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TC Education Zone Partnership Unites College’s Collaborations with City Schools

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VicieNdibo

Vickie Ndibo and 29 other TC students sit and read for two hours with kids in neighborhood schools.

A more integrated resource for district superintendents

A key component of Teachers College's newly launched Campaign for Education Equity is demonstration projectsthat implement and test Campaign research in real communities, families and schools through programs that have the potential to become national models. The nucleus of that effort already exists in the form of the TC Education Zone Partnership, an umbrella for the many joint efforts between the college and the New York City public schools and the communities in which they exist.

"Teachers College has always been active in the New York City schools," said Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Darlyne Bailey. "Our faculty members are constantly getting involved at a variety of levels, from pre-service teacher training and placement, to in-service teacher professional development, to student testing and assessment, to special education needs, and so on ad infinitum.

"What makes the TC Ed Zone, as we call it, different, is that it takes some of the most far-reaching and impactful of these projects and integrates and reconfigures them into a more unified resource for superintendents, principals, teachers, students, and their families and neighborhoods particularly in Regions 9 and 10 - northern Manhattan - where we, as a College, also live." 

The following is a list of the major initiatives that fall under the TC Education Partnership Zone:

  • The Institute of Urban Minority Affairs (IUME). Led by Professor Emeritus Edmund Gordon, IUME seeks to support at risk students through a scaffolding of supplementary educational services. These include an after-school program at PS 200 and parent empowerment workshops that will be conducted by Michelle Drayton-Martin of Today's Children magazine.
  • The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Headed by Professor Lucy Calkins, the Reading and Writing Project - which has existed for many years prior to the launch of the TC Education Zone Partnership -- is a major curriculum provider to elementary and middle schools in the city, and holds hundreds of meetings per year to work with principals, reading coaches, parent coordinators and teachers. 
  • The Heritage School. Located in East Harlem and founded by Teachers College Art Education Professor Judith Burton, this small high school gives parity to the arts in its curriculum and partners with a variety of major cultural institutions throughout the city.
  • The National Academy for Excellent Teaching (NAfET). Under the direction of Dr. Douglas Wood, former Board of Education Commissioner for the state of Tennessee, NAfET is working to develop a national model for literacy professional development while providing teacher coaching in 30 New York City high schools.
  • Say Yes to Education. Founded by Wall Street financial manager George Weiss, Say Yes identifies kindergarten students in struggling schools as future recipients of full scholarships for college and then provides them with the after school programs, counseling and other supports to make sure they get there. Teachers College was selected this past September as the university partner to Say Yes in New York City as it works with more than 400 current elementary school students at P.S. 161, P.S. 180, P.S. 57, P.S. 83, and P.S. 182.
  • The Cahn Fellows. Created through the generosity of Charles and Jane Cahn, friends of the college, this program identifies outstanding New York City principals and convenes them in a cohort for a year of mentoring, professional development and work to improve their own schools.
  • The Petrie Fellows. Under the auspices of the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation in collaboration with Teachers College, 10 incoming students at TC receive $50,000 scholarships in exchange for a commitment to teach in New York City schools for five years after graduation. Ten other students receive $10,000 each for a one year commitment. Each Petrie Fellow is chosen by a blue ribbon panel that includes leaders from business, the non-profit sector and education.
  • The TC Reading Buddies. Funded by TC trustee Arthur Zankel, 40 TC pre-service teachers receive credit for reading with struggling students at four neighborhood elementary schools -- PS 123, PS 125, PS 154 and CS 200 -- for two hours each day, five days a week, through the semester.
  • The Peace Corps Fellows. This program - the first of its kind, and now emulated at dozens of other colleges and universities in the U.S. - fast-tracks returning Peace Corps veterans into teaching in some of New York City's most challenging public schools. In celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the program receives letters of commendation from Senator Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many others.
  • The Student Publishing Initiative (SPI). Sponsored by Teachers College Professor Ruth Vinz through the college's Morse Center for the Professional Education of Teachers, and directed by TC doctoral student Erick Gordon, SPI enables students in New York City and New Jersey schools to self-publish anthologies of their own writing on different topics. The anthologies are then sold with the school system as teaching tools. Most recently, SPI worked with young prisoners at Rikers Island to produce Killing the Sky, an anthology of the prisoners' life stories.
  • The New Teacher Academy (NTA). This program works to boost retention of new teachers during their first years on the job, a period when the greatest turnover occurs. 

In addition, Teachers College has partnered with Riverside Church, which has supported the TC Education Zone Partnership. The College has recently expanded field placement for its pre-service teachers to include PS 125 and PS 154, and TC's Department of Organization and Leadership now offers graduate student internships with local instructional superintendents (LISs) in Regions 9 and 10. The Department also launched a new Summer Principals Academy this month.

The TC Education Zone Partnership also recently partnered with PS 125 in a special drama program centering on the Supreme Court's landmark Brown vs. Board of Education ruling.

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