Grantee Corner  |  New York City Community School District 14

A group of students in uniforms play keyboards
PS 123 students make music through hands-on and interactive learning

Three female students in uniforms pose around an aluminum tray full of neon green material
PS 196 fourth grade students engage in an inquiry-based investigation into the science behind volcano formation and activity

A male student wearing headphones sits at a computer
PS 196 English Language Learner fifth grade student uses a guided language software program to improve his reading vocabulary and English comprehension abilities

A group of students and two teachers pose around an aluminum tray full of neon green material
PS 196 fourth grade students study volcanos

A male student measures a plant
A PS 157 fourth grade student studies plants

A female student holds two bulbs
A PS 157 fourth grade student studies plant bulbs

A group of student stands around desks with structures built out of books and blocks on them
PS 120 students construct multi-level structures using classroom materials

A female student stands at a podium
MS 582 student sings the national anthem

A female student kneels in front of a harp-shaped structure made of paper and cardboard
PS 120 student uses recycled materials to reinforce a structure she designed and engineered in STEM class

A female student in a blazer stands at a podium
MS 582 Student Body President delivers a speech at a schoolwide event

A group of students kneel in a hallway preparing to launch their catapults
PS 123’s STEAM TEAM puts their catapult-building skills to the test with a marshmallow launch

Two male students use a boulder as a table to write in notebooks
PS 157 students take a neighborhood walk to the park to observe the local trees in a unit called Trees Through the Seasons

Two male students look at parts of plants
PS 157 fourth grade students investigate root vegetables

A male student pours water into a potted plant
PS 157 fourth grade students studies plants

Joseph Gallagher, CSD 14 Project Director

New York City (NYC) Community School District 14 (CSD 14) and Community School District 32 (CSD 32) are neighbors in Brooklyn, and have formed a consortium to implement a fiscal year 2016 Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. These large, urban school districts serve diverse communities. CSD 14 serves 18,812 students in grades preK-12 at 42 public schools, and CSD 32 has 12,565 students in its 29 elementary, middle, and high schools.

CSD 14 has implemented magnet programs in the past, and CSD 32 is new to MSAP. This interdistrict project includes five magnet schools—four in CSD 14 (P.S. 120, P.S./I.S. 157, P.S. 196, and M.S. 582) and one in CSD 32 (P.S. 123). The project aims to reduce minority group isolation of Hispanic students at each magnet school; increase diversity; create rigorous, theme-based instructional programs to improve student achievement; and implement project-based learning. Each school has a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) component as part of its magnet theme. In addition, numerous community partnerships and extensive parent involvement add to the project’s positive impact on schools, students, and families.

In the Williamsburg community, P.S. 120 has 375 students in grades preK-5. Through the MSAP grant, the school has a new architecture, engineering, and design theme, and new partners such as the Center for Architecture and the Learning through Expanded Arts Program. The magnet specialists, school staff, and partners design projects, field trips, and building activities that explore the theme. Instruction is hands-on, activity-based, and aligned to the NYC STEM Framework. Conversions of existing classroom space provide a STEM lab and an engineering/design research lab.

Also serving grades prek-5, P.S. 123, is implementing a science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) magnet theme for its 752 students in the Bushwick neighborhood. Among other theme-based activities, partnerships with Makerbot, Studio-in-a-School, Lego Education, Turtle Bay Music, and the University of Connecticut’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model provide students with a rigorous, problem-based approach to learning that integrates all aspects of STEAM with real-world applications.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, P.S./I.S. 157 has adopted a magnet theme of civic leadership in health and science. The instructional focus on environmental science, health, and STEM applications will develop citizen scientists prepared to become future leaders in those fields. Curriculum is aligned to the NYC Scope and Sequence for Science and the Next Generation Science Standards. The school serves 501 students in grades preK-8, and magnet partners include the BEAM Center, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Prospect Park Zoo.

P.S. 196 (grades preK-5) and M.S. 582 (grades 6-8) are located on a Williamsburg campus and share a newly developed media-tech center. At P.S. 196, the school’s 344 students engage in a communication and media arts magnet theme through a curriculum based on the NYC Blueprint for Teaching and Learning with the Arts, which supports transdisciplinary and thematic unit development. STEAM concepts, strategies, and skills are embedded in magnet instruction. The school’s communication, media arts, and STEM partners include Google Education, New York University School of Engineering, the Paley Center, Salvadori, Rosie’s Theatre, and University of Connecticut’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model.

M.S. 582 enrolls 245 students and has a multimedia, technology, and urban planning theme. Partnering with the BEAM Center, Pratt Institute, and Salvadori, the magnet curriculum fosters the creation of student digital portfolios that encompass performance assessments, academic unit projects, community-based projects, and other media-based work demonstrating the students’ skills and accomplishments.  

The CSD 14 MSAP project is managed by Joseph Gallagher, the project director, as part of the NYC Department of Education Office of State and Federal Education Policy and School Improvement. Mr. Gallagher has extensive experience as a junior high school teacher and district-level administrator. He has worked with numerous magnet programs, all in Brooklyn, since 1998.