Letter from Claire - Sep 18

Dear Families,

Thank you to all who joined us for curriculum night. So many families were able to attend and it was great saying hello to all of you. If you were unable to make it, please contact Caren, our Parent Coordinator at caren@ps333.org and she can share any handouts that were distributed.

As a progressive school, part of our mission is a whole child approach, this ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, and provides for long-term student success. To support the wellness of our students, our physical movement committee and staff have updated our wellness policy. Please read the policy, especially the parts highlighted in yellow. We are implementing on Monday for staff and families.


Wellness Policy 2017-2018

Through the guidelines listed below, Manhattan School for Children (MSC) will enhance existing wellness practices to further promote student wellness through the education and practice of proper nutrition, a routine of regular physical fitness, and a promotion of environmental consciousness through various green initiatives, all in an effort to improve student’s ability to learn and to create life-long wellness behaviors within the school community. Nutrition Standards: Healthful eating nourishes a child’s brain and body.  Proper nutrition is linked to academic achievement, fewer absences, and improved mood and behavior.

School Meals  

Food: Recommended Guidelines

    • Encourage

      • Daily offerings of fresh food

      • Increased use of scratch-cooked recipes

      • Fresh salad bar with homemade dressings

      • Whole grain pastas, breads and other grains

    • Avoid foods with

      • GMOs

      • Hydrogenated oils

      • Trans fats

      • High fructose corn syrup

      • Food additives or fillers

      • Artificial dyes, colors, or sweeteners (FD&C #s, BHT/BHA, TBHQ, BVO, benzoates, nitrates, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, caramel coloring, etc)

      • Long ingredients lists

      • Packaged foods


    • Plain water, with no added sweeteners

    • 100% fruit juice/vegetable juice and with no added sweeteners with 4oz portions for elementary and middle school, 8 oz portions for upper school

    • 8 oz portions of plain one-percent milk, nonfat milk, soy milk, rice milk, other similar nondairy milk.

Classroom Snacks

MSC has joined the movement to keep our students and our environment healthier with a new food and nutrition philosophy.  The MSC Snack Program is designed to empower children, teachers and parents to make educated choices about food and health while providing good nutrition and supporting healthy eating habits for a lifetime.


This snack program will go a long way towards improving the overall health of our student body.  More fruits and vegetables in our diet mean less processed, refined sugary foods – all leading to fewer behavior issues in classrooms, greater productive energy, improved focus and concentration, better academic and physical performance both in and out of school.  Please try not to bring processed, refined, sugary foods to school for any school function, including daily classroom snack, publishing parties, and other class events such as special days.

      • Classroom snacks are well balanced; ideally pair a protein with a carbohydrate choice.

      • Packaged items should include one serving only and should be limited

      • If packaged, follow the 5/5/5 Rule – each single serving snack should have <5 grams sugar, 5+grams fiber, no more than 5 ingredients.

      • Snacks should not exceed 200 calories per single serving snack

      • Please check with your classroom teacher about appropriate snack choices as some of our students have food allergies.

      • To create a well-balanced snack, pair a protein choice with a carbohydrate choice.



CHEESE – low fat or regulars. A fat free cheese is never a good option for a growing child.  For variety, try different flavors of cheese and cheese sticks, not just mozzarella.

FRESH FRUIT – try to buy seasonal and regional when possible.  Fruit can be served whole, sliced, cut in half, cubed, or in wedges.

ROASTED CHICKPEAS – Dry off a can of chickpeas and add a Tbsp. of olive oil, and salt to taste.  You can flavor them with other spices if desired.  Roast in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until they harden.

ENERGY BITES & BARS – Check ingredients to make sure it doesn’t have added sugars or processed ingredients.  Homemade recipe in addendum. 

DRIED FRUIT – no sugar added and free of sulfites if possible.  Best choices include apricots, pears, peaches, raisins.

FRUIT CUPS – Applesauce or fruit cups should be unsweetened/No Sugar Added.

FRUIT LEATHERS – some brands of fruit snacks are more like candy than fruit and should be avoided due to their high content of added sugars and lack of fruit.

HUMMUS – a spread made from chickpeas; may contain sesame seed as well.

BEAN DIP – black bean or white bean dip

FRESH VEGETABLES – cut up carrots, celery, red or yellow peppers, grape tomatoes are all easy choices.  Don’t overlook snap peas, string beans, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower too.

EDAMAME – young soybeans; can be purchased in the pods or already shelled.  Children enjoy shelling these themselves.

WHOLE-GRAINS – crackers, rice cakes, corn cakes, pretzels, tortilla chips.  Look for choices made from grains other than wheat as an alternative.

YOGURT – no sugar added please.


*For grades K-4, families provide healthy snacks for the classroom at large.  In grades 5-8, children may bring their own snack.  Snacks are distributed as determined by individual classroom teachers.

Classroom Celebrations

  • Celebrations that involve food are limited to one per month. That is for both celebrations include Publishing Parties and Special Days. 

  • Home baked foods with whole foods and fresh ingredients are encouraged.

  • Families are encouraged to celebrate something special about your child by celebrating the child (and his/her interests) and not through food.


      • Non-food related fundraising is encouraged

      • Fundraising activities that involve physical activity are encouraged

      • Foods used for fundraising should follow Recommended Guidelines

      • Home baked foods with whole foods and fresh ingredients are encouraged


  • Students and school staff should have access to free, safe, fresh drinking water at all times throughout the day.

  • School staff is encouraged to model drinking water consumption.


Physical Activity

Children who are physically active have an improved chance of thriving both academically and socially.

Daily Guidelines

o   60 minutes of physical activity daily recommended (CDC) - may be broken down into small increments

o   Activities should include a combination aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, bone strengthening


  • Daily scheduled recess should ensure opportunity for regular physical activity outside of scheduled PE classes

  • There is adequate space for various physical activities (i.e. soccer and tag) and a variety of fitness equipment (i.e. balls and jump ropes) will be available to children to encourage a diverse selection of physical activity

  • Studies* show that overall boys are more active than girls at recess; insure activities are available that appeal to both genders


  • During inclement weather, an indoor recess policy that includes physical activity will be planned and implemented

  • Staff may not withhold recess as a punishment



    • Children should not sit for longer than two hour periods without brief (3-5 minute) fitness or stretching breaks or energizers.

Health Education

Health education provides children with the skills necessary to understand and therefore make healthy choices on their own; knowledge of nutrition and physical education fuels the motivation necessary to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • School garden is used as a participatory tool

  • Health education is supported through sharing information with families via school website, handouts, newsletters and workshops

  • PE teachers and health educators collaborate to strengthen message of overall well-being

School Lunch Provider should:

  • Collaborate with nutrition educators on general lesson concepts in an effort to support, and not contradict, nutrition education

  • When possible, link nutrition lessons to cafeteria culture and meal plan



The children of MSC and the school community as a whole can implement a series of sustainability practices in an effort to take responsibility for our effect on Earth, both now and for future generations.


    • Receptacles for glass/plastic, paper, trash and compost are available in cafeteria

    • Receptacles for glass/plastic, paper, trash are available in classrooms and hallways

    • Compost receptacles are available as needed for classroom celebrations that include compostables such as food

Plastic bottle usage

      • Ban sale and use of single serve plastic water bottles at sporting events, school food outlets and activities

      • Offer tap water via cooler dispensers for sports/large events

      • Make available reusable cups and water

      • Provide children with their own reusable cup/or water bottle

Air Quality

      • Post signs to discourage cars and busses from idling in school area


Green Cleaning

    • Use environmentally safe “green” cleaning products

    • Use green cleaning procedures

    • Ensure products and procedures are shared and available to students and school staff as necessary

Energy Conservation

    • At end of day, turn off all appliances and electronics at the wall outlet

    • Keep doors closed to keep cool/warm air from escaping

    • Don’t overheat or overcool – set temperatures at 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer

    • Turn off lights when leaving the room; consider if natural light alone is adequate


We are thrilled to re-introduce FIT BITS with our team at Wellness in the Schools.  Our new WITS Coach, Dell Bethea will teach FIT BITS (Short physical activity breaks during academic time are proven to help activate the brain, improve on-task behavior, and strengthen students’ ability to focus) to your class 2 days/week for this first semester, beginning September 25th.  There are 11 lessons and while teaching, he will model for you to then teach on your own for the second semester.  Dell will teach the same lesson each week for 11 weeks then repeat the favorites! Please engage in the FIT BITS with him and feel free to ask questions. A schedule will be shared in your mailbox soon.



Reading Buddies: 2017-2018

In order to be fair and equitable in the selection of Reading Buddies, I placed teachers' names in two boxes, one lower house and one upper house, and I pulled a name from each. Cross age partnerships can also be academic tutoring in Math, Science, Social Studies and academic share of projects in all contents (students are the experts and teach to an older or younger student). Also, this cross-age time can be once a month or twice a month and can happen for 20 or 30minutes. The purpose is to build relationships between younger and older students to support our K-8 community.

Amy P & Kristin                                                         Stephanie B & Nicki (8th grade)

Gerri/Lindsey & Nancy                                              Rachel & Kelly

Liz & Matthew (601)                                                  Suzanne & Marissa/Alice

Karen & Michele/Stephanie A                                    Julia & Alaina/Amy (602)

Nicole/ Mary Ann & Eunice                                       Laurel & Elizabeth R

Lynn & Hilary/Fara                                                     Wyatt (701 or 702) & Erica/Sam

Madelene & Claire’s 8th Grade Advisory


What is Coming Up…

Please come to Chat with Claire on September 19th @ 8:45 in the auditorium. This will be a joint meeting with the PTA.

  • Curriculum night is September 26th: for 6-8 from 6:00-7:00.


  • Please have your MSC ID out so you are ready to swipe. There are two entrances, the front and the door by the auditorium. To reduce crowds, please use both.

  • Doors in the lobby open at 8:20. Please do not block the entrance. Please make sure the steps are clear so staff can enter.

  • Please come to pick up your child on time. K is dismissed in the auditorium, 3-5 in the basement gym, 6-8 are dismissed in front of the building.

  • If you are late in picking up your child, he/she will be waiting in the auditorium with our staff.

  • Once dismissed, students/families must exit the building.  Adults and students are not allowed to return upstairs.  Please keep that in mind and remind your child to bring her/his belongings downstairs at the end of the day.