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 ( 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 (, 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!

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:

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:

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