Dear Art and Design Community,
It is hard to believe that this academic year is soon coming to a close. We have been through so much together and will continue to weather the challenges of uncertainty as we continue through the summer. What is certain is that we have so much to reflect on and celebrate. Art and Design continues to shine as the home of visual arts in NYC and beyond.
Having almost concluded my first year as your principal, I would like to briefly reflect on the last 10 months. When I was first privileged with the role of being your principal, I inherited the responsibility of finding new and innovative ways to ensure your arts and core education. We have made strides in revising our curriculum and listening to our young professionals about the coursework they want to engage in. This conversation is ongoing as is our work around addressing racism and inequity. I also inherited the history of our school, and that means looking back to see areas where we could have done better with and for anyone we serve. It is apparent that there is still much work to be done.
Let’s look back at some of the positives that made up this year. We took the Spring Arts Festival digital and will be showcasing our young professional’s brilliance for many months to come. We won awards in every one of our major categories for Scholastic Arts competitions, industry awards and over $10,400,000.00 in aggregate scholarships for our seniors. Our graduates have the honor of receiving the prestigious Silas V Rhodes scholarship, NYU Steinhardt Scholarship and Posse Scholarships to name a few. Those same seniors have been accepted to 200+ universities ranging from our local CUNY and SUNY colleges to the Ivies and just about every leading arts university program in between. Our Work-Based Learning and internship program grew to over 300+ students with partnerships designed to enhance real-world experiences and economically empower our community. We received grants from our local government officials and forged partnerships with leading universities as we plan around articulation agreements and ways to improve our post-secondary school goals. Our AND Agency won bids and completed contracts with organizations as far away as India while graphics continued to provide services for our district partners and state programs.
Our open houses were attended by thousands of applicants who came with bright eyes and the hopes of joining our diverse, inclusive and talented community. We held club fairs and mixers for the 25+ student-led organizations that provide our students with differentiated options to find a community aligned to their interests and goals. Our student equity leaders joined district leadership and their peers to influence the way we build curriculum and worked collaboratively to address a culture of systemic oppression in education and beyond.
For all of this celebration, we recognize the importance of improvements and will continue to strive towards excellence in every way. Schools exist within a larger context, one which we have the power to affect. Our nation is fractured, attempting to reconcile its history based on 400 years of oppression and conditioning of black and brown people. Our work around anti-racism is integral to ensuring that we rebuild our nation’s narrative not around division, but unity. We face massive public health challenges and elements of our own school culture that require serious reflection on supportive structures and mental health. As we move ahead to the fall, we will continue to revise and adapt our planning around our young professional’s needs.
No matter the challenge, our creative approaches to education make us exceptional. Please take the time needed to rest and recuperate this summer. At every opportunity you can, please keep learning and practice mindfulness. I wish you all good health and safety as we proceed into what will undoubtedly be another exciting year.