2016 – 2017 Skills Fellowship Program

The Skills Fellowship Program is comprised of innovative teachers, known as Skills Fellows, who desire to enhance their practices by making 21st century skills development more prominent in their instruction, assessment and feedback practices. Each Skills Fellow receives support from an instructional Skills Coach in order to more effectively integrate 21st century skills into their instructional practice.

~Meet the Skills Fellows~

 

Adam D. Kinory

English Teacher
School of the Future

My Teaching Philosophy

Adam Kinory is National Board Certified and in his 25th year of Teaching for the New York City Department of Education. He believes strongly in helping all students to transcend Common Core expectations. He is very influenced by the work of Eleanor Drago-Severson and seeks to build a safe space where students feel their world view will not be attacked, yet provide them with the confidence to grow and see other points of view. He also is deeply influenced by Peter Block and his emphasis on building communities where people feel connected and a sense of belonging.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

When students are doing this they are asking questions such as ‘How will I engage in risk taking and to what extent?’ ‘What is my plan for getting involved?’ ‘What is my role in creating the challenge I seek to address?'

Annabel D’Souza

Chemistry Teacher / Data Specialist
Secondary School for Journalism

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that learning is a negotiation of ideas and an exploration of experiences that students engage in with each other and with their environment to arrive at a truth about the universe. To facilitate this endeavor teachers should provide opportunities for students to not only learn academic content but also grow in the skills needed to access and assess that content. This requires intentional planning, modeling, scaffolding, and practice of skills and teachers should provide these opportunities to tap into that potential.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

Students exhibit growth mindset with they state ‘this is hard, but I will try again’ or when students in my chemistry class ask me ‘Can I correct and resubmit this class assignment for a higher grade?’ This shows perseverance and a keen focus on improving. I support my students in this skill through the summary activity. Students are asked on a weekly basis to write a journal reflection related to something they did or said that demonstrated growth mindset.

Carol Sun

Visual Thinking Lab Instructor & Work-Based Learning Coordinator
Manhattan Early College for Advertising

My Teaching Philosophy

As a professional artist/designer and educator, I have a unique set of skills and knowledge, which I can use to help students develop their assets and aspirations into a successful career and life. My work is deeply motivated by the vast inequities that are present in our global landscape that stem from social injustice, and how the growing “digital wave” will replace many jobs with automation. At MECA I am working to create curriculum and school culture where we can educate youth to become global citizens and leaders, not just service workers. I use hands-on, project based learning to teach students to cultivate their passions and professional skills such as: creativity, critical thinking, and communication literacy.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

A student who is practicing Personal Mindset is able to work independently and persevere to solve a challenging problem. I plan to support my students by giving them positive motivation and modeling professional solutions to meeting a challenge.

Dara Ross

Art + Technology Teacher
Brooklyn International High School

My Teaching Philosophy

In my projects-based Art classroom we love to mix and infuse our projects with both high-tech, art making processes such as computer programming, 3D printing, laser cutting and digital embroidery with handmade processes such as drawing, weaving, quilting and painting. We also like to create artwork using interdisciplinary themes and content. We used digital embroidery software to create patches and hats with positive slogans and messages to help combat the recent rash of Islamophobia and negative stereotyping of Muslims. During a Shakespeare puppetry project we used 3D printing, fabric and paper-mache to make custom puppet heads, puppet hands, costumes and crowns for a variety of iconic characters such as Lady Macbeth, the Ghost of King Hamlet, Puck and Caliban. Besides creating innovative Art projects, I also try to give my students choices of which tools, materials and processes they want to use to make art. One of my goals in teaching Art is to help my students realize that there is no wrong or right way to make art. I also try to give them the opportunity to realize that they don’t have to consume products and content created by others. I want them to know that they can become the makers, creators and designers of their own content and products, not just blind consumers of mass marketed products.

Building Block Spotlight: Planning for Success

Planning for success is a crucial step in the design process. When students are demonstrating this skill they are able to recognize and articulate the next steps that need to be taken to achieve their desired outcomes. I plan on supporting students by helping them identify and internalize the steps of the design process and by helping them create planning tools to help them organize their goals and to help them monitor their progress towards achieving their goals.

Erin Fleischauer

ESL and History teacher
Brooklyn International High School

My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy reflects the five core principles of the International’s Approach developed by the Internationals Network of Public Schools. I seek to create opportunities for learning where students collaborate in heterogeneous groups. I believe students need to draw from personal experiences in order to stay motivated and that they need to have opportunities to apply their skills in projects that take them outside the classroom. I believe that they learn English as they describe their experiences and as they take on meaningful responsibilities in project-based work. Finally, the principle of one learning model for all is key for me, because it forces me to confront the same challenges my students do: to trust that collaboration is a vital part of improving my practice and to find the balance in managing my responsibilities in my collaborations with others.

Building Block Spotlight: Collaboration, Social Awareness

In my experience there is a chicken and egg relationship between collaboration and social awareness and I’m interested in how these two skill sets support each other. Typically I see students who are respectful of themselves and each other having an easier time working together effectively, but I have also been surprised to see a strongly collaborative group provide effective support for a student whose social awareness is less developed. I try to support students in both skills by structuring groups so that they can choose a way to work together that works best for them and by helping students find ways to help each other without doing the work for each other. Author Mo Willems says his motto is “to always think of your audience and never for your audience” and I try to model the same with students.

Hanh Bui

Chemistry Teacher
The Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design

My Teaching Philosophy

‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’  by: Lao Tzu  ‘A problem is only unsolvable until a solution is provided.’ Each student has the desire to become a problem solver. However, each student is also faced with the challenge of overcoming his or her lack of knowledge and skills. The educator’s responsibility is to help students take steps to develop their knowledge and hone their skills in their journey to achieve their goal.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

In chemistry class this skill involves students collaborating to apply chemistry concepts to design a solution for real-life problems. In class, I will provide students with hands-on opportunities to develop essential chemistry concepts and skills necessary to apply towards problem-based scenarios.

Jackie Newton

English Teacher
The Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design

My Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy as an educator in the 21st century is to prepare my students to be successful, contributing citizens in today’s global and technological society. I see myself as the hand gently motivating and facilitating their learning, guiding them to becoming independent learners, critical thinkers and inquirers. The young minds entrusted to my care are the world’s future leaders. Therefore, it is imperative that they are provided with the necessary skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, strong written and oral communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. These are the building blocks of a 21st century teaching curriculum that will not only engage students, but will equip them with skills and knowledge necessary to answer real-world problems, respond to local and global issues, and formulate questions that challenge assumptions and dispel biases.

Building Block Spotlight: Collaboration

This skill is present when students are working together, discussing ideas with each other, or doing research on a computer all in a lively environment. I will support students by listening, scaffolding and facilitating discussions leading to collaborative problem solving in the classroom.

Laura Schenke

Learning Specialist
Hudson High School

My Teaching Philosophy

As a learning specialist, I work primarily with students with disabilities. My philosophy is grounded in social and emotional learning; when a student feels supported in those areas, they excel much further. It is important to me that they feel prepared for whatever their post-secondary goal is. I will support any means which support that end. I believe this grant will aid in this pursuit as it creates novel learning experiences outside of the classroom which students will carry with them into their next achievements.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

I believe students demonstrate this skill when they are showing the actions to fully engage in their work. I believe that planning meaningful instruction which is student centered supports students' ability to maintain focus on tasks despite internal and/or external distractions.

Lindsay Hubert

Mathematics Teacher
Brooklyn International High School

My Teaching Philosophy

In order for learning to happen, we have to incorporate real-life, tangible experiences into the learning process. This can present special difficulties in the math classroom, which is commonly biased towards abstract concepts like algebraic equations and the coordinate plane. My passion is to find ways to bring the real world and math together for students using projects where, instead of absorbing my understanding of it, students create their own understanding of how math works in the world.

Building Block Spotlight: Collaboration

When students are collaborating in my classroom, it looks like many heads bent together around a table working together to negotiate how to make the thing they are creating a reality. My class helps my students to develop this skill by consistently using projects as a way to practice and develop the collaboration skills we are learning about.

Marc Sole

PBAT Biology Teacher
East Side Community High School

My Teaching Philosophy

Any time you can teach something that is rigorous, fun, and makes sense in the scope of the outside world you are on the right track. Being able to take content that fits those categories and layer on technological skills that the students will be needing as they leave high school and go on to college and their careers is something that I strive to do with each project.

Building Block Spotlight: Planning for Success

When students are really working well within the planning for success building block, they are able to identify the discrete components of their experiments, research and papers and break them down into actionable pieces that don't look so intimidating. When I give them a due date, they can break down their work into little goals that result in their work being complete by the actual due date. These little goals also serve as momentum builders for students who find the whole project too great, with each one completed, they can feel successful and that they are one step closer to completing their PBAT. I'd like to further integrate tools such as google classroom and calendar and teach students how to use those effectively to make their own timelines.

Meghan Leston

History / Journalism Teacher
John Adams High School

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that students should be given many opportunities to learn. In addition, students should have some choice in their learning. They should be able to learn through contribution to a larger project with the ability to reflect on what was learned throughout the process. While it is important to provide students with content, the ability to develop skills that can carry over to other areas in life is essential. In order for students to get the most out of the educational process, they must be developing skills along with the basic content knowledge.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

When students are aware of their personal mindset, they are able to foster changes in their development and interests.

Melissa Tortora

English Teacher
Hudson High School

My Teaching Philosophy

I strongly believe in an ‘I-do, we-do, you-do’ philosophy. Students need models of excellence to observe and a helping hand while working to produce something for the first time before they can produce subsequent pieces on their own. One of the most intimidating sights in the world can be a blank piece of paper or computer screen in front of you, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

Without self-awareness, self-motivation, and resilience in the face of failures, a student cannot be independent, and a solid sense of self and one's abilities is essential to plan for success and work well with others. In my classroom, this would look like students actively engaged in their work, not seeking assistance until they have genuinely grappled with challenges on their own, and first seeking that assistance from peers. I plan to support students in developing this skill to its full potential by providing clear instruction for tasks via multiple access points so that students have the information they need from a variety of sources.

Nicole Caldwell

U.S. History Teacher
South Brooklyn Community High School

My Teaching Philosophy

Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter; an African proverb by Chinua Achebe encapsulates one aspect of my teaching philosophy. The lions are my students. I am their historian. Not only am I providing diverse narratives allowing my students the opportunity to gain a fuller historical narrative of American history, but I also challenge them on a daily basis to consciously frame their personal histories. Heavily steeped in the pedagogy of bell hooks, my teaching philosophy aims to inspire classrooms centered in freedom. Knowing all students are capable of learning through proper support and structure, I create safe spaces for intellectual exploration. Creating classrooms with multiple entry points for all learners, speaking and listening strategies are used during instruction to promote academic discourse between students.

Building Block Spotlight: Planning for Success

When students are planning for success they are able to identify key features needed for achievement such as daily attendance, proper time management, and organizational skills. Supporting students while planning for success means meaningful teacher-student interactions, accountability trackers, access to tools such as planners, and classroom calendars explicitly stating deadlines for projects.

Suraj Gopal

Learning Specialist
Special Music School

My Teaching Philosophy

My decision to join Hudson High School of Learning Technologies five years ago greatly impacted my teaching framework. While I shy away from labeling my philosophy with one particular school of thought, my work mixes elements of traditional and progressive instruction. At Hudson, I have the luxury of working with a student body that is one-to-one with laptops. I have continually taken advantage of this by planning units and lessons that utilize applications and the internet to deepen access to content. I regularly blend direct instruction, along with ‘Do Now’ questions and ‘Exit Tickets’, with collaborative and long-form independent work. My conviction remains that the content and skills focus should determine the instructional strategy. When it comes to content, however, I feel quite strongly that I would like to expose my students to a social justice oriented curriculum. The longer I work with many disenfranchised students, the more I see that exposing systemic injustice in society, and promoting the value of a good education in knowing one’s rights and history, is crucial in emboldening this population.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

Problem Solving is a cornerstone of the classroom where students are presented with a complex, layered question and requested to dig into resources in order to develop a position on it; students parse these resources and, whether in collaborative debate or independent writing, construct arguments for a side, refining their topic knowledge along the way.

Tim Hatlee

Mathematics Teacher
The Academy for Software Engineering

My Teaching Philosophy

The way that I approach teaching and learning in my classroom is entirely rooted in my fundamental belief that all students have the ability to realize success if they are provided a learning environment that individualizes instruction to their unique personalities and circumstances. I believe that learning is a loud, messy, collaborative process in which every student has an integral voice within a cooperative learning group and the success of that group requires the input and communicative abilities of every member of that group. To be an effective learner in my classroom, students must not pursue ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but rather discover which aspects of a method worked and which aspects need to be refined so that knowledge can be transferred to new situations. I believe that students realize the most success when they foster independence in a student-centered classroom that promotes intellectual engagement and concept invention/exploration within a group model.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

When students are demonstrating their best-problem solving selves, they are proposing new solution processes after carefully reviewing known information and gathering diverse perspectives, testing those solution processes for efficacy, and refining the process to its most optimal form. My students will work in cooperative learning groups through a guided-inquiry process that leverages input from all members, asks students to develop solutions to new mathematical models using prior knowledge, and requires refinement of solution methods by testing in new environments, all while capturing their thinking using the latest technology.

Vince Joralemon

Advanced Biology Teacher
Frank McCourt High School

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe teaching should be about creating innovative solutions to problems using content and skills learned in the classroom, and exposing students to the means through which they can access information to expand their own understandings. I believe it is important to expose students to rigorous content, but that the means through which they apply their understandings are varied, and it is the responsibility of the teacher to expose the students to the variety of ways through which they can express and apply their understandings.

Building Block Spotlight: Problem Solving

In my classroom, problem solving is an explicitly dictated task with specific steps, roles, and time periods for each step of the process.