Other Islands Films, in co-production with Willow Pond Films, has been producing a series of short films - Showcase Schools: Sharing Promising Practices and MSQI (Middle School Quality Initiative) for the NYC Department of Education. The first seven Showcase Schools films and the first three MSQI films are posted here. The DOE has commissioned the series to share among educators as a means of capturing the elusive but powerful interactions between masterful teachers and their classrooms but the films are of interest to parents, students - and anyone who has ever attended school.
Please click on one of the following buttons to choose which series you would like to view:
PS 170, an early elementary school in the Bronx, sets high academic standards for its students, many of whom are English Language Learners. Watch as teachers collaborate to design powerful practices that support students' academic growth and build their confidence as independent thinkers.
The Work of Play
Central Park East II Elementary School in Manhattan is a Showcase School whose distinctive practices foster a culture of exploration, ownership, and creativity in the classroom. Each day students participate in Work Time, a period when they can independently select a place in the classroom to experiment with materials and explore ideas, all while developing oral language and interpersonal skills.
A Culture of Reading
"A Culture of Reading" features a Showcase School - East Side Community Middle and High School in Manhattan - whose innovative practices have fostered an academic culture centered on books and reading. Interweaving scenes of school life with interviews from Principal Mark Federman and literary coach, Chantal Francois, the film includes the role of independent reading; the importance of in-class reading conferences; the creation of the library as the “heart" of the school and East Side’s trademark Principal's Book Club where 6th graders debate high school seniors and everyone happily forgoes a free period to eat pizza with the principal while delving deeply into the world of literature and ideas.
The Academy of Arts & Letters helps students become independent, critical thinkers by creating a strong, caring community and by employing teaching structures that emphasize student voice and ownership over their work.
Creating Shared Experiences
Making Thinking Visible
Expanding the School Day
A Culture of Literacy
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