When Rita Fattorusso invites one of her prekindergarten students to the front of the class to lead morning exercises, the other students pay strict attention. If they don’t, they’ll miss their classmate’s instructions: He uses American Sign Language to tell them to do eight jumping jacks, mimicking the action and counting out the number eight on his fingers.
"Your art journey begins here.”
That message from Amie Robinson to her students is posted on her classroom door. And for many of those students, that journey has taken their artwork from the classroom at PS 77, a District 75 school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, the Brooklyn Museum and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
For Jo Ann Westhall, an elementary school education includes reading, writing, arithmetic — and computer science. Westhall, a computer science teacher and the chapter leader at PS 31 in Bayside, Queens, brought a subject reserved for middle and high school students to children as young as 4 years old.
“My goal is that students start to see themselves as problem-solvers, and that there’s a process by which we approach problems using the lens of the tools we have in class,” says Academy for Software Engineering in Manhattan teacher Jonathan Rothman, who was awarded a 2018 Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics.