Teachers of the Month
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 each month.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for Submissions: November 15, 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.
—Dr. Pola Rosen, Publisher
Teachers of the Month - November
Principal: Mrs. Jeanette Sosa
Superintendent’s Name: Mr.
PS 151K/ Lyndon B. Johnson, Brooklyn
School District/Region: 32/4
Progress: Mr. Robinson
Ortiz is a veteran teacher of our school and has taught here
for the past eleven years. He has taught third, fourth and
fifth grade and is consistently popular with the students.
Ortiz uses portfolio assessment to keep track of his students’ progress.
Informal assessment as well as formal tests round out the methods
of evaluation he uses to closely monitor the progress of the
students in his class. The standardized tests administered
always show that some progress has indeed been made.
seem to take more interest in school and exhibit a love of
school, and reading in particular. Their writing is often better,
and they are clearly better organized.
Teaching Strategies: His
love of computers is transferred to the students, as he helps
them to become more sophisticated in the use of technology
in everyday learning.
One of his trademarks is teaching the multiplication tables through song. A
painless way to be sure that all quickly know those facts!
Mr. Ortiz firmly believes in the benefit of collaborative
Students: Mr. Ortiz’ interaction with students is what
provides the biggest motivation
for them to be consistently involved in all classroom activities.
His pleasant attitude does
not affect his wonderful classroom control. Students always
get that “second or third chance.” They know
that they can approach their teacher with problems and concerns
and he will demonstrate
his care and concern for them.
Involvement: Mr. Ortiz
enjoys the respect and admiration of the parents of his school. They find him to be someone who gives tirelessly of his time
to them and to their children. Some of the activities that
Mr. Ortiz provides for the students are: the Stock Market
Game (where his students won lap-top computers), the Boy
Scout troop, Junior Achievement and a wide variety of curriculum
based trips with many accompanying parent chaperones. Mr.
Ortiz is a wonderful asset to this school, and he is deserving
as Education Update’s Outstanding Teacher of the Month!
Principal: Lisa Esposito
Name: Nancy Ramos
School 8, Staten Island
Student Progress: The
students in Mrs. Barry’s class consistently
demonstrate fine academic progress throughout the school
year, as evidenced by Portfolio Assessment, classroom progress
reports and formal evaluations. Last year, 75 percent of
her students achieved a Performance Level 3 or 4 on the N.Y.S.
Grade 4 ELA. On the N.Y.S. Grade 4 Math examination, 93 percent
of her students met or exceeded the Performance Standard.
Mrs. Barry pioneered the Balanced Literacy philosophy through
District 31’s Project Read Program.
On a daily basis, Mrs. Barry combines traditional teaching
methods with the Balanced Literacy philosophy to enhance
learning. She uses the following innovative teaching strategies:
Looking at student work to assess individual needs; Interdisciplinary,
Team Teaching with Grade 4 colleagues; Facilitating group
and facilitating mathematics explorations; Developing critical
thinking skills. Motivating Students: The
students in Mrs. Barry’s class have become more involved
in classroom and schoolwide activities: PACT Program (Dance
and Theatre), 2004; Poetry Reading, 2004; “Family Literacy
Night,” 2004; Dressing up as swans on Halloween (2003)
while reading the novel The Trumpet of the Swans in class; Class production of “The 13 Colonies,” 2003. (This
presentation was a culmination of the thematic unit, “New
York State of Mind”)
Parent/Community Involvement: Mrs. Barry participates in holiday concerts, choral
concerts and other presentations.
Principal: Rhonda Taylor
Superintendent’s Name: Gloria
Middle School 61, Brooklyn
School District/Region: 17/6
Progress: Ms. Danzy’s
students are highly motivated because of her creativity.
Ninety percent of her students moved up one and two levels
in their ELA performance on the spring ELA test in the 2003-2004
school year. Most students in her class function on level
3 or 4 because of Ms. Danzy’s intense planning and
conferencing with students. Students consistently maintain
a writing folder and journal. Weekly informal tests are administered
by her and the results are then used to plan instruction.
Teaching Strategies: Ms.
Danzy is innovative, very creative and extends “Best
Practices” in ELA to make students think on a higher
given opportunities to discover learning on their own, and
work in groups to research and complete quality literary projects.
teacher embodies the concept of teachers being life-long
learners. Her motivation and participation in professional
development workshops is phenomenal. In fact, M.S. 61 honored
Ms. Danzy as “Outstanding Workshop Leader” for
the 2003-2004 school year.
Students: Ms. Danzy immediately establishes a safe, communal
atmosphere in the classroom. Students feel comfortable discussing
topics, critically questioning and mentally challenging each
are also motivated by this teacher’s high expectations.
Ms. Danzy has taught both accelerated and standard classes,
yet she makes no distinction regarding her focus on academic
rigor. Students relish the supportive, fair and consistent
tone she maintains. Students
are inspired because this teacher is a firm believer of public
recognition and positive reinforcement.
Involvement: Ms. Danzy’s
outreach to our parents begins with calling homes at the
beginning of the school year just to say, “Hello.” While
parents know that her “door is always open,” subsequent
calls, emails, and a classroom webpage affords them a daily
window into her classroom. Additionally, Ms. Danzy has arranged
authors visits and Career Day volunteers for our students.
Principal: Sharon Meyers Izzo
Superintendent’s Name: Dr.
P771@ PS236, Brooklyn
School District/Region: 75/6
is a district 75 school that services severely emotionally
disturbed children as well as mentally retarded and autistic
children ages 5 through 11. Mr. Vernikov is a music teacher
who has the ability to reach even the most difficult and
In the short
time that Mr. Vernikov has been with us, students have learned
how to read music, play musical instruments such as trumpets,
clarinets, tubas, saxophones, baritone and percussion instruments,
have learned to follow directions, assumed the responsibility
to care for their instruments and get along with peers as a
team. In addition, a significant number of students who in
the past were not able to pass the city and state standardized
test, passed both the reading and math exams. This is due to
the increased self-esteem and confidence that the students
have gained by succeeding in music.
Teaching Strategies: Mr.
Vernikov uses innovative teaching strategies, and he is flexible
and creative in his teaching methods. The students learned
to play Revel’s Bolero on huge buckets
because at the time there were no funds to purchase real
we have very limited space, Mr. Vernikov always finds a corner
or an empty supply closet to teach his lesson. He rewards his
students by taking them on trips to Lincoln Center to see professional
musicians performances an expand their experiences.
Students: One of the biggest motivators is becoming a member
of the PS771K Elementary Band. This is the only District
75 elementary band in Brooklyn. Being a band member has boosted
students’ confidence and self esteem. This has carried
over in all subjects areas improving academic performance.
of the band performances, attendance by parents at the monthly
Assembly Programs has increased. The band has performed at
St. Bernard Church for a Christmas party, Autism awareness
month at PS 236, PS 225, PS 329, PS 369 graduation ceremony,
the very special art festival at Columbia University and
the Brooklyn Bridge for the passing of the Olympic Torch.
Principal: Mrs. Jeanette Sosa
Superintendent’s Name: Mr.
PS 151K/ Lyndon B. Johnson
School District/Region: 32/4
Progress: Ms. Haskin
is a very gifted and dedicated teacher of 3rd grade. She
has been an exemplary member of our staff for 19 years. Her
students consistently perform very well on standardized tests.
Ms. Haskin uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor
assessment provides her with data showing each student’s
strengths and weaknesses. She utilizes a wide variety of assessment
tools like student interest surveys and self-evaluation checklists
to monitor the progress of each student. Ms. Haskin truly believes
that a positive attitude is key to a student’s progress.
the teacher observes each student, records his/her performance,
then conferences with that student. Ms. Haskin utilizes the
strategy of peer tutoring for the often needed additional assistance.
Teaching Strategies: Ms.
Haskin is a master teacher who is well versed in and always
implements the most up to date strategies in her everyday
instruction. Ms. Haskin engages her students in interactive
learning as they participate in “responding to literature” and
sharing book talks with peers. Students learn to compare
and contrast themes and concepts in a wide variety of books
and other reading material. They are individually responsible
for keeping all of this work in their writing journal. In
the Writing Workshop, students learn to understand that they
are authors. Ms. Haskin utilizes mentor texts to teach the
many skills involved in writing. Students are encouraged
to create their own books and take their work through to
final publication. In math, Ms. Haskin’s students are
always involved in working with manipulatives, solving story
problems and using learning logs to explain their work. Team
work is always encouraged.
Students: Ms. Haskin’s goal is to make her students
responsible for their own learning. Each student must work
hard to teach others in the class. Learning centers with
resources, manipulatives and checkists are prominently displayed
and utilized in her classroom. Students fully participate
in the lesson by doing the writing on charts and board.
Involvement: Ms. Haskin
is always willing to conduct parent workshops in a wide variety
of subject areas. These workshops are well attended and most
informative to the parents. Ms. Haskin is very cooperative when asked
to particiate in community activities. She has worked with
Reading Partners, UNICEF, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens’ school
planting program as well as Junior Achievement.
Principal: Barbara Elk Duncan
Assistant Principal: Arlene Prager
Superintendent’s Name: Dr. Kathleen Cashin
William H. Maxwell Career & Technical Education High School
Cunalata has been a member of the English Department for
ten years. Each passing day allows us to get a closer glimpse
at her intellectual depth and creative spirit. She has been
asked by representatives of the Chancellor of the City of
New York to deliver workshops at his headquarters and has
given workshops at the office of the Brooklyn Superintendency.
She has served as a “buddy” to
teachers new to the system and/or the school.
all of whom entered Maxwell academically burdened and challenged,
perform admirably. Her ESL children both at the intermediate
and the advanced level pass the English Regents. In fact, of
the forty or so students she prepared for the state exit exam,
only four failed. The students participate in oratory competitions
by creating, writing and performing their entries.
strategies: She does this by incorporating music into the lessons
and studying lyric, form, message and literary devices of
current/modern music. She
uses photography, walks and trips around our East New York
neighborhood to frame a montage of life, a setting for each
student’s visual autobiography. She uses special computer
programs to help students weave tales and adapt classics
and simplify versions of Othello, Macbeth, The Catcher
in the Rye, and Romeo and Juliet for
the ESL classroom. She has created class literary magazines
and poetry collections with her students. She introduces
films to supplement themes in texts (Flatliners with Frankenstein, II Postino poetry units, Mi Vida Loca with House
on Mango Street). Her
students become playwrights as they add scenes to texts and
explore the word of the actor and screenwriter.
community involvement: She
has interviewed family members for autobiographies and biographies;
requested that her students read class texts to their parents
or at least share “the really great” stories
with their immigrant and non-immigrant parents; encouraged
students to use book club order forms to ensure parents realize
the importance of reading—in English as well as in
native language—for all children; performed an original
composition at the Black Cat Café in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn with several members of the English/ELL Department;
called all parents of ELL students and wrote letters in their
native tongue, encouraging parent contact and involvement;
modeled, in spirit and deed, the importance of connecting
to one’s native land/familial birthplace and its importance
in the fabric of the United States of America.#