Give it up for GOAL!

   Summer, 2017 Update  

At GOAL we’re all about relationships – always with a focus on enriching kids’ lives and empowering teachers. And there’s no better way to highlight these key relationships than with some recent students and teacher success stories. 

These come from our returning teacher Ms. Giannini who teaches both Technology and Fitness, with a focus on an Appreciation for the Arts and a Positive View of Personal Future and Sense of Purpose from the Ten Developmental Assets

“My first example follows an Appreciation for the Arts: It was our final day for fitness, and my fifth-grade student Taina had received an iPad not too long ago from the school. She was inspired on the last day to attempt making a video about summer using the students in the group. She was able to (on her own) to complete a video in the time given which was added to the group’s final presentation. The girls seemed to have had a great time and it was a nice way to end the classroom portion of fitness.

My second example is of a Positive View of Personal Future and Sense of Purpose: Another fifth-grade student of mine is Angel. He presented to me an idea for a video in my technology group towards the end of our session. We investigated some ideas to make it work, but knew there would not be enough time to complete it this year. While he's disappointed we couldn't do it this year, he tells me that he is very excited to attempt making this video next year in GOAL.”

GOAL Chorus with Mr. Durant at 171 - GOAL Chorus finished their busy end of year schedule with a stellar performance at the Apollo Theater and a big win at the statewide NYSSMA Majors where they earned a “gold with distinction” award, the highest level of accomplishment.  If you haven’t already, check out their reaction to the big news on our Facebook page.

GOAL Chorus with Mr. Durant at 171 - GOAL Chorus finished their busy end of year schedule with a stellar performance at the Apollo Theater and a big win at the statewide NYSSMA Majors where they earned a “gold with distinction” award, the highest level of accomplishment.  If you haven’t already, check out their reaction to the big news on our Facebook page.

Painting and Travel & Scrapbooking with Ms. Mosley at 171 – Ms. Mosley, a veteran GOAL teacher, particularly enjoyed this year, teaching two different courses for the first time.  It was a very new and different experience for her and the kids enjoyed it, as well. The majority of what her two classes - travel & scrapbooking and painting – focused on from the Ten Developmental Assets were teaching Self-Confidence and having an Appreciation for the Arts. The artwork that students created was based on their interests and finished pieces were a reflection of their own personalities. One of the students, 4th grader Samir pictured below, said that he chose the painting class because he has never done painting before and wanted to try it out. It was definitely something new to him, and while he didn’t seem too confident of his abilities at the beginning, the more he practiced, the more he grew to love his own artwork. He was very proud at the end of what he accomplished, particularly his dragon painting and his crayon artwork. He was not afraid to try different mediums as he created his masterpieces.  Another student, 7th grader Dasani, loved the idea of melting crayons and wanted the group to do that as a collective art project together.  She gave Ms. Mosley the idea and then Ms. Mosley simply facilitated what Dasani wanted to try. The artwork was successful, many students enjoyed melting crayons as a project and they even put their own twist on it by covering it with glitter. These two classes were mostly designed to help students learn about their own creativity through trying out different techniques and learning that it's okay not to always be a perfectionist. Painting also taught students patience, and they realized that mistakes in painting are always welcomed. 

Painting and Travel & Scrapbooking with Ms. Mosley at 171 – Ms. Mosley, a veteran GOAL teacher, particularly enjoyed this year, teaching two different courses for the first time.  It was a very new and different experience for her and the kids enjoyed it, as well. The majority of what her two classes - travel & scrapbooking and painting – focused on from the Ten Developmental Assets were teaching Self-Confidence and having an Appreciation for the Arts.

The artwork that students created was based on their interests and finished pieces were a reflection of their own personalities. One of the students, 4th grader Samir pictured below, said that he chose the painting class because he has never done painting before and wanted to try it out. It was definitely something new to him, and while he didn’t seem too confident of his abilities at the beginning, the more he practiced, the more he grew to love his own artwork. He was very proud at the end of what he accomplished, particularly his dragon painting and his crayon artwork. He was not afraid to try different mediums as he created his masterpieces. 

Another student, 7th grader Dasani, loved the idea of melting crayons and wanted the group to do that as a collective art project together.  She gave Ms. Mosley the idea and then Ms. Mosley simply facilitated what Dasani wanted to try. The artwork was successful, many students enjoyed melting crayons as a project and they even put their own twist on it by covering it with glitter.

These two classes were mostly designed to help students learn about their own creativity through trying out different techniques and learning that it's okay not to always be a perfectionist. Painting also taught students patience, and they realized that mistakes in painting are always welcomed. 

Lego Architects with Mr. Acosta at 108 – Mr. Acosta was proud that he had the privilege of working with several wonderful students that ranged from 5th to 8th grade. This was the first year for the Lego Club and, like anything else, they had their own challenges and successes. Students who participated in the Lego Club demonstrated a tremendous amount of Resourcefulness. One of the goals of the Lego Club was to promote and encourage creativity and, as a result, students had the opportunity to design their own Lego creations. They were also challenged to explore solutions to problems. Two of the main challenges were bridge-building and the “car-and-egg challenge”. Students worked in teams to build a bridge that could hold up various weights. They also created their own cars that had to hold an egg. The car that traveled the farthest distance without the egg breaking won the challenge. In both of these challenges students were thoughtful in their creations and worked collaboratively to be successful. 

Lego Architects with Mr. Acosta at 108 – Mr. Acosta was proud that he had the privilege of working with several wonderful students that ranged from 5th to 8th grade. This was the first year for the Lego Club and, like anything else, they had their own challenges and successes.

Students who participated in the Lego Club demonstrated a tremendous amount of Resourcefulness. One of the goals of the Lego Club was to promote and encourage creativity and, as a result, students had the opportunity to design their own Lego creations. They were also challenged to explore solutions to problems. Two of the main challenges were bridge-building and the “car-and-egg challenge”. Students worked in teams to build a bridge that could hold up various weights. They also created their own cars that had to hold an egg. The car that traveled the farthest distance without the egg breaking won the challenge. In both of these challenges students were thoughtful in their creations and worked collaboratively to be successful. 

Cultures and Cooking with Ms. Marcoccia at 171 – Recently the Cultures and Cooking crew have been working with our volunteer chef Katzie and the students, along with Ms. Marcoccia, have had an incredible time. Ms. Marcoccia has noticed a huge difference in the kids’ Self-Confidence since the beginning of the year. Things they used to be nervous about doing - like cutting or measuring - have become second nature to them now, which has been very exciting to see.  The students have also grown as far as trying new things which was one of Ms. Marcoccia’s major goals.  One recent example was when 6th grade student Amber - who has been adamant about hating guacamole since day one - helped make some, tried it and exclaimed "Wow this isn't so bad, maybe I don't hate it!"  In addition, the students have all expressed interest in cooking for next year and wanting to try some of the recipes at home.

Cultures and Cooking with Ms. Marcoccia at 171 – Recently the Cultures and Cooking crew have been working with our volunteer chef Katzie and the students, along with Ms. Marcoccia, have had an incredible time. Ms. Marcoccia has noticed a huge difference in the kids’ Self-Confidence since the beginning of the year. Things they used to be nervous about doing - like cutting or measuring - have become second nature to them now, which has been very exciting to see. 

The students have also grown as far as trying new things which was one of Ms. Marcoccia’s major goals.  One recent example was when 6th grade student Amber - who has been adamant about hating guacamole since day one - helped make some, tried it and exclaimed "Wow this isn't so bad, maybe I don't hate it!" 

In addition, the students have all expressed interest in cooking for next year and wanting to try some of the recipes at home.

NYC Explorers with Ms. Dempsey at 108 - Through this school year of GOAL, the NYC Explorers had many memorable experiences through which they have increased their Self-Confidence, particularly on how to navigate the city and public transportation. They now have a greater Appreciation of the Arts, through their visits a variety of music, museums and architecture all over NYC. The students also give Ms. Dempsey fresh eyes to look at the city, as she hopes to be a good Adult Role Model to them. Over the year, the group has become a family, through successes, failures, smiles, laughs and understanding. 

NYC Explorers with Ms. Dempsey at 108 - Through this school year of GOAL, the NYC Explorers had many memorable experiences through which they have increased their Self-Confidence, particularly on how to navigate the city and public transportation. They now have a greater Appreciation of the Arts, through their visits a variety of music, museums and architecture all over NYC. The students also give Ms. Dempsey fresh eyes to look at the city, as she hopes to be a good Adult Role Model to them. Over the year, the group has become a family, through successes, failures, smiles, laughs and understanding. 

Mind Games with Ms. Dominguez at 171 – Throughout the year students were taught important social skills such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, and enjoying interaction with others while they learned different strategies in Mind Games.  Students were taught rules and played games like Scrabble, Charades, Clue, card games (Solitaire, Crazy Eights, and UNO), Bingo, Checkers, I SPY, Hedbanz and Monopoly.  They were challenged cognitively which helped them develop planning, strategy, persistence, and critical thinking. In the spring, students researched different child-created games. They then began sketching out their own ideas and rules for their game boards and ended the year by creating their very own game boards with rules and game pieces. It was an amazing year of learning, growing and using their minds.

Mind Games with Ms. Dominguez at 171 – Throughout the year students were taught important social skills such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, and enjoying interaction with others while they learned different strategies in Mind Games.  Students were taught rules and played games like Scrabble, Charades, Clue, card games (Solitaire, Crazy Eights, and UNO), Bingo, Checkers, I SPY, Hedbanz and Monopoly.  They were challenged cognitively which helped them develop planning, strategy, persistence, and critical thinking.

In the spring, students researched different child-created games. They then began sketching out their own ideas and rules for their game boards and ended the year by creating their very own game boards with rules and game pieces. It was an amazing year of learning, growing and using their minds.

Step, Skip and Dance with Ms. Sinclair at 108 – This class created multiple opportunities for students to build Self-Confidence and develop an Appreciation for the Arts.  The students that attended were able to form bonds, build relationships and encourage each other during difficult times.  Ms. Sinclair enjoyed watching them choreograph their own dance steps and work collaboratively to reach their goals.  The last session of the year included students from other classes and students collaborated with others and shared their best experiences from the year. 

Step, Skip and Dance with Ms. Sinclair at 108 – This class created multiple opportunities for students to build Self-Confidence and develop an Appreciation for the Arts.  The students that attended were able to form bonds, build relationships and encourage each other during difficult times.  Ms. Sinclair enjoyed watching them choreograph their own dance steps and work collaboratively to reach their goals.  The last session of the year included students from other classes and students collaborated with others and shared their best experiences from the year. 

Garage Band with Ms. Wright at 108 –  Students were apprehensive about singing in the beginning of the year. When Ms. Wright surveyed them at first, they preferred to play instruments over singing. And although they did a smattering of beginning instrumental instruction, they eventually became far more interested with singing than playing. In the beginning, it took Ms. Wright a little effort to even get some of the students comfortable with singing out loud during warm-ups. Students like Corena, Naima, and Sheila and Ibrahim were really shy with their voices. The kids’ Self-Confidence was the group’s greatest gain throughout the year. Once 7th Grader Corena suggested singing Alexander Hamilton, the rest of the students signed on immediately. With all their conversation about who Hamilton was, the students really identified and connected with him, making it easy to be motivated to sing the song. Additionally, the song allowed students to rap and sing almost completely diminishing that barrier between speaking and singing without any effort on the teacher’s behalf.  As Ms. Wright said, “It was really wonderful to be able to facilitate these students through this process so effortlessly and then get to make music with them.”  All of the students were able to learn some basics of the guitar and the keyboard. Because of the Little Kids Rock program (thanks to our Board Chair Bryan Powell and team), students were able to immediately connect with the guitar in a meaningful way. Learning easy chords and then being able to play along with a recording of a few popular music tunes on their first day of opening the guitar seemed to excite and motivate them. This even encouraged other students outside of Garage Band to join. This experience seemed to really deepen their Appreciation of the Arts, another of the developmental assets, not only because they were able to connect so quickly with the guitar but because they quickly understood that it takes discipline to play. Many students acknowledged the difficulty in holding the guitar and playing the chords correctly and then the resulting fingertip pain. The students’ comments regarding these challenges let Ms. Wright know that over time they developed more reverence for what it takes to play an instrument. Going forward, Ms. Wright wants to challenge the students more in the way of improvisation and composition and to combine their instrument-playing and their singing; to actually form small bands or one small band and be able to play their own chosen song. This will further their Self-Confidence and give them greater Breadth of Experience with music.  GOAL proved to be a very helpful tool for Ms. Wright this year as a first-year teacher, in that it was a safe space for students and for her to try new things and be able to learn, teach, and grow together and from one another. 

Garage Band with Ms. Wright at 108 –  Students were apprehensive about singing in the beginning of the year. When Ms. Wright surveyed them at first, they preferred to play instruments over singing. And although they did a smattering of beginning instrumental instruction, they eventually became far more interested with singing than playing. In the beginning, it took Ms. Wright a little effort to even get some of the students comfortable with singing out loud during warm-ups. Students like Corena, Naima, and Sheila and Ibrahim were really shy with their voices.

The kids’ Self-Confidence was the group’s greatest gain throughout the year. Once 7th Grader Corena suggested singing Alexander Hamilton, the rest of the students signed on immediately. With all their conversation about who Hamilton was, the students really identified and connected with him, making it easy to be motivated to sing the song. Additionally, the song allowed students to rap and sing almost completely diminishing that barrier between speaking and singing without any effort on the teacher’s behalf.  As Ms. Wright said, “It was really wonderful to be able to facilitate these students through this process so effortlessly and then get to make music with them.” 

All of the students were able to learn some basics of the guitar and the keyboard. Because of the Little Kids Rock program (thanks to our Board Chair Bryan Powell and team), students were able to immediately connect with the guitar in a meaningful way. Learning easy chords and then being able to play along with a recording of a few popular music tunes on their first day of opening the guitar seemed to excite and motivate them. This even encouraged other students outside of Garage Band to join. This experience seemed to really deepen their Appreciation of the Arts, another of the developmental assets, not only because they were able to connect so quickly with the guitar but because they quickly understood that it takes discipline to play. Many students acknowledged the difficulty in holding the guitar and playing the chords correctly and then the resulting fingertip pain. The students’ comments regarding these challenges let Ms. Wright know that over time they developed more reverence for what it takes to play an instrument.

Going forward, Ms. Wright wants to challenge the students more in the way of improvisation and composition and to combine their instrument-playing and their singing; to actually form small bands or one small band and be able to play their own chosen song. This will further their Self-Confidence and give them greater Breadth of Experience with music. 

GOAL proved to be a very helpful tool for Ms. Wright this year as a first-year teacher, in that it was a safe space for students and for her to try new things and be able to learn, teach, and grow together and from one another. 

Photography with Mr. Kam at 108 – The class celebrated one of their last sessions at a local pizza shop where the young photographers reminisced on the Self Confidence they gained from their experience this year… ·      "I learned to be patient, especially when taking photos; Mr. Kam taught us to watch and observe before taking our photos..." Gisela E ·      "Photography is a lot of fun to me; it was really cool to take pictures in different modes and I feel like I can take pictures on my own f I had an SLR camera..." Jordan T ·      "It was my first time using a SLC camera, before I only took pictures with my phone...It's been a fun experience; I even filmed and edited a movie..." Ibrahim B

Photography with Mr. Kam at 108 – The class celebrated one of their last sessions at a local pizza shop where the young photographers reminisced on the Self Confidence they gained from their experience this year…

·      "I learned to be patient, especially when taking photos; Mr. Kam taught us to watch and observe before taking our photos..." Gisela E

·      "Photography is a lot of fun to me; it was really cool to take pictures in different modes and I feel like I can take pictures on my own f I had an SLR camera..." Jordan T

·      "It was my first time using a SLC camera, before I only took pictures with my phone...It's been a fun experience; I even filmed and edited a movie..." Ibrahim B

Art Biz with Ms. Nancy at 171 – An example of developing an Appreciation for the Arts: A student in Ms. Nancy's Art Biz class recently shared a sketch book full of art work that he worked on with his sister at home. He was excited to show both Marina and Nancy the different sketches that he was so proud of, pointing out favorites and those he thought he could improve on. This student sometimes appears to have his guard up, so seeing him open up and take the tools he received in class and work on them at home was very exciting.

Art Biz with Ms. Nancy at 171 – An example of developing an Appreciation for the Arts: A student in Ms. Nancy's Art Biz class recently shared a sketch book full of art work that he worked on with his sister at home. He was excited to show both Marina and Nancy the different sketches that he was so proud of, pointing out favorites and those he thought he could improve on. This student sometimes appears to have his guard up, so seeing him open up and take the tools he received in class and work on them at home was very exciting.

Hands-on workshops - We welcomed back Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist Susan Sandler who led a series of workshops at PS/IS 171 where students learned how to use a microwave oven for healthy cooking.  Highlights included oatmeal, double-strength milk and lamb sausages.

Hands-on workshops - We welcomed back Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist Susan Sandler who led a series of workshops at PS/IS 171 where students learned how to use a microwave oven for healthy cooking.  Highlights included oatmeal, double-strength milk and lamb sausages.

  Saturday GOAL programming - We continued our Saturday GOAL trips as part of our ongoing “Five Boroughs in Five Months” initiative with our most recent trip to Staten Island.  The trip highlighted in particular a Breadth of Experience.  Many students had excitement in their eyes as we rode the ferry. Several students who had said they had never been on the ferry before and were a little nervous at the start, showed no fear as we watched the views from the open back of the ferry. Many of our students had never been to Staten Island before and showed interest in spending more time on the borough in the future.

  Saturday GOAL programming - We continued our Saturday GOAL trips as part of our ongoing “Five Boroughs in Five Months” initiative with our most recent trip to Staten Island.  The trip highlighted in particular a Breadth of Experience.  Many students had excitement in their eyes as we rode the ferry. Several students who had said they had never been on the ferry before and were a little nervous at the start, showed no fear as we watched the views from the open back of the ferry. Many of our students had never been to Staten Island before and showed interest in spending more time on the borough in the future.

GOAL Alum Legacy and Community Service – GOAL continued its tradition of honoring our former student Melanie Ortiz who passed away several years ago from pediatric cancer.  We participated in fundraising efforts and joined the team “Unidos de Melanie” for the Memorial Sloan Kettering annual Kids Walk.  This year, for the first time, Melanie’s mom and family honored a GOAL student with the Melanie Fay Ortiz Memorial Scholarship Award. Students interested in applying for the scholarship were asked to write an essay describing a hardship in their life, and how they overcame that hardship. With an emphasis on Adult Role Models, one of our 7th grade students described a personal situation that affected her home and school life. She went on to explain how coming to GOAL had a positive impact on her by allowing her to be herself and gave her a safe space to be with her friends. She stated that the relationships she built with GOAL staff helped her get through her hard times, as staff members cared about her feelings, and took time to time to ensure she was feeling ok.

GOAL Alum Legacy and Community Service – GOAL continued its tradition of honoring our former student Melanie Ortiz who passed away several years ago from pediatric cancer.  We participated in fundraising efforts and joined the team “Unidos de Melanie” for the Memorial Sloan Kettering annual Kids Walk. 

This year, for the first time, Melanie’s mom and family honored a GOAL student with the Melanie Fay Ortiz Memorial Scholarship Award. Students interested in applying for the scholarship were asked to write an essay describing a hardship in their life, and how they overcame that hardship.

With an emphasis on Adult Role Models, one of our 7th grade students described a personal situation that affected her home and school life. She went on to explain how coming to GOAL had a positive impact on her by allowing her to be herself and gave her a safe space to be with her friends. She stated that the relationships she built with GOAL staff helped her get through her hard times, as staff members cared about her feelings, and took time to time to ensure she was feeling ok.

Saturday GOAL and community impact - In June we hosted an end-of-year community picnic at Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem.  The weather held up and the event was extremely well-attended by GOAL students, teachers and staff, family members and others from the community.

Saturday GOAL and community impact - In June we hosted an end-of-year community picnic at Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem.  The weather held up and the event was extremely well-attended by GOAL students, teachers and staff, family members and others from the community.

Summer Programs – We returned to Surprise Lake camp in Cold Spring earlier this summer for a weekend camping trip.  For many of our GOAL kids it was the first time they tried these outdoor activities - including archery, lake-swimming, hiking, making s’mores by a campfire, holding snakes, farming, sleeping in cabins and much more.

Summer Programs – We returned to Surprise Lake camp in Cold Spring earlier this summer for a weekend camping trip.  For many of our GOAL kids it was the first time they tried these outdoor activities - including archery, lake-swimming, hiking, making s’mores by a campfire, holding snakes, farming, sleeping in cabins and much more.

And more summer fun - We also visited Dorney Park & Wild Water Park in the Poconos, Pennsylvania for the first time.  As recent research has documented that “play is what prepares a young brain for life, love and schoolwork”, GOAL recognizes the importance this kind of experience for kids' social and emotional learning.  Our trip to the park was filled with new memories, teamwork, risk-taking, and kids and teachers stepping out of their comfort zones – plus it was a lot of fun for everyone.

And more summer fun - We also visited Dorney Park & Wild Water Park in the Poconos, Pennsylvania for the first time.  As recent research has documented that “play is what prepares a young brain for life, love and schoolwork”, GOAL recognizes the importance this kind of experience for kids' social and emotional learning.  Our trip to the park was filled with new memories, teamwork, risk-taking, and kids and teachers stepping out of their comfort zones – plus it was a lot of fun for everyone.