News & Announcements

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Broadway Comes to WSC

posted Jun 6, 2018, 8:25 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 8:26 AM ]

Broadway award-winning actress, Nikki M. James, visited our school to meet with students in the Wingspan After School Performing Arts program.  The week prior, students attended a performance of the Broadway show Ms. James is currently assistant directing, Once on This Island.    Engagement was high as students shared their reactions to the musical and asked questions about pursuing careers in the performing arts. The questions posed by our students were thoughtful and impressive.  Ms. James has appeared in Les Miserables and Book of Mormon, for which she received an Emmy for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She will be performing at Shakespeare in the Park this summer.

Urban Advantage gives WSC an advantage during iInquire Week

posted May 2, 2018, 6:39 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated May 2, 2018, 6:40 AM ]

WSC students and teachers are eagerly anticipating our annual iInquire Science Immersion Week this month, when our school will be transformed into a science institute with full days of science exploration, investigation, and discovery.  Students will launch rockets, design electronic cars and animal habitats, explore the physics of music, and examine DNA under a microscope.  Once again, we are grateful to our partnership with Urban Advantage, which provides our students access to museum and zoo visits, laboratory experiments and planetarium experiences.  The article linked here provides deeper insight into the benefits of museum-school collaborations, and describes how WSC teacher Mr. Weissman is using Urban Advantage training and materials to build an iInquire Week water study curriculum.

Saturday Film Academy

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:53 AM by Suzannah Ohring

West Side Collaborative collaborated with the New York Public Library to present students with the unique opportunity to explore motion pictures film as a science and technology, and as a tactile art-making experience.  In a series of workshops offered this fall, students were able to shoot and hand-process Super8mm film  with professionals in the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  At the conclusion of the workshop series, students presented at a film festival at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  Congratulations to our WSC filmmakers!

Runaway Art

posted Nov 29, 2017, 7:13 AM by Suzannah Ohring

Why is it important for individuals to have a say in the history written about their life stories? This is one of the essential questions faced by 7th grade students as part of their experience with Runaway Art this month.  RUNAWAY ART: Interpreting Colonial Slave Ads is an innovative social studies and visual arts curriculum which uses authentic 18th-century runaway slave ads as a springboard for students to learn the history of enslavement in the North. Though empathy and creativity, students develop an original artwork and statement.  WSC 7th graders enjoyed five sessions with a guest teaching artist who shared her own passion about this topic while teaching different artistic techniques to bring a person's story to life. Students then presented their artwork in a classroom gallery. The program is sponsored by Historic Hudson Valley in collaboration with The Center for Arts Education, and funded by the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education in The New York Community Trust.

Student Voices

posted Nov 17, 2017, 6:15 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Nov 17, 2017, 6:31 AM ]

West Side Collaborative students were interviewed by Mastery Collaborative to better understand the effectiveness of using culturally responsive education along with mastery-based learning.  Culturally responsible education asks us to actively welcome young people's identities, experiences and interests into school, and to empower learners socially and academically.  Students speak about WSC's social community, building relationships, and being their best self.

Making History Relevant

posted Oct 25, 2017, 8:44 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 8:44 AM ]

Step into the classrooms of West Side Collaborative and watch history come alive for students in very real and personal ways.  

After studying the limits placed on free speech during World War I, eighth grade students were challenged to an authentic transfer task, reflecting on the current controversy underway in the NFL.   Students analyzed the limits of free speech placed on Americans by the Sedition Acts, and upheld in Schenck v. USA, during World War I.  Then, they were tasked with creating a PSA arguing that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are, or are not, patriots.  A teacher-created website guided the process of creating multi-media content.

Earlier this month, seventh grade students experienced Columbus Day from an entirely new vantage point.  After studying Native American cultures and the effects of European colonization on tribes, students drafted a proposal to the New York State Assembly arguing whether the holiday should stay as is, or be changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Students presented strong proposals with eloquent arguments to support their opinions.

By identifying issues that students are passionate about, and connecting those ideas to the curriculum, West Side Collaborative teachers succeed in captivating students’ attention and enthusiasm about learning.

Astronomy Night

posted Sep 19, 2017, 6:53 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Sep 19, 2017, 6:53 AM ]

Students and teachers from West Side Collaborative were excited to bring their brand new telescope to Urban Starfest in Central Park this month! On September 9th, the Amateur Astronomer's Association (AAA) held its annual Urban Starfest in Central Park's Sheep Meadow.  Students were able to view the cosmos through the lens of our new telescope, which was generously donated by the Scopes for Schools program.  A program of the AAA, Scopes for Schools provides schools with high-quality telescopes in order to inspire young minds and develop an appreciation for astronomy.  West Side Collaborative will be creating an Astronomy Club of our own, and hope to host events for the school community as well as join with the AAA as often as possible.

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WSC Goes to University

posted Apr 6, 2017, 9:00 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 9:01 AM ]

A small group of eighth grade WSC students had a true college experience this week! They were invited to visit the Fordham University campus and join college students in class.  Our students attended History Professor Dr. Mark Naison’s class “Rock and Roll to Hip Hop” alongside Fordham students.  The WSC eighth graders had a great deal to contribute to the class discussion! Students also toured the library, played basketball in the Fordham gymnasium, and visited the campus bookstore.  The visit was topped off with lunch at the iconic Pugley’s Pizzeria, where students were treated to an impromptu open mike session and saxophone concert.  Many thanks to eighth grade teacher and Fordham graduate, Ms. Rahiman, who arranged the visit!  The visit was such a success that we plan to schedule additional college visits later in the spring.

Holocaust Survivor Visits WSC

posted Mar 14, 2017, 2:05 PM by Suzannah Ohring

Eighth grade students had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Holocaust survivor, Paul Galan, who made a special appearance at our school this month.  Mr. Galan shared his experience as a child in Czechoslovakia, which fell under Nazi control when he was 6 years old. He told stories of being forced to wear the yellow Star of David and the constant bullying and death threats he received from his fellow students. Eventually, as Nazi anti-Semitic laws began to be applied to occupied German territories, he was placed under strict curfew and his father's grain business was given over to a Christian Czech.

Eventually his family was rounded up and sent to an internment camp, where they were held for over a year before being set free. Uncomfortable staying in their hometown, they fled to the countryside, hopping from village to village as they were continuously outed to the Nazis by the locals. By a series of unbelievable coincidences and the goodwill of two high ranking Nazi officers he was able to make it over the mountains into Soviet liberated territory, where he made his way to safety.  

His message to the students was to always be accepting and tolerant of one another and to stand up to discrimination wherever they see it.  His talk fit in with the students’ study of the Holocaust, which focused on our students' roles as upstanders with an obligation to protect those around them.  

WSC Read-a-thon!

posted Dec 14, 2016, 10:22 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Dec 14, 2016, 10:23 AM ]

Pajamas and slippers, paperbacks and hot chocolate -- welcome to the WSC All-School Read-a-thon!  Students took pleasure in cozying up with their books for a morning of reading and relaxation.  Some even came prepared with pillows and blankets!  While the goal of the event was to build reading stamina, the result was classrooms filled with students taking the time to delve deeply into the characters and action of a story of their choice.  Snacks and hot chocolate were available, and students were able to participate in our “Reading in the Hood” fundraiser by paying $1 for the privilege of wearing a hat or hood.  Many thanks to all the families who supported our read-a-thon with monetary and food donations!


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