Joe Negron, the founding principal of KIPP Infinity Middle School, picked a tricky year to return full-time to the classroom. After heading the charter school since it opened in 2005, Negron became a full-time math teacher in August, just as new standards were reshaping what students are supposed to learn.
Negron taught math at I.S.164 before starting KIPP Infinity and kept one foot in the classroom while serving as principal. But even for a seasoned educator, he said, shifting to the Common Core standards is a challenge.
"This is so much messier than what I'm used to and comfortable with," said Negron, who will appear this evening on the panel at GothamSchools' event about the Common Core in math. "It used to be, I'm going to teach you this strategy and you're going to use it until your eyes pop out."
This year, responding to the Common Core's emphasis on solving problems in multiple ways, he is asking students to master three approaches.
The Department of Education released a final installment of Teacher Data Reports today, for teachers in charter schools and schools for the most severely disabled students.
Last week, the city released the underlying data from about 53,000 reports for about 18,000 teachers who received them during the project's three-year lifespan. Teachers received the reports between 2008 and 2010 if they taught reading or math in grades 4 through 8.
When the department first announced that it would be releasing the data in response to several news organizations' Freedom of Information Law requests, it indicated that ratings for teachers in charter schools would not be made public. It reversed that decision late last week and today released "value-added" data for 217 charter school teachers.
Participation in the data reports program was optional for charter schools and some schools entered and exited the program in each year that it operated, with eight schools participating in 2007-2008 and 18 participating in 2009-2010. At the time, the city had about 100 charter schools.
The department also released reports for 50 teachers in District 75 schools, which enroll the city's most severely disabled students. The number is small because few District 75 students take regular state math and reading exams. Also, District 75 classes are typically very small, and privacy laws led the city to release data for teachers who had more than 10 students take state tests. District 75 also teachers received reports only in 2008 and 2010; the program was optional in the district's schools in 2009.
Department officials cautioned last week that the reports had high margins of error — 35 percentage points for math teachers and 53 percentage points for reading teachers, on average — and urged caution when interpreting them.
Joseph Almeida, a sixth grade math teacher at KIPP Infinity, taught a lesson to adults at Rockefeller Center.
Among the mix of pages, chancellors, and mayors at NBC's "Education Nation" outdoor museum at Rockefeller Center this week were a cadre of teachers from around the country who taught live "lessons" to the general public.
The exercise was remarkable for its lack of actual students. The lessons occurred inside one of several mini-tents on the plaza, starting at irregular hours, and the only officially invited guests were teachers, not children.
But the one teacher whose lesson I saw — Joseph Almeida, who teaches sixth grade math at KIPP Academy in the Bronx — did not let that deter him. He tailored his lesson, about place value, to the collection of adult tourists and passersby who gathered around him.
The principal training nonprofit New Leaders for New Schools gathered Almeida and the other roughly 50 teachers who taught public lessons through what New Leaders founder Jon Schnur described as a rigorous process. After recruiting nominations of teachers from around the country, New Leaders reviewed information ranging from the teachers' students' performance results to videotapes of their teaching.