PS 9’s PTO is very pleased to help educate you, our amazing parent body, about the tremendous difference your donations make at our children’s school. We hope this information gives you an understanding what’s at stake as we embark on PS 9’s most critical fundraising effort, and motivate you to support our annual Direct Appeal and other fundraisers throughout the year.
OmniLearn is an innovative STEAM-based program (STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), and it is fully funded by the PTO. OmniLearn instructors visit all PS 9 classes on a recurring basis, leading our kids through fun and challenging hands-on experiments that improve their science proficiency and present them with the possibility of becoming engineers, chemists and computer scientists. Additionally, OmniLearn sessions provide excellent support for PS 9’s in-house science curriculum.
One of the PTO’s highest priorities is increasing our funding for OmniLearn, which will bring its positive impact to PS 9’s classrooms more frequently and allow space in our science lab to be allocated to the OmniLearn team. Our aim is to turn PS 9 into a true STEAM building!
Once a week for a ten week cycle, starting in late Fall, a Studio in a School instructor who is a professional artist will lead all Pre-K and Kindergarten classes through fun and engaging sessions focused on the exploration of collage, wood construction, paint and clay. During these sessions, students will be encouraged to look closely at objects and respond to the visual world around them, including exemplary works of art and art in picture books. They will be challenged to focus, persist and take risks as they explore their creativity, all while working with a variety of art tools and increasing their fine motor skills. And they will learn to solve concrete problems such as how to combine simple shapes to represent an animal—plus develop a firmer grasp of fundamental principles like cause and effect when mixing colors or balancing wood as they build sculptures.
Additionally, the Studio in a School instruction model calls for a close partnership between the Studio artist and classroom teacher, meaning that students will benefit from a program tailored to support their everyday curriculum. Our teachers will also receive valuable coaching on activating their art centers and displaying children’s work, leading to enriched classroom environments.
Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that provides schools with full-time coaches who supplement the institution’s staff in order to meet certain critical needs. At PS 9, our dedicated Playworks coach is primarily responsible for enhancing the quality of our children’s daily recess, as well as for creating a more pleasant early drop-off experience for kids whose parents need to be at work early.
While the Playworks model enthusiastically encourages free play, it is designed to simultaneously engage children in physical activity, foster social skills related to cooperation and conflict resolution, improve their ability to focus on class work and decrease behavioral problems. Energetic, positive Playworks coaches serve as outstanding role models, and the program offers upper-grade students an opportunity to become “Junior Coaches,” providing them with valuable mentoring and leadership skills.
This year we are thrilled to have Coach Greg join the PS 9 community as our Playworks coach. Coach Greg believes that play is one of the most important ways in which children learn.
“Playtime is kids’ time, and schools can and should create play environments that help kids be their best,” he says. “Studies show that recess matters: a thoughtful approach to recess improves children’s physical health and social and emotional learning.”
Lastly, to this lineup we’re now happy to add one of our school’s most beloved enrichment programs: Marquis Studios.
For nearly 40 years, Marquis Studios has provided arts-in-education services to New York City public schools, using a model in which residencies led by Teaching Artists concentrate on a specific visual or performing arts discipline, with a curriculum custom-designed to help meet classroom goals. This year, our kids are fortunate to have this wonderful organization offer three unique residencies at PS 9. Please take a look at the following descriptions of them!
Creative Movement: Animal Habitats (1st Grade, October-December)
Animal Habitats, with Teaching Artist Karla Myerston, examines four different ecosystems (jungle, forest, desert and ocean) and the various animals that live there. First graders learn why certain animals live in one habitat and not another and how a habitat influences living things inside of it. This creative movement program teaches students to articulate their thoughts verbally and how to express these thoughts in movement.
Vocal Music (3rd & 4th Grade, October-December; 2nd Grade, January-March; 1st Grade, April-June)
The joy of singing songs brings self-confidence and expressiveness to first through fourth grade students with Teaching Artist Jon Dykstra. The repertoire includes folk music, pop music, songs from around the world (some in different languages) and a few seasonal tunes — all of which have positive messages. Classes learn the basics of rhythm, melody, harmony, breathing and how to be part of an ensemble. The goal is to have everyone participate in a fun activity and learn how singing music is a positive group experience.
Architecture of the Neighborhood (2nd Grade, April-June)
In this residency led by Teaching Artist Kaitlin Thisson, second graders have the opportunity to think about the buildings that make up their own community. What materials are they made of? What purpose do they serve? How and why were they designed that way? Students explore the history and social fabric of their neighborhoods through the eyes of an architect. They learn how to judge a building’s age based on its architectural style and features. They may represent their neighborhood through floor plans, 2D drawings, or 3D models of buildings.
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To preserve PS 9’s partnerships with OmniLearn and Studuo in a School, and to help expand them in exciting ways, we ask that you please donate to the Direct Appeal as generously as you can! In the drive to hit our fundraising target of $150,000, we are seeking 100% participation on the part of school families and greatly appreciate contributions of any amount. Whether $10, $100, $1,000 or $10,000, every investment in our children makes a difference!
Contributions may be made at one of our PTO donation tables during drop-off, by placing a check in the PTO’s main office mailbox, or online here: http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/news/2017/09/pto-fall-fundraiser-2017/.