May 11, 2020

Dear PS9 Parents,

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend with your families. Please see below for this week’s updates to keep you informed.

Grading Policy

As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, after the release of the city guidelines, our process of engagement began.  We looked at our grade scale and shared ideas on how we would approach this as equitably as possible. This process included engaging all teachers during their grade team meetings throughout the week to develop a common understanding of the NYCDOE Citywide Grading Policy and implications on developing our school’s policy. This work is more complex than the simple conversion of the scale scores as they relate to the city metric. We are aware of mitigating circumstances and will factor them in to ensure an inclusive and fair policy. I am confident that through collaboration, we will ensure all teachers are aligned, and prepared to apply our school’s policy for final grades in June. Please see link from the DOE for further information:

NYCDOE Citywide Grading Policy: Update for Families – April 28, 2020


Remote Learning Support for Teachers and Staff

I am proud to share with you the ongoing professional development (PD) opportunities for our staff. Here are the structures we have created and utilize as a commitment to ongoing learning across our school.

Monday Professional Development – (weekly) All staff are provided with relevant support as it relates to implementing remote learning. We survey teachers to capture specific needs as it relates to general academic support, support with virtual learning, and support with new DOE platforms (Clever) to determine the focus weekly for staff. We also highlight sharing best practices across the school as it relates to the tools for remote learning such as live/virtual tools and strategies. We utilize our technology teacher to address specific questions and design PD to ensure our teachers are supported and feel confident that they can provide quality instruction to their students. In addition, we feature teacher’s interested in turn-keying tools that they have found impactful. We also have enlisted our Teacher’s College instructional coaches to further support teachers in providing lessons virtually and with delivery of lessons.

Teacher Grade Meetings – (daily) multiple teacher teams meet across the school to discuss school initiatives such as: attendance policy, grading policy, lesson plans & student engagement, virtual learning, resources from DOE, and more. Teachers meet to plan and discuss ways they are approaching this work with each other. We have also offered support to teachers in this forum by facilitating the agenda for meetings around key school-wide topics so that there is cohesion as teacher teams learn upcoming school initiatives and bring unique perspectives. During this time, instructional coaches and central office employees (early childhood) facilitate PD on topics requested by teachers such as facilitating small group instruction virtually. In addition, Administrators share their vision to collaborate and answer questions for teachers directly.

Department Meetings – (weekly) Departments such as Special Education are co-facilitated by Administration and our Brooklyn North Administrator of Special Education who updates our Special Education teachers on Remote Learning Plans and how to progress monitor students as it relates to the goals set by their Individual Education Plans. Our CARE team also meets weekly to ensure the school’s service providers are collaborating to position all our students for success in the face of inherent challenges.

Cabinet meetings – (daily) We meet with administrative and support personnel to ensure proper systems are in place to support our school community ranging from connecting families to devices, a meal or a mental health provider. In addition, we progress monitor systems for both in and out of classroom staff daily in order to be as responsive as possible to identified community needs. We aim to remove barriers and make this experience productive and impactful for our community of 937 learners.

Administrative meetings – (daily) We revisit and refine systems in place, incorporate feedback in order to collaboratively guide and build staff capacity. In addition, we enlist and create stakeholders from our continuous outreach to the Brooklyn North Borough office, Office of Early Childhood, Special Education and Multi-Lingual Learners departments, ULIT department,  as well as enlist support from Administrative Interns to assist teachers interested in one-to-one technology support, Volunteers from other schools, as well as looping back to every single one of our school’s partnerships to advocate for any additional services we can obtain for our students.

Principal Newsletter – (weekly) This is sent weekly to the staff of PS9. The purpose is to provide current school-wide updates, instructional focus/feedback, the weekly schedule of support meetings, key instructional resources and free trainings from the DOE.

Principal Classroom Visits – (daily) I visit a classroom daily to teach mindful practices directly to students. During this time, I share with students and their teacher(s) tools to personally mitigate the impact of this stressful time.  Tools such as mindful breathing, creating art, and journaling are incorporated to express their emotions as key to addressing the “whole” child and simultaneously sharing my philosophy to staff. This lesson includes a class discussion where students share how they feel and allow ways to self-express and self-regulate with their classmates. These moments capture the essence of why I loved teaching children and I am grateful for this opportunity to share some of the helpful mindful practices with staff, students and even their pets at home during the quarantine!

Important Events

Parent Teacher Conferences: This is a time to discuss with your child’s teacher how your child is progressing and to provide any questions or feedback on how we can better support you.

Staying Connected with Principal Ali Bi-weekly forums: (bi-weekly Wednesdays at 5 p.m.)

Mindful Practice with Principal Ali: Every Tuesday at 5 p.m. Here is the link to join using your child’s PS9 Gmail account today, Tuesday, May 12. Join via Google Meet


To our parent team for Chromebook purchases and device delivery:

Omar Slowe
Jesse Hendrich and Liz Solomon
Charlotte Kaiser and Nick Peterson
Scott Short
Sam Gold
Regina Miranda
Megan Thomas
Jordan Feigenbaum
Marci Coleman and Warren Coleman
Elaine Maillot
Christophe Hille
Ethan Mills
Nick Peterson
Miles Champion
Mike Tilley

Fatimah Ali