Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musem Magnet School Springs Forward

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

It's been a busy time at the Museum Magnet School for Inquiry, Innovation & Imagination.  We spring forward toward new and exciting adventures.  Here are some of the highlights of what we've been up to and a look ahead this month:

Congratulations to Mr. Rafael Picorelli & staff for the beautiful, musical theatrical production, SPRING IMPRESSIONS featuring the Pre-K through Grade 2 students.  The children donned various costumes representing living creatures, our earth, flowers and butterflies. Their song and dance performances awoke in us all the memory of being carefree and full of wonder. Kudos to all!

The April Studio in a School parent/child workshops have been very successful - the sessions have been informative and exciting for all and the turn-outs from our PS 191 community have been unprecedented.  We thank Studio in a School for their efforts in providing the means for our families who participated to create and play together!  

A few members from the Magnet Leadership Team met with two key members from The New York Historical Society's Education Department during the Spring Break to discuss our plans to partner with them in the upcoming school year.  This venerable institution will include the new DiMenna Children's History Museum and the new Barbara K. Lipman Children's History Library, a combined 2,300 square foot facility designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture & Design Partnership in a dramatic, vaulted space on the lower level; and the relocation of the museum cafĂ© to a light-filled, 1,800 square. The New York Historical Society will provide assistance in creating our newly developing Social Studies curriculum, discussing options of how their teaching artists will partner and collaborate with our Pre-K - 8 teachers, and discuss exciting and effective ways for our students to benefit from their world-renowned resources and collections.  You will continue to receive updates on our progress in this effort.

I am currently working with teachers in each grade, brainstorming ideas for Academic Fairs (Museum Exhibitions) and End of the Year projects. There are a number of exciting ideas percolating and we are anxious to share the visions and collaborative efforts of the teachers and students in the coming weeks.

Ms. Sandler's Third Grade class recently visited the American Museum of Natural History, where Ms. Salas, the Museum Magnet Specialist, guided them through the North American Mammal Gallery and the Central America/Mexico Gallery.  We started by looking at and examining the North American Continent wall map in the North American Mammal Gallery.  The students learned about the geography of Mexico and its location in relation to the United States and Central American countries.   We visited the Jaguar diorama and discussed the features and various facts of this animal and its relationship to the culture and artistic style of the Aztec, Mayan and Mexican people.  Our final stop: The Aztec Sun Stone, where the students observed and discussed the features and meaning of this amazing artifact.

Ms. Tiffany and Colette Giglio's 2nd/3rd grade class will also be touring the same galleries with Ms. Salas on April 28, 2011.

Members of our teaching and administrative staff attended the District 3 Rubicon Atlas Curriculum Mapping training at Columbia University in Lerner Hall during the Spring Break.  Atlas Rubicon is a  customizable curriculum management mapping tool for the newly developing magnet schools. We have formed sub-committees and teams of educators to turnkey, update and manage this system to all staff.  We will continue to provide updates and information about this system and welcome any questions you may have.

NYCMER CONFERENCE: The NYC Museum Educators Roundtable Conference is offering a learning and networking opportunity on Monday, May 16th, 2011, co-hosted by the New York Hall of Science & the Queens Museum of Art.  There's an engaging session for everyone.  Topics include:
  • play-based learning
  • evaluating field trips
  • inquiry, interpretation, and gallery experiences
  • engaing communities through partnerships
  • programming for ELL students
  • empowering volunteer docents and more!
Registration information:  By Friday, May 6:  $65 members and $75 for non-members
After Friday, May 6:  $75 for members and $85 for non-members.
Scholarships available.
Please visit for more information about the program and registration.

June 9, 2011 Magnet Conference:  We are currently working with Bank Street College of Education preparing for the upcoming June 9, 2011 District 3 Magnet Conference to be held at Columbia University.  These all day workshops are being specifically designed to address and support all staff in understanding project based learning, among other critical and important tenets of meeting our magnet goals and requirements.

More updates and information will be forthcoming!  Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Welcome to MuseumMagnetMissives by Hope Salas, Museum Magnet Specialist at PS 191, soon to be the Museum Magnet School for Inquiry, Innovation & Imagination.  This blog has been created solely for issues pertaining to museum magnet news and updates.  I welcome questions and comments to any posts, and am interested in finding out the information you need and/or want that may not be noted in a particular posting. Your feedback will be most appreciated and will help to focus my bi-monthly newsletter to you.
Now that the spring season is upon us (as of March 20, 2011) and the MSAP Compliance document is behind me (at least for now), I would like to update you on some museum magnet happenings:
Although the MSAP Compliance document is quite detailed and somewhat complex, it is a document that has helped me better understand the scope of my position at this school and some of the initial steps that must be taken, in addition to some of the longer-term goals that will define our school as its name implies.
  • Grade level and Subject meetings with each grade are now regularly scheduled. Although I have met with Pre-K, 1st and 2nd grade already, the meetings with all other grades will commence post Quality Review. *Please note: Schedule will be distributed at the April 1st Professional Development Workshop.
  • We are registered with and now utilizing Material for the Arts, which provides a plethora of useful materials for school projects.  Visit their website at Contact me should you need materials for your classroom projects and if you'd like to visit MFTA.
  • We are now registered with Cool Culture This organization, founded in 1999 celebrates families and cultures and helps 50,000 income-eligible families access and enjoy 90 of NYC's world-class cultural institutions for free, providing children with experiences that improve literacy and learning. This program is specifically for grades Pre-K & K. 
  • We will tentatively be working with the New York Historical Society as part of their Enrichment Program during the 2011-2012 school year.  I will be meeting with the Director of Education post Quality Review.  I will provide you with details about the resources and benefits we will be afforded by partnering with this venerable institution.
  • Parsons School of Design met with our school on March 18, 2011 to present to us their ideas for our school logo.  The Parsons School of Design representatives and the designers (and 2 pre-college students part of the S P A C E Program) are currently refining the initial logo ideas based on the feedback given from teachers, administrators, students and parents (Focus Group). Detailed updates will follow; however I do have the initial plans in my "office" (the library), which are readily available for anyone interested in perusing what has recently been presented to us.
  • At our next Professional Development Workshop on April 1st, Stacey Guadalupe and I will devote a portion of that meeting time to discussing the major tenets of the museum-themed magnet grant and the objectives and activities outlined for us to follow with regard to Systemic Reforms, Magnet Theme Instruction & Collaborative Planning Time.  
  • We have identified Shawn Mitchell as our new Technology Specialist.  Updates about his official start date for Shawn are not yet solidified.  However, Shawn and I will partner with you to provide the necessary technology needed to enhance museum-themed interdisciplinary education tools, methodologies and technology based activities for your classroom. 
  • I have reached out to the New York Historical Society, The Hall of Science, The Transit Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Rubin Museum, The Guggenheim, The Jewish Museum, and other institutions to discuss the resources available for us, which I believe will assist us in sculpting museum-themed focus lessons and activities for the coming year.  As we meet and discuss curricula for the coming school year, I will outline how these museums might augment your units of study, and will schedule art and science museum visits as appropriate.
  • The following museum visits have been scheduled for Ms. Higeura and Ms. Giglio in April & May:    
April 13 - South Street Seaport Tour of 19th Century Artifacts        
April 28th - American Museum of Natural History - Guided tour by Ms. Salas with 2nd & 3rd  graders, exploring the Central America & Mexico galleries. 
May 11, 2011 - Ms. Higeura's 2nd grade class will be touring the "Across the Bridges" exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.

One last thing, I have secured a private donor to provide materials from Pearl Paint that Mr. Rafael Piccorelli and Susannah Blum were not able to obtain at Material for the Arts for the Spring Impressions theatre performance in April. 
    I look forward to working with all of you in the future.  I thank you for your patience and understanding if you have not yet met with me, or if I have not been available to talk with you one on one or with your teams yet.  I promise to get to you.  Until then, I wish you all peace.

    Hope Salas
    Museum Magnet Specialist