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July 20, 2017
Why this Bronx middle school believes in second — and third — chances
Students are regularly tested on learning targets. But they’re also given three chances to prove they’ve mastered the skills.
July 20, 2016
One Manhattan school just won $25,000 for boosting teacher collaboration
“Teaching was never set up as a profession where you’re leading, and that’s a core problem,” said Lynette Guastaferro, executive director at Teaching Matters.
May 25, 2016
Why one Brooklyn high school is making a big bet on teacher training
Abraham Lincoln High School is gambling on professional development as a way to improve student outcomes.
October 29, 2014
What Fariña wants to keep from the Bloomberg era: tech, leadership focus
Since taking over the school system, Fariña has increased the experience requirements for both principals and district superintendents, moves that stand in contrast to the Bloomberg administration’s creation of a fast-track principal training program that drew criticism for filling the city’s schools with inexperienced leaders.
rookie of the year
July 25, 2014
First-year principal wins $25,000 to scale up collaborative teaching
After just one year in charge at James Madison High School, Cohen bested over 150 principals to win the 2014 Elizabeth Rohatyn prize, an award that recognizes school leaders who jump-start successful initiatives at their schools. The prize includes a $25,000 check, sponsored by education nonprofit Teaching Matters, to be used to continue and expand their initiative.
October 23, 2013
For Weingarten, New York's Common Core fight hits home
New York State Superintendent John King and AFT President Randi Weingarten speaking on a panel at an event hosted by Teaching Matters. At center, Teachers College professor Jeffrey Henig, who moderated. Randi Weingarten has been a national union boss for over three years, but her heart remains in the state that groomed her as a labor leader. So when California recently became the latest state to alter its testing policies amid reforms to learning standards and teacher evaluations, Weingarten said her thoughts turned to New York. "I get embarrassed when a state like California is figuring it out more than my beloved Empire State," Weingarten said Wednesday in a speech in midtown Manhattan, where she accepted an education award from the education nonprofit Teaching Matters. Weingarten twice referred to California, which moved a step closer to eliminating high-stakes tests for a year, while making her latest case for why New York should strip high stakes from state tests for teachers and students in order to focus on adopting Common Core learning standards. She also appeared on a panel discussion with Commissioner John King, whose handling of state education policies she has been critical of.
October 17, 2013
Identifying Rigor In The Common Core Math Standards
As we dug deeper into Common Core-aligned questions, we were able to name and describe some of the things that made the substance of the questions, not just their placement, different from the old ones. This understanding helped us develop practice questions that would familiarize students with the problem-solving skills they needed for the new tests.
August 30, 2013
Principal of Inwood’s J.H.S. 52 honored for fostering collaboration
Salvador Fernandez, principal of J.H.S. 52 in Inwood, is the recipient of this year’s “Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters,” awarded annually by…
August 9, 2013
Close-reading one seventh-grade state English test question
This year's state English language arts exams required more "close-reading" than ever before, in keeping with the priorities of the Common Core learning standards. Back in April, when the exams were administered to students in third through eighth grades, educators said the length of the reading passages and what students were asked to do with them made the tests too onerous for the time allowed. This week, the state released scores showing that only 31 percent of students met the state's proficiency standards, including just 26.4 percent in New York City. We asked three English teachers to apply the same reading strategies that they teach their students to questions that appeared on the state's reading exams. (Breaking from recent past practice, the state released about a quarter of the test questions that students saw. We highlighted math questions on Wednesday.) Zeroing in on the "Earth and Water and Sky" passage on the seventh-grade exam, the educators — Victoria Dedaj, Mark Anderson, and Jen Murtha — said some questions required more than literacy skills, used complex language, and sometimes had no clear answer. Dedaj and Anderson — whom you might remember from our Common Core literacy event last fall — teach at M.S. 228 in the Bronx, where Murtha was a Teaching Matters' consultant before becoming the nonprofit's director of educational services. Here's the passage and what they said about it:
June 26, 2013
Five city principals are finalists for Teaching Matters prize
Public votes landed five city principals on a list of finalists for a prize awarded annually by the nonprofit Teaching Matters. Laura Scott of P.S. 10 in Brooklyn; Serapha Cruz of the Bronx School of Young Leaders; Sonhando Estwick of Tompkins Square Middle School in Manhattan; Salvador Fernandez of J.H.S. 52 in Inwood; and Doris Lee of Village Academy in Far Rockaway, Queens, are in the running for the Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters, which rewards school leaders who increase teachers’ capacity. The winning principal’s school will get $15,000. Jeanne Rotunda, the principal of West Side Collaborative, won the first Rohaytn Prize in 2011. Information about each of the finalists is below, courtesy of Teaching Matters.
June 4, 2013
Constructive criticism on evals from Teaching Matters
Lynette Guastaferro, executive director of the nonprofit Teaching Matters, offers this constructive criticism about the city’s new teacher evaluation system, per a press release: …
January 25, 2012
Event unites charter, district teachers under instructional focus
Courtesy: KIPP A few months ago, teachers from KIPP charter schools approached the network's co-founder Dave Levin to say that they were restless with the training they were getting. Despite weekly observations and extensive support, the teachers wanted to talk to educators from outside the KIPP organization to find out what they considered best practices for classroom teaching. Levin took that idea and developed it into the "What's Works in Urban Schools," a conference that took place Saturday at New York University. The purpose of the event, Levin said, was to forge better working relationships between district and charter school teachers. "Too often the broader structural debate has nothing to do with the great things that are happening in classrooms across New York City," Levin said. "Whether you teach in a charter school or a district school, good teachers have the same goals." On Saturday, hundreds of teachers braved inclement weather, an early morning wake-up, and a $35 entry fee to attend the event, which was sponsored by KIPP, Google, TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), Teaching Matters, and Scholastic.
July 18, 2011
Online teacher collaboration nets West Side school $15,000
At the West Side Collaborative, a small middle school on the Upper West Side, teachers relish being in two places at once. Their freedom from the time-space continuum is made possible by the school's use of Google applications to let teachers share resources online. The tools, showcased in a video the school produced, last week won Principal Jeanne Rotunda the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for School Innovation from Teaching Matters, a nonprofit that helps schools integrate technology.
March 25, 2009
Under pressure to score tests faster, a proposal to scrap writing
Next year, the state's English tests could be missing one crucial component: writing. That's the conclusion that educators are drawing after the Board of Regents weighed a proposal earlier this month to eliminate the open-ended question section of the state's standardized tests — the only part of the third through eighth grade testing regime that asks students to write out their answers in sentences. The proposal is one of several ideas the Board of Regents, the state panel that sets New York's education policy, is considering in order to speed up the test-grading process, following a new federal regulation ordering states to tell schools sooner whether or not they are meeting states standards. (State test scores play a large part in making that decision.) Changing the way the tests are graded could also cut costs. The Regents have been studying how to meet the new federal requirement for almost a year. The prospect of scrapping writing first surfaced publicly when the Regents published the findings of a survey the board conducted to study the question. Of 22,000 parents and educators surveyed, 85% said the essay questions should remain.
February 26, 2009
City will spend $1.5M to extend judging of teachers via test scores
PHOTO: G.TatterThe Department of Education created videos to explain the reports. View them ##http://schools.nyc.gov/Teachers/TeacherDevelopment/TeacherDataToolkit/LearnKeyConcepts/Videos/VIdeo2.htm##here##. The Department of Education is moving to extend a program that judges teachers based on their students' test scores — and it plans to start paying for the project with taxpayer dollars, at a projected cost of $1.5 million over the next three years. A formal request for vendor proposals released today indicates officials are also mulling an expansion of the program to more teachers. The program, called the Teacher Data Initiative, launched quietly this school year after causing a politically explosive fight between the DOE and the teachers union the year before. The reports allow principals to track the "value" teachers add to students by looking at student test scores from one year to the next. The teachers union here has gone along with programs to judge entire schools based on test scores, but it drew the line at measuring individual teachers' performance, arguing that so-called "value-added" models risk unfairly misjudging teachers. (Many academic researchers make this claim as well.) After news of the effort surfaced, the union fought back by ushering a bill into state law that made it illegal for the city to use test scores when making decisions about job security. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein decried the bill (Bloomberg called it a "special interest protection"), which the legislature passed with no public debate, and the data reports went out as planned.
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