Tuesday, December 15, 2009


For more information about our school, please visit our website at www.sprucestreetnyc.org.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pictures of Beekman Tower

Here are some recent pictures of the new building!

August 19th Family Event

Date: August 19th
Time: 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Location: Spruce Street School (Tweed Courthouse), 52 Chambers Street

We will gather for breakfast. Students and teachers will have an opportunity to work together, and parents will have a chance to prepare for day 1 of kindergarten...details to follow!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Calendar Update!

As you may have seen on the news, there has been some last-minute reshuffling of the Department of Education calendar, in response to a deal reached between the Teacher's Union and the City. The update is that students will report to school on Wednesday, September 9th instead of Tuesday the 8th. I am attaching a link to the updated Department of Education Calendar. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/F5C4C865-B4FF-45BE-A396-536C0695EEDB/64375/20092010SchoolYearCalendarRev1.pdfI'll continue to keep you posted as school-specific events and amendments crop up. I know this can be confusing, so please don't hesitate to reach out!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Many Important Updates

Many of you pre-registered at your zoned school, either P.S. 234 or P.S. 89. If you did in fact fill out and provide all of the necessary documentation, including proof of address, birth certificate, etc., I have those packets of information ready to go. Many of you have asked about the medical form you received from 234 or 89 during this pre-registration period. You have two options for returning this form. If you have the medical form completed, you can return it to Lucille or Pam at P.S. 234 by Thursday, June 25th. You can also hold onto it, and I will let you know once we’re all set-up in our new space. Once we have a functioning office space, we’ll open up times for collecting medical forms and any other documentation.
If you are new to the neighborhood/Spruce Street community, or if you did not pre-register at your zoned school, I will be reaching out to you to make a one-on-one time to do so. I’ll email you directly letting you know what documentation we’ll need, as well as where/when you can submit it. Thank you for your patience and cooperation with this!

School Dates/Times
Please note that the first day of school is Tuesday, September 8th. The first two days of school are half-days for kindergarten students citywide. The general times for our school day will be 8:30 a.m. – 2:50 p.m., though we will be finalizing this very shortly. As the summer moves forward, I’ll be in touch with more specifics around arrival and dismissal procedures, as well as transportation options for families. As a reminder from last letter, we will have daily, on-site afterschool programming provided by Manhattan Youth. Registration information is available via their website, www.manhattanyouth.org. Information is also forthcoming about Gil’s Sports, who will be offering pick-up service to Spruce Street students on Thursday afternoons. You can access the complete calendar for next year on the Department of Education’s website, by using this link: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/F5C4C865-B4FF-45BE-A396-536C0695EEDB/61185/20092010SchoolYearCalendar1.pdf.

Summer Family Event
We plan on coming together this summer as a complete school community – parents, staff, and students. Please save the date of Wednesday, August 19th for this family/staff event. The plan is to hold this event in the classrooms of Tweed, so I will surely keep you posted as we prepare to move into the space. I understand some of you may have summer plans that will preclude you from joining us on August 19th. We will certainly have another event once the year kicks off in early September.

Spruce Street Staff
I am in the final phases of hiring teachers and staff, and I am thrilled to introduce them all to you! I will be sending out a separate letter with information about each of them in the coming days. I think you’ll be excited about team I’ve assembled – they are a talented, special group.

Spruce Street Families
Once the school year launches in September, we will officially form a Parents Association, and a School Leadership Team. Beginning with our official Meet and greet in April, it is fantastic that some families have begun gathering and getting to know each other. Collective efforts are often more successful than individual ones! As a reminder from an earlier email, I want to provide information on Spruce Street Parents Yahoo Group. This group has been meeting for several months now, and is hard at work planting the seeds for a strong parent body and, eventually, a dynamic PTA. If you are interested in joining this group, click here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpruceStreetSchoolParents/.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Letter to Families - May 31, 2009

May 31, 2009

Dear Spruce Street Families,

I hope all is well as we enter the month of June. It is hard to believe that it is almost summer and we will soon be opening the doors to The Spruce Street School! I have some important pieces of information to share with you, and want to make sure I keep you all updated as my planning process continues.

Since we gathered for our Meet and Greet last month, several new families have joined Spruce Street. I want to officially welcome those families to our expanding community! We will have another opportunity to gather over the summer, where all members of the community - including staff, parents, and students – will meet to launch the school year in style. As I’ve mentioned before, it is important to me that families and children feel comfortable entering the doors to the school before the first day arrives. It is also important that teachers and staff know families, so we can work together to provide the best educational experiences for Spruce Street children.

This brings me to an exciting update. I have been hard at work over the past two months recruiting and interviewing prospective educators. I am proud to announce that I am making serious headway in assembling a dynamic, talented staff of educators. I am sure many of you are aware of the budget cuts and hiring restrictions that are limiting most city schools. I am confident, however, that I am maximizing every dollar and making choices that will be most beneficial to the school community. Although I still have some loose ends to wrap up in terms of hiring, I look forward to introducing each member of the Spruce Street team in an upcoming letter.

As we continue to plan curriculum and educational experiences that will take place during the school day, I want to share some additional details from Manhattan Youth, our on-site afterschool provider. Many families expressed interest in either part-time or full-time afterschool services. Registration materials will be available on their website (http://www.manhattanyouth.org) in the coming week or so. Be sure to check back for upcoming information.

I want to extend sincere thanks to all families. I do not underestimate the important task ahead of me, and am truly honored to be in a position to serve the community and do right by your children. You have been incredibly supportive thus far, and I know the school will be successful because the adults will make it so. To that end, I invite you to share your talents and skills with us! Specifically, I am hoping to document upcoming events and “Spruce Street moments,” so if you have a photography/film talent you’d be willing to share, please do reach out!
You can always contact me via email (sprucestreetschool@gmail.com), and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Nancy Harris

Letter to Families - April 27, 2009

Aprinl 27, 2009

Good Morning Families,
I hope you are all enjoying this early summer-like weather! It was so wonderful to meet so many of you last week during our Parents Meet and Greet. For those of you that were unable to attend, this email will fill you in on what you missed!

We began the evening by dividing into (approximate) geographic quadrants, so parents could meet fellow parents who live near them. This helped spark some conversations among parents around playdates and plans for traveling to school. The next part of the meeting allowed us to share some community announcements. The first announcement is for Kai Anderson's upcoming bone marrow drive. As many of you know, Kai is a four-year-old slated to attend Battery Park City's kindergarten. He has recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and there will be a bone marrow drive on his behalf on May 2nd. You can click here for more information regarding this important event - please do spread the word! http://tribecatrib.com/news/2009/april/165_drive-for-child-with-leukemia.html

Among other community announcements were directions on how to join the Spruce Street Parents Yahoo Group. This group has been meeting for several months now, and is hard at work planting the seeds for a strong parent body and, eventually, a dynamic PTA. If you are interested in joining this group, click here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpruceStreetSchoolParents/

The final announcement came from Bob Townley, who spoke to the group about Manhattan Youth's afterschool offerings. His center will be providing afterschool services for Spruce Street families, and it is helpful for him to get a sense of what families' interests/needs are. For more information on Bob and his center's offerings, click here: http://www.manhattanyouth.org/

The bulk of the meeting was spent on various networking opportunities. There were several centers set up around the room. The first asked parents to envision what parent involvement looks like at Spruce Street when we are fully grown (say, in 2015). The next station asked parents to share their hopes and their fears around this upcoming year. Finally, I spent much of the time meeting with parents in small groups. It was great to meet so many of you, and to answer your lingering questions and concerns. I am always happy to hear what's on your mind, and, even if I don't have a clear answer at the time, your questions and concerns provide very important information for me as I continue planning the school. I handed out a brief survey to learn more about your children, their interests, and your preferences. Thank you to all who submitted the form - I am attaching an electronic copy for those of you who could not attend/did not submit it.

Here is where we stand going forward. I am deeply involved in the recruitment and hiring process at this time. Once our school community includes other Spruce Street staff, we will begin planning some additional networking events for you and your children as the summer and school year approach.

Nancy Harris

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Help Find a Cure for Kai Anderson

Dear Members of the Spruce Street Community,
As many of you know, Kai Anderson, a future Battery Park City kindergarten student, is battling leukemia. Please see the article below for details on the upcoming bone marrow drive. Please pass this information on to all neighbors, friends, and colleagues.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Parent Meet and Greet

All parents of incoming kindergarten students should have received an electronic invitation to our Meet and Greet. Here are some additional details - I look forward to seeing you all then!

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Place: Manhattan Youth - 120 Warren Street

There will be opportunities to learn more about the school's progress towards opening, to network with other parents, and to share some ideas in shaping our parent/school community. Please note, this session is only for parents of children accepted into Spruce Street's kindergarten class for the 2009-2010 school year.

Refreshments will be provided.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Response to Questions and Concerns

I hope this posting addresses many of the questions and concerns that have emerged during Yahoo Parent Group meetings. Firstly, I am happy to say that acceptance letters are in the mail and families should be receiving them very soon. That means we will soon know for sure who the children and families are that will form Spruce Street's inaugural kindergarten class!

Now that the admissions process is nearing its final phase, I am heavily focused on the next important decisions in Spruce Street's opening, namely hiring, space planning, and curriculum development. Here is a summary of the status of my planning:

Teachers and Curriculum: All teaching positions will be formally posted next week via the DOE website. I will be conducting additional outreach via school and university connections. I have already received an outpouring of interest in working at Spruce Street, and will soon be proceeding with the formal recruitment and hiring processes. I plan on holding some information sessions for folks interested in applying for positions, so they can meet me and learn more about the school before formally proceeding. These sessions will be similar to the family information sessions I held - one step in finding educators who are both talented in their own right and aligned to the mission and vision of Spruce Street. After that, there will be formal interviews with the hiring committee, comprised of myself, and representatives from both the DOE and UFT - as per UFT guidelines. Once I receive our operating budget, I'll know more about exactly how many positions I can fill, including any specialist/cluster positions. I will work closely with the teachers in creating the curriculum, and am currently researching many of the best practices happening at 234, 89, and 150. I am also in touch with the nursery school directors, and hope to meet with them soon, so we can be sensitive to the foundation that has been built for many of our incoming students.

Space and Facilities: I am in contact with several folks within the DOE to conduct a more formal walkthrough of the space at Tweed. This should answer many of my questions and solidify planning for the space as we'll be using it beginning this summer. I will certainly bring any questions/concerns parents have raised to my meeting, as well as any others that emerge in the coming weeks. At the same time, I am in touch with The School Construction Authority to begin conversations about The Spruce Street School's eventual home in Beekman Tower. Again, I will bring the questions parents have raised to the table, as well as others that may emerge.

Unfortunately, the questions around Pre-K and zoning are not really answerable at this point. Pre-kindergarten programs rely on separate funding, so I am unsure how this will play out in the future. Similarly, zoning is a process that will happen eventually, but I don't really have any others details about the timeline/process. I very much appreciate the time Elda has devoted to organizing this group, as well as to the time and effort put forth by all of the members. I am confident that the adults in the community are well on their way to actualizing the vision of another amazing public school downtown! Thank you again, and I look forward to continuing the conversation

Best, Nancy

Monday, February 9, 2009

What do I do if I am interested in attending The Spruce Street School for the 2009-2010 school year?

If you wish to express interest in attending The Spruce Street School, please consider the following:
Families who are currently zoned for PS234 or PS89 have priority when applying to Spruce Street.
Incoming kindergarten students were born in 2004 and must turn 5 by December 31, 2009.
All interested families must fill out an application form and submit it by March 2, 2009.
At this time, we are only accepting applications for incoming kindergarten students. You can receive one by attending one of our remaining information sessions. I can also send you an electronic copy - just email me at sprucestreetschool@gmail.com.