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Principal's Message

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Dear Families,


On behalf of the P.S. 29 staff, I welcome you to the 2023-2024 school year that began today, September 7th at 8:30 AM.  You can review our Arrival & Dismissal procedures here. And, as a reminder, please be sure to complete your Family Info Form so that our staff has all the information we need for dismissal today. 


While it’s always bittersweet saying goodbye to the summer months, we look forward to reconnecting with all of you and meeting those students and families who are new to the P.S. 29 community. We enjoyed seeing so many new and returning faces at our Pre-K and Kindergarten meet-up on Tuesday, and were delighted to see that a number of students and families reunited in the school yard yesterday. We have been eagerly awaiting those bright smiles and fun-filled stories that we know our extraordinary students will share with us over the first few days of school.


Summer provided us with precious time to reflect and renew our goals for the upcoming year. We have been working hard to ensure that our vision, goals, and priorities are aligned across our grades and teams.


Goals and Priorities

Ensuring that each and every student, family, and staff member feels safe, connected, and supported at 29 is at the core of our vision. We work hard for our students to feel understood and seen. With this vision in mind, here’s an overview of our goals and priorities for 23-24:

  • We pledge to continue our commitment to anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) practices within our school community. This year, in an effort to make our school community more inclusive and responsive, we will be enlisting your help. We will be asking you to engage in this work by sharing your heritage and identities with our school community. 

  • We continue to implement several Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs including 4Rs, Social Thinking, and RULER, because we know that emotional health is necessary for academic success. Our SEL teaching aligns well with the core values of our P.S. 29 Code for Living: empathy, responsibility, integrity, and respect. Our restorative practices, such as Circle Talks, Affinity Groups and more, are critical to any SEL program, and they provide supportive, thoughtful anchors for fostering brave conversations with our students.

  • We recognize that the best teachers are lifelong learners, and we value professional development. 

    • Understanding that systematic, explicit phonics instruction is foundational to the teaching of reading, we will continue implementation of Fundations in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade - and we will expand this literacy program to 3rd grade this year with coaching support in the classroom from staff developers at Fundations.

    • Advancing Literacy (formerly Teachers College Reading Writing Project - TCRWP) staff developers will continue to support us as thought partners as we develop curriculum and lessons that are not only coherent, engaging, and rigorous, but also aligned with our ABAR work and rooted in the science of reading.

    • We will continue to build on last year’s pilot program in which a small group of teachers was trained in The Writing Revolution (TWR), a program that offers an explicit framework for teaching expository writing. This summer, roughly 20 teachers and staff members in Kindergarten through 5th grade engaged in 8-12 hours of TWR training, which focused on organizational and writing skills that will set our students up for success in life beyond the elementary school years. We will work to incorporate TWR into our literacy curriculum this school year.

    • We will continue to work with G&R Inclusive Group, an organization that has supported our neurodiverse learning community. G&R has worked with our ICT classrooms and beyond to support us with differentiating instruction to meet the needs of our diverse learners.

    • In math, we continue to learn and grow with the leadership of our math coach, Kim Van Duzer. Last year, our Grade 1 team piloted Eureka Math Squared, the enhanced and updated version of the Eureka Math curriculum we have used for more than 10 years.  This school year, with Kim’s support, all grades K-5 will implement Eureka Math Squared, which includes digital components and full-color student materials. We’ll also continue our schoolwide focus on building math fact fluency across grades, with attention to the progression of fluency skills that develop over time, and with workshops for families on how to best support fact fluency development at home. We’ve also set a goal of strengthening our upper grade students’ ability to make sense of and solve multi-step word problems, and Kim will provide professional development and support for our teachers in Grades 3-5, as well as for families and caregivers, on using the tape diagram as a model for making sense of complex problems.

  • Enrichment opportunities abound at PS 29! We thoughtfully curated a balanced program of arts, movement, and real world opportunities that deepen our students’ experiences beyond the classroom.  The school newspaper, drama production, ballroom dance, improv, STEM, yoga, technology, music, garden, running team, and chess are some of the many learning opportunities that enrich our students’ lives at 29.


New Staff Members

It is an honor to introduce you to a few new members of our professional community: 

  • Haia Saadi is our new school counselor. She previously worked at P.S. 10, another district 15 school, and is committed to developing positive relationships with our students and families. Haia will work closely with our Child Study Team and classroom teachers to support our SEL work and offer more resources and insight with regard to mental health services to our professional community and beyond. 

  • Loreta Mana is our new social worker who will be joining our psychologist on our school-based support team three days per week. Loreta has been serving in this role for over a decade. She is deeply committed to racial equity and social justice, and we look forward to learning from Loreta through family and staff workshops. 


Gratitude and Acknowledgements

I am grateful for our extraordinary team at 29. 

  • Thanks to Tina Reres, one of our science teachers, and a small community of family gardeners for working tirelessly all summer long to ensure that our garden continues to be vibrant and beautiful.

  • Our custodial team has done a tremendous job with painting, moving furniture, cleaning and waxing floors during a summer full of projects and repairs around our building.

  • I am so grateful to our leadership and administrative team who have been engaged throughout the summer as visionaries for this upcoming school year. Susannah Sperry, our library & media literacy teacher and technology coordinator, continues to lead us with her sharp understanding of the world of technology and has made our lives infinitely easier and smoother. I also celebrate and acknowledge Kim Van Duzer, our math coach, whose organizational mind and attention to detail is reflected in everything that she sets out to do as a coach, communicator, and curriculum developer. Olivia Poor has been an expert communicator throughout the summer, answering emails and sharing information with our community with utmost clarity and coherence. I am infinitely grateful for Olivia’s commitment, and know how much our community benefits from her dedication. Finally, Halee Hochman and Dawn Pender, our two assistant principals are detail-oriented, hands-on, selfless, and indispensable. I cannot ask for a more supportive and loyal leadership team than all of these individuals.


Finally, thank you for your partnership and belief in P.S. 29. Thank you for entrusting us with your children whom we promise to love, teach, support, and learn from every day. 


Here’s to a healthy and joyful 2023-2024 school year,


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