MSS 577 Scores High in Its Community
School’s back in session at Middle School 577, Williamsburg’s centrally-located middle school, tucked just a block off the bustling Bedford Avenue.
“Attendance is higher than ever,” says Assistant Principal Karen Stevenson, “our kids are happy to be here.”
With attendance at or above 97% on a daily basis, one doesn’t have to look hard to see what brings students from all five boroughs to the North Brooklyn school, overwhelmingly described by those who have been there as “family”.
A quick glance reveals students in grey, blue and red uniformed shirts, respective of their grades, sixth through eighth. On any given day, in addition to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic (all in accordance with the newly nationwide adopted Common Core Standards), one might catch a whiff of fettucine alfredo coming from the Home Ec room or fresh-baked bread rising in the school’s recently renovated, state-of-the-art science lab.
“All of our students engage in hands-on inquiry,” said science teacher Margaret Fitzgerald. As to the inquiry in question, live yeast used in making dough rise? “It needed butter!” said 7th grader Jarius Jones of the warm and chewy finished product.
Throughout the school year, students are offered a wealth of extracurricular activities – from Student Government, Robotics and Broadcasting (with students currently filming a video on school safety), to yoga, hip-hop and ballroom dancing. Traditionally an 8th grade endeavor in collaboration with Dancing Classrooms of NYC, this year the school launched a ballroom dancing program for the 7th grade as well, after taking home the grand prize trophy in last year’s New York City America Ballroom Finals.
With the rich range of activities offered, the school administration and staff still strive to keep the focus on what’s most important. “Our scores continue to lead in District 14,” says Principal Maria Masullo, referring to the school’s results on statewide standardized testing, “and we’re excited to move the kids forward, to make them both college-ready and future leaders.”
Stevenson echoes the sentiment: “The finished product is what we’re most excited for,” she says. “Every year, we look forward to the success stories from graduates who always inevitably come back to visit.”
“We are best,” she continues, “in providing our students with the critical support needed for the crucial social-emotional growth of middle school, as well as always expanding their academic intellect. It is an honor to be the staple of education for so many families in our community.”
In addition to student-centered learning, Principal Masullo proudly points out her students’ large scale involvement with their community, from gardening in the neighborhood with the NYC Parks Department to a commitment of service from the 8th grade.
“Whether it’s in the classroom with a teacher they love, or going on a trip anywhere in the city – or state, for that matter,” she continues, “our students love – and want – to be here.”
Asked his thoughts on the school he’s called “home” since the 6th grade, eighth grader Roger Herrera gave it two thumbs up: “Five star learning!” he says.
Middle School 577 is located just off the Bedford station on the L line at 208 North 5th Street, and serviced by bus lines B24/48/62, as well as Q54/59. The school will open its doors to interested parents and students in a series of Fall Open House dates, on Thursdays, October 18th, 25th and November 1st, as well as Fridays throughout November, excluding the 23rd, until December 7th. For more information, call the school at (718) 486-6211.
WHSAD is Back on Broadway
By John Fermin, Junior at Williamsburg H.S. for Architecture and Design
Usually the start of the school year comes with new school supplies, expectations from teachers, and a positive outlook on the new school year. In addition to all that, we at WHSAD started the year off by attending a Broadway show. On September 12, with the support of Early Stages and the producers of the show, we attended a special performance of the play Peter and the Starcatcher. I call it special because all the students on the trip had achieved high or perfect attendance last year.
Last year we saw many shows with Early Stages, but our most recent show was Peter and the Starcatcher, the prequel to Peter Pan and winner of 5 Tony Awards for the 2011 Broadway season.
Going to watch a Broadway show is amazing. From the time we get our Playbill to the cast’s final bow, theatre is a cool experience. Overall the show was funny and easy-going. You can tell the actors have fun while doing their jobs. The production reminded me about how it is to grow up and to take responsibilities. We all have a little of Peter Pan in us, including high school students having to figure out which college they have to attend and how much they have to pay. But the show showed me that no matter what the situation, you should always appreciate the little things in life and try to crack a joke.
We were also treated to post theatre workshop led by Kelly Delaney from Early Stages and WHSAD Assistant Principal Giovanni D’Amato. The workshop talked about what makes a person a hero and how people make the decisions that lead them to act like one. We also talked about how it takes a strong villain to make a strong hero. The workshop kept us on our feet and interacting with one another. It was a perfect way to wrap up our Broadway experience. Peter and the Starcatcher is a great show and everyone who reads this article should go and see it.
WHSAD will be having open houses for students and parents interested in our school on October 4 (6pm-8pm), October 17 (6pm-8pm), and October 20 (11AM-2PM). For more information please contact Ms. Chu, Parent Coordinator, at 718-388-1260 Ext. 2293.
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