“The Arts Program – JHS 157”

Picture Text: Performing Arts

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 their first school year here at Halsey, 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. The talent courses are a 3 and/or 4 year course where the students begin with the foundation of the specific art and then continue to build each school year.

Below is a brief description of each program: 


Picture Text: Choir

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” “Show Choir” as well as parent-student-teacher “Intergenerational Choir”.  

  • Show choir-Mondays from 2:30-4:30, by audition only.
  • Intergenerational Choir-Monday’s from 4:30-5:30, begins in February.
  • 8th grade high school audition prep-Tuesday’s from 2:30-3:30 PM, September-December.
  • Select Chorus-Thursday’s from 2:30-3:30 from September-February. The group moves to Friday’s beginning in February. By audition only. Please contact Ms. Shikowitz at sshikowitz@schools.nyc.gov regarding further information.


Picture Text: STEM


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. 


Picture Text: Visual Art

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.


Picture Text: Band


Students have an opportunity to learn to play their 1st , 2nd or even 3rd instrument! Instruments include brass (trumpet, trombone, french horn, euphonium, or tuba) woodwind (flute, clarinet, or saxophone) or percussion. Students are also welcome to play piano, guitar, or bass guitar in our after school Jazz Band. Students learn to read music, to understand harmony, melody, time signatures and how to follow a conductor.  Students will have the opportunity to play in two concerts per year. They may also participate in after school Jazz Band and are encouraged to prepare solos for the NYSSMA Solo Festival. 8th graders and Jazz Band members participate every year in the NYSSMA Major Organizations Festival, where they have received Gold and Silver Ratings. Finally, outstanding band members are invited to participate in various Honor Band opportunities each year, including the MEANYC All-County Festival, the Queens College Middle School Honor Band Festival, and the Queens Middle School Honor Band Festival. 

For more information check out: www.halseyband.com

DRAMA (Theater Arts)

Picture Text:Drama and Theater

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. 


Picture Text:Technology in education

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. 


Picture Text:Dance


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.