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MTC has been in business for over 15 years and operates as an educational and therapeutic agency contracted with NYS/NYC DOE. MTC has been a NYS approved provider for the SEIT program since 2005. MTC is located in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, NY.

Because of the expansion of our business and increasing work load, we're looking for NYS licensed supervisors to professionally support our teachers who are teaching preschoolers with special needs all over NYC. The supervisory work will be mostly in the office but the supervisor will be expected to visit their teachers in the field, at minimum, once a year and then as needed. The schedule will be flexible in order to accomodate the candidates' availability.

Interested parties should email their resumes to mtcinfo@mtcnyc.com or fax to (718) 732-2682.

Homage to Dr. Polemeni





February 1, 1935 - May 22, 2014

Former Vice President and Dean, Touro College Division of Graduate Studies

To inaugurate the


TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015 • 5:30 PM


Dr. Anthony J. Polemeni was a beloved member of the senior leadership of Touro College. He was an outstanding educator and a leader in the field for nearly four decades. During his tenure, Touro's Graduate School of Education became one of the largest in New York State. Join us as we pay tribute to his outstanding legacy.

TO RSVP, PLEASE EMAIL COMMUNITY@TOURO.EDU OR CALL 212-463-0400, EXT. 5203.  Reception following program.

A Tribute Book of fond memories of Dr. Polemeni is being created. Please send your stories, thoughts and memories of Dr. Polemeni to: community@touro.edu

On April 17 Mercy College President Tim Hall will be inaugurated as the College's twelfth president. The Inauguration will mark the official beginning of Hall's presidency, and celebrate the time he has already spent in office.

On joining and leading Mercy College, Hall said: "From the start I was attracted to the Mercy College mission of "providing motivated students the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education." Now I am committed to it. I believe a college education is about more than accumulating credits, or even preparing for a good job, it's about transforming a life."

Since arriving on campus Hall has been working to enhance the College's tradition of a "high touch" educational experience for students, an experience in which they are showered with individual attention. Hall often quotes John Henry Newman who described a university as: "An alma mater, knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a treadmill."

Hall said: "I want to make sure that Mercy continues the tradition of knowing her students "one by one." I also want to ensure that we create conditions that support the success of our students. It isn't enough to get them to college - we need to get them through college and to graduation day."

By Merri Rosenberg

There is no shortage of memoirs about the complicated, fraught and often tragic experiences of European Jews from the middle of the 20th century. For most of us here in the United States, and specifically in the New York metropolitan area, that ongoing wave of Eastern European migration formed and continues to inform the culture and fabric not only of Jewish life here, but New York itself.

Less common, however, is a sense of what happened to our Sephardic cousins, especially those who lived in Middle Eastern Arab lands. There is the brilliant and compelling work by Lucette Lagnado and Andre Aciman, of course, but Ashkenazi dominance mostly holds sway.

A welcome addition to offering another look at Jewish diversity comes in this   self-published memoir by Lucienne Carasso.

She grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, during a relatively privileged moment for the city's Jewish community--at least for a while--surrounded by a large, extended family of aunts, uncles and cousin. As Carasso explains, "I decided to write my memoirs to capture the history of my family's sojourn in the land of Egypt. Like the ancient Hebrews, our sojourn was ended by the exodus of an entire community....I also felt it important to try to put my family's experience in the context of Egypt's political history," a task that perhaps took on greater urgency given recent events in Egypt.

Her family's century-long experience in the cultured, vibrant, supremely cosmopolitan city of Alexandria ended in November 1956, during the Suez Canal crisis, when her father was arrested by Gamal Abdel Nasser's government. That traumatic experience shattered what the author writes was "an ideal childhood," filled with strolls along the beautiful Mediterranean beaches, games, parties, family dinners and holiday celebrations. Carasso also evokes the specific traditions of Egyptian Judaism, and the Ladino customs and sayings that defined her universe.  

"The world of my childhood is a lost one that in all probability will never be recreated," admits Carasso. Thanks to her painstaking depiction of that vanished world, readers can immerse themselves in that evocative, exotic society.

Dale Lewis: Onward and Upward


By Joan Baum, Ph.D.

 When Dale Lewis says that the mantra that's guided his life's work in music education is teach with love, you can believe it because that passion has been on remarkable display for the 32 years he's been inaugurating, enhancing and expanding arts education programs for children and teachers at one of the most celebrated summer arts day camps in the country, the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, in Wheatley Heights, Long Island.  But after this summer, the esteemed director will be stepping down, leaving an extraordinary legacy of innovative curricular achievement and facilities expansion on the camp's 200 woodland acres. He'll be taking his skills in fundraising and collaboration to the new ArtsReach Fund of the Long Island Community Foundation, seeing the move as a time for Usdan to address new needs and giving himself a new opportunity to "start and define" arts outreach primarily for talented kids in need so that they will be able to go from high school to college or conservatories and maybe think about becoming arts teachers. Hardly severing ties with Usdan, however, which will always have his heart, Lewis will still participate in its Leadership Council and perhaps find himself working collegially with former colleagues as he pursues new challenges. 

 The ArtsReach Fund is a division of the Long Island Community Foundation, a non profit based in Melville, itself a division of The New York Community Trust, "one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations" which is devoted to connecting donors with charitable organizations and encouraging the addressing of regional needs. For Lewis, no need could be greater than encouraging young people to appreciate the arts by way of having inspirational teachers.  He has always held that "all children deserve access to great teaching" and that "study in the arts enriches the spirit and leads to the arts as a companion for life." The Usdan mission, he points out, is to "provide opportunities for children [of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin] to develop artistic skills, regardless of their level of talent." Interest is primary. The mission at LICF will be arts specific and will focus on raising funds and partnering with funding agencies to support smaller, more intimate organizations and extend the circle of grants. In some cases, Lewis notes, smaller organizations may be led by admired artists who would prefer not to have to be enmeshed in administrative activities. At LICF Lewis will be working with local public school districts, some of whose supervisors he already knows. He says that people don't generally realize that many musically talented high school youngsters come from families that cannot afford to send their children even to auditions and not take advantage of private lessons that would prepare kids for auditions and make them competitive. 

A former Suzuki teacher, Lewis believes in introducing young children - but not too young - to experiences that emphasize "movement, singing and fun," and, of course, engaging parents.  He takes a similar humane and moderating line on Common Core content and skills and technological teaching aids, seeing the common goal in the arts as inculcating learning that will generate independent, creative youngsters who truly "love" what they do. Lewis came to the arts early in his life, encouraged by his mother, a pianist and singer, who took him to the Leonard Bernstein Young People's Concerts. He fell in love with cello, making his performance debut at Carnegie Recital Hall at the age of twelve  and attended Scarsdale High School which had (and has) a fine music program. From there he went to Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, studying cello and conducting, and from 1969-1976 was the cellist of the Alberg Trio.  He started at Usdan as Assistant Director and then in 1983, became Director. Among numerous prestigious appointments, his work with young people stands out. He founded the Center for Chamber Music in Greenwich, CT, an arts education program for children and adults, and taught at Rye Country Day and the College of New Rochelle.  In 1976 he was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Westchester Junior Orchestra and led the group for 18 years, winning many national awards from education and music organizations.  


By Jayme Stewart and Janet Rooney

Restless leg tapping, chewing on thumbnails, nervous twitching-these are all symptoms of the weary and worried  students about to apply for colleges, but they need not fear; the College Guidance Program here at York helps students to become more independent and grown up through this dynamic and detailed process starting in their junior year.

"The college guidance class helps kids to start thinking about the process. The next four years is a $200,000 +/- investment, so it's an important thing to start researching and shop wisely.

Mrs. Stewart and Ms. Rooney (our College Guidance counselors) feel strongly that the student is the "client," meaning that the student should register for standardized tests, fill out their application, make appointments and learn to schedule interviews. Too much parent involvement can create more stress and lack of independence they will greatly need in college and life.

"I think the College Guidance Program really helps the students understand where they fit in outside of York Prep and in the world-who they're competing against for acceptances. It also helps them understand their level of writing, and motivate them to work harder."

As Ms. Rooney explained, the success stories that everyone expects to hear are not about the kids who have been accepted into Harvard or other Ivy League schools- though yes, they've accomplished this as well-rather it is about the students who find their match at a college that suits their needs, preferences, and the choices they want to pursue later in life in the outside world.

Students who wish to function and socially integrate in the outside world shouldn't be afraid if they have a quirky learning style, rather it is these types of children who tend to work harder than other students and lead them to great academic success. For the younger students in the 9th and 10th grades, at the present moment it is imperative they focus on good grades on being involved in the community, so that college understand they will be involved in their community.

Other importance factors include a sense of reality-knowing about the other students applying to the same colleges, actual GPA and SAT/ACT scores, and so on. Naviance, a sometimes useful tool, can help with its' scattergrams of admissions statistics. Even though many students are frequently bombarded with stress and anxiety from other students and parents about getting into a good college, the anxiety and the stress is generally unnecessary. A good college is all about the match, not about where the student can get in. So, as the title suggests, if your parents are stressing you out, "just buy the Harvard bumper sticker" for your car and move on. #

Jayme Stewart and Janet Rooney are co-directors of the College Guidance Program at York Prep.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) officially launched a new campaign today to seek 1,000 teachers to join Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative that brings leaders in education, business and governments together to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad. Currently, fewer than 10% of college students in the United States study abroad before they graduate. Recognizing the key role that K-12 teachers play in bringing the world into their classrooms, IIE has teamed up with globally-minded organizations to connect teachers with resources to help inspire their students to gain the international experience they will need to succeed in today's world.

IIE's Generation Study Abroad asks teachers to Take the Pledge to prepare their students to be global citizens, and specifically to encourage them to go to college expecting to have an international experience and build their international skills. Teachers are powerful motivators when it comes to encouraging students to pursue any and all types of global study, from classroom projects in elementary school to study abroad programs in college. They are uniquely positioned to inspire curiosity about the world by teaching all subjects through a global lens, as well as advocating for global enrichment activities, language learning, and exchange programs. By joining IIE Generation Study Abroad, teachers gain access to news and networking opportunities designed to build the global educator community as well as resources to enhance instruction.

Prior to the official launch of the IIE Generation Study Abroad Teachers Campaign, more than 100 teachers have already signed on to take concrete actions to advocate for study abroad. They have shared their stories on the IIE Generation Study Abroad Teacher Stories site, to provide ideas for other teachers and administrators across the country.

Allan E. Goodman, IIE's President and CEO, says "Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders. Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise. We aspire to make 'international' part of every student's experience. To achieve our goal of doubling study abroad by the end of the decade, it is essential to work with teachers and support them in building a pipeline of students who are prepared to take advantage of international opportunities."

IIE's Generation Study Abroad brings cooperating organizations together to maximize their impact and effectiveness and to help integrate study abroad information into the wealth of resources that they provide to help globalize classrooms. A few examples of organizations that have made Generation Study Abroad commitments are: National Geographic, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Asia Society, and Reach the World. Others have pledged financial support for students and teachers: CIEE has pledged student scholarships for their programs and the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation will collaborate with IIE to provide Generation Study Abroad Enrichment Grants to teachers.

Chapel Haven 2 (Diana Bilezikian).jpgBy Mariah Klair Castillo

There are very few places in the world that are as safe and welcoming to adults with learning differences as Chapel Haven. On a recent visit by publisher Dr. Pola Rosen and assistant editor Mariah Castillo, it was clear that Chapel Haven offers great support services for adults on the autism spectrum and developmental and social disabilities. It is also one of the six programs awarded by the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) in 2013 for being one of the best and most innovative practices for adults with autism. The program is the first of its kind, offering adults with learning disabilities the skills they need to live independently and to advocate for themselves. It remains a pioneer in these areas.

The idea of independence and self-advocacy can be seen in the program's history. The residence was opened in 1972 by Jerry Rossman and Sydney Krauss as the Maplebrook Parent Association. According to Dr. John Bilezikian, Chair of the Board of Directors, it was the young adults themselves who decided to name the program Chapel Haven partly because Chapel Street in New Haven is the original site of the program. Originally, while the co-founders believed that it was necessary for these adults to learn how to live independently, ultimately, it was expected that they would return home to their parents. "They didn't expect their kids to say, 'Wait a minute, we're doing great here. We want to stay in New Haven,'" added Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, the Vice President of Admissions. In fact, now about 85 percent of the adults who have graduated from the program live independently, in the surrounding New Haven community, with reliable public transportation and great social atmosphere. Having achieved the goal of independent living, they don't return "home" but make their new home in and around the Chapel Haven environment, an ideal arrangement for continuing the goal of independent living.

For their first two years at Chapel Haven, adults live on campus as part of Chapel Haven's residential program. There, adults follow a curriculum to meet over 200 objectives that cover various skills that Chapel Haven deems necessary to live independently. While the adults may learn these skills in a classroom setting, they are also assessed in real-life settings. "What differentiates us from many programs out there," said Michael Storz, President of Chapel Haven, "is that we believe that in order to truly learn independent skills, to not be dependent on this campus hub, your classrooms need to be held in authentic settings which include apartment settings, community settings, recreation, and employment. Assessments are held in all of these settings. If someone is doing well in the school setting which has structure, but not in the apartment setting, for example, we can add more structure to the apartment setting.

Many residents, in addition to mastering skills for independent living, have also gone to get their high school, IEP, and college diplomas. These students register for classes at the various community colleges in the area, including Gateway Community College and Southern Connecticut State University. The students can use Chapel Haven's blended subject requirements to gain their diplomas.

After the initial two-year program, Chapel Haven students are assessed on how well they've mastered the skills. Those who are able to live independently, with support from Chapel Haven, find employment and a place to live. Those who are not yet ready to live independently, even with support from Chapel Haven, are eligible for an extra year of services through a residential Chapel Haven program called "Bridge." Those in need of more extensive support move into another residential Chapel Haven program called "SAIL".

Chapel Haven also has a program for young adults with Asperger's syndrome, a residentially-based 2-year program that provides an individualized core curriculum focused on Social Communicative Competencies. Chapel Haven also features a satellite campus, 'Chapel Haven West' in Tucson, Arizona.

Most of the graduates of Chapel Haven are able to live independent lives and find employment. Some have gone to be very successful in their various fields. In a first for Chapel Haven, Diana Bilezikian, the daughter of Dr. John Bilezikian, has written a book, called Dear Diana: Diana's Guide to Independent Living- for Adolescents and Young Adults with Different Learning Styles and Special Needs.  The book was a sell-out at a recent conference! A few graduates, including Chris Murray, David Hogin and Vito Bonanno have become successful artists. Storz listed various graduates who have obtained impressive positions in a variety of business settings. Bilezikian emphasized, "Chapel Haven does more than help its young adults find employment. It gives them the assurance that they are needed."  For example, his daughter wasn't feeling well one morning and was advised by her parents to stay home. Diana said to her parents, "Mom and Dad, I have to go to work. They need me!"

It's not just the members of the Chapel Haven community who recognize the talents of the residents; organizations, schools, and even the state of Connecticut have seen the amazing range of talent. This recognition has allowed Chapel Haven to set up over 40 collaborations with an array of programs and employment opportunities that fit best the talents of these special young adults. The most recent collaboration is called UArts Chapel Haven, a unique artisan studio program funded by a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts. This program pairs Chapel Haven's artists with local artists. They then create and sell high quality products such as scarves, bags, and greeting cards. The opening of this first state non-profit collaboration took place recently in January.

Situated in New Haven, Chapel Haven has benefited from partnerships with Yale University. For example, the university is conducting research with the residents to test the effectiveness of the Chapel Haven model. According to Storz, the research thus far shows that there is "significant" progress on social cognition, as adults on the autism spectrum are responding more like neurotypical individuals. While this doesn't mean that the adults are being cured of their disabilities, the study, which will be finished in 2018, so far shows that Chapel Haven has a program that works for many. Storz would also like to use the data to improve the program for those who aren't showing as much improvement. The point, though, is not to transform these young adults into someone who they are not. Rather, the goal of Chapel Haven is to deal with the differences that impair their ability to be fully integrated into the everyday traffic of life in such a way that they are effective, functioning members of the regular world.

When asked about what they envision Chapel Haven to be like in the future, both Storz and Bilezikian had big goals in mind. Storz said, "We've been in existence for 42 years now. We have adults that have been living in our community for over 35 years. They have mastered and are proficient at living on their own, but now they're aging. So now there are senior and medical concerns that are becoming new obstacles for these individuals.

"There are very few, if any, programs for these individuals to retire to, so what's happening is that many of our adults are being moved into nursing homes with people 20 to 30 years older than them in very restrictive environments, often far from the community they have known for so long.

"The immediate response is that Chapel Haven is developing its own assisted living program, so that adults who choose to live their lives in the place that they call home will have that opportunity. Chapel Haven, thus, plans to expand its mission to lifelong programming, where their adults can begin here, learn independent living skills, become active employed members of the environment at large, and as they age in place, take advantage of whatever additional living structure will be required. This is no different from the lifeline of most adults without special needs."

Overall, Storz said: "There is a huge need for transitional programs in adult services, whether they are day options, clinical services, or employment services, so I can see the Chapel Haven model being replicated in various parts of the country to help fulfill the need."

Bilezikian adds, "We're going to need many more Chapel Havens. I think we are uniquely situated. We are pioneers. This model really works. Will we continue to be the best at what we do? I hope we will."#

Reflections of a Union Leader


By Ernest Logan, President, CSA

When Carmen Fariña was named chancellor, all kinds of speculation ran wild, especially: "Will she get rid of the networks?"  Well, folks, she's getting rid of them.   For the last five years, I've seen some positive things develop under the 55 networks, but I've continued to worry about doing without superintendents.  Superintendents were there by law, but they hovered in the background like ghosts.ErnestLogan.jpeg

In introducing a new school support structure that strengthens superintendents while incorporating some of the best network features, the chancellor has made her most sensible decision to date.  Good superintendents are good for schools. They have school leadership backgrounds and finely developed instincts about what really happens in schools.

Their virtual absence hits home hardest when a tragedy strikes at the heart of a school community, a school is abruptly closed or a Principal or AP is suddenly swept up in an unfair investigation.  If a Principal is up against the wall, her network leader doesn't have any formal responsibility for her and her superintendent might not know her very well.

There was a bizarre disconnect between support and supervision. The person who knew The Principal best was her network leader, a consultant she hired under a corporate model, to supply the school's instructional, operational and student services supports.   By law, superintendents maintained the responsibility to hire and rate the Principal, but they were devalued as "mere educators" and many felt marginalized and barely visited their schools.  School leaders were left vulnerable and probably thought about it only when they had a problem and said, "Who do I call?" 

Now, there will be no guesswork. The superintendent will be held accountable for helping school leaders improve their school's performance in a way the network leader never was.  As with the networks, instructional, operational and student services support will be united.  Principals will maintain independence over their budgets and human resources. The finest network talent will move under the superintendent or into a Borough Field Support Center.  New Affinity Groups will spur camaraderie. Professional learning communities, like Learning Partners, will foster collaboration across boroughs.

Another disconnect with the network system was geographic.  A lot of the networks had schools in three or more boroughs.  Community ties to elected officials, community leaders and organizations eroded.   Relationships that had once existed between school levels frayed: the pipeline among schools that used to feed into each other, such as elementary into middle schools, began to weaken.  Principals often didn't know anything about the school down the block.

 Because networks weren't rooted in geography, issues like weather-related disasters, crime and policing, and health emergencies sometimes couldn't be approached effectively at the neighborhood level.  For parents, the geographic disconnect was also significant.  If they couldn't resolve their child's issue at the school level, say, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, they might have to turn to a network office in Woodside, Queens.  This could be baffling.

 Often, our Education Administrators and Supervisors navigated a geographic wasteland.  A building might contain three separate schools, each part of three separate networks.  A Supervisor of Psychology could serve his network school in a building that housed two other schools, but he couldn't walk down the hall and serve the kids in the two others.  Instead he might have to travel to two more boroughs.  You can't make this stuff up:  the cost in money, time and human forbearance was high, but, most of all, the children were getting short-changed.

For schools in low-income areas, the network system often worked least well.  Schools that needed the most support sometimes ended out working with the weakest networks.   Networks had the same number of staff whether they served 25 schools with 7,000 students or 25 schools with 40,000 students, and whether most of them were high performing or low performing.  Now, the neediest schools will get the most support, through a superintendent hand-picked by the chancellor. 

That's been the most ironic disconnect of all:  The networks, through no fault of their own, weren't set up to provide much accountability to the chancellor. Networks were a complex archipelago of independent islands so remote from Tweed that the chancellor could be held blameless for what happened at the school level.  In the end, accountability fell almost exclusively at the schoolhouse door.  .  .  at the feet of the Principal.  I'm thrilled that nobody, least of all the chancellor, will be held harmless anymore.#

Ernest Logan is the President, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators is the collective bargaining unit for 6,100 Principals, Assistant Principals, Supervisors and Education Administrators who work in the NYC public schools and 200 Directors and Assistant Directors who work in city-subsidized Centers for Early Childhood Education.

The Power of Education: Grace Outreach


 by Kisa Schell and Dominique Carson

Grace Outreach, founded by the Grace Family, is an academic program that helps lower-income women earn a GED. Using a results-focused model, Grace Outreach combines a rigorous curriculum with an individualized component to support every student's needs. The learning takes place in a safe, judgment-free environment that encourages students to pursue further education and employment goals.

Several students from Grace Outreach spoke, one said, "I'm going to college to become a lawyer. I'm so happy to say that they are really like a family to us and they really encouraged us. " Another student said, I'm currently studying graphic design and this has just been an amazing journey. "

The Director of Mathematics at Grace Outreach spoke and said, "I need no applause for doing something I absolutely love to do. I'm in my 8th year teaching there and I'm just so proud of the organization."

Grace Outreach recently was awarded a 100K grant from News Corp to build a Technology Center. Foundations, corporations, and private individuals privately fund the program. 

The programs provide women 18 years and older the opportunity to continue their education: individualized instruction to pass the TASC exam (high school equivalency diploma); college Prep Program - prepares these woman to pass the Compass Exam in order to enroll in the CUNY Schools without having to take remedial courses that are non-credit bearing.

Keisha Smith, the honoree said, "This honor is a shared one tonight, with my colleagues who also joined me tonight. We began to think about how to make philanthropy an innovative example and we learn that when we as corporations partner with non-profit organizations," it empowers individuals to live their best lives." #

Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2013.