Letter to NEST+m Students and Families, Week of December 7, 2015

Dear NEST+M Students & Families,

Last week, during the lower grades, middle grades and upper grades “Principal’s Coffee” we viewed a brief video featuring Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. In “Developing A Growth Mindset” Professor Dweck discusses the difference between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset. She details research findings and studies that have demonstrated the powerful impact that a Growth Mindset has on student learning.

So that you may join this conversation too, please see the quote below and the resources that follow.

“Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have an empowering perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process. In contrast, students who have a fixed mindset—those who believe that intelligence is fixed—tend to focus on judgment. They’re more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they’re not. And that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.  Many studies show that children who have a growth mindset respond differently in challenging situations and do better in school over time.”   Source: Mindset Kit for Parents

Resource 1: Developing A Growth Mindset, Carol Dweck, Stanford University Department of Psychology. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiiEeMN7vbQ

Resource 2: Mindset Kit for Parents: In this online series, “parents learn what a Growth Mindset Is, why it is important, and best practices to support their children in developing this learning belief.”

See: https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents

Resource 3: Bronson, Po. “How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The inverse power of praise.” New York Magazine.  3 August 2007. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index4.html

Respect for All: With each day’s news headlines we are reminded of our world’s complexities. Now more than ever it is essential that each of us makes a commitment to recognize the dignity of all members of our NEST+m community.  During our face-to-face and electronic communications, please make a personal pledge to the following:

Choose Kindness. Choose Optimism. Recognize the dignity of each member of our NEST+m community.

Whether in person or in writing, our tone, body language, physical actions and word choice have a powerful impact on the way that each of us feels about our extraordinary school. It is our obligation to create a culture of care and respect each day.

Each of us has a role to play in our school community. Whether we are a student, teacher, parent, or staff member, we are interdependent: we need each other.


Greet one another with eye contact.

Say hello.

When writing, begin with an opener such as “Dear” (person’s name) and conclude with a closer such as “Sincerely” or “Thank you”.

When we have uncomfortable feelings or issues of concern, please know that we  will work these through together. Whether in person or in writing, it is never ok to yell at another person. It is never ok to attack the dignity of another person.

If you are aware of any instance of bullying, in person or online, please bring this to the attention of your child’s Assistant Principal within 24-hours of this coming to your attention. For more information about the NYC Department of Education’s Respect for All initiative and Bill of Student Rights and Discipline Code, please see:

Respect for All: http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/RespectforAll/default.htm

Discipline Code: http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/DisciplineCode/default.htm

Staffing Updates:

  • Lower Grades: We are pleased to welcome Ms. Sarah Beyroute as our new lower grades chess & technology teacher.
  • 8th Grade: We are pleased to welcome Ms. Ilene Baum as English 8 long-term substitute teacher while Ms. Turnowski is on leave.
  • 12th grade English: We are pleased to welcome Ms. Angelita Antonio as long-term substitute teacher in Ms. Palmer’s absence. We are in the process of securing a permanent replacement for Ms. Palmer.

Ms. Beyroute, Ms Baum and Ms. Antonio will be communicating directly with families to provide their contact information.


General Announcements:

Student Attire:

  • For students in grades 3-8, NEST+m has an official school uniform.
  • For all other grades, students are expected to wear attire that is appropriate for our school setting.

Student Belongings:

  • Please send students to school with their belongings for the day. (food, water bottle, musical instruments, homework etc.). Please do not order food delivery to our school or ask our Main Office staff to provide mid-day deliveries to individual students.


As Previously Announced:

  • Save the date: The NEST+m Middle Grades Play, There’s A Little Ambiguity Over There Among The Bluebells, directed by teacher Jillian Fletcher will be performed on Thursday December 10th at 5:30pm and Friday December 11th at 6pm.


  • The Big Apple Awards: Recognizing Teacher Excellence in New York City

“The Big Apple Awards celebrates and recognizes teachers who inspire students, model great teaching, and enrich their school community.”

To nominate a teacher or for more information, see:


The nomination deadline is Monday, January 18, 2016



  • Outside-of-School Science Opportunities? The NEST+m School Leadership Team would like to compile a list of annual or regularly occurring outside-of-school science opportunities so that this information can be shared with NEST+m students and families. If you know of events/programs/internships that should be featured in such a resource, please send this information via email with header “Science Opportunities” to Ms. Cecilia Buktenica at CBuktenica@schools.nyc.gov


Thank you for your ongoing support and communication.



Mark Berkowitz

(IA) Principal