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Volume XIV, No. 8 • New York City • APRIL 2009

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For Parents, Educators & Students

Fiscal Success for CUNY

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U.S. POSTAGE PAID THE EDUCATION UPDATE

CUNY Chancellor M atthew G oldstein, L inda M acaulay & CUNY Chair Benno C. Schmidt, Jr .




Education update

For Parents, Educators & Students

GUEST EDITORIAL

By Dr. George Campbell, Jr.

One hundred and fifty years ago Peter Cooper, a true urban visionary, established The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with the belief that all who qualify should have the opportunity for a college education of the highest quality and to the possibilities that it offers. His outrageously radical idea, then and now, was to provide access to excellence in education based only on merit, to prohibit discrimination with respect to race, religion or gender and to provide every student with a full-tuition scholarship. This year to honor Peter Cooper’s bold vision and his inspiring legacy, The Cooper Union reaffirmed its commitment to the full tuition scholarship policy. This date marked Peter Cooper’s 218th birthday and the launch of Cooper Union’s 150th anniversary celebration. We have planned a yearlong series of exciting events, exhibitions and cultural activities commemorating Cooper Union’s dedication to academic excellence and its contributions to the City, to the nation and to the human condition. “Great Evenings in the Great Hall,” a special eight-part series, is a hallmark Cooper Union sesquicentennial program. For a century and a half, Cooper Union’s Great Hall has stood as a bastion of free speech and has fueled changes in American history, from the abolitionists (Frederick Douglass) and wom-

Trevor Oswalt

The Cooper Union Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary en’s rights activists (Susan B. Anthony) to the birth of the NAACP (W.E.B. Dubois) and the American Red Cross (Clara Barton). A diverse range of actors and New York City literary figures will reenact many of the famous speeches delivered from this historic venue. From exploring societal issues and stimulating political discourse to recognizing the accomplishments of its pioneering alumni, Cooper Union has been and continues to be a force for innovation and change. Over its 150 years, The Cooper Union has educated the leaders who developed the microchip prototype, pioneered cancer detection processes and designed signature buildings here and abroad. Among its graduates are some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The tradition continues, as recent students have won a vastly disproportionate share of prestigious national awards, fellowships and honors, including 29 Fulbright Scholarships since 2001 and 11 National Science Foundation Fellowships since 2004, making us among the nation’s largest producers of both of these awards. Looking to the future, Cooper Union’s new

state-of-the-art academic facility at 41 Cooper Square—New York City’s first green academic laboratory building—will open in time for classes this fall, with a ribbon cutting scheduled for September 15, 2009. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, the new academic facility will house the Albert Nerken School of Engineering and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences along with technology intensive facilities to support the School of Art and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. The nine-story, full-block building will feature reconfigurable, state-of-theart classrooms, laboratories, studios and public spaces. Cooper Union’s 150th anniversary celebration reflects the college’s storied past and its promising future. We hope that you can join us during this joyous year of celebration. The Cooper Union website provides you with details about the upcoming 150th anniversary events www.cooper.edu. It would be great to see you at the festivities.# Dr. George Campbell, Jr. is President of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

LETTERS Brentwood, CA Dyslexia in the Prison Population To the Editor: I am not surprised at the percentage of dyslexics in prison. I am lucky that my dyslexic son has found a way to make it in this world. When we found out he had dyslexia, he was nine. Now he is 44. Little help was offered because the condition was not sufficiently understood. He made it through school because he listens well and has a photographic memory. I think it is disgraceful that our country has not addressed this problem; we must keep pushing for legislature that will provide the help they need. Cynthia Wagner

HARLEM DREAM AWARD 2008 PRESENTED TO

Dr. Pola Rosen Harlem Children � Society

Pittsburgh, PA Prison College Programs Unlock the Keys to Human Potential To the Editor: I am now in the process of trying to find a correspondence degree for my son. He is incarcerated in Huntingdon, PA. He MUST have something to do besides sit in a cell, so that when he returns home he will have some hope. Prison programs like the one in your article give people like my son hope for a life after prison. Deborah Brooklyn, NY The Sterling School To the Editor: Sterling is a precious pearl for helping my son, Daniel Valentin. Dan graduated from the Sterling

April 2009

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ADVISORY COUNCIL: Mary Brabeck, Dean, NYU School of Education; Shelia Evans-Tranumn, Assoc. Comm. of Education, NYS; Charlotte K. Frank, Ph.D., Senior VP, McGraw-Hill; Joan Freilich, Ph.D., Trustee, Barnard College & College of New Rochelle; Andrew Gardner, Technology Teacher & Advisor, The School at Columbia U.; Cynthia Greenleaf, Ph.D., Director, Partnerships, Chicago Public Schools; Augusta S. Kappner, Ph.D., President, Bank St. College; Bonnie Kaiser, Ph.D., Director, Precollege Program, Rockefeller University; Harold Koplewicz, M.D., Founder & Director, NYU Child Study Center; Ernest Logan, Pres., CSA; Cecilia McCarton, M.D., Dir., The McCarton Center; Eric Nadelstern, CEO, Empowerment Schools, NYC; Alfred S. Posamentier, Ph.D., Dean, School of Education, CCNY; David Steiner, Dean, Hunter College; Adam Sugerman, Publisher, Palmiche Press; Laurie Tisch, Chair, Center for Arts Education

ASSOCIATE EDITORS: School last year. He is currently at The Community School in Teaneck, NJ. He is doing beautifully and is learning at an extraordinary rate. He has gained great confidence and self-esteem. He is still a bit shy, not quite out of his shell, but he is enthusiastic about learning new things.  His strengths are math and science, which he cannot get enough of. I owe Sterling, Ruth Arberman and the rest of its unique staff a great deal of thanks for helping my son build and achieve his success, and for preparing him for his continued education at The Community School. I wish Sterling continued success and best wishes for a great school year. Carmen Valentin

In This Issue Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Spotlight on Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-9 Careers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Camps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Special Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-11 Medical Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 CENTERFOLD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13 College Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Colleges & Grad Schools . . . . . . . . 15-21 MetroBEAT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Movies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23

Heather Rosen, Adam Sugerman, Rob Wertheimer

ASSISTANTS TO THE PUBLISHER: Dan Lewis, Carolina Salas, Shara Grau

GUEST COLUMNISTS:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. George Cambell, Jr., Dr. Carole Hankin, Dr. Randi Herman, Dr. Alfred Posamentier, Raul Silva, M.D.

STAFF WRITERS: Jan Aaron, McCarton Ackerman, Jacob Appel, J.D., Judith Aquino, Joan Baum, Ph.D., Alberto Cepeda, Dorothy Davis, Steven Frank, Gillian Granoff, Richard Kagan, Sybil Maimin, Martha McCarthy, Ph.D., Joy Resmovits, Lauren Shapiro, Emily Sherwood, Ph.D., Marisa Suescun, Lisa Winkler

BOOK REVIEWERS: Harris Healy III, Merri Rosenberg, Selene Vasquez

MEDICAL EDITOR: Herman Rosen, M.D.

MODERN LANGUAGE EDITOR: Adam Sugerman

MOVIE & THEATER REVIEWS: Jan Aaron

MUSIC EDITOR: Irving M. Spitz

ART DIRECTOR: Neil Schuldiner

ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT: Martin Lieberman, Manager; Richard Kagan, Chris Rowan, Carolina Salas Education Update is published monthly by Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Education Update 695 Park Avenue, Ste. E1509 New York, NY 10065-5024 Subscription: Annual $30. Copyright © 2009 Education Update

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spotlight on schools

EDUCATION UPDATE

Architecture: A passion & a career

April 2009

by Joan Baum, Ph.D.

Despite significant gains made by women interested in careers in architecture, the profession remains male-dominated. The prestigious awards, such as the Pritzker Architecture Prize, it’s been observed, go overwhelmingly to men, and women rarely “receive headline-grabbing commissions.” Still, it should be noted that Marion Mahoney Griffin who was the country’s first officially licensed architect, was also Frank Lloyd Wright’s first employee. And no doubt the 36-year old advocacy group, The Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals, has been and continues to be a major force in improving the professional standing of women architects by way of promoting networking opportunities, providing support for women entrepreneurs and offering women students mentoring programs and resources. In this spirit, Education Update is pleased to showcase two women architects who Made It.

Maggi Sedlis Goldstein Maggi Sedlis Goldstein, a licensed architect, “evolved” into the project management business from a career as a practicing architect, and has been at the helm of her Project Management business, Sedlis Goldstein Group, LLC, since 1995. Projects have ranged from $1,000,000 to a current workload of several projects including two current 100-million dollar projects. She credits the success of her business to “relationship building” and her diversified career path. A graduate of the High School of Music and Art, where she took classes in fashion design, she went on to study at the Parsons School of Design/The New School for Social Research, where she received a BFA in Environmental Design, a program that was a mixed bag of architecture, interior design, landscape and urban design. The variety of disciplines was eye opening and exciting. Having always wanted to be an architect, she fondly recalls a childhood fascination with drawing floor plans (“I still have copies of them), and parents who would take her on weekend excursions to see model houses and apartments (kind of a goofy interest for a 9 year old!). However, she received mixed signals about pursuing this dream because a) she was a girl, and b) she was not good in math. While at Parsons, she was encouraged by one of her instructors, (“you can do it!”), and she applied for a Master’s in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. Having never been west of Philadelphia or south of Washington D.C., St Louis was as far as she had the courage to go and it seemed like an adventure. At the time, there were no women on the faculty, and she was the only female in her graduating class. Though Frank Lloyd Wright was a background influence (“I loved his sense of scale, context, environment”), her career began with handson work in construction. After her Master’s, she went to Culebra, Puerto Rico where she actually did construction and built wood frame houses. Then, after a few years back and forth between New York City and St. Louis, she permanently returned to New York. This being the

late 70s, early 80s, jobs were scarce, but she landed a job in White Plains working on corporate interiors. These were the early days of “Affirmative Action”, and though she sensed that she was being hired for gender rather than expertise, her attitude was, “hire me!” Indeed, she seems always to have moved with opportunity, whatever its motive or source. The result was picking up practical knowledge. She did at first resist going into interior design (it seemed like such a cliché for a “girl”), but she recognized that this area would give her practical design and management experience. And she picked up more than practical knowledge—she learned how to manage projects and clients! Confidence brought an appreciation of the savvy customer. “Early in my career, we used to joke that the projects would be great if we didn’t have clients! Then as I gained more experience, I realized that the best, most successful, projects had the most ‘educated clients’, those who were willing to learn and had done their due diligence.” She is always looking to take advantages of opportunities and leads as they presented themselves, and has built her career on this. One of her current clients, New York Presbyterian Hospital, came about years ago through a former associate. She was originally recommended to provide project management training to the facilities team (that didn’t materialize); but what did, was something better. She was asked to provide Project Management services on a project at the hospital, a move that would give her expertise in hospital construction and regulatory requirements—drawing on a wide range of design and financial activities, among them developing and adhering to standards—and has been consulting with the Hospital ever since. Her client list, which includes both residential and commercial projects, exemplifies her firm’s diversity—co-ops, educational institutions (Barnard, NYIT, The New School), healthcare, not-for profits, media organizations and arts clubs. She prides herself on bringing projects in on time and within budget, and very happy clients. Maybe she ought to work for the Feds. #

Shirley Sherak That Shirley Sherak went to architecture school when she was already in her `30s speaks multitudes about this soft-spoken, modest but intensely focused woman whose rigorous intelligence is immediately apparent in the thoughtful way she eschews the predictable response and tests answers on the pulse. A determined but somewhat “fearful” applicant to Columbia University’s School of Architecture, she wondered if she was making the right move in leaving her job with the New York State Urban Development Corporation to go for a second graduate degree (she had a Master’s in Urban Planning). Was she “creative enough”? She had “swallowed all the negativity” about women in architecture, despite having taken college math through advanced calculus, but she also saw that people in her office were being laid off and that though her own job was not in jeopardy, opportunity would be limited. An economics major at Barnard, she knew that more graduate school would mean more working her way through financially, but she did it, teaching at night at Pratt and keeping her day job. The big surprise was the field itself. Coming from a poor family the word “architecture” was never mentioned at home. She never knew that there was such a profession. Still, she recalls that when her parents brought home the Sunday paper, she would instinctively turn to the real estate section and “try to improve the floor plans.” When, in college, on the advice of a friend she took an elective in the history of architecture, “a light bulb went off.” She applied to Columbia, the only school to which she sent an application (rather untypical), even though another friend, a prearchitecture major, said would not make it. She did, he did not. He was not the only one to discourage her, however. A professor—“he actually said this”—declared that “women weren’t capable of being architects.” Though she had always envied college classmates who knew their career goals early on, she did feel competent enough to handle any discipline, especially one that turned on structured design, “stuff with real substance.” Delight followed in architecture school, where “every course was interesting to me.” She was the only woman in one class, and a professor would repeatedly pick on her, but she persevered. And prevailed. The times they were a-changing: by

her second year, more women were entering the School, and though she was older than they by ten years, she managed to make her presence felt. She joined and became president of a small group, Alliance of Women in Architecture, which was dissolved once barriers against women were weakened, though she does note that she resisted an offer from the American Institute of Architects to have the group absorbed as a committee. It’s significant that Shirley Sherak’s criticism of the profession today does not turn on a feminist theme but on a broader one that indicts education. It’s not so much that women may not make it to the top but rather that few architecture graduates will, resulting in frustration and a high attrition rate. “There are simply too many graduates being educated today for too few positions,” the result, perhaps, of movies and TV shows that make the field seem glamorous. Architects are subsidiary to the principal, she points out. The person who owns the firm gets to design the building.” But education is trapped in a soloist mentality. Architecture schools fail to show students how related fields can be challenging and creative and draw on cognitive skills honed in architecture study that would serve them well in any endeavor that depends upon creative problem solving. Although Shirley Sherak’s client list constitutes a what’s what in many areas, she is quick to note that her projects are parts, not wholes. Still, those so-called parts are quite impressive, such as the underground biomedical Imaging Building she designed for Weill Medical College of Cornell University (she has evolved into an expert on medical facilities), the first of its kind. No one had ever designed such a facility—a “Rubik’s Cube in three dimensions,” which, after five grueling years she laughingly refers to as “white knuckle” time. Yes, she is sensitive to pressures peculiar to women who want to be architects and have families as well. Architecture projects run on office deadlines, not domestic ones. But even men need to have a passion in the belly to compensate for the fact that architecture is a “highly cyclical” profession, sensitive to economic downturns when steady income may decline. Cautionary words from a wise pro. #

Annie Kurtin: Architecture Student Follows Her Dream by Sybil Maimin In architecture, Annie Kurtin has clearly found the perfect fit. Her trajectory from college to graduate school, not a straight line, illustrates how being alert to and following up on new interests can lead to unanticipated happy outcomes. Now a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Master of Architecture Degree Program, Kurtin received a BA in art history from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2002. A memorable class the second half of her senior year, “The History of Architecture, 1960 to the Present” opened her eyes and is “where I started my love of architecture.” At her next stop, Goldsmiths College at the University of London where she earned a masters degree in Contemporary Visual Culture and Critical Theory, she realized she was “more interested in looking at buildings than contemporary art” and wrote her dissertation on Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the World Trade Center site. Upon returning to the States, she immersed herself in the world she was clearly becoming addicted to by taking a position

as director of policy and communications at the New York Chapter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) in Greenwich Village. During her four busy years at the AIA she heard constant design talk, met many architects, became familiar with new projects in the city, and developed an interest in the politics that is part of the building process. By 2007, it was time to learn how structures are made and Columbia’s school of architecture matched her needs. She explains, “Columbia’s program is theory-based which is great for me. It plays to my strengths coming from an art history, conceptual thinking and writing background.” The New York City location is another big plus to her. All student project sites are in the City and she enjoys the challenge of considering questions of density, public transportation, differing life styles, and history. A summer internship with Frederic Schwartz, Architects, exposed her to building proposal competitions, RFP’s, and sustainable design. To date, she is proudest of her work for The Drawing

Center project which was chosen for inclusion in the Columbia Archives, an online database of student work. Referring to the Columbia program, Kurtin says, “I have loved my time here so far.” The school’s approach is “hands off in a way. All the resources you can imagine are here but you have to find them on your own.” The studio courses “are amazing, but extremely intense. You have to be 100 percent committed…personal life suffers.” Green, or environmentally conscious, courses are offered but not required, and studio projects need not incorporate green or sustainability aspects. In response to this policy, a very popular Green Building Group has been initiated. A Student Council Representative, Kurtin reports 50 percent of her class is female and “the place of women at Columbia is not really an issue.” She does note the course “’Building Technology” has only men as major critics of student work and sees this as a reflection of the male-dominant climate in engineering. Her mentors have been both men

and women, particularly Frederick Bell, executive director of AIA, New York, and Susan Chin, assistant commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. “I’ve learned so much from them. For me personally, mentoring is very important.” In the current economic climate, the future looks dim in terms of employment prospects. Articulate, energetic, and upbeat, Kurtin muses, “People will need too adapt. Familiarity with sustainability and green issues “will definitely make you a better candidate.” She advises, “Architecture can be other things—graphic arts, visual communication.” She sees furniture design (with the example of Frank Lloyd Wright whom she admires for “his pioneering work”) as a “wonderful way to be able to translate between scales…wonderful to be able to have your vision inside and outside the house.” Kurtin’s goal is to remain in New York City, where she “has the most connections” and is familiar with the all-important politics, and work for a city design agency such as the Department of Cultural Affairs or the Department of Design and Construction. Dynamic, passionate, and talented, she is the positive face of our city’s future.#


APRIL 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE



spotlight on schools

superintendents speak

Prepare Your Children for the J obs of the F uture By Dr. Carole Hankin

This has been a trying time for our nation and the world, as the ongoing economic crisis has sent unemployment rates soaring and put a major damper on job creation and growth. However, today’s gloomy financial climate will eventually pass, and it will dramatically reshape the occupational landscape where our children will find themselves in the next decade and beyond. Now is the time to prepare our children for the many prospects that lie ahead. This includes not only nurturing their talents and supporting their interests, but helping them to develop new talents and explore new interests as well. By encouraging them to pursue a variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities, we are preparing them well in advance for the many career opportunities that will become available to them in the future. occupations, including computer programming The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of and personal finance, as well as such advanced Labor Statistics provides a projection of the 30 electives as forensic science and nanotechnology. fastest-growing jobs in the country from 2006 By expanding their horizons at a young age, our to 2016. This projection reveals a wide array children should have all sorts of doors opening to of career possibilities requiring a wide range of them once they are ready to begin their careers. educational backgrounds. These occupations are Remember though, that the job market is ever expected to see significant growth over the next changing. Be sure to keep track of these changes seven years—new jobs numbering in the hun- as your children progress through high school dreds of thousands in some cases. A few of the and college, and help them adjust to downturns fastest growing occupations by percent change and effectively adapt to new situations. This will through 2016 are: network systems and data ensure that they always have the skills they need analyst (53.4%); computer software engineer, to change careers if necessary. Please visit the applications (44.6%); and veterinary technologist Bureau of Labor Statistics online at www.bls.gov and technician (41.0%). for the latest facts and figures.# Many school districts, as ours, are now offerCarole Hankin is the superintendent of the Update v1:Layout 1Education 8/4/08 5:00 PM Page 1 1 13398 Update Update 8/4/08 5:00 13398 Education v1:Layout 1v1:Layout 8/4/08 5:00 PM Page 1 PM Page 1 ing electives that are very relevant to these Syosset School District in New York.

Identifying At-Risk Students By Dr. Bonnie Brown Teachers in general education classrooms often contact their school evaluation teams and ask how to get a student referred to special education or wonder if a student requires an evaluation for special education due to certain presenting behaviors. Here is a user-friendly checklist for teachers that may help them focus on behaviors that are commonly deemed to be indicators that a student is struggling. Oftentimes, these behaviors are a “smoke detector” for students with ADD, ADHD, processing disorders, emotional challenges, Aspergers, or other conditions. The student: · Appears to be in constant motion · Fidgets, squirms, falls from chair · Finds objects to play with or put in mouth · Roams around classroom · Manifests excessive behaviors—tantrums, crying, laughing, flapping · Has poor impulsivity—blurts out verbally · Can’t wait for his/her turn · Talks excessively · Gets in trouble because he/she can’t “stop and think” · Engages in physically dangerous activities · Has difficulties around transitions · Is aggressive, argumentative and volatile · Is socially immature · Bullies classmates · Has poor self-esteem · Has a low frustration tolerance · Manifests catastrophic reactions to minimal stimulation

· Makes little or poor eye contact · Does not “get” jokes, sarcasm or double entendres · Does not seem aware of social expectations in a group setting · Tends to isolate him/herself · Does not like to be touched · Seems sad or depressed · Is involved in self-injurious behaviors None these, in and of themselves, are true indications of any neurological or emotional impairment on their own. However, when they seem to cluster and couple with a history of persistent school failure, family concerns, and untoward incidents occurring in the community, at home or during leisure activities, they may be warning signs. Teachers usually have good radar and certainly have an ongoing measure of comparison with other, more typical students in the class. If a teacher feels there is reasonable evidence for concern, he/she should reach out to the school administrator and the clinician or clinical team on site. After a period of observation, meetings with parents, collection of data and hopefully a functional behavior analysis, the team will then be ready to decide if it is time to begin the referral process to special education. In the next issue, we will discuss various proactive interventions when dealing with students who manifest these behaviors and are at high risk of being referred for special education services. # Dr. Bonnie Brown is the Superintendent of District 75 in New York City.

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spotlight on schools

EDUCATION UPDATE

April 2009

Gilder Lehrman Institute Brings Abe Lincoln To Capitol Hill

Dr. James Basker, Pres., Gilder Lehrman

By Steve Frank More books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American, but when he sought a seat in the U.S. Senate from Illinois—once in 1855 and again in 1858—he was defeated both times and never served in that legislative body. Lincoln’s incredible life and legacy, however, recently provided some much needed inspiration for current senators coping with difficult issues, thanks to a traveling exhibition from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times” made a special, week-long stop at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., arranged by Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). The setting couldn’t have been more majestic.

The Lincoln Exhibit

Carole Watson, Chair. NEH

The exhibition anchored the building’s magnificent three-story rotunda, surrounded by Corinthian columns and topped by a coffered dome. For visitors and staff of U.S. Senators who are grappling with two wars and an economic meltdown, it was impossible to miss. Inspired by the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, the exhibition explores the life, accomplishments and legacy of the President who successfully led the country through the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery.  It features six sections on Lincoln: Young Mr. Lincoln, Paths to the Presidency, Civil War President, The Union Preserved, The President Assassinated and Lincoln’s Legacy.   The exhibition draws from Lincoln’s own words in speeches, letters and proclamations, and invites visitors to go beyond the series

of iconic images we usually see of our most famous President. Highlights include a large reproduction of an 1862 photograph of Lincoln towering above a relatively short, slouching George B. McClellan, general-in-chief of the Union Army. It also includes a rare copy of Lincoln’s second inaugural speech in blue ink, printed in the precious few weeks between the speech and the President’s assassination. After Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865, twenty copies were printed in black ink with a black mourning border. Upstairs and down the hall, past the offices of Senators Ted Kennedy and Judd Gregg, Gilder Lehrman hosted about 100 Senate staffers, educators and historians at a reception celebrating

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the exhibit’s display at the Russell Senate Office Building. “Two sets of this traveling exhibition on Abraham Lincoln are traveling to forty libraries across the country for the next two years,” said James G. Basker, President of Gilder Lehrman. “The exhibits will visit many communities that normally do not have access to big cultural institutions as we do in New York and Washington and places like that.” Librarians hosting the exhibits are brought to New York for a two-day orientation with Lincoln scholars and curators, Basker told Education Update. The traveling exhibition has been made possible in part through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). “This exhibition and this celebration of Abraham Lincoln have special meaning for me personally,” said Carole M. Watson, appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. “There is no doubt that the path of freedom in this country has not been an easy one and that he [Lincoln] defined the second great turn on that path,” she said. “We’re still on that path and we continue on it to this day.” The exhibition is expected to reach millions of people by the summer of 2010. You can see the schedule by going to www.gilderlehrman. org/institute/Lincoln_Notebook.pdf. #

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APRIL 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE



spotlight on schools

Dr. Christine Cea, New Appointment to Board of Regents from Staten Island Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick announced the election of Dr. Christine Cea and Wade Norwood as the newest members of the 17-member panel of the New York State Regents. The Assembly and Senate, in a joint session of the Legislature, also announced the return of Dr. Joseph Bowman and Dr. Saul Cohen to the Board. “By electing these accomplished and distinguished individuals to the Board of Regents, the Assembly Majority demonstrates its continued commitment to ensuring that our children receive the proper education and skills to become the outstanding achievers of the future,” said Silver (D-Manhattan). The new seat on the Board of Regents was added to coincide with the creation of a thirteenth judicial district for Staten Island. The Board is comprised of 17 members elected for five-year terms. One member is elected from each of the state’s judicial districts and four members serve at large. These are unsalaried positions. The state’s 17 regents meet twice a month in Albany to set educational policy and appoint the Education Department chancellor. They also oversee some 7,000 libraries, state archives and seven public broadcasting stations, as well as one million licensed and certified educational professionals. Regent appointments coincide with state Judicial Districts and, with the creation of the 13th district last fall, Staten Island was in line for its first Island-only regent. “This is a very historic appointment,” noted Cusick. Dr. Cea said she was “honored and humbled” by her appointment.

Engagement for the Finger Lakes Health System College School of Health and Human Services. Agency, a non-for-profit community health plan- He holds a B.A. in political science from the ning organization, and is a member of the Buffalo University of Rochester. Fiscal Stability Authority. Previously, Norwood The Board of Regents was established in 1784 served on the Rochester City Council for 15 and is the oldest, continuous state education entiyears, where he focused on community revital- ty in the United States. Regents are responsible ization and environmental health initiatives. He for the general supervision of all educational also served as a special assistant to Assemblyman activities within the state, presiding over the State David Gantt (D- Rochester) for 19 years. In his University of New York and the New York State community, Norwood has served as a board Education Department. member for the Children’s Institute, Children’s Cea will represent the new Thirteenth Judicial Agenda, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection District of Staten Island, and Norwood will and Perinatal Network of Monroe County, as be a Member-at-Large. Bowman will continue a faculty member for the African-American to represent the Third Judicial District, which Leadership Development Program and as an includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, advisory board member for the University of Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Cohen Rochester Rush Rhees Library and the Nazareth will continue to be a2/18/09 Member-at-Large. # Page 1 09AA_LangArts_EducUp03_ad:09AA_LangArts_EducUp02_ad 2:28 PM Dr. Cea currently holds the position of Developmental Disabilities Project Director at Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education and is a research scientist at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. She is also a consulting editor for the American Association on Mental Retardation. Previously, Dr. Cea taught psychology and sociology at the College of Staten Island. In her community, she serves as a member of the Borough President’s Advisory Committee for the Disabled, and as a board member of the Community Advisory Board on Developmental Disabilities and University Hospice at Staten Island University Hospital. Dr. Cea holds a B.A. in psychology, from CUNY, a M.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from Fordham University. Norwood currently is the Director of Community

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Is City-Funded Day Care at Risk? By Dr. Randi Herman As New Yorkers suffer through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, we find our city-funded Day Care system under attack once again. Without communicating why, or providing any transition, the Mayor’s office seems bent on upending Day Care Centers. Now, if the city wanted to redesign an admittedly imperfect system while carefully considering the impact on the children and families involved, we would welcome it. But because this is so clearly not the case, early education advocates and lawmakers have rallied to prevent the loss of a precious resource: the community-based Day Care Center. The city has closed 17 Day Care Centers in the last four years, and, come September—as a socalled cost-saving measure—the city will yank 3,500 five-year-olds from Day Care Centers and shove them, helter-skelter, into whatever public schools have seats. Until outraged parents, lawmakers, union representatives and Day Care Center personnel forced the issue, no thought had been put into whether these children will be in schools close to home or close to their parents’ jobs, or who will look after the children after school. We still have not received a satisfactory explanation as to how this will be implemented. The goal of this plan is to save money by shifting the budgetary responsibility of the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) to the Department of Education (DOE). To this day, however, no city official has offered an explanation as to how much money will be saved, nor explained how the city will provide daylong care to these children—that’s care that takes place before school hours as well as after. (Even Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said there would be no real savings, at a recent public hearing.) Of course, the city’s handling of Day Care Centers is hardly surprising. Day Care Directors and teachers have been without new contracts for three years. And despite efforts to continue negotiations, the city insists that it can’t afford the health care benefits for Day Care employees that all other city employees enjoy. Obviously, educating five-year-olds in New York City’s public schools is not the issue. What is disturbing is how the plan was dropped like

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a bomb into the lives of working families who depend upon daylong care for their five-yearolds. These families simply aren’t in any shape to make the switch by September (any more than the DOE is ready to receive them). The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents Day Care Directors, has offered the following compromise for quality Day Care while allowing for a shared responsibility for expenditure: - The DOE should operate classes for five-yearolds at city-funded Day Care Centers where the children are already enrolled. - The DOE should bear the cost of the instructional program—the teachers and instructional supports—to spare ACS that expense. - When school ends, and the teacher leaves, ACS picks up the tab for the after-school care. In this way, today’s families will receive the support they have come to depend on while the city begins to reshape and restructure the city’s funded Day Care system for future families. President Obama has singled out early childhood education as the foundation of our educational system. Let’s make sure New York City becomes a model without allowing 3,500 youngsters to fall in the cracks on the way.# Dr. Randi Herman is the First VP of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

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SUMMER CAMPS

EDUCATION UPDATE

APRIL 2009

Bank Street Summer Camp + Hunts Point Alliance Children: Building Bridges to the Future communities that help to raise children must be diverse. Bank Street is an organization that is ready to face the current global climate, ready to tackle any issue, and ready to make the world a better place. Bank Street believes that more organizations should be ready to put the petty ways of ignorance and bigotry to bed and to help build a culture not of tolerance, but of acceptance

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of others, regardless of personal differences. This should be a culture where economic class and the particulars of a child’s upbringing do not dictate his or her destiny. A lot of hard work and careful planning is required in order to accomplish these goals, however if every organization took the time to address these issues, the resulting positive outcomes would be endless. #

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The child-centered and nurturing Bank Street philosophy is reflected in our summer programs. Our partner, Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC), helps us extend the Bank Street experience to underprivileged children. For the second consecutive summer, Bank Street Summer Camp will partner with HPAC. The goal is to obtain enough funding to bring more children to camp from the Hunts Point section of The Bronx. Bank Street is an inclusive environment. This environment is one where people of all backgrounds not only feel equally comfortable, but also feel entitled to ascend to greatness and accomplishment. Bank Street believes that encouraging diversity within any organization is important for many reasons. Hunts Point Alliance for Children has a mission to build “collaborative relationships that sustain and nurture

neighborhood families and children.” Serving the Hunts Point area, HPAC focuses on building and strengthening three types of relationships: family/ community relationships, family/school relationships, and school/community relationships. Last year (2008), 6 HPAC children participated in the Bank Street Summer Camp Shakespeare program. There were also HPAC participants in the Spanish Immersion and Visual Arts groups. This year the goal has been set to include HPAC children in the Science, Film and Technology, and Musical Theater groups. This partnership will offer a different and exciting opportunity to children who normally would not have been able to explore this type of workshop experience. Bank Street believes that in order for the interests of a diverse population to be aptly met,

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New York City • April 2009 For Parents, Educators & Students

Milkshakes Are Medicine for Anorexic Teens in FamilyBased Outpatient Therapy Getting your teenager to drink a chocolate milkshake isn’t something most parents need to worry about. But this is just the approach used in one treatment for anorexia nervosa. Known as Behavioral Family Therapy, or the Maudsley Approach, parents are called upon to supervise the eating habits of their anorexic child, feeding them high-calorie meals like milkshakes and macaroni and cheese until they regain a healthy weight. For the first time, the Maudsley Approach is being compared with a more established treatment known as Family Systems Therapy as part of an ongoing National Institutes of Health (NIH)funded treatment study at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and five other centers nationally. Both are outpatient therapies for adolescents, aged 12 to 18. “Anorexia is a life-threatening condition. Treating it early is very important since it is during the teenage years that this disorder usually takes hold,” says Dr. Katherine Halmi, founder of the Eating Disorders Program at NewYorkPresbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Traditionally, patients with anorexia have been treated in a hospital setting or through one-on-one outpatient therapy. While inpatient treatment is still appropriate in acute cases, we have increasingly seen the value of family-oriented outpatient therapy for adolescents.” The current study is designed to compare two different therapeutic approaches that involve the family—one is a behavioral therapy initially focused on weight gain, and the other examines various underlying issues in the family dynamic. In the Maudsley Approach, named after the hospital in London where it was developed in the 1980s, the anorexic teenager attends therapy sessions together with his or her parents and siblings. Parents work with the Maudsley therapist to develop ways in which they can monitor their child’s intake, choosing the amounts and types of foods necessary for him or her to regain to a healthy weight. Siblings are encouraged to act as a support system for their sister or brother. Once patients achieve a healthy weight, they graduate toward taking more responsibility for their intake. At this point, family and developmental issues relevant to the patient maintaining a healthy weight are addressed. In Family Systems Therapy, families also attend regular therapy sessions, but discussions do not necessarily focus on eating. Instead, family members are free to broadly explore and challenge any problematic communication patterns or stressors within the family unit. “In Maudsley, food is medicine that restores the body and mind. When the body is starving, the mind also weakens, becoming more susceptible to anorexia’s rigid, often obsessive logic. Supervised feeding helps to break this vicious cycle. With the

Budget Restores $16 Million Cut to Medical Examiners

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver recently announced that the SFY 2009-2010 budget restores $16 million in proposed cuts that would have reduced the funding of the Offices of City Medical Examiners, which would have in turn resulted in dramatic delays in critical daily operations.

anorexia in charge, the adolescent really cannot regain the weight on his or her own. Nutritional rehabilitation gives the brain the nutrition it needs to re-establish healthy eating habits,” says Dr. Dara Bellace, a clinical psychologist at NewYorkPresbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and an instructor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “This approach does not blame parents, but rather calls on their ability to nurse their children back to health. It requires a strong commitment to be with them for every meal—something that can mean rearranging schedules and taking a tagteam approach to sharing the responsibility,” adds Dr. Bellace. “The adolescents must also dedicate themselves to the therapy, understanding that, until they regain the weight, their parents will be feeding them much as they did when they were younger, deciding what and how much they eat and making sure they finish.” Previous research has shown the Maudsley Approach successfully prevented hospitalization and helped adolescents recover their normal weights, with at least 75 percent of patients maintaining their recovery after five years. A total of 240 adolescents aged 12 to 18 are being recruited for the study at six centers: NewYorkPresbyterian/Westchester; Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore, Maryland; University of California at San Diego; University of Toronto; and Washington University in St. Louis. Those eligible must be medically stable individuals ages 12 to 18 with a body weight between 75 percent and 87 percent of its healthy range. Families are randomized to receive either the Maudsley Approach or Family Systems Therapy. In each family treatment, they attend 16 one-hour sessions over the course of nine months. Sessions are held weekly for the first seven to eight weeks, bimonthly for the next six sessions, and monthly for the remaining sessions. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extreme low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight. The condition largely affects adolescent females, who make up more than 40 percent of all cases. As much as 3 percent of American girls and women are anorexic. Contributing causes may include genetics, personality type, hormones, stress and societal pressures. Anorexia carries the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric condition. Previous research by Dr. Halmi found that 7 percent of affected women died within 10 years. In a Swedish study that followed patients for 30 years, 18 percent to 20 percent of the women died. Even when anorexia is not fatal, it can cause long-term complications, including damage to the heart and bones. For more information, eligible participants can e-mail the study coordinator, Samantha Berthod, at sab2024@med.cornell.edu. # City Medical Examiners statewide protested these cuts, saying the reduction would force office closures and increase the amount of time it would take for autopsy reports and death certificates to be processed. In New York City, the officers of the Office of the City Medical Examiner said they would have to close borough offices and require families to travel to Manhattan to identify deceased loved ones.#



• 9

Ritalin’s Relationship to the Brain A common treatment for attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, prescribed millions of times a year, may change the brain in the same ways that cocaine does, a new study in mice suggests. Research from Rockefeller University shows that methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin, causes physical changes in neurons in reward regions of mouse brains. In some cases, the effects overlapped with those of cocaine. The study highlights the need for more research into methylphenidate’s long-term effects on the brain, the researchers say. The findings were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers, led by Yong Kim, senior research associate, and Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, exposed mice to two weeks of daily injections of cocaine or methylphenidate. They then examined reward areas of the brain for changes in dendritic spine formation—related to the formation of synapses and the communication between nerve cells—

and the expression of a protein called delta Fos B, which has been implicated in the long-term actions of addictive drugs. Both drugs increased dendritic spine formation and the expression of delta Fos B; however, the precise patterns of their effects were distinct. They differed in the types of spines affected, the cells that were affected and the brain regions. In some cases there was overlap between the two drugs, and in some cases methylphenidate produced greater effects than cocaine, for example, on protein expression in certain regions. Both methylphenidate and cocaine are in the class of drugs known as psychostimulants. “Methylphenidate, which is thought to be a fairly innocuous compound, can have structural and biochemical effects in some regions of the brain that can be even greater than those of cocaine,” says Kim. “Further studies are needed to determine the behavioral implications of these changes and to understand the mechanisms by which these drugs affect synapse formation.”#

1 in 7 U.S. Teens Is Vitamin D Deficient One in seven American adolescents is vitamin D min D is stored in body fat, simply increasing deficient, according to a new study by researchers the dosage of vitamin D may not be effective in in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell overweight adolescents,” notes senior author Dr. Medical College. In children, vitamin D deficiency Linda M. Gerber, professor of public health in the can interfere with bone mineralization, leading Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Weill to rickets. In adults, it is linked to cardiovascular Cornell Medical College. “As the prevalence of disease, cancer, diabetes, immune dysfunction and childhood obesity increases, vitamin D deficiency hypertension. may increase as well. In this group, appropriate The study finds more than half of African- nutrition could solve both problems.” American teens are vitamin D deficient. Girls had Another concern is the increased risk of defimore than twice the risk of deficiency compared ciency in girls, some of whom may become pregwith boys. And overweight teens had nearly double nant during adolescence. The authors note that a the risk of their normal-weight counterparts. lack of vitamin D may increase maternal risk of “These are alarming findings. We need to do a preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and may be better job of educating the public on the importance associated with reduced bone mineralization in the of vitamin D, and the best ways to get it. To meet offspring. minimum nutritional requirements teens would Data was obtained from National Health and need to consume at least four glasses of fortified Nutrition Examination Survey III, a cross-sectional milk daily or its dietary equivalent. Other foods rich survey administered to a nationally representain vitamin D include salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified tive sample of persons aged 2 months and older. cereals. A vitamin supplement containing 400 IU of Analyses were restricted to 2,955 participants aged vitamin D is another alternative,” says Dr. Sandy 12 to 19. Saintonge, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics The study was co-authored by Dr. Heejung Bang, and clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical associate professor of biostatistics in public health College. “We should also consider a national fortifi- at Weill Cornell Medical College.# cation strategy, perhaps including routine Do you feel intense sadness and yearning for someone who died, like supplementation and monigrief will never end? Do you avoid reminders that your loved one is toring of serum gone? Do you feel as though joy is gone forever? levels, but more research is needed to determine optimal vitamin D If this describes you, you are over the age of 60, and it levels.” has been more than 6 months since the death, you may Of the spebe eligible to participate in a talk therapy research cific findings, study. the authors Located at 1051 Riverside Drive (@168th Street) were particularly concerned For Information call 212-851-2107 about the role of weight in d e f i c i e n c y. “Because vita-

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Special Education

EDUCATION UPDATE

April 2009

Education Update’s Second New York Citywide Special Education Conference at Hunter College by Sybil Maimin Education Update’s recent Second New York Citywide Special Education Conference at Hunter College provided much needed insight, data, and innovative approaches to parents and teachers working with special needs children. Presentations by experts in the field offered cutting edge information about a range of behaviors from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to autism. The program was poignantly capped by a panel of parents of special needs children who spoke from the ground with practical tips and realistic assessments. Lisa Fleisher, Ph.D., associate professor of Educational Psychology at NYU, spoke of Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) as a way to strengthen new behaviors and improve quality of life for both a child and those around him or her. A child can “keep you hostage with challenging behaviors,” she explained. Research-based strategies using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) include avoidance of aversive interactions. For example, a person who exhibits bad behavior in crowds should be kept away from large gatherings. To produce change, interventions should respect dignity and preferences and create supportive environments and increased opportunities for display of positive behaviors. Katherine Garnett, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Special Education at Hunter College, reviewed the history of the behavior spectrum, noting that descriptive names and initials are not new. By 1902, disorders were seen not as character defects, but as problems of self-control on the neurological level. The

name “hyperactivity” was used in the 1960s, and “attention deficit disorder”, with some understanding of its nature, became a commonly-used term in the 1980s. ADD, with or without the H, affects executive function, or our ability to selfregulate. Garnett explained, “We all have executive function to some degree—we initiate things and inhibit things …We monitor to see if we get off the track and shift back on track. These things can be difficult for kids with executive function problems.” She continued, “Weak inhibition is a major sign of weak executive function—impulsivity.” Many ADHD students move around seeking stimulation. They need novelty and variety. Garnett emphasized that special education curricula should support student strengths and “help them shine”. Students want to “be enjoyed, tolerated, and told when they are doing something right.” She reminded her listeners, “The insides of these kids are incredibly fragile.” Howard Abikoff, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Behavior Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center, spoke about treating and assessing organizational skills deficits in children with ADHD. Citing his study conducted under a National Institute of Mental Health grant, he explained that organization, time management and planning (OTMP) can be taught. OTMP deficits can compromise school success, create family conflict, and eventually affect job functioning. Early remedial intervention involving collaboration between child, parent, and teacher can target specific deficits. If a child has a problem with materials management (“cannot find stuff”), a program involving lists,

check-offs and binders, together with parent and teacher reviews, can be effective. If possible, programs should be fun and varied. Deficits should be objectified and referred to as “glitches.” MacLean Gander, Ed.D., vice president for External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at Landmark College, addressed the challenges and gifts of writers with ADHD. He described writing as “the most complex cognitive process expected as a common activity in a literate society.” Challenges for writers with ADHD include sustaining effort, planning, organization, self-monitoring and working memory, as well as combating boredom or anxiety. Academic writing can be particularly challenging. Gander also emphasized that ADHD can produce important strengths in writers such as an ability to hyperfocus, an intensity of feelings, new and rich ideas born of unusual images and connections, and disinhibition. Gander concluded we should see the creative potential for students along the spectrum and appreciate the real contributions writers with ADHD have made to our culture. Linda Hickson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Opportunities & Outcomes for People with Disabilities at Teachers College, Columbia University, spoke of decision-making skills that affect personal safety for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). In a study comparing adults with and without ID, she found those with the disability were far more likely to choose actions that involve risk and exposure to harm. Those with ID were also found to be more vulnerable to abuse and less likely to make effective decisions in threatening situations, but were more likely to

report threats later. Self-protective decision-making can be taught. Goals and priorities include safety over popularity, avoidance of decisions with severe consequences, independence and empowerment, and valuing personal and social responsibility over peer pressure. Marcia Singer, Ed.D., co-director of the Special Education Leadership program, and Diane Newman, Ph.D., program director of the Childhood Special Education program, both at Bank Street College of Education, discussed their study of how children on the autism spectrum use materials in novel ways to come up with nonverbal problem-solving strategies. Four activities were introduced: water play, magnets, balance scale, and battery-operated cars. Singer and Newman then recorded a variety of observations made while studying the children’s interactions with the activities, including cause and effect relationships, levels of abstraction and degrees of engagement. Some children were found to have skills but not know how or when to use them. Singer and Newman are developing a program to teach children on the spectrum to problemsolve in which teachers act more as facilitators or coaches rather than as instructors. Vincent Carbone, Ed.D., a behavior analyst and founder and director of The Carbone Clinic, illustrated teaching eye contact as a language pragmatic skill to children with autism. Lack of eye contact, a basic social communicative component, is often seen as an early indicator of developmental problems. Carbone showed a video of his work with a 2-year old using “mand-

continued on page 11

Contact Elizabeth O’Shea eoshea@rebeccaschool.org


April 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

Special Education conference

Dr. Pola Rosen

Hunter President Jennifer Raab

Hunter Dean David Steiner

Dr. Cecilia McCarton

Dr. Linda Hickson

Dr. Katherine Garnett

Dr. Howard Abikoff

Dr. Bonnie Brown

Dr. Marcia Singer

Honorees: Regent Merryl Tisch, Dr. Jeffrey Halperin & President Lynda Katz

11

CUNY Dir. Comm. Michael Arena

Dr. Lisa Fleisher

Karen Gorman

Dr. Shirley Cohen

Dr. Vincent Carbone

Kathy Burris

Dr. MacLean Gander

Dr. Catherine Lord

Parent Panel: (L-R) Zosia Zaks, Erica Payne, Lori Lapin Jones, Debora Harris

A panel of special-needs children’s parents praised the committed teachers and other professionals at the conference. “We couldn’t do it without your help,” one said, but also admitted, “In the end, it’s a revolving door and we are the only ones who will be with our children forever.” Parents stressed the importance of getting an early, proper diagnosis and “learning as much as you can.” A child may need help despite not

fitting the stereotype of those who need help. Other advice was to stay positive: remember that autism is a neuro-diversity, not a tragedy. Also, pick and choose your battles, emphasize a child’s strengths, and make sure to play and have fun with him or her. Show your child the joy you take in him or her. Finally, never treat your children as disabled; remind them of what they do that makes them exceptional.

It was a full day. Dr. Sue Lipkowitz of District 75 summed up the feelings of many. “This was the best conference on the subject I have attended— quality of speakers excellent, diverse program, new information, well organized.” Kathy Burris of Landmark College announced a blog about complementary assistive technology, which will be available at www.educationupdate.com.#

Conference

continued from page 10

ing” (requesting) to teach the essential skill of eye contact. In a non-verbal interaction, Carbone only acknowledged the mand if it came with eye contact and only followed through, or rewarded, if eye contact was maintained.


12

A n Inside Look into the T eaching Profession

EDUCATION UPDATE | April 2009

By Lauren Shapiro

Joyce Gilliard-W illiams: A Commitment that S pans Generations

ne of the advantages of teaching Kindergarten in the same school for 25 years, says Joyce GilliardWilliams, is that, “I know the children that are coming to me now and I know their parents. I’ve had their parents as students, so I see their parents in my students. I feel comfortable working with the family.” Sometimes she says to herself, “your mother was just like that.” “It’s a friendly environment, and that is the reason I stayed there all these years,” Ms. Gilliard-Williams says. Mr. Young, the principal of Public School 46, The Arthur Tappan School, has also been there a long time—14 years. Sometimes parents are uncomfortable leaving their young children off at Manhattan’s 152nd Street off the Harlem River Drive in Harlem, Ms. Gilliard-Williams says, but adds, “We have an administrative staff that walks the children to the lunchroom, and the Principal is greeting everybody, rain, shine, sleet or snow. He stands outside every day. He knows most of the children’s names, and that means a lot to the parents. It makes the parents feel more comfortable leaving their child with someone who greets them at the door every morning. It feels like you’re going to visit a friend.” Ms. Gilliard-Williams says that over her 25 years at Arthur Tappan, “my teaching methods have changed; in order to teach for 25 years you have to change, you have to be flexible. Kindergarten is no longer the play time/sleep time it was when I started. We still do rest for 15 minutes after lunch. The children put their heads down on their desk, most of them just rest, some actually sleep.” But then, they rise and shine: “We do math, science, literacy, writing, phonics, rhyme recognition, syllables, consonants, blending alphabet recognition, spelling, and preparation for first grade.” Over the years, “We’ve changed from one reading and math program to another. We have professional development and workshops that help us along when we have to change. Now we’re an empowerment school, so we select our own program.” She says this fall everybody from Kindergarten through sixth grade will be using a program called “Story Time”. “We prepare ourselves by having the workshop, we have literacy coaches, and the program comes with a whole kit. We have the teacher’s edition so

we can read it over the summer and familiarize ourselves with the program.” Besides the academics, “We have an art teacher and an art room, and a music teacher. We’re getting ready to present a spring show of songs.” Although there is no dance teacher, “I do dance with them. I did an American dance, an African dance—but it would be a good thing to have a dance teacher because it’s movement, it’s physical activity for them.” Yes, they have gym, she says, “but there’s a need for creative movement. I did an African dance and that is different from gym. It’s another thing to hear the music of the African drums and to move to the beat. And it’s different from social studies because it’s one thing to read about it, and it’s another thing to do it.” Especially when you’re five. Ms. Gilliard-Williams also thinks the school trips are very important. “We go to cultural events, like the Paperbag players,” and, as virtually all New York City children have been doing since there were public schools and a Museum of Natural History, “we’re on our way to the Hayden Planetarium.” Some things never change.#

Ariel Nadelstern: A Teacher Always L ooking to L earn

hen asked how she chose the teaching profession, Ariel Nadelstern responds, “It actually chose me. I was relocating from Miami when a friend of my mom’s suggested I apply at DeWitt Clinton.” DeWitt Clinton, near Lehman College in the North Bronx, has a fascinating history. Six New York City schools are named for Clinton graduates: August Martin High School in Queens; P.S. 96 Richard Rodgers and P.S.105 Abraham Bernstein in the Bronx; and P.S. 50 Vito Marcantonio, Murry Bergtraum High School and P.S. 194 Countee Cullen in Manhattan. To Ariel, Clinton’s most important grad is her father, Eric Nadelstern. “DeWitt Clinton is where he went to high school and where he started teaching.” Ariel says that initially she and the students were a bit surprised to see one another. “We were staring at each other—I was about three years older than they were.” After her father helped her construct a lesson plan, she and the students finally opened up and “began talking to each other. You have to figure out what you need to do as a teacher. Once you figure that out, the kids will make it happen.” Ariel says she tried various projects. “We created a poetry anthology, and parents contributed as well.” She says that this “good body of work” was great for both the students and for her. From there, Ariel went to the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction. “We were looking at using the land around the building and using the city. You need people who understand people and then you can do everything else.” She says she learned from Principal Lawrence Pendergast that “if you commend instead of criticizing you get more results.” Currently, she is refining her skills, teaching tenth and eleventh grade English and ESL at the Queens High School of Teaching, a school focused on preparing future teachers. Teachers there, as she learned, act as students as well as teachers. “It’s a really good model. The principal did walk-throughs; there were sometimes seven people in my room. They would write up an observation of what they saw and, within days, I would have that in my box. It keeps us aware of what we’re doing.” There are also “Critical friends groups” where teachers present work and get feedback. Having gained confidence and

experience, she is currently co-planning a senior year elective horror film unit. “It would be a humanities course looking at themes of fear—in our society what are our monsters, what are we afraid of? The class would involve script writing and reading. The fact that we can do that, that the administration is willing to help us, is great.” There are three complexes at the Queens High School of Teaching. Ariel teaches in the Emerson complex. “Each school has its own soul, its own personality. Emerson is a growing community, and as we get to shift and change they’re all very different.” As for regents and standardized testing, she says, “The standards for English are basically reading, writing, speaking, and listening. A well planned out unit intrinsically carries those units. You don’t have to study for the regents explicitly or implicitly. I use a generic rubric. The things that I look at in a student’s work are development, organization, language use and control, so they really have standards that become intrinsic.” Intrinsic in Ariel’s life is her parents’ influence. “My father is really strong in the world of progressive education.” For her birthday, they sent her on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Romania for three weeks, “where my paternal grandmother used to live. I climbed one of the Carpathian Mountains, visited the college town of Cluj. There were big, gorgeous buildings and also cool younger shops.” The blend of tradition and innovation is her theme. #

A Troubling Experience at a S truggling S chool

t’s no secret that some schools don’t work. The 2007-2008 statistics on the New York City Department of Education website (http://schools. nyc.gov) show 374 New York City schools in need of improvement (SINI) under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. What goes wrong inside these schools? According to one teacher, the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves. “I had done a lot of work in impoverished neighborhoods and was interested in a way to make social justice happen on a larger scale,” she says. “I didn’t think ‘here I go, I’m going to change the world.’” But she did think education was a tool the disadvantaged needed desperately. When she began teaching high school in the South Bronx, she was ready for the “metal detectors and NYPD security on each floor.” What she didn’t expect was the emotional toll that the environment would take on her. “A kid was standing in the back of the room,

punching the wall, saying repeatedly ‘I’m gonna f--- that b---- up.’” Yet, when she sent kids out of the room, “the principal would bring them back to me and say, ‘You can’t send them to me. We’ll talk about this later,’ and he would say that in front of the entire class. We’d have kids that had violent infractions that should lead to suspension, but they’d be back the next day.” Why would a principal do this? Our teacher says the official line was, “You by law cannot deny a child education by taking them out of your room.” But she counters with the obvious, “When a kid is doing something that throws the whole class off target, removing them is really your last recourse.” She suspects that other factors were possibly at play. “The principal was concerned about us, a new school, getting shut down for being too violent,” and therefore wanted to avoid actions, like principal’s office visits, that would lead to incident reports. And that’s where the SINI policy sticks the

principal between a rock and a hard place: if he reports incidents, he risks having the school shut down; but if he underreports, he finds himself with a different problem. “A lot of the teachers were really jaded, and there’s this culture of the kids seeming to not care at all. Nobody did their homework, so a kid could pass just by turning in five assignments because nobody else turned in any. And, the kids learned that they could get in a fight and nothing would happen to them.” As for reaching out to students’ parents, our source didn’t have much luck. “A lot of parents were unavailable. The ones who came to Parent/ Teacher conferences were supportive, but often you’d never hear from them again. I didn’t feel like much came out of the conferences.” What about the inclusion model? “I don’t think inclusion is possible in a class of 30 kids, especially when you have so many behavior problems. You can’t sit down with one small group that needs extra help if the rest of the class

is going to get out of control as soon as you take your eyes off of them. When there is one person teaching kids ranging from 1st grade level to high school, all you can do is shoot for the middle.” So, given all of these problems, what is there to be done? “One major thing that could be done is smaller class sizes. Some kids would be completely different in a smaller setting.” Ultimately, many schools face problems that require practical solutions which have unintended spiritual and emotional costs. Detention facility-style security may serve a necessary purpose, but it hardly calls to mind concepts like nurturing, discovery, growth, or even freedom. Education cannot happen in a school like this one absent psychological, social, and financial aid. Metal detectors, policies that sweep problems under the rug, and threats of shutting down schools may seem like necessary evils, but they are proving to be generally ineffective, unacceptable solutions.#


CUNY in the News

Andre Beckles

S pitzers’ Gift of $25 Million to CUNY W ill C hange S tudents’ Lives

Dan Gomez

By Steve Frank he economy may be in recession, but City University of New York (CUNY) recently reached its ambitious $1.2 billion fundraising goal three years ahead of schedule, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced. With enrollment at record highs and reduced government funding, however, CUNY cannot afford to celebrate for very long. The university’s leadership is already embarking on a bold and ambitious second phase of its fundraising campaign, which sets a new total goal of $3 billion by 2015. “Today, public higher education is in some serious trouble,” Goldstein said at a packed news conference at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center in midtown. “There is a movement away from supporting public higher education across the United States by state and local government, and philanthropy is getting to be a more important revenue source,” he stated. Goldstein emphasized the importance of “giving our students skill levels that let them compete effectively” through the efforts of benefactors Bill and Linda Macaulay who gave a transforming gift and name to the Macaulay Honors College, Andrew Grove and the Grove School of Engineering, at CCNY, Carol and Larry Zicklin who endowed a chair at Brooklyn College and the School of Business at Baruch, and Lois and Samuel Silberman’s gift of the new School of Social Work and Public Health. According to Goldstein, CUNY has had three Rhodes Scholars in the past five years and his desk is piled high with books written by CUNY faculty members. CUNY’s latest fundraising effort is off to a good start, thanks to a $25 million bequest from Bernard and Anne Spitzer. The donation will benefit the City College School of Architecture. City College (CCNY) is part of the CUNY system, the nation’s largest urban public university. The only public school of architecture in New York City, the City College School of Architecture will move into a new home on CCNY’s South Campus at Convent Avenue and 135th Street. The new facility provides 118,000 square feet of usable space, including studios, offices, classrooms, computer labs, a model shop, a library and an exhibit area. The first classes are scheduled to be held during the 2009 summer session.

13 April 2009 | EDUCATION UPDATE

Bronx Community College Presents Awards to S tellar Grads: Administrator, S cientist and Nurse

The Spitzers & Chancellor Matthew Goldstein

City College President Gregory H. Williams has recommended to Chancellor Goldstein that the CUNY Board of Trustees name the CCNY architecture school The Anne and Bernard Spitzer School of Architecture. “This historic, transformative gift from Anne and Bernard Spitzer will make the City College School of Architecture one of the best in the nation,” said Williams. Spitzer, a real estate developer and the father of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, received an engineering degree from City College in 1943. Mrs. Spitzer is an Adjunct Professor of English Literature at Marymount Manhattan College. “I strongly believe there are few things more fundamental to the common good than an educated society, and few institutions that contribute more faithfully to that overarching goal than City College,” said Spitzer. “I feel privileged to support their work, their vision and their future.” According to Board of Trustees, CUNY Chair and former Yale President Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. “in 2000 CUNY raised one sixth of what Yale raised; this year we’ll be at 80 percent of what Yale raises. We will close the gap in five years,” he promised. Linda Macaulay, an avid ornithologist, averred that “the dollars we’re giving is going directly to students. Education is the keystone of the wellbeing of our society.” Two students presenters were powerful examples of the transformative value of a CUNY education. Dan Gomez, an international studies major, fluent in Arabic, started at Queens Community College. In 2001 he studied to be a paratrooper, He returned to found the office of Veteran Affairs. Jessica Lee of the Macaulay Honors College was a political science major at Hunter College and went on to become a public policy fellow at Princeton University as well as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala, India and Argentina. “My commitment is to public service. That is what my professors inculcated in me.” What a testament to the outstanding students that are the recipients of a CUNY education. Enrollment is expected to serve 253,000 degreecredit students as well as 250,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. #

(L-R) Dr. Carolyn Williams, BCC President; Dr. Monica Sweeny, Honoree; CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, Honoree; Dr. Alice Fuller, Honoree; CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein; NY1 News Dominic Carter

By Lauren Shapiro ommunity colleges get a bum rap. Some say their graduates do not excel and are not high achievers. The contrary was true at the Bronx Community College Foundation Gala. Two award recipients Dr. Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/Aids Prevention, and Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor of CUNY were BCC alums. Mr. Hershenson was being honored especially for his role in securing funding for the new $102 million North Instructional Building and Library. In presenting the award Walter Marin, Chairman of the Bronx Community College Foundation, described Mr. Hershenson as the “Derek Jeter of CUNY.” He knows how to work the political system; he got the Salk Scholarship for students continuing for medical degrees. In a video presentation, Hon. Jose Peralta, NY State Assemblyman, said “Jay guided me through student government; after student government he guided me through the Assembly.” In accepting his award, Mr. Hershenson said “I started as an evening student at a CUNY community college; I had to work during the day. When students come to me and ask me if they should work, I say ‘If you’re born rich then you don’t have to work, if you’re not born rich then you do.’ I know firsthand how community colleges transform lives.” Groundbreaking for the new building was the theme of the evening. The principal architect for the new building is Robert A.M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. At the groundbreaking, he said, “Our double height reading room that looks south and north will make everybody feel that they are part of a community of scholars. Being in the library won’t be like sitting at home.” Dr. Carolyn G. Williams, BCC’s President,

pointed out that BCC has over 9500 students and, in a refreshing interlude before the Bronx Botanical Garden‘s formal dinner service, the Bronco Cheerleaders, did their B-C-C (woo!) JA-Y (woo!) thing. Honoree Dr. Monica Sweeney served two terms on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/Aids and authored “Condom Sense: A Guide to Sexual Survival in the New Millennium.” In accepting her award, she noted that both of her parents had died when she was very young and that “BCC played a role in me getting to where I am. The Professors were more than just the persons who taught you in the classroom.” She underscored the meaning of the word “community” in Bronx Community College, pointing out that she still maintained friendships with people she met there. Quoting CUNY Chancellor Goldstein’s remark made earlier in the evening, that “education saves lives” she said “I’m a physician but education saves more lives than giving people a health insurance card. BCC saved my life.” The crowd reserved its standing ovation for Dr. Alice Fuller, recipient of the BCC Lifetime Leadership Award. At BCC for 42 of its 52 years, Dr. Fuller said, “I stay because I love it and I’m not planning on retiring.” She pointed out that Monica Sweeney forgot to mention in her remarks that she first graduated from the nursing program. Dr. Fuller said, “I’ve served under five presidents. I’m a professor, I’m a dean, but I’m a nurse first.” People in the crowd nodded approvingly and were heard saying, “Now, she’s the real deal.” As other program participants, including NY1 News’ Dominic Carter, and Chemistry Prof. Vicki Flaris spoke about programs such as an upcoming medical mission to Jamaica many descriptors came to mind. Excellence and stellar achievers were among them.#


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COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

Touro COLLEGE

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EDUCATION UPDATE

April 2009

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Bank Street College of Education

Start Your 2009 Educational Goals at the Bank Street College Inaugurates Online New York School of Career and Applied Grad Learning Program for Summer 2009 Bank Street College of Education, often called emotional, linguistic, and physical aspects from Studies, a Division of Touro College the “most trusted name in childhood education�, infancy through adolescence, using cross-disciplinAt the New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS), a division of Touro College, new and transfer students constitute an integral segment of our student body, bridging a diversity of educational backgrounds that enrich and strengthen the overall academic experience for all students. Selecting the right university can be a difficult decision. Many students have a busy lifestyle that requires a flexible schedule. Some have completed their Associate’s degree and are looking to complete their education with an accredited college. NYSCAS is available to help make your transition as smooth as possible. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or are transferring from another school, NYSCAS has the program for you. At NYSCAS, you can study and earn an associate or bachelor degree in business management, computer science, desktop and web publishing, human services, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences, psychology and social sciences. We have a full range of options in education and special education. Combining convenience with flexibility, NYSCAS programs accommodate today’s busy college students with day, evening, and weekend

classes. By offering small classes, taught by experienced and supportive faculty, NYSCAS affords students quality learning in a manageable campus environment. And, to help make higher education affordable, NYSCAS has financial aid packages which include scholarships, grants, loans and work study programs for those who qualify. We welcome you to experience the rewards of pursuing a college degree at Touro College’s NYSCAS. The community of NYSCAS, including its student body, faculty and staff, is diverse in culture, age and ethnic origin, reflecting the rich mosaic of New York City. With convenient locations throughout the city, NYSCAS provides easily accessible educational facilities to residents of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, while also providing superior college education in underserved communities. Choose the college that gives you the personalized, value-centered education you deserve. Education for success! For more information or to receive a catalog, call (212) 463-0400, ext. 5500 or (718) 2SCHOOL / 272-4665, ext. 1003. Visit us online at http://www. touro.edu/nyscas. Touro College is an equal opportunity institution. Transfer credits are accepted.#

is expanding the scope of its innovative graduate programs by offering fully online courses for the first time, beginning Summer 2009. Graduate faculty will engage educators, administrators, practicing teachers, prospective teachers, and others who care about children and education in collaborative, inquiry-based experiences. Using the latest technologies—including multimedia, social networking, wikis, forums, blogs and other web-based tools—the courses will: (1) Integrate theory and practice in the context of 21st century classrooms, (2) Enhance observational, instructional, and curriculum-design skills, (3) Link teachers and administrators in collaborative inquiry, and (4) Deepen participants’ knowledge of child development and developmental variations. The Initial Four Courses Social Studies as the Core of the Integrated Curriculum: Curriculum design for the 21st century—participants will collect current, historical, literary, cultural, visual, and auditory resources to build a social studies curriculum framework to engage students and help them become critical thinkers using new interactive media, from You Tube to social networking. Child Development: Participants will examine interactions among children’s cognitive, social-

Lehman COLLEGE

Lehman College Named to President’s Honor Roll for Community Service Lehman College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities. This is the highest Federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.  The program is run by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the President’s Council on Service and Civic

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ary literature to assess factors affecting children’s ability to learn. Engaging in online experiences that build observation skills, they will link those observations to current research, theory, and practice. Understanding Motivation: Today’s educator needs a working knowledge of human motivation because motivated learners can overcome many obstacles. Participants will learn to apply their best ideas to challenges faced by the modern school. Developmental Variations: Trends toward inclusion and increased diversity in 21st century classrooms make it essential for teachers to understand differences in learning profiles and special needs. Participants will explore how teachers and schools can work with students and families to overcome difficulties and harness strengths for best results. # The mission of Bank Street College is to improve the education of children and their teachers by applying to the educational process all available knowledge about learning and growth; and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world. In so doing, we seek to strengthen not only individuals, but the community as well, including family, school, and the larger society, in which children and adults, in all their diversity, interact and learn. We see in education the opportunity to build a better society.

work closely with organizations such as Part of the two years,� said Amanda Dubois, coordinator of Solution, a local soup kitchen, and Abbott House, a Lehman’s Community Service/Service-Learning center for abused children and their families. They and New Student Programs. “We began with one also regularly organize food, clothing and supply trip a year and are now up to three major destinadrives that benefit the American Cancer Society, tions per academic year.�  Schools are selected for the Honor Roll each year troops serving abroad, and Covenant House.   Beyond the Bronx, students involved with Lehman based on the scope and innovation of service projects; L.I.F.E. (Leaders Involved for Everyone) travel percentage of student participation in service activito locations in the U.S. such as New Orleans and ties; incentives for service; and the extent to which Education Update Virginia and abroad to Costa Rica, the Dominican the academic institution offers service-learning coursSeptember 2006 Issue Republic, Mexico and Kenya to work with organizaes. These courses are available to Lehman students P.O. #: 17897 tions like Habitat for Humanity, Break Away, the U.S.Education in Update African and African-American Studies, English, 2006 Issue 5 ⠄ x 7October ⠄ Parks Department and the Greenbelt Movement. Middle and High School Education, Journalism, P.O. #: 18032 “Our program has grown exponentially in just Communication and Theatre and other programs.#

Participation. Altogether, 635 colleges and universities were named to the 2008 Honor Roll. “We are proud that our students are committed to serving their community, as well as communities far from the Bronx,â€? said Lehman President Ricardo R. FernĂĄndez. “They continue to exemplify the legacy of Herbert H. Lehman, the great humanitarian and statesman for whom this institution is named.â€? Lehman students are active in a wide variety of community service projects that help them develop in their roles as responsible citizens. They

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April 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

15

BARNARD COLLEGE

Barnard College Invites Discussions on Assisted Reproductive Technology By Judith Aquino Images of Nadya Suleman and her brood of 14 children recently brought the effects of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to the forefront of the general consciousness. Barnard College enhanced discussions about this issue at the 34th Annual Scholar and Feminist Conference on Assisted Reproductive Technology and Transnational Adoption. In her opening address, Debora Spar, President of Barnard College, acknowledged the concerns that surround women’s reproductive rights. “There are several questions that we need to consider,” said Spar. “Some of those questions are how much freedom should people have in reproductive choice? Who creates these limits?” In the conference’s first session, “Where are we now?”, four panelists discussed women’s reproductive rights and transnational adoption from legal, medical, racial and cultural perspectives. Asking questions to stimulate more conversations about these issues pervaded the first session and the overall theme of the conference. “I don’t have many answers,” admitted speaker

Wendy Chavin, professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University and director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship. “But by talking about it, we can try to figure out what policies are needed and what it means to have these intimate relationships in this brave new world.” Lori Andrews, professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, talked about the United States’ lack of regulation for in vitro technology. “From a lawyer’s perspective, this is a regulatory abyss,” said Andrews as she addressed the room full of women. “Most emerging technologies are first funded by the federal government and safe methods are developed, but due to protests [from various groups], in vitro technology is not. We need to increase safety standards and obtain more information about these procedures.” Chavin echoed Andrews’ statement about the lack of information for new reproductive technologies. “Our social realities and our biological

realities are out of sync,” said Chavin. “What we’re seeing is a dramatic increase in the use of these technologies, without understanding the effects. We should be asking ourselves, what are the long term risks?” Leith Mullings, professor of anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of the recent article, “Resistance and Resilience: The Sojourner Syndrome and the Social Context of Reproduction in Harlem”, analyzed the significance of ART and transnational adoptions through a racial lens. “We need to clarify the racialized consequences of relying on reproductive technology and adoption…to

what extent does it reinscribe race?” Loretta Ross, national coordinator and founding member of SisterSong, a reproductive justice collective, addressed the necessity of discussing the issues behind women’s reproductive rights beyond the sensational aspects. “Would we even have this conversation if she [Suleman] weren’t poor?” asked Ross. “Sometimes the real danger is not taking up these conversations. We need social values and ethical questions with which to frame these issues and develop new laws.” As demonstrated by the speakers, asking questions is the first step towards finding the answers.#

COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND

CSI Nursing Program Receives $200K for Geriatric Care The Brooklyn Home For Aged Men presented the College of Staten Island (CSI) with $100,000 in scholarship support recently. The creation of this endowment will support Nursing students pursuing a career with a focus in geriatric care, and will provide support in perpetuity. In addition, this $100,000 gift will be matched through a U.S. Department of Education challenge endowment as part of the College’s Title 3 grant, making the total endowment size $200,000. Noting that the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men has been serving senior citizens since 1878, CSI President Tomás D. Morales said, “Today, we at CSI can continue their mission of serving the elderly by providing future nurses with the tools they need to provide important geriatric care.” Nancy K. Munson, Board President of the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men commented, “We would like to see that young people go in the direction of taking care of the elderly. Since [CSI has] a very good [Nursing] program, we wanted to help finance it.” Mary O’Donnell, chairperson of CSI’s Department of Nursing, underscored the importance of this endowment for the College’s Nursing students and the community. “The endowment… is going to educate many nurses in the field of gerontology. There’s a great need for geriatric nurses right now, the geriatric population is growing by leaps and bounds. The students are enthused. They’re working right now in various areas of community health and nursing homes

and they can use the assistance that this is going to give them.” CSI offers many diverse degrees in Nursing. Offerings include a Master of Science (MS) in Gerontological Nursing, an Advanced Certificate in Cultural Competence, and a Doctor of Nursing Science in association with the CUNY Graduate Center. Nurses who successfully complete programs at CSI are prepared to meet the needs of culturally diverse individuals, families, and communities, and will have a competitive edge in the changing environment of health care. CSI recently completed the construction of a new on-campus facility, where Nursing students will experience simulated hospital scenarios in a controlled environment, featuring a new Laerdal SimMan Patient Simulator, a life-sized mannequin on which students can perform medical procedures. Funds for this project were generously granted by New York State Senator Andrew J. Lanza. “CSI houses superb laboratories, studios, and classrooms, and is home to a world-class team of dedicated faculty,” said President Morales. “We are dedicated to the art of teaching and the science of research by promoting discovery, disseminating knowledge, cultivating minds, and nurturing the human spirit. We are very grateful to the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men. Their wonderful gift, and the challenge endowment match from the U.S. Department of Education, will help us further fulfill our mission.”#

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Book Sale The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bookshop is holding its first ever warehouse book sale from Tuesday, April 28th through Sunday, May 10th. There are over 150 titles, all Museum classics—from exhibition catalogues, to picture books and books about the collection—all published by the Metropolitan Museum. Find special bargain tables with prices as low as $5 and $10, and with discounts up to 90% off the publisher’s original list price for selected titles. Members and Friends receive their discounts in addition to the markdowns. It’s an event not to miss, with many prices below cost. The sale will

take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art second floor shop. Enter through the Bookshop and take the elevator to the second floor. # 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. For more information phone: 212-650-2914. During Museum hours: Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Note: The Museum is closed on Monday, May 4th Cross St: 82nd St., Subway: Lex. Ave. 4, 5, 6 at 86th St.

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16

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

EDUCATION UPDATE

METROBEAT

Helping Homeowners, Small Businesses and Freelancers Save in Tough Times By Mayor Michael Bloomberg If there’s any silver lining to a bad economy it’s that it compels us to do even more to encourage innovation, generate savings, and avoid waste. In March, the City announced an initiative that will do just that—and help save homeowners and businesses tens of millions a year on their water bills. New York is now becoming the largest city in the world to use wireless technology to read commercial and residential water meters. Instead of having someone come out to read your meter four times a year, as is the current practice, your meter will be read through an automated system, four times a day. Eventually, you’ll even be able to track your water usage on the City’s web site at www.nyc.gov. There are many benefits to an automated system. First, automated metering will virtually eliminate the estimated bills you currently receive when a meter reader pays a visit and no one’s at home. That means that you will consistently be billed for exactly the water you use: No more, no less, and no surprises when bills ultimately get adjusted after the meter is actually read. Second, an automated system will allow you to see more frequent and more detailed information about your water usage. That can alert you to leaks or other structural problems that have been wasting water—and it will save you money. Even if the new system leads to relatively modest reductions in water use, it could still save New York customers millions of dollars a year. We have also taken a step that will help our city’s freelance workers and other small busi-

ness owners save money. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility that comes with being a freelancer—and certainly there’s nothing like being your own boss. But freelancers often face some serious disadvantages when it comes to taxes and benefits. Recently, I announced a new partnership with the Freelancers Union to begin addressing some of those challenges. For example, the union supports our proposal to reduce or eliminate the State’s “Unincorporated Business Tax” which double-taxes freelancers and other small businesses. Another major obstacle to growth is overhead. In January, we launched an initiative to create new incubator space for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses, and in the months ahead, we’ll work with the Freelancers Union to find low-cost office space specifically for freelancers. We’ll also work together with them to develop a proposal for a Federal unemployment benefit for independent workers. Freelancers now lack any safety net to fall back on during hard times. That’s not healthy for workers and their families—and it’s not healthy for our economy. Now’s the time to start leveling the playing field for these entrepreneurs because they represent the talent and ingenuity that’s going to help grow our city’s economy and make it work more efficiently over the long term. Independent workers make up more than 15% of our city’s workforce—often supporting signature industries, such as design, publishing, and fashion. We need our freelancers, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the work they do pays. #

CONTINUING EDUCATION at

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Hunter College Saturday May 2, 2009 8pm Admission $35 $25 (Seniors/students) Call Kaye Playhouse Box Of ce: 212 772-4448 or visit http://ce.hunter.cuny.edu

April 2009

SPORTS

Ruth Lovelace is “Coach Love” at Boys & Girls High, Brooklyn By Richard Kagan Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section is an inner-city neighborhood. Poverty and crime are all too prevalent. Kids often come from singleparent families in which one parent has walked out. Some kids are even raised by parents in other families altogether. And on a cold, quiet winter night, you can only hope that your apartment has enough heat. Amidst this hardship there is one person who is making a difference in the Bed-Stuy community: Ruth Lovelace, boys’ basketball coach at Boys & Girls High School. She has kept the school on the city’s basketball map since 1994 when she was named boys’ basketball coach by former Principal, Frank Mickens. Lovelace is the only female head coach to lead an “AA” boys’ team in the PSAL. Before she was hired as coach, Lovelace worked at Boys & Girls as a physical education teacher. While conducting his search for a head coach, Principal Mickens asked Lovelace to help review the many applicants for the job. She brought him her feedback, but, initially, she was never asked whether she would be interested in the job herself. Then, one day, an announcement was heard on the school’s public address system; Lovelace asked her class to take a knee. When her name was mentioned, her class applauded. She later went to speak to Mickens, who told her, “You would be a great person for this job. You would push kids to be good kids.” Lovelace has seen plenty of success since being named head coach in the fall of 1994. The team has earned a spot in the PSAL playoffs each year since her appointment. The team also has made it to the “AA” finals in each of the last two seasons, but was bested both times by division rival Lincoln H.S. It is now the time of year when colleges are experiencing “March Madness” on their basketball courts, but New York City high schools are suffering from their own version of playoff fever. Boys & Girls (13-3) recently won early

round games to advance to the PSAL semifinals, and they are scheduled to play their nemesis, Lincoln, in an upcoming game. Although Lincoln is led by senior Lance Stephenson, arguably the best high school player in the city, Boys & Girls won its home game against them in January. Lovelace’s on-court success has been tremendous, but her commitment to her players off the court and in the classroom sets her apart. She holds a study hall before practice, where tutors are available. Players can utilize the computer lab to do homework or brush up on their computer skills. Players also attend a mandatory pre-SAT course, which recently received additional funding to keep it going. Her efforts are paying off: three players already have the minimum scores required for college entry. Coach Lovelace isn’t after the talented player who wants to coast through school. She is after the player who is willing to commit to being the complete package: a true student-athlete. Clayton Sterling, a starting guard on last year’s team, graduated high school and currently plays for the University of Toledo. “He really made me proud,” said Lovelace. He is keeping up his grades at Toledo and is a productive contributor to his team. Coach Lovelace says that her satisfaction comes from knowing that boys like Sterling can achieve their dreams. She wants to see boys grow into men who can have careers and “become husbands”. Growing up, Lovelace played basketball at Boys & Girls and went on to Hilbert College, where she became a Junior College AllAmerican. She credits her coach, Sal Buscaglia, who now coaches at Robert Morris University, with giving her support and encouragement. She later played at Seton Hall University and thanks her coach, Phyllis Mangina, for being a mentor for her. Now, Lovelace gives back to her community and school, and has earned the nickname that her players once gave her: Coach Love.#

Stephenson Scores 24, Leads Lincoln HS to 4 th PSAL T itle By Richard Kagan Dynasties are hard to come by. But Lincoln High School, with its recent fourth straight Public School Athletic League championship, may have achieved one with its convincing 78-56 win over John F. Kennedy High School at Madison Square Garden. Lance Stephenson, the talented senior guard-forward, led all scorers with 24 points. He also grabbed 10 boards and was named Most Valuable Player in the game. Stephenson has superior skills and will be playing college basketball in a big-time program next fall. He can shoot the ball from just about any position, can box out for rebounds, and is a sharp passer. Senior James Padgett, who transferred to Lincoln earlier in his career, had a strong game, adding 17 points and taking in 14 rebounds. The Stephenson/Padgett one-two punch accounted for 41 of Lincoln’s 78 points. Guard Darwin Ellis also had 15 points for the Railsplitters. JFK battled with Lincoln in the first half and trailed 33-31 with 1:28 to play, but Lincoln scored the next eight points to take a 41-31 lead into half-time. Padgett, knew how important that last minute was going to the half. “We gotta go,”

Padgett said. Lincoln came out and held JFK to just nine points in the 3rd quarter to take control of the game. Lincoln led by 16 points going into the last quarter. Although listed as a guard, Stephenson has size and range, and, together with Padgett, forms a formidable combination. “I got the best two bigs in the city,” Lincoln coach Dwayne Morton said. He may not get an argument. In the girls’ title game, Murray Bergtraum High School won its 11th consecutive city title by defeating South Shore High School 51-36. Junior Shukurah Washington scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high 19 boards to lead the Lady Blazers. Senior Shanee Williams, led Bergtraum with 16 points. Junior guard Cecelia Dixon chipped in with 11 points. It was quite a day for Washington. In the 4th quarter, the public address announcer told the crowd it was her birthday, and then her team secured the victory. Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky was doused with water after the game. Bergtraum was just too much for the Lady Vikings. They handled the pressure of playing in the Garden well and made all the big plays to reach their 11th straight crown.#


April 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

17

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

a new column from the nyu child study center

Interview with Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Founder, NYU Child Study Center By Raul Silva, m.d. Our new column will bring the world of child and adolescent mental health and the most salient issues to the readership of Education Update. In the months to come we will be sharing with you perspectives from the leading child and adolescent mental health experts in the field. This month, I interview Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz. Amongst many other titles, Dr Koplewicz is the Arnold and Debbie Simon Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University Langone Medical Center and founder of the NYU Child Study Center. The first topic posed to Dr. Koplewicz was to elaborate on the most important mental health issues facing kids today. Dr. Koplewicz clarifies that the overwhelming majority of children and teenagers in the United States who suffer from a psychiatric disorder go unidentified, undiagnosed and untreated. While the stigma attached with having one of these disorders is less then in the

past, it is still a barrier to children getting the help they need. Dr. Koplewicz also acknowledges that when there are effective treatments, more patients are identified. And so ultimately, while there are not more kids today who have psychiatric disorders we’ve become better at identifying them. The next issue was to identify the difficulties educators face in dealing with children who present with mental health issues. Dr. Koplewicz believes that the most challenging cases may be those children who have trouble sitting still, waiting their turn, paying attention, and organizing their work. These symptoms are often known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the clinical picture may present with or without hyperactivity. The percentage of children with ADHD can range from five to eight percentEducation of the population, but it should be Update remembered that fifteen percent of the populaApril Issue tion may also have 2009 a learning difference. Dr. Koplewicz explains that teachers are by far the P.O. # 22033 best observers of how these behaviors are dif-

A Snapshot of the High School for Environmental Studies 5 5⁄8 x 7 3⁄8

by judith aquino

For students at the High School for Environmental Studies (HSES) in Manhattan, time is a precious commodity. While working on a research project, Katherine (last name omitted), a junior at HSES, explained that good time management skills are key to balancing her rigorous schedule. She dedicates five hours to completing her homework each night, plays soccer, participates in the school’s musical theater group and takes SAT prep courses on the weekends. Her dream colleges are Cornell, Dartmouth and Amherst. “Sleep doesn’t exist for me,” joked Katherine. A student like Katherine is not unusual at HSES. Students are expected to maintain high academic standards as they receive an education that combines a traditional academic curriculum with environmentally themed course electives. Approximately 73% of the 2006-07 graduates went on to a four-year college, according to the school’s most recent New York State School Report Card. The school opened its doors in 1992 and currently serves nearly 1,500 students in grades 9-12. The student body consists of a wide variety of students from all five boroughs and 80% are young people of color. There are over 85 faculty members with approximately 34 students per classroom. With the help of Friends of the HSES, a non-profit organization, the school is able to offer students numerous environmental programs and internship opportunities. Since 1996, the Friends staff has worked directly with the HSES faculty. The Friends staff currently consists of three members and students are encouraged to drop by their school office for internship and career advice. During the school year, the Friends take students on hiking trips and run clubs that emphasize the importance of learning about environmental issues and natural conservancy. HSES students also receive help finding a summer internship at one of more than 45 non-profit organizations and

cultural institutions throughout New York City. Students must spend at least 100 hours at their internship and attend weekly seminars to learn career-building skills such as resume writing. Some of the organizations students have interned for include the American Museum of Natural History, Wave Hill, the New York Aquarium and Alley Pond Environmental Center as well as many corporate environmental divisions. Students are particularly busy during the summer months since in addition to internships, the Friends sponsor summer camp activities, free college-level classes and several paid jobs. Some of the internships include paid opportunities to learn more about the environment by assisting researchers and helping care for trees and urban parks. The HSES faculty also benefits from working with the Friends organization by receiving support for their own professional development. Faculty members can attend afterschool workshops and lectures and receive grants for curriculum development to enhance their knowledge of environmental trends and developments. In return for working with the HSES, field education coordinator Brett Dioguardi says the benefits are two-fold. “I have gained from being at Friends by staying fresh and learning about more environmental topics,” said Dioguardi. “Most importantly just being with the kids and learning from them how the environment is impacting them and what it means to their lives.” #

ferent from those seen in other children of the same age, as teachers have the largest sample to children to draw their conclusions from. Over a ten-year period, their perspectives are based on observations of up to three hundred children. So when they point out to a parent that something is out of the ordinary, the observations should not be ignored. It is understandable that parents hope that it is the environment that is causing the difficulty. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have a different vantage point, as their patients mostly have difficulties, so teachers really are very important partners for most mental health professionals. Dr. Koplewicz concluded the interview by asserting that the biggest challenge the mental health field faces is education. Educators and the general public need to understand how real, how common, and how treatable child psychiatric disorders are in United States. Ignoring very real disorders cause children true distress, and can lead to true dysfunction. Left untreated the outcomes represent both serious individual and public health concerns. Our esteemed expert pointed out that he feels very optimistic about the establishment of mental health parity insurance coverage which will role out in late 2009 or early 2010. For more information on these and other topics

readers are encouraged to visit the NYU Child Study Center website: www.AboutOurKids.org. Raul Silva, M.D. is Associate Professor and Vice Chairman of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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INNOVATION IN TEACHING AND LEARNING


18

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

EDUCATION UPDATE

April 2009

APRIL Is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded Matthew K. Gold, assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), a grant for his innovative digital humanities project, ”Looking for Whitman: The Poetry of Place in the Life and Work of Walt Whitman.”  The project focuses on a new kind of interactive learning, made possible by recent advances in social networking technologies, that is gradually reshaping academia by expanding the boundaries of education beyond the ”walled garden” of traditional academic disciplines, classroom activities, and online learning environments. At the center of the project is an open-source website that will connect classes from four colleges (City Tech, New York University, University of Mary Washington, and Rutgers University, Camden), each of which is located in an area central to Whitman’s life and work.  As students explore those locations, they will document and share their research experiences with one another through Web 2.0 platforms such as WordPress, MediaWiki, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Google Maps. City Tech students, for example, will investigate the Fulton Ferry Landing, which Whitman described in his famous poem, ”Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”  They will share the photos and videos they create there with students from other classes, who will similarly share work from their own locations. Faculty members will encourage cross-classroom interaction and collaboration. The project is part of a larger trend towards ”open education” that is taking place across higher education.  ”Humanities research and teaching need to shift in response to technological innova-

tions that have made new kinds of collaboration possible,” affirms Gold, who has been teaching at City Tech since 2007. ”Writing and reading have changed, and the academy has to respond. We have a tremendous opportunity before us if we’re willing to take advantage of it.”  Building a community of learners from a variety of institutions and with very different life experiences is very much in keeping with Whitman’s democratic spirit, Gold adds. ”Whitman believed that America’s strength came from the diversity of its citizens. When he wrote the first edition of Leaves of Grass, the political and economic strains leading to the Civil War were pulling the country apart. He desperately wanted the country to cohere and hoped to enable his fellow citizens to think beyond divisions that separated them so that they might embrace the ties that bound them together. It was a radically optimistic text for its time and remains one today.” The project takes advantage of City Tech’s proximity to the Brooklyn waterfront, where Whitman worked early in his career. Gold notes that the school is ”two blocks from the site where the first copy of Leaves of Grass was printed, a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge and close to the many Brooklyn locations in which Whitman lived. There is so much history here, but our students often don’t know about it. I want to connect our learning to these places, to get our students out of the classroom and into the streets, into the archives. I want our students to see the streets themselves as archives.”  In addition to the collaborative efforts by students from the four colleges, their professors will work with libraries, historical societies and museums to identify and make available

Nina Young

City Tech Professor Captures Walt Whitman Spirit in Digital Teaching

Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor Of English At New York City College Of Technology (City Tech)

site-specific resources and archival projects. Together, they are developing courses for each location that will help students experience the value and excitement of literary and historical research. They and their students will explore such sites as the Library of Congress Manuscript Division in Washington D.C., the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Walt Whitman House in Camden. Gold says that an extraordinary team of Whitman scholars has joined the project, including David Reynolds of the CUNY Graduate Center, Karen Karbiener of New York University, Tyler Hoffman and Carol Singley of Rutgers, and Mara Scanlon and Brady Earnhart from Mary Washington. Cutting-edge technology advisors to the project include Jim Groom of Mary Washington and T. Mills Kelly of George Mason University. Gold’s $25,000 start-up grant was issued through NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities as part of the ”We the People” program encouraging the study of America’s cultural heritage. As he explains, ”The Office of Digital Humanities gives start-up grants, much like a venture capital firm, for relatively low-risk, high-reward ventures. They fund projects that are doing innovative work and fostering new modes of scholarship and learning.” His project builds on two previous NEH grants to City Tech: ”Retentions and Transfiguration: the Technological Evolution and Social History of Five New York Neighborhoods” and ”Wat er and Work: the History and Ecology of the Brooklyn Waterfront.” Gold began investigating Whitman as a gradu-

ate student; simultaneously, he was designing websites and working with digital technology and new media. His Brooklyn-born parents may have engendered this dual focus on humanities and computing: his mother, a Brooklyn College graduate, is a school psychologist; his father, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate, is a long-time IBM employee. ”I was always around computers,” explains Gold, ”and my mother always encouraged creativity.” The collaborative learning environment envisioned by Gold enables him to combine his interest in poetry with his experience in digital media. ”I believe that interdisciplinary study is a key to understanding the world,” he notes. ”And collaborative technologies enable us to make creativity a central part of the educational experience in new and exciting ways.”  Gold hopes that the NEH project will help City Tech students share Whitman’s vision of Brooklyn with the world. ”Whitman would have loved CUNY,” he says. ”It fulfills so many of his democratic ideals. And students respond to Whitman because he helps them re-imagine not just what the world can be, but what it should be.”# New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the College enrolls more than 14,000 students in 60 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs. An additional 15,000 students annually enroll in continuing education and workforce development programs.


April 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

19

The DEAN’S COLUMN

Motivating Instruction: for Mathematics and Other Subjects By DEAN Alfred S. Posamentier, Ph.D. Introduction One of the most important aspects of classroom instruction is the way you motivate the students in your class to be receptive (enthusiastically) to the topic of a lesson. It would appear that geometry, because of its visual nature, would readily generate interest among students. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Much of the course deals with proving theorems and then applying these theorems to artificial problems. Students interested in mathematics in general will probably be excited by this, as they will be by almost any mathematics activity. As an effective teacher you should focus your attention on the less interested students. To motivate students is to channel their interests to the specific topic to be learned. In this chapter we will consider some techniques that can be used to motivate secondary school students in mathematics. Specifically, ten different techniques are presented, and each is illustrated by examples from algebra and geometry. (Note that the technique is the important part to remember. The examples are provided merely to help understand the techniques.) What Is Motivation? How to motivate students to learn is at the crux of your concerns when preparing to teach a lesson. If students can be made to be interested and receptive learners, then the rest of the teaching process becomes significantly easier and profoundly more effective. We will examine two categories of motivation, namely, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation usually takes place outside the learner’s control. These are usually produced in the environment within which

the student learns, and, to a large extent, are controlled by you, the teacher. Intrinsic motivators occur within the learner, and must be considered when planning your lessons. When thinking of ways to “make a student want to learn” what you are about to teach, certain extrinsic methods of motivation come immediately to mind. Extrinsic motivation involves rewards that occur outside the learner’s control. This may include token economic rewards for good performance, peer acceptance of good performance, avoidance of “punishment” by performing well, praise for good work, and so on. Extrinsic methods are effective for students in varying forms. Students’ earlier rearing and environment have much to do with their adaptation of commonly accepted extrinsic motivators. However, many students demonstrate intrinsic goals in their desire to understand a topic or concept (task-related), to outperform others (egorelated), or to impress others (social-related). The last goal straddles the fence between being an intrinsic and an extrinsic goal. In a more structured form, intrinsic motivators tend to conform to the following basic types: – The Learner Wants to Develop Competencies. Students are often much more eager to do a challenging problem than one that is routine. It is not uncommon to see students beginning their homework assignment with the “challenge for experts” problem, even if the time spent on this prevents them from completing their routine work. – The Learner Is Curious about Novel Events and Activities. It is a natural human trait to seek out unusual situations or challenges that can be conquered by existing skills and knowledge and thereby provide a feeling of competence. When

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

the learner’s curiosity about unusual stimuli is piqued, it becomes a form of motivation. – The Learner Has a Need to Feel Autonomous. The desire to act on something as a result of one’s own volition is often a motivating factor in the general learning process. To determine for oneself what is to be learned, as opposed to feeling that learning is being done to satisfy someone else or to get some sort of extrinsic reward, is another basic human need. The teacher’s task is to understand the basic motives already present in the learners and to capitalize on these. The teacher can then manipulate this knowledge of students’ motives to maximize the effectiveness of the teaching process. Often, this manipulation can result in some rather artificial situations, contrived specifically to exploit a learner’s motives in order to generate a genuine interest in a topic. This is eminently fair and highly desirable! With these basic concepts in mind, there are specific techniques, which might be expanded, embellished, adapted to the teacher’s personality, and, above all, made appropriate for the learner’s level of ability and environment. These are the strategies that should be taken to the classroom on a regular basis. 1. Indicate a Void in Students’ Knowledge Students usually have a natural desire to complete their knowledge of a topic. This motivational technique involves making students aware of a void in their knowledge and capitalizes on their desire to learn more. For instance, you may present a few simple exercises involving familiar situations followed by exercises involving unfamiliar situations on the same topic. Or you may mention (or demonstrate) to your class how the topic to be presented will complete their knowledge about a particular part of mathematics. The more dramatically you do this, the more effective the motivation. Often, guiding students to discover this void in their knowledge is effective. 2. Discovering a Pattern Setting up a contrived situation that leads students to “discovering” a pattern can often be quite motivating, as students take pleasure in finding and then “owning” an idea. 3. Show a Sequential Achievement Closely related to the preceding technique is that of having students appreciate a logical sequence of concepts. This differs from the previous method in that it depends on students’ desires to increase, but not complete, their knowledge. A chart may be useful in applying this method of

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motivation. 4. Present a Challenge When students are challenged intellectually, they react with enthusiasm. Great care must be taken in selecting the challenge. The problem (if that is the type of challenge used) must not only definitely lead into the lesson, but it must also be within reach of the students’ abilities. A challenge should be short and not complex. It should not be so engrossing that it detracts from the intended lesson. This would certainly defeat the purpose for which this challenge was intended. Thus, challenges providing motivation for one class may not do so for another. Teacher judgment is most important here. 5. Entice the class with a “gee-whiz” amazing mathematical result. To motivate basic belief in probability, a very effect motivation is to discuss with the class the famous “Birthday Problem.” Its amazing (and we dare say, unbelievable) result will have the class in awe. 6. Indicate the Usefulness of a Topic Here a practical application is introduced at the beginning of a lesson. The applications selected should be of genuine interest to the class. Once again the applications chosen should be brief and not too complicated so that they motivate the lesson rather than detract from it. Student interest must be considered carefully when selecting an application. Remember, usefulness is appropriate only when a student has a prior knowledge of the topic involving the application. 7. Use Recreational Mathematics Recreational mathematics consists of puzzles, games, paradoxes, or facilities. In addition to being selected for their specific motivational gain, these devices must be brief and simple. A student should realize the “recreation” without much effort in order for this technique to be effective. 8. Tell a Pertinent Story A story of a historical event or of a contrived situation can motivate students. All too often teachers, already knowing the story they are about to tell and eager to get into the “meat” of the lesson, rush through the story. Such a hurried presentation minimizes the potential effectiveness the story may have as a motivational device. Thus, a carefully prepared method of presentation of a story for motivating a lesson is almost as important as the content of the story itself. 9. Get Students Actively Involved in Justifying Mathematical Curiosities One of the more effective techniques for motivating students is to attempt actively to justify a pertinent mathematical curiosity. The students should be comfortably familiar with the mathematical curiosity before you “challenge” them to justify it. Although this could consume more time than may be normally allotted for a motivational activity, to proceed with a justification before sufficient exposure has been achieved would be counterproductive. 10. Teacher-Made or Commercially Prepared Materials Here motivation can be achieved by presenting the class with concrete material of an unusual nature. This may include teacher-made materials, such as models of geometric shapes, geo strips, or specifically prepared overhead transparencies, or practical “tools” that illustrate a specific geometric principle. Some fine commercially prepared materials are available, ranging from geometric models to films of various kinds. Materials selected should be reviewed carefully and their presentation carefully planned so as to motivate students for the lesson and not to detract attention from it.# Dr. Alfred Posamentier is Dean of the School of Education at City College of NY, author of over 40 Mathematics books, including: Math Wonders to Inspire Teachers and Students (ASCD, 2003) and The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (Prometheus, 2007), and member of the NYS Mathematics Standards Committee.


20

Music, art & Dance

EDUCATION UPDATE

April 2009

MOVIE & DOCUMENTARY REVIEWs

Emotional Arithmetic: A Pretty Film That Doesn’t Add Up ©2009 Laika, Inc.

Coraline: A Spectacle for the W hole F amily

Coraline and her neighbor in the animated feature bearing her name

By Jan Aaron oraline, Neil Gaiman’s fast-paced and riveting children’s novel, has been turned into a gorgeous, hypnotic 3-D stop-motion animated feature film. Written and directed by Henry Selick, known to film-goers for The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and The Giant Peach, the film has a creepiness to it, but the good kind that brings thrilling tingles to youngsters. The movie’s central emotion is loneliness: Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), a smart, brave 11-year-old girl, has just moved from Michigan to an apartment in a big pink Victorian mansion somewhere in Oregon. Her stressed out parents (John Hodgman and Teri Hatcher) tend their garden and write gardening books. They are so into their work that they rarely look up from their computer screens even when she is in the room. So, like many plucky storybook girls before her, Coraline sets out to explore her new world through her own eyes, which combine reality with a vivid imagination. Sometimes she is accompanied by a local boy (Robert Bailey Jr.) and a talking cat (Keith David). Her neighbors are an assortment of oddballs, including a Russian circus acrobat (Ian McShane) and a pair of over-the-hill burlesque performers (British TV stars Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders) who chatter in exaggerated English accents. Coraline discovers a secret door in the apartment that opens only at night and leads to a

parallel universe. At first, this new world seems to fill the void in her lonely life. The tenants who dwell below are versions of her mother and dad who love and adore her and shower her with affection and lavish her with sweets; their garden is wild and overgrown and blooms only at night. All of her kooky upstairs neighbors are there waiting to enchant her with nightly spectacles— also guaranteed to enchant film-goers. Costumed mice perform for well-behaved Scottish terriers, and glowing gardens and immense insects fill the screen with intriguing images and dazzle the audience. There is almost too much to digest in this astonishing feast for the eyes. The new world that Coraline investigates is fascinating and hypnotic, but is also unnerving. Everyone there has buttons for eyes, like the toy next to Coraline’s bed. To stay, Coraline realizes she will have to become like them. Once she sees just how fantastical this new world is, she begins to miss her real life. Her upstairs mother may not be magical but, like her daughter, she knows how to be real. Having found new appreciation for her real life, Coraline chooses common sense. And in the end, a surprise gift from her mother proves that reality can fulfill her wishes as well. Coraline’s fantasy world is inspiringly creative, and could used as a teaching tool to inspire kids to write their own imaginative stories. This enchanting family film is great for kids aged seven and up, but would be fun for the whole family. #

Susan Vincent, Science Teacher at Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem, NY Wins Wetland Award Susan Vincent, a high school science teacher at The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem in New York City has garnered the prestigious Wetland Award for Education and Outreach. In addition to integrating the study of wetlands, both in theory and practice, into her senior marine science course, Ms. Vincent has also taught her students to write grants and conduct research in the field in collaboration with university scientists. She has taken her students to local marshes and to the Mississippi River Delta in southern Louisiana to teach experimental design, data collection, statistical analysis and written communication skills. Vincent and her students have an ongoing research project at Piermont Marsh north of New York City, the results of which are being provided to several National Science Foundation projects. Five other citizens have been recognized for their on-the-ground wetland conservation efforts and decades-long dedication to protecting these important natural resources. A diverse panel of wetland experts assembled at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) earlier this month to select the winners of the 20th Anniversary National Wetlands Awards. This year’s Award winners hail from all regions of the country and exemplify the extraordinary commitment and innovation that is so instrumental to conserving wetlands in the nation’s com-

munities. The 2009 awardees are: Ken Brunswick, a regional ecologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Nature Preserves who manages the Limberlost Swamp Remembered Project to restore a 13,000acre wetland; Richard Gitar, the Water Regulatory Specialist for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who has built a successful tribal wetlands program across 44,000 acres of wetlands in Minnesota; Carol Johnston, a professor at South Dakota State University who has worked in the field of wetland science for over 35 years addressing the linkages between wetland processes and landscape ecology in the Great Lakes region and throughout the country; Melissa Samet, the Senior Director of Water Resources at American Rivers who has been instrumental in restoring the wetlands and storm buffering capacity of the Mississippi River in the greater New Orleans area and in preventing the loss of thousands of acres of ecologically significant wetlands in the Mississippi Delta; Richard Thieriot, owner of the Llano Seco Ranch who has worked tirelessly to protect 18,000 acres of contiguous wetlands, riparian forests, native uplands and wildlife-friendly agricultural lands in the Sacramento Valley of California#

by Dorothy Davis he film Emotional Arithmetic, loosely based on Matt Cohen’s absorbing novel, concerns the reunion in later life of three World War II Holocaust survivors. The Barnard Alumnae Film Committee, which I chair, saw it recently at the New York Jewish Film Festival. At dinner afterwards and from our email reviews it emerged that most of us Disliked It! But some of us Loved It! There is much in it to love—if you go along for the ride, and eschew the math. The setting, an idyllic seeming Quebec farm in blazing autumn colors, is gorgeous. Susan Sarandon, Max von Sydow, Gabriel Byrne and Christopher Plummer head a stellar cast. Sarandon and Plummer have an adorable grandson (Dakota Goyo). The Holocaust theme is of course riveting, and is emphasized by sometimes puzzling black and white flashbacks to Drancy, the horrific transit camp which the French set up before the Germans asked them to, from which they shipped its mostly Jewish inmates to Nazi death camps. Melanie (Sarandon) and Christopher (Byrne) are seen as children, separated from their parents, who didn’t survive. Jakob (von Sydow)

who saved their lives, is there as a young man. Melanie’s husband David (Plummer) and her son Benjamin (Roy Dupuis) are portrayed in the present as Holocaust victims too—their lives spent coping with her extreme emotional instability caused, the film implies, solely by her early trauma. Then there is that ultimate crowd pleaser—the happy ending. Overnight everyone miraculously changes and conventional morality triumphs. That happy ending, coming out of nowhere, is emblematic of what is wrong with the film. Director Paolo Barzman works mainly in TV. His superficial characters, plot, and haphazard direction are more suited to a hastily made TV drama. His contrived finale is unconvincing. Worst of all, Melanie is blamed as the sole cause of her family’s dysfunction. This is not the case in the novel. The changed title of the lovely-to-look-at DVD of the film, Autumn Hearts: A New Beginning, aptly describes the enjoyable melodrama that it is. It is hard to believe it was taken from Matt Cohen’s novel, Emotional Arithmetic. His characters are fully realized, his ending is affirmative and surprising— totally different from the film’s. Too bad director Barzman’s vision did not equal novelist Cohen’s. His would have been a far better film if it had. It would have added up!#

Open Houses Calendar touro college york school of career of Events new and applied studies

April 2009

1870-86 Stillwell Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11223 Phone: 718-265-6534 x1015; Fax: 718-265-0614 Location: West 23rd Street; New York, NY 10010 Every Tues. & Thurs. from 10: am - 7 pm, Sun. 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. at 27-33. Telephone: 212-463-0400 ext.500

RESOURCE & REFERENCE GUIDE BOOKS Bank Street Bookstore 112th St. & Broadway ; (212) 678-1654 Exceptional selection of books for children, teachers and parents. Knowledgeable staff. Free monthly newsletter. Open Mon-Thurs 10-8 PM, Fri & Sat 10–6 PM, Sun 12–5 PM. Logos Books 1575 York Ave, (@84th Street); (212) 517-7292 A charming neighborhood bookstore located in Yorkville featuring quality selections of classics, fiction, poetry, philosophy, religion, bibles and children’s books, and greeting cards, gifts and music. Books can be mailed. Outdoor terrace. High Marks In Chemistry 1-877-600-7466; www.HighMarksInSchool.com Over 95,000 books sold. HIGH MARKS: REGENTS CHEMISTRY MADE EASY BY SHARON WELCHER (College Teacher, Chairperson atnd teacher of high school review courses). This book is your private tutor-Easy review book for NEW regents (second edition) with hundreds of questions and solutions, Get HIGH MARKS $10.95. Available at Leading book stores or call (718)271-7466. COLLEGES COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND 2800 Victory Boulevard Staten Island, NY 10314 For more information, call 718.982.2019 or email teachersabbatical@mail.csi.cuny.edu Visit our Website at www.csi.cuny.edu/teachersabbatical TEACHERS ON SABBATICAL PROGRAM Specially Designed Graduate Courses (8 credits)

in 15-week Sessions Apply Now for Spring 2009! The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university. CSI’s 204-acre landscaped campus, the largest in NYC, is fully accessible and contains an advanced, networked infrastructure to support technology-based teaching, learning, and research. CSI offers 43 undergraduate and 15 master’s degree programs, and participates in the doctoral programs of The City University Graduate School and University Center. FOSTER CARE & ADOPTION 1-888-611-KIDS Help rebuild a family in your community today! ESS Foster care and Adoption Children and Teens: Manhattan and Bronx Teens only: All boroughs 1-888-611-KIDS GRADUATE EDUCATION International University for Graduate Studies www.iugrad.edu.kn (888) 989 - GRAD (4723) IUGS is an accredited and recognized twenty-eight year old University which offers only master’s and doctoral degrees. All relevant graduate credits including approved continuing education credits are accepted in transfer. Visit our website at www.iugrad. edu.kn or call (888) 989 - GRAD (4723). MEDICAL NYU Cancer Institute 212-731-5000; www.nyuci.org Understanding Cancer. And you. At the NCI-designated NYU Cancer Institute, we provide access to the latest research,

treatment options, technology, clinical trials and a variety of programs in cancer prevention, screening, diagnostics, genetic counseling and supportive services. Visit www.nyuci.org or call 212-731-5000. SPECIAL EDUCATION The Sterling School (718) 625-3502 Brooklyn’s private elementary school for Dyslexic children offers a rigorous curriculum, Orton - Gillingham methodology and hands-on multi-sensory learning. Oneto-one remediation is also provided. If your bright Language Learning Disabled child could benefit from our program please do not hesitate to contact Director: Ruth Arberman at 718-625-3502. Special Education Teachers Wanted Call: 718-436-5147 Fax resume to: 718-436-6843 E-mail resume to: abcdinc@verizon.net Visit our website: www.abcdnyc.net Associates for Bilingual Child Development Inc. is Seeking Mono/Bilingual Special Ed Itinerant Teachers, Bilingual Certified. Teach Preschoolers 3-5 years of age, Full-Time and Part-Time Opportunity, Competitive Salary and Rates. Call: 718-436-5147. Fax resume to: 718-436-6843. E-mail resume to: abcdinc@verizon.net. Visit our website: www.abcdnyc.net Schools Lycée Français de New York 505 East 75th Street; NY, NY 10021 212-439-3834; Admissions@LFNY.org www.LFNY.org The Lycée Français de New York is a multicultural, bilingual institution with students from fifty nations (preschool-12th grade). The school is an American, private, nonprofit school chartered by the NY State Board of Regents, and accredited by the French Ministry of Education.


APRIL 2009

For Parents, Educators & Students

21

Education update

Believe By Rachel Gellert It’s 11:15 p.m. “Charley,” I groan, “your parents will be home any second. You have to go to sleep.” I have been babysitting for the past six hours, and my last nerve is fraying. “I just want to talk some more. Please . . .?” Sitting cross-legged at the foot of his bed, I exhaustedly look at Charley Seckler’s endearing curls and his devilish seven-year-old smile. He knows he’s won. “Fine, but not for long.” The grin gets even bigger as Charley drops his head back down on to his pillow and continues jabbering right where he left off. As I put my head in my hands and watch him, I cannot help but return his smile. In July 2004, Charley’s parents learned that his animated wit and lively personality harshly contrast with what is going on inside his body. A fatal genetic disorder called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is causing Charley’s muscles to deteriorate at a frighteningly rapid pace. For now, Charley is an adventurous, active child who adores sports, but by age ten, Charley will most likely be restricted to a wheelchair; he is not expected to live much past his late teens. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the number one, most common genetic killer of children. Today, it affects over 60,000 boys and has no cure. Four months after Charley’s bleak diagnosis, his parents, Tracy and Benjamin, initiated action against their son’s terrifying illness: they launched Charley’s Fund in order to team with leading researchers and physicians to create the first foundation whose only purpose is to fund a cure or treatment for Duchenne Muscular

Dystrophy. Since the charity’s establishment four years ago, an astounding $13 million has been raised to support research for a cure, and scientists have been able to successfully target the disease’s one genetic mutation. They are on the brink of a major breakthrough. The summer after my junior year, I worked as an intern in the Secklers’ home office, filing papers, organizing folders, and helping to create youth momentum through a “Facebook presence” for Charley’s Fund. It seemed as if everyday I would come across another article, video clip, or research paper that made me want simply to sit in a corner and cry. However, seeing the relentless drive in Tracy and Benji’s work and the unmistakable commitment motivating every volunteer, I became more determined to do my part. As soon as my senior year began, I was in my principal’s office daily pleading for a chance to meet with him and discuss my proposal for a new school-based “Students in Action” Committee. My plan was to encourage students to become energized about community service and organize events through which we could increase awareness of and raise money for Charley’s Fund. With the first benefit coming up soon, our enthusiastic student body was on the right track to meeting our year-end goal of over $2,000. I cling to this with optimism. “Rachel, you’re not listening!” I am back in Charley’s room, my drowsy head leaning against the wall, my eyes heavy with fatigue. “Sorry, bud. Yes I am listening, just ask me again.” Charley sits up, preparing for an obviously crucial question. “Someday, I’ll get old, like fifty, and probably be bald like Dad, right?” My heart

The Windward School’s Mission

Rachel Gellert & Charley Seckler

drops inside my chest as I quickly blink back involuntary tears. The love I feel for this innocent seven-year-old boy, full of mischief, laughter, and potential, is overpowering. If I have anything to do with it . . . “ . . . Yeah, Charley. Probably. Of course. When you’re like fifty.” I have no other answer. The power of determination and hope is an unbeatable motivating force. Instead of being understandably overcome by sadness and despair, the Seckler family decided to fight back. Charley’s parents face a devastating obstacle with immeasurable fortitude and faith, and it is in their resolve that I find my inspiration. Every time I look at Charley or his beautiful family, I

am reminded how precious life truly is and how much potential every individual holds. There is infinite power in people who want change so long as they are willing to fight ceaselessly to bring it about. I want to be one of those people. Life should never be taken for granted, moments should never be wasted, and chances to make a difference should never be ignored. A sterling silver signature Charley’s Fund bracelet fits tightly around my wrist. It is engraved with a single word that serves as a daily reminder of my dedication in every battle that lies ahead for both Charley and his family and me in my own life: “Believe.” # www.CharleysFund.com

Education Update’s Special Education Conference

By Dr. John J. Russell, Head of Windward School

In his most recent book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell contends that the extraordinarily successful individuals he studied did not reach their level of achievement by pure merit. He posits that “the outliers in a particular field reached their lofty status through a combination of ability, opportunity, and utterly arbitrary advantage.” In one of his case studies, he cites the fact that Bill Gates just happened to be born at the best possible time to take part in the technology boom. Gladwell also refers to the early advantage that Gates had when his parents took him out of public school and, at the beginning of seventh grade, sent to him to Lakeside, an independent school in Seattle. Lakeside happened to have a time-sharing terminal with a direct link to a mainframe computer, a resource that even most colleges did not have at the time. As a result of this serendipitous situation, Bill Gates had the opportunity to do real-time programming as an eighth grader in 1968. Gates made the most of this “arbitrary advantage” and his success is now legendary. Gladwell’s thesis has serious implications for educational institutions like Windward, where admission to the school can be the difference between educational success and failure. Like Bill Gates, Windward students take full advantage of the opportunity they have been given. Part of Windward’s unique mission is to return students to the mainstream as soon as they are ready. Research conducted at the University of Oregon indicates that students scoring in the lowest 20 percent on a standardized reading test should be considered at risk for poor reading and language outcomes, and those scoring between the 20th percentile and 40th percentile (“below average”) should be considered at some risk of not achieving literacy benchmarks. At the end of the 2008 school year, 122 Windward students returned to public and independent schools. When these students first entered Windward, their performance on standardized reading tests put 34% of them at risk of not achieving the literacy benchmarks. Over 60% were at some risk of not succeeding in reading. Simply stated,

the research indicated that over 70 of these 122 students were at some risk of not achieving the all-important literacy benchmarks. In spite of this dire prediction, the teaching methods employed at Windward allowed these children to make huge strides in reading as demonstrated by the School’s annual end-of-year cohort analysis of the performance of students who are leaving the school. When the 2008 cohort was tested, 89% of the students scored in the “average to above average” range in vocabulary and 90% scored in the same range for comprehension. This dramatic change in performance is not limited to a single cohort. An analysis of each of the cohorts that have left Windward over the past four years (2005-2008) indicates consistently excellent performance with 86% (408/476) of the students scoring in the “average to above average” range in vocabulary and 90% (430/476) scoring in the” average to above average” range in comprehension. In addition, Windward continues to monitor our students’ progress once they have returned to mainstream schools. When a student has been at a new school for at least two years, administrators and guidance counselors are asked to complete a survey evaluating their performance. The most recent survey was sent to schools where former Windward students were enrolled during 2004-2006. Approximately half of these students attended independent schools after leaving Windward and half went on to public schools. Results indicate that 94% of the Windward graduates are performing academically at or above the

average of their grade level peers. Unfortunately, while Windward students are making the most of what Gladwell might call an “arbitrary advantage,” other equally deserving students do not get this opportunity. In this edition of The Beacon, Dr. Maryanne Wolf describes her own experience trying to find a school for her dyslexic son, Ben. This was a frustrating search spanning sixteen years and eight schools because she “…knew the long difficult road Ben faced in an

educational system ill-prepared to meet his needs.” Gladwell’s work and Dr. Wolf’s experience with her son reinforce the need to provide more students with the advantage that direct instruction in a structured language program provides. Through its outreach efforts and the Teacher Training Institute, Windward is committed to making the “utterly arbitrary advantage” of research-based instruction the norm for all students rather than the rare exception that it is today. #

The Mary McDowell Teaching and Learning Center PRESENTS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS FOR EDUCATORS

EVENING PRESENTATIONS

5:30 - 8.30 pm $50 per session Held at: Mary McDowell Center for Learning 20 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (bet.w. Court & Smith St.)

Brochure & registration form available on our website: www. marymcdowell.org (under Outreach) or call (718) 625-3939

• Managing Behavior Positively

Tues, April 21

• Providing Organizational Systems for Students Tues, April 28 • Understanding Common Learning Disabilities and Modifications for Success Thurs, April 30 • Curriculum Planning in the Real World Thurs, May 5 • Promoting Positive Social Skills in the Classroom Thurs, May 7

FULL DAY WORKSHOPS

9:30am - 4pm

$125 per session

• Classroom Management Wed, April 22 • Organizational Systems for

Notetaking, Study Skills and Homework Wed, May 6

• A More In-Depth Look at

Learning Disabilities and Modifications for Success

Fri, May 8

• Differentiating Instruction

Using Learning Styles

• Teaching Notetaking Skills

Tues, May 19

Education Update Ad:

Fri, May 15


22

BOOK REVIEWS

EDUCATION UPDATE

Review of When Mayors Take

Control: School Governance in the City When Mayors Take Control: School Governance in the City. Edited by Joseph P. Viteritti Published by Brookings Institution Press, 2009, Washington, D.C.: 255 pp.

By Merri Rosenberg Amidst the ongoing debate in New York City about the tactics of Chancellor Joel Klein, and the activist stance of Mayor Michael Bloomberg regarding the management of the public school system, this book is certainly timely. Clearly targeted to other academics and educational policy wonks (and somewhat slow going for those of us who are not normally accustomed to reading statistical charts), this is an important and significant contribution to the discussion about how best to run large school districts. As someone whose late mother had been a New York City school teacher, and many of whose family members are teachers or administrators, I well remember the often-heated dinner table conversations about 110 Livingston Street and community school-board control. I have to admit I find it somewhat ironic that there has been a turn towards centralization and a powerful leader, given my vivid memories of Ocean HillBrownsville and its aftermath. What Joseph Viteritti, a professor of public policy and chair of the department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, has done is successfully pull together various chapters about different experiences in different cities to provide a useful framework to address the questions that arise from having mayoral control of city school districts. Contributors include experts like Clara Hemphill, a noted author for her guides to the best public schools in the city; Diane Ravitch, currently a research professor in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, and formerly assistant Secretary of Education and author of many well-regarded books on education; Dorothy Shipps, associate professor of public affairs and education at Baruch Collge/CUNY; Robert Schwartz, academic dean and Bloomberg Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Jeffrey R. Henig,

professor of political science and education at Teachers College, among others. The chapters explore the various scenarios that have played out in districts like Chicago, which has never had an elected central school board, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Boston and, of course, New York. Viteritti writes, “It appears that Bloomberg and Klein not only wanted to turn the system around; they wanted to turn it upside down and inside out…Bloomberg and Klein presided over a regime of change that was unprecedented in the history of the school system.” Wilbur C. Rich, a professor of political science at Wellesley College, provides one of the most engaging chapters, thanks to his lively writing style and engrossing narratives. He writes, “Reforming public schools may be analogous to sewing buttons on Jell-O. It does not matter how hard one tries, the buttons will not stay put. So it is with school reform. No amount of grafting and repair seems to have lasting effects…As statehouses turn to big-city mayors to solve the continuing school crises, the traditional wall between city politics and schools has disappeared. Although Americans have endeavored to keep elected municipal politicians out of school administrations, the public has apparently acquiesced to these mayoral takeovers out of widespread frustration with low student achievement scores, fiscal management, and violence in the public schools.” Many of the authors touch upon the tension that exists between wanting to offer parents and school communities the chance to make decisions and the need to achieve educational results for students, many of them from poor and minority backgrounds. Ultimately, Viteritti concludes that, “Fostering democracy in a diverse and sprawling urban school district is difficult…To reach the least powerful members of the school community and give them a say in the education of their children, those with the most power must embrace the values of democratic government and make a commitment to abide by its principles. Public officials must follow both the spirit and letter of the law to establish a governing relationship between the rulers and the ruled that advances these principles without compromise.” #

Give Them Poetry! A Guide To Sharing Poetry With Children K-8

Review of

Give Them Poetry! A Guide To Sharing Poetry With Children K-8 by Glenna Sloan Published by Teachers College Press, 2003, New York: 120 pp.

By Merri Rosenberg As someone who was expected to memorize poems from canonical writers like William Blake, William Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson (with a little Robert Frost, too, as I recall) during my grade school years at what is now Brooklyn’s Berkeley Carroll school, I was disappointed that poetry rarely figured in the curriculum for my children at their suburban public school. Sure, there were annual units when my children wrote poetry—and presumably had some examples taught to them—but I always had the sense that poetry was considered a frill. And that’s something that Glenna Sloan, a teacher of children’s literature at Queen’s College/CUNY, wants to change. As she writes in her introduction, “One objective of the class is to dispel the mystique that surrounds poetry for many people…” She acknowledges that, “Poetry is at the periphery of the curriculum, if it is in sight at all. It plays only a marginal role in most classroom life, occasionally used as reading material or as a read-aloud

by the teacher, but not deployed on a regular basis or in a systematic way.” Sloan argues that poetry needs to move to the center of the plate, as it were, to stimulate literacy development. Through an abundance of case studies, drawn from her students’ work in their own classrooms as well as her own as a former eighth grade English teacher, Sloan makes a compelling argument that students will respond to poetry. What matters above all is that the teachers confront, and conquer, their own fears or anxieties about poetry, and share good works with their students. As she notes, “according to the teachers in my classes, a sure way to turn children off from poetry is to suddenly give the order: ‘Write a poem’, or worse, ‘Write a poem, at home tonight or over the weekend. Any subject you want.’ Classroom stories of success with poetry writing seldom if ever begin with these words. Success stories do begin with reading poetry, lots of it, with no strings or questions attached. It’s safe to say that every successful writer of poetry was first a reader of quantities of it.” Inspiration is endless—Homer’s Iliad, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, J.R.R. Tolkien. So don’t be afraid. Poetry won’t bite, and may even transform the classroom into a place of delight.#

APRIL 2009

Logos Bookstore’s Recommendations By H. Harris Healy, III, President, Logos Bookstore 1575 York Avenue (Between 83rd and 84th Sts.) New York, NY 10028 (212) 517-7292 Fax (212) 517-7197 www.logosbookstorenyc.com

It is springtime and the month of April. At the beginning of April it is Easter and Passover. Here at Logos there are greeting cards as well as books and gift items for those occasions. Gift items for Easter include Ukranian Easter Eggs, Russian Orthodox crosses of Christ, egg shaped Icons, and regular square and rectangular icons of Jesus’ face, Jesus the shepherd, Jesus on the cross, the Resurrection, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the Last Supper, the Holy Trinity and St. Michael. There are also wooden crosses with soil from the Holy Land. For music there are Easter and Gregorian chant CDs. There are rabbit and chicken puppets that make sounds. Books appropriate for Easter include books about Jesus, bibles as well as Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and other rabbit books. For Passover there are Haggadahs for adult and child as well as children’s books explaining Passover, Passover stories as well as guidebooks for adults. Putumayo’s “A Jewish Odyssey” CD provides celebratory music for the season. April is also National Poetry Month, and Logos has a very extensive collection of classic and contemporary poets including William Shakespeare, John Milton, Robert and Elizabeth Browning,

Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante, Emily Dickinson, Homer, Virgil, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and W.B. Yeats to John Ashbery, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Dana Gioia, Robert and Amy Lowell, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Grace Paley, Frank Bidart, Bunny Barry Sanders, Corinne Robbins, Adrienne Rich and Juanita Torrance-Thompson among many other poets. Come celebrate Easter, Passover and National Poetry Month at Logos Bookstore! # Upcoming events At Logos Monday, April 13, 7 P.M.—The Sacred Texts Group led by Richard Curtis will continue its discussion of the Gospel of Matthew and discuss group members’ experiences of Easter and Passover traditions. Wednesday, May 6—Kill Your TV Reading Group will discuss The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Children’s Story Time led by Lily is every Monday at 11 A.M. Transit: 4, 5, 6 Subways to Lexington Avenue and 86th St. M86 Bus (86th St.), M79 Bus (79th St.) M31 Bus (York Ave), M15 Bus (1st & 2nd Aves.)

Review of A Parents’ Guide

To Special Education In New York City And The Metropolitan Area A Parents’ Guide To Special Education In New York City And The Metropolitan Area by Laurie DuBos and Jana Fromer Published by Teachers College Press, NY, May 2006: 208 pp.

By Merri Rosenberg Few experiences are as overwhelming for parents of special needs children as negotiating the complex and often confusing world of special education. Ideally, parents would have the benefit of a friend or family member who’s been through this process and can act as their mentor, answering questions, identifying resources, and offering reassurance. For those—admittedly, probably most parents of special needs children—who don’t have that kind of helpful tutor in their corner, this book is probably the best substitute. “Entering the world of special education is very stressful for most families,” write the authors, who bring to this important resource both academic credentials and the hands-on immersion of a parent. “Finding a ‘label’ that best describes and identifies your child can be an unwelcome and difficult experience. This is the point when families begin the process that separates them from the ‘typical’ educational process. Instead of listing all of your child’s abilities, you begin to categorize your child’s disabilities. As agonizing

as this is, it is done with the best of intentions, in order to get a school placement or the services your child needs.” The authors offer a gentle, step-by-step guide to everything from the initial evaluation and diagnostic process (including an explanation of the various acronyms involved) to describing parents’ rights throughout the process. They also include profiles of various schools throughout the metropolitan area that provide programs for specific conditions. As parents of special needs children quickly learn, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach; a child who is autistic needs a very different learning environment than one who has attention deficit disorder, or is visually disabled. By breaking down the process into manageable components, the authors make it possible for parents to absorb the information and make the best-informed decision for their child. Especially valuable is a table (pp. 26-27) that charts the various classifications, and defines them. As the authors explain, “Having your child classified as a student with a disability is never an easy process; however, if you understand the criteria by which your child is being evaluated, you will be better able to discuss the options for your child and state a case for one classification over another in your meeting with the CSE [Committee on Special Education].” This is an important tool for any parent of a special needs child that should alleviate anxieties and help make the way easier. #


APRIL 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

Anne Frank Center Hosts “Children of Theresienstadt”

Children’s corner

Klein Applauds Obama’s “Courageous” Educational Reform Agenda By Steve Frank While he may have been passed over for Secretary of Education, Joel Klein has an ally in the White House. The New York City Schools Chancellor recently praised President Barack Obama’s education reform agenda as “courageous”. The President called for more charter schools and teacher merit pay in a break from Democratic Party orthodoxy. “It’s time to start rewarding good teachers, stop making excuses for bad ones,” Obama told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington on March 10. The city already gives school wide bonuses based on scores, but Klein said Obama’s take on teacher merit pay could open the door to bonuses for individual teachers. It is an idea staunchly opposed by the teachers union, a key constituency in the President’s political party.  “For a Democratic President, in particular, I think those are strong and bold statements,” Klein said at The Economist’s Global Education 20/20 conference, held the same day as Obama’s speech at the Rubin Museum of Art. The President also urged states to lift caps on the number of charter schools allowed, a position supported “for years” by Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to Klein. “Next year, when we open school, we’ll have more 100 (charter schools),” Klein told corporate leaders, educators and policy makers. “Competition works.”

Game Board: Oswald Pock made this gameboard modeled on Monoply, substituting camp landmarks and buildings, for the children at Theresienstadt. Pock died at Auschwitz.

By Steve Frank The number of Jewish children murdered during the horrors of the Holocaust is staggering. Among the 1.5 million victims was Anne Frank, 15, the now-famous teenaged diarist who died of typhoid fever in a Nazi concentration camp in early March, 1945. Located in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, The Anne Frank Center USA, established in 1977 to advance Frank’s legacy in the United States, is hosting a special exhibition that explores how children of the Holocaust transcended their physical boundaries through art and writing. “Escaping Their Boundaries: The Children of Theresienstadt” opened March 12 at the center. The exhibit features more than 40 objects used or created by children of the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. “Experiencing artifacts first-hand allows each of us to connect to history on a much deeper, more intimate level,” said Yvonne Simons, the center’s Executive Director. “Sharing the same space with these unique representations creates an opportunity for the visitor to engage directly with each piece and understand the person who created it.” When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, the town of Therezin (about 40 miles north of Prague in what is now the Czech Republic) was turned into a walled ghetto called Altersghetto (ghetto for the elderly) and renamed Theresienstadt. Many prominent Jewish artists and musicians were sent there, creating a rich cultural life. Families were also allowed to stay together. The Germans used this “model” ghetto to convince outsiders that the Nazis were treating the Jews well. In reality, Jews were gathered in this ghetto before being sent farther east to the extermination camps. Of the 12,000 children under the age of 15 who passed through Theresienstadt, 90 percent would perish in various Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz. Aware of the horrors surrounding them, and fearing an uncertain future, the children still managed to have brief moments of hope and

23

Obama’s education reform agenda, however, could reignite old feuds. Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers, said her union embraced “the goals and aspirations” as outlined by Obama, but cautioned, “as with any public policy, the devil is in the details.” But education activist Caroline Kennedy said Klein is ready for the battle ahead. “Taking on Microsoft was just a warm-up to take on educational reform,” Kennedy said, referring to Klein’s antitrust battles with the software giant while he was Assistant Attorney General. Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, is Vice-chair of The Fund for Public Schools, a public-private partnership founded in 2002 to attract private funding for public schools in New York City. She also recently sought (then withdrew her bid for) an appointment to the U.S. Senate. Kennedy appeared alongside Klein at the Global Education 20/20 conference to tout their efforts to create strategic partnerships between the business community and public schools to create the global workforce of the future. She conceded tough economic times threaten to curtail private-sector investment. “The business community was very responsive, but over time, sustaining these partnerships is a challenge,” Kennedy said. “It will take the whole city and the community to improve our schools.” #

Spring Into Reading With Books Resounding In Playfulness! By Selene Vasquez PICTURE BOOK: AGES 5 THRU 8 Days On the Bed by Elizabeth Bluemle Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf Candlewick, unpaged $15.99

Here’s a charming family’s unusual sleeping arrangements: Mom, Dad, kids and six dogs! Will it ever be more manageable? Exuberant, rhyming text coupled with engaging colorful illustrations. The Red Shoes by Eleri Glass Illustrated by Ashley Spires

happiness thanks to a group of dedicated adults who tried to insulate the children as much as possible. Providing an education for the children was strictly forbidden, but counselors found their way around this rule: by telling stories, singing songs and acting out plays, the children were surreptitiously taught items of history, ethics, religion, basic reading and writing and mathematics. Children also had access to art supplies thanks to the tireless efforts of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, an artist and drawing instructor. The artistic efforts of the children of Terezin are among the most moving remnants of these terrible times.

Scholastic, unpaged, $16.99

Little Spencer’s plight is every child’s fantasy: he has a toy collection the depth and breadth of a toy store! Nevertheless, the sheer number of toys inspires multiple disasters. Boisterous illustrations for this most appealing of predicaments. Posy by Linda Newbery Illustrated by Catherine Rayner CIP, unpaged, $16.99

Why do mommies inevitably select the dull and practical lace-ups when shopping for shoes? Trying one dreary shoe after another, a little girl sees the most wonderful pair of red shoes, like “happy apples, waiting to be picked.” A sweet bedtime tucking-in story.

Posy the kitty cat is a “...whiskers wiper,/ crayon swiper./ Playful wrangler,/ knitting tangler.” Watercolor, crayon, acrylic and ink illustrations embellish this playful and charming glimpse at the essence of a little feline.# Selene Vasquez is a media specialist at Orange Brook Elementary School in Hollywood, Florida.

For many of these children, the objects they created—including collages, drawings, diaries, magazines, games and marionettes—are all that remain of their lives. The collection also includes a handcrafted board game inspired by the popular board game “Monopoly”. In this version, property, houses and hotels in the ghetto are bought and sold. The center of the board is a blueprint of the ghetto, showing rows of barracks where more than 50,000 Jews were squeezed into living quarters originally designed to hold only 7,000 people. All of the children’s works are displayed in New York for the first time, on loan from the Beit Theresienstadt Holocaust Museum in Israel. They were originally donated by Gertrude and Emanuel Groag, who were prisoners in Theresienstadt. Trude and Emo worked as educators, and some of the artifacts were made under their guidance.

Theresienstadt also holds a significant place in Anne Frank’s story. While Anne Frank herself did not pass through Theresienstadt, there were tragic associations. One of the people who hid with Frank’s family for two years, Auguste van Pels (known as “Mrs. van Daan” in the diary), is believed to have died either en route to or shortly after her arrival at Theresienstadt. In addition, two of Anne’s great-aunts on her mother’s side, Karoline and Rose Höllander, also perished at Theresienstadt. “Escaping Their Boundaries: The Children of Theresienstadt” runs through June 12, 2009, Monday through Friday, from 10am to 4pm. For families and other groups, the center is also open the first Sunday of each month from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. For more information, visit their website at www.annefrank.com. #

CIP, unpaged, 416.95

Marionette: The artists Walter Freud and Jan Klein made marionettes such as this one of a young man to entertain the children at Theresienstadt. Both perished at Auschwitz.

Too Many Toys by David Shannon


Education update

For Parents, Educators & Students

April 2009

Education Update - April 2009  

Education Update's April 2009 issue.

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