Tag Archives: featured

A School’s Closure Leaves a Coach Unsure of the Future

A School’s Closure Leaves a Coach Unsure of the Future

  Johnny Mathis sprawls across the bright red bleachers, his six-foot-seven frame spilling over the narrow gymnasium seats. He’s at home here in “Gym no. 2” of the John F. Kennedy Educational Campus in the Bronx, but it’s not just because he’s been the boys varsity basketball coach for the championship-winning Kennedy Knights for the  Read more »

Best-Laid Plans At Risk in Sunset Park

Best-Laid Plans At Risk in Sunset Park

Empty shelves wait to be filled in the Sunset Park High School library. (Photo by Jason Alcorn) On a recent Thursday afternoon, Principal Corinne Vinal showed off one of the three dedicated science labs in Sunset Park High School, where the lesson of the day was photosynthesis. A shipment of microscopes had just arrived and  Read more »

Time Is of the Essence at P.S. 24

Time Is of the Essence at P.S. 24

It’s 1:29 p.m. on a March Monday, and for a few blissful minutes, the cafeteria at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, will remain empty and quiet.  Refrigerators whir.  The kitchen staff set up trays for the buffet. At 1:34, the double doors burst open with a stampede of more than 100 fifth graders.  The  Read more »

At Ella Baker, Checking In Is Personal

At Ella Baker, Checking In Is Personal

Every Friday after lunch and recess, a group of six seventh grade boys at The Ella Baker School get personal.  They enter a regular meeting with Louis Hernandez, a guidance counselor at the school who uses a unique approach to group counseling: separating students by sex, beginning in the third grade. Hernandez says he sees  Read more »

Teaching the Teachers for America

Teaching the Teachers for America

Just before 8 a.m. on a recent Thursday, as 25-year-old David Nitkin prepared to teach his eighth-grade humanities course at Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School, his mentor David Greene had already found something that annoyed him. Greene peered over his glasses at a collage of vocabulary worksheets taped over the classroom windows. Stapled over those sheets,  Read more »

‘Sometimes Your Vision Is Bigger’: A Teacher Trains to Lead His Own School

‘Sometimes Your Vision Is Bigger’: A Teacher Trains to Lead His Own School

Reginald Higgins, an aspiring principal and former elementary school teacher, works with a student at P.S. 66 in the Bronx. (Photography by Jason Alcorn)   Last spring, when the fifth graders at P.S. 45 in Bushwick began to anticipate starting middle school, their literacy teacher Reginald Higgins introduced his favorite book, “First French Kiss.” “When people  Read more »

Ramona Brito: “Patient, hopeful, and expectant”

Ring, ring.  Ramona Brito lightly tapped the bell on top of her desk last Monday morning.  With that, her first grade students at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn jumped into action, putting away their sight-word Bingo games. “Uno…” Twenty-six pairs of little feet scurried to the reading corner. “Dos…” They plopped down in four  Read more »

Back To School After A Lifetime

Back To School After A Lifetime

Ann Calliste is determined to get her GED, no matter how long she’s been out of school.

Does Too Much Testing Create a Thinking Gap?

Does Too Much Testing Create a Thinking Gap?

On a winter Monday morning in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the expressions on Linette Arroyo’s second graders’ faces matched the grey day outside.  Hunched over their desks inside P.S. 24, they lifted their pencils and waited for the next word. “Hope,” Ms. Arroyo said.  “I hope it doesn’t snow again.  Hope.” Little hands rushed to scrawl  Read more »

Voice Instructor Expects ‘Best’ From Her Students

Voice Instructor Expects ‘Best’ From Her Students

For hopefuls auditioning to be vocal majors at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Heidi Best is the woman you want to wow. Her office in the fourth-floor vocal department of the Queens high school, filled with almost 70 chairs facing a black Steinway & Sons Boston Piano, is where prospective students belt out numbers  Read more »