At PS 9, we believe that there is giftedness in every child—and that our job is to tap into the talents that each student possesses. We do this through a comprehensive enrichment program which emphasizes student choice, inquiry, hands-on activities and project-based learning.
Friday Enrichment Courses
In early Fall of every school year, we survey our students about their interests and school staff develops enrichment courses tailored to these interests. Past enrichment classes have included sculpture, African dance, Zumba, chess, computer technology, archeology, fitness, theater, math games, modern dance, jewelry making, African art, fashion marketing and design, school newspaper and more.
Students split up into groups of 10 or 15, based on interest, and the courses are taught by classroom teachers, enrichment specialists, and other staff members. Every enrichment course results in an end product where students show off their new skills and talents. Students studying set-design might make props for a school play. Those studying yoga might make a yoga DVD. If they’ve been studying a community issue, students might hold an event to raise money and awareness.
Our Friday enrichment program contributes to PS 9’s cohesive student community. Enrichment classes are composed of children from all classrooms in their grade level—a student from the “gifted and talented” class may do an art project with a student from a special-needs class, and discover that giftedness comes in many varieties. New friendships are formed, and suddenly the playground is filled with more familiar faces.
Arts Enrichment Programs from Outside Organizations
In addition to the enrichment program run by our staff, our community partners play an invaluable role in enriching our curriculum and school environment.
We work with outside specialists from organizations like Pratt University, Noel Pointer Foundation, Prospect Park Zoo, Studio In A School, Marquis Studios, CookShop Classroom, LAVA Acrobatics, Dancing Classrooms (the American Ballroom Theater Company’s arts-in-education program), and Learning Through Art (the Guggenheim Museum’s artist-in-residence program). Depending on grade level, our partners introduce our students to a variety of activities—from collage to the cha-cha to concertos—to turn abstract, academic learning into real experiences.
In a time where schools have seen their arts and academic enrichment budgets slashed, PS 9—with the help of its active PTO—has been able to continue these important programs which we believe are crucial both to providing a well-rounded education and to fostering the kind of creativity that will help our students become leaders in whatever field they choose. This programming is also supported by our local business and artist/maker communities through our annual Silent Auction for the Arts and Prospect Heights Craft Fair events, both of which provide a meaningful source of supplemental funding for enrichment activities.
Enriching the Educational Experience Through Technology
In order to be prepared for middle school and beyond, our students must be both comfortable and completely “literate” with computers. Our teachers use technology in their teaching practices through SmartBoards, LCD projectors, and laptops for upper-grade classrooms, and document cameras for younger students. We have a mindful approach to technology: lessons are approached through traditional methods and enriched, where appropriate, with multimedia presentation, educational games, and hands-on use of computers. With the assistance of the PTO, PS 9 regularly receives additional grant funding that focuses on allowing our classrooms to keep up with useful advances in educational technology.