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Time to give NYC students a well-deserved round of applause.

GIF of an audience rising for a standing ovation

As we begin to close the book on a school year that has been unlike any other, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate and thank New York City’s public school students for their hard work and dedication to learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This past year, we asked over a million young New Yorkers to adapt their learning and social habits in the face of ever-changing City, State, and federal guidelines, and they rose to the challenge by learning and working wherever they could in order to stay the course. We could not be prouder of our students for what they have been able to accomplish since the fall, and we congratulate each and every one of you for reaching the end of the school year!

In celebration of our students’ hard work this year, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite highlights from our yearlong #ShowYourSchoolworkNYC series. Since the fall, we’ve been highlighting some of the outstanding schoolwork completed by City public school students (grades 3-K through 12) throughout the 2020–21 school year, and thanks to the series, we’ve seen some thoughtful and innovative work from students across the five boroughs.

Take a look at some of our favorites below, and let us know about some of your favorite assignments from the past year in the comments section below!

Banner of "Show Your Schoolwork NYC" featuring a student working on a laptop


“Does It Roll?”
Xavian Rijo, Pre-K
P.S. 192 in Manhattan

In this video, we see Pre-K student, Xavian Rijo, testing out the mobility of various objects as part of his class’ unit of study on Transportation. His teacher, Ms. Lorenzo, said that the assignment, “involved creating a stable structure and moving objects in various ways and reasoning about space and shapes.”


Egg Diffusion Experiment
Ashlyn Espinoza, Grade 9
Young Women’s Leadership School, Queens

“We were studying cells and wanted to demonstrate diffusion,” Ms. Melissa Shumer, Ashlyn’s teacher explained. “This was an extra credit opportunity to demonstrate what happens to an egg soaking in vinegar for numerous days. The shell dissolved, and the vinegar diffused into the egg’s membrane.”

“Ashlyn created an easy-to-follow lab report explaining her work. She demonstrated that quality science experiences can happen in a remote setting!”


Sea Lions
Christopher Davis, Grade 2
P.S. 40 in Queens

Christopher was so inspired by his trip to the New York Aquarium that he created a diorama to help bring the aquarium to life at home! Christopher’s mom told us, “It was the first time Christopher saw California sea lions in person, and he has been ecstatic ever since!”

When his teacher, Mrs. Lopez, asked students to showcase what they had learned about animals in their habitat, Christopher created a 3-D sea lion diorama using origami paper-folding.

Behind the back shot of Christopher as he works on a sea lion diorama

Behind the back view of Christopher as he paints more of his diorama

Christopher stands proud next to his completed diorama


Water Bottle Flip Experiment
Chloe DiGiacomo, Grade 6
I.S. 24 in Staten Island

Ever flip a water bottle and wonder how it lands perfectly upright? I.S. 24’s Chloe DiGiacomo conducted a science experiment to get to the bottom of this mystery!

Chloe, who was assigned this project by her teacher, Ms. Carroll, assessed different factors during her experiment, including “how much water was needed, what kind of flooring we needed to flip it on, and if we should be sitting, standing, or sitting on a chair.” Chloe said she had to “flip the water bottle five times for each measurement. We also learned a lot of new vocabulary words like variable, independent variable, control group, and so much more.”

A photo of a student holding a water bottle juxtaposed next to a scan of her "Bottle Flip" project document


The Mood Helper
Advay Misra, Grade 4
P.S. 59 in Manhattan

Advay built a “Mood Helper” in his coding class in order to support his peers’ mental health during a year when many students could not see their friends regularly in person. In describing his assignment, Advay said he was asked to “come up with a solution to an everyday problem,” and he decided to develop a way to check in on his classmates’ daily moods. He used Python the Mood Helper, which prompts users to enter information about how they feel throughout any given day. Once a user registers how they feel at any particular moment, the Mood Helper automatically responds with activity suggestions and inspirational quotes that are based on the type of mood entered by the user. And if a user repeatedly enters “low moods,” like sadness, for example, a parent/guardian or other emergency contact can be notified automatically.

A banner image of Advay sitting with an open laptop on the left, and scans of his Python code in the center and the right

Scan of a sample email that Advay's Moodmeter sends after too many "low mood" entries


Performance of “Breathe”
Alexis Aguiar, Grade 12
The Queens School of Inquiry in Queens

As part of her Senior Theater Seminar course, Alexis recorded this performance of the song, “Breathe,” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning musical and movie, “In the Heights.” When submitting this video, Alexis’ teacher, Mr. Lawrence, noted that Alexis “is a well-rounded and talented young lady…she is a true ‘triple threat’ displaying her exceptionalism in acting, singing, and dancing. She has won various awards to attest to her abilities in these areas.”


We hope you enjoyed this roundup of our favorite schoolwork from the 2020–21 school year! On behalf of the NYC Department of Education, we thank all of the students, teachers, friends, family members, and community representatives who reached out to us with examples of great student work all year long!

We wish all of our students a wonderful summer!

Banner photo by RODNAE Productions. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019