Letter from Levin – week of April 19th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

 I hope that you had a wonderful long break, and were able to get away. If not from NYC, at least from the routines of work and school, and see some of what makes this city such a special place. 

We are back tomorrow for a short week and I look forward to seeing all the familiar faces. As much as students sometimes grumble about class, so many kids walk back into the building with smiles on their faces, and thrilled to be back among their classmates, teachers and staff.

This time of year, with admission results (round 2 high school) and middle grades matches due over the next few weeks, my thoughts turn to budget, schedule and hiring for 2017-18. Over the next few years, until we are fully grown, we are adding a great deal of staff, and adding them quickly. 

What has been successful throughout this process is the involvement of a committee of parents, teachers and staff, that help us identify exemplary candidates. These candidates are a diverse group but must: have a passion for working with teenagers, a deep content knowledge, a belief that they can contribute to an IB for All school, and retain a sense of humor! 

I look forward to introducing our hires by the end of year, as has been our tradition. 

Warmly, 

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 

April 19th- B Day- 

April 20th- C Day-
April 21st- D Day- 

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Letter from Levin – week of April 19th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

 I hope that you had a wonderful long break, and were able to get away. If not from NYC, at least from the routines of work and school, and see some of what makes this city such a special place. 

We are back tomorrow for a short week and I look forward to seeing all the familiar faces. As much as students sometimes grumble about class, so many kids walk back into the building with smiles on their faces, and thrilled to be back among their classmates, teachers and staff.

This time of year, with admission results (round 2 high school) and middle grades matches due over the next few weeks, my thoughts turn to budget, schedule and hiring for 2017-18. Over the next few years, until we are fully grown, we are adding a great deal of staff, and adding them quickly. 

What has been successful throughout this process is the involvement of a committee of parents, teachers and staff, that help us identify exemplary candidates. These candidates are a diverse group but must: have a passion for working with teenagers, a deep content knowledge, a belief that they can contribute to an IB for All school, and retain a sense of humor! 

I look forward to introducing our hires by the end of year, as has been our tradition. 

Warmly, 

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 

April 19th- B Day- 

April 20th- C Day-

April 21st- D Day- 

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Letter from Levin – week of April 3rd

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

This is our last full week before Spring Break. Please take a few moments to complete your NYC School Survey. You may have picked it up at conferences. If you did not, it was backpacked home, is in a green envelope, and likely at the bottom of your child’s bag. The school survey is an opportunity to give feedback on your child’s teachers, my leadership, communication, and a host of other areas. Currently we are at about the same percentage of responses as the percentage of the population that votes. And I’m not sure we are comfortable with how that’s turning out.

School continues to be busy, busy, busy. On Friday during the day we met with another 70 students, who scored the highest on our rubric, as they are looking for seats as we finish off the 9th grade. Then at night we had an upper grades dance. Much thanks to all the parents that helped set up, and ensure that it was a great time for all. 

Lastly, this Wednesday all 10th graders will take the PSAT. The PSAT is a “practice” SAT, and another reminder that our school is moving towards preparing students to apply for college. 

I hope that you are spending at least part of this day outdoors and put away your phone. Today feels like Spring.  

Go Yanks. 

Warmly, 

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 

April 3rd- B Day- 7th grade to Museum

April 4th- C Day-
April 5th- D Day- PSAT for 10th grade

April 6th- E Day

April 7th- A Day

 

Spring Break!! 

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Letter from Levin – week of March 27th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

Great to see so many of you at Parent Conferences. Particularly heartening was the pilot work in student-led conferences. The grade teams asked students to reflect on their work in courses before the conferences, and then to talk through that work with a parent/guardian and teacher. Many adults told me that they found it rewarding to hear more than general comments about a student’s performance, and to hear more about the student’s struggles, successes and hopes for the semester.  

Generally, students looked forward to these meetings, as a means of giving insight into how things were going. Occasionally, the student was not as enthusiastic, and in a few rare cases, skipped the meeting. One parent coined these ‘student fled conferences,’ which I found extremely amusing. 

The idea that we must teach students to learn to explain, to advocate, and to be thoughtful about their own learning is essential to our work as a 6-12th school. When our first class graduates, they need not just the academic skills, but the ability to speak up and speak out. Some of our 10th graders got practice doing that today at the college fair with Ms. Schaffzin as they negotiated the room, speaking with a wide variety of reps. 

It’s a big week this week of activities. Monday is the induction for National Junior Honor Society for middle grades. Our Honor Society will elect its first members soon from the qualifying pool of 10th graders. 

Tues-Thursday is the NYS ELA Exam for grades 6-8th grade. These middle school exams in ELA and Math are followed in high school by the Regents, content exams. At Clinton, students are expected to complete the 5 Regents courses by the end of the 10th grade, clearing room for the IB in 11th and 12th. 42 of our middle schoolers are currently taking Algebra, getting a jump on their requirements. 

I’m not a huge believer in test prep, but your child is well-prepared for ELA and for the Math Exam that will come later in the year. Teachers have reviewed the structure of the exam, and we do some work on constructed response (short answer), essay, vocabulary and voice, that have paid-off well every year for the past 6.  

Tuesday night is Clinton’s night at the Whitney. Between the Biennial and some student docents, it should be a great time. The Whitney evening is part of our partnership, and fully funded by your donations. 

Lastly, the first upper grades dance is Friday. Students voted on the theme, and since Under the Sea and Masquerade tied, it is a combo event. Be afraid. Be very afraid. 

Warmly, 

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 

March 27th- B Day- NJHS Induction

March 28th- C Day- Whitney Night, ELA Exam Grades 6th-8th 

March 29th- D Day. ELA Exam Grades 6th-8th 

March 30th- E Day- ELA Exam Grades 6th-8th 

March 31st- A Day- Upper Grades Dance

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Round 2 Seats!

To accommodate demand we have opened 15 General Education seats in the Round 2 9th grade high school process. Please speak with your Guidance Counselor at your middle school about applying. We will contact the strongest applicants on March 29th once we have reviewed the candidates and applied the rubric.

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Letter from Levin – week of March 20th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

Good to see so many of you at the Parents’ Association meeting on Friday. Your energy and enthusiasm to see Clinton succeed keep me going through these gray March days. Ok, the free coffee doesn’t hurt either. 

On Friday, in consultation with the staff, and Central, I moved forward in opening 15 round 2 seats in our 9th grade for 2017-18. This will allow us to to accommodate some of the talented students that did not get offers in the first round but who desired to go to Clinton. It will also allow us to keep class size at reasonable numbers. A slightly larger upper grades program will have added advantages as well. 

First of all it will give us an opportunity to bring in more students from the outside, balancing out students from our middle years classes. Second it will allow us to move further from a straight cohort model, with students traveling by class. Third it will give us some scale to offer additional courses, choices and add more support staff. Lastly, it will allow us to have a larger talent pool for musicals, competitive clubs like chess and math team, and sports. 

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Parent Conferences. When you come in, please take a moment to pick-up your parent survey. Surveys are an opportunity to share your thoughts on what is working for your family and your child at Clinton. The SLT and I review the results every year, and it’s an important driver for our work, especially as we expand and hear from parents that are new to the community. 

Warmly, 

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 

March 20th- B Day- SLT

March 21st- C Day

March 22nd- D Day. 

March 23rd- E Day- Conferences. All students dismissed at 11:44. 

No outlunch for middle grades.

March 24th- A Day
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Letter from Levin – week of March 13th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

Forgive the late email, it’s been a busy day of Clinton activities. Plus, my snow dance seems to be paying off. Stay tuned for Tuesday…

This morning the girls basketball team beat Quest for the championship! Huge congrats to all the players, and of course, Coach Carlos. Many of our 8th graders are staying for our upper grades program. Once the celebrating is over, those staying for high school will begin to practice with our 9th/10th graders and Coach Greenawalt, as we begin to lay the groundwork for high school. 

Also today was the second of three performance of As You Like It. I strongly urge you to come out tonight to see the last performance at 7 pm. It’s amazing what the students were able to put together, and I’m especially impressed by the student leadership, the fidelity to Shakespeare, and the Clinton quirkiness reflected. 

If you aren’t able to join tonight, I am sure that I will see many of you at parent conference in two weeks. As promised, here is the information for Spring Conferences, which will run on a similar timetable as in the Fall. One notable exception is the role that students will play in student-led conferences in the 8th grade. We are more actively involving students in reflecting on the work they have been doing, and helping to set goals for themselves. 

A few reminders to assist in making conferences successful:

The link is: https://www.schoolbookings.net/admin/home?z=nQzBdd
 
The code is: wa6zj

 

  • Sign up as soon as possible to get the time slots that will work best for them. The longer they wait, the less availability there will be. 
  • If you are not sure of the child’s homeroom, or teachers names – ask them before signing up.
  • The last half hour of each session is open for in-person sign ups. These slots are 2:30-3 and 7:30-8. They will fill up quickly, and we suggest getting here at the beginning of each session to sign up for one of those slots. And then going to Starbucks to kill some time or stay around and listen to my jokes.
  • Reminder that parents in ICT (602,705,808) classes can sign up for either teacher; we may need to move some parents to the other teacher to accommodate, and we will let you know.

Warmly, 

Jon

 

———-

 

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)

 

March 11th- As You Like It 7 pm

March 13th- B Day

March 14th- C Day. 3:30 Pep Rally Upper Grades!

March 15th- D Day

March 16th- E Day

March 17th- PA Meeting at 8:30. Early release. All students dismissed at 12:38.

 

 
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Letter from Levin – week of March 6th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

Forgive the late email, I just returned from the start of a new tradition, the Upper Grades Ski Trip! Despite subzero temperatures, a bus full of enthusiastic Clinton kids headed to Mt. Snow in West Dover, Vt. It was an absolute blast! My thanks to chaperones Mr. Jacobi and Ms. Antoville. 

As I indicated last week, the SLT took up some meaty concerns last month. The first was a proposal to consider revising our school name to better reflect our 6-12 nature. While the Clinton School for Writers and Artists will always reflect an important chapter in our history, we are now a 6-12 school that looks to support all students for seven years. The SLT is confident that we can move forward to find a name that keeps much of the brand equity we have build in Clinton, ensure that prospective student and families know we support the development of an artistic and creative mindset, but one that will also allow our engineers, mathematicians and scientists to feel comfortable at Clinton and also as they apply to college. 

We also began to consider the feasibility of the Middle Years Program for Clinton, the IB programme for grades 6th-10th. This will be an ongoing process of evaluation, with more information to come.

While our name may evolve, we have not forgotten our traditions. Next week’s performance of As You Like It marks the third year we have done a dramatic performance and a musical in the middle grades. I hope you will join for one of the upcoming performances. 

Last week the 7th grade also saw Skin of Our Teeth, as part of our partnership with Theater for a New Audience. The 8th grade also saw The Lion King. Thanks to you and the Parents’ Association for your continued support!

On Friday we will send out the link for Parent Conferences for all grades. We will use the same system for registration. 

Parent Conferences are March 23rd. The 8th grade team will be piloting student led conferences, an opportunity for your child to showcase what they have worked on that they are proud of, and what they are continued to focus on during the course of the Spring. More information to follow.

Warmly,

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)

March 6th B Day

March 7th C Day

March 8th- High school notifications sent to 8th grade citywide. For Clintonians, via Jupiter. D Day

March 9th- Early release, all students dismissed at 12:40. E Day

March 10th- As You Like It. A Day

March 11th- As You Like It

* Note two early release days coming up, March 9th and March 17th. All students dismissed at end of upper grades lunch. No outlunch for upper grades on those two days.

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Letter from Levin – week of February 27th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

Tomorrow, the School Leadership Team will reflect on how we have done this year on some of the goals that we set at the end of last school year.  We will then dive into setting the priorities for 2017 budget and staffing, and continue to consider how to thoughtfully expand.  Two students sit on the SLT, and it only seems right that we not only do things “to” kids, but with them as members of the body that helps set policy for the school.

As Clinton grows, it continues to change. The Clinton that I took over as principal, one that was 19 teachers and had just moved from occupying the top floor of PS 11, is a much different school than the one that I am entrusted to run six years later. I was at PS 11 a few weeks ago, and the gym was the size of a classroom!

As Clinton changes, it cannot stay the same. Over time we will come to be known for our IB Diploma Programme, and as a 6-12. Our identity is changing, and I think that is ok, as long as our moral compass is strong, and we continue to consider how we honor our roots as a school that has long believed that all students can be successful, and that the artistic and creative mentality is something that must be nurtured.

I am looking forward to the work ahead, which should sustain us through a Spring that has already seemed to arrive!

This week the 7th grade will go to the Theater for a New Audience. As part of your support to the Parents’ Association, Clinton partners with the Whitney, and Theater for a New Audience with 6th and 7th grade. We find these partnerships to be invaluable, as students are introduced to the theater, and come to appreciate a museum in the behind the scenes work they do there.

Thank you for your continued support as we take on new challenges in our expansion. 

 

Warmly,

 

Jon
 
———-
Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)
 
 

February 27th- B Day. Science Trip 602

February 28th- C Day. 

March 1st- D Day- 8th grade to see The Lion King.

March 2nd- E Day- 7th grade to Theater for a New Audience

March 3rd- A Day. Upper Grades Ski Trip. 

 

* Note two early release days coming up, March 9th and March 17th. All students dismissed at end of upper grades lunch. No outlunch for upper grades on those two days.

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Letter from Levin – week of February 13th

Parent/Guardian of a Clintonian —

This is the last full week before February Break. Although it has been a hectic few days, I find all the activity energizing, not draining. 

On Friday we had our first award ceremony for the 10th grade. 10th graders carry an intense academic load, with a cohort doing geometry, physics and chemistry. All 10th graders will complete their Regents requirements at the end of this year, and move to IB classes next Fall.  Somehow, even with this load, many of them find time to be engaged in school activities, and maintain a high GPA. The awards recognized those on the basis of National Honor Soceity qualififications , 85-94 average for honors, and 95-100 for high honors. 

Beyond academic achievement, I found the 9th and 10th grade artisitic contributions to Rent impressive. We set an attendance record on Friday night, with over 250 people coming to watch our first upper grades musical. It was heartening to see so many middle and upper grades students and parents coming to support their efforts. Thanks! A special thanks to the Parents Association, that devoted time and resources to ensure the start of a new tradition. 

Early Saturday morning about 1/3 of the middle grades boarded buses to ski. As always, it was an amazing time. I find it thrilling to ski with experienced skiers, and also help novices find their way. They are all courageous! Special thanks to the four teachers and many parents that agreed to chaperone. 

The IB Learner Profiles has 10 characteristics that the IB feel are essential for lifelong learning. One of them is “balanced,” and I’m pleased that so many Clinton students are working hard in school, and just as hard outside of the four walls of the classroom.

I hope your break takes you to museums, movies, dance or music performances, and anything else outside of the world of work and school.

Warmly,

Jon

———-

Important dates- (always see theclintonschool.net for latest dates/times)

 
Upper Grades Spirit Week!
 

February 13th– B Day- 

February 13th C Day Valentine’s Day

February 14th D Day

February 15th E Day 

February 16th A Day–  

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