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Office of School and Community Partnerships
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University
 

About Us

The OSCP was established in 2007 and represents the latest effort in a long and rich history of TC engagement with New York City schools. 

Since its founding in the late 19th century, the College has partnered with generations of educational policymakers and practitioners by providing them with research, curricula and programs of service that have shaped and reshaped their practice and improved the lives of millions of people. In the early 20th century, TC was home to the Lincoln/Horace Mann schools, where thousands of local children benefited from the dynamic new classroom methods advanced by our faculty. Since the 1970s, the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) in Harlem has provided a range of supports to local school children that extend beyond the classroom. And more recently, through programs such as our Campaign for Educational Equity, the TC Reading and Math Buddies, the Heritage School, and the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, the College has continued to collaborate closely with schools and communities in New York.

Local engagement, then, has always been at the heart of what we do. As an institution with deep roots in expanding educational opportunities for children in New York City, we can never do enough, quickly enough. The problem of low educational attainment in the US is especially pronounced in New York City, where 85 percent of public school students are minorities, and the school system has a graduation rate that hovers around 50 percent. So it is with a due sense of responsibility and urgency that TC has made school and community partnerships a top priority.  An awareness of the challenges faced by educators in New York City prompts us to constantly reassess our approach, multiply our efforts, refresh and expand our commitment to school and community partnerships.

In August 2007, Nancy Streim was appointed to the newly created position of Associate Vice President for School and Community Partnerships. Under her leadership the OSCP was established to coordinate, manage and develop TC’s efforts to engage with New York City schools in partnership activities; to collect and distribute information for these efforts; and to provide a single point of contact for anyone interested in learning about or taking part in our work.

There are no quick-fix solutions for improving student and school success. However, in the examples you will find on this Web site you will see the mutual benefits of partnership activities. The institutions with which we partner share our commitment, vision and determination to help all children – and especially those in historically underserved schools and communities – achieve their full potential as citizens and workers in a global society. We have deep admiration for the work our school colleagues do every day.  Teachers continually seek ways to optimize their effectiveness through professional development activities that require hard work and sustained learning. School leaders face tough decisions and conflicting priorities as they advocate for their school’s best interests. System administrators overcome challenges of limited resources to bring innovations to scale. At the college, as we acquire “on the ground” knowledge and understanding of the specific needs and challenges in New York City public schools, we are better equipped to prepare new teachers for successful careers in urban schools, develop effective curriculum and pedagogical models, and apply our support in ways that have the most impact for schools.

We hope that by sharing our vision of what college-school partnerships can achieve in this community, you will in turn feel encouraged to connect with us and share your experiences and ideas. We will look forward to hearing them.