New Partnership with Citywide Cultural Institutions and Middle School Students to Foster Learning and Provide a Safe Afterschool Option
NEW YORK— Chancellor Carmen Fariña today joined City officials at the Museum of the Moving Image to celebrate the launch of Teen Thursdays, a new afterschool initiative to enable students at middle schools across the City to take advantage of the rich learning opportunities available through local cultural institutions.
The initiative is supported by Mayor de Blasio’s and the Chancellor’s plan to strengthen middle schools and offer after-school programs to all middle schoolers in the City. Increased access to rich, educational afterschool programs in middle schools—such as Teen Thursdays—will increase student achievement and help create safe environments for the City’s youth.
The pilot partnership features collaborations between five schools and five cultural institutions in every borough. Schools and their partner cultural institutions utilize experiential approaches to teach American history through afterschool visits to cultural institutions.
These partnerships provide hands-on experiences through a mix of academic and cultural activities with trained museum educators. Principals in the pilot program have identified up to 25 students from their 7th or 8th grade classes to participate. Selected students participate in six weekly afterschool sessions every Thursday developed by selected cultural partners, which work closely with teachers and principals to ensure that lessons align with skills students are developing in the classroom.
Throughout the program, cultural institutions will provide a proficient museum educator to work with students and guide them through New York City’s gems and to work with the school in developing a curriculum theme for all the sessions. The first sessions took place on May 8.
“In New York City, learning does not begin or end at the classroom door. With the world’s greatest cultural institutions at our fingertips, we have an exciting way to inspire students and cultivate high level learning,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I am grateful to our partners for collaborating and offering students a hands-on afterschool learning environment that will foster academic excellence both inside and outside the classroom.”
Students in the program are exposed to citywide cultural centers that will complement their classroom learning and help cultivate the knowledge and skills acquired during the traditional school year. This ongoing exposure will support students’ long-term academic readiness in a culture of high expectations. Through this direct instruction by experts in their respective fields, students will be offered an opportunity to be immersed in a project-based learning experience.
“Cultural organizations serve as vital hubs for communities in all five boroughs, providing New Yorkers with access to extraordinary educational and artistic programming,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Teen Thursdays helps to develop a stronger relationship between our arts organizations and middle school students, expanding access to this incredible resource during a crucial period of educational development.”
“I am so happy that I.S. 10 in Long Island City will work with the Museum of the Moving Image. Thank you to Mayor Bill De Blasio and the New York City Department of Education for selecting this outstanding Queens school and Queens museum as its partners” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “I share Chancellor Fariña’s enthusiasm that these programs will help in closing the achievement gap.”
“I fully support Teen Thursdays and commend Chancellor Fariña on this new initiative,” said City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm. “Afterschool programs for middle school students are important to keep our teens engaged. Our City offers some of the best cultural outlets in the world. Teen Thursdays turn these institutions into classrooms outside of the schools.”
“We are excited to share the Museum with the young people participating in Teen Thursdays. In our galleries, we are providing these students with experiences that bring history to life and transform the way they think about film and media, museums, their neighborhood, and their City,” said the Museum’s Executive Director, Carl Goodman. “We are grateful to the Department of Education for giving us the chance to contribute to this innovative and much-needed program.”
In April, the Department selected five schools and partnered them with five cultural institutions to participate in the pilot program. Pilot schools were chosen because of their commitment to arts and history as well as their close proximity to their partnered cultural institution. For next year, schools wishing to participate in the program will be able to complete an application expressing interest. The five pilot schools and their respective cultural institutions are:
• Brooklyn Schools for Global Studies – Brooklyn Historical Society: a nationally recognized history center dedicated to studying Brooklyn’s 400-year history.
• P.S. 279 Captain Manuel Rivera – Bronx Museum of the Arts: a renowned museum that offers contemporary art exhibitions and education programs.
• West Side Collaborative Middle School – New York Historical Society: one of America’s premier cultural institutions dedicated to researching and presenting history and art exhibitions.
• I.S. 10 Horace Greely – Museum of the Moving Image: The country’s only museum dedicated to advancing the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of film and media.
• I.S. 61 William A. Morris – Staten Island Museum: New York’s only general interest museum where visitors can explore a wide array of exhibits and educational programs.
Further, over 70 additional cultural institutions have expressed interest in joining the program in the fall.
School leadership and their cultural institutions kicked off the pilot program with a meeting May 2. The pilot program will run weekly through June 19.
All schools will receive MetroCards for participating students. Student attendance will be monitored in the program and schools must ensure all DOE’s afterschool program guidelines and policies are followed. Additionally, school leaders, students, and cultural institution partners will complete evaluations of the pilot program.