Principal's Newsletter

June 10, 2013

 

Dear LoMA Family,

 

As usual, I’d like to turn the last newsletter of the year over to you to tell me about all of the things you’ve accomplished what you thought about the year. Please fill out the following survey thoughtfully and with detailed evidence. Study hard for your finals and Regents so you can have a fun, interesting vacation.

 

Work hard,

 

John Wenk

 

1.      What was your favorite LoMA experience this year? __________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

2.      What did you like best about your extracurricular activities this year?_______________ _____________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

3.      If you could change one thing about your experiences this year, what would it be?_____ _____________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

4.      What was the best trip or performance you went on? Why – be specific? _________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

5.      What is something that you put a lot of effort into this year? ____________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

6.      What staff member helped you this year? How? _____________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

7.      What are two major lessons you learned this year? _________________________________________

 

1.____________________________________________________________________________ ____________

 

    _________________________________________________________________________________________

 

2.____________________________________________________________________________ ____________

 

   _________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

8.      What do you plan to work towards next year? _______________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

9.      What did you like best about your advisory this year? _________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

10.  What would you like to change about your advisory for next year? ______________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

11.  What books did you read in DEAR and at home this year? _____________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

June 10                                    Last Day of Classes

June 11-21                               Regents’ Week

June 14            4:00 pm           Sports Awards Dinner for all PSAL athletes

June 20            3:45-8:00 pm   Rooftop Luau 

June 24                                    Advisory Day

June 25            9:00 am           LoMA Film Festival

June 25            11:00 am         Graduation

June 26                                    Last day of school J

 

 

LoMA Cares

                                                                                            

June 3, 2013

Dear LoMA Family,

 

We’re almost there – just five days until Regents begin. Next week I’ll be asking you to reflect on your accomplishments for the year; this week, I’d thought I’d share with all of you some of the great things I’ve seen happen in our school this year and the plan for the rest of the year.

·         80% of this year’s seniors have been accepted into college and 64% of them have been accepted into four-year colleges.

·         Our students performed in five major shows: In the Heights, Antigone, the Talent Show, Chimera Concept Gala, last week’s Major’s Show, and this week’s Senior Show.

·         Our artists inaugurated our new gallery space, and the photo club also had an impressive show at a professional Chelsea gallery.

·         Chimera Concept won the Hip-Hop contest in Boston and is heading to Las Vegas this summer to compete in the International Hip Hop Contest.

·         Over two dozen students learned to swim or improved their swimming technique.

·         We had loads of trips this year: The National Constitution Center, the Cloisters, Museum of natural History, lots of college trips, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Grammy Event, four shows at NYTW, about a dozen Broadway shows, and lots of art galleries.

·         In all of our classes, but especially in the freshmen classes, students read more complex documents and wrote the kinds of essays that will prepare them for college success.

·         LoMA was presented with an award from New York Cares for all of its community service.

·         About two dozen students saw their grades rise as they participated in the Credit Plus program.

·         About half of our juniors took SAT classes to raise their scores.

  • Our students will perform a student written play in a major theater next week as part of the LEAP program.
  • About a third of our students went on a college visit outside of the city.
  • The Student Council

 

That’s an awful lot happening for such a small school, and as the schedule below indicates, there is plenty more to come. Chancellor Dennis Walcott is requiring that students return to school after Regents, we have two new events this year. On the June 24th every advisory will be taking a fun, educational trip somewhere in the city and on the June 25th we will have a film festival before taking everyone down to the graduation. On June 26th, students will come in to get their report cards.

Before then, everyone needs to return their books, complete final projects and essays and, of course, study hard for finals and Regents. Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of spreading out your studying time. NOW is the time to start studying, not the night before a Regents Exam. A little practice each day, using index cards and model questions is much more effective than last minute cramming.

Work hard,

 

John Wenk

June 3                                      Senior Prom

June 4              12:00 pm         Junior trip to NYTW

June 5                                     LoMA actors perform a student written play at Barruch College

June 6              6:00 pm           Senior’s Showcase

June 6                                      Chancellor’s Day: No classes

June 11                                    Last Day of Classes

June 12-21                               Regents’ Week

June 14            4:00 pm           Sports Awards Dinner for all PSAL athletes

June 20            3:45-8:00 pm   Rooftop Luau 

June 24                                    Advisory Day

June 25            9:00 am           LoMA Film Festival

June 25            11:00 am         Graduation

June 26                                    Last day of school J

LoMA Cares

                                                                                            

May 20, 2013

Dear LoMA Family,

 

LoMA had another hit show with In the Heights last week. The cast and crew were able to perform so brilliantly because of the focus they brought to the production. In many long hours of rehearsal and set building they honed their craft as they worked collaboratively under the leadership of some wonderful teachers. This intense focus on success is exactly what we want to teach you every day in all of your classes.

I generally see this same focus when I visit LoMA’s classes, but not by everyone and not all of the time. Think about what focus means. It’s when a lens blurs what’s not important to make a particular object clear and strong.  I often see it in our arts classes when students shut everything out and focus on their projects, scenes, songs or dances, and I always notice that the higher the level of focus, the better the project. One of the reasons why I like working in schools for the arts is that the arts provide opportunities for every student to remain focused long enough to excel. Students who seem to have trouble sitting still in math class or writing for a solid hour in English class, can focus on an art project or work together to put on a great scene in drama class. When working with their hands or bodies, even the most hyper student can keep his focus for long periods of time and can complete some very impressive work.

The trick is to transfer those skills to the academic classroom. If students keep the same focus there, they can achieve higher grades and be ready for college. There was a time when people could be financially comfortable with a job where they would work with their bodies and hands. For instance, my own father never went to college and made a good salary fixing computers. Unfortunately, his job and other jobs like it no longer exist. Instead, the jobs are largely bifurcated into two types. There are still service jobs which require the type of manual labor. But they are mostly in places like McDonalds or Duane Reade which pay very little and have unpleasant working conditions. Then there are thinking jobs which require that people write and read well. These jobs require college degrees. Often what you study matters less than that you were able to complete the work required for a four-year college degree. This is because many employers believe that a college diploma is proof that a person can focus on a task for hours at a time, even on tasks that are not interesting. Employers want people who can work independently without someone constantly checking their work every day and who work productively as part of a team.

These are the very skills I see LoMA students demonstrate in their arts classes every day. This is proof that they can be successful when they want to. Now, I need to see students do the same in all of their academic classes every day. As they keep their focus, complete their work willingly, and work together cooperatively, I know that they are on the same road to success that brought us such a wonderful production last week of In the Heights.

 

Keep your focus,

 

John Wenk

May 21            rm. 329            3:45 LGBTQ Discussion Group

May 27                                    Memorial Day

 

LoMA Cares

                                                                                            

May 20, 2013

Dear LoMA Family,

 

My niece Luisa returns home from her first year at college this weekend. She’s done very well, but like so many of our returning graduates, she tells me how demanding college is. She has spent fourteen tosixteen hours a day studying for her finals for the last two weeks, and has had to write more papers and do more reading this year then she had to do in four years of high school. Yet, she feels great and has had a wonderful first year making friends, learning new things, and becoming active politically.

 

I was particularly surprised by how hard she found college as I remember that since elementary school she was always a dedicated, hardworking student. She would always spend the requisite few hours on her cell phone and Facebook page, but spend three solid hours a night working on her homework. Eleven years ago when she moved here from Colombia, she didn’t even speak English. But she always earned As, aced her Regents exams, and took college and Advanced Placement classes before she even graduated high school.

 

My point isn’t that my niece is brilliant, but to demonstrate how high the expectations are for students in some other schools and why I get anxious when I think about our students going to college. When I hear LoMA students complain about the amount of homework they get, when I see how many miss assignments or complete them in a shoddy manner, I think about how much more homework students in other schools get, the length and depth of the essays they’ve been assigned, and how many more books they have read. The great majority of our students are working hard and succeeding, but are we demanding enough from them? Will they be ready to do the kind of college work that Luisa has had to do?

 

Rather than get defensive, LoMA’s students need to realize that when they apply for college or a job, they’re going to be competing with students who are used to completing three hours of homework a night, who read for pleasure everyday, and who attend tutoring on a regular basis. Students who get great SAT scores, have high averages and can write a five page essay in a night are going to be more attractive to college admissions officers and hiring managers. When they leave here, LoMA’s students will be competing with students like my niece, and I want all of  them to be just as hardworking and accomplished as she is.

 

As anxious as I am, I am seeing plenty of bright spots in our school. Overall, the grades in our school went up last marking period and many of our students are turning it on for the final marking period. Our juniors are now applying to take college and AP classes for their senior year, and I know that the internships our seniors experience will make their college applications stand out and show how special they are. Any one of our students is smart enough to compete against a student like my niece; some just need to be pushed a bit harder to do all that it takes to be successful and I know that I’ll be just as proud to see them come back to visit us from college.

 

Work Hard,

 

 

John Wenk

 

May 16 and 18            7:00     Spring Musical: In the Heights

May 17                        12:45   Student performance of In the Heights

May 27                                    Memorial Day