News & Announcements

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Thanksgiving Message

posted Dec 1, 2015, 10:20 AM by Suzannah Ohring

At WSC, we have much to appreciate.  Motivated students who take ownership of their learning and work hard to reach academic goals, devoted teachers whose ingenuity and expertise foster a learning environment in which all children can succeed, a visionary leader who inspires excellence and cultivates a nurturing school community.  Today, the entire West Side Collaborative school community gathered to celebrate and show gratitude at our Annual Thanksgiving Talent Show and Toast.  The Talent Show provides students and teachers the opportunity to share their talents and passions with others in a safe and encouraging environment, while the Thanksgiving Toast is a moment when the entire school comes together to reflect and show our appreciation for our families, friends, and teachers.  We created a chain of gratitude and shared a potluck feast.  We would like to share with you a glimpse of the WSC spirit, and take a moment to wish all of you a meaningful and joyous holiday.  Please scroll down to enjoy some photos and Thanksgiving wishes.

In the spirit of sharing, WSC is excited to be hosting our first visit as part of the Showcase Schools program on December 1st.  WSC was invited to participate in the Department of Education’s Showcase Schools Program for the 2015-2016  school year.  The Showcase Schools program is designed to promote collaborative learning between schools across the city.  We will be sharing our  student portfolio practices  with DOE officials, and NYC principals and teachers.  Visitors will have the opportunity to join classes and speak with school staff, teachers, and students.  We are delighted to be able to put our best foot forward and share our practice with fellow educators.  We will host two additional visits in January and in March.

Some writings from the chain:

I am thankful for having wonderful teachers who help me learn better and be successful in life.

For having friends and family that always have my back.

For the food we are eating at the toast today because we know many refugees don't have food or enough food.

I am grateful to be on this planet.

I am grateful to be at WSC with my fun advisory.

Recognition for WSC

posted Nov 10, 2015, 8:57 AM by Suzannah Ohring

Join us in celebrating exciting news regarding our selection as a Showcase School, a Bright Light School and a PROSE School!

WSC was honored to be selected this year as one of 24 schools throughout New York City to be a Showcase School.  The Showcase Schools Program is designed to promote collaborative learning through the sharing of exemplary practices within the schools. This year, we will open our doors to teachers and administrators from across the city to demonstrate and discuss successful strategies, as well as the process behind their development.  Our school’s learning focus areas will be student portfolios and student reflection on a body of work.

WSC has also been chosen as a Bright Light School by Teaching Matters, and was acknowledged at their Seventh Annual Champions of Education and Innovation Luncheon at the Harvard Club in October.  Principal Novella Bailey was recognized for her steadfast support to help teachers thrive and her commitment to raising achievement outcomes of students, as measured by their increased levels in proficiency.  West Side Collaborative was one of four select schools among Teaching Matters partner schools recognized for significantly moving proficiency levels from the time students enter school to when they leave.

As part of our ongoing collaboration with Teaching Matters, WSC teachers are now participating in a new program focused on using assessment information to improve instruction.  The Assessment Matters Community brings together the expertise of practitioners in 14 NYC schools, with Teaching Matters’ coaching and resources to test and refine solutions to the challenging problem of effectively using data to drive instructional improvements.  Participating schools will use a unique standards-based mastery tracking platform, MasteryConnect, to deepen both teacher teaming and formative assessment practices, in order to advance instruction and improve student achievement.

Finally, WSC continues to participate in the PROSE program (Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence.)  We were initially recognized  for our commitment to teacher collaboration and innovative planning to support student achievement.  During the current school year the focus will be on portfolio and reflective and responsive student groupings to support instruction.  Last year we focused on implementing practices to support personalized learning, teacher collaboration, and innovative instructional programs to support meaningful student learning experiences.  WSC is one of 126 schools across the city selected by the Department of Education and the UFT for this program which supports innovation in school programming and design.


posted Sep 17, 2015, 7:11 AM by Suzannah Ohring

West Side Collaborative students and teachers were featured in a number of WNYC radio broadcasts focusing on race relations and the response of teens and teachers in New York City to events in the media.   The students spoke eloquently about growing up in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society and the challenges of  processing and responding to the race-related violence our nation witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island; Baltimore and Charleston, South Carolina. Kudos to the students for their thoughtful and insightful comments!

Listen to our students voices in “Being 12: People Think I’m Supposed to Talk Ghetto, Whatever That Means”:

Learn how teachers relate discussions of national events to our core curriculum in “Bringing Baltimore to the Classroom”:

Discover how teachers and students are impacted by race relations in ”On Talking Race to Young Teens, Teachers Say It’s Been a Tough Year”:

A Note from Ms. Bailey

posted Mar 18, 2015, 9:15 AM by Suzannah Ohring

One of our core values at WSC is supporting students as they develop into independent critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Our goal is to prepare students so they can navigate and be successful in the world that awaits them beyond middle school.  The WSC teachers and staff are committed to creating conditions that cultivate learners prepared for the rigor of high school, college and beyond.  WSC teachers collaborate to provide learning experiences aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards to support students in reaching rigorous and meaningful academic goals in Math and ELA.

English Language Arts

The Expeditionary Learning Curriculum recommended by the Department of Education emphasizes skills and strategies to help students comprehend literary and non-fiction texts.  You may have seen your child reading Dragonwings, New York Times bestseller Unbroken or historical fiction such as Lyddie.  Each of these texts ask students to make connections to universal themes and gain understanding of unfamiliar time periods and cultures.   In weekly Focus classes, students are in small groups ranging in size from 5-15 students, working closely with a teacher to practice strategies connected to specific skills and concepts that support each child’s reading comprehension skills.  In our 7th and 8th grade PLMs, students meet for eight sessions in mixed grade groupings based on teachers’ assessments of your child’s individual learning strengths and preferred learning styles.  All ELA courses this year have been designed to support students in building independence in comprehending complex texts, analyzing texts using evidence, understanding cultures and perspectives, and producing written works that meet the demands of grade level expectations.


In our math classes across 6th, 7th and 8th grades, teachers utilize Department of Education approved curriculum resources from CMP3 and EngageNY.  The math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards and supports students in understanding and applying math practices, such as constructing strong arguments,  attending to precision and problem solving skills.   In addition to each child’s core math class, in weekly Math Focus classes, students work in small groups to explore mathematical concepts and skills in groupings based on teachers’  assessments of your child’s individual learning strengths.   During the next few weeks, each grade will engage in math learning connected to a specific instructional focus area to support each child’s comprehension of critical mathematical concepts:

6th Grade: Ratio and Proportions/Fractions

7th Grade: Algebra/Ratio and Proportions  

8th Grade: Solving Equations/Graphing Lines/Exponents

We have  reached the end of the second trimester of the school year, and the hard work of our students and teachers is evident everywhere! Examples of students demonstrating new learning and applying new skills can be seen on display in our WSC hallways and in the work your child has completed in class.  We look forward to continuing our commitment to your child’s academic achievement and progress as 2015 continues!  

New After School Partnerships

posted Mar 12, 2015, 8:11 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Mar 12, 2015, 8:13 AM ]

WSC is pleased to announce the launch of two new exciting after school partnerships: Wingspan Arts and Teen Thursdays.

Wingspan Arts:

As a recipient of the Cultural After School Adventures grant, in February WSC launched an after-school performing arts partnership with Wingspan Arts.  This musical theater course is open to current 7th and 8th grade students, who will be coached by professional artists, including a musical director, choreographer, and vocal coach.  Wingspan programs enable students to have a better view and understanding of a complicated, changing world that can be uniquely and vividly expressed through the arts.  The program also provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in pursuing performing arts high schools to gain experience in singing, dancing and acting, helping to prepare them for auditions.  Students will display their new skills and talent at a culminating performance in the spring.

Teen Thursdays at the American Folk Art Museum:

WSC will resume its participation in the Teen Thursdays middle school after-school initiative this spring.  Last year, WSC was one of five school city-wide to be selected to participate  in Teen Thursdays, an afterschool initiative to enable students at middle schools across the City to take advantage of the rich learning opportunities available through local cultural institutions.  (See article here.)

This year, WSC is pleased to partner with the American Folk Art Museum.   A select group of our 7th and 8th grade students will visit the museum weekly beginning in April to explore the concepts and history of folk art and performance art raised by the exhibition When the Curtain Never Comes Down.  The program will integrate topics in American history such as Westward Expansion, American Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, through learning about self-taught artists whose practices have emerged from Native and African-American cultural traditions.  Because there are also many international artists featured in this exhibition, the conversation will include 20th century immigration experiences. The program will largely focus on bicultural identities as part of the American experience.

Inclement Weather and School Closings

posted Jan 26, 2015, 8:37 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Jan 26, 2015, 11:10 AM ]

Please be advised that schools will be CLOSED on Tuesday, January 27, due to the expected inclement weather.

On Monday, January 26, all after-school programs, including 5th grade interviews, will be canceled. 

Schools will be open on Monday for the regular school day, and we will dismiss at 3:00 pm.

For updates on weather-related school closings, please check the Department of Education's website:

Admissions Information for September 2015

posted Oct 2, 2014, 8:22 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Nov 17, 2014, 7:05 PM ]

We welcome 5th grade students and their parents to visit our school as part of the Middle School Choice process.  

Please note these important dates:

Thursday, October 2nd, 5:30-7:30: Middle School Fair at PS 242, located at 134 West 122nd Street

Thursday, October 16th, 6-8pm: Principal's Forum at PS/MS 76, located at 220 West 121st Street

Wednesday, October 22 at 8:45am:  West Side Collaborative Middle School Tour, 735 West End Avenue

Wednesday, October 29 at 6:30pm:  West Side Collaborative Middle School Open House,  735 West End Avenue

Wednesday, November 19 at 8:45am:  West Side Collaborative Middle School Tour 735 West End Avenue

Friday, November 21 at 8:45am:  West Side Collaborative Middle School Tour

PLEASE NOTE: TOURS AND OPEN HOUSES are for 5th grade students and their parents.  We are located in the PS 75 building at 735 West End Avenue; building entrance located on 95th Street, between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive.


You are welcome to contact MS Choice Liaison Suzannah Ohring with questions or concerns at

Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead: WSC’s New Comprehensive Science and Media After School Program

posted Oct 2, 2014, 8:04 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 8:05 AM ]

West Side Collaborative’s new full-time on-site after school program is underway!  

As a part of our participation in Mayor de Blasio’s School’s Out New York City  (SONYC) after school initiative we are pleased to provide a new  free full-time on-site after school program.  A collaboration of WSC and City Parks Foundation, after school classes will include environmental science learning, photography, stop motion animation, videography, homework help and weekly field trips.  It is WSC’s interpretation of S.T.E.A.M education:  Science, Technology, Environment, Arts and Media.   Students are engaged in authentic, hands-on and project-based activities that allow freedom for student voice and choice, with an emphasis on the scientific-process.

The four components of the program include:

1. Homework Help/ Academic Intervention.  Students receive 1:1 and small group academic support four days a week.

2. Science Learning.  Students participate in an environmental science club of their choice two days a week.  Themes are developed based on student interest and needs, for example, Urban Wildlife, Forest Ecology and River Ecology.  The program is aligned with the WSC science program.  

3. Media Arts and Technology.  Students participate in a media arts club of their choice two days a week.  Clubs provide an engaging environment where students can learn photography, videography or stop-motion animation.  Media projects focus on documenting or advocating for the natural world and environment.

4. Service Learning.  On Fridays, students visit public parklands within a 30 minute commute from the school.  These fieldtrips focus on weekly leadership, community engagement and physical activities.  A visit to nearby Central Park, for example, might include hiking and a wildlife survey.  A trip to the Hudson River might include a shoreline cleanup, water quality testing and canoeing.  Parents are invited to join fieldtrips.

In addition, on three Saturday mornings throughout the year, families are invited to come together for a community breakfast, hands-on science and service learning activities.  The after school program is open to current students.  Please contact Ms. McClaire, parent coordinator, to inquire about enrollment.

WSC is Recognized for Excellence

posted Oct 2, 2014, 8:00 AM by Suzannah Ohring

Our school continues to be acknowledged for our innovative practice, teacher leadership, academic excellence and cultural partnerships.  We are pleased to share with you the numerous ways that West Side  Collaborate  has received recent recognition.

  • We are excited to be one of the 62 schools across the city selected by the Department of Education and the UFT for the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program.  The PROSE program allows schools to implement innovative plans that fall outside the Chancellors Regulations or UFT contract. We were recognized for our continued practices of teacher collaboration and innovative planning to support student achievement.   We will continue to implement practices to support personalized learning, teacher collaboration, and innovative instructional programs to support meaningful student learning experiences.

  • In our role as an  Ambassador School for the Innovation Zone (iZone360) we have been visited by Deputy Chancellors, City Networks, and the Gates Foundation representatives.  We have been asked to continue this practice of sharing our school’s work with various visitors again this year.  These visits offer our students opportunities to engage with an extended community of educators and business people.

  • Six WSC teachers have been selected for positions with the DOE’s competitive teacher leadership program.  Two of our teachers have been selected as Peer Instructional Coaches, and four of our teachers have been selected as Demonstration Teachers for the DOE’s Teacher Incentive Fund Program.  WSC teacher leaders will work with their colleagues on classroom practice in relation to the Danielson Framework for Teaching.

  • As a recipient of the Cultural After School Adventures grant we have started a partnership with Wingspan Arts (performing arts organization). We will continue our partnerships with Play Rugby, The Whitney Museum, The New York Historical Society’s Teen Thursdays Program, and CHAMPS.

  • Our 8th grade humanities-based Connections Curriculum has been approved as a high school preparatory course.  Through a competitive process that involved uploading all of our 8th grade humanities curriculum as well as tracking three years of WSC student graduates to see how they are progressing in high school, the DOE determined that our coursework was rigorous and prepared students for the higher level work required in high school.  Our graduates were deemed to outperform similar students in their high school careers.

  • WSC was the recipient of the First Annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Award for School Innovation presented by Teaching Matters, as well as a 2013 Blackboard Award.

College and Career Planning at WSC

posted Apr 29, 2014, 6:23 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Apr 29, 2014, 11:47 AM ]

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.   

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