2008-06-05 / Top Stories

P.S. 115 Honored With Esteemed Lincoln Center Award

By Neil S. Friedman

Holding the banner are:Samuel Pierre, aide to Rep. Ed Towns; Pinsky; LCIdirector Nope-Brandon, award supporters Loet and Edith Velmans, storyteller David Gonzalez, LCIteaching artist Jean Taylor and Pat Gill, P.S. 115 teacher and students from the Canarsie school.   Holding the banner are:Samuel Pierre, aide to Rep. Ed Towns; Pinsky; LCIdirector Nope-Brandon, award supporters Loet and Edith Velmans, storyteller David Gonzalez, LCIteaching artist Jean Taylor and Pat Gill, P.S. 115 teacher and students from the Canarsie school. Public School 115 was one of two New York City public schools that received Lincoln Center Institute's Imagination Award during daylong festivities on May 28.

The Imagination Award, now in its second year, is given to schools that recognize and highlight imaginative thinking in the teaching and school's learning practices. The Renaissance Charter High School in Queens was also a recipient of the esteemed tribute.

"Developing students' imaginations and teaching them to think creatively is critical if they are to meet the challenges of today's world," says Scott Noppe-Brandon, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Institute (LCI). "Both P.S. 115 and the Renaissance Charter School encourage students to observe and question the subjects of their study and engage them; both schools use the arts as a catalyst for richer, more complete learning."

P.S. 115, at 1500 East 92nd Street, the elementary school category recipient was honored for applying imaginative thinking to every aspect of its curriculum. All of its students receive classes in several arts disciplines throughout the year. The elementary school also participates in the nationally acclaimed "Odyssey of the Mind" program in creative problem solving.

The school's principal, Mitchell S. Pinsky, believes that "a curriculum should make connections to the students' world," which creates an excitement about learning and stimulating the intensity of instruction in the classrooms.

The proud principal told the Courier this week, "To have received the Imagination grant reaffirms what we as a school community value in teaching critical thinking, creative problem solving and a global perspective that prepares our students for the 21st century."

After the presentation of an Imagination banner to Pinsky and his staff who attended last week's ceremony, there was a performance by noted storyteller David Gonzalez and a sharing of students' work.

The event culminated with a celebration of the award that included a panel discussion, moderated by ABC News' Peabody Award-winning Cynthia McFadden, who currently co-anchors the network's "Nightline" and "Primetime" programs.

Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. It is the leading organization in developing skills of observation, imagination, and creativity through guided encounters with the visual and performing arts. Go to www.lcinstitute.org for more information.

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