Roundtables and Panels

A letter from our principal Wallace:

Dear ESA Families,

I hope you all had a restful winter break.  While we are embarking on a new year together, we are also coming to the end of the fall semester.  Over the next week, students will be finishing their final projects and preparing to demonstrate their learning on roundtables and panels.  This is a very exciting time of year at ESA, as students who have mastered the skills and content in their courses are challenged to complete their highest quality products.  

As a project-based school, we believe that students learn best when they are challenged to produce meaningful work for an authentic audience.  Roundtables and panels allow students to showcase their learning for other students, teachers, and staff across all departments and grade-levels, as well as professionals from outside the school with real-world knowledge and expertise in the subject area.  Unlike the end-of-semester exams that many high school students engage in during the final weeks of the semester, at ESA we get to use this time to teach and learn from one another, to push each other\’s thinking, and to engage in the work of a true intellectual community.  

To make this valuable learning experience possible, we have a modified schedule for the final week of classes from 1/13-1/17 followed by Panels Week (which replaces Regents Week in schools like ours).  Please take a moment to carefully review the calendar below to see exactly what will be happening each day as we approach the end of the semester.  And if you have any questions about the process, please review the attached Expectations Guide for more information about Roundtables (for grades 9 and 10) and Panels (for grades 11 and 12).

ESA End of Semester Calendar, January 2019


9th and 10th grade students:

After completing their roundtables, 9th and 10th grade students will not be required to attend school between Wednesday 1/15 and Friday 1/17.  ESA will, however, be providing activities for 9th and 10th graders on these days including open gym, trips to the movies, and trips to cultural institutions throughout the city.  We encourage 9th and 10th graders to take advantage of these opportunities and will be providing more detailed information about the specific activities in the coming days.

As is the case in all NYC high schools, only students who are completing their graduation requirements (Regents Exams and/or PBATs/Panels) attend school for the final week of the semester, Tuesday 1/21 through Friday 1/24.  Tenth graders will, however, be scheduled to attend panels as observers in order to get familiar with the process and see what will be expected of them when they become upperclassmen the following year. All students will receive their individualized roundtables schedules including panels observations in advisory next week.

Again, if you have any questions please review the resources in this email carefully or reach out to your child’s advisor directly.  We\’re looking forward to a great finale to the fall semester and fantastic new year in 2020!