“The Arts Program – JHS 157”





J.H.S 157 offers a “talent” program opportunity for all of our students. The “talents” consist of Visual and Fine Arts, Drama, Instrumental Band, Vocal Chorus Music, Computer Technology, STEM and Dance. At the beginning of each school year, students are provided with the opportunity to select a “talent” of their choice. All of our “talent” instructors meet with grade 6 students to provide a brief over-view of each program offered, prior to students making their selection.  Below is a brief description of each program: 







Student participation in our chorus encourages community, team spirit, and stimulates artistic growth. Students perform a diverse repertoire such as, modern pop, rock, jazz, traditional folk songs, spirituals, music set to the text of poems by Shelley, Poe, and Cummings, and songs from Broadway shows or Disney movies. Students have performed in diverse languages such as, English, Japanese, Latin, Xhosa, Swahili, Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish. Students have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with instrumentalists from band, such as flutists, percussionists, and violinists.  Our students learn to read music, they perform with original composers and also take part in the NYSSMA.  Choral participants also have an opportunity to audition for our spring school musical.  Various vocal performance groups include “Select Chorus” “Halsey Harmonizers” “Jazz Chorus” as well as parent-student-teacher “Intergenerational Choir”.  






Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) – In our STEM program, the focus is on science and math with the integration of technology and engineering to provide students with the opportunity to use problem solving skills by using the engineering design process. Some topics included are: computer programming, robotics, bridge design, digital fabrication, 3-D printing, and animation, just to name a few.  In addition, the school has a newly constructed state of the art technology lab to support the software engineering program. 








In art class students study various art styles including abstract expressionism; art deco; art nouveou; conceptual art; cubism; op art and others. Students learn to understand perspective as well as art in the context of history. Students learn to use various artistic techniques, tools and styles as they grow and develop their own unique form. Students have the opportunity to work with our art teacher in crafting pieces for their art portfolio which may be submitted as part of the admission process to LaGuardia, Frank Sinatra and Talents Unlimited high Schools. Each spring our student artist display their pieces in our “art walk spring show case” for parents, faculty, staff and students alike.







Students have an opportunity to learn to play their 1st or 2nd or even 3rd instrument! Instruments include brass (trumpet, trombone, french horn symponium, baritone, tuba, etc) woodwind (clarinet, flute, bassoon, saxophone, oboe,etc) percussion (drum, xylophone, bells, conga, etc) as well as piano, guitar, bass and other rhythmic instruments.  Students learn to read music, to understand harmony, melody, time signatures and how to follow a musical conductor.  Students will have the opportunity to play in concert, jazz, symphonic as well as pit band on occasion.  Students also prepare each year for participation in The York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Festival. The festival encourages teamwork, commitment, sense of community and belonging to a team, and long term goal setting and achievement. Parents have an opportunity to become involved in this festival by supporting the students as they attend the event, chaperoning the event and providing moral support for the competition.  


DRAMA (Theater Arts)






The Drama program at JHS 157 offers a variety of performance opportunities and experiences for students of all grades.  In 6th grade, students learn the foundations of acting and theater and begin to develop their performance and writing skills through storytelling, playwriting and scenes. The 7th and 8th grade drama students continue to revise and refine their performance skills through monologue, choreography, and scene study. Each of these units of study lead to performances that are presented to the school wide community during assemblies and multi-cultural night.  

In addition, each year, the 8th grade advanced drama students, develop a Senior Showcase. This Senior Showcase is a series of original student created scenes and monologues that focus on the issues of Peer Mistreatment and Bullying. The showcase is written, directed, performed and produced entirely by 8th grade drama students. The students have the opportunity to engage in all aspects of Theater Making, from pen to page to stage. After three years of drama study, students present this culminating work to the school-wide community. 

Each year, the Halsey Drama program produces and performs a Broadway Musical in the spring. Students of all grades and Art disciplines are encouraged to audition. A cast of approximately fifty students rehearse after school for several months, learning songs, dancing and acting for this production. Much of the show is student produced under the direction of a student drama director. The sets are created and painted by Halsey students and the choreography is created by student choreographers. The stage crew is run under the supervision of an eighth grade stage manager. Over the past several years, the Halsey Drama program has performed Broadway shows such as, Bugsy Malone, Music Man, Guys and Dolls, Hairspray, Peter Pan, Fame, Legally Blonde, and the recent Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical, Once on This Island. 







In Computer Technology we use the Software Engineering Program (SEP) curriculum which gives students instruction and experience in the following areas: computer programming, robotics, web design, physical computing, game design, and 3D printing. Students learn how to create simple video games, program Lego robots, create phone apps, work with simple circuits and coding, web page design and creating 3D images, just to name a few of the topics. Students will build on their knowledge in each grade level as they advance through SEP. SEP students have the opportunity to participate in school-wide hackathons and the eligibility to submit their projects to various citywide and nationwide competitions that are held throughout the year.

MOUSE is a youth development program which promotes technology support by teaching students how to trouble shoot basic computer issues. The students in this program participate in training workshops and attend various field trips. Students become, “Level One” computer technicians upon completion of their training. They then assist teachers and staff with computer issues. Mouse Squad also offers various competitions though out the school year. The JHS 157 Mouse Squad was awarded the 2014 National Mouse Squad of the year by the council of the City of New York. On October 22, 2014 students from Halsey’s award-winning MOUSE Squad were joined by Mr. Suraci and the MOUSE Squad coordinators to help Youth I.N.C. ring the closing bell at NASDAQ. 






In our newly constructed state of the art dance studio students develop life skills, social-emotional growth, academic and common core skills, and of course, artistic expression. The key focus of dance is TEAMWORK. We build collaborative social-skills, or “ensemble” skills. Dance is used as a language, both written and verbal. Students practice speaking, performing and being audience members. They learn to share knowledgable critique in the art of dance. Students learn to move their bodies safely and efficiently, especially in relationship to others. Dance class is an inclusive place where all learners can excel. Students will study various styles including Michael Jackson, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop and Creative Movement. In addition, students will be invited to attend field trips to experience professional Dance.