2000-11-11 / Columnists

Focus On 27

By Patricia Tubridy, Principal

Public School 47 is a rather unique school in that we are located on Broad Channel Island. We are somewhat isolated, having the Crossbay Bridge to our south and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to the north. Surrounded by water, without the presence of large buildings or major shopping areas, Broad Channel is a usually quiet community where neighbors have known each other for generations. Students come from Broad Channel Island and the Rockaway Peninsula. Students attend classes from kindergarten through the eighth grade.

The 2000-2001 school year is off to an exciting beginning. Our kindergarten, first grade and fifth grades spent a day at Green Meadow Farm in Queens. They had the fabulous experience of milking a cow, riding on a hay wagon and visiting with barnyard animals. Both our second and third grade classes will be exploring the diversity of our communities through learning about the many cultures that make up our neighborhoods. The program shall include music, dance, and a drama. After reading "The Lion Dancer," a story about a New York City Chinese-American family's special celebration, our second graders will create a lion dance of their own, complete with masks, noisemakers and a dragon parade. The third graders will choose a country from their heritage and do an independent project that will be shared in the spring in a heritage celebration.

After reading the short story "The Marble Champ," by Gary Soto, fourth graders decided to hold a marble championship of their own. The class learned how to play the game Ringer, where you put 13 marbles in a cross shape inside a drawn circle, using a "shooter" you try to knock marbles out of the circle. Just coincidentally, the finals were held on Friday the 13.

Our Middle School students are very active with special projects of their own. This year, through the activities done at Public School 47, the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will become more active in the American political process. In their social studies classes, students will be thinking, writing and speaking about the elections. They will learn that elections are about real candidates and about important issues. By studying this process and engaging in it themselves, students will become more educated, informed citizens, able to play a part in our democratic systems. This is an exciting opportunity for the students of Public School 47 to become more aware of the important role citizens have in shaping our government.

Our middle school students are also engaged in the stock market game, in which they research different companies and learn whether to invest in their company or not. They will watch the stock market and determine how well their investments are progressing. We have applied for a grant under the Jamaica Bay Trackers program, which will enable the students from our school to perform important chemical and biological tests to determine the quality of water in Jamaica Bay. We have also applied for another grant that will bring the Broad Channel community both "past and present" together through interviews, tapings and art projects involving both students and community members.

The upper grades will also be involved in the Jason Hawaiian Project. This is a hands-on science learning experience focusing on the "wild side" of Hawaii. Jason Project XII "expeditions" will be done on-line using computer technology. During the expeditions, students will work with team members such as expert researchers, broadcast and production specialists, online experts, as well as teacher and student "Argonauts." They will be exploring Hawaii's geologic, climatic, biologic, and cultural elements. Students hope to build a lava tube, which will demonstrate their knowledge of this unique island ecosystem.

No school is complete without cooperation between parents and the school. We are very proud of the relationship our school has with the community. Parents and staff of Public School 47 participated in a walk-a-thon on Friday, October 13 for breast cancer awareness. A donation was made to the American Cancer Society in memory of Dorothy Wilmarth, an exceptionally talented and wonderful young volunteer who died of breast cancer last December. Dorothy was a lifelong resident of Broad Channel and the mother of three children, John, Eddie and Rosie. She continues to be missed by all.

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