Blog

Creating A Caring Classroom for Students

In less than 24 hours I will greet my new class of seventh-graders. I spent the last two days decorating my classroom, paying careful attention to those minor details like plants on the window sill and fresh-linen smelling plug-ins strategically plugged into electrical outlets throughout the room. These seemingly innocuous touches turn our classroom space… Continue reading Creating A Caring Classroom for Students

Blog · School Choice

Shadina Charles’ Story: Homelessness, Cancer, and a Two-Hour Commute Won’t Get in the Way of Her Daughters’ Education

This is a guest column by Keciah Bailey, a freelance education journalist. Shadina Charles (see picture above) is a native of Grenada, a cancer survivor, and the mother of four daughters, two of whom attend Hebrew Language Academy Charter School in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. In Morris Heights, Bronx, the alarm sounds at 4:00 a.m. signaling to… Continue reading Shadina Charles’ Story: Homelessness, Cancer, and a Two-Hour Commute Won’t Get in the Way of Her Daughters’ Education

Accountability

I Won’t Teach To The Test: Never Have, Never Will.

It’s back-to-school time and those two “dirty words” have already come up on both my teacher and parent radar: standardized testing. On a holistic level, I am not against standardized tests. When created correctly (an oxymoron to some), standardized tests are one way to assess how well a student has grasped the material covered within… Continue reading I Won’t Teach To The Test: Never Have, Never Will.

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“Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”: In the Wake of Charlottesville, a Teacher Contemplates Bias

I applaud my fellow educational allies who have begun to assemble curriculum resources. I encourage you to follow #CharlotttesvilleCurriculum on social media as it can lead you to an array of resources and subsequently increase awareness of what schools are encouraging. The voices of classroom teachers are also amplified. At the same time, it’s essential… Continue reading “Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”: In the Wake of Charlottesville, a Teacher Contemplates Bias

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White Teachers Tend To Have Consistently Lower Expectations of Their Black and Brown Students

I wrote a post last week that got just as much praise as it did condemnation. The negative responses took me somewhat by surprise. I thought my message of reverence and thanks to my high school teachers — who were, with the exception of one, all white — for holding me to the same high… Continue reading White Teachers Tend To Have Consistently Lower Expectations of Their Black and Brown Students

School Choice

Why I Make My Son Study For the “Ridiculous” SHSAT

My older son graduated from a New York City Specialized High-School this June. Now it’s my younger one’s turn to prep for the qualifying Specialized High-School Admissions Test (SHSAT). “You realize how ridiculous this is,” my 13 year-old posited after taking yet another practice test from one of the many books we’ve purchased for the… Continue reading Why I Make My Son Study For the “Ridiculous” SHSAT

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In a High-Achieving School That Has 99% Black Students, Why Haven’t More Black Teachers Been Hired?

Prior to publishing my last post, “How Are These White Teachers At A Long Island High School Helping Black Kids Achieve Above- Average Graduation Rates?,” I asked my editor if my position was clear or if I appeared to my readers to be flip-flopping from my original, previously proposed position that the profession needs more teachers… Continue reading In a High-Achieving School That Has 99% Black Students, Why Haven’t More Black Teachers Been Hired?

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Learning Through Exploration: NYC Students — This Summer It’s Time To Hit The Streets!

It’s no question that New York is the best city on the planet. Biased much? Yeah, I admit I am biased a bit, but it’s true! Anything and everything you could want or imagine from any part of the world is at your fingertips! I mean, for the cost of a train ride – $2.75… Continue reading Learning Through Exploration: NYC Students — This Summer It’s Time To Hit The Streets!

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Three Reasons Why Teachers Must Travel Over the Summer!

I find tremendous meaning in traveling. When teachers are able to explore the world during the summer they create shared experiences with students, a “first-person” account of the curriculum, and a strengthening of school professional learning communities. I appreciate opportunities that take me out of my comfort zone. College studies abroad to Spain, science research… Continue reading Three Reasons Why Teachers Must Travel Over the Summer!

Accountability

Do Kids Care If Their Teachers Are Certified? Should Parents?

Last week, New York City schools received two pieces of contradictory news, which made for an interesting contrast in how teachers are viewed. In the first, the Department of Education will now require principals to staff vacancies with teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve, also known as “the rubber room,” where pedagogues who have been… Continue reading Do Kids Care If Their Teachers Are Certified? Should Parents?