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More Than $200K in Council Funding Going to Benefit UWS Schools

By Emily Frost | June 30, 2015 11:05am
 The new West End Secondary School is getting $26,000 in Council funding for an arts program.
The new West End Secondary School is getting $26,000 in Council funding for an arts program.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — Nearly a third of City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal's $685,000 budget for the district this coming year is going toward programs for students at local schools.

The councilwoman has earmarked more than $200,000 for a host of arts-related programs, including funds for a new public school set to debut this fall. 

The largest single schools-related item was a $26,000 grant to West End Secondary School, the new 6-12 public school that's opening in the former Beacon High School building on West 61st Street in September. 

"I really wanted to give a big chunk and help this new school get off the ground," Rosenthal said. 

The funding will help WESS offer an arts program from an outside provider, similar to those offered at other local middle schools like the Center School and the Computer School, she said.

Rosenthal did not specify how the funding should be used, deciding instead to leave that decision up to Principal Jessica Jenkins. 

Jenkins said she's excited about partnering with Marquis Studios, which offers a variety of art classes, as well as Studio-in-a-School, where working artists are invited to teach classes.  

"Both will provide in-depth residencies with teaching artists," she explained. "The residencies will align to our interdisciplinary expeditions and each teaching artist will have time to plan with the staff to ensure true interconnectedness."

Much of the council money is aimed at bringing arts programs from nonprofit providers and arts organizations to local schools — with grants for everything from ballroom dancing and ballet to filmmaking. 

Rosenthal said she heard feedback from schools and parents that these programs matter to them. 

On the elementary school level, P.S. 191 was the biggest beneficiary of Council funding, receiving $45,500 in all. The funding will go directly to the school and toward programs that serve the school, like the Film Society of Lincoln Center's CineKids Program, which brings filmmakers into local schools. 

Additionally, $20,000 is going to fund programs run by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  

This past year, the arts organization helped P.S. 191 students put on a play at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater.

"It was terrific," Rosenthal said. 

P.S. 191 has a large population of students who are considered economically disadvantaged, according to Department of Education statistics. 

The school had a year of ups and downs, opening a $900,000 multimedia center but dumping its after-school provider after one of the staffers was charged with rape.

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