PEP Talk

Bronx slot on school board filled day before monthly meeting

Wilfredo Pagan has been appointed to represent the Bronx on the Panel for Educational Policy

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s office announced today that it has appointed Wilfredo Pagan to the Panel for Education Policy, just in time to represent the borough at tomorrow’s meeting.

Pagan, a lifelong Bronx resident, went to city schools himself and has sent six children to them. The parent association president at P.S. 50, he has belonged to the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council and the Citywide Council on High Schools. He said he has also attended past PEP meetings in his capacity as an involved public school parent.

“It’s a new experience as far as the role, but as far as how the Department of Education operates in certain areas, I have good experience with it,” Pagan said.

He is replacing Monica Major, who has served on the panel since October 2010 and has recently been tapped as Diaz’s director of education and youth services.

Major was part of a bloc of borough presidents’ appointees who regularly voted against city proposals. Pagan said he was not ready to commit to that stance and would not say how he planned vote tomorrow when controversial issues, such as charter school co-locations and school expansions, are on the table. But he told me the three most pressing issues he sees in education right now are communication, organization, and school closures.

“What I represent is the Bronx Borough President’s office and what I represent is a vision: A vision of not wanting to have any more school closings, of being able to educate every child, of every child having a voice and every community having a voice,” Pagan said.

BOROUGH PRESIDENT DIAZ NAMES WILFREDO PAGAN

TO PANEL FOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today announced that Wilfredo Pagan has been appointed as the borough’s representative to the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which holds approval power over the actions of the New York City Department of Education.

“Wilfredo Pagan is a strong advocate for the children of the Bronx, and he will make us proud in his new role on the PEP. I look forward to working with Mr. Pagan to advance a strong agenda on education for the parents, children and families of the Bronx and the entire City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Every child has a voice, and I am deeply honored to be able to represent that voice on behalf of parents, families and the Bronx community. I am thankful to Borough President Diaz for this opportunity, and I look forward to working with his office on the critical education issues that face our borough and our City,” said Wilfredo Pagan.

Pagan, a resident of West Farms, was born on September 14, 1971, in the Bronx, where he has resided his entire life.  He is the youngest of seven siblings, all of whom have graduated from the New York City public school system.  He is the father of six children—four girls and two boys—each of whom have also attended New York City public schools.  His three youngest are currently enrolled in the very school he has volunteered in for the last six years, P.S. 50/The Clara Barton Elementary School, also located in West Farms.

As the President of the parents’ association at P.S. 50 and president of the District 12 President’s Council, Mr. Pagan has represented the parent community in different educational forums that range from Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Councils, public educational hearings, the Citywide Council on High Schools, educational space planning meetings and other activities.

Pagan replaces Monica Major, who currently serves as Borough President Diaz’s director of education and youth policy.

 

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”

 

Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”

 

Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”

 

Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”

 

Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”

 

Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.