Feature stories

Why we’re #PublicSchoolProud

Brooklyn schools go all out to showcase their greatness

PS/IS 30 students star in “Aladdin Jr.”

PS/IS 30 students star in “Aladdin Jr.”

PS 48 students perform “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

PS 48 students perform “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

PS 506 students perform an excerpt from “The Lion King.”

PS 506 students perform an excerpt from “The Lion King.”

Students from PS 310 danced the conga.

Students from the Chinese dance club at PS 160 performed Chinese ribbon and fan dances.

Students in the orchestra at PS 205 played Brandenburg’s Concerto No. 3 and immediately followed it with the pop song “Shut Up and Dance.”

The performances were part of the month-long celebration of the arts that District 20, in the southwest corner of Brooklyn, organized as part of the UFT’s #PublicSchoolProud campaign.

“Getting to see other kids perform was a great way to build community,” said Lindsey Nicastro, a dance teacher at PS 506.

Lisette Quintana, the parent of a 4th-grade dancer and actor at PS 506, was pleased to have the opportunity to see her daughter perform onstage. “Not all kids can afford to be in arts programs outside school, and this gives them the opportunity,” she said.

The District 20 Performing Arts Festival was a multi-part affair: Six schools performed at the district’s Community Education Council meeting on May 10, 14 other schools performed at IS 259 on May 19 and individual schools held events throughout the month.

“The arts have the power not only to enrich learning in other subject areas but to bring student voices to light in ways that academics don’t necessarily do,” said PS 264 theater teacher Lyndsey McAdams, whose students performed an excerpt from their original musical “Journey to Hope,” about the history of immigration in the United States.

“It’s almost as if a book is coming to life,” said Hirin, a 4th-grader in McAdams’ class. “By working as a team, we created something totally amazing.”

Speech teacher and choreographer Meredith Harrison helps with wardrobe adjustmenSpeech teacher and choreographer Meredith Harrison helps with wardrobe adjustments before the PS/IS 30 performance of “Aladdin Jr.” The PS 127 chorus sings a medley of Disney songs.The PS 127 chorus sings a medley of Disney songs.

The May festival was the product of the strong collaboration between District 20 Superintendent Karina Constantino and UFT District Representative Ellen Driesen.

PS 186 students perform “The Little Mermaid.”PS 186 students perform “The Little Mermaid.” PS 112 teacher Yakov Dyman plays the trumpet alongside his students.PS 112 teacher Yakov Dyman plays the trumpet alongside his students.

“We have common ground in that all of us agree that we have incredible students in our district doing incredible work, and this gives everybody a chance to shine,” said Driesen.

Students from PS 264 perform “Winnie the Pooh.”Students from PS 264 perform “Winnie the Pooh.” The Chinese dance club of PS 160 performs a fan dance.The Chinese dance club of PS 160 performs a fan dance.

“Arts give our students presence, confidence and the chance to stand out,” said Constantino. “It’s fitting that we put a strong emphasis on coming together as a community and celebrating as a district.”

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