Monday, November 5, 2018

You didn’t really think that was the end of the newsletters did you?

October 29th, 2018

 

Dear LoMA family,

 

I am immensely proud of our school.  Last week was rattling and confusing for many of us but we did what we do best.  We supported each other, gave hugs where needed and focused on our work!  As a school we understand that change is inevitable and from change comes growth.  We will continue to grow together.

 

We have spent the last week introducing Ms. Fontanez to LoMA and our very unique school culture.  Ms. Fontanez recognizes how many amazing things are happening at LoMA.  She has also made a point of getting to know our students, staff and families.  It is evident that Ms. Fontanez really cares about students. Though she has a lot on her plate, she has not been intimidated by the tasks at hand and she is diving right in.  Ms. Fontanez has a wealth of experience in schools and we appreciate having her as a teammate and resource.

 

Last Monday, many members of the LoMA community (staff, students, parents, alumni) gathered to express their shock and confusion about Dr. Wenk's absence.  I listened to many people express why LoMA is special to them.  I have also spent the last week reflecting on what makes us unique and why LoMA is special to me.   I wanted to share some of these with you.

 

•             LoMA lives our mission daily.  We care.  And we show we care in so many ways.

•             Advisory- Students have the opportunity to touch base with their advisors first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.  In most cases Advisors stay with their students for 3 years.  This is an opportunity for students to have consistency and long-term relationships with staff members. 

•             Extracurriculars- Our students and staff stay at school and get involved.  Our after-school programs and PSAL sports are a place where students can develop new skills, meet new people and spend time somewhere safe.  Many schools are empty when the last bell rings.  That has never been us.  We know that these activities relieve stress and allow relationships to form that are different than during the academic day.

•             Performances- LoMA has produced more than 70 shows in the last 13 years! In addition to our Lower Manhattan Theater ensemble shows (LoMATE) we also produce a Talent show, Major's show and Senior show every year.  Our productions are first rate and always fun for participants and spectators alike. As one student said to me last year, "everyone at LoMA can feel like Beyonce on that stage".  It's true.  LoMA recognizes your effort.  I have witnessed many times that a student froze on stage, forgot lines or just got overwhelmed by stage fright.  On these occasions, our community cheered for them until they got the confidence they needed to try again.  That is so special.

•             When we founded LoMA we made a commitment to being an arts school that does not audition.  We wanted to make the arts available to everyone.  LoMA allows students to experience the arts without the competitiveness of a screened school.  You do not have to come to LoMA with talent, just a passion for learning and interest in the arts as a form of expression.

•             Supporting each other- Our students are so kind.  Every day I see students supporting their friends who are having a rough time.  I see students walking their classmates to the clinic or to a counseling office when they see their peers hurting.  I see students that do not know each other reach out to other students who appear sad or stressed. Thank you. You are so kind.  You look out for each other.  You let adults know when you see people treated in a way you do not approve of or if you know someone is at risk. We are so lucky to have people like you in our community.

•             Spending time together.  Our staff are here early in the morning and stay late into the evening.  Our days do not end when the contract says but when the work is done. Our staff stays by choice.  On any given day, there are staff members after school in their classrooms and offices working with students and sometimes just working beside students.  These relationships are at the heart of what makes our community so tight.

•             Wearing many hats- in a small school, staff members wear many hats and take on many roles.  Our staff step up to the plate and get the job done.  Staff are willing to learn new skills and work with new people.  Staff consistently put the greater good of the community first. We do not look for the easy way out.

•             Family- LoMA families have trusted us with their most precious possessions.  We collaborate with our families because we all know it truly takes a community to raise a child. LoMA parents speak up, show up and strive to raise conscientious children who better our world. Thank you, parents, for your support, time, opinions, feedback and trust.

•             LGBTQ solidarity-  LoMA has always been a safe haven for students of all types.  Regardless of if our Principal is gay or straight, YOU ARE FREE TO BE YOU. We support and stand with our LGBTQ community.  When asked if we have a Gay/straight alliance, I often feel that as a community we are all part of that alliance.

•             Abilities and disabilities- LoMA recognizes that everyone is different.  We learn differently.  We all have abilities and disabilities, some we can see and some we cannot.  We celebrate these qualities and we know that ultimately everyone is different and as long as we continue to put in effort and make personal progress, then we are succeeding.

•             Tutoring- We have a school culture that values tutoring.  The majority of our students know that tutoring is their opportunity to be supported with new concepts and homework. Students can chose who they would like to tutor with based on what they need the most help with. Our after-school programs begin after tutoring so that students can get the enrichment they need both academically and socially.

•             Trips- LoMA believes in developing cultural capital in our students.  We visit museums, concerts, plays, exhibitions, lectures and galleries.  We try to expose our students to performances and genres they may not otherwise get the opportunity to experience.  We want our students to be comfortable in different forums and environments.  Even if a student says a performance was "boring", we know that exposure is critical to development.

•             Partnerships- LoMA has partnered with organizations all over the city to provide programming and opportunities for our community.  This year we are partnering with The Henry Street Settlement, Educational Alliance, NYTW, ScriptED, The Whitney, The Park Avenue Armory, The Metropolitan Museum, The Door, TAC, Expanding The Arts, LEAP, City Lore and Grand Street Settlement.  We will continue to develop relationships with partners that benefit our community and students

•             Senior year- To prepare students for the realities of college and life after high school, Students have an individualized program Senior year.  Students spend the mornings in classrooms at LoMA and the rest of their day is spent taking AP classes, taking college classes at local Universities, interning all around the city, meeting with college advisors, touring colleges, prepping for exams and tutoring.  This truly transitions students towards life beyond high school.  LoMA Seniors learn to manage their time and have the opportunity to explore career interests before committing themselves to a major in college.  Our students have a proven track record of being successful in college and beyond.

•             Diversity- Our LoMA family consists of a multitude of cultures, nationalities, races, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, special abilities and traditions.  We celebrate this diversity. We want to know about each other. We respect you for who you are.

•             Staff- Loma staff are not just hired as employees, they are brought on to become members of our family.  We hire good people that are good at what they do.  We value experience as well as a willingness to learn.  We understand that people are so much more than just the titles they have been given.

 

These are just a few of the reasons I value LoMA. What about you?  What makes LoMA special to you?  Please think about this and if you have a memory about LoMA, or positive experience, please share them with me at ygarfield@aol.com.  I would like to add student, staff and parent voices to my upcoming newsletters.  I would also like to have a section of my newsletter focusing on accomplishments in our community.  If you would like to share news about something awesome that you or someone else has been up to, please email me to let me know.

 

Thank you LoMA family, I am lucky to be part of your team.

Ms. Garfield, AP

 

Upcoming dates:

October

29th-2nd- Spirit week Mon, Oct. 29th - Pajama Day/Tues, Oct. 30th - Breast Cancer Awareness -wear pink/Wed, Oct. 31st - Costume day (Halloween)- No face masks or fake weapons please/Thurs Nov. 1st- Twin Day/Fri Nov. 2nd- Color Wars: Teachers wear black (Yay! My favorite). 9th-green, 10th-orange, 11th-yellow, 12th- blue

I will be coming around advisories to take photos!-

November

1st- Fall dance! 4:30-7:00, 3$ in advance, 5$ at the door/day of dance.  LoMA students only.  You may not attend the dance or any after school activities if you were absent from school that day. 

6th- Election Day. No school for students, PD for staff

8th-College Fair visit for 10-12th grades. Times to be announced

       6:00-PA association meeting

12th-Veteran's Day- No school for students and staff

13th-Arts rotate 9th grade

15th- 5:00-SLT meeting

        6:00-PA meeting

        6:00- New Student orientation

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