Dear P. S. 183 Community,
It is my pleasure to welcome you and your family to the 2018-2019 school year. If you are new to our community, welcome! We are excited to meet your family and welcome you into the 183 family.
Last year, my summer letter was my way to introduce myself to all of you. Now that I’m entering my second year at 183, I wanted to spend some time talking about some of the exciting offerings we have for the upcoming school year. This year, teachers in Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade, will begin to pilot a brand new phonics program. This program will build a foundation of phonemic awareness in your children and support their early literacy development. We will also spend time, once the year gets under way, taking time to teach you about the components of the program and share the work we are doing with your children. In Grades 3-5, our teachers are undertaking a year-long study into effective practices to teach children grammar, usage, and spelling in ways that transfer to a child’s reading and writing. As a school, we recognize these two pieces are important and necessary compliments to our existing reading and writing programs.
This summer, myself, and two staff members attended a two-day training at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The focus of the workshop was to help children build an emotional vocabulary to recognize the emotions they feel throughout the day, and also learn how to regulate them in healthy, positive ways in order to build positive peer relationships and reduce conflicts. Thanks to the support of our PTA, this program will, over the next three years, be part of the existing work we do to support your child’s social and emotional development. For the first year, our staff will undergo training in the many facets of the program. Year two, we will begin to roll out the program school-wide. As the staff becomes familiar with the facets of the program, we will begin to hold workshops to instruct families in our work.
Finally, I’m excited to announce that we’ve received funding to hire an additional Physical Education teacher. In an effort to help schools meet the 120 minutes a week of Physical Education, we’ve been selected to have an additional teacher, which will allow all students, Pre K – 5 to have two periods of exercise and movement. With the addition of the extra special class, we’ve replaced our enrichment Friday cycles with technology. This allows us to maintain the existing specialty course work – Music, Art, Science, Technology, Builder’s Studio (PreK and K) – while adding the extra period of PE into the weekly schedule.
A summer letter wouldn’t be complete without an update on school construction. I’ve had several meetings over the summer about finishing the brick work and removing scaffolding. Currently, we are waiting for the final approval from the architect. Once this approval comes, the scaffolding can be removed. As this project is ending its completion, we are entering into two additional projects. The DOE is making sure all buildings update their boiler systems from oil to natural gas. Because of the brick project, the boiler project was delayed. To support this two-year project, our Pre K yard and part of the main yard (we will gain space from the brick project’s completion) will be used to store a temporary heating system while the existing boiler is removed and a new system rolls out. On 66th street, the current fenced in area will be used as the staging area and material removal. I’m working with construction to minimize disruptions to our school and maintain safety for our students. In addition, starting in August, our new Hydroponic Science lab will begin construction. This project is funded through Council Member Ben Kallos’s office as part of the participatory budgeting we won two years ago. Science will temporarily move to the third floor while the room is under construction. Like the boiler project, work will only occur during non-school hours to minimize disruptions to the day.
With the new Hydroponics Lab will come changes to our Science curriculum. Once the lab is functional, our school will partner with New York Sunworks on building units around sustainability and our environment. In addition, the NYC Department of Education is rolling out a new Science curriculum called Amplify Science. This new curriculum gets students doing the work of scientists – asking questions/defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, building models to represent understandings, analyzing data, and constructing explanations/designing solutions for problems. Grades will study 3-4 units per year. Units explore topics in the following domains: Earth and Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science. Once we get started rolling out the program, we will invite you in to see lessons and provide you with information about the new curriculum. The curriculum itself aligns with the NYS Next Generation Science Standards.
Enclosed in this summer mailing is a letter informing you of your class placement for next year. A lot of careful thought has gone into your placements for the next school year. Therefore, we appreciate your respect towards the process of matching teacher to student. Also included in the letter is important information regarding arrival and dismissal for the first day of school, Wednesday, September 5th. In keeping with tradition, I’ve enclosed a P.S. 183 magnet, to keep those upcoming event reminders visible in your home. On Monday, September 17th, the 183 staff will host Curriculum Night. This is an opportunity to learn about all the wonderful things your child will learn this year in their class. Please stay after Curriculum Night for our first PTA meeting of the school year. More information regarding this event will be sent home the first
week of school.
On the first day of school, I invite you to join Kim, our wonderful Assistant Principal, and myself, in the yard, for a morning meet and greet. It will be a chance for me to welcome you to 183, if you are new, and for those of you already part of the 183 family, reconnect from the summer.
Here’s to an exciting and wonderful school year ahead,
Martin Woodard