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2013 has been a momentous year for Greene Hill in many ways, it is our fifth year as a school and our first year with a completed lower school. Greene Hill now serves over 100 students ages four to ten, and next year our middle school launches with the 6th grade. In this issue Laurie Baum, GHS’s middle school planning director, talks about daily life for the Greene Hill middle schooler as well as some exciting new community partnerships.


Over the course of 2013 staff worked closely together to develop a comprehensive curriculum guide for our whole school and I am delighted to share it with you here. Barbara Frailey, our lower school director and Laurie Baum took the lead on this extensive publication and have my deep appreciation for their ability to write so clearly about Greene Hill’s educational approach. Barbara also highlights the topic of assessment in Learning and Practice and notes how it is deeply embedded in the work that students and teachers consider each day. Thank you to Ilana Greenberg whose engaging designs shaped both this newsletter and the curriculum guide.


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2013 also marks the third year for our fall all-school science study. Following previous themes of water and propulsion, this year Greene Hill students have been actively thinking about food. I hope you enjoy reading about their explorations and our culminating Food Week.


info @ BOARD OF TRUSTEES Nanci Berman, Chair Frank Alvarado, Treasurer Amanda Smith, Secretary Meredith Phillips Almeida Meeta Gandhi David Horowitz Jocelynne Rainey Beth Schneider

During late fall and winter the PATHS Community Service Committee identifies many ways that our school and families can assist people in need of food and warm clothing. Following a very successful fundraising campaign for UNICEF the community has organized efforts with City Harvest and Meals on Wheels. You can read more about them — and find out how to get involved — later in this newsletter. The 5th Annual Greene Hill School Annual Appeal is in full swing. Check your email, check your mailbox for ways to donate to GHS. More information later in this issue of Progressions.

I wish everyone a joyous and peaceful December and look forward to a fine new year together! BEST, DIANA SCHLESINGER, SCHOOL DIRECTOR

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In December, GHS students wrapped up the school-wide Food study with a week-long teach-in. Each class participated, sharing what they learned about food growth, production and distribution.


JANUARY 6 School Resumes After Break FEBRUARY 7 Greene Affair FEBRUARY 10-13 Family Conferences FEBRUARY 17-21 Mid-winter Recess To see the year-long calendar with school holidays and all events, CLICK HERE

Parents who are involved in various food-related industries gave presentations on topics ranging from raw milk and juicing to the art of meal planning. The week culminated with a delicious lunch prepared by students (with some parental and teacher supervision) for the whole school. One child said, “I won't forget the all school lunch as long as I live!”

The Food study was an amazing opportunity to integrate science, math, reading, writing and community service into an authentic learning experience for all children at their appropriate developmental levels. Cooking is reading recipes, making measurements, and thinking logically. Understanding food production and distribution requires mapping skills, using math skills for real-world problems and geo-political problem solving.

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Parents and Teachers Helping the School (PATHS) We want to report on two exciting PATH’s ventures — the upcoming Greene Affair and the fall happenings of the Community Service Committee. The Greene Affair, GHS’s annual auction and party is February 7, 2014. Party planning and auction item solicitation are in full swing and have we got a DOOZY in store. That said, we still need a few things. If you can help with the solicitation efforts (or if you have a great idea for an auction item!) please contact Caroline Bollinger at or Stav Birnbaum at If you can help with the party planning, email Nicole Porter at Working on the Greene Affair is a great way to meet fellow parents and get involved in a project that ends in a party — what could be better? PATHs would also like to update the community on the wonderful results of our fall activities. The goal of the Community Service committee is to connect our students with the larger community and to raise their awareness of ways in which they can truly help others. We work with both local and global organizations and strive to plan projects that make connections between our outreach and topics children are studying in school.

And at the same time GHS students were cooking for their own community, they were collecting cans for the City Harvest Holiday Food drive. We have achieved our goal of 100 pounds of food for City Harvest.

The school-wide food study this fall presented a wonderful opportunity for meaningful curriculum-outreach connections. In October, our students raised over $1,150 for UNICEF and we were able to designate the funds to help feed malnourished children across the world. In November, the whole school community (children, parents and friends) participated in a canned food drive sponsored by City Harvest, one of the oldest and largest food banks in New York. Our goal was to collect 100 lbs. of food and we are pleased to announce that we surpassed that goal. December presents wonderful opportunities to make the holidays a brighter time. Students made holiday cards for elderly clients of City Meals, the New York chapter of Meals on Wheels. Families also donated gently used coats and jackets for the New York Cares winter collection. Plans for spring will focus on green projects like park cleanups and flower plantings at nursing homes.

Please get involved with the Community Service committee. Just contact Sally at or Veronica at


LEARNING AND PRACTICE Assessment at Greene Hill School As part of Greene Hill School’s ongoing Community Forums, in early December, Lower School Director Barbara Frailey discussed assessment at GHS, posing and answering three essential questions: • What is Greene Hill’s perspective on assessment? • What tools and approaches does the school use? • What is the school measuring, and how? Barbara began by addressing the two questions that come up immediately about assessment and progressive schools: Why does GHS not use traditional assessment tools (grades, report cards etc.)? And then, what does assessment look like at Greene Hill? Greene Hill strives for an assessment process that mirrors our educational philosophy. We want to focus on the whole child, teach skills in context, and measure a student’s individual effort, work and progress while ensuring that students are mastering the content and skills of the age-appropriate curriculum. We consider assessment to be part of the authentic work that teachers and students do together every day.

To support this work, teachers systematically use several formal and informal assessment tools including teacher observations, analysis of work, and formal assessment pieces. Teacher observations are ongoing during the year and happen during different parts of the day like writing conferences and reading groups. Teachers formalize their observations as notes, anecdotal or assessment checklists. Formal analysis of student work happens at key moments with tools like project rubrics or student reflections. Formal assessment tools are built into our curriculum, for example, with spelling inventories as part of Words Their Way, and end of unit assessment from Investigations math. This year, we introduced a formal assessment tool to track reading progress called the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. Like the rest of our teaching, our assessment practices honor the relationship between teacher and student, and the idiosyncratic processes individuals go through as they learn. We call on a variety of perspectives, including the child’s perspective, as we make sure that children’s growth is visible and understood. And we work very hard to ensure that we communicate our understandings about children clearly through reporting methods that support our beliefs. TO VIEW BARBARA’S PRESENTATION, CLICK HERE.

SUPPORT YOUR SCHOOL! Greene Hill receives a contribution from Amazon every time you shop. Simply access Amazon here and shop as you always do. Give a gift to the school at the same time as a gift for your child.

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academic — and community — life. To that end, I have been consulting with a number of experts — Middle School

Greene Hill Launches Middle School with 6th grade in September 2014

directors, high school admissions officers and school con-

I am so delighted to be spearheading the

We are extending our partnerships with local organizations

plans for Greene Hill School’s Middle School.

to ensure we have age-appropriate experiences for our oldest

sultants – to advise us on our middle school program.

students. Talks are underway regarding collaborations with Expansion is nothing new to GHS students and parents, however this year is especially exciting because our oldest students will have the thrill of . . .

organizations such as Theater for a New Audience, Urban Glass, and the Brooklyn School of Music. Our expansion into Middle School has had a positive impact

• Being our first Middle School class and having many core academic teachers.

on the entire school. This year, for example, we opened our new science lab on the third floor and hired a full time science educator (with years of experience teaching Middle

• Becoming more active in our community through new cultural partnerships and independent study.

School science). As part of our plans the science lab itself will be the beneficiary of more materials — like microscopes and other lab instruments. A similar expansion of our school-wide technology program is being enjoyed by

• Being the first students to move to the 3rd floor and have lockers instead of cubbies.

students already. It is so wonderful to have had this intensive planning time

Middle School, while building upon our base of progressive

and the opportunity to work directly with our current 10

education at GHS, will look different than Lower School.

year olds in an advisory capacity. All of my Middle School

Various subjects — like math, humanities, science and

colleagues at other institutions are envious of the oppor-

Spanish — will be taught by different teachers. To address

tunity to “start fresh.” There is great community interest

both academic and social-emotional needs, students will

in the middle school as well. All fall we hosted admissions

be part of small advisory groups meeting weekly to dis-

tours for interested families. Everyone who visited is im-

cuss classwork, adolescent issues, and to plan community

pressed by our program and how it builds on the engaging

service projects.

progressive curriculum we already have.

One of the most important elements of my job so far has

Watch for more visible middle school projects this spring.

been to determine what “prepared” will look like for our

GHS will start renovating classrooms soon, hiring teachers,

first graduating class of 8th grade students. Greene Hill

developing more community partnerships – and buying

is committed to ensuring that students move on to the next

bigger furniture!

phase of their education with all of the skills and knowledge they need to continue a successful and productive


WINTER 2013 Annual Appeal Goal Set at $100,000 GHS NEEDS YOU! Thank you. That’s right – thank you. GHS would not be able to set an ambitious goal of $100,000 for the Annual Appeal if community support had not been so strong in past years. Now, we are asking everyone to step up and make a personally meaningful and significant contribution to the 2013-14 Annual Appeal to help us meet this year’s goal of $100,000 so we can continue to support our students and teachers in the ways that mean the most to all of us.





GREENE HILL DOES ALL THIS AND MORE FOR OUR CHILDREN WHILE STILL REMAINING COMMITTED TO THE SLIDING-SCALE TUITION MODEL. Here are some important things to remember about GHS’s tiered tuition structure : 1. The tuition tiers benefit every family. Every child and every family benefits from the diversity nurtured at GHS - and that includes economic diversity. Every child here is richer for being in classrooms that reflect the diversity of our community. 2. GHS keeps its top tier tuition as low as possible - almost half that of many other independent schools in Brooklyn. This means that not even the top tier tuition covers the cost of educating one child for one year.

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This means that fundraising for that gap between tuition income and yearly operating costs is challenging. And so we need every one of our families to make a contribution.

It’s easy to make a contribution to the Annual Appeal. Online - go to the website and click on the link called Giving. Email Leah at to charge a contribution to your FACTS account or simply drop off a check in the office.

Thank you for your continued support of Greene Hill! RACHAEL BURTON

Board Corner Greene Hill’s Board of Directors is delighted to introduce two new board members: Meredith Phillips Almeida and David Horowitz Meredith is the Deputy Director of the Myrtle Avenue Restoration Project and has been a community organizer in the neighborhood for many years. She joined MARP specifically to grow its community initiatives, and has launched a number of successful projects in partnership with local schools, tenants associations, and CBOs since 2007. During her tenure, she built a thriving Food Access Initiative, to expand healthy food options especially for low-income residents of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. She spearheads the Public Art Initiative, which represents a larger effort to establish Myrtle Avenue as an access point to cultural activities for community members of diverse socio-economic backgrounds. She plays a key role in the Partnership’s planning efforts on Park Avenue/Under the BQE, and is leading the development of new initiatives around Safety & Security and AgeFriendly Environments. Meredith holds an MUP from NYU Wagner and a BS in Environmental Economics & Policy from UC Berkeley. David Horowitz is a freelance Communications and Branding Consultant. For nearly a decade he has practiced at the forefront of brand and communications strategy, innovation and social research. He has been a brand, design and innovation strategist at Coleman Brand Worx, JWT New York, and Redscout. For six years prior he was a Social Sciences Research Fellow at Columbia University and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, where he wrote and lectured on the process of modernization in Germany. In his recent client work, David has created brand and design strategies for Petco, Michelina’s, and Tetley Tea, developed product innovations for Coca Cola and Western Union, and built new brands for the UN’s World Food Program. In 2011 his branded content work for Bloomberg was awarded a Jay Chiat Strategy Award honorable mention. Deeply interested in arts and letters, David sits on the advisory board of The New Inquiry journal of arts, politics and culture, consulting on brand positioning, digital strategy and subscriber acquisition. David holds an MA and PhD from Columbia University and a BA, magna cum laude, from Brown University (Providence, RI), all in modern history.


CONTRIBUTORS Diana Schlesinger Barbara Frailey Rachael Burton Laurie Baum Caroline Bollinger Sally Stark-Dreifus PHOTO CREDITS Rachael Burton Marjorie Vereen Diana Schlesinger Barbara Frailey Laurie Baum LAYOUT AND DESIGN Ilana Greenberg Please contact Rachael Burton at for information about contributions to the school

Board Corner


The GHS Board started a new tradition this year: “Board Visiting Day”. On December 10, the Board held their monthly meeting at the school and then spent the morning visiting the classrooms. The morning culminated with lunch in the library for Board members and teachers to meet and share their experiences at the school. One board member posed a very interesting question to all teachers — “If there is something you would like to ensure remains the same as the school grows, what would that be?” The answers were all different - including preserving the sense of community, nurturing a dynamic curriculum and continuing opportunities for deep and meaningful professional development, and the chance get involved in school leadership. Both teachers and board members enjoyed the chance to establish connections and community among people who do not often meet but are all working toward the same goals. This is a tradition that the school will nurture and support.

Greene Hill in the News Greene Hill School has received a lot of excellent press in the past few months. Articles about our school — and especially the Middle School expansion — have been published on Brownstoner, DNAInfo and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Blog. Please forward these articles to anyone who might be interested.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY AS TO STUDENTS Greene Hill School (the “School”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, financial aid programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs.

© 2013 Greene Hill School

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