Volunteer Cheryl McGinnis, Storefront Students, teacher Candace Cardwell with artist Kara Walker (in back)
Storefront Academy students are constantly having their studies enriched through the best of the arts New York City has to offer and by using art to examine their curriculum. On Friday, June 13, Storefront Academy's seventh graders met with renowned artist Kara Walker at her instillation, "A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby," at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The students had a rare chance to speak with the MacArthur Fellowship "genius" award recipient in front of her work which explores the Caribbean sugar trade, African American history and modern health and wellness through exaggeration, metaphor and irony.
Led by longtime Storefront teacher Candace Cardwell and Artist-in-Residence and accomplished painter Matthias Leutrum, 17 students analyzed the sculpture exhibit headlined by a 75-foot 'sphinx' constructed with foam and sugar that symbolizes images of black women from the antebellum South. The piece is housed in a 19th Century warehouse, set for demolition later this year, that was used by Domino Sugar to store raw sugar from the Caribbean before refining and packaging it.
The project was commissioned by Creative Time, a New York-founded nonprofit organization for the arts which aims to present socially engaged, site-specific works of art to the public. The class was able to have a special tour of the wildly popular exhibit, which saw over 4,000 visitors on opening day alone, before it closes in July.
Special thanks to Storefront Academy volunteer Cheryl McGinnis for her assistance in organizing this wonderful interaction with both the art and artist for our students.
The trip was an amazing opportunity for the students to have a creative experience and grow their imagination through art, a core component of a Storefront Academy education.
To see photos from this trip, visit our Facebook photo album here.
This spring, Storefront Academy Harlem students have been honing their cooking skills working with Harvest Time in Harlem and Slow Foods NYC. Part of our robust Health and Wellness Program, the Storefront hosts a weekly farm stand on Thursdays, where students hone their math skills by helping community residents to purchase produce, and often learn to cook at the end of the afternoon!
Earlier this month, students learned gourmet recipes featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, and their efforts are featured on the Harvest Time in Harlem website. The blog post features some amazing photos along with a recipe you'll want to try at home - Soy Butter Asparagus. Our students loved it!
The Children's Storefront, a tuition-free, private school in Harlem, is proud to announce that it has officially changed its name to Storefront Academy Harlem.
From its founding in 1966 as a safe haven for neighborhood youth, Storefront Academy Harlem has grown to be a national model in the field of urban education, educating underserved children from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and preparing them for successful futures in high school and beyond.
Today, Storefront Academy is much more than a safe haven - it is an academic powerhouse - and the new name reflects that work.
As a result of long-term strategic planning process, Storefront Academy's Board of Trustees took great care in choosing a new name for this longstanding Harlem institution. The goal was to honor the school's rich history, but speak to the academic accomplishments and outlook of its students and its longtime home in Harlem.
Storefront Academy Harlem is a close community that teaches demanding academics, critical thinking, values and life skills, empowering students at all learning levels to steadfastly pursue personal academic excellence. It will continue its legacy as New York State's only tuition-free independent school.
For more information on Storefront Academy Harlem, please visit the school's new website at www.storefrontacademy.org or call (212) 427-7900.
About Storefront Academy Harlem
Storefront Academy Harlem is a trailblazer with nearly 50 years of success in educating urban youth of all learning abilities, from pre-k to 8th grade. A forerunner to charter schools, it serves as a national model for urban education - creating academically strong and emotionally healthy students. The Storefront Academy Harlem student body is 100% minority, 80% qualify for free or reduced price meals, and 40% come to Storefront Academy Harlem requiring extra academic support. Despite the odds, more than 80% of Storefront Academy Harlem students test at or above grade level on standardized tests, and 95% of graduates go on to receive their high school diplomas, more than 30% higher than others in their community.
Every day, there are fascinating things happening in the Storefront's classrooms. This year, the students in Cluster 3 (grades 5, 6, 7, and 8) are taking part in an intensive Humanities and Language Enrichment program led by veteran Storefront teacher Candace Cardwell. The curriculum is divided into two components: expository writing that includes essays focusing on grammar and vocabulary and classic and contemporary literature. Literature being read by students is connected to non-fiction articles that support the stories and themes in novels, plays and short stories.
Our sixth graders have been doing some remarkable work. The guiding question for their Language Arts class is "What is more important, the welfare of the group, or the needs of the individual?"
In their first semester, the students read Lois Lowry's The Giver, a novel about a boy living in a dystopian society where everyone is converted to "sameness" and only one person has all knowledge of truth and life. This book was complimented by news articles about the one-child policy in China, how it started and the impact on society.
Sixth grader Nasir D. rehearsing a scene from Fences.
This semester, one of their units had students scrutinizing August Wilson's Pulitzer prize winning play, Fences. The play was read in contrast to the Greek myth, Oedipus. The students compared the tragic heroes in both stories and talked about the concept of fate, questioning the possibility of resisting it or changing it. The unit concluded with selected students memorizing scenes from Fences and producing a performance, supported by classmates who constructed set pieces.
"I was really impressed at the students' ability to connect this play set in the 1950's to Oedipus," said Ms. Cardwell. "That's the purpose of literature: to make a connection between people who seem dissimilar, but under the surface have a lot in common."
Sixth grade students will continue these studies through the end of the year, and can expect even more when they enter 7th grade in the fall, where they will extend their contemplation on fate and focus on the theme of guilt vs. innocence.
Congratulations to Storefront Trustee and New York Times bestselling author, Holly Peterson, on the release of her newest book, The Idea of Him. Her first book, The Manny, was an international hit and a bestseller, and her newest book is already causing a buzz.
"I have new written two romantic books that primarily focus on relationships but that have modern day Manhattan as a lively, current backdrop," Ms. Peterson said. "The characters in my books are composites of people I know and the events are based on real things I've definitely seen with my own eyes."
Ms Peterson was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown's Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award-winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she covered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, The Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other publications.
It was during her time at ABC that Ms. Peterson first became aware of the Storefront, producing a feature about the school. Ms. Peterson has been a valued member of the Storefront Board of Trustees since 1994. She has chaired our Harlem Luncheon for many years and remains devoted to the mission of the school. We're so proud to have her as a part of the Storefront family.
For more information on Ms. Peterson and her book, visit www.HollyPeterson.com.
Storefront Artist-in-Residence Matthias Leutrum with student artists
On March 17, 2014, The Men's and Women's Mentoring Programs of The Children's Storefront presented their annual Student Art Exhibit and Cocktail Reception. The evening was generously hosted and sponsored by our partners at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
The evening featured more than 100 original paintings and sculptures created by Storefront seventh and eighth graders under the direction of our Artist-in-Residence, Matthias Leutrum. The student artists were on hand to describe the inspiration and creative processes for their works, which were on sale to benefit the school. The evening was attended by patrons, trustees, faculty, administration and students' family members, and raised almost $10,000 for the school.
The Men's and Women's Mentoring Programs provide seventh and eighth grade students with the opportunity to build rewarding relationships with dedicated volunteers and expand their horizons as they look to the future. Through personal interactions, field trips and other activities, mentors support our students' personal growth and academic achievement. The Mentoring Programs work in partnership with a network of Storefront teachers , staff and professionals to provide inspirational experiences for all participating students.
For information on the Mentoring Programs or other volunteer opportunities, please call (212) 427-7900.
Ned O'Gorman with Storefront Students, 1998
"Childhood is a gift the gods give children," wrote Ned O'Gorman in his book, The Storefront: A Community of Children on 129th Street and Madison Avenue (1970). "It is as precious as the rubies they give the earth and the sun they give the spheres. It is each child's absolutely; as rare as a unicorn or a phoenix. One childhood to every child. No two childhoods are alike. Childhood is the form that upholds each child's life forever."
Ned O'Gorman, the founder of The Children's Storefront, passed away on Friday, March 7th. He was 84.
He founded the school in 1966 as a safe haven for the children of the neighborhood. As he wrote, "I built our storefront into a place where the senses were freed from the fate of the streets. ...I put up a sign in the window: anyone who wants to study math, history, art, music--anything--come in and ask me about it."
The life changing work of today's Storefront is built on the foundation that Mr. O'Gorman laid, and his passion, love and heroic dreams for children are echoed every day here on our campus on 129th Street.
"Each child is treated as a holy object in our storefront," Mr. O'Gorman wrote, "As a precious, unique, divine creature who is worth the world."
Ned O'Gorman believed fiercely in the strength and ability of Harlem's children, and was determined to help them succeed. The Storefront evolved from his vision. He changed the lives of countless students and of many adults whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed.
To read Ned O'Gorman's obituary in the New York Times, click here.
"I love languages," says Romy Vassilev, "they're really my strongest subjects." Romy is a junior at Trinity School, and is volunteering as a Spanish language tutor here at The Children's Storefront this spring.
"It's going great," she said. "They're a really enthusiastic bunch of kids with a lot of energy!'
Romy is working with six students, teaching them the basics of the Spanish language. "We've been learning a lot of vocabulary, starting with easy words, working on accents and pronunciation." Romy also teaches the children songs, like Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y Pies (Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes).
Romy Vassilev, Trinity Junior
Romy has been studying Spanish for 2 1/2 years. She took an intensive approach, starting in a beginner class, skipping a level and then spending a summer in Madrid, Spain. She was in Madrid to study at the Academia International de Lengua (International Academy of Language). Now she is in AP Spanish, and will be taking Spanish Conversation and Spanish Literature as a senior. She also speaks French.
Romy is committed to tutoring at the Storefront for the rest of the school year, and hopes to be back next year. One of her life aspirations is to be fluent in both Spanish and French, and our students are fortunate that she is sharing her love of languages with them.
Morgan Stanley volunteers with 1st and 2nd Graders
On Tuesday, February 18, students got a special treat as volunteers from Morgan Stanley came to the Storefront to participate with first and second graders in an event for Black History Month celebrating African-American inventors.
Led by Storefront teacher Alexis Schmidt, the students and volunteers read about inventors, talked about their inventions and drew pictures of the historical figures. Then, the students were asked to come up with inventions of their own!
The Children's Storefront is grateful for the longtime support of Morgan Stanley and its employee volunteers. Getting to meet and spend time with grown-ups from the community is one of the special things Storefront students get to experience, and we are thankful for every Morgan Stanley volunteer who gave up their afternoon to spend time with us.
Principal Turner with volunteer and student
Assistant Teacher Ms. Awkward, Teacher Ms. Larson, and students.
Ms. Larson's 3rd grade class is studying the Harlem Renaissance. As part of the unit, they learned about Langston Hughes, reading several books about him and listening to other people recite his poems online. Last week the class walked over to his house on 127th Street and recited his poem "Mother to Son" on his front steps. This was an exciting experience for our students, and many were surprised that his house was so close to our school and in our community. After the trip, students wrote about the experience:
"We went to Langston Hughes' house and probably did something no other school would do. We walked to his house from the school. I was happy to recite his wonderful poem. He is appreciated with love. Hopefully, he feels love and joy from the Storefront community." - Chance
"When I recited 'Mother to Son,' I felt like Langston myself. It's fun to work on a unit that is talking about right where we go to school!" -N'Namdi
To watch a video of the students reciting "Mother to Son," click here.