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News & Announcements
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”:http://www.wnyc.org/story/after-ferguson-race-adolescents-and-exhausting-year-teaching/
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!
WSC is pleased to announce the launch of two new exciting after school partnerships: Wingspan Arts and Teen Thursdays.
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.
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: http://schools.nyc.gov/
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.
TOUR REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED - CLICK HERE TO BE ADDED TO OUR E-LIST.
You are welcome to contact MS Choice Liaison Suzannah Ohring with questions or concerns at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.