New York Latest News: This Queens School uses art to help students heal

New York Latest News: This Queens School uses art to help students heal | October 2021: When Ryan Holodeck steps into the Voyage Preparatory, a transfer high school for students at risk of dropping out late, he first sees his self-portrait.

In the lobby of the Elmhurst building in Queens, there is a former factory with floor-to-ceiling windows, lined with student portraits during the first few weeks of school. The holodeck hangs in front of the entrance.

It shows that his face is split in the middle, half wearing a surgical mask and the other uncovered. In the background is the Brooklyn Bridge, which represents his hometown.

“I spent the first day of school nerves,” he said of the masked photo he used to create his self-portrait. “Then I got a little more open and decided to take off the mask, and that’s one of the things I wanted to express in my photos.”

After a tough and often tragic year, when about half of the 250 students in the school studied remotely full-time, Voyages Prep faced a big question about how to get back together.

This is a challenge faced by many schools in New York City where education leaders are committed to prioritizing student mental health. The city has hired hundreds of new social workers, Use of new screening tools Check in how students are progressing socially.But the transition back Full of rocks, With an educator Report more fightss Campus and city Increase the use of metal detectors After five guns were discovered at school in the last two days.

Voyages school leaders were looking for unique ways to handle what they experienced and to build personal connections, teach and prepare to learn.

The answer they decided was art.

“We need to know each other again in another way,” said school vice-principal Kathleen Martinez.

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