A tribute to the ‘multiple intelligences’ Union City’s Woodrow Wilson School celebrates 10th anniversary

Over the last 10 years, the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Union City has cultivated an extensive arts-integrated curriculum based on what they identify as the “multiple intelligences.”

To celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary, they recently held a student talent show. Each performance was geared toward a specific intelligence, which was clearly outlined in the program, and the students served as narrators.

The school has a lot to celebrate. Last year, it was selected as a Federal 2004 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious national awards in education. Woodrow Wilson has also been recognized as a New Jersey State Star School and New Jersey Best Practices School for the Multiple Intelligence Career Horizon (MICH) program, for which they are nominated again this year.

“Obviously I’m extremely proud of our students and our staff,” said Principal Ronald Treanor. “This is a testament to the education here. The past 10 years have gone by so fast, but most importantly, our students leave here with great composure, great confidence, and their education is based on their own abilities.”

So in true Woodrow Wilson philosophy, there was no better way to celebrate 10 years of academic success than by showcasing the talents of their extraordinary pupils.

Lets all celebrate

On Wednesday, April 27, the entire school community and their families joined together for a performance extravaganza starring the Woodrow Wilson kids.

“It’s a celebration of our 10th anniversary, and of our philosophy to teach the multiple intelligences through the arts,” said Mimi Bair, host school reform facilitator for Woodrow Wilson. “Many thanks to our students, our parents, our faculty, the wonderful leadership of Mr. Treanor, and the support of the Board of Education and Mr. Sanger.”

Celebrations for 10 years at Woodrow Wilson began back in November with a Photo Gallery tribute, which highlighted the multiple intelligences at the school.

The April showcase had all the students of Woodrow Wilson participate in a series of performance that once again highlighted the multiple intelligences – which include naturalistic, verbal/linguistic, visual/spatial, logical/mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical/rhythmic, and bodily/kinesthetic.

“We believe in highlighting out students’ talents. It’s about celebrating them,” said Bair. “This also gives parents a chance to see the programs, which make our children shine. They are our stars.”

The parent community of the school also got involved and helped with lighting, sound and costumes among other things for the production.

76 Trombones

The evening began with a rendition of The Music Man’s “76 Trombones” by Lisa Power’s sixth grade class. Opening remarks were also made by Ronald Treanor, principal of Woodrow Wilson, and Drama Facilitator Joseph Conklin, who directed the showcase and is a member of the Union City Park Player Theatre Group.

“Tonight is a whole tribute to our family here at Woodrow Wilson,” said Bair.

The showcase put on a performance of some of Broadway’s most renowned productions including remarkable recreations of Little Shop of Horrors and The Lion King, which delivered some of most brilliantly detailed sets and costumes of the evening.

Most importantly, however, was that many of the students had the chance to exhibit their amazing vocal and acting talents, which have been nurtured at Woodrow Wilson.

“It was wonderful, I didn’t know these kids were so talented,” said Isabel DePaul, a parent of a fourth grader.

The next act

At the end of the show and after many standing ovations from the audiences, closing remarks were made by Treanor and Conklin, who much to the sadness of the Woodrow Wilson community, also announced his retirement as drama facilitator.

However, he has promised to continue teaching one of the school’s MIAD programs, and will be collaborating with the school for a theater production next year with his friends at the Park Players.

“I have learned so much from the faculty and from the students, which is why I am leaving happy,” said Conklin. “I have been living my whole career in act one, so now I’m just in intermission.”

Woodrow Wilson has been continuously recognized for its unique approach to education, which involves a strong emphasis on an arts-integrated curriculum, in addition to basic core academics such as mathematics and English.

“When you look at the success of our students, our test scores for third and fourth grade are the highest in the state,” said Treanor “We are building true believers of education. We don’t just look at a student’s academics; we look at their talents. Education is three dimensional, and all the elements of a child’s education should be addressed.”

Woodrow Wilson School was begun with the idea of it becoming a learning center for teachers, as well as students, and to address the full education of students through their unique programming, which offers a diverse curriculum in all facets of the arts and academia. Their hope is to continue to expand on the program, and that this curriculum with its proven success rate is replicate in all school districts.

“We’re very proud of the talent of our students, they just wow us,” said Bair. “We consider ourselves a work in progress, and look forward to a bright future.”


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