Letter from Claire - Feb 27

February 27, 2017


Dear Families,

Welcome back! Vacation was wonderful with the spring, warm temperatures and lots of sun. That was a welcomed surprise. Spent time with my nephew visiting the Central Park Zoo. We saw the red panda, grizzly bears, a snow leopard and the sea lions, all in the middle of the city. Had a glorious walk on the high line and since it was during the week, no crowds. 


Thank you to all who came to February Chat with Claire!

Check out the new video: What we love about our school on our website,

www.ps333.org - it’s a wonderful showcase of how much we do here at the school.


Parent Coordination update: Our committee interviewed parent coordinator candidates.

More to come soon.


I received a question about recess during testing periods. Students will always

have recess during testing days.  However, they may have it in the gym instead of outside because the recess outside can be noisy and distracting to those grades that are taking tests inside.  Dates This Year: ELA Testing is March 28, 29 and 30 and Math is in May after spring break - May 2, 3, 4th 3rd grade through 8th grade will be tested. We don’t teach to the test at Manhattan School For Children.  All the teachers do a good job keeping low key and calm about testing.  I received a question about how to opt out of state testing? We really believe that opting out is a personal decision for every family to make. We support and respect whatever parents choose. If more than 2/3rds of families opt out, there is a ramification for the school.  However, now that the test in untimed, fewer families are opting out overall.


What is the purpose of the 3rd grade testing? Testing is a New York State Mandate for 3rd- 8th grade.  It’s not a timed test as of last year, which has cut down on student and parent anxiety.  It’s a baseline test, mostly reading comprehension, with multiple-choice questions to answer and short answer and essay writing pieces. Test taking is a skill.  The school sees testing as a data point, part of the whole picture but not the entire picture.  Teachers and families get the results.  Test scores are important in 7th grade when applying to high schools or in 4th grade if you are thinking about applying to a different middle school. High Schools do look at 7th grade scores as part of the application process. 


Question about Engage NY Math curriculum - is there any way to make the math curriculum more progressive? There are a couple of things we’ve been doing.  Engage NY is more traditional.  We’ve been working on Math Centers at the school and always looking for ways to make math hands on. 5th grade we’ve been working on Socratic Circles. 

From the Classroom

We celebrated the 100th day of school across the school! 4th graders made 100 kindness cards, 7th grade participated in History Olympics: 100 facts that the have learned! Kindergarteners classes used their 100 chart and answered a math work problem with 100 pieces of origami, 25 kids each child can get 4 origami flowers. 1st graders with reading buddies made 100 peace collages, 6th graders Puzzle race for the 100th day of school. 100 piece puzzles, in 3rd grade they solved for how many combinations of multiplication equations could you find to make 100?


I visited 6th grade student work showcase where students shared what they learned about the cardiovascular system in Science and the different kinds of cholesterol and how they impact the heart. Students shared their reading response looking closely at character traits and how they changed over the course of the book.


Wendy and I met with our delegates this past week. We continued our social action project by sharing our research based on our question: How can we at MSC refrain (stop) from pushing, shoving, play fighting, kicking and hitting? Our next step is to collect information on where it is happening. Delegates are going to: observe, interview,

notice, investigate in the recess yard, in the cafeteria and by the lockers. They will observe by tracking patterns within the school and than report the information when we meet again.


Coming Up…

Family conferences are quickly approaching in March.

We are hosting student-led family conferences. This format is child centered and empowers students to take ownership of their learning. It is so important that students speak to their work and have a voice in the conference. It also strengthens the close bonds between staff, students, and families as they continue to be a team during the conference.

To prepare for Student led conferences:

·      Student must be present.

·      This is the conference and the student is the leader.

·      It is a Chancellor initiative where it is student centered, more inclusive and it supports student accountability. 

·      When families signs up for a slot, the child must be available. 

K-5 Families,

 Teachers will have a sign-up sheet outside their classroom for families to sign up.

Ø  Evening Session Conference is Wednesday, March 8th.

Ø  Half day afternoon conference is Thursday, March 9th.   Students in K-5 are dismissed at 12:00. 



We are having families sign-up online through sign-up genius. The links are on our website.

Ø  Evening session conference is Wednesday, March 15th is the 5:30-8:00.

Ø  Half day afternoon session conference is Thursday, March 16th 12:30-2:53.  Students are dismissed at 12:00. 



March First Friday Field Trip Day is this week, March 3rd. Our goal is to extend our classrooms outside of our building, and for the trips to be a celebration of NYC. Please sign up to chaperone.