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TC Holds Conference on University-Public School Partnerships

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    Visit the School Partnership Office's web site for more information about the Stakeholder's Summit.

The nation’s public schools and institutions of higher education need each other—now.
That’s the premise of a major conference that will be held at Teachers College, Columbia University, on October 22, at which leaders of higher education institutions, public school districts and government entities throughout New York State will discuss university-assisted schools as an important component of the state’s preK-16 education strategies.

The conference will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Milbank Chapel at Teachers College, located in Manhattan at 525 West 120th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

Stanford University faculty member Linda Darling-Hammond, who serves as education advisor to Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, and Johanna Duncan-Poitier, New York State Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education for P-16, will deliver keynote addresses, introduced by Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman.

The conference is being hosted by Teachers College’s Office of School and Community Partnerships (OSCP), which since spring 2008 has secured more than $8 million in funding to create partnerships between the College and neighboring public schools in Harlem. In her previous role as Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, TC President Fuhrman, together with Nancy Streim, OSCP director and Associate Vice President for School and Community Partnerships at TC, led the founding of the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander School, a model pre-K through 8 public school that has since become one of the city’s top performers. 

“Higher education and the preschool-to-12th grade communities share common goals and mutual self-interest that far exceed student teacher placements and mentorships,” said Streim. “Colleges and universities want to admit well-educated, academically strong high school graduates who will not require costly and discouraging remedial instruction. They have a moral obligation and vital self-interest in acting as good neighbors. And among the partners available to local school districts in an increasingly entrepreneurial educational landscape, colleges and universities have the broadest range of resources and expertise not only to prepare highly qualified teachers, but also to address the needs of families and communities.”

In her keynote address, Darling-Hammond—who founded East Palo Alto High School and launched the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute and the School Redesign Network—will address the ways in which university-school partnerships can help close the achievement gap in preK-16 classrooms.

The evening before the conference, Darling-Hammond will appear at Teachers College to debate Lisa Graham Keegan, education advisor to Republican nominee John McCain.  

In her address, Duncan-Poitier, New York State Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education for P-16, will discuss “The P-16 Imperative in New York and the State’s Role in Fostering Partnerships.” Duncan-Poitier’s Office of Higher Education at the New York State Education Department is working to strengthen partnerships between schools and higher education institutions.

Other speakers will include Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College; Merryl Tisch, New York State Board of Regents; James Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University and Trustee of Teachers College; Mary Ann Schmidt, President of Say Yes to Education; Photeine Anagnostopoulos, Chief Operating Office of the New York City Department of Education; Luis Duany, Principal of Heritage High School; and Jose Maldonado, Principal of Columbia Secondary School.

In addition, the conference will:

  • introduce different models of deep university-school engagements including start up, turnaround and ”wrap-around” approaches;
  • share characteristics and lessons learned from exemplary partnerships; and
  • recommend policy and legislative initiatives needed to support university-assisted schools.

The conference also will be preceded by a tour of a university-assisted public school. Members of the media who wish to attend should contact Emily Zemke of TC’s Office of School and Community Partnerships at 212-678-7420 or  

For more information about TC’s Office of School and Community Partnerships, visit

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