Archive for the 'Education' Category

Students attending a high school on Governor’s Island have been coming to Coney Island this winter. And it wasn’t to cut school; it was to scuba dive in the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, cleaning the tanks of the beloved critters.

The school, the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, is a public high school with a focus on marine science and technology. The program is part of an internship for nine students that allows them to scuba dive. But the waters around New York City are too cold in the winter so they use the Coney Island aquarium, according to the New York Times, where the students are tasked with cleaning the algae build-up in the tanks and general housekeeping chores.

The Times reports:

David DeNardo, the aquarium’s general curator, said that enlisting the students, who are paid minimum wage as part of the internship, was a good way to further the aquarium’s mission. Eventually, the aquarium and the school plan to develop a curriculum related to the Glover’s Reef exhibit, so that the students can better understand the species whose habitat they are keeping clean.

“It gives us an opportunity to teach these kids our conservation message,” Mr. DeNardo said. “We look at this as a chance to foster the next generation of conservationists.”

The students who dive are on the school’s professional diving track, where many of the students go on to study marine science, tourism and construction. When they first came to the school, they had no experience with diving but they learned about it, first in a classroom, then in a pool and finally in Jamaica Bay.

(Source: The Jewish Education Project)

The co-founder of the Mazel Day School (2915 Brighton 6th Street) in Brighton Beach, Chani Okonov, received the Jewish Education Project Young Pioneers Award.

The award was given due to her connection with the day school and the work she’s done for a school that primarily serves the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Southern Brooklyn.

The Jewish Education Project praised Okonov on their site and wrote:

Under Chani’s leadership, the school has grown from just three children in 2002, to 14 classes and over 170 students today.  Known for its warm environment and child-centered approach, MDS also maintains high standards in professionalism, academic achievement and engaging learning experiences.

Much of the school’s aim, Lubavitch news writes, is to reconnect Russian Jews with their religious past and help them preserve their cultural connections while assimilating into the larger American culture.

Okonov told Lubavitch news, “Russian Jews could be fully assimilated in less than one generation, unless their Jewish identity is revived.”

The article continues:

Creating a Jewish day school experience that would re-engage this demographic has been Okonov’s vision ever since. Together with her husband, Chabad emissary Rabbi Avermel Okonov, the couple established the school under the auspices of the F.R.E.E. organization (a grassroots institution founded by emigres from the Soviet Union).

Last year, the school marked the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by cleaning up the Holocaust Memorial Park.

weinstein

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein:

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein has been visiting schools to publicize the expansion of the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program and the April 23rd enrollment deadline.

The Assemblywoman fought strongly for the expansion, with $300 million in the recently enacted 2014-15 State Budget potentially allowing for all NYC children turning 4 in 2014 with free Pre-K education if enrolled in time. Half day and full day programs will be available at Public schools and Community based organizations.

The Assemblywoman read to students enrolled in the UPK program at PS 197. The administration and teachers at the school voiced excitement about the expansion.

“Studies are showing how vital Pre-K education is for the healthy growth of a child as they head on to Kindergarten and primary school,” said PS 197 Principal Rosemarie Nicoletti. “The expansion of this program will help us reach so many more children and I thank Assemblywoman Weinstein for her continued commitment to serving the needs of her youngest constituents.”

“As successful as we were in Albany in securing this funding, the real success of this program will depend on how many children enroll,” said the Assemblywoman. “I urge parents of eligible children to apply before we hit the deadline on April 23rd.”

Parents can enroll online or by calling or visiting the Brooklyn enrollment center at 131 Livingston Street (718-935-4908). The office will be open from 8 am – 7 pm on the following dates: April 8 – 9, April 15 – 16, and April 22 – 23.

School Science Poster copy

Students from I.S. 98 – also known as the Bay Academy of the Arts and Sciences – found themselves engaged with a maze of science-related activities and exploration on March 27.

The event has been held in the school for the past five years, turning the school into a Brooklyn-style science playground that invites children to not just learn about things in a school textbook but to also make these things interesting.

“It’s a really cool event,” Irena Johnson, a science teacher at the school, said. “Everything is completely free for the families and the kids. It’s for the science enthusiast in everyone.” Johnson was overlooking a stand where her students were helping children pot soil and plants.

Presenters at the event ranged from the eggheads at the Noble Maritime Museum and the Department of Environmental Conservation, to forensic detectives from the FBI and NYPD, as well as those showing the natural wonders in National Parks to the unnatural weirdness with Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Check out this video we put together at the event:

Source: NYDailyNews.com

After an extensive three-year renovation, the Edwin P. Hubble Planetarium at Edward R. Murrow High School reopened this week, featuring advanced technology developed at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium.

The planetarium now has new carpets, seating, ceilings and a new entrance to the domed facility, and is operated with a new computerized LED cove lighting system and high-end software.

It’s come a long way from the projectors that splashed simple constellation patterns of the night sky across the ceiling, with the new dome being able to recreate blue skies, theatrical “lighting chases” and other advanced schemes, aided by a new surround sound system linked to fully programmable DVD player.

The whole system is coordinated by Uniview software developed at Manhattan’s Natural History Museum using their Digital Universe data bank created by Dr. Carter Emmart, director of Astrovisualization at the Hayden Planetarium. The new software can take students on adventures through the universe, allowing them to view the galaxies and celestial bodies from any point in known space.

Murrow’s Hubble Planetarium opened in 1979, and remains one of just a few such facilities operating within a New York City public school.

The renovations were completed with the help of funding obtained by former Councilman Domenic Recchia. It cost $500,000.

The Daily News captured some of the dome’s new capabilities in the photo above.

newvisions

Kudos to the kids from the New Visions Charter School for Advanced Math & Science III, one of the publicly-funded charter schools that moved into the Sheepshead Bay High School campus (3000 Avenue X) last fall. These kids took to the streets around the school last week, cleaning sidewalks and removing several garbage bags of debris and litter.

Here’s what the school’s COO Geri Molloy wrote to us:

Last Tuesday, March 18 2014 the entire New Visions Advanced Math and Science III community left our campus and went into the neighborhood to clean up. Armed with gloves and garbage, Scholars and staff collected over 60 bags of garbage from around the neighborhood.

Way to go!

Participants took the stage as the winners were announced. (Photo by Yuval Kagan)

Participants took the stage as the winners were announced. (Photo by Yuval Kagan)

Remember that awesome SING! competition we told you about last month? Brooklyn Sings!, an inter-SING event in which students from Midwood, Madison and Murrow high schools competed against each other for best student-created stage production, took place this past Saturday and students raised more than $20,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society.

According to organizers, the event made history as the largest one-night fundraiser for the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team, with that boatload of money raised through ticket sales, raffles and direct donations.

Edward R. Murrow High School’s team won the event, with a show that brought seniors and freshman together to defeat an evil villain in “MurrowWarts.” Madison entertained with a trip to Toyland, and Midwood took the audience 10 years forward for a terrifying reunion. Every bit of the production was student-created.

A huge hurrah for the students at these three schools. They all worked hard, and for a great cause.

Seth Low JHS will be the site of a rally against the proposed co-locations on Friday. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Thursday that he will allow 36 public and charter schools to move into existing schools while giving the boot to other charter school co-location plans, prompting outrage from politicians and education advocates in Southern Brooklyn.

“I am very disappointed because the decision to co-locate Coney Island Prep with I.S. 281 does not square with the facts as we presented,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said in a press release that was cosigned by fellow councilmen David Greenfield and Mark Treyger. “I’ve said repeatedly that Cavallaro is already busting at the seams and there is no need for an elementary school in this area.”

Among the schools that de Blasio to see co-locations are Coney Island Prep (the charter school) with Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281, and Success Academy Charter School with Seth Low Intermediate School I.S. 96.

The initiative to co-locate public schools with charter schools was created during the Bloomberg administration and according to the press release cosigned by the councilmen, many were hopeful that the co-locations would be reversed.

“Many of us who are part of the public school system were hopeful that with a new administration, we’d see a real, meaningful change that responded to the needs of the community. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as both I.S. 96 and I.S. 281 are still slated for charter co-locations in September 2014,” members of  Community Education Council District 20 said in a statement.

Besides the harsh words, the education council announced that they will be holding a rally this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Seth Low I.S. 96 (99 Avenue P) in an attempt to pressure the de Blasio administration to reverse their decision. If the co-location goes through, critics argue,  schools that already have a large student body will be forced to take on more students from the charter schools, resulting in overpopulation.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision to allow the co-location of a charter school at I.S. 96 (the Seth Low School) that our district does not need or want,” Greenfield writes in the press release. “This co-location will come at the expense of the school’s dedicated staff and hard-working students. . . This proposal does not take into account the students’ needs or the impact this will clearly have on this important school.”

Joining the ranks of critics is Assemblyman William Colton – his area covers parts of Gravesend and Bath Beach – who calls for Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281 and Seth Low I.S. 96 to not co-locate with charter schools. In a press release, he said he is “extremely disappointed that Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Farina did not reverse the decisions” to co-locate the two schools in Southern Brooklyn.

For his part, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz  is commending Mayor de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina for withdrawing the co-location plan for John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X), one of the nine locations the de Blasio administration offered a reprieve. Critics of charter schools want every school’s co-location to be withdrawn.

“I intend to work with my colleagues to fight this decision tooth and nail,” Greenfield said in the press release.

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly identified the charter school to be co-located with I.S 96 Seth Low. The correct name of the charter school is Success Academy Charter School, and the post has been amended. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Security officials at Edward R. Murrow, James Madison and Midwood high schools were on high alert Thursday and are again today, after threats to shoot students emerged on social media.

Parents at the schools were notified yesterday morning by robocalls from the schools’ principals. A recording of the call made by Murrow’s acting principal obtained by PIX11 announced the following:

I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns you may have regarding some recent posts on Facebook that were reported to the administration. Here at Murrow, your child’s safety is our top priority. We’re working with DOE officials and NYPD that all appropriate actions have been taken to ensure your child’s safety. Please know that we will do everything to ensure your child’s safety.

The NYPD’s Intelligence Division is looking into the post, and PIX11 notes that it may have been “an old one that was reposted.”

The threat is not believed to be credible, but administrators took additional security precautions nonetheless, placing additional school safety agents and police officers in all three schools.

Make Your Mark Launches January 20th

Source: smithsonianchannelmakeyourmark.com

Power to Learn, the education initiative of Cablevision’s Optimum, and the Smithsonian Channel have launched a new competition to celebrate Black History Month, and give an opportunity for high school students to affect real change in their communities.

The Make Your Mark contest invites students to submit creative video proposals for projects that could “incite positive change” at their schools and communities. The winning video will be awarded $2,500 to make the project a reality.

From the press release:

As part of the contest, students will view the Smithsonian Channel documentary Breath of Freedom that details the experiences of African-American GIs who helped rebuild Germany at the end of World War II and experienced equality for the first time overseas. Just as the soldiers featured in the documentary helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement, students can document their unique “mark” for positive change in their own video.

The “Make Your Mark” contest is open to all high school students in Optimum’s footprint within the tri-state area. Students should record and submit a creative and informative video (two minutes maximum) that explains their “mark,” why it should be chosen and how their school or community could benefit from the $2500 award. They will then share this video (via Facebook or Tweets) with friends and family to earn votes for the project. Deadline for entries is February 28.

Details and application form here.

I suggest a project telling our internet service providers like Optimum how important net neutrality is. Just sayin’.

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