Wednesday, June 13, 2018

PS4 Guitar Program's Spring Recital

The PS4 Guitar Program, with Teaching Artist Ayodele Maakheru, perform for an audience in the auditorium.

The Guitar Program, in partnership with the Midori & Friends Organization, celebrated its eleventh year at PS4!  During the 2017-2018 school year, eleven upper-grade students received once and twice-weekly instruction over thirty-two weeks with Teaching Artist Ayodele Maakheru!

Teaching Artist Ayodele Maakheru performing in front of a kindergarten class.

Mr. Maakheru is a composer, performer, and teacher who plays guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica and djembe.  He studied at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, City College of NY and Brooklyn College.  He has performed, toured, and recorded with a variety of artists such as Eartha Kitt, Phylicia Rashad, Gregory Hines, Miriam Makeba and the New York Philharmonic.  In addition, he has nearly four decades of performance experience in the orchestras of Broadway shows including A Chorus Line, The Full Monty, Bring in Da Noise/Bring in Da Funk, The Color Purple, Shuffle Along and Bella.  He has recorded three CD's of music and has taught our young guitar players for the past four years and uses the the '12 Notes' instrumental instruction program, which allows students to explore the basics of posture, playing technique, instrument care, and music theory more information about Mr. Maakheru, click here!

The Citywide Spring Student Recital Series, featuring PS4 Guitar Students, took place on Tuesday, June 12th.  This celebration also included a performance from the PS4 PRIDE Steppers and the Ellington Poets.  It marked the culmination of this year's guitar program at PS4.  Special thanks to the Honorable Mark Levine, City Council Member District 7, and the Midori & Friends Organization for funding this program.  To learn more about this amazing organization, click here!

Mr. Maakheru and Mr. Cantu (Guitar Program Director) pose with Guitar Program members.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saving the Circus Musical

The cast of Saving the Circus poses after their debut performance.

The Little Top Circus has come to PS4 and we loved every minute of it!  Students, teachers, parents and community members of our school enjoyed three performances of the musical, written by our very own Ms. Batts.  Our first-year drama teacher wrote the lyrics and directed this excited musical, with all characters performed by our talented scholars, called 'Saving The Circus'! Here's the synopsis:

Three students’ dreams come true when they are chosen to join the circus for the day, but they soon learn that circus life is not all fun and games. The Little Top’s rival, the Mega Top Circus, is back in town to stay, and the Mega Top’s director, Regina Fortier, is determined to run the Little Top out of business. In an effort to save her circus, the Little Top’s director, Carmen Powers, commands the performers to try harder to compete with the Mega Top. The performers get to work, but trying so hard to be something they’re not makes them miserable.
The students from PS4 convince the performers to embrace their unique qualities and be true to themselves in their acts. The clowns get in touch with their intelligence, the acrobats practice their own moves, and the animal trainers treat their animals with kindness. The result is a one-of-a-kind show that impresses everyone - even Regina Fortier. The kids learn that they don’t have to be the center of attention in order to be stars; they can shine just by helping others find their light.

Congratulations to Ms. Batts, Mr. Means (musical director) and the many actors that made this musical a success!  Click the link below, to see photos and videos from this Spring musical!

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Honoring Mothers - 2018

PTA Vice President Orchid Rodriguez Huerta portrayed the "Candy Mom" during a celebration honoring mothers.

Directed by Mr. Perez (PS4's Dance Teacher), in collaboration with the P.B.I.S. (Positive Behavior Intervention System) Committee, our scholars honored mothers and mother figures at a Spring performance that took place in our school's auditorium.  Entitled 'Mother, May I?', the show highlighted our talented scholars and featured mothers from our PTA.  We even received a special visit from Johanna Garcia, President of the Community Education Council - District 6)!

Johanna Garcia, President of the Community Education Council - District 6, congratulates Mr. Perez, the show's director.

Directly after some opening remarks from Mr. Perez, the audience was treated to video sharing the powerful portrayal of three women’s journey to motherhood, from around the world and members of our PTA shared a poem.  Then the PS4 Stepping Queens, consisting of ten girls from the 5th grade, took the stage! They showed us a type of dance, with origins in South Africa!  Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps!  For more information on stepping, click here!

Our Spring performance, honoring mothers, continued with the Ellington Poets, directed by Mr. Cantu, performing their original bilingual poem entitled, "Madre Mia".  Our show ended with some Words of Wisdom from Ms. Lennon (Technology Teacher/P.B.I.S. Committee Member) and a special "Candy Mom" performance by the Duke Ellington Dance Company and Mr. Means (Music Teacher).  Here are some of Ms. Lennon's Words of Wisdom...

"The women who mother us speak to us in many ways.  They tell us they love us every time they give a hug or a smile.  They tell us they love us every time they cook a meal or cover us with a blanket when we're cold. Next time you are with the person who mothers you, notice all the little things she does that tell you that she cares.  Then write a letter of appreciation.  It's the best Mother's Day gift you could ever give her".

On behalf of the Duke Ellington School community, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!  Special thanks Joanna Garcia for visiting our school and to Mr. Perez for directing a great show!  To see more photos and videos from the performance, click here!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Kindergarten Students Celebrates Earth Day!

Ms. Baez's class (K02), along with Ms. Patricia, of the NYC Parks department and Ms. Diane, our Community senior volunteer, celebrated Earth Day by beautifying our kindergarten yard!  This project started back in September when students were studying, "Our Community".  They started planting flower bulbs all over the sidewalk beds from Broadway on 160th Street to Amsterdam Avenue and 159th Street. Our scholars learned to dig with shovels up to 4 inches!  They measured with rulers! They learned to face the roots down to help the bulbs grow correctly. It took many planting g sessions, working around the weather to complete this planting project. 
Our young environmentalists couldn't wait to see the school surrounded by beautiful flowers. Amelia D. told Ms. Baez, " It's going to be like walking through a garden every day, on our way to school!"

The Giving Tree, a book by Shel Silvertein helped students learn about the important relationship between people and plants, we depend on each other.  Now that Spring has come, our scholars are seeing their flowers bloom.  They are also reporting the damages of the garbage and animals that are destroying some of the plant beds. Mrs. Diane recently visited Ms. Baez's students to find out what could could be done to improve the growth of our plants. Students Adam B. and Eli S. shared that we could build a metal fence or a metal gate! Ms. Diane and The Parks Restoration agreed to use the idea. But would use recycled wood instead of metal!  to use recycled wood!

To celebrate Earth Day, class K02 painted an " Earth day" banner to let everyone know we care about our Earth and we would Celebrate with our plants and trees in our kindergarten backyard! The scholars enjoyed cleaning up the kindergarten yard together, so they could give the newly planted tree and our future plants a clean shelter. Students sang songs, blew bubbles, used wind pinwheels, and even explored worms and snails!  After some digging and cleaning, Liam said "I love playing with Earth balls!".  

When asked about this successful project, Ms. Baez said, "what my students got out of this planting project and Earth celebration is that we, the scholars of our community, can problem solve together and come up with good ideas. By communicating our ideas and working hard together, we can make the changes that we feel are most important. Our Earth is too important and we can all help make it better".  Congratulations to Ms. Baez and the girls and boys of class K02.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Sing For Hope Piano Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Principal Stevens and Melanie Smith from the Sing For Hope Organization with PS4 students, teachers and PTA Pres.

The Sing For Hope Piano, located in our school's lobby, received an official welcome by members of the Student Government Organization, The Ellington Poets, Principal Stevens and representatives from the Sing For Hope Organization.  During this much anticipated celebration, Melanie Smith, Youth Programs Manager at Sing For Hope, gave students information about the organization and the history of our piano.  "Your piano", she told students "came all the way from under the arch at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and was painted by an artist named Lance Johnson".  This piano is perfect for our school because the artist, from NYC, was inspired by jazz music and wanted to visually express the improvisational creativity of the music. To learn more about is artwork, click here!

During this celebration of the arts, Ms. Williams' (Assistant Principal) daughter Maddie played a song on the piano, Sing For Hope Volunteer John Clinton engaged students in a sing along and our very own Ellington Poets performed an excerpt from their poem, Hamlet in the Heights.  To learn more about the Sing For Hope Organization and how they celebrate the arts, click here!  For more highlights from the event, click here, watch the video and take a look at the photos below!

Special thanks to Melanie Smith and John Clinton from Sing For Hope for leading our ribbon cutting ceremony!  Thanks to Mr. Cantu, Arts Coordinator, for leading arts in our school and bringing this special piano to our lobby.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Junior Achievement At PS4

Junior Achievement Volunteers showed 2nd grade students how communities use taxes.

More than thirty volunteers from Junior Achievement of NY engaged students from kindergarten to 2nd grade in hands-on activities that introduce students to how citizens benefit from and contribute to a community's success.  Junior Achievement's purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy by introducing them to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship

By the end of the day, students in eight classes were able to:
  • Describe a community.
  • Identify the variety of careers people have in a community and how each job requires specific skills.
  • Identify how business and government jobs help a community.
  • Explain how taxation supports government services.
  • Recognize voting as a way responsible citizens act.
  • Describe the flow of money in a community's economy.
For more information on the Junior Achievement Organization, click here and take a look at the photos below to see highlights from their visit!

Kindergarten students learn about needs and wants (photo taken by Ms. Nuez)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Important Dates - Testing

Elementary and middle school students in New York State take yearly State tests in core academic subjects to assess their mastery of the Common Core Learning Standards. Students’ test results are one of the factors that schools use to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade. Educators also analyze students’ test results to help determine which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.
The links below take you to pages with more information about each particular test that elementary and middle school students take; you can also read more about how subjects are taught in New York City on the Academics page.

English Language Arts (ELA): Students in grades 3-8 take this test on April 11 and 12.
Math: Students in grades 3-8 take this test on May 1 and 2.
Science: Students in grades 4 and 8 take the written test on June 4.
New York State English as a Second Language Test (NYSESLAT): Students in grades K-12 who receive ENL services will take this test on selected days from May 7 to May 18.

Read this parent guide that provides more information on student participation and the State exams. Translated versions are available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Hatian Creole, Korean, Spanish, Russian, and Urdu. For more information about the NYS testing program at PS4, please contact the main office or speak to your child's teacher.