BP Fossella initiates Apple, DOE partnership to provide advanced curriculum in schools across Staten Island
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce a public/private partnership with Apple and the New York City Department of Education that has piloted a training in various schools across Staten Island which he initiated along with District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson and Mark F. Cannizzaro, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Early in January, BP Fossella and Mr. Cannizzaro sought to identify this particular coding and app design program as a way to incorporate Apple into our schools. The resources available within Apple’s portfolio were then suggested by Fossella and Cannizzaro to Superintendent Wilson which resulted in this partnership. This endeavor increases access to programs that will better prepare students for a technology-driven market found in both academic and career pathways. The training is primarily geared toward project based learning in coding and app design that will examine the role of strategic, intentional Apple technology in order to drive deeper learning.
The pilot, which began in January, is currently implemented in 10 schools across the borough including: P.S. 21; P.S. 29; I.S. 34; P.S. 56; P.S. 59; P.S. 60; The Eagle Academy for Young Men; Tottenville High School; McKee High School; and Staten Island Technical High School.
“We wanted to find a way to use the resources available through private businesses such as Apple to offer students diverse opportunities in the world of technology. Coding and app design programs are becoming a main aspect of employment in today’s workforce,” said Borough President Fossella. “With the curriculums the company has provided, we can better introduce interested Staten Island students to work that will translate to real-life experiences in this field. The translation of this program results in possible solutions to issues Staten Islanders face throughout the community. I want to thank Dr. Wilson and Mark for hopping on board with this idea, and we hope to extend the opportunities to more schools in the future. I also would like to thank Apple and the teachers for bringing our students an advanced level of education.”
“We are creating a generation of 21st century learners - preparing them for jobs that we are not even aware of yet. One of the great aspects about this curriculum is that it is not a one size fits all model, but can adapt from grades 3-K to 12,” said Superintendent Wilson. “By exposing coding and project-based learning to students, we can incorporate skills needed for both college and career pathways at an early age. We are thrilled to support this partnership that brings real life connections to students, and help keep teachers and staff current. I want to thank Borough President Fossella and Mark Cannizzaro for putting Staten Island’s students ahead of the curve in this digital age.”
“Partnerships with private businesses can enrich our students’ lives and provide them with high-quality learning opportunities that will impact them for years to come,” said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro. “We thank Borough President Fossella, Superintendent Wilson, and Apple for their efforts in developing this forward-looking program, and we applaud Principal Bonanno and the other Staten Island school leaders who have successfully implemented this meaningful learning.”
The pilot at P.S. 60 has engaged students of all ages to think about how they want to make a difference in their community. It has also opened up opportunities for teachers to introduce more complicated topics to their students, including financial literacy and civil rights issues.
“The biggest benefit of this program is the students’ impact on the community and helping them identify who their audience is for these projects,” said Donna Bonanno, Principal of P.S. 60. “This partnership with Apple gives us the ability to teach our students ways to apply skills in a collaborative manner toward issues that they see in their own communities. I want to thank Superintendent Wilson, Borough President Fossella, and Mr. Cannizzaro for initiating this partnership and giving our students an education that amplifies what’s already being done in each school across the borough.”
The coding curriculum provided by this partnership will provide teachers with access to two different programs. “Swift Playgrounds” is an app that teaches coding for kids through a world of interactive puzzles and playful characters geared to introduce coding language used by professional app developers. “Develop in Swift” is a comprehensive coding offering intended for students in grades 9 and above. The curriculum prepares students for college or a career in app development using the Swift programming language, and is complemented with free online professional learning for educators. As students move from this app to more advanced concepts, they’ll explore designing and building a fully functioning app on their own and can even earn AP credit or an industry-recognized certification.