Posts tagged "Model Lesson"
May 10, 2012
When the 18 seniors in Amy Matthusen’s Advanced Placement English class entered Room 104 at Bronx Academy of Letters on Wednesday, they were surprised to see an unfamiliar figure at the front of the classroom.
Instead of their teacher, they found Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Department of Education’s second in command, who signed up to guest-teach in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Polakow-Suransky is leading the department’s efforts to make instruction more challenging but hadn’t taught a class of students since working as a principal in 2004.
“When I thought about a good way to express my appreciation, I thought doing some teaching and getting a feel for what our teachers are working on day to day would be a powerful way to do that,” he said.
Matthusen’s students had analyzed three essays about affirmative action, each arguing that a different kind of student should get an edge in university admissions. One argued for race-based affirmative action; another pushed for poor students to get a boost; and the third said admissions preferences could bring more male students to college campuses, where they are under-represented.
Polakow-Suransky didn’t want to pull the class away from its trajectory. So after speaking with Matthusen twice, he prepared an activity that used all of the same materials. His twist: Students would argue the positions contained in the essays before a “Board of Regents,” a group of students responsible for setting admissions policies for a hypothetical university. (more…)
August 9, 2011
Angel Angel, 13, missed playing in seven baseball games last month so he could mentor students at his middle school, M.S. 223.
But Angel, a rising eighth-grader who is also an avid guitar-player, welcomed the opportunity to forgo his usual summer activities to help 96 incoming sixth-graders at the South Bronx middle school study reading, math and music for three weeks.
The summer enrichment program, which just finished its first year, is the brainchild of M.S. 223′s principal, Ramon Gonzalez, who has gained a reputation as a leader in public school management since he opened the school in 2003.
Gonzalez has touted initiatives to increase literacy and parental involvement to school community members throughout District 7, which is largely poor and low-performing. Now he is trying to turn District 7’s attention toward arts education, at a time when many schools are facing cuts to their art and music teaching positions. He is asking a handful of local principals to help him write a large grant to fund after school and summer school arts education at multiple schools in future years.
Gonzalez said he wanted to create a free summer program for his students that would address the learning-loss that some students, particularly those from low-income families, experience between June and September. He hoped offering afternoon classes in painting, printmaking, and orchestral music — in addition to trips to Broadway shows and the Museum of Modern Art — would bring the students back each day, even though the classes were not mandatory.
Rather than try to carve $85,000 out of MS 223′s tight budget, he leveraged his connections — augmented after this spring’s appearance in the New York Times Magazine — to win funding.
Still, selling the split schedule to donors was difficult. (more…)