January 4, 2011
2010 was a banner year for the GothamSchools Community section, which boasted more than 220 posts from dozens of parents, teachers, students, principals, and policy wonks.
Here’s what last year’s contributors added to GothamSchools, and what you can add, too — let us know if you’re interested in elevating the dialogue about education by writing for the Community section.
Community contributors provided regular views into everyday life at city schools:
- Diarists included Ruben Brosbe, who started his fourth year of teaching discouraged;
- C.W. Arp, a new teacher who left the classroom in June;
- Dana Lawit, who boosted her students’ performance by asking them to respond in complete sentences;
- Arthur Goldstein, who was stumped by a parent who demanded bad news;
- Lizzie Hetzer, who learned to loosen up;
- Stephen Lazar, who surprised himself by seeing value in “Waiting for ‘Superman’”;
- and Collin Lawrence, a former teacher who is recounting his four years at a chaotic Brooklyn high school.
- The newest diarist, theater teacher Kate Quarfordt, considered the real meaning of student engagement.
- Harlem Link Charter School head Steven Evangelista wrote about finding a long-lost student in jail.
- And iSchool principals Mary Moss and Alisa Berger explained how their school uses technology differently.
They offered unorthodox takes on current events:
- Aaron Pallas recast David Steiner’s approach to Cathie Black’s waiver as “jury nullification.”
- Eighth-grader Sarah Deceus shared her distress about the court-induced delay in high school admissions.
- Robin Aufses described the mixed results of her private school’s merit pay experiment.
- We heard from Larissa Patel, still shut out of teaching a year and a half into the city’s hiring freeze.
- Jessica Siegel filed a report from a convention of marginalized-but-still-kicking progressive educators.
- Veteran educators Marc Waxman and Stacey Gauthier are exchanging letters about big policy issues.
They dug deep into data:
- Columbus High School staff member Christine Rowland illuminated a link between commute length and academic achievement among Columbus students.
- And researcher Kim Gittleson applied an eagle eye to the facts and figures coming out of the city’s charter schools, about philanthropy, expenses, space use, spending, lotteries, transfers, special education, management organizations, discipline, test scores, and more.
And they called for change:
- Lawyer David Bloomfield advocated for an independent review of school closures.
- Teachers — Arthur Goldstein and James Eterno at Jamaica HS and Alex Jones at Metropolitan Corporate Academy — made cases for keeping their schools open,
- High school student Khaair Morrison explained why he couldn’t handle looming Metrocard cuts.
- Mom Ebony Brown outlined her controversial reasons for supporting charter schools.
- Former CUNY dean John Garvey made an equity case for changing specialized high school admissions.
- And week after week, parent Elizabeth Puccini offered lessons for greening city schools.
We look forward to more pieces from each of these writers, but we’re also looking for fresh voices to add to the section. If you or your students have an informed perspective you’d like to share, please be in touch! And as an added bonus, we let you write your own pieces, unlike some publications . . .