge success. We had a full auditorium of our families and families from other schools. Big shout out to Matthew, Alaina, Amy, Nicole W, Stephanie D, Erin and Raphael for speaking and representing! Big thanks to Suzanne Shelley and Susan Gargiulo and all the parent volunteers!


Thank you also to all who came to October Chat with Claire!

Water: There have been repairs to the pipes and plumbers have been working hard, at night and over weekends to resolve the issue.  DOE is still testing the water, but there are no definitive results yet. On a positive note:  The kids love chatting around the water coolers.  The school has been particularly hydrated in the last few weeks.


Family Conferences

A reminder that family conferences are next week for grades 6-8 and the week after for K-5. Fall conferences are teacher led, spring conferences will be student led.  Please talk to your teacher or Maxine if you have trouble scheduling a conference, the goal is 100% participation.


Question: Why are 5th / 6th grade children coming into the auditorium for five minutes between recess and classroom? 

Answer: We want to make sure the children have as much time as possible to be social, however, the transition into the auditorium between recess and going to their classroom is a necessity as we need to allow the other school time in the yard.  It is a challenge, being co-located, the five minutes in the auditorium allows for a safe transition inside.


Question: What does progressive mean for MSC? 

Answer: Many aspects to what progressive means to MSC – including,

·      Drop off in classroom, only 1% of public schools have this. 

·      Parents have access to teachers and staff.

·       Responsive classroom, which means MSC has a focus on the whole child.

·       K-5 start every day with morning meeting; community building; in upper grades, children have advisory. 

·      Children create their own rules every year. Rules Congress is happening this week.  Once a month Claire meets with the student delegates which gives students a voice at MSC. 

·      Hands-on learning, First Friday Field trips.

·      Skills for test taking woven into curriculum.

Concern that accepted applicants don’t always understand what progressive education means.

The PTA hosts a “welcome to MSC” event for accepted parents to make sure everyone understands what progressive means at MSC.


Question: How many teachers are at recess?

Answer: Two licensed teachers and a wellness coach, plus para-professionals who help children with special needs.


Question: Can you tell us about the reports that go along with parent / teacher conferences? Answer: Families will receive the progress reports at the parent / teacher conference.   Families also have access to the reports thru the New York City Schools Account.  Every family should have signed up for their account.  If you have not, please reach out to Maxine, our Parent Coordinator at MWitherspoon2@schools.nyc.gov for assistance.


Question: Why does MSC not celebrate holidays or birthdays?

Our school was founded by families who did not celebrate holidays or birthdays, based on their religious beliefs.   Special Days became one the tradition of inclusion at MSC.  While we do not have birthdays, our children and families can talk about what makes their families special – what their cultures and histories are and/or celebrate what’s important to them on their Special Day.


From the Classroom

I was invited to a firestone town hall meeting in Nicki's 7th grade history class. They are studying civics and the colonial era. The students were discussing tax collection, town bills, and school issues - out to lunch boundaries, school dance, and transitions between classes. Statesman did roll call for attendance and taxes are homework. Students explained why they believe in governing this way.


Wendy and I met with our new delegates K-8.  We began to sort classroom rules into categories. We will meet again on Wednesday.



6-8 family conferences are this week. Please sign up. Contact Maxine if you need assistance.

Photo day is this week. Check the website for specific times.

As Halloween approaches, please remember, the MSC community has families from many different cultures and traditions. Some families in our school community do not celebrate holidays because of religious or cultural beliefs. Therefore, we do not celebrate holidays, or decorate the school or classrooms for holidays, nor do we hold holiday celebrations. Please remind your child/children. Students should NOT wear costumes to school.