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News & Announcements
Last week, students embarked on an all-school adventure to Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculpture garden in the Hudson River Valley. Students were challenged to work in base camp groups to explore what it means to be competent in a fun, engaging way. Competency, to have the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully, is an important theme for WSC students as they strive toward becoming independent learners. The WSC Competencies -- investigate, explain, argue, communicate, discern, plan, collaborate and innovate -- guide student goal-setting in base camp throughout the year. Students discussed the competencies and then were challenged to take photographs which demonstrate these concepts. The sculptures, landscape and beautiful fall foliage were an inspiring backdrop for the day!
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Sixth grade WSC art students visited the Whitney Museum of American Art today for a guided tour of two exhibits: Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight and Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection. Students participated in discussions about the art, as well as sketching and drawing activities in the gallery.
Welcome back! The entire West Side Collaborative team is looking forward to a school year filled with academic achievement, collaboration and many successes!
We are excited to share with you that on the first day of school, West Side Collaborative hosted a visit from Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Phil Weinberg. Deputy Chancellor Weinberg was able to see first-hand our iConnect immersion program which fosters teamwork, collaboration and trust within our learning environment, and establishes a caring and supportive tone for the year. In our community, staff and families work together to build a student centered learning environment which supports each child in developing independence, curiosity, compassion, and critical thinking. Our staff is committed to creating dynamic and rigorous learning experiences for all of our students.
To support student learning, WSC was awarded a $100,000 capital grant from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer which will be used for a technology upgrade. Through this generous grant we will continue to maintain a 1-to-1 laptop ratio in each classroom. Students will access technology to support their mastery of common core learning standards and 21st century skills across content areas.
This year we will continue to provide a free full-time on-site after school program, in collaboration with the City Parks Foundation. The program will include environmental science learning, digital media explorations, homework help, field trips, and service learning. Applications for this program will be distributed in your child’s homeroom.
We are pleased to announce that WSC was again selected to participate in the Department of Education’s competitive Showcase Schools Program. Our teachers and staff will host three visits throughout the year for teachers, administrators, and Department of Education officials to share practices that facilitate student ownership of learning through development of digital student portfolios, student-led conferences, and our academic goal setting program.
WSC will begin its third year of participation in the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program. We were recognized as a PROSE school by the Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers for our innovative programs to support student achievement.
This year we are continuing to implement practices to cultivate a culturally responsive learning environment that celebrates the diversity of our student community. We will also continue our programs to support your child’s social and emotional growth including passion based advisories and our Teens and Tweens in action curriculum.
As we embark on this new school year together, we welcome and value your participation, support and feedback as we work together to ensure a wonderful year of learning for your child!
GOOD NEWS... Thank you to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer! West Side was awarded a $100,000.00 grant to update our current laptop program! From the announcement: "Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer is pleased to announce a slate of capital funding awards supporting the borough's schools, parks, libraries, and community-based nonprofit organizations, including $2 million supporting urban agriculture in public schools and funding facilities like in-school hydroponics labs and rooftop gardens. The awards were included in the city’s budget for the Fiscal Year 2017, which began on July 1. Read the press release for more complete breakdown. You can also download a complete list of the FY17 Awards."
We are pleased to share that West Side Collaborative was identified by New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia as a Reward School. 220 schools in New York State have been identified as Reward Schools this year. West Side Collaborative was identified as a high progress school due to the progress made in relation to academic achievement on state assessments. Additional information can be found on the New York State Department of Education website.
Congratulations to all sixty-one of our 2016 graduates! Teachers celebrated students with wonderful speeches about each child! We hope that the experience for each of our students was that of personal accomplishment and celebration. Parents shared lots of positive feedback about the day!
Congratulations to WSC teachers and students on the recent broadcast of a WNYC radio segment featuring West Side Collaborative. The segment was part of a series the public radio station produced on testing. It highlighted our school's innovative philosophy toward assessment and our collaborative work with Teaching Matters in this regard.
Use this link to listen to the story: http://www.wnyc.org/story/testing-doesnt-have-be-dirty-word/
WSC has hosted three Showcase School visits this year, with a fourth coming up in May. We were one of 24 schools throughout New York City to be selected for the Showcase Schools Program, which is designed to promote collaborative learning through the sharing of exemplary practices within the schools. Our school’s learning focus areas have been student portfolios and student reflection on a body of work. One recent visitor to our school remarked: “I believe I have developed a clearer understanding of how student ownership can truly come alive in a classroom. I was able to ask questions (I felt super welcomed!) and deepen my understanding.”
Congratulations WSC students and teachers! WSC has been selected by the NYC Department of Education as a Respect for All School for the 2015-2016 school year. This recognition is an endorsement of the outstanding program we have created to combat bullying and foster an inclusive learning environment.
At West Side Collaborative Middle School, we strive to nurture and grow the whole child, challenging students to develop into inquisitive, thoughtful individuals with a sense of responsibility to themselves and their community. Inherent in that goal is a commitment to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students of our diverse community.
A variety of programs and student opportunities are built into our school design in order to foster collaboration and teamwork, which cultivates a culture of inclusion among all students. At the beginning of each school year, the entire student body engages in “iConnect Week” when, in addition to academic activities, students engage in storytelling, team building, and improvisation activities with the goal of breaking down barriers and providing students the opportunity to see one another through different lenses. Another school-wide initiative is our interest-based cross-grade Advisory, in which students are grouped according to hobbies or interests to explore their passions while building relationships with students in a mixed-age setting.
Throughout the school year are community meetings to celebrate student success and achievement in a safe and encouraging environment. A beautiful tradition and annual highlight is our Thanksgiving Toast. Sixth and seventh grade students meet weekly in classes that promote discussion of issues in adolescent’s social-emotional development including friendship, discrimination, diversity and bullying. WSC has also worked closely with Common Sense Media for the past four years and utilizes their digital ethics lessons in our social-emotional curriculum. All of these initiatives create a culture of caring and respect.
Respect for All is an initiative that schools engage in throughout the school year and its goal is to combat bullying as well as harassment based on ethnicity, color, national origin, race, religion, citizenship or immigration status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, weight, and disability. The initiative is supported by the City Council, United Federation of Teachers, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, and a number of community-based organizations.
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.