Greenpoint Gazette
Nurture Art projects on display at Moore Street Market

Greenpoint Gazette Guide to District 14 Schools: PS 147 The Isaac Remsen Elementary School

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Address: 325 Bushwick Avenue
Phone Number: (718) 497-0326
Principal: Sandra Noyola

PS 147 is committed to ensuring that its students receive a continuum of arts and science courses to build them a foundation for college bound study and best prepare them for success as they move to middle and high school.

Since 2004, the school has been developing relationships with the growing arts community in Bushwick/Williamsburg, beginning with Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, a Williamsburg-based dance company and Chez Bushwick, a non-profit performing arts organization. In 2008, Chez Bushwick received a Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund grant to establish CAPITAL B (Coalition of Art & Performance Initiatives Towards A Livable Bushwick) and invited PS 147 to be one of twenty organizations aiming towards arts-based economic development and urban revitalization in Bushwick.

In addition to its arts programming, PS 147 has partnered with two science organizations, notably CITYatwork and NYC Sun Works, to create a hands-on, interactive Science Lab and a designated Hydroponic Lab. “At PS 147, we believe that 21st-century education must empower students with skills in both the arts and sciences,” said Principal Sandra Noyola.

The growing number of artists moving into the East Williamsburg/Bushwick community has brought a notable demographic shift in the neighborhood over the past decade. PS 147 is committed to ensuring that students interact with more recent members of the community at large. They take every opportunity to introduce students to the arts community, and the arts community to students. In addition to STREB and Chez Bushwick, PS 147 has a partnership with Nurture Art, a neighborhood non-profit visual arts organization, which coordinates an “Artists in the Classroom” program at PS 147, bringing in neighborhood artists to collaborate with classroom teachers on art projects that support the fourth and fifth grade curriculum. This exposure broadens children’s knowledge about the different career paths that are available to them in New York City, while supporting their learning process. A partnership with City Lore provides afterschool programs in Visual Art and Dance for Grades K-3 students.

This year the Food Bank for New York City implemented its Cookshop nutrition program at PS 147. Kindergarten, first and second grade students participate in the weekly program, learning about healthy eating choices and how to follow recipes in each of the five food groups. Grades three through five participate in two Studio in a School programs: “Art and Healthy Living,” and “Art and Active Living,” learning through Visual Art about how healthy food choices and physical activity contribute to their well-being. PS 147 also offers monthly workshops introducing parents to the nutrition and science of healthy cooking. Other continuing programs for parents include nutritional programs offered by Wyckoff Hospital and Cornell University.

The school diversifies its programs to enable all of its parents to participate in events that best suit their interests and schedules. On Career Day, parents visit classrooms to speak about their jobs and careers. For the monthly Parents in the Classroom day, they visit their children’s classes to observe and participate in reading and math activities. To extend the literacy work of its students to families, PS 147 offers weekly Book Club meetings. Learning Leaders provides parent workshops about literacy, reading and math. To address health concerns in our community, Woodhull Hospital provides an ongoing Asthma and Safety program, and Planned Parenthood provides five monthly workshops that address the developing child from ages 6 to 12.

PS 147 recently announced it is pioneering a new environmental engineering curriculum at the school to reflect its commitment to broader, national goals for science literacy and engineering. In the 21st century, students will need far more rigorous, specific skills in science, and Noyola and her team believe this begins at the K-5 level. Through a partnership with CITYatwork, a Brooklyn-based science and technology educational organization, the school has already designed a specialized Science Lab for hands-on instruction and will be renovating its new Technology Lab this summer. “This new curriculum affirms our commitment to align our school with the new, Next Generation Science Standards, just released, which suggest greater focus on engineering and physical sciences,” Noyola said. PS 147 is currently in the process of installing a state-of-the-art indoor hydroponic lab, provided by NYC Sun Works. This is the only project of its kind in East Williamsburg, and will serve as a hands-on extension of the science and environmental engineering curriculum.

In addition to its primary commitment to the arts and sciences, PS 147 is a Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing project school. This is a progressive program that uses developmentally appropriate content to inspire children to “think themselves into other people’s lives” and to “bring their voice to the page.” Technology is also a priority at the school. Every classroom is equipped with a SMART Board. All students use its Robin Hood Foundation Library, which is equipped with a large collection of books and technology. Students will be able to integrate their work in the indoor hydroponic lab, and two outdoor gardens being developed this Spring, with curriculum in the new Technology Lab.

At the specific grade level, teaching artists from several different organizations currently work with PS 147’s students: Pre-Kindergarten students cover all the art forms with Education in Dance. Kindergarten, first and second grades work with the STREB Company on acrobatic dance. Third graders learn West African Dance with City Lore and visual arts with Studio in a School. Fourth and fifth graders practice visual arts with Studio in a School and with Nurture Art. Kindergarten through third grade students receive keyboard instruction through Music and the Brain, a program of the 42nd Street Fund. Fifth graders are preparing to be college-bound scholars by visiting Columbia University, and all the school’s students attend dance, theater, and music performances and visit science museums and parks throughout the year.

Noyola and her faculty looking forward to welcoming parents to the inauguration of the new Hydroponic Lab, and will host a community event to introduce their School for Environmental Engineering theme. Their annual events, including a Science Fair, School Fair, PS 147 BBQ and Spring Music Recital are also coming up. Open houses take place every Monday. Please contact Parent Coordinator Lourdes Santiago at (718) 497-0326 for more information.

For additional information on PS 147, upcoming events and programs please visit www.ps147brooklyn.org.

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