Good Evening PS 20 Family,
The PS 20 PTA is sending you this reminder that tomorrow we will be hosting our first VIRTUAL TOWNHALL ON TUESDAY MAY 5TH at 5PM. We will be joined by Principal Barbera, along with other members of the administration who will be answering questions submitted by parents.
We will be live-streaming the event to YouTube, and a link to YouTube available at ps20.org/townhall about an hour before the Town Hall starts.
While the requested period for submitting questions (May 1st) has passed, we still encourage you to submit any questions you may have to email@example.com so that we may have them on record and do out best to address them - if not during the town hall, then subsequently.
Below you will find notes from our meeting with Mrs. Barbera that may answer some questions that you may have.
PS 20 PTA
CO-PRESIDENT SUMMARY OF MEETING WITH MRS. BARBERA
- HEALTH: As she mentioned in her notice to parents, Mrs. Barbera is doing much better and is doing a lot of catching up. Mrs. Blyden has been steering the ship for the last three weeks in her abscence.
- UPCOMING EVENTS: Mrs. Barbera expressed support for the online silent auction as well as a school-wide virtual event (like a virtual talent show, which Mr. Chung is considering). She's really trying to work out a way to send the 5th Graders off with some kind of event, but no ideas as of yet. Mrs. Barbera is also going to explore with the teachers how they could organize the Annual Science Museum on a virtual platform for this year.
- CO-LOCATION MOVE: The move is still happening, however, the safety of the move (the physical process of the move) is what's paramount, so that's going to determine exactly when it will happen before September... But, again, no reported delay in the move.
- BUDGET: "Massive cuts" are coming to NYC schools next year. It will be tight for all schools, PS20 included. So this means scaling back to basics for next year; hiring freeze (though excessing doesn't seem to be an issue), less likely to have an additional pre-k, less money for extras in the way of things like field trips, consultants, etc... And again, no money from her budget this year is allowed to be rolled over to next year. ONLY private grants can be rolled over to the next academic year. Mrs Barbera, did plan in advance and purchased already, two rolling laptop carts as well as 11 classroom smartboards (for the new PS20 3rd floor).
Obviously, that's information that we'll want to have as we realign our priorities with the new reality, but not a reason to panic. Our children will have everything they need - though not necessarily everything we want or might have been envisioning for them (in the way we might have envisioned)... So thinking creatively will be key.
- GRADING FOR CHILDREN: Grading for this year will be S (satisfactory) or N (needs improvement)... No "failing" grades.
- PARENT-TEACHER Conference/ARTICULATION NIGHT: There will a last Parent-Teacher conference, the Annual Articulation Night, on May the 7th. Mrs. barbera is figuring out how to conduct such an event with Ms. Blyden.
- NEW JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL DLP PROGRAM AT Fort Green Prep: Our rising 5th graders (particularly our DLP students) will have another option to continue their French studies with the new French DLP 6th grade that's opening down the street at Fort Green Prep (co-located in PS46, at 100 Claremont Ave). Mrs. Barbera was on a major call with the French Embassy, D13 Superintendent Samuels, the principal of Fort Green Prep, and our very own Jont Enroth (among others) and there seems to be a LOT of support for the program there... Our current 5th-grade students, (though having already applied to other schools)_ will have priority access to that program.
- REMOTE LEARNING: We've certainly had some issues with remote learning, but we're all cognizant of how major an undertaking it is to rapidly transition. She thanks everyone for their patience and also wanted to communicate some of the challenges that are being faced and that have taken priority over other concerns.
Right now we still have some children who have not logged on or been in contact with their teachers yet. In some cases, this is due to lack of equipment (as the DOE works to get these devices out) and in some cases, the admin and teachers have no real clue of what the issues are because the parents have been unreachable. So there's been a tremendous amount of energy directed toward narrowing the digital divide at PS20. There have also been efforts to figure out how to make sure that our ELL students don't fall behind or disappear as well.
She did, however, mention that she spoke with our CLUSTER TEACHERS and urged them to be on the look-out for parents' emails and private messages related to their assignments... She also wanted us to keep in mind that they're spread over 500+ students, so to be mindful that delays maybe because of the volume of messages coming in... Meryem and I also note that parents should definitely take advantage of the video meetings when Cluster teachers pop in and ask questions then as well. Mrs. Barbera insisted that she did not want to box-in the families with a rigid schedule for the cluster teachers.
Ms. Deshong, are having the devices ordered (last week) and delivered at Mrs. Barbera's,
to ensure that all PS20 kids will have their device.
- The teachers continue to have their professional development time with Ms. Blyden and much of that is directed toward remote learning and improving best practices.
- ELLs students: Ms. Blyden explained how she and Ms. Colon and the ICT/ELLs teachers were looking to get in touch with all ELLs students' families. They were two children that she needed update on. Ms. Blyden also mentioned that the school admin and all teachers were ready to support families of Muslim faith who are starting the month of Ramadan. She assured us, they will make sure that the Remote Learning remained easily accessible to those families during this religious month of fasting. Admin will try to push back the Google Meet morning sessions until after 10 am.
- ATTENDANCE: Mrs. Barbera expressed that she has instructed the teachers to be FLEXIBLE when dealing with families - as they're dealing with more than the needs of the child, but the parents as well under these new conditions. So one of the examples she's cited is that - while we want families to continue to fill out the attendance in the mornings - she also wants to make sure that we're accounting for children who log-on and begin their day in the afternoon (because parents work late and start their day later). So attendance will be turned in the following day by Mrs. Carmen Perez to account for those students and their circumstances. Attendance is being sent to the State. It isn't used as a function of evaluating students during this time. It's purpose now, is to gather information to evaluate the level of accessibility and effectiveness of remote learning in NYC.
- SCHOOL MAIL: Mrs Barbera found out that the mail was being retained by Postal services. Mr. Falco helped to track down our precious letters. At the time we are writing this report, it has been confirmed by DOE Central, that NO ONE will be allowed INSIDE the school for any mail retrieval/triage etc..until further notice.