On June 20th, our Senior Practicum class, taught by English Department Chair, Madalyn Marcado and CCR 12th Grade Teacher, Maria Modesto presented their findings on Closing the Achievement Gap and how Innovation High School endeavors to prepare our students for post-secondary success.
Through their 3 years of development in their ELA classes, they have learned to engage in research and writing at the college level. In a 90-minute presentation, Innovation students articulated the current challenges Black and Latino high school students face in striving for excellence during the critical transition to college and career. Our students shared their insights and facilitated discussions on what we can do specifically at Innovation to increase academic rigor and create a culturally responsive emotional learning environment.
Innovation students attended the annual Computer Science Opportunity Fair at the Armory building in Washington Heights. The NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair (CS Fair) is New York City’s largest annual college and career inspiration event for public high school students studying computer science. In its fourth year, the 2017 CS Fair will host over 2,000 students from 65+ schools across all five boroughs as well as 100+ companies, colleges and extra-curricular programs. This event is INVITE ONLY for participating high schools.
Innovation students had the chance to talk with reps from around 20 schools, employees at Google, Facebook, Etsy, and IBM, and got to play some video games designed by college students studying CS & game design!
Innovation High School’s students just spent a week riding Citibikes in New York City, doing environmental field work in Puerto Rico, studying history, culture and politics in Brazil, and examining social justice issues in New Orleans. This is Enrichment Week: 8 days of experiential learning around New York City and around the world.
Once a year Innovation suspends academic classes and students engage full-time in week-long enrichment activities; they take project-based learning to the streets of our city and beyond. NYC-based Enrichment Week projects have focused on fashion, film, music, ecology, coding, social justice issues, and the exploration of mythological themes in comic books, to name just a few programs. At the conclusion of each Enrichment Week, students prepare projects or presentations reflecting what they have learned and experienced.
This year, Innovation studentsbranched out into the community, creating new partnerships with El Barrio’s Artspace, where they learned salsa dancing in a professional quality studio, and with Citibike, visiting the Citibike headquarters, learning bike safety, and riding Citibikes from Manhattan to Queens.
Our ever-expanding Culinary Arts program took our young chefs through a specialized CARTs Boot Camp led by master chefs of 5 different cuisines. Research Expedition: Puerto Rico ferried advanced science students to engage in environmental study and field research on climate change and the living environment in the seven distinct climate regions on the island of Puerto Rico. Take A Walk on the Art Side challenged students to view ‘alternative’ Americans in new ways through the intersection of protest art, propaganda and social justice issues. And, Discover Brazil 2017, took our students from el barrio in New York City (Innovation’s home) to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to study grassroots, non-governmental supports for low-income communities and their residents.
On June 30, 2016, Innovation proudly awarded high school diplomas to our third graduating class at a commencement ceremony held at the beautiful and historic El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio, in East Harlem.
Amongst the 90 plus candidates for graduation our valedictorian, Ana Paulino, spoke movingly about her experience as an immigrant, arriving in this country with very limited English language skills. Through dint of hard work, a passion for education, and a desire to one day become a doctor, she worked her way up to the top of her class and now looks forward to attending the State University of New York at Geneseo, which is widely regarded as one of the best public universities in the northeast.
Our commencement speaker, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington, a long-time Innovation friend and supporter, spoke about his own experiences as a young man growing up in East Harlem, and encouraged our graduates to pursue their dreams.
In addition, two of Innovation’s founders, our founding board chairperson, Frank Saia, and founding trustee, Stacey Gauthier, principal of our sister school, the Renaissance Charter in Jackson Heights, were presented with awards in recognition of the extraordinary roles they played in founding Innovation, and in acting as two of our biggest supporters throughout our history.
Innovation now has the honor of being chosen as a Google Classroom Pilot Program School. Google works with classrooms across the globe to pilot new features and gather feedback about what works, what doesn’t, and what our teachers and students need. Innovation will have the opportunity to try out new features, and provide direct feedback to the Google Classroom team as their engineers continue to develop & improve upon this integral application!
Innovation has been a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school since we opened, and we have integrated Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Classroom into our learning environment maximize collaboration and workflow. We are excited to collaborate with Google to improve their product and our student’s experience.
In collaboration with Mountaintop, Innovation students had the opportunity to demo their creative projects to industry professionals on May 31st. Mountaintop is an organization that connects students with industry professionals on a sustainable, long-term, commitment with the aim of helping students envision, develop and institute services or products that they will solve an unmeet a social need.