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Teachers Network in the News

Article courtesy of New York Teacher

Smoothing 'lumps in the melting pot'

Teachers Network award winners tackle host of challenges


What do you do when there are "lumps in the melting pot,” when diversity in the classroom isn’t enough?

Jennifer Dryer and Jeremy Copeland, both of School of the Future in Manhattan, faced the problem of racial tensions in their classrooms separately but decided to tackle the problem of their “equal opportunity haters” jointly.

Dryer and Copeland explained to scores of UFT award winners and a broad spectrum of education and business leaders at the 24th annual Teachers Network awards ceremony recently how they examined the way racial tensions begin and how to break them down.

As senior Teachers Network Leadership Institute fellows, they were engaged in action research studies that, for them, resulted in “no more racially charged work partnerships” in their classrooms. And like the work of all Network winners, their analysis interventions and recommendations are available to other teachers on the Web at www.teachersnetwork.org
Some 32 other TNLI fellows were also honored for their classroom research studies as part of their effort to strengthen the voice of teachers in education policy making.

Dedicated to improving student learning in public schools by tapping into the creativity and expertise of teachers — “by teachers, for teachers” — the Teachers Network has grown into an international organization that honors creative curriculum models through TeachNet and creative curriculum involving technology through Impact II.

Many of the 70 UFT winners at this year’s ceremony and reception held in November in the McGraw Hill headquarters in Manhattan were multiple honorees.

At the 2004-05 Teachers Network Awards Ceremony, Jeremy Copeland and Jennifer Dryer, of School of the Future in Manhattan explain how they got rid of the “lumps in the melting pot — the outcome of their action research studies on racial tension In their classrooms.

Marilyn Siegel, retired but still an active Network member, was there to support winner Pamela Salmon of PS 373 on Staten Island, whom she had mentored, for her award- winning unit Charting the Weather by using the Internet.

As retiree Carol Seltzer, one of the first technology award winners, noted, ‘This is a professional family. Once a member, always a member.”

Looking back to her teaching years when she was an Impact winner, Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina said, “We started to get to know each other, share ideas, find strength in each other.”

She called teachers the "‘best action researchers,” and said,
“It is empowering to share.”

"There is a real need for this kind of sorority/fraternity” the Network provides “because teachers are not of ten told that what they are doing is successful,” she added.

Teachers throughout the city, country and even throughout the world can tap into the successful creativity of colleagues through the Network’s Web site. Need a lesson on buzzing bees, cave painting, transforming fairy tales or searching for the American dream? These lessons--just a sampling of winning units--and many more are available for sharing.

Among the 2004 winners from Manhattan schools were Laura Anderson of Edward A. Reynolds West Side I-IS, Meryl Meisler and Grace Raffaele of Institute for Collaborative Education, Region 10 Project Director Julie Vitulano, Anthony Salcedo of IS 223, Cynthia Lewis of PS 142, Susan Ettenheim of Eleanor Roosevelt HS, Henry Russ, and Leslie Jirsa of Lower East Side Preparatory HS, Jill Williams (formerly of PS 171), Shirley Chin of PS 130, Jennifer Davoli, Chantal Francola and Erica Litke of East Side Community HS, Jenn Flandro of PS 34 and Tim Fredrick of Thurgood Marshall Academy.

Other Manhattan winners were Christine Heike of City-As-School HS, Kara Imm of Henry Street School for International Studies, Amy Kopchains of PS 171, Kameron Lewis-Levin and David Silberberg of Satellite Academy, Lisa Purcell of Park East HS, Kristal Rice of Children’s Workshop School, Vanessa Rodriguez of MS 255,

Principal Ann Marie Gwen (left) and Assistant Principal Margaret Choy-Shan (right) of PS 164 share a sense of pride with winner Katarina Kupfer, computer teacher at the Brooklyn school she calls “the best school in New York."

Beverly Harrigan (left), principal of PS 64, congratulates winners Carmen Vargas PS 73 and Maureen Connelly of PS 64, both lead teachers in the new initiative started by Community Board One in the Bronx._____________________

Jennifer Rygalski of Mott Hall, Russell Schneider of PS 158, Luke Janka of Humanities Preparatory Academy, Kimberly Edelmann of PS 6, AnniIe Chien of School of the Future, Philip Seymour of Louis Brandeis HS and Altagracia Torres of PS 20.

Brooklyn honorees were Marion Peluso, Carolyn Hornik and Bonnie Glasgold of PS 101, Sonji Bent of PS 161, Mary Brouder of HS of Telecommunications, Richard Gadsby of JHS 113, Maria Lazarini of PS 146, Nicole Nadeau of PS 361, Karen Ramirez of PS 29, Emily Sintz of Brooklyn Preparatory HS, Lisa North of PS 3, Christine Gabbert of IS 240, Katerina Kupfer of PS 164, Elissa Berkowitz and Raven Royblat of JHS 62, Tatyana Skalet of JHS 223 and Ginny Clarke of PS 205.

From Queens there was Denise Goldman of the Academy of American Studies HS, Robin Donovan of PS 50, Aneesha Jacko of PS 15, Laura Sargo and Hilary Sedewitch of PS 206, Stephen Blum of PS 205 and Gail Forsberg of PS 141.

From the Bronx, John Chew of PS 90, Maureen Connelly of PS 64, Elizabeth Gill of PS 211, Paula Murphy of JHS 166, Lucia St. Denis of PS 102, Lizette Suxo of PS 156 and Carmen Vargas of PS 76.

Staten Island winners were Lori Langsner of IS 24 and Teresa Caliari Olya of PS 22.

The event was hosted by Teachers Network board member Charlotte Frank.


In the grand finale of the cermeony, UFT award winners,
Teachers Network administrators and business leaders share the spotlight.


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