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Two special programs this spring provided WSC students with the opportunity to explore the world beyond middle school and think about their future: Girls Career Day at JP Morgan and College Connection at Fordham University. Groups of academically and community-minded students were selected to participate in site visits to these two institutions.
An extension of last years’ mentoring program with JP Morgan, “WSC Girls on Wall Street” was the brainchild of a pair of directors at the firm who designed and hosted a career day at their offices as a way to help WSC girls explore careers in finance and banking. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the business world, the various types of careers available and the types of education needed to enter these professions. The girls attended seminars on saving, budgeting and investing and a panel discussion with a number of successful JP Morgan women sharing their personal stories and the challenges they overcame along the way. Another highlight of the day was a tour of the trading floor. We are indebted to our friends at JP Morgan who modeled professionalism, self-confidence and empowerment, and showed such caring and generosity towards the girls. That such successful people took so much time and care to speak with them and to support them was an underlying message that came through very clearly. What a unique experience for these young ladies, one that will have influence on their lives many times over. Thank you, JP Morgan!
Visiting Fordham University’s Bronx campus was another illuminating and enriching experience, and not only for WSC students, but also for Fordham undergraduates. As part of WSC’s College Connection visits, a group of students visited the campus, participated in a walking tour, and met with the Director of Career Planning who engaged students in an interactive conversation regarding issues pertaining to college and admissions. The highlight of the visit was when WSC students attended an upper-level undergraduate class "The Worker in American Life" taught by the chairperson of the African American History Department. WSC participated alongside Fordham students in a lively discussion. According to the professor, WSC students offered comments that were “at times startling in their insight and depth,” and became “the focal point of an incredible discussion of what it means to be working class in the United States.” All students were inspired by the visit. We are so appreciative to the Fordham professors and professionals who gave their time and attention to our students. Thank you, Fordham University!
By engaging our students in memorable college and career experiences while in middle school, we hope to provide them the direction they need as they enter high school. Students were made to feel welcomed and valued at each institution and walked away understanding how much they can determine their lives with hard work and setting goals.
As a part of her visits to selected middle schools across the city, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina visited WSC in January. Chancellor Farina looked in on classes and met with students, teachers, and staff members to learn about some of our best practices. Afterwards, WSC was highlighted in her Monthly Principal’s Letter, which is shared with all NYC public school leaders. Chancellor Farina described West Side Collaborative Middle School as “a hidden gem” and praised the school for encouraging students to take ownership of their learning. She noted the high quality of our base camp structure in which students work with their academic coaches to set standards-based goals and strategies for meeting them, have the opportunity to resubmit work to show their desire to meet the standards, and share their progress and next steps with parents at student-led conferences. She also admired the school’s flexible scheduling structure which enables students to be grouped by gender, interests or academic needs.It is gratifying to know that our hard work in building a school culture in which student independence and personalized learning experiences is recognized. Over the past two years, we have been privileged to share our vision and practices through our partnership with the innovation zone (iZone). As an ambassador school for the iZone, we most recently hosted a visit in January for school leaders from Texas. Teachers, staff, and students shared about our personalized learning modules, math focus classes, student-led conferences, and student portfolios.
Community and culture were celebrated by an enthusiastic crowd of middle school students and their families at the Whitney Museum of American Art last Friday night. There, West Side Collaborative students became both docents guiding their families through museum exhibitions, as well as exhibiting artists with their own works of art on display. Thank you to the over 150 visitors in attendance.
Seventh grader were stationed as docents throughout the exhibitions American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe; T. J. Wilcox: In the Air; and Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s: A recent Aquisition. Students
had pre-selected pieces of art to discuss, offering a history of the
artist and an in-depth analysis of the artwork. In the Whitney Studio,
guests were able to view artwork created by sixth and seventh grade
students. They included word sculptures based on the artwork of Robert
Indiana, art inspired by Edward Hopper focusing on “sense of place,” and
The Whitney’s website describes West Side Collaborative as a middle school that challenges students to develop their innate curiosity and channel the energy of youth into the excitement of discovery. In this spirit, the school and museum have partnered for the last five years to develop innovative teaching practices centered on inquiry-based instruction and explore various approaches to arts integration. The collaboration originated in 2009 with a pilot program, Teach with O’Keeffe, and continues to grow. The encourage families to take advantage of the rich and vibrant cultural resources available to them as residents of New York City.
West Side Collaborative is pleased to announced that we have received an "A" on our 2012-2013 Progress Report
from the NYC Department of Education. We also received a rating of "Well Developed" which is based on three major categories of school performance: instruction that prepares students for college and careers, school organization and management, and the quality of the learning environment. A school that receives a Well Developed rating earned the highest grade for highly effective teaching and learning practice, strategic school management and an excellent quality learning environment.
We are delighted to announce that West Side Collaborative Middle School has received a 2013 Blackboard Award!
Now in its 11th year, The Blackboard Awards celebrates excellence in local education, in all educational sectors (public, private, charter and parochial) and in all grade levels, from nursery through high school. WSC is one of 20 honorees this year. The honorees were nominated by many parents and educators, as well as a board of educational advisors.
The award was presented by Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President-elect, at a ceremony at Scholastic on Monday, November 18. The awards ceremony was emceed by Lisa Belkin, the former New York Times Motherlode columnist, and current senior columnist on life, work and family for The Huffington Post.
As part of the Blackboard Awards, which are sponsored by New York Family magazine, WSC will also be featured in New York Family’s annual Ultimate Guide to Education in New York City.
Congratulations to the West Side community on this well-deserved recognition!
Parents are invited to help with the Thanksgiving Toast, which will be held on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 from 9:00am-10:45am. A favorite annual WSC tradition, the Toast provides an opportunity for the West Side community to celebrate and appreciate the friends, families and special experiences that make WSC unique. We are looking forward to sharing a meal and enjoying great conversations. Students will not want to miss this event.
The WSC PA will provide apple cider, bagels, decorations and paper products. Each student is being asked to contribute a dish large enough to share with 5-10 people. We are requesting that the dishes be brought to school the morning of November 27.
How you can help: Parent volunteers are needed to help. Please meet in the WSC/PS 75 cafeteria at 8am. Each advisory will share a potluck brunch. Please discuss with your child what you would like to contribute.
Thank you for your support!
Thank you to all the parents who attended and assisted with our October Curriculum Night! At this annual event, parents and students were presented with important information about many important initiatives such as the iZone, a peak into the WSC curriculum and projects, highlights from their grade's school calendar, as well as the daily policies, procedures, and routines at WSC. Sixth grade families enjoyed a pot-luck dinner, and the Parent Association sold light refreshments as a fundraiser to benefit the school.
In partnership with the Department of Education, Wellness in the Schools operates the Cook for Kids programs in public school cafeterias and classrooms to promote healthy eating and combat childhood obesity.
WITS trains culinary school graduates, who partner with cafeteria staff to prepare daily scratch-cooked meals and educate families about the importance of eating healthy food. Through our WITS Labs and WITS BITS, a series of seasonal cooking and nutrition classes, WITS Cooks also teach children and their families how to prepare healthy, delicious, and affordable recipes using whole, unprocessed foods. Click here to view this month's alternative lunch menu.
As a member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools planning team, WITS recognizes the importance of engaging the culinary community and partners with local chefs and restaurants to lead special events, act as wellness ambassadors and inspire students.
At WSC we acknowledge the critical role that parents play in their child's education. WSC is pleased to announced a comprehensive schedule of workshops and events for WSC parents:
High School Articulation Process Workshop: Designed to help parents understand the complexity of the high school application process. (September)
Common Core Standards Workshop: There has been much discussion of the Common Core learning standards in the media, but what does it really mean? In this workshop you will receive an overview of the Common Core Learning Standards and how they relate to your child's education. Parents will be provided with a sample progress report. (September)
Curriculum Night: At this annual event, parents and students will be presented with important information about many important initiatives such as the iZone, a peak into the WSC curriculum and projects, highlights from their grade's school calendar, as well as the daily policies, procedures, and routines at WSC. Save the date! Thursday October 10
SLC process: Goal setting and your child's progress report: Parents are strongly encouraged to attend this workshop that has been designed to help parents use support their child in the goal-setting process. Participants will create a Parent Support Action Plan for their WSC student, to help them set and attain their academic goals. (October and November)
Raising Middle and High School Kids in a Digital World: This workshop was designed in collaboration with Common Sense Media and provides an opportunity for parents to explore technology use, discover methods of monitoring their child's technology use, and identify key programs/tools that are available to make their role as "media guardian" a bit easier. (December)
Student-Led Conferences: By appointment, students will present their progress to parents, under the guidance of their academic coach (December)
Goal Setting support- Addressing your child's report--Now What?: Parents are strongly encouraged to attend this workshops that have been designed to help parents use the information that was shared at the conferences to create or revise their Parent Support Action Plan for their WSC student. (January)
Honor Roll Ceremony: Students will high academic achievement are honored in a meaningful ceremony. (January/February)
A WSC parent account is required to access this information. WSC parents may sign up for an account by clicking on the link "Sign Up for your WSC Account" here or at the top of this page, and completing a request form.
WSC's 8th grade Connections Curriculum has been certified by the New York City Department of Education to meet the requirements of a high school preparatory course and will be certified as such for the next three years. After a complete review of WSC curriculum materials and student progress, the DOE has determined that students enrolled in 8th grade Connections at WSC are more likely than similar students to be high school ready. Designed in-house by WSC teachers, our rigorous Connections curriculum is an interdisciplinary social studies curriculum which incorporates the arts and literacy, math and science.