August 26, 2019
Dear Griffin Parent, Guardian, and Student,
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new and returning students and their parents to Van Wyck Junior High School. We believe in excellence with everything we do from teaching to providing for the social and emotional needs of our students. Our faculty, staff, and administrators are highly trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in working with this age group.
District and building-level administrators were engaged this summer in two days of important professional development. One important takeaway of this training is to consider the “what” and the “why” of our work. The “what” of our work is being consistently recognized as a New York State (NYS) School to Watch, and the “why” of our work are the benefits our students derive by supporting the philosophy and principles of the Schools to Watch framework. We believe students are most successful when the learning environment is tailored to meet the unique needs of young adolescents.
Our school is divided into houses and teams to personalize the learning experience for students, while allowing them the freedom and independence to explore new interests. There are approximately 125 students per team shared by four major subject-area teachers: math, English, science, and social studies. Special area subjects, such as health and physical education, are cross-teamed. The house and team concept significantly reduces a student’s sense of anonymity she/he might experience if not organized in this fashion.
Van Wyck offers a rich variety of team, department, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for students to participate in both during the regular day and after school. We plan on offering our traditional clubs and activities, and some new ones based on student interest. Our goal is to engage all of our students in activities that are meaningful to them. Students who are engaged are generally more purposefully connected to their schools. Maximizing student engagement is an important goal of our school.
Please be advised that student schedules will be available on Parent Portal beginning Tuesday, August 27. Orientation for 7th graders and new 8th graders to Van Wyck will be held on Wednesday, August 28. Following orientation, students will be able to walk the halls of the school, find their classrooms, and practice locker operations. Students interested in playing a fall sport must register on Family ID. Open House for parents is scheduled for Thursday, August 26.
I am looking forward to partnering with the PTA and the school community. Please consider joining this outstanding organization.
Best wishes to all this coming school year.
Dr. Steven H. Principal, Principal
Van Wyck Junior High School