Letter to NEST+m Students & Families from Mark Berkowitz, Week of October 17, 2016

Dear NEST+m Students & Families,

As we enter the week of October 17th, I would like to share three anecdotes from across our K-12 community.

  • This past Tuesday, Upper Grades students from teacher Sierra Penrod’s AP English Literature classes created an extraordinary performance—spoken word, song, dance, music and movement—a Remix—in response to our Grades 9-12 shared summer reading text, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. Through their response to this text, students’ created a message to the entire upper grades student body and faculty about the significance of Black History, Black Lives and the need for each us of us to confront racial injustice and bias. Thank you Ms. Penrod, Upper Grades English Department and Students for creating this important, necessary conversation.


  • This upcoming Friday NEST+m’s 6th Grade Team will be leading an on-site community building event for all 6th grade students. As the Framework for Great Schools articulates, students’ academic achievement and well-being are directly supported by collaborative teachers who nurture trust-filled, care-taking learning environments for every student. Thank you 6th Grade Team for creating this intentional experience for our students and for each other. http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/framework/default.htm
  • Across Grades K-5 classrooms, teachers and students are starting to read a Book of the Month—a multi-grade shared text. This new tradition began in September with Assistant Principal (IA) Barbara Rossi reading The Recess Queen to all the K-5 classrooms. It continues this month with King of the Playground—a book that features a father helping his son develop methods for offsetting the actions of a playground bully. Given that October is Anti-Bullying Month and we are collectively committed to ensuring that NEST+m is a Respect for All School & a bully-free school, these texts are directly aligned to NEST+m school values. They are also directly connected to NEST+m’s Theory of Action— when students engage in purposeful reading and writing within every lesson— we strengthen the capacity for every student to create high level demonstrations of learning. K-5 Parents: Your children will be reading this text prior to the end of October. For more information, please see:





Our Week Ahead:

Monday October 17, 2016:

  • NEST+m Welcomes Superintendent Marisol Rosales and 32 Principals and District Leaders—members of the NYC Department of Education’s Advanced Leadership Institute.
  • 10:00am to 11:30am: Tour for Prospective Upper Grades Students & Families.


Tuesday October 18: 10:00am: Middle Grades Tour for prospective students & families

Wednesday October 19:

  • PSAT (practice SAT) for Upper Grades 10th and 11th graders: All NEST+m 10th and 11th graders will sit for the PSAT/NMQST.  Your child should have received a bulletin in classes last week.  An electronic version can be found by clicking the following link: PSAT Student Bulletin.  Students should bring: #2 pencils with erasers, an approved calculator (see p.24 of bulletin), Social Security # (optional), student id number, email address (optional).
  • 5pm: Upper Grades Open House for prospective students & families

Thursday October 20:

  • Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Let Freedom Swing: In the first of three performances that will be attended by NEST+m’s 5th and 6th graders, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Concerts in the Schools brings Jazz & Democracy to NEST+m. See: http://academy.jazz.org/jfyp/jfyp-on-tour/
  • 3pm, College Fair—NEST+m’s Annual College Fair begins at 3pm in the NEST+m Cafeteria. All Upper Grades Students & Families are encouraged to attend. 

Friday October 21:

  • 6th Grade Community Building Experience
  • 5pm: Middle Grades Open House for prospective Students & Families

Thank you for your ongoing support and communication.



Mark Berkowitz