Dear S2 Friends,
These newsletters are a wonderful way for me to be able to share a few thoughts about school and update you on our progress and people. Below are some highlights from the opening of year 4. School is in full swing. Each year we are able to deepen the support and opportunities we are able to provide. This year we have added a debate team, 8th grade bouldering club, parent council and alumni program.
While we try our best to bring the school to life in these newsletters, nothing can replace a visit. Those who have found their way here have been able to feel the power of our community firsthand.

By now you should have received an invitation to our December 3rd Back to School Showcase. We know it is never easy to get out on weekday evenings but we hope you will try and come. You will have the chance to take a good look inside S2-- really feel the “bones” of this place and meet the people. An added bonus is the chance to be introduced to the music, art and food of Washington Heights. I am confident it will be informative, inspiring as well as just plain fun. Tickets are free! We hope to see you on Dec 3rd!
If you have not yet RSVPed you can do so  here
As always, we remain so grateful for your support.
S2 in Session
I n visiting our classrooms, the S2 approach is evident. Our students are engaged and at the center of their own learning. Instruction at S2 is student-centered, highly individualized and grounded in research-based practices that align with our curriculum choices and provide teachers with the skills and strategies that encourage a variety of learning styles. This approach offers all learners ample opportunity to build and demonstrate mastery of their subject. Here is a sample of learning in each grade:
Community Maps

In our 6th grade social studies classes students imagined what their communities could look like if they could restructure and rebuild them. In their blueprints, they considered what resources their communities would need and how to combat issues like poverty, violence, food deserts, and environmental racism.
"I liked that we were creative in making our neighborhood's better.
Our group wanted access to fresh food, so we put a farm in the middle
of Washington Heights." - Britney, 6th grade
Self Portraits

This quarter 7th grade worked on their portrait skills appreciating the photorealistic artworks of Chuck Close.  Students created collages using words and symbols to describe themselves.  Both offered students the opportunity to learn various art elements as well as further explore issues of identity that they are studying in social studies.
"I was surprised at how other 7th graders thought about themselves and
they were surprised at how I described myself. We all learned something about ourselves and each other." - Sophia, 7th grade
Energy Bars

In science class, 8th grade students completed a virtual internship to build health bars for victims of natural disasters. After completing their final project - a written proposal - students had the opportunity to actually cook the virtual recipes they had designed! Favorites included bars made with dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds.
"It's really great to get our hands dirty, to learn by doing, and tasting!" - Jendy, 8th grade
Exploring Passions
At S2, learning extends beyond the classroom. Through our interest-aligned "Passions Program," offered twice weekly students choose from over a dozen high quality experiences that spark each student’s passion. This quarter’s choices include: rugby, soccer, mural art, coding, cooking and chess. With the S2 Passion Program students are exposed to new experiences and gain a vision of future possibilities. New to this year, students can choose Lyrical Lab to make their own beats and music, or try bouldering at Steep Rock on 125th Street. (Pictured above from top left: soccer, chess, bouldering, Lyrical Lab, cooking and art).
"Bouldering is amazing. You really have to focus and learn to pull your body up. I am stronger, and now can help my mother taking the groceries up the stairs to our apartment." - Genaro, 8th grade

"I shared the song I created in Lyrical Lab with my dad, and he cried. He never cries for anything. He said it was beautiful." - Hailey, 6th grade
You can listen to Hailey's song, along with other talented S2 artist here .
Maritza Ortega - Future Doctor
When Maritza first came to School in the Square, she was shy, and nervous about speaking in class or making friends. In her former elementary school, she was bullied and she didn't feel empowered to participate. In speaking with Maritza today, you would never know that. Maritza is a confident 8th grader who is an avid reader, a member of the volleyball and flag football team and an S2 Ambassador. Maritza shared:

"This school has given me opportunities I would never have had anywhere else.
I have teachers who believe in me and encourage me to try new things.
S2 is a safe place where we can learn and make friends."

Most recently, Maritza celebrated her induction and White Coat Ceremony to the Lang Youth Medical Program at New York Presbyterian. This prestigious program is a six-year science education and mentoring program for middle school students while continuing into high school, which is sponsored by New York Presbyterian Hospital. The program aims to inspire, support, and motivate young people in Washington Heights to realize their college and career aspirations in the health sciences.

In attendance with Maritza at her White Coat Ceremony was 8th grade High School guidance counselor Mr. Rodriguez, "It was such a beautiful ceremony and I felt extremely honored that Maritza would ask me to attend on behalf of her extended S2 family." 
Maritza, pictured above with her family at her White Coat Ceremony
(photo taken by Mr. Rodriguez).
S2 Back to School Showcase
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
for more information contact