Archive for the 'Education' Category

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’.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Three major Southern Brooklyn high schools are banding together to hold the first-ever inter-SING! competition, called Brooklyn Sings!, to benefit the American Cancer Society.

As any Brooklyn public high school graduate knows, SING! competitions can dominate school culture, bringing in students at every level to plan and produce a musical-production based on a different theme each year. The grades compete against each other for bragging rights.

What many may not know is that SING!, now a phenomenon at high schools across the greater New York City area, is a distinctly Southern Brooklyn creation, first established at Midwood High School in 1947 by music teacher Bella Tillis. The 1989 film Sing is based on the Brooklyn traditions, and SING! alumni include Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Tim Robbins, Paul Reiser and Neil Diamond.

Midwood, Madison and Murrow are all well-known for their grandiose productions that can involve hundreds of students.

Brooklyn Sings!, the inter-school event, is being created to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was conceived by the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team and one of its organizers, Joe Gillette.

“Our Relay for Life team is so thankful to each of these amazing schools for taking on BROOKLYN SINGS!  We know this event will be great for all the talented students, the schools and the community as a whole as we all unite and give of ourselves for a worthy cause,” Gillete said in a press release. “We encourage anyone who wants to get involved with our Relay for Life organization to join us as we strive to make a difference in our schools and community.”

“SING began in Midwood in 1947.  Mrs. Belle Tillis (who passed away last year 15 days shy of her 100th birthday) is credited with bringing SING to Midwood,” said Midwood Principal Michael McDonnell. “For the last 60 + years, our student body has sung, danced and acted their way towards winning the annual SING competition.  In fact the organizers of all the schools’ SINGs were Midwood students who had participated in Midwood SING.  So it is with great honor and responsibility that along with the help of Relay for Life, we get to “throw down the gauntlet” to our neighboring schools.”

Anyone interested in supporting one of the school’s fundraising efforts for the ACS can make a tax deductible donation by visiting the team page of their favorite school.

For Midwood visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/midwoodsings;
For Madison visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/madisonsings
For Murrow visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/murrowsings

The event will be held March 8 at 6 p.m. at Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L). Tickets will be sold through each school, and go one sale February 24.

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he hopes to create an advisory board for the implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum and stop standardized testing for children below third grade, drawing sighs of relief from local education activists who have been critical of the rollout.

“Any progress is great progress,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of the District 21′s Community Education Council. “Now more people are talking about it because of Cuomo.”

Fiorica and CEC21 challenged the curriculum’s implementation during a meeting last week, passing a resolution asking the state to slow down the rollout, relieve the testing burden on special needs students and provide more training to teachers and faculty.

In response to the news, Fiorica, who is a parent herself, also said the idea of an advisory panel was promising since it would “bring more awareness” to legislators and politicians and convince them that Common Core needs a few speed bumps.

Common Core is a new curriculum being adopted across the nation, drawing criticism from parents and teachers. It relies on more rigorous standardized testing, and teachers in New York say they have not received proper training or been informed of materials on the test.

“I support the Common Core agenda,” Cuomo said during his budget presentation on Tuesday. “But the way the Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed. There’s too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety.”

A panel of advisers as Cuomo is now promoting would, presumably, take these things into consideration and recommend “corrective action,” as Cuomo put it, for the new curriculum.

State Senator Marty Golden is also applauding the governor’s plan to change the way Common Core is implemented, and adds that he wants to see an end to standardized testing of children below the third grade.

“I applaud and agree with the Governor’s decision to suspend testing from Kindergarten to 2nd grade, and I am glad to see the Board of Regents concurs,” Golden said in a press release. “The entirety of the Common Core Curriculum must be reviewed, but nevertheless, standardized testing for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders is unnecessary.”

Cuomo said the advisory panel will issue a report before the end of Albany’s legislative session in June.

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

The Community Education Council of School District 21 (CEC21) is challenging the state’s testing and educational policies, voting this week to request the Department of Education “re-evaluate and slow the implementation” of Common Core testing standards.

The council’s resolution argues that the tougher standardized testing requirements of the Common Core curriculum do not meet the individualized needs of students, and leave many students – especially those with special needs – in the dust.

“Each child is different and this approach is very cookie-cutter like,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of CEC21.

They also say that the state bungled implementation, pushing it through too quickly without soliciting feedback or providing training.

Find out more about the issue, and read the resolution.

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