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Arete Student Interns and Employees Learn Read World Skills

This year students across Arete's two high school campuses are engaging in real world skills through their internships with Arete.

Student employees at Media High School are engaged in a professionalism seminar where they practice and grow their emotional intelligence, expand their lesson planning skills, and reflect on their own professional strengths, goals, and growth areas. Our self-care club for students at Media High School is growing a culture of wellness among future professionals.

At The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, high school interns are working with Citizens Bank branch managers to open bank accounts and deepen their personal financial literacy skills. In our pilot ISP Internship, our Communications Interns are mentoring 8th graders to build social media campaigns to raise awareness about common diseases that disproportionally impact patients in the Bronx, conducting interviews with BioQuest STEM mentors, and publishing to Arete's social media channels.

 - 04/30/2024 - sbsd@areteeducation.org
rtw week without walls workplace challenge

Empowering Students: F&T 10th Graders Tackle Rare Diseases in Workplace Challenge with RTW Charitable Foundation

With curiosity and dedication, a group of high school students from The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology participated in an innovative initiative aimed at raising awareness about rare diseases. In collaboration with RTW Charitable Foundation and Arete Education, 10th grade students were provided with the opportunity to delve into the complexities of rare diseases and explore their creativity with science communication! Co-lead by Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg from Arete, Sean Robinson from The Lab School, and Sarah Garwood and Joe Katakowski from RTW Charitable Foundation, this unique collaboration was supported by The Lab School’s recent Magnet Award for Career Connected Learning.

The first workplace challenge was intended to immerse students in a thought-provoking environment where they would be able to learn about different diseases that are often overlooked. The research they conducted involved learning about signs, symptoms, and struggles that people face when diagnosed with these rare diseases. Using the knowledge they gained through the investigation process, students were tasked with creating communication materials to disseminate their findings within their community and beyond! 

As part of Rare Disease Month, RTW has featured spotlight posts on different rare diseases on Instagram. The rare diseases highlighted were Sickle Cell Disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, and Marfan Syndrome. The posts uploaded were curated by the students, showcasing the information they learned through the workplace challenge. Each post displays the students' attentiveness to learning about diseases that affect society and commitment to health advocacy. 

In essence, this workplace challenge is indicative of the meaningful knowledge students can acquire and spread. This serves as a powerful reminder that young people can have an amazing impact when it comes to various social issues when given the opportunity to engage with new topics in creative and intriguing ways. Furthermore, the graphics from the workplace challenge are also a form of motivation to inspire the general public in joining the cause of advocating for a more healthy, equitable, and inclusive world. The work that RTW does within the sciences are opportunities that allow us to continue supporting and empowering our students. With the help of RTW, we can establish new career paths, invest in science education for our students, and drive future generations of changemakers!

 - 03/20/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
ps 59 disney production

P.S. 59 Presents Disney's The Lion King Kids!

On June 6th and 7th, students at P.S. 59 William Floyd Elementary School welcomed the Brooklyn community for an amazing Disney experience: The Lion King!

 

Weeks prior to the show, students worked hard to put on an amazing Disney performance in the beginning of June. They eagerly rehearsed and constructed their costumes by hand! A fellow Arete staff member, Solange, was in charge of doing the students’ makeup for the performance. On top of that, students were also taken to see the Lion King Live on Broadway to learn more about theatrical performances. 

Thanks to the implementation of the new Industry Room at P.S. 59, students become motivated to indulge in the arts and participate in various arts-based programming that will ultimately strengthen academic performance. Through performances, assemblies, and the physical space offered in the Industry room, students are able to explore different interests, hobbies, and passions. One of the special projects as a result of these opportunities is the Lion King Kids - Disney Jr. Production. With this special production, students have been granted the opportunity to learn more about set design, stage production, acting and character development, and even have the chance to exhibit their own theatrical skills. Congratulations to all the students and staff who formed part of this production - what an amazing spectacle!

 - 07/06/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
Niroga-Institute

Leaders of Dynamic Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental sense of awareness that allows one to pay attention to purpose and being in the present moment. Mindfulness is not just meditation, reflection, concentration exercises, or a quick fix for stress. It is the nature of being conscious of personal sensations and feelings and attending to them. 

The Mindful Stress Buffering Account presented by Creswell and Lindsay (2014) proposes that mindfulness alters stress appraisals to reduce stress reactivity and strengthens stress coping mechanisms. Furthermore, they present that mindfulness can activate the SAM-axis (a stress-response system) in one of two ways: reducing the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response to stress) or increasing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (network of nerves that relaxes the body after experiencing stress). This biological evidence communicated that mindfulness can help mitigate the effect stress has on human health. 

Moreover, applications of Mindfulness-Based Programming have observed increases in well-being, improved behavior regulation, and reduced stress and psychological symptoms. Stress and trauma can have direct (onset of diseases) and indirect (impair cognitive function and performance) effects. Implementing mindfulness practices can help reduce stress and support health. 

Arete President Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg plans to use a Niroga Dynamic Mindfulness Training to implement mindfulness practices within Arete to help not just students but staff and leaders too!

Why this training? 

The work from the Niroga Institute has developed from using their training in groups with students in Oakland. It was tailored for youth who are in serious distressing circumstances and focuses on addressing their trauma. Niroga specializes in an integrative approach that involves social emotional learning, social emotional teaching, and social emotional parenting. 

Materials from Niroga are not new to Arete as we have used their approach in the past when piloting and designing the SEL curriculum 2019. It started with training students and afterschool staff with Transformative Life Skills sessions with the help of Niroga. This work resembled a bottom-up design where the Arete SEL pilot team saw how students took the lead in mindfulness-based programming like deciding when they wanted to take the time to do breathing exercises. Four years since the SEL pilot, Sarah wants to layer in a top-down design where leaders within Arete receive training through Niroga’s Dynamic Mindfulness sessions. 

“The intent of this training is to give you more oxygen to survive with your work,” Sarah coaches the leadership team. She underscores the importance of providing her staff with the necessary tools to help and support their needs as human beings and educators. She intends for this training to help Arete's leaders deal with their trauma, whether it be vicarious trauma or acute trauma. This is a call for Arete’s leaders to know how to support themselves and find ways to address their stress. Down the line, they will be transferring the skills learned through Niroga to their work within Arete.

What do you hope your employees gain from this training? How will progress and learning be tracked? 

“I want them to feel comfortable breathing. I want them to feel comfortable creating a space for mindfulness.” Sarah hopes to see these mindful behaviors happening in all Arete meetings, classrooms, and across the organization's culture. The leadership group will finish the intensive training period by June and subsequently have working products that are manifested at the partnership schools

In terms of assessment, there is a plan to have our leaders working on designing a curriculum for this summer that implements what they have learned in their Niroga training. Engaging Arete's leaders in some form of design work will put their skills to the test. This is imperative for implementing their new learnings for the upcoming school year at all of Arete's four expansion sites.  Their learning will be observed, and they will be coached to integrate Niroga's dynamic mindfulness skills into their staff trainings and regular team meetings. From there, the dynamic mindfulness skills gained from this spring's trainings can serve as a model for future work. Niroga is well known on the West Coast but not in New York. Arete can serve as an example for others to see how powerful integrating Niroga's trainings can be within an organization and at community school sites.  

Why this group? Do you hope it’ll have a trickle down effect?

Sarah’s vision for this session was to have a pilot to start with an influential group. She states that this approach is partially in response to Arete's expansion as the organization is living through the question: “How do we want this culture to expand with the other boroughs?”

Arete is a relatively small organization with over a decade of experience at the The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, which serves as a model for new partnerships. This training allows for a monthly leadership series to build a leadership cohort. Then, at each community school site, there will be a cohort that will be able to lead the school's dynamic mindfulness work. Sarah notes that these leaders have been through a lot by being an organization within a big city that serves marginalized students and families. Niroga gives Arete a way to power up its employees to help them lead and create a great culture to serve the community. After having gone through the training, she anticipates that these individuals are able to lead others in the work. The goal is to have leaders that are comfortable with leading dynamic mindfulness practices and learning how to self-regulate themselves as they engage their staff, students, and families. This is a beneficial way of providing support to the leaders of our organization by offering opportunities to properly address their stress and trauma to then suitably serve our communities. This work fully embraces the mission of seeing our employees, students, and families prosper! 

What did you notice within the organization that led to adopting this training?

Sarah encountered Niroga five years ago when attending a women's leadership conference in California. One of the Niroga staff members was leading a workshop where he had attendees participate in dynamic mindfulness practices while also learning about impacts of trauma on the work of education leaders. All of the attendees at the conference were working in urban settings that dealt with chronic stress, direct trauma, and vicarious trauma. Since the pandemic, everyone has experienced trauma and stress while also leading with complex issues of working within an urban community. 

With this in mind, she acknowledges that trauma is real and prevalent within Arete and wants to help address that with the help of Niroga! A benefit of using Niroga is that their practices are refined in urban settings which is helpful for Arete implementing mindful actions to help reduce the impact of trauma. One thing that Sarah finds crucial in the work Niroga does that will be beneficial for Arete is the focus on trauma as a somatic definition

“Trauma freezes within our body! I want to provide a sort of first aid for our educators and leaders. Post pandemic, it is clear to all of us that we’re fragile! We are still processing what has happened and figuring out how to effectively move forward.” She finds it vital for trauma not only to be addressed through thinking and processing, but also through movement. This is what Niroga brings to us: dynamic mindfulness - transformative behaviors that require mindful movement, breathing, and centering. Niroga is a call to action! It is a breath of fresh air, a time to pause and take care of yourself! As she puts it, it is a simple way to do some self regulation that can take as little as 15 minutes. It is feasible and asks her staff to partake in these helpful practices.

 - 04/13/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
leslie rivas arete alumni feature

Arete Alumni Feature - Leslie Rivas

Meet Leslie Rivas - a third year student at Lehman College studying English Creative Writing with a minor in Middle and High School Education!

 

Her journey with Arete started during high school at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology where she and her friend, Chanel (also an Arete employee), started up an afterschool Book Club. This idea came to be after Leslie and Chanel happened to be discussing about books they previously had read in middle and high school. Both had the brilliant idea to organize a space where a group of students could gather together and read books they’ve heard about and give an honest review of what they thought as they read. 

“Starting up a book club made me realize that I actually enjoyed reading and it also made me realize that academically, I did well in my English classes,” exclaimed Leslie. In retrospect, this experience, that Arete fostered, allowed for Leslie to grow a passion for literature and become an English major in college and aspiring to become an English teacher. From this moment forward, she began to feel connected with Arete as they helped fund the program and gave them the opportunity to propose different ideas for their book club. On top of that, she was able to see first-hand what Arete’s mission was - acquire brand new books that may not have been accessible through LSFT and receive small journals for note taking. 

 

During her senior year of high school, Leslie also formed part of the tutoring internship program. She recalls that being part of the internship helped her grow as a person and professionally. Around the time she had joined the program, she was still confused on what college she wanted to attend and what she wanted to major in. However, being able to work with students one-on-one made her realize that maybe she could go into the field of education. As a tutor, she also developed leadership and effective communication skills while also learning how to multitask. 

 

Not only has Arete helped Leslie academically, socially, and professionally grow within the organization, but also through external partnerships. During the summer of 2022, Leslie was able to work with Funfab where she gained more experience in working with high school students. Leslie is grateful to Arete for presenting her with an excellent opportunity where she could network outside of Arete. Here, she would apply the experience she had gained through her previous work within Arete while also gaining new skills necessary for the education field. 

 

Now, she is currently a Book Club and Table Tennis instructor for Arete. Her scope of work as Book Club instructor consists of  getting students to have an interest in different books and increase their reading scores. As for table tennis, she facilitates an environment where students are able to learn a new sport and develop many different skills, such as hand-eye coordination.  

 

“Through Arete, I am able to solidify my leadership and organizational skills by working with students and being able to run a club.” Leslie reiterates that these roles helped her flourish professionally by also challenging her to work with different kinds of kids, making her figure out and use different methods that work with each kid individually. Not only is she gaining personal skills, but also gaining insight on different age groups and teaching styles that she can use to approach others!

 - 04/12/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
Chanel de los Santos

Arete Alumni Feature - Chanel de los Santos

Meet Chanel de los Santos - a third year student at Barnard College majoring in Africana Studies and English!

 

Her journey with Arete started when she was a high school student at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology. Her and her friend, Leslie (another Arete employee) had the amazing idea to start up a book club. Chanel asserts that starting up this club gave her a sense of responsibility as she had the tasks of curating and giving out topics for each session, sending out professional outreach emails for books and supplies, and coordinating events for the club. This would not have been possible without the support of Arete!

 

On top of starting up a book club in high school, Chanel also became a tutor. She wanted to become a tutor because she wanted to explore different fields and tutoring was something new to her. As a tutor, she developed the ability to be a leader and acquire skills such as outreach, problem solving, and initiative. 

 

During her sophomore year of college, Chanel formed part of the Arete Alumni Council. As secretary, she scheduled meetings, met with committee members and the president of the council, and kept an organized system to effectively coordinate events. Now, she is a supervisor for the Teaching Internship program where outside of logistical work, she helps interns in the program learn valuable skills such as lesson planning, mentoring, initiative and the ability to teach a student with various strategies. 

 

Chanel is grateful for the environment Arete fostered where she was able to professionally develop and gain different necessary skills like communication and networking. She has done a lot of communicating with various types of people in various industries and learned how to navigate a more professional space, as well as build connections along the way, thanks to the roles she has had!

 - 04/12/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
2023 Table Tennis Tournament

2023 Table Tennis Tournament

On Saturday, January 28, Arete hosted a table tennis tournament at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology for the middle school and high school students!

The tournament was split into two different groups: middle school participants and high school participants. 

 

Both groups played against each other until there were three participants left. Congratulations to the following for making it to the top three of their respective divisions: 

Middle School Group

1st - Evelyn Cuatle 

2nd - Amy Chavez 

3rd - Desmond Figueroa 

High School Group

1st - Angel Vargas

2nd - Safiatou Haidara

3rd - Delilah Barreto

The first place winners of each group went face-to-face to determine a winner for the entire tournament. Congratulations to Angel Vargas (9th grade) for winning the entire tournament!

 - 04/07/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz

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