Letter To NEST+M Students And Families From Mark Berkowitz, Week Of September 25, 2017

Dear NEST+m Students and Families,

I am hoping that you have been enjoying this weekend’s glorious, summer-like weather.

For those who celebrated Rosh Hashanah—Happy New Year.

Last Wednesday was the 10th instructional day of our 2017-18 school year.

During these first days of school, our teachers have prioritized the development of caretaking, student-centered classrooms that enable every student to feel valued, recognized and cared for as members of our K-12 school community.

We believe that a relationship-based learning environment enables every NEST+m student to develop the trust, confidence and mindsets necessary for true learning to occur.  For instance, self-advocating when one has not yet mastered a content understanding or skill; working toward the next hardest skill within a lesson or a unit of study; learning to self-assess one’s work or to assess the work of a peer using a skills-based rubric.

On Monday September 25, at 8:30am we will host our September Lower Grades (K-5) Principal’s Coffee in the NEST+m cafe. Parental entrance and sign-in takes place at the school safety desk located at the top of the ramp inside our courtyard entrance. All NEST+m parents, guardians and caretakers are welcome.

This Thursday, September 28th, our doors will open at 4:45pm for Curriculum Night, an opportunity for parents, guardians and caretakers to meet and hear from your child’s teachers. Thank you for your patience as we finalize our curriculum night schedule which will be released soon.

In advance of our evening together I am writing to share some instructional highlights from across our K-12 community.

Theory of Action: As one school, K-12, NEST+m is uniquely positioned to develop students’ content understandings and skills. One way that we connect learning experiences across our K-12 classrooms is through our deliberate focus on the teaching of reading, writing and discipline-specific literacy. As we know: analysis, synthesis, argument and applications of knowledge require both content understandings and discipline-specific skills that are best supported through evidence-based reading, writing and conversation.

This focus on discipline-specific literacy enables us to strengthen the capacity for all students to create high level demonstrations of learning that have personal meaning for each student.

Habits of Mind: Habits of mind provide an intellectual underpinning for work across disciplines and grade levels. Teachers in NEST+m’s Upper Grades (9-12) have introduced the following habits of mind as a through line to support student success.

  • Perseverance: We will work together and persevere—even when the work is very difficult
  • Courage: We will be courageous in our questioning, creativity, and academic risk taking
  • Responsibility: We will be responsible— we will work with academic integrity, be in attendance, be prepared, and on time each day
  • Engagement: We will be intellectually open and responsive to new ideas from texts as well as our peers; we will actively engage with multiple sources and each other.

Teachers College, Columbia University Reading & Writing Project:
Through the generous support of PTA fundraising, our partnership with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is entering its 2nd year for grades K-5 and expanding up to Grades 6-8.  TC’s work is strengthening our planning, instruction and assessment practices in all disciplines. For more information about TCRWP, please see: http://readingandwritingproject.org/

Strengthening our K-5 Sciences: For parents and families who are new to NEST+m this year, please click here to read a letter which was distributed to families in June 2017.

Thank you Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: Over the summer ActivPanels were installed into every NEST+m classroom for Grades 6-12. Document cameras will soon be installed into every classroom for Grades K-5. Over the summer NEST+m was awarded a $100k technology grant from the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. This grant will enable us to complete our technological infrastructure upgrade so that every classroom features an ActivPanel and document camera by Fall 2018.

Promethean ActivPanel:
Document Camera:

New to NEST+m Teachers and Faculty: This week families will have the opportunity to meet our new and returning to NEST+m teachers and faculty. Our Faculty directory is live on the NEST+m K-12 website “contact us” tab. Meanwhile, please join me in welcoming the following new-to-NEST+m teachers and faculty:

Administrative Team:
Assistant Principal (IA), Grades 6-8, Mr. Steve Hernon
Assistant Principal Operations (on one year assignment with NEST+m), Ms. Devorah Zamansky

Grades K-5:
Art: Ms. Samantha Hubbell
Music (leave replacement): Mr. Jeffrey DuPont
Kindergarten: Ms. Patricia Salguero
Grade 1: (leave replacement): Ms. Michelle LaPorte
Grade 2: (leave replacement): Ms. Mirry Joo
Grade 3: Ms. Kathleen DeLeon
Grades 4 (leave replacements): Ms. Zoe Russell, Ms. Esther Lee
Grade 5: Mr. Tory Anderson

Grades 6-8:
Grade 6: Science: Dr. Nancy Ruel
World Langauages (See below).

Special Education & Related Service Providers:
Ms. Carrie Bray, Grades 9-12 ICT
Mr. Derek Gregory, Grades 9-12 ICT
Ms. Jessica Lownes, Middle Grades ICT
Ms. Hagar Sadan, IEP Teacher
Mr. Bilal Salaam, Grades 9-12 ICT
Ms. Limor Yerushalmi, Occupational Therapy

Grades 9-12
English Department: Dr. Alicia Lerman, Mr. Chandler Wells
Math Department: Ms. Ruby Mercure, Mr. Greg Weber
Music Department: Mr. Craig McGorry.
Physical Education Department: Mr. Darnell James, Mr. Scott McLaughlin
Science Department: Mr. Clifton Masdea
Social Studies Department: Ms. India Allen, Ms. Halle Bauer, Mr. Benjamin Waldman
World Languages Department: Ms. Carolina Barreiro-Ojeda, Ms. Marisel Estrada, Mr. Jonathan Richman

Thank you for your ongoing support and communication.


Mark Berkowitz