Outstanding Teachers of the Month - January 2005
Maureen H. Murphy
Principal: Jeanette Sosa
Name: Reyes Irizarry
Name of School: PS 151K
School District/Region: District
32/ Region 4
Student Progress: Ms. Maureen Murphy has been teaching
at PS 151K for the last thirty-nine years and is still going
strong! She has had various positions throughout the years.
She has taught second grade, although third grade has always
been her favorite. She has also been a cluster teacher in
multi-ethnic reading and science and is currently the school
librarian. Ms. Murphy has monitored student progress in a number
of ways, such as using student portfolios, informal assessments
and responses to literature. The students who took standardized
tests always showed dramatic improvement due to her diligent
instruction. As the librarian she continues to monitor students’ reading
progress, and makes sure that all students are taking out appropriate
books at their “just right” levels.
Innovative Teaching Strategies: Ms.
Murphy is renowned for the way she is able to dramatize a story
for children. Listening to her read is such a pleasure because she captivates
her audience by changing her voice to portray different characters,
and keeps the children engaged throughout the story. She is
well versed in using the balanced literacy methods, and her
personal love of literature shines through in all of her lessons.
Ms. Murphy also secures books through Reading Is Fundamental,
where she distributes books to the children three times a year.
She also sets up dates for the traveling bookmobile to visit
our school, ensuring that all students have access to quality
literature. Ms. Murphy continues to upgrade her technology
skills in order to help the students feel comfortable with
using the computer to help improve their literacy skills, and
search and find information using the internet.
Motivating Students: Ms. Murphy
has motivated the students in wonderful ways. She received
a Library Power grant which refurbished a bland environment,
and created an exciting and inviting atmosphere, as well
as updating the entire book collection. At that time, a
colorful rug for her storytelling area was put in her room,
when it was not yet a popular concept. One year she received
the Ezra Jack Keats award, for working with a class that
performed a play for the school based on the Keats book
titled “Jennie’s Hat.” Ms. Murphy is
well-known for working diligently with the upper grade students
in order to prepare them for the Spelling Bee, Story Telling
and Story Reading Contests, which numerous students have won.
Ms. Martinez, who is now a teacher in our school, is a former
student of Ms. Murphy’s. She can recall her teacher always having
a smile on her face, and a unique chuckle when she laughed. She remembers that Ms. Murphy made learning
fun and exciting, always focused on the children’s strengths,
and built on their talents. She recollects that Ms. Murphy
would find a way to compliment every student on a daily basis,
and took a special interest in each child. Now as her colleague,
Ms. Martinez, who won the Bank Street Teacher of the Year Award
in 2003, reports that Ms. Murphy still continues to give her
great support and encouragement.
Parent/Community Involvement: Ms. Murphy
is always available and has a positive relationship with
the parents, administration and staff of PS 151K. She
faithfully serves the teachers as their United Federation of
Teachers Chapter Leader, and keeps them abreast of changes
in school policies. She serves on almost every school committee,
including the School Leadership Team, where she meets with
the parents once a month. She also finds time in her busy schedule
to provide access for parents to visit the library and take
out books for their children on a regular basis. She assists
the school in fundraising activities, such as the School Book
Fair, which coincides with Open School Week, and by selling
items such as pencils, folders and other school sundries. One
of her fund raising mottoes is “every little bit helps.”
Principal: David Getz
Name: Hal Epstein
Name of School: East Side
School District/Region: 2/9
Student Progress: In early winter of the school year,
Rebecca launches into her early 20th century immigration unit,
which she designed. The assessments Rebecca uses to learn about
her students’ understandings and skills are a first person
narrative of a specific immigrant family, and a written scene,
complete with costumes and sets that each group of four or
five students create for the culminating “living museum” exhibit
in our gym in early January. By immersing her students in the
world of immigration (see below), Rebecca is able to provide
her students with the opportunities to convince themselves
that if they could travel back to Hester or Baxter Streets
at turn of the 20th
Century New York City, they could pass undetected through the
has written a curriculum that immerses our 8th grade students
into the world of the early 20th century immigrant. She does
this by having her children watch movies such as Hestor Street
and Ragtime; visit the Tenement Museum; read Jacob Riess;
study his and Lewis Hines’ photos; read oral histories;
and historical fiction and poetry. The unit culminates in two
summative assessments. The students adopt a specific nationality
(Italian, for example) and write about the world of the Italian
immigrant from the perspective of that immigrant. Then working
in groups, the students create a small stage set and put on
a scene from that the life of that immigrant. These groups
are assembled in our gym so that our gym becomes a living museum
of early 20th century immigration.
Motivating Students: The evidence that Rebecca
has motivated her students can be elicited from their writing
and the scenes they produce in our gym. Much like a restoration
village in Salem or Colonial Williamsburg, Rebecca’s
students completely assume the identities of their subjects.
Visitors, after viewing the scenes, can ask the actors questions about their
lives. These actors never break character. They are very convincing. The living
museum is a thrill for our visiting 6th and 7th graders. After the 7th graders
tour, they begin to look forward to their next year in 8th grade when they
can participate in the Living Museum project.
Parent/Community Involvement: A strong component of the immigration
studies is the interviewing of families and friends and their
own immigration experience. Students learn about their own
family histories and are able to further identify with the
characters they are creating.
Principal: Jeanmarie Wink
Name: Dr. Kathleen Cashin
Name of School: PS 64
School District/Region: 27/5
Student Progress: Mrs. Melissa Meehan is a young vibrant
teacher who has been a important member of PS 64’s staff
for over ten years. Her teaching style brings out the best
in EVERY student. She is informative, animated and connects
with each of her charges. Just a quick walk into her classroom
shows the planning and care that goes into each lesson. Melissa directs instruction so that each
child can work at his or her own pace. Her use of learning
styles, cooperative grouping, direct and indirect instruction
makes every student an active participant in their own education.
Mrs. Meehan’s standardized
test scores consistently show growth within her class year
after year. She has found the way to balance fun and instruction
so that her students succeed. It is for these reasons that
we nominate Mrs. Melissa Meehan as Teacher of the Month.
Principal: Denise DiCarlo
Name: Allen Dichter
Name of School: Washington
School District/Region: 71/9
Student Progress: As a Physical Education teacher,
Ms. Lee not only instructs her students on the importance of
fitness and well being, but she also instills in them good
sportsmanship, team spirit, and development of character.
Teaching Strategies: In her Physical Education classes, she includes such vital
academic subjects as writing and mathematics, thus preparing
her students for Regents examinations and college entrance.
are eager to attend her classes. They participate atively in
the work and they also appear to be having fun. They respond
eagerly to all aspects of the lesson.
Involvement: Ms. Lee coaches the Girls Varsity Volleyball team and in this
capacity she and the team have represented the school for over
twenty years during which period the team has gained the respect
and admiration of the high school sports and athletic community.
Principal: Deirdre A. Deangelis
Name: Michelle Fratti
Name of School: New Dorp
School District/Region: Region
Student Progress: The student grades
are from formal and informal tests, portfolio assessments,
individual and group projects, presentations to the class,
their attitudes toward learning, behavior and good citizenship.
She enriched student learning experience and provides all avenues
that lead students to their highest level. Students are allowed
to correct their tests so that a few points can be added to
the test. On-going assessments of student learning takes place
in each lesson. She contacts parents regularly (calls them
or writes to them), involving them to help student to achieve
their potential. Student work is posted in the classroom to
promote learning. She also assigns research projects to her
10th class. Students use data analysis to find out the needs
in their community and design an action plan to solve the problem.
Innovative Teaching Strategies: She uses different
strategies to motivate students to learn Mathematics.
She uses computer to prepare
lessons, worksheet, test and classroom presentation. She knows
many software and internet resources. She brings her 10th grade
Math class to computer lab once a week to demonstrate math
concepts through the Internet or her computer program. Because
of her influence, most of students in her class know how to
use Microsoft Word, Excel and other software to do the assigned
project or course work. She uses TI-83 plus graphing calculators
and a projector in math instruction so that she can increase
the time of learning and make math concepts interesting and
understandable. She is an instructional leader. She gives staff
a development workshop for the mathematics department as well
as the whole school.
Motivating Students: She integrated
many interesting and meaningful activities in her daily lessons
* Carousal activity* problem
solver and solution checker activity* share pairs* group work*
class presentation* workshop model in the math classroom* research
project* student use projector for their presentation* Internet
math classroom* “My’’ classroom
my work (display students work).
She assigns individual projects
and group projects so that students can creative their own
portfolio. At the end of term, students will display their
work on the display board. She also assigns research projects
to her 10th grade class. Students use data analysis to find
out the needs in their community and design an action plan
to solve community-related problems.
Parent/Community Involvement: She contacts parents regularly (calls them
or writes to them) in order to involve them in their learning.
She volunteers to tutor her students during the school hours
and after school. Parents and students know that she is supportive
and always there whenever they need her.
Her student work is always
displayed on the open school night for prospective students
to our school. She encourages parents to join her class trip.
As the math department AIS coordinator. she contacts those
parents whose children may be at risk of failure in math and tells them the available resources for their children.
Principal: Joseph Zaza
Name: Gloria Buckery
Name of School: Leon M. Goldstein
School District/Region: 6
Student Progress: Mr. Wotypka consistently inspires
students to improve their work and meet high demands and expectations.
As an English teacher, he has students revise their work often,
most usually after one-to-one consultation meetings he holds
with each student. Mr. Wotypka assesses students during the
class as well as on exam day. He uses peer review as well as
rubrics so that students have clear expectations and work together
to submit high quality work. He demonstrates the best work
by having students present in class and creates places around
the room to display student work. As a result, students in
his class have a 90 per cent passing rate on the ELA exam each
Innovative Teaching Strategies: Mr. Wotypka
partners with the Roundabout Theatre. Guest speakers work
with his students and the class takes many trips to the
theatre to study both literature and drama. He incorporates
all of the arts into his English classes. He also uses
a technique in unit planning that resembles Understanding
by Design. This technique allows the teacher to “teach
to the big picture.” As a result, the teacher can better
gauge student understanding.
Motivating Students: Mr. Wotypka
is the director of the school musical. This year, working with
the music directors, he is putting on Grease. In the past,
he has also advised the student newspaper.
Parent/Community Involvement: Mr. Wotypka works with the Parent
Association promoting school events and assisting parents and
students meet both graduation and college entrance requirements.
He is also an integral part of our liaison with Kingsborough
Community College helping to make the school work more closely
with the college.