New York State Guidance for In-Person Instruction

On Monday, July 13th, the New York State Department of Health issued a report: “Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools.” I would encourage all of our parents and instructors to read the document and share your reflections about it. Afterschool staff at Arts and Athletics are studying and discussing all available information as we prepare for re-opening of schools in the coming weeks.

In simpler times, we (parents and providers alike) might have thought of Arts and Athletics as simply the local musical theater program, homework help provider, or physical activity coordinator, depending on the child’s specific interests. What’s been true all along, however, is that the role of Arts and Athletics is to work with parents and educators to determine the needs of the community and work cooperatively to address those needs. In the coming days we will open registration for fall cycle, offering programs that are informed by documents like the New York State Interim Guidance and ongoing consultation with our school leaders.

The model we are exploring for afterschool for the fall cycle is for self-contained groups of 15 or fewer students with two teachers who would stay together as a unit throughout the afternoon. The objective is to minimize the potential for infection by keeping the same group of children together from school dismissal until pickup at 6 p.m. and throughout the week (Monday through Friday) where possible. In this configuration all children would have some art, some physical activity, and some academic support during their afterschool hours.

Our staff will continue to take part in trainings provided by the New York State Department of Health and we will put together action plans that begin to adapt the Arts and Athletics programs to the needs of our school community.

In the meantime, stay healthy and stay in touch!

E-Learning with Arts and Athletics

Over the past three months since our schools and our programs transitioned to distance learning, the Arts and Athletics team has sought to bridge the gap with online classes and video lessons to reach out and engage our students and families. Amidst all of the uncertainty and fear brought to the foreground first by the COVID pandemic and then by the persistent crisis of racial injustice, it’s clear that education has a fundamental role to play. Basic to our mission is honoring children’s curiosity and encouraging them to ask why and to ask how. Even when the questions were about the rules of a game or a recipe in cooking class, how we as adults respond signals to children that their concerns are valid and that they have our support in their quest to figure things out.

Today we are faced with questions that defy easy answers, but our role as adults is still the same: encourage children’s questions and support their efforts to learn and grow. Going forward the Arts and Athletics team will look for ways to facilitate this work, starting with sharing the links below to the Schomburg Center of the New York Public Library and to the Maxine Greene Institute, exploring the power and possibility of social imagination.

Schomburg’s Black Liberation List for Young Readers
The Maxine Greene Institute–Social Imagination

Click here to find out more!

Important Dates:

Winter Cycle begins Monday, December 9th. Please contact your site supervisor with any questions regarding enrollment or schedule changes.

Our 88th Street studio is open with lots of fun classes for kids and adults! For schedules and class details, please click here.

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