Hugo Newman Family Newsletter

PS/IS 180 Hugo Newman College Preparatory

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Dear Parent/ Guardian,

PS/IS 180 is such a special place to learn and grow. We are proud of our beautiful school and have high expectations for each and every student. Our blended learning focus on Coherence & Connectivity will continue to guide our mission to provide a rigorous and joyful school environment. Whether we are learning in person or remotely at home, our goal is to create intentional opportunities for discovery and connection. I am very proud of the collective efforts from staff and scholars in our first two months of school.

This week, there have been many updates from the DOE. Citywide grading policy for Remote and Blended learning was released, and we revised our policy to promote equity and flexibility in our grading practices for all students. To streamline communication, we have centralized announcements in one newsletter. Please see below regarding the following information:

  • Community Day 11/3
  • Revised Grading Policy 2020-21
  • Parent Teacher Conferences 11/5
  • Blended Learning Opt-in Window 11/2- 11/15
  • Calendar Changes on 3/8 and 4/26
  • Fall Fest has been postponed to 11/6 due to weather

I want to thank you for your continued support in the blended learning process and policy updates throughout the unprecedented school year.

Jeneca Parker

Principal, PS/IS 180

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Community Day 11/3

Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day. (Don't forget to vote.) It is also a remote learning day for all scholars at Hugo Newman.

On 11/3, we will host our inaugural Community Day via Zoom. Jaguars across the grade will participate in mindfulness and social-emotional learning exercises with staff from Brain Power Wellness (BPW). Each grade will receive 30 minutes of focused physical and mental breaks to support a healthy, happy and focused school environment. Zoom link and schedule will be shared on Bloomz and Otus.

When your child is not zooming with BPW, he/ she is expected to engage in asynchronous remote learning on Pre-K Padlet or K-8 Otus class boards. Mini-lessons and independent tasks will be posted online. Teachers will be unavailable for the day; our staff will be participating in professional learning as well as preparing for parent-teacher conferences.

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PS/IS 180 Grading Policy (Grades K-8)

We believe that

  • grades are not rewards nor punishments, but are a way of communicating where students are in their learning,

  • grading provides students with feedback on their own learning, clarifying for them what they understand, what they don’t understand, and where they can improve, and grades can help let parents know how well their children are progressing in school.

Graded Curricula: Teachers narrow the scope of the curriculum to only the most Essential Concepts using the NYC DOE Priority Learning Standards. Mastery Based Grading allows teachers the opportunity to communicate about student growth in two ways:

  • Acknowledge when students have successfully mastered an Essential Concept

  • Note specific learning targets for which students need to make improvements.

Assessment Instrument: Formative assessments and other graded coursework proceed. Students have multiple opportunities to work towards mastery through multiple measures of performance. Feedback remains the top priority.

Academic work, grades, and communication are all housed within the Otus platform. As a parent, you can view your child's performance history across specific standards. Please note that not every assignment is individually graded. PS/IS 180 scholars receive holistic feedback across tasks completed and conference sessions from the week(s). Scores can be determined in multiple ways such as, teacher observation (both in person and remote), student-teacher conferences, student work, or performance tasks which can be seen in Otus.

Student progress will be available for students and families to view frequently updated holistic scores on Otus in the Gradebook. Click here for a tutorial in how to navigate Otus Gradebook.

  • Math: Weekly Feedback on Otus

  • Writing: Weekly Feedback using rubric on Otus

  • Reading: Approximately 2x per month using rubric on Otus

  • Enrichment: 1-2x per month on Otus

We use Decaying Average to calculate grades. This formula is calculated based on an average with more weight given to the most recent scores; the higher the decay rate, the more heavily recent attempts are weighted. This allows for a better measure of growth by rewarding students for how far they’ve come without punishing them for where they started.

Parent Teacher Conferences: This year, parent teacher conferences for Pre-K- 8th Grade will occur remotely on the dates and times listed below:

  • Thursday, November 5th from 12:20PM- 2:20PM and 4:30PM- 7:30PM. Students will be dismissed three hours early at 11AM.

  • Thursday, March 4th from 12:20PM- 2:20PM and 4:30PM- 7:30PM. Students will be dismissed three hours early at 11AM.

Grading Scale:

  • Progress Reports: Families receive a printout from Otus summarizing the child's performance on each learning standard. This is communicated in friendly “I can” language with a bar indicating whether the child is Exceeding, Meeting, Approaching, or Developing in their mastery. There is not an overall course grade on the progress report; instead, it is a detailed overview of each learning standard midway through the term.
  • Report Cards: For official school records, we use the numeric 1-4 grading scale to communicate mastery for the course with 4 (Exceeds Standard) or 3 (Meets Standard) on the report card and student transcript. This year, we will not have scores of 1 or 2 for marking periods and final grades. In Grades K-8, students will receive grades of “needs improvement” (N) in place of failing grades. In Grades 6-8, students will receive grades of “course in progress” (NX) when there is insufficient work to calculate a final grade. Middle school students have the summer to make up work to change NX grade(s).

Final Grades
: Families have flexibility in determining how passing final grades are reflected on student records. This is an option for families who prefer to have their child’s performance reflected more generally (such as “Pass” instead of a numerical 1-4 grade) as they continue to adapt to blended and remote learning. Grades of “P” will not be factored into students’ GPAs.

See pages 26-27 of the Blended Learning Handbook below

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Parent Teacher Conferences

This year, parent teacher conferences will occur remotely on the dates and times listed below:

  • Thursday, November 5th from 12:20PM- 2:20PM and 4:30PM- 7:30PM. Students will be dismissed three hours early at 11AM.
  • Thursday, March 4th from 12:20PM- 2:20PM and 4:30PM- 7:30PM. Students will be dismissed three hours early at 11AM.

Please note: On 11/5, progress reports will be shared electronically. Progress reports are a summary of mastery-based learning as documented on Otus. End of first term official report cards will be distributed before Winter Recess.

Teachers will share calendar invites to meet via Zoom for conferences.

Blended Learning Opt-In 11/2- 11/15

Fully remote families have the option to opt-in to blended learning, meaning that students will learn in the school building for part of the week, and remotely at home the rest of the week. From Monday, November 2 through Sunday, November 15, families will have the option to fill out a form indicating their wish to change learning preferences. Students who change from remote to blended will begin in-person between the weeks of November 30 and December 7, and will be informed by the school their start date and schedule. Our school will make every effort to accommodate these requests based on programming and space capacity.

Calendar Updates

Revised dates: March 8th and April 26th are now B days for all grades to balance the cohorts.

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College bound

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Middle School & High School Admissions

This year’s application deadline will be later than the traditional early December deadline.

Middle School

The middle school directory and admissions guide will exist exclusively in a virtual format, and will not be printed. As the application opens, families can learn about the admissions process on DOE website where you can both read an admissions guide and watch videos explaining the admissions process. Sign up for our middle school admissions email list

High School

The high school application is not yet open, and no longer closes on December 4, 2020. Registration for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) and LaGuardia High School auditions are not yet open, and no longer close on October 21, 2020. Families and school staff will have additional time to register. The high school directory and admissions guide will exist exclusively in a virtual format, and will not be printed. The new High School Admissions Video Series is now available, and more videos will be added soon: Sign up for our high school admissions email list

Families Temporarily Living Outside NYC: Students who have temporarily relocated outside NYC, but who have maintained a permanent residence in NYC, may participate in admissions.

If you have questions about admissions and enrollment, you can contact

Grab & Go Meals Available

Remote Learning Students may pick up a free breakfast and lunch at PS/IS 180 daily. Enter the large school yard and head to the wheelchair ramp entrance to receive free meals.

The parents/guardians of those students may also pick up the take-out meals. Take-out meals for students and other NYC children will be available on school days from 9:00AM - 12:00PM. No registration, ID, or documentation required.

What's on the Menu

  • See what's on the menu for free breakfast and lunch.
  • Dates, locations, and menus are subject to change.

Upcoming Events

Title 1 Parent Meeting

Friday, Oct. 30th, 10:30am

This is an online event.

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RAIN DATE: PTA- sponsored PS/IS 180 Fall Family Harvest

Friday, Nov. 6th, 2-4pm

370 West 120th Street

New York, NY

Registration is required as this is a free ticketed event to comply with CDC guidelines. The event has been changed to Friday, November 6th due to weather.

Jazz Concert at PS/IS 180

In case you missed it, you're invited to view the recording below. On October 27th, Jazz at Lincoln Center band performed two Let Freedom Swing concerts in the large play yard for students and the community. Students learned about blues, improvisation, and swing. They also drew connections between Jazz and democracy with the musical genre being a part of our national identity. Let Freedom Swing brings outstanding jazz artists and performances to community audiences in school playgrounds. Presented in 11 cities around the world, Let Freedom Swing reaches over 85,000 students in over 550 concerts annually.
PS 180 "Let Freedom Swing" Jazz Concert (Part II)

Our Core Actions to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

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Bloomz is available on the desktop, iPhone and Android phones. Downloading the app is very easy and can be done in a couple of minutes. It is a private and secure way that we communicate with families.

New Bloomz Parent

1. Download the “Bloomz" app from the AppStore/PlayStore and click on "Enter Code". If browser, go to and click on "Join Bloomz" followed by "Enter Code"

2. In the text box, enter the following codes to access the following pages:

  1. PS/IS 180 Announcements: P8WSVG
  2. PTA: 4XEBTA

3. Create your account

Existing Bloomz Parent

1. Log into your Bloomz account

2. Click “+Add Class/Group” on the left navigation.

3. In the text box, enter the codes as provided by classroom teacher(s)

4. Click next

Things to be aware of……

  • The app will provide you with access to your child’s classroom blog
  • For those who give photo/ video permission, we will periodically post pictures from activities/ events of your child(ren) visible to the grade
  • You will be able to view general news posted by the school, PreK grade team, PTA and any other important announcements
  • Upcoming events are listed on the app
  • Your child’s classroom teacher may send you alerts and reminders via the app

Tech Support for Families

Please fill out this form to let us know what issues you're having with NYCDOE iPads/devices, access to applications, or other technical problems, such as Transportation, Report Card, Student Account Access, and Status of iPad Request. We will use the contact information you provide to get in touch with you and try to solve your problem.

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