The Teacher Education department of The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) will create a model school for its early childhood and elementary education students at PS 125, a public elementary school in West Harlem with support from a $408,090 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Rebecca Garte, BMCC Professor of Teacher Education and project director for the grant, says the goal of the project is to give BMCC students “hands-on experiences in a model school environment that serves a population more like the students they will be working with someday. Those experiences will strengthen their ability to commit to their program of study and to more deeply understand the concepts of teaching and learning that they need to be successful in their careers.”
Professors Garte and the project's co-director Cara Kronen believe that more meaningful fieldwork and other hands-on classroom experiences will increase the number of early childhood and elementary majors successfully meeting the requirements for teacher certification, beginning with graduating from BMCC and transferring to four-year schools of education.
According to Frank L. Gettridge, Program Officer, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the project will “strengthen the teacher-of-color pipeline by redesigning pre- and in-service strategies and enhancing training opportunities for community college education majors.”
Extending October 2016 through September 2019, the grant will help support the vision of the PS 125 teachers and administration on West 123rd Street in Harlem, to become “a progressive, pre-K to fifth-grade school using a child-centered, best practices curriculum,” Garte says. “A few of our teacher education students have completed internships at PS 125 instead of at the schools used more often in the Tribeca neighborhood. We have found the students placed at PS 125 to be particularly engaged in their classrooms and excited about the prospect of being a future teacher. We believe having a school like PS 125 that can serve as a model for our students throughout their teacher education coursework at BMCC will create a more culturally relevant learning experience for many of them.”
The Kellogg-funded project, “will provide hands-on training for BMCC Teacher Education students, who will do site visits, observe classrooms and as part of their final semester fieldwork complete an action research project in the classroom in which they have been interning” Garte says. “To support the school’s ongoing efforts and ensure that the most effective child centered practices characterize curriculum and instruction throughout PS 125, the faculty in BMCCs teacher education department will provide a three year professional development program for the teachers at PS 125. The program is being developed in collaboration with the school’s administration and model teachers and will include workshops, coaching and curriculum development support.”