of the Month - December 2004
Education Update welcomes our Advisory Board, Dr. Charlotte
K. Frank, Senior Vice-President of McGraw-Hill and former Regent
of New York State; Dr. Augusta Souza Kappner, President of
Bank Street College of Education; Dr. Alfred Posamentier, Dean
of School of Education of City College of NY; Dr. Pola Rosen,
Publisher, Education Update; Adam Sugerman, Publisher, Palmiche
Press; Laurie Tisch Sussman, Chairman, The Center for Arts
Education and Honorary Chair, Children's Museum of Manhattan.
The Board makes the final decisions on the teachers to be honored
2003, Education Update began the tradition of honoring teachers
each month for their outstanding work on the “frontiers” of
education.We are now continuing the tradition which will culminate
in a ceremony in June 2005 with Chancellor Joel Klein in attendance.
Superintendents, principals and colleagues may nominate teachers
by filling out a form online. The
information has been emailed to all principals in NYC public
schools. If you have not received the email please contact
email@example.com. Deadline for Submissions: December 17, 2004.
Teachers are the backbone of our educational system. They richly
deserve the recognition that Education Update gives them. Congratulations
to this month's Outstanding Teachers of the Month in recognition
of the vital role they play in our childrens' lives.
Principal: Robert Zweig
Superintendent's Name: Bernard Gassaway
School: Offsite Educational
Services, Jamaica School, Queens
School District/Region: Alternative
High Schools and Programs
Student Progress: Robert Mc Duffie
has been the flagstaff teacher at Jobs For Youth, an Offsite
Educational Services site, for 6 years. During that time,
he has mastered the art of instruction with heart for the
hundreds of Brooklyn youths who have turned to OES programs
as the answer to their educational predicament. These are
students who had previously dropped out of school, often
for one or two years. Their skills are often undeveloped;
their knowledge of standard high school curriculum often
limited. He has brought them to an expanded consciousness
of themselves, their communities and the world. Consequently,
students have shown progress in their motivation and their
Evidence of student progress is available from objective data.
During the 2004-2005 school year, there were 25 GED diplomas
facilitated through Jobs For Youth. Ninety-three percent of
students who took the GED passed. Attendance for the same period
was 75 percent, which is impressive for students who had previously
dropped out of school and very often, still had daunting issues,
such as homelessness, with which to deal. A lesson taught by
Robert Mc Duffie, a master teacher, is disarming in its simplicity
and connections to the current and potential reality of students.
As he moves from the aim to the final assessment of student
understanding, Mr. Mc Duffie exudes his dramatic and thoughtful
development of a topic as facilitator of students who take
charge of their own learning. From small group to class projects,
his genial presence and guidance is evident. For example, his
Mastery Portfolio Project is designed to show proficiency across
subject areas. Students are required to submit proposals for
the content of portfolio elements, which include short stories,
nonfiction essays, urban folk tales (issues impacting society)
and one act plays with three scenes. Students are graded on
adherence to timelines, scope, attention to detail, thoroughness
and effort. Although his class is on the high school level,
elements of college courses are infused within curriculum resources
and engaging strategies. These projects augment exams given
by Mr. Mc Duffie in Language Arts and Social Studies.
His program recently moved to the Medgar Evers College campus
and Mr. Mc Duffie has facilitated student use of physical education,
library and technological resources to further enhance research
and creative projects. Innovative Teaching Strategies: He has
guided students through a variety of projects that enrich their
educational experience at OES. His innovative teaching strategies,
including student exposure to business and government, have
resulted in diverse teaching situations. Mr. Mc Duffie has
met each challenge by motivating students with his customary
interest and enthusiasm, and perhaps most importantly, guiding
them to achieve well beyond the scope of their prior experiences.
His strategies are experientially based and project oriented.
Students work in teams and are motivated to use standard business
practices such as task orientations, teamwork, reporting and
adherence to deadlines. These skills will continue to support
their future college and work experiences. Through tireless
preparation, he has equipped students with the knowledge needed
to participate in the Model U.N. for several years. His students
have become ambassadors of nations in the annual simulation
as they advocated for U.N. action related to peace and justice.
Some of the many projects
done by Mr. Duffie's classes have included: Creation of independent
student companies that engage in business within their communities;
Direct advocacy for youth employment programs with Albany
legislators; Participation in Teen Talk Radio productions,
including public service announcements; Creation of videos,
in conjunction with the OES Media Center, which included
one video currently nominated for an Emmy Award and the creation
of a video entitled “Habitat” which
explained norms and values. Motivating Students: An entrepreneurial
person himself, Mr. Mc Duffie has exposed students to the possibilities
beyond high school. Upon his invitation, Junior Achievement
presented introductory seminars on business start-ups to students
during the 2004-2005 school year. Through Mr. Mc Duffie's cultivation,
real companies were created with business plans, presentations
and the selling of wares at the Fleet Business Fair held at
the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Through the empowerment
of students with youthful creativity and enthusiasm, he made
an impact that will inspire students to business careers.
As a community activist, Mr. Mc Duffie has developed student
awareness of the communities in which they live through research-based
projects about community boards and profiles of community residents.
He has visited Borough Hall and City Hall with students, thereby
introducing them to the possibilities of public service.
Parent/Community Involvement: Mr. Mc Duffie knows every student
and the path of achievement that each can follow. He is always
ready to support students; his door is always open for a student
who needs to talk. Through communication with parents and students,
he facilitates additional support through agency-provided counseling
and other community resources that may be needed by students.
Parents and the community share all activities as they experience
project presentations and celebrations of student achievement.
Mr. Mc Duffie has imparted
a sense of the possible through visits to colleges, which
he began in 2004. His classes, along with several parents,
visited colleges in Farmingdale, Sullivan County and Rockland
County to impart a vision of what is possible. Mr. Mc Duffie
is an enthusiastic participant at regional meetings for teacher
as he shares innovative ideas with more traditional teachers.
In addition to sharing exemplary lesson plans, he recently
presented a workshop, “Engaging Students Through
Principal: Joan M. Indart
Superintendent's Name: Bernard Gassaway
Name of School: Career
Education Center, Manhattan
School District/Region: District
Progress: Career Education Center is a high school
program that services at-risk adolescents who have dropped
out of traditional high schools. Currently we have 35 sites
throughout the five boroughs. The teacher that we are nominating
is Ms. Angelita Untalan. She has been a teacher with Career
Education Center for 10 years. She works with homeless, single
mothers and other residents at one of our shelter locations
in Manhattan. Ms. Untalan works individually with students
as well as in a group setting. For the past 5 years, 90 percent
of Ms. Untalan's students have passed the GED exam. She has
created a nurturing environment that is conducive to positive
student learning outcomes. Ms. Untalan provides the students
with extra curricular activities such as class trips to museums,
in-house guest speakers, multicultural conferences and theater
Innovative Teaching Strategies: Ms. Untalan utilizes innovative
teaching strategies such as Balanced Literacy and Numeracy.
Each student in Ms. Untalan's classroom has their own classroom
work folder where all assignments and testing assessments are
kept as well as report cards. Having this folder enables each
student to follow his or her own progress. These strategies,
combined with her unique classroom set-up, set the tone for
a student-centered classroom. Ms. Untalan is a founding member
of the Asthma Awareness Committee. Soon after being assigned
to the shelter, Ms. Untalan realized that many of the absences
of her students were asthma related. She then became a valued
member of the Asthma Awareness Committee and developed lesson
plans that she utilizes in her classroom to educate young adults
about asthma and allergies and methods of control. The Asthma
Awareness Program also reinforces the reading and mathematics
skills of students. Motivating Students: Ms. Untalan motivates
and involves her students in class activities by providing
them with themes and activities that are of great interest
to them. Using the Balanced Literacy philosophy, Ms. Untalan
employs the following techniques: Read Aloud; Shared Reading;
Independent Reading; Guided Reading; Interactive Writing; Independent
Writing and word study. Students at the shelter participate
each year in the poetry and theater arts festivals. Ms. Untalan
teaches her students how to write poetry, which results in
their poetry being published in a magazine published by the
school. In addition, her 90 percent pass rate on the GED exam
speaks volumes of her students' motivation to succeed.
Parent/Community Involvement: Ms. Untalan has worked closely
with the Career Education Center's Parent Coordinator. She
has open communication with all parents and employs an open-door
policy. Most of Ms. Untalan's students are parents themselves.
These single mothers attend parent conferences hosted by the
Alternative Superintendence. Ms. Untalan has encouraged her
students to work with CEC's college advisor. They have visited
many colleges in New York State and have applied and been accepted
to college. For students to transition from a homeless shelter
to college speaks to the dedication and perseverance of Ms.
Untalan. Currently Ms. Untalan recommended five students for
the Co-Op Internship Program at Tweed. They have all been accepted
and are currently working in various positions at Tweed.
|Ms. Della Furiano
Ms. Della Furiano
Principal: Stephen Callari
Superintendent's Name: Dr. Kathleen Cashin
Name of School: Middle
School 210, Queens
School District/Region: 27/5
Della Furiano is a Speech Teacher and one of the best in
the field. Many times these teachers are the “unsung heroes.” There are no formal tests
in her class, yet the skills taught by Ms. Furiano are carried
into all areas and classes. Ms. Furiano works with General
Education students, as well as Special Education students.
These Special Education students have a wide variety of handicapping
conditions: severely retarded, emotionally disturbed, learning
disabled and speech impaired. What great progress to hear a
student who is non-verbal, call out the word, “Della.” How
about listening to a girl with Down Syndrome read a story to
a General Education student. The scores of these students on
the English Language Arts exam have gone up, showing progress.
Through formal assessments and teacher assessments, Ms. Furiano
has been responsible for beginning the process to decertify
a number of students from speech services.
Innovative Teaching Strategies: Ms. Furiano has set up a buddy
system where the advanced students will assist the mentally
retarded students. They will also share lunch with each other.
The mentally retarded students are thereby teaching the advanced
students about differences and similarities in people.
Motivating Students: Ms. Furiano has students who volunteer
to give up their lunch periods so that they can be peer tutors.
Every year, Ms. Furiano holds a fall festival in which parents
come to school to witness the remarkable work created by
the students. For the past two years, Ms. Furiano has organized
a Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome. Parents, community members,
staff and students participate. Ms. Furiano has elicited
the assistance of many local vendors to assist in the Buddy
Walk. Local merchants donated water awards and small trinkets
for the “walkers.”
Ms. Furiano has had
her students participate in the Very Special Arts Festival
at St. John's University. Last year, under the direction
of Ms. Furiano, the students created a “Box
of Dreams.” This box received such recognition that it
was displayed at Teachers College, The Smithsonian Institute.
Superintendent's Name: Althea Serrant
Name of School: IS 129, Bronx
Progress: Ms. Davis
is a grade-8 math teacher who also teaches Home and Career
Skills to all of the grade-7 students. Along with teaching
Home and Career Skills, she is “sizing up” the students
for her “exclusive “ class 800 for the following
year. She takes students under her wing in her homeroom class,
class 800, who she teaches math to. She nurtures the students,
builds up their self-esteem and watches them succeed on their
statewide math assessment exam to levels beyond their dreams.
She tutors students on her lunch hour, after school and on
Saturdays. Last year, every one of her students in both her
homeroom and other grade-8 math class moved up one level as
well. In class 800- 93 percent of her students performed
at or above grade level in math, including one special education
student who was mainstreamed into her class for math. Out of
her 31-homeroom students who began the class at various levels
including level 1, 28 scored at or above grade level. Her homeroom
class wins our monthly school wide competitions for highest
attendance and best-behaved class.
Our students, under Ms. Davis and Mr. Clarke's direction,
won a math competition on the NYC level, competing against
parochial and private schools in math and went onto the statewide
Innovative Teaching Strategies: What Ms. Davis provides for
her students is a firm, strict but loving learning atmosphere.
She builds up their self-esteem by proving that they can succeed.
She works closely with all of her students' subject teachers
and troubleshoots if any of her students have any academic
problems. She is available to tutor her students after school,
during her lunch hour and she works with her class on Saturdays
in both literacy and Math. She takes pride in her profession
and it shows by her students' test performance. Motivating
Students: The evidence that Ms. Davis has motivated her students
to be more involved in classroom activities is clearly demonstrated
by how well her classes perform on the grade-8 standardized
math test. In her homeroom, 93 percent of her students performed
at or above grade level. Ninety three percent of her students
did not enter her class in grade-8 on grade level. Ms. Davis
worked very hard to get them there. Her motivation and competitive
nature boost her students' academic performances from average
to above average in a single school year. Her class attendance
averages 90 percent or better and because her students want
to come to school, want to learn and do not want to miss out
on any work.
The students in Ms. Davis' homeroom class apply and are accepted
as graduation committee members. These students assist with
planning school social events, are school spokespeople and
promote school unity. They also apply to become and are accepted
as tutors for elementary school students in the Read Program,
which is connected to the Hayden Foundation. The students
tutor, help elementary school students with their schoolwork
2-3 times per week. The students receive training through
the Read Program and if they are successful and continue
working with the Read Program, they are able to seek summer
employment as a tutor, with a “high” paying
summer job through Read.
Principal: Jeanette Sosa
Superintendent's Name: Reyes Irizarry
Name of School: PS 151K,
School District/Region: District 32 / Region 4
Marcia Arcentales is a very accomplished teacher who has
taught at PS 151K for her entire career - twenty-one years!
During these years, she has taught a variety of gradesÐ2-3-4-5-6Ðand
for the past four years has been in charge of the Math Lab,
and is largely responsible for delivering Professional Development
in Math to our staff. This year, Ms. Arcentales can be especially
proud, as we have recently been informed that seventy-five
percent of our students scored Levels 3 and 4 on last spring's
standardized tests. That is a great accomplishment!
gives students individualized instruction, using the Everyday
Math Program, supplemented by her own teacher-made materials.
She teaches them test-taking techniques, giving her students
the necessary tools to pass upcoming standardized tests.
She uses a wide variety of techniques to assess each
student's progressÐportfolios, informal assessments and
Strategies: Ms. Arcentales is a master of innovative teaching
strategies in the Math Lab. Much of her motivation for students
comes from food and eatingÐa
real pizza box with a cardboard pizza inside for work in fractions
really gets the students' attention; how about an apple? How
much do you estimate it to weigh? How many bites will it take
for you to finish eating that apple? How many times will you
chew each mouthful before you can swallow?
Ms. Arcentales excites her students to makes them think about
math in their everyday experiences. They see math everywhereÐhow many angles can they count
in their home? How far is the distance between home and school?
Estimate firstÐthen measure and prove. Her students bring
in beautiful projects for the schools Annual Math Fair. Math
Lab students always look forward to participating in the grade
level Math Bee that Ms. Arcentales runs in our auditorium each
Ms. Arcentales is very popular with our parent community.
Her “Family Math” workshops
are always very well attended, so well in fact, that she must
have daytime and evening sessions. This is where she teaches
parents to do math activities with their children in a fun
way! She sends home a monthly math calendar with math activities
to be done, parent and child working together, explaining their
work, then signed by the parent and returned at the end of
the month. She recruits volunteers from the community to be
presenters at her annual Math Career Day. Presenters tell about
their careers- and how math is utilized in that career. Everyone
gets involved with Ms. Arcentales' 100th Day of School, even
kindergarteners (with their parents.) Last but not least is
Pi DayÐ(3.17) celebrated on March 17th.
Principal: Robert Zweig
Superintendent's Name: Bernard Gassaway
Name of School: Offsite
Educational Services, Queens
School District/Region: District
students in Ms. Caputo's classes are both HS teachers and
HS students. Ms. Caputo's interesting and unusual job description
includes being an itinerant teacher trainer, English teacher,
workshop presenter (for both the school and district), co-editor
of our school newsletter “Bridges,” and
producer of our school's annual poetry slam.
Innovative Teaching Strategies: Ms. Caputo dedicates herself
to keeping current in her classroom materials and techniques.
She is the one person in our program who reads all the new
teen novels and suggested HS reading. The teachers in our program
depend on her to give ideas and suggestions for their NYSTL
orders. Her workshops, offered on our staff development days,
are always over-crowded. Ms. Caputo keeps current on both pop
and rap lyrics, which she uses as both a classroom management
tool and motivation for English lessons. She can play a rap
CD, use a poem to compare themes and then have the class read
a scene from Shakespeare that they are now prepared to interpret
as the result of the first two activities.
Computer savvy, Ms.
Caputo has followed up student activities where she took
digital pictures with “smart board” presentations
of the pictures for students and parents to enjoy. Motivating
Students: For the past four years Ms. Caputo has participated
in the Model United Nations. Through her work with students
from several different sites she prepares students both academically
and emotionally for the task of working with and competing
against the brightest high school students that travel from
all over the world to come to NYC to participate in the Model
Ms. Caputo is actively involved in the Consultative Council,
Safety Committee, and UFT. She works closely with our parent
coordinator to develop parent workshops, trips and activities
to encourage parent participation. Her poetry slam has been
one of our largest activities with parents. Ms. Caputo has
also been one of the major organizers of our college fair.
This college fair attracts parents, students, OES teachers,
as well as teachers from other alternative programs in our
district. This year she is also working with our parent coordinator
and our science teacher to develop a “Health
Fair” with representatives from eye clinics and health
centers for screening and information. Parents are the target
population for this activity, along with students, teachers
and community members.