Melanie Katz, a computer science teacher at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing, wants her students to fill some of the million of unfilled computer jobs projected to exist in 2020. By then, the high school students she teaches will be around 23 years old, many of them new college graduates.
SinovisionNet was in attendance to witness the graduation ceremony of our Class of 2013, and interviewed two of our outstanding students who overcame personal adversity to graduating with honors, Jiaming Lin and Jierui Zhao.
Suffering from a rare case of rickets which confined Jierui Zhao to a wheelchair, she overcame a language barrier and attending school in an unfamiliar environment, to graduate from the East-West School of International Studies with honors and a scholarship to NYS University of Binghampton.
With SAT scores of 1550, and a GPA of 85%, Jiaming Lin recounts his academic struggles to graduating at The East-West School of International Studies with outstanding honors.
Jiaming Lin recalls how fortunate he feels to have attended the East-West School and was able to excel in his academics because of the small school environment and individualized attention he received.
成立於2006年的東西方國際學習學校屬小型公立學校，從六至12年級共有約650名學生，也是比爾蓋茲基金會(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)贊助的創新教育計畫(New Visions for Public Schools)成員。因應亞洲影響力，學生必須在中、韓、日三種語言中挑選一種，每天上一堂課，學習二至四年，並配合文化課程及暑假旅遊體驗，作為日後升學、職場的基礎。該校亞裔學生占近六成，也提供新移民學生ESL課程，2102年畢業率為92%。
Students Yuxiong Jiang (second l.) and Lorin Cheung (r.) are presented with certificates by Yuh-Line Niou from state Assemblyman Ron Kim’s office. They are joined by Principal Ben Sherman (l.). Photo by Christina Santucci
The East-West School of International Studies recently held a ribbon-cutting for its Civil Rights Wall, which features prominent figures in the the civil rights movement.
法拉盛東西國際學習學校27日舉行「人權之牆」(Civil Rights Wall) 揭幕儀式，用以提醒師生對「非裔傳統月」的重視。牆面展出多幅圖片，表現民權奮鬥史以及在校學生對民權運動重大事件所寫的文章。市議員顧雅明出席儀式，勉勵學生珍惜民主價值。國會眾議員孟昭文、州眾議員金兌錫、李羅莎(Nily Rozic) 均派代表致意。（圖：東西國際學習學校提供，文：記者呂賢修）
On February 27, 2013, The East-West School of International Studies in Flushing held a Civil Right Wall Dedication Ceremony to remind teachers and students the importance of African Heritage Month. The wall exhibited photographs and student writings of the struggle for Civil Rights. Councilman Peter Koo attended the event and encouraged students to cherish and value our democracy. Yuh-Line Niou, Chief-of-Staff to Assembly Member Ron Kim, David Ng, Chief-of-Staff to Assembly Member Nily Rozic, and Don Capalbi, Community Liasion to Assembly Member Grace Meng were also in attendance.
While New York City’s most elite and selective schools accept only kids with top grades and test scores, others take students who struggled in middle school — and then work wonders. The best of these inclusive schools strive to whip students into shape for a top college or well-paying career. The Department of Education and Insideschools.org, an independent guide to public schools, identified some up-and-coming gems.
Kwaku Oware-Addai and Bethany Si Yue Mong both won $1000 (1st place),Max Poumie and Dimitrios Galo Almeida won $500 (2nd place), and Tiffany Thomas and Londel Collier won $250 (3rd place).
Congratulations to the winners!
Winners of the contest were announced on Tuesday, March 8th, at the G2G Talent Show Extravaganza at Madison Square Park. Films were shown on a large screen. Winning songs and dance acts were performed live. Winning essays were read live before the audience, and winning artists described why their work represents the meaning of G2G.
On January 19, 2011, students, teachers, and school leaders from 21 schools in Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms Network traveled to Washington, DC to attend an event with First Lady Michelle Obama, where she underscored the Obama administration's commitment to the “100,000 Strong Initiative.”
As a Confucius Classroom, East-West was able to send Ms. Chang and Farisa Ahmed to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Farisa was thrilled when she found out that she would be East-West's student representative:
When I was told I was given the opportunity to go meet President Hu Jin Tao and First Lady Michelle Obama, it was a moment of complete bliss. All my years at east west just flew through my brain like a tornado. I was very grateful to everyone who made the trip possible. Excitement rushed into my heart, because it was the first time I would be visiting the nation’s capital. Washington D.C just had a certain ring to it that made me jump for joy. Over the course of two days China and U.S. relations was the only thing I could think about.
In her speech, Mrs. Obama said that by studying abroad, students are helping to make America stronger. She quoted her husband, saying: “America has no better ambassadors to offer than our young people.” Mrs. Obama’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion with students who shared anecdotes of their experiences learning Mandarin and studying in China. Afterward, student representatives shook hands and chatted with the First Lady.
The event, which took place on the campus of Howard University, coincided with the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington, DC.
Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms were invited to this event because of their strong commitment to building an educational partnership with schools in China, supporting their students in learning Chinese, and sending them to study in China.
At Morning Muster the day after she came back from Washington D.C., Farisa described her experience in front of the student body, but confided that she wasn't so sure about it being a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity":
"When I shook her hand, I had a feeling I was going to see her again."
Students, teachers and community members walk the halls of the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing that are lined with flags of the world. PHOTO BY EMILY KAISER
by Emily Kaiser, Chronicle Contributor
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” reads one of nine new banners unveiled last Thursday at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing.
Faculty, students and community members on hand to celebrate the event hope those words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and others, provide inspiration as the small school continues to grow.
“We thought it would be very nice to unify the school under these banners and quotes,” Principal Ben Sherman said. “It’s very common when you go to charter schools to see these large inspirational signs, but these are very unusual in public schools, so we wanted to give these their own public spaces.”
The signs were paid for with about $2,000 remaining from a $400,000 grant the school received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sherman said. The grade 6-12 school, located at 46-21 Colden St., was established in September 2006 with about 200 students and has since grown to 590. It occupies two floors of the building it shares with IS 237.
The words chosen by such varying figures and sources as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the Talmud reflect the open ethos of East-West School. As an international school, it focuses on preparing students for the growing importance of Asia in a global world.
“We require four years of study in one language at this school,” Sherman said. “We don’t offer Spanish or French, but instead we have Japanese, Mandarin and Korean.”
Students also focus on the music, art and culture of East Asian countries. “It is not required by New York State, so these are some of the first things cut in school budgets,” Sherman added. “So it’s something we’re very proud of.”
Brian Park, a junior, said he walks past the signs every day. “My favorite one is by Akio Morita,” Park said. “I think that when students walk by these signs it will just awaken something inside them that relates themselves to the quote.”
Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) said he was honored to be present to unveil the signs. “I’m inspired by the concept of [the school], because now the whole world has changed, everything is global,” Koo said. “But at the same time in our students here we see enough motivation and discipline that they can do it, they can do better things.”
The school emphasizes the importance of new learning. “We are not teaching Chinese to a Chinese kid and winking at each other saying how much they’ve learned,” Sherman said. “These students do not go home and speak Chinese.”
As a result, the student community maintains its diversity and expansive goals. “We are an international school and we love to represent all the countries in the world, not just Asia,” said Katherine Gutierrez, a junior. Of the 65 students in the school’s first high school class to graduate last year, 64 continued on to college and one joined the Navy.
This article was written by Ms. Pechersky, a special education teacher at East-West. They were published in the Forum, a well-respected Russian intellectual newspaper that is published city-wide. She writes:
"This article introduces the readers to the history, mission, student achievements, curriculum, special events, and traditions of our school. The students share what they like about the school, why they chose it, what languages they study and what their family heritage is. I interviewed several teachers and Mr. Sherman along with many students."
East-West School of International Studies Selected to Join Prestigious Hanban-Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network
In recognition of its potential as a model Chinese language program for the U.S., strong local leadership, demonstrated commitment to international exchange and collaboration, and global vision for the future, the East-West School of International Studies has been accepted as a member of the second cohort of schools in the Hanban-Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network.
Along with a start-up cash award of $10,000, EWSIS will work to enhance their existing Chinese language program through unique opportunities such as being matched with partner schools in China and having students, teachers and administrators conduct exchanges and joint projects. They will also receive 1000 volumes of Chinese language learning materials.
Guiding values and voices fortify community as EWSIS prepares to officially unveil school banners with local leaders
As EWSIS students climb the stairs every morning to go to their first class, Gandhi reminds them to “be the change they wish to see in the world”. Gandhi’s wisdom is one of the nine voices, including those of Mother Teresa, Max Ehrmann, and Akio Morita, which are featured on the new school banners that hang prominently over every stairwell. Each quote is bound by the words honor, excellence, curiosity, and celebration, the four guiding values of East-West.
Students crossing Stairwell E to get to their language classes know that Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” The glossy professionally-made banners reflect a small ambitious school that has come a long way since taking its first step. The number of students has tripled to 600 since the school opened in 2006, but EWSIS received the highest grade of an A for both middle and high school, the only 6-12 school in Queens to do so, in NYC school progress reports for the past two years. Last year EWSIS held its first high school graduation. With sixty-five students graduating, sixty-four continued on to college and one joined the Navy.
EWSIS and Flushing community leaders will officially unveil the banners in a brief ceremony on January 13, 2011 at 3 pm, preceding a meeting of the East-West School Community Advisory Board.
The East-West School of International Studies is designed to provide students with an optimal learning environment, consisting of a rigorous academic program of reading and writing in English, a deep understanding of math and science, and the aptitude to employ sophisticated technology, where students prepare for entrance to college. In addition, EWSIS believes that our next generation must be primed for Asia, a region with growing importance and influence. All EWSIS students are therefore required to study one East Asian language for at least four years.
East-West Collects 1,500 Pounds of Food for City Harvest
In just five days, the students and staff of the East-West School of International Studies collected 1,500 pounds of non-perishable food for City Harvest, in honor of Kids Can Help Week. Although it has grown quickly since it opened five years ago, there are only 586 students in this small 6-12 international studies school in Flushing, Queens.
"...Shi Giang Ng Tong, 20, a student at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing, Queens, is Chinese but was born in Colombia, and speaks Spanish, English, Mandarin and Cantonese. He came to the United States in September 2006 at the age of 16, speaking no English. In June, he will graduate as valedictorian of his class, with a 96.85 average, the highest in the school." (NY Times)
The East-West School of International Studies in Flushing
School hasn't even started this year, but parents of many incoming fifth-graders already have their sights set on next year - middle school.
Finding the right middle school can be a nearly year-long process filled with anxiety and confusion - but there are some great options, said Clara Hemphill, whose third edition of "New York City's Best Public Middle Schools: A Parents' Guide" comes out this week.
"What you want is some place that provides both the specialization of a good high school and nurturing of good elementary," she said.
Hemphill and researchers at Insideschools.org visited nearly all of the city's 533 middle school programs. The best were written up in the book, and descriptions of the rest can be found on the Web site.
Students will not only get the chance to become proficient in an Asian language - they'll study Asian history, culture and technology. Kids can learn Japanese, Korean or Mandarin Chinese and study calligraphy, Japanese animation and martial arts. Hemphill says both attendance and test scores are good at the two-year-old school, designed to help kids compete in the global economy.