Our Blog

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Summer Bridge (Rising) Enrichment Club Highlights – Story Movers

We are excited to continue highlighting our enrichment clubs that were running ths summer. Story Movers was led by Rose Padilla and Yarley Martinez, alumni from The Lab School. In Story Movers, Rose and Yarely work hard with their students to allow them to showcase the skills that they have. Story movers is not only about students performing arts but expressing themselves. During the last week of program, they had decided to split up their class into different groups based on what the students wanted to do. One group which included around 5 students decided to practice a dance. The group of students made up their own dance, which I found amazing. Seeing students take the initiative and do something that normally is led by a facilitator was incredible. Not only did the students create the dance, there were other students who were practicing their singing while others were working on what they wanted to showcase. Seeing each of these students showcase their talent allows us to continue working with student talent all year round. 

 

We are excited to showcase more of the arts side to the program as it will allow us to continue showcasing the amazing talent that these students have. 

Each of these clubs holds a special place in our students' hearts, and so it's up to us to make sure that these students receive what they need. 

Be sure to check out our Instagram Page and Website for any updates, announcements or newsletter regarding the summer program.

 - 09/03/2021 - Mariyam Sumareh

Summer Bridge (Rising) Enrichment Club Highlights – Table Tennis and Fitness

Welcome to Table Tennis & Fitness Enrichment Clubs for Summer Bridge 2021. 

The Table Tennis Club is led by Ms. Millye (also the Middle School Team Softball Coach), Mr. Ohl (also a teacher at The Lab School), and Ms. Amy (a new member of our Arete family this summer). Table Tennis is a competitive game; however, it is a sport that many students wouldn't look upon first. Interestingly, Table Tennis is one of the most popular clubs and was the first Enrichment club to be fully enrolled this summer. Students enjoy Table Tennis as they feel they are challenged beyond their limits. With Table Tennis, students are able to acquire patience as well as strategic skills. To know how you want to strike your opponent, you need a strategy. Within this club, we see different students strategizing in different ways. We see some students who like to hit their ball with a spin, and then we have some students who like to back-hand from the start. It's amazing to see youth taking charge in a sport like this one. 

 

We also would like to highlight the Fitness Club this summer. Fitness is led by Emily Robles, Ranffy Perez, and Ali Sumareh, who are all Alumni from The Lab School. Fitness allows students to freely express themselves while also challenging them to go above and beyond phyiscally. With fitness, middle school students are able to learn about the importance of working out but also being active. Being active is essential to the youth as they need the consistent reminder regarding their health and wellbeing. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, students are in the gym playing a variety of different sports. As shown to the left, students are in a circle playing volleyball with their instructors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students are in the cafeteria, hallway, or fitness center doing different activities, ranging from running, working out, or doing different sets. 

Students from both of these enrichment clubs enjoy them and are always active when it comes to participating. 

Stay tuned for next week's post as we will continue to highlight the different clubs that we have for Summer Bridge! 

Be sure to check out our Instagram Page and Website for any updates, announcements or newsletter regarding the summer program.

 - 08/24/2021 - Mariyam Sumareh
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Splish Splash Friday Bash - Summer Bridge (Rising)

Arete interns and staff members once again came together to create the final water activity for the Summer Bridge students this past Friday while still following COVID-19 guidelines. Students came prepared to play and have a bit of fun before the big Showcase event occuring next Thursday on August 5th. This water activity was conducted once again by the ever creative Amy Arizmendi, Secretary and Family Advocate

There were 3 stations in this Splish Splash Friday Bash.

Station #1

Consists of the first person in line acting as the catcher, who will need to catch three balloons that will have to be popped over their head to try and catch as much water in the funnel as possible.

As soon as the catcher catches and pops three balloons, they will be able to move on to Station #2.

Station #2

This station has a bucket of water with three sponges. The objective is to soak the three sponges with as much water as possible and while holding it over one's head, squeeze as much as one could into the funnel. 

In Station #3

An inflatable pool is filled with gold coins and water. Each student has to dig and pick up a coin with a number, representing the number of balloons they would grab and toss into a bucket.

 

To conclude this blog we would like to say a heartfelt Thank You! to all the staff members and interns for making this summer extremely successful while following COVID19 safety protocols

These fun activities helped students to shift their focus from academic learning and send them home happy after being able to let loose with their friends. 

 - 08/03/2021 - Ismael Valentin, Jr.
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Summer Bridge (Rising) Enrichment Club Highlights - Creative EQ and Guitar

This week at The Lab School, we are diving into two enrichment activities at a time. Welcome to Creative EQ and Guitar

 

Creative EQ is led by Nicoise Waring, who specializes in SEL. SEL is Social Emotional Learning and EQ is Emotional Intelligence. With SEL, students are able to take a step back from all that they are dealing with for a moment. Students are able to perform breathing exercises, do check-ins and reflect on their day. It's important that everyone finds time in their day whether it's 5 minutes or 10 minutes to take a break from everything that they are doing and get in touch with themselves.

 

This week in Creative EQ, Ms. Waring led her students through making masks. One thing about Ms. Waring is that she loves showing her students new things while also acknowledging cultural events that happen around us. Students had the opportunity to either make masks on the Day of The Dead or do something related to the Black Lives Matter Movement

 

While in Guitar, which is led by Marcelo Cardozo, students were able to learn about music and the way that they can play. Mr. Cardozo has provided a safe space for the students to get comfortable enough to play a new instrument. 

 

While being in the classroom, we saw students learning a new piece of music. It was fascinating seeing the younger students play such an instrument with care and ease. Although these students were beginners to playing, they had the knowledge and right mentor leading them. Mr. Cardozo has been with The Lab School before, and so he knows how to handle our students with care. 

 

Each of these clubs holds a special place in our students' hearts, and so it's up to us to make sure that these students receive what they need. 

 

Stay tuned for next week's post as we will continue to highlight the different clubs that we have for Summer Bridge/Summer Rising! 

Be sure to check out our Instagram Page and sign up to receive our weekly newsletters regarding the summer program.

 - 07/30/2021 - Ismael Valentin, Jr.
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Splashing into Summer Bridge

As the Summer Bridge Program continues staff members, program coordinators and interns have all come together to develop an organized water play activities for the students while still following COVID-19 guidelines.

Splash Organized Water Play Activities

The activities consisted of two different games lasting 30 minutes each for every class divided by their enrichment clubs. First, we have Battle of Enrichment Clubs (Water Balloon Toss) consisting of two teams. The instructions were well developed giving the students an understatement of how the game worked.

"Thank you for letting us have this much fun"- 6th grader 

Second, we have the Fishing Pool, on the way our students will have the opportunity to grab water ducks giving them all prices! Many students enjoy the weather while playing games and having fun!

 

Our host Amy Arizmendi at her full potential giving the participants positive attitude!

Here we have Staff Members directing students how the game works!

We have more surprises coming along...
Stay Tuned!!
 - 07/28/2021 - Ismael Valentin, Jr.

Summer Bridge (Rising) - First Day!

Written by Mariyam Sumareh

Today marks the first day of Summer Bridge for the students at The Laboratory School of Finance & Technology! It is exciting to see many young faces gathered after the year we have experienced. Throughout today, students across the grades engaged in academic and enrichment activities.

We had over 100 students attend summer programming, and we are excited to keep the momentum going. One thing for sure is that today has been a success. It's exciting to know that this is some students' first time being in the building while doing their whole sixth grade experience virtually and were able to engage with their classmates and instructors.

Through all of the first day challenges, we were able to get it done thanks to the students’ flexibility and the drive of all of the amazing staff. Students were able to sample the enrichment activities, exploring and getting a taste of each club so that by the end of tomorrow they can choose where they would like to be for the remainder of the summer.

The enrichment activities available to students this summer are:

  1. Guitar

  2. Fitness & Sports

  3. Visual Arts

  4. Performing Arts

  5. Table Tennis

  6. Creative EQ/Ceramics

  7. STEM 101

  8. Debate

Take a look at what our students had to say about their first day:

“Today was awesome. I got to meet new teachers and classmates. I got to learn more stuff about the school. So now I’m prepared for the school year.” - Juelz Perdomo, 6th Grade

 

“My day went good because I got to make new friends and I got to see new faces. It was good to get to know the teachers” - Juliet Flores, 7th Grade

 

“My first day here today was fine as we did a lot of fun things like play a game for our birthdays and engaged in Ice breakers” - Anonymous student, 8th Grade

 - 07/07/2021 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

Using Videocasting to make Welcome Videos

Videocasting is a great way to add a personal touch to our digital communications. After options like emojis, bitmojis, gifs, or images, recorded video is one of the best ways to “be” with our students and colleagues. This video highlights some of the best practices for welcoming students back to classes and reminding them of the important information they may need to remember to jump back in. The video also gives them a nice way to ease back into school. It is overly demanding on their cognitive skills but conveys useful information. By adding text to highlight key points and visuals that add some spunk or humor, we engage students' senses in connecting with someone they know, their teacher.

Some key things to remember for best results:

  • Be yourself: students want to interact with you. There are plenty of videos about plenty of things, but none of them are you.
  • Keep it Simple: Give students just the information they need without overwhelming them, try to keep your info to 3-5 bullets.
  • Appeal to the senses: Add visuals and sounds to support student engagement and understanding.

Our goal in everything we do is to make students want to come to class. Youth is a time of intense change and making sense of the world around you. Students will do the things they choose to and find the most ingenious ways to make it happen. Throughout this time, I am often brought back to a singular question: When students have every opportunity and avenue to choose to not be in class and not engage, how can I get them to look forward to, want to, and choose to be in class?

 - 01/07/2021 - Ismael Valentin, Jr.
Arete Lab School logo

Arete 2020, A Look Back


When Dr. Ramon Gonzalez envisioned that a small non-profit could be the difference maker for kids in the South Bronx, he created a legacy in Mott Haven. Every student coming through the doors of The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology can and will reach their full potential.

Arete, the notion that excellence is virtue, that investing in human potential will create positive and lasting change: that is who we are. Those are the ideals we embody.

Before the pandemic, we served our community by providing free services that expanded the school day with afterschool programming in the arts, STEM, fitness, SEL, and academics; free services that expanded the school week through Saturday Academy; and free services that expanded the school year through our Summer Bridge Arts Institute. We expanded career pathways through internships, leadership programs, College Office staffing, and college visits. We served the Mott Haven community through food and coat drives, community events and celebrations spotlighting youth achievement, and providing greater access to technology. From 2012 to 2020, Arete dedicated itself to cultivating excellence in the youth we served.

The past nine months of the pandemic have transformed the terrain of the afterschool sector and presented a call to action for Arete to respond to the dramatic humanitarian, mental health, and economic development needs of our students, families, and neighborhoods.

We have learned that in the current pandemic setting, youth can reach their full potential, and we have to work differently to set the conditions for youth to flourish.

We have had limited access to school buildings to run Extended Schools programming. When the school buildings are open, we run program at just 15% of the capacity of pre-pandemic operations. Instead of 350 students in the building afterschool each week, we have 70 students.

We are working remotely; we are engaging volunteers; we are hiring and training youth. We have seen an outpouring of public financial and volunteer support from individuals and foundations who are dedicated to the success of youth in Mott Haven. We have channeled new funds from individual donors and foundations to feed our families, staff our family help hotline, provide wifi and computer access, and expand our paid internship programs for youth.

Our older students do not have the luxury to attend afterschool programming online; they are caring for siblings inside all day, struggling to connect via dropped cell and wifi connections, overwhelmed by the amount of time they are asked to be learning in digital spaces, and supporting caretakers who have lost jobs and homes during the pandemic.

Our approach to nurturing youth excellence in the pandemic has been to provide new, one-on-one tutoring and small group afterschool instruction and to pay, train, and hire our students and graduates to offer those services; to continue providing essential academic afterschool offerings (credit-bearing courses, book clubs, 8th grade algebra, debate); and to seek outside investments to provide food, PPE, school supplies, computers, and hotspots to our families.

The results have been inspiring. The creativity, passion, and expertise of our more senior staff has been funneled into our academic afterschool offerings and our expanded career pathways in teaching, the arts, and STEM for our students and graduates. Half of our staff are program alumni who work alongside our 35 high school and middle school students in paid internships to provide peer-tutoring and youth advocacy through the arts. We have raised over $120,000 (10% of our annual budget in 2020) in new funding sources to provide humanitarian aid and digital access for remote learning to our families in Mott Haven.

There is so much more to do in 2021.

Our work begins with gaining financial stability in 2021. We have weathered significant financial losses in 2020 due to unprecedented strains on state and city budgets due to the pandemic. Delayed reimbursements from the city and state agencies who provide roughly 75% of our program budget have threatened our ability to continue our programs uninterrupted in 2021.

We have not yet cut services to families based on the economic crisis in the city. For nine months we have thrived despite city and state budget cuts to the non-profit sector and specifically afterschool programming. We continue to seek public support for our work in 2021 through partnering with the Robin Hood Foundation, Hayden Foundation, Heckscher Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Gen Next, and the Tracy Family Foundation and through individual donor support. In 2020, we saw a $200,000 increase in foundation support (200% increase from 2019) and a $40,000 increase in individual donor support (200% increase from 2019). We are eager to see those numbers continue to soar in 2021 as we work to expand investment in Mott Haven youth.

We believe we have the talent, history, and vision to continue cultivating excellence in Mott Haven youth. We are eager to grow our programs to support our neighborhood in the South Bronx and explore new collaborations in Harlem to support schools and families interested in partnering with Arete in 2021.

Looking back, looking ahead, we are committed to training, empowering, hiring, and bringing out the full potential in our youth.



 - 01/01/2021 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

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