Grantee Corner  |  New York City Community School District 6

A group of students holds chicks.
P.S. 98 students observe the life cycle of living organisms in an urban setting

A female student wears a hat and wings made of cardboard.
P.S. 115 student uses art and science to understand animal adaptations

Two female students build something with a plastic cup, string, and felt
P.S. 152 students engage in design in the Afterschool STEAM Club

A group of students acts on stage.
P.S. 189 third-grade students perform a student-created Theatre Moves presentation

Josephine Cohen, MSAP Project Director

New York City Community School District 6 (NYC CSD 6), located in the Inwood, Washington Heights, and northern Harlem neighborhoods, is implementing a fiscal year (FY) 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. The district serves approximately 21,480 students in 49 elementary, middle, and high schools. The district’s goal is to have each student become a critical thinker, a lifelong learner, and a responsible, contributing citizen in a changing global society. 

The MSAP grant funds four elementary schools in NYC CSD 6, with the following magnet themes: science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) at P.S. 98; art and science exploration at P.S. 115; innovation in a global community at P.S. 152; and inquiry and expression at P.S. 189. All four schools put purposeful technology integration and project-based learning at the core of instruction. Districtwide partnerships with the Buck Institute, Columbia University Center for Technology and School Change, Unchartered Power, Education Closet, and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium help the schools implement their themes and build cultural competency. 

The NYC CSD 6 MSAP project fully aligns with the New York City Department of Education’s Framework for Great Schools. This citywide initiative encourages parents, educators, school communities, and external stakeholders to work together to improve student achievement.

Located in the Inwood section of Manhattan, P.S. 98, the Academy of STEAM Studies, students engage in STEAM opportunities that allow students to explore the natural world and connect with their individual interests. The school, which boasts small classes and a strong dual-language program, is in the process of creating a media and STEAM lab, which will offer STEM and robotics instruction and serve as makerspaces to foster students’ creativity. P.S. 98 also has a strong arts program and employs Renzulli’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model. Partnerships include Rosie’s Theater, Born Dancing, Cool Culture, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Wellness in the Schools, Center for Educational Innovation, and LINC Literacy, Inc. 

P.S. 115, the Magnet Academy of Art and Science Exploration, is an elementary school in Washington Heights that offers students in grades pre-K–5 an array of learning opportunities that challenge and encourage positive risk-taking and foster student achievement. The MSAP grant enables the school to expand its interdisciplinary curriculum through the lenses of art and science and adds a new makerspace that encourages creativity. Teachers receive quality professional development in engineering, project-based learning, and technology integration. Partnerships include Story Pirates, Dancing Classrooms, Arts Youth Empowerment, and New York Hall of Science. 

Situated between Manhattan’s Fort Tryon and Harlem River Parks in the Inwood neighborhood, P.S. 152 currently serves 587 students in grades pre-K-5. With MSAP funds, the school has transformed into the Magnet School of Innovation in a Global Community. This theme supports building global literacy skills and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competencies, which enable students to leverage new technologies. In addition, through well-developed project-based learning units and afterschool clubs, students use the engineering design process to create positive change through social innovation and invention. Students are global innovators who engage regularly in coding, drama, dance, inquiry, art and hydroponics. Partnerships include New York Institute of Technology, Dancing Classrooms, Chess in the Schools, LEGO, Madori, and Liberty Science Center.

Located in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, P.S. 189 has become the Magnet School of Inquiry and Expression. The school serves over 900 students in grades pre-K–5. MSAP funding has provided greater experiential science and social studies learning opportunities for the students. The theme of inquiry and expression reflects the school culture of student “voice and choice,” encouraging students to express themselves and engage in a student-driven line of extended inquiry. Curriculum units focus on issues in the neighborhood and are designed to have the students become agents of change through creation of public service announcements, blogging, and campaigning. P.S. 189 has designated a spacious area for a makerspace that will support creativity and innovation. Partnerships include Theater Moves, National Dance Institute, Dancing Classroom, Chess in the Schools, and Nature Based. Additional partnerships with the 92nd Street Y and Yeshiva University provide recreational and academic support to students. 

Josephine Cohen directs the NYC CSD 6 MSAP grant. Mrs. Cohen’s 25 years of experience as a New York City educator include over a decade of magnet experience. She is the former director of NYC CSD 27’s  MSAP grant in Queens, New York. She has also served as a magnet resource specialist and a district magnet curriculum project planner. Mrs. Cohen works closely with magnet schools to develop and sustain quality magnet programs.