Grantee Corner  |  New York City Community School District 11



Students kneel in front of a wall and trace a projection of an Egyptian image
Bronx Urban Community Magnet School sixth grade students work collaboratively to create an Egyptian frieze to be displayed in their Ancient Civilizations museum As part of their Walk Like an Ancient Egyptian magnet unit

Four students sit at a table and smile at the camera
Bronx Urban Community Magnet School sixth grade students take on the role of museum employees as part of their Ancient Egyptian magnet unit. The Education Department, pictured here, designed family activities for visitors to their museum

Four students work with plastic bags and tape as a teacher looks on
Bronx Urban Community Magnet School seventh grade students are challenged to design a product from recycled plastic bags and straws during the STEAM Learning Day

Two students cut pieces of paper
Bronx Urban Community Magnet School sixth grade students design improved phone cases that both store and protect their cell phones during the school day as part of the STEAM Learning Day

Students gather around tables laden with small blue robots
P.S. 178 students engage in a family night that allowed students to showcase their knowledge of the Software Engineer Program and robotics to create codes to make their robots move

Students glue string to a map
Bronx Urban Community Magnet School eighth grade students problem solve the lack of public transportation options in their neighborhood by mapping new ferry routes throughout the borough

Two students pose with a poster board in front of a table set with food
Linden Tree Elementary Magnet School fifth grade students showcase Honduran innovator Aurelio Martinez during their annual International Day

Students in lab goggles show off hands covered in blue and green goop
Linden Tree Elementary Magnet School fourth grade students experiment with chemical reactions as they learn about careers in chemistry during their annual College Week

Three female students pose in front of a table with digital and print materials
P.S. 178 fifth grade students showcas their culminating projects of sustaining life on other planets by creating websites, informational packets, public service announcements, and 3D models

Students pose with a teacher in front of table laden with cups of smoothies
P.S. 178 Kindergarten students make healthy dishes to share with visitors and classmates based on a cookbook they created as part of a unit on healthy eating

Students build a small model on the floor
P.S. 160 students work as structural engineers by utilizing MakerSpace materials to create structures that can withstand the effects of a hurricane

Two students watch a small bot move on a piece of paper
P.S. 160 students engage in coding with Ozobots in the afterschool MakerState program


JoAnn Rintel Abreu, MSAP Project Director

The New York City Department of Education’s District 8 and 11 magnet schools, funded by a Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant, are located in the Bronx. As the birthplace of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and talents such as Mary J. Blige and the New York Yankees, the Bronx is a proud part of New York City’s past, present, and future. Districts 8 and 11 serve 51,800 students combined, of whom 28.7 percent are Black, 53.4 percent are Hispanic, 7.5 percent are Asian, 7.9 percent are White, 1.6 percent are American Indian/Alaskan Native/Other Pacific Islander, and 1 percent are Two or more races. In October 2017, one school in District 8 and three schools in District 11 received MSAP funding to implement theme-based instructional programs with the goals of reducing minority group isolation and providing educational activities that promote college and career readiness. 

Junior High School 123, the Bronx Urban Community Magnet School, serves students in grades 6 to 8 and their families. These students, who hail from the Bronx and beyond, want to build and extend their passion for learning. By inviting students to examine how innovators drive change in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics (STEAM) careers, teachers work to motivate and excite students about learning; inspire them to question the past, present, and future; and provide them with essential skills to become 21st century change agents. STEAM exploration takes place in project-based learning units across all content areas. Student success comes from being goal-oriented and solving problems creatively to better our community and our world. Students will graduate as risk-takers, mistake-makers, team players, and trend setters. 

Public School 160, The Walt Disney Magnet STEAM School, is in the Bronx’s Co-op City section. This schoolwide magnet program exposes grade preK-5 students to unique learning opportunities in all STEAM disciplines and fosters connections to the natural world through project-based learning activities. Students across grade levels have successfully engaged in hands-on, collaborative learning, and the school’s stakeholders have embraced the magnet spirit in a multiple ways. The new STEAM Lab offers hands-on MakerSpace activities to foster student creativity and promote collaborative innovation.  The school has strong relationships with various art programs. Residencies include American Ballet Theatre, Dancing Classrooms, Inside Broadway, Education through Music, Little Friends of Orchard Beach, Bronx Opera, and Arts Connection: Strings.  

Public School 178, The Magnet School of Multimedia Arts and Design, also located in the Bronx’s Co-op City section, offers innovative technology and arts-based instruction to K-5 students. In each curricular unit, students use a variety of multimedia tools, such as MacBook Airs and iPads, iStopmotion, videos, green screen technology, and apps to explore content and demonstrate learning. Design is also emphasized, as students are challenged to use the engineering design process to develop solutions for real-world problems. The school library was redesigned into a Multimedia Arts and Design Lab to provide space to work on theme-related projects using computers, 3D printers, and other MakerSpace materials.

Public School 567, Linden Tree Elementary Magnet School for Global Leaders of Innovation and Discovery, serves preK-5 students in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. Students actively engage in project-based learning to build critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. As they gain knowledge using 21st century technology, students develop strong interpersonal skills, understand the importance of being motivated thinkers, and focus on real-world applications for learning. They are supported by several partnerships, which include Brain Power, Buck Institute for Education, Cookshop of Foodbank NYC, Cool Culture, Education Through Music, Magic Box Multimedia Productions, MyLibraryNYC, New Victory Theater, NY Smile Program, and The Salvadori Center.

The MSAP project director, JoAnn Rintel Abreu, has 28 years of experience with the NYC Department of Education, including 21 years as a classroom teacher and 4 years managing School Improvement Grants. She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English, a certificate degree in Supervision and Administration, and is a doctoral candidate in Urban Education at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.