‘NEW VISION' Schools Open – QNS.com

‘NEW VISION' Schools Open

For middle and high school students in Flushing, two new small schools have opened, allowing youngsters to pursue education in two specialized fields - journalism and Asian studies.
On Tuesday, September 8, the East West School of International Studies, located at 46-21 Colden Street, and the World Journalism Preparatory School (WJPS), located at 34-65 192nd Street, opened up for their first classes.
Both schools opened for students in grades seven and nine but will expand through grade 12 at full capacity. Once the schools have fully opened enrollment, they will have about 560 students in each - classes are capped at about 27 students - and currently, the high school seats are open to students from all boroughs.
&#8220The beauty of a small school like this is that all the kids know the other kids. The teachers know the kids. Kids don't slip through the cracks here,” said East West Principal Ben Sherman
The East West School, which is housed within I.S. 237, has put out the call for students still interested in enrolling to fill about 10 seats in each grade. The school needs to fill the seats by mid-October or could face a budget cut, Sherman said.
&#8220After four years, we will be a great six through 12 public school,” he said, explaining that the school is a &#8220New Vision” school, based on the principles and funding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sherman came up with the school - a fusion of Asian and Western cultures - which he then shared with Joshua Solomon and the pair pitched the idea to the Gates Foundation. Sherman worked as an English as a Second Language teacher for 12 years in Asia, China but mostly in Japan. Solomon worked in the Japanese financial industry.
&#8220We are prepping students for a global future,” Sherman said, explaining that students will take classes in the standard fare of math, science, English, writing, and history, but are also taught about Asian languages and culture as well as communication and cooperation skills.
This year, the school is offering classes in Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese.
&#8220We are hoping in the future to expand the focus of our school to encompassing India also, at which point we would also offer either Hindi or Urdu,” he said.
In addition to the backing of the Gates Foundation, which began pouring money into the country's education system in 2000 to form small schools, East West has partnered with the Asian Americans for Equality, Councilmember John Liu, and the Asia Society.
The school is also looking for sister schools in Asian countries to partner with, for study-abroad opportunities and online interaction.
&#8220We hope to do written multimedia projects that will push students in both countries to want to learn more,” Sherman said.
At the WJPS, which is housed inside I.S. 25, students will use skills acquired in writing and digital media classes to produce several publications - a newspaper, yearbook, and website, with more media programs to be added on as the school grows.
A College Board school, the WJPS takes a hands-on approach to journalism, by allowing students to practically apply their interview, writing, analysis and research skills.
&#8220When you make learning public through publications, it's not a teacher telling you to do something. It's the pride in seeing something published,” said WJPS Principal Cynthia Schneider. &#8220It's the essence of education.”
Students also work in publication teams and are given laptops and digital video cameras to create multimedia projects.
When asked what draws students to new schools like WJPS and the East West School, both Schneider and Sherman said that for parents and kids, the interesting curriculum, small classes, community involvement, and location often wins out over physical distance and apprehension over starting a new school.
&#8220When I talk to parents and families, I ask, ‘How far are you willing to send your child for a fantastic education?' The funny thing is that all parents understand that question,” Sherman said.

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