Back to school night

Bill's mom, Dawami, got the date confused and didn't make it to Back to School night last night. His dad had to work. But Nyonyo, Thayoomoo's mom, caught a ride with a fellow parent and listened attentively as new principal Laurent Ditmann welcomed families.

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Bill's mom, Dawami, got the date confused and didn't make it to Back to School night last night. His dad had to work. But Nyonyo, Thayoomoo's mom, caught a ride with a fellow parent and listened attentively as new principal Laurent Ditmann welcomed families.

The cafeteria was standing-room only as he spoke. ICS will make some changes this year, Dr. Ditmann said: a push toward teacher certification, a reexamination of math instruction after a poor fourth-grade showing on last year's standardized tests, and fundraising with an eye to finding the school a permanent home. "But this is, and will remain, a student-focused environment," he said.

Afterward, parents met in small groups with their kids' teachers. In a packed kindergarten room, Nyonyo sat in the second row with another Burmese mother, listening attentively as her son's teacher explained how parents could reinforce lessons on shapes using street signs and saltines. Nyonyo enjoyed the cracker, but lamented her lack of English. "No good," she said.

In Ms. Sherry and Ms. Naza's third-grade room, six parents and relatives came by. The students had written letters to them, talking about third grade, and parents who came wrote them notes back.

Bill's note sat on his desk. In rounded letters, with flourishes on the G's and Y's, it read:

Dear mom and dad

I doing finu and I loue tohi

School is fun I like my techer

They teche me Haw t Read and haw to act

I Loue you mom and dod

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