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News & Announcements
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.
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.
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!
Students had a blast at the WSC PTA First EVER Halloween Party! Costumes, music, dancing and delicious treats filled the room. The event was an enormous success due to the leadership and dedication of our PTA. Many thanks to all the parents who donated their time and tasty treats, and our devoted teachers and staff who supported the event. We are grateful to the parents, staff and students who came together to create a positive celebration for our community.
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!