From what I can tell, the students are really enjoying our Wednesday enrichment activities, both those offered online and in person. Those who come to school are clearly happy to be around one another, to reconnect with friends and to get to know others they’ve only encountered in online classes. The masks, the ever-present hand sanitizer, and our gentle reminders not to cluster notwithstanding, I think being at school—or even off campus with a teacher—gives them a sense of normalcy in this crazy time.
And the teachers and staff love seeing students on campus. Taryn wrote to me after a Wednesday session of board games on the deck, saying, “I can’t tell you how lovely it is to spend time with the kids in person while feeling safe to do so.” And Joan was delighted to see older, more experienced players teaching volleyball skills to younger students in true New School fashion. By the end of the session, every kid was getting the ball over the net, and nobody was keeping score.
We’re slowly bringing in parents to lead activities as well. To date, we’ve had parent-led science, woodworking and economics activities, and there are more to come. We have a diverse and talented pool of parents and guardians, and they have a lot of great ideas.
So far we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather, which has allowed us to hold these outdoor activities every week. Our next move is to bring in a couple of patio heaters and a fire pit so we can keep the program going even as it grows chillier. If it snows? We’re building snowmen and enjoying s’mores around the fire pit.
30th Anniversary Announcement
The 30th Anniversary Celebration is going virtual this February!
When we postponed the 30th Anniversary Celebration from June 2020 to June 2021, we had every hope that the large in person gathering we envisioned would be able to be safely held by that time. As time has gone on and we’ve learned more about COVID-19 and the safety measures it requires, it’s become clear that large in person celebrations will be one of the last things that return once the country starts to return to more normal day-to-day living.
Instead of continuing to postpone the 30th until we could hold it safely in person, we’ve decided to come together and celebrate now, virtually. This will be a chance for The New School community to spend time together, catch up with old friends and teachers, and support one another during this time when we all could use some human connection. You’ll even have the chance to see one another “face-to-face.”
Please save the NEW date for the Virtual 30th Anniversary Celebration: Saturday, February 27, 2021.
Tickets will go on sale in January, with all ticket sales supporting teachers and students through The New School Fund.
Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
We can’t wait to see you!
Thank You, Donors!
Dear New School Family,
Your generosity last school year had impacts we never even dreamed of.
Items purchased through donations to the Teacher Wish List were quickly put into the hands of students and teachers, giving them new and upgraded STEAM resources. In addition, your support of The New School Fund throughout the year ensured that we were able to plan for bigger STEAM upgrades in preparation for this school year.
What we didn’t know at the time was that your donations were setting the school and our teachers up to effectively weather the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, New School teachers were asked to quickly shift their classes to distance learning. While the entire staff had been planning for this shift to happen, the fact that we’d never faced a situation like this meant it was inevitable that unforeseen challenges and roadblocks would arise.
Your support gave New School teachers the tools they needed to meet these challenges head on, and ensure that nothing got in the way of them continuing to give our students as “New School” an education as possible. Items like the digital drawing tablets, bought through generous support of the Teacher Wish List, gave Math and Science teachers a way to write out equations, formulas, and other class materials that students could see in real time, just as if they were sitting in a classroom in front of a whiteboard. Your commitment to all of our teachers helped them find creative ways to connect with and teach students digitally.
While we continue to seek and expand best practices for distance learning and upgrade our facility to make it safe when we’re back in the classroom, your support helped give us a head start. Over the summer, we upgraded our internet as well as our video chat program subscriptions (Google Meet and Zoom). These upgrades help ensure that we’re able to meet the technology demands of our current situation, and that we’ll be able to support any future technology demands. We’ve also been making upgrades to our outdoor and indoor spaces to ensure proper safety protocols are followed during Wednesday Enrichments, and in the future when we are back in the classroom.
Thank you to all of our generous donors for giving teachers the resources to continue creating meaningful connections with students, even while they can’t be in the classroom together. And thank you for helping us prepare for whatever the future may hold.
With Love and Gratitude,
Director of Development & Community Engagement
Student Government on Community
In an online setting, the aspect of student-life that gets hurt most is socializing with classmates. We have every class at the same table, in the same chair, on the same device. There’s no more walking from one class to another. We don’t have our friends beside us to murmur a joke during class. We can’t ask the new student in math class for their snap before Spanish because once “the host has ended the meeting”, the teachers, our friends, and the new students disappear. Student government realizes the importance of maintaining these social connections, so we have been working to make the online experience as sociable as possible.
Our most successful attempt to foster social connections has been the New School Discord server. Discord is an instant messaging app which can handle a whole bunch of people in one group chat. It’s great because it gives students a way to reach out to each other in between classes without having to write an email. The server has helped the community stay connected, with 48 students and 7 teachers having joined so far. We’ve used the Discord server to organize an “Among Us” party after school, and one of the teachers created a channel for students to post school-related haikus. My favorite was by Samantha Tone (11th grade) who wrote:
“Isn’t it funny?
We are happy for 30
Yet we are still “New”.
Student government is continuing to brainstorm how we can use the New School Discord server to its max by incorporating it into school events. We are currently putting together Halloween online and in-person activities. One of our biggest challenges is coming up with engaging ways to celebrate our school events online, so if you’ve got any ideas, PLEASE join the meetings!
(By Ethan Ocasio)
Observing Equal Pay Days
The United States doesn’t pay women enough. Unfortunately the “land of opportunity” is not an even playing field for everyone. Here, if you’re a woman, you are likely going to make less money on the dollar than a non-minority man. On average, a woman makes about $0.81 for every dollar a White man makes (Escobedo and Lee), and decreases dependent on race. Asian American women earn the most, with $0.90 on the White man’s dollar; White women are next with $0.79; Black women follow with $0.62. Native American and Latina women earn the least with $0.57 and $0.54, respectively (NPWF).
These gaps in wages have led to the creation of “equal pay days.” The “equal pay day” comes from a 1996 push for women’s equality made by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) to spread awareness of America’s wage gap. Every year there’s a date marked to represent how much longer into the new year a woman must work to reach what a White man earns by December 31.
The calendar will enlighten, and maybe dishearten, you as the wage gaps demonstrate oppression in the United States.
What a White man makes by Dec. 31, 20xx:
Asian women make by Feb. 11, 20xy
The average of all American women is made by Mar. 31, 20xy
White women make by Jun. 24, 20xy
Black women make by Aug. 13, 20xy
Native women make by Oct. 1, 20xy
Latina women make by Oct. 29, 20xy
The disparity between Native American and Latina women and everyone else is hard to ignore. While all women are being underpaid, Natives and Latinas are 10 months behind White men! America’s work system has failed them.
How can we all unite to dismantle this racist and sexist system? Let’s stand up against the injustices faced by the women, especially Natives and Latinas. Our voices and our votes can make a difference. There should not be a “man’s dollar” and everyone else’s cents- it’s time to make real change for the people who need it most.
(By Taylor Jones)
On the Presidential Election
Students in Henry and Eden’s Afternoon Mod “The Presidential Election” reflected on their experience this month.
Erika Choi writes:
“As an international student, I haven’t had the opportunity to learn about American politics. Also, I had no interest, and didn’t know why I needed to know about politics. I had heard of some political words when I took a civics class in middle school. I worried that the presidential election was coming, and I still didn’t know how presidential elections worked. However, this year, I am so thankful that the school provided the presidential election class. We talked about the United States presidential election system and the Constitution. We also learned the history of the presidency in the U.S., and about the presidential candidates and each of their parties.
Before school started, I didn’t have any basic information about U.S. politics. After the first day of class, I was so confused about what to write for the reflection of the class because I did not understand what we learned. At first, I did not like the reflection that we needed to do after each class. I had to answer questions about what we’d talked about, list one thing that I learned that day, and ask questions. Yet, this reflection made me get into the class. Taking notes during class helped me understand a lot. Although I figured out some of my questions by taking notes during class, there were still some parts that I did not get. Satisfyingly, the reflection assignment relieved my confusion and helped answer any questions that remained after class.
As a whole, I think I made a perfect choice to take this class because I learned a lot about U.S. politics. After I took this class, I understood what the news was talking about. If I were not taking this class, I wouldn’t understand what’s going on in the world. I am so grateful for the school and teachers that provided this class this year.”
Taylor Jones writes:
During this year, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a class titled, “The Presidential Election.” Ever since 2016, I have been enthralled by politics, the presidency, and all of the elected government’s inner-workings. Last election, I took a civics class that centered largely around the transition of leadership, so I thought it only fitting to continue the ‘tradition’ and find a school-based way to focus in on this presidential race. This election is especially significant for me because it is the first in which I can vote. In early March 2020, I got to experience voting for the very first time. I took my driver’s permit in one hand and my mother’s hand in the other as I walked into the quaint elementary school that housed the primary ballots. I checked a name and slipped my ballot into the box. All of a sudden, I felt the rush of political activism fill my system. I had no idea just how impactful this election would become.
About a week or two later, I sat in my house and googled, “When was the last global pandemic?” and, “How do we handle coronavirus?” I wished that President Trump would figure out a game plan, as confusion and apprehension flooded my mind. Admittedly, I didn’t have much faith in 45, and I’ve never liked him; however, I tried to remain optimistic. After I saw Trump fail to save the first 50,000 US residents, I realized just how imperative voting in November would be. This pandemic has been horrendous, and all the worst of it has been exacerbated by the lack of stable, sensible leadership. No matter what I believed before, watching our country fall into chaos pushed me to take this seriously.
Not too long after, tragedy struck again. Ahmaud Arbery was hunted down; Breonna Taylor was murdered in her sleep; George Floyd was choked to death. I was left crying, asking how someone could be so cruel. To sit on a man’s neck for 8min and 46 seconds, to end a sleeping woman’s life, to kill a jogger for jogging- I couldn’t comprehend it. Feeling heartbroken, frustrated, confused, tired, hurt, pissed, helpless was maddening, and the most painful part was realizing these people’s skin tones matched my family’s; the butchered, who bore a striking resemblance to my cousins, uncles, aunts, and family friends, were all members of my racial community.
That was the last straw for me, and this election became my last hope. In 2020, I’ve learned that voting is one of the most important duties of a citizen. When the NSNVA 2020-2021 course catalog was released, and I saw the class being offered, I jumped at the opportunity to understand the presidential election. After all, if I have to put my hope, and my vote into someone, I want to know what I’m doing.
For Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and countless others. Rest in power.
Spaß in der Klasse
Taking classes or teaching classes all day in front of the computer screen is not easy on any of us, so in my German classes we take short breaks from the normal rhythm every once in a while, especially after quizzes. This provides much needed interactive social time auf Deutsch and helps keep us all happier. Here are three of our most recent class “Wellness Breaks.”
During one fine week I was just itching to go for a walk and enjoy the fresh afternoon air, so I “threw us all out” on Friday afternoon to take nature pictures outside for Biologie Bingo. Here are two of the student pictures:
My German 2 and Honors students love playing Skribbl.io with a word bank I made for them using simple nouns without Umlauts that they should know. I am the world’s worst artist on a touchpad or with a mouse, but enjoy having fun with them anyway.
For years now, UNO has been the first German game that my students learn. (Fun fact: this was originally a Depression-Era German game called Mau Mau, but the company that commercialized it in the 70’s called it UNO and created their own cards in order to copyright it.) Even the beginners can manage to call out 4 different colors, 10 numbers, and learn how to say phrases for the special cards. Back in March, we couldn’t find a free UNO game online that could be played in a private room. But last week, Joanna told me to check out the Houseparty app. And wow, they just added UNO! So this week I tried it out with all three German classes, and despite the time it took getting everyone on the App with their usernames and adjusting to Houseparty’s UNO variations, we had a blast. It’s already on the schedule for the last day of the quarter!
(By Virginia Palmer-Fuechsel)
What Do You Love About The New School?
To celebrate The New School’s 30th Anniversary, Diana, a Science teacher, shared what she loves about the school:
Send us your videos to celebrate our 30th Anniversary!
The New School participates in bonus programs that generate donations for the school when you do your everyday shopping online. They are easy to sign up for, and can have a big impact for students and teachers.
Here are four easy ways to support The New School while you shop:
1. AmazonSmile works with your existing Prime account and donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases when you select The New School as your charity: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/82-1288652
2. Through CauseNetwork, some of your favorite online stores will donate a portion of every purchase you make to The New School. You can sign up at: https://newschoolva.causenetwork.com/
3. Download the BoxTops app to start scanning your grocery store receipts to automatically find and add products to our earnings online. This video shows you how to scan and submit your receipts.
If you do your grocery shopping online, you can submit your email receipts from select retailers. All you have to do is create a BoxTops account and forward your email receipt to email@example.com. Visit this site to learn more.
Traditional Box Tops clips may continue to be found on many products. You can still clip them and send them to the school until they expire.
4. Through Harris Teeter’s “Together in Education” program, when you buy HT brand items, a percentage of those purchase dollars goes back to The New School. This includes purchases made at HT pharmacies.
Go to www.harristeeter.com to link your VIC card today. VIC cards need to be relinked each school year.
New School TIE Code: 5713
Thank you for your support!
If you have any questions about these programs, contact our Director of Development & Community Engagement, Noelle Andreano, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Increase the Impact of Your Donation
Many corporations offer matching gift programs for employees and their families. This is a great opportunity to increase your gift in support of The New School. You can check with your employer’s human resources department to find out if they offer matching gifts. This information can also often be found in the list of benefits provided to you by your employer. Please let us know what you need from us in order to process a match through your organization. Contact our Director of Development & Community Engagement, Noelle Andreano, at email@example.com with any questions.
One of the distinguishing features of our school is our sense of community. This newsletter is one more way to build and maintain that community among our current students, parents, faculty, and alumni. We hope you like it!