Students Partner with Bronx Kids for TEDxManhattan
Posted 01/18/2015 09:00AM
Thirteen Middle Schoolers from Calhoun and four High Schoolers from Hyde Leadership Charter School joined together on January 12 with one common goal in mind--to build the stage and backdrop for the upcoming TEDxManhattan conference, “Changing the Way We Eat.”

Although only five miles apart, the day-to-day realities of these students and schools could not be more different: located in the Bronx, Hyde Leadership is in one of America’s poorest Congressional Districts. Yet there the students were, side-by-side, working together to alter the way they and others see issues related to food justice, food access and issues of health and public policy. Using donated materials, space and tech support from Calhoun, the students worked in integrated groups and came up with a "frying pan concept" that represents the changes they are cooking up. The final product will be on stage at The TimesCenter for the event.

The entire process was documented by a student media team to highlight what student, teacher and inter-school collaboration and coalition across NYC can, could and should look like. Their work will become part of a documentary to be released at the TEDxManhatttan event. 

Stephen Ritz, dean of students at Hyde Leadership, noted that "while this work is rooted in food and social justice issues, it is built upon the basic fundamentals of academic needs, reading, writing, measurement and science; to see these kids come together and work together is a message we'd like to send across the county, a true ‘Si se puede’ moment!"

Steve and David Hyman, Calhoun MS shop teacher and project organizer, believe they have the hit upon the beginning of a highly replicable model of school and community collaboration. They began the partnership between the two schools last December, when Calhoun's seventh graders visited Hyde Leadership to meet with that school's kindergarten students. The Calhoun kids brought books they were donating, to help create a permanent reading space. "I am so thrilled that my students get to meet these incredible representatives from the South Bronx," says David, who embraces project-based learning and hopes to create more joint activities in the future.