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The updated newsroom will include faculty, students, and alumni news, as well as feature articles, event announcement, professional development opportunities, and more.

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Education Students Named to “30 Under 30” List

Photo by Patrick Verel

Photo by Patrick Verel

Two Fordham Graduate School of Education (GSE) students have been honored by the International Literacy Association (ILA) for their efforts to advance literacy for all.
Alex Corbitt, 26, FCRH ‘12, GSE ‘13, and John Maldonado, 25, FCRH ’13, a doctoral student, were named to the ILA’s second annual “30 Under 30” list, an honor bestowed to teachers, authors, volunteers, researchers, social entrepreneurs, and leaders from 12 countries.

Maldonado, a Rego Park, Queens native who graduated with a double major in psychology and English, became a NYC teaching fellow and taught special education at P368K Star Academy in Brooklyn. He is working towards a doctorate in contemporary learning and interdisciplinary research while teaching English at his alma mater, Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens.

He said being named to the list is a validation of what he called the “ugly hours” that all teachers put in—time when they put in extra hours at home, trying to figure out how to best convey information to their students and how to attend to their additional needs.

“As educators, we don’t often get the credit we deserve,” said Maldonado, who is interested in equity and culture, and the roles they play in education. He noted that, beyond his teaching he worked to increase his students’ technological literacy, “in order to give them more career and life opportunities.”

“To be recognized for that work is really validating,” he said. “I’m lucky to be the recipient. But a lot of teachers are doing the same thing.”

Read the full post at Fordham News.

“Inquiring minds want to learn: Empowering his students is the goal for Bronx literacy teacher

For the October issue of New York Teacher, Linda Ocasio focused on GSE alum Alex Corbitt, who was named to the International Literacy Association’s “30 Under 30” List. In the past two years, three GSE students or alumni have made the ILA 30 Under 30. Corbitt joins CLAIR student John Maldonado in this year’s list. Last year, alum Madison Payton was named. Read the full article at the UFT website.

image via UFT and Miller Photography

Arizona is geographically — and culturally — far from New York City. But when the 8th-graders in Alex Corbitt’s Teen Activism class watch a documentary called “Precious Knowledge,” about Tucson HS students fighting for the right to study their Mexican heritage, it resonates deeply. Many of Corbitt’s students at the Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation/MS 331 in Morris Heights are from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Ecuador, and they have plenty to say on the topic.

“We can learn about both American and Latino history, past and present,” says Destiny.

Pedro is bothered by an Arizona legislator in the film who calls the Latino studies program seditious and anti-American. “He said it’s anti-American, but isn’t it more American to fight for what you believe in?” Pedro asks.

It’s a good question. And for Corbitt, it’s all about the questions.

“The goal is not to do the thinking for them,” he says. Corbitt, an ELA teacher, believes literacy is not just about reading and writing but about empowering students to become “critically engaged citizens” and that includes questioning the world around them.

In September, Corbitt, age 26 and in his fourth year of teaching, was named to the International Literacy Association’s “30 Under 30 List,” which recognizes “rising leaders” from 12 countries, including teachers, nonprofit leaders, authors, researchers and others at the start of their careers who are promoting “literacy in all its forms to those who need it most.”

John Maldonado, a teacher at P 368/Star Academy in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, also was recognized for his work helping students with autism develop literacy skills.

Read the full article at the United Federation of Teachers website.

Fulbright Scholar Victoria Chatfield ’10 To Study Multicultural Youth Theatre in Scotland

Victoria Chatfield

Victoria Chatfield ’10 (Adolescence English) will be studying how UK national youth theatres cultivate multicultural communities at the University of Glasgow in Scotland via a grant from the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Program.

How did you get interested in your research topic?
I’ve been interested in the UK’s national youth theatres since high school. Reading about how these organizations brought together students from such diverse geographic, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to create original art was a major inspiration for me. I committed myself to creating a similar program in the US and, in 2012, I founded the National Theatre for Student Artists (NTSA). For the past three years, we’ve brought students from across the country to New York City to create world premiere off-Broadway productions together. However, managing this organization has been challenging and, having stagnated in terms of growth, I decided that now would be the best possible time to learn firsthand from our progenitors.

What do you hope to learn through your Fulbright research?
One of our biggest challenges at both NTSA and my school has been getting students from high-income and low-income communities to work together successfully. My school recently received a letter from an alum who enrolled in a private college upstate. She recounted how, on the first day of school, she was confronted with a situation she’d never been in before: being the only African-American student in the classroom. She struggled to fit in and even wrote that she’d been “robbed” of a good college experience because of what she looked like. This convinced me that we need to give our students more opportunities to collaborate with their peers from divergent backgrounds throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school. We don’t want them to be blindsided on their first day of college.

Through my observations at the UK’s national youth theatres (which have a strong tradition of integrating students from different social classes), I hope to learn how we can successfully expose US students to a broader population of their peers — both inside the classroom and through extracurricular programming. Specifically, I want to focus on how teachers can build meaningful partnerships with schools from other communities, facilitate discussion and decision-making processes that lead to thoughtful artistic and academic work, and resolve tensions that might arise between students based on cultural differences.

Why did you want to be a teacher? What motivated you to apply for Teach for America?
The Great Recession turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. After years of studying business, I’d been convinced that I would start a bright career as a management consultant after graduation. But when all of the major firms started laying off their employees as opposed to hiring new ones, I started looking for temporary alternatives. Teach for America was only a two-year commitment, and I’d always been interested in working with young adults. So I signed up.

It only took a few months for me to realize that I wanted to stay in the classroom indefinitely. When my students brainstorm how to make a stop-motion phoenix fly through the clouds (and then execute their ideas with our industrial fan as a makeshift wind machine!) or choreograph and teach an entire dance routine to their classmates, I’m filled with such pride in their accomplishments. There’s not a single day when I don’t look forward to getting up and going to work.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching? Most challenging?
I stay in this profession because my students are endlessly creative and give me a mental workout. Whether it’s comparing Lois Lowry’s The Giver to the Garden of Eden mythos in reading class, or designing a 1920s feminist interpretation of Eurydice in drama class, I’m in awe of what my students come up with on a daily basis.

For me, my schedule has been the biggest challenge. I teach over 330 students, and I only see them once a week. No matter how committed I’ve been to making short films with them or producing a whole-school musical, the reality is that, sometimes, those end-of-year projects just don’t get off the ground. I see my students so infrequently that absences can put a huge glitch in a well-planned rehearsal. One cancelled class period can be the difference between a smooth opening night and an all-out disaster. It’s a tough predicament to explain to students, and some of them always close out the school year feeling disappointed with what we weren’t able to accomplish.

What qualities make a great teacher?
If you walked into my classroom, it might look like low-grade chaos to you. Students are out of their seats. They’re talking to one another. They’re taking materials from the supply closets without asking. But for all of that freedom, there are countless structures and systems in place that enable my students to be successful. Every great teacher needs to be a phenomenal operations manager. You need to be able to plan logistics down to the smallest detail. During my first year of teaching, my desks were organized in rows, hands were raised for every question, and each class had a structured packet. It really helped me get the basics (like classroom management) down. Nowadays, my students have much more autonomy and independence, but that’s because I’ve become a stronger planner, and my classroom systems have gotten much better.

What advice would you give to future Fordham GSE students?
Every year gets easier! I remember working 14-16 hour days as a first-year teacher.  It used to take me hours to write a single lesson plan, and earning the respect of my students was a constant challenge.

Now, going into my ninth year, teaching still requires a lot of work — but nothing that I can’t manage during my prep periods. I’m able to have both a personal life and a successful classroom. So if the going gets tough during your first and second years, don’t quit! You’ll eventually hit your stride and never look back.

Longtime Fordham Employee Celebrates Family’s First College Grad


When Verenika Lasku reflects on the time she and her husband Bobby spent raising three children in the Bronx on just his custodial salary, she doesn’t sugar coat it, noting plainly, “It was really hard.”

The two immigrated to the Belmont neighborhood from Kosovo in 1995. While her husband worked, Lasku stayed at home and raised their three children. But when their youngest entered kindergarten, she also began looking for work in custodial services. Two years later, she landed a job just a few blocks from their Arthur Avenue home, at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.

On May 21, 10 years of scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, dusting, and setting up for campus events finally paid off, as Valentina, the oldest of their children, earned a master’s from the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Valentina had already earned a bachelor’s in psychology last year from Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), but the day was no less sweet for Verenika.

“I’m so proud of her. It’s even better with a master’s,” she said.

Read the full story at Fordham News.

Ivan Borras ’15 Receives Marva Collins Excellence in Teaching Award

by Dr. Diane Rodriguez


Ivan Borras (center) with Drs. Su-Je Cho (left) and Diane Rodriguez (right)

Mr. Ivan Borras ’15 (Adolescent Special Education) has received the 2016 Marva Collins Excellence in Teaching Award from the Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children. He currently teaches at Entrada Academy X384. Ivan Borras, who was born and raised in the Bronx, had to overcome numerous adversities growing up; accordingly, he has a strong understanding of the trials and tribulations affecting youths in urban areas. As a product of the community and the public school system, he feels it is not only his obligation to give back, but also to be the best role model he can be. Borras cannot say college was in his thoughts when he graduated from high school; he had other priorities that pushed education out of reach though he envied the few peers who attended college and, more so, those who resided on campus.

Borras has been serving the Bronx community since 2004. First, he became a paraprofessional despite not knowing what the position entailed. The very first step was taking the ATAS exam (Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills), which he passed successfully without any prior knowledge of the content, and became a substitute paraprofessional. This experience brought him closer to the teaching profession.

borras2Borras decided to become a certified special education teacher in order to improve the academic experience of culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities. He was able to relate to students and possessed an innate ability to draw students’ attention. Where teachers lacked classroom management, Borras would take initiative to not only assist, but at times conduct, lessons. Borras had found his passion in life: to help the youth of New York City. He soon became highly sought out by several schools for permanent employment. After receiving a permanent position, he utilized the academic resources provided by the Department of Education. One of those resources was a partial tuition scholarship, which Borras used to complete his undergraduate education at Mercy College. Ten years from the time he started with the New York City Public School system, Borras became a certified Special Education teacher and acquired a master’s degree in special education with a specialization to teach students with learning disabilities.

Borras comes to school with an excitement and zeal to make great things happen with his students. He has gained the respect of all the students he has worked with and from his colleagues as well. His students respect Mr. Borras because he passionately cares for their learning. Mr. Borras does not see his students as individuals who go from his class like an assembly line, but as students who need a lot of attention, specific strategies, and tons of caring in order for them to respond to instruction. Mr. Borras is able to reach that level of rapport that sets him apart in how he speaks to the students and demands the best that they have in a manner that makes it non-threatening for the student.

borras3Mr. Borras is a fighter. He fights for his students relentlessly. He will challenge any initiative that will not allow his students to learn or achieve effectively in his class. He will build an argument and show others how the curriculum may not fit his students’ needs. Importantly, rather than convey negativity about extant circumstances, he offers alternatives, which might involve creating a curriculum with the proper scaffolds, differentiation and strategies that will allow his students to navigate through the work, achieving mastery and independence.

One of the most notable and fundamental aspects of Mr. Borras’s work is his understanding of youth development and how it applies to students in special education classes. Mr. Borras’s work in the classroom includes strategies that will bring the group together in a round table discussion, smaller group setting, or paired work. Students will rotate in stations in his class, get up from their seats and work on charts in various places in the classroom and still have opportunities for sharing and writing. Mr. Borras goes above and beyond the call of duty by volunteering to work with students on weekends.

The elation Mr. Borras now feels, having gained a profession position that enables him to work with diverse students, despite the adversities he faced, provides insights into why he is a teacher in one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation. It is his homage to the students and teachers of the Bronx, who have helped shape who he is. Mr. Borras loves children, and that is one of the reasons he wanted to became a teacher, to help children, to make a difference in their lives, and to encourage them to reach their fullest potential. Mr. Borras strives to emphasize the important role of education. He will continue to empower his students to be confident and see themselves as creators of their own futures. Through his thoughtful, effective, and inspiring approach to teaching, his students will develop innovative and principled ideas, and their leadership will enlighten the world.

Connect with Fordham GSE at the AERA Annual Meeting

A number of Fordham GSE faculty members and students will be presenting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from April 9th-12th. Join us in supporting the GSE community at AERA during the sessions listed below.

Fordham GSE alumni are also invited to join us for a reception at Penn Social on Friday, April 8th, at 6pm. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. Register.

Saturday, April 9th

Communities, Neighborhoods, and Educational Opportunity
Race, Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Achievement Gap
Convention Center, Level Two, Room 209B
Presenters: Tiedan Huang, Anchala Sobrin, Michele Williams

8:15- 9:45am
Poster Session 1
Working Memory Load and Automaticity in Relation to Mental Multiplication (#29)
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit Hall D
Presenter: Yi Ding

Multiculturalism and Social Identities in K-12 Environments
The Association Between Classroom Racial/Ethnic Diversity and Elementary
Marriott Marquis, Level Three, Chinatown
Presenters: Christina Rucinski, Essie Sutton, Richmond Carlton, Joshua L. Brown

Poster Session 2
Studying Racial Differences in Longitudinal Core Profiles: The Profile Analysis via Multidimensional Scaling Approach
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit Hall D
Presenters: Se-Kang Kim, Andrea McNamara

Sunday, April 10th

8:15 – 9:45am
Poster Session 6: Social and Cultural Influences on Learning and Motivation
The Impact of Mobile Technology Integration on Elementary School Students’ Academic Engagement
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit Hall D
Presenters: Susan J Chambre, Sean Kennedy Adcroft, Mahitot Arnold, Jaymie Paige Stein Green, Tomasita Ortiz, Sarah Skluzacek, Staci Tedrow, Kristen H. Turner, Akane Zusho, Carmina Marcial

Some Engage, Others Don’t: New Directions on the Development of Teachers’ Professional Ethos
Creating and Sustaining Social Justice in Schools: Teachers’ Work Environment and Teaching for Multicultural
Convention Center, Level One, Room 145B
Presenters: Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro, Ping Guo, Tinia R. Merriweather

8:15 – 9:45am
Roundtable Session 29
Catholic School Superintendency: Trends Over Time
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit D, Section B
Presenters: Gerald M. Cattaro, Joanna Alcruz

Measuring, Enacting, and Persistence: Multinational Women Leaders’ Agency
Does Gender Matter? A Multinational Study of Women Educational Leaders
Convention Center, Level One, Room 160
Presenters: Virginia Roach, Abebayehu Aemero Tekleselassie, Gulay Dalgic

Teacher Leadership and Professional Development
Who’s Known and What’s Important in Forming a School Reputation
Convention Center, Level One, Room
Presenters: Tiedan Huang, Dale Cox, Theron Mott, Courtney Lowe, Roland K. Yoshida

Monday, April 11th

New Developments in Learning Technologies
Integrating Mobile Technology Into Instruction in Elementary Classrooms: Impact on Student Engagement and Learning
Marriott Marquis, Level Two, Marquis Salon 4
Presenters: Jaymie Paige Stein Green, Sara Skluzacek, Sean Kennedy Adcroft, Mahitot Arnold, Susan J Chambre, Tomasita Ortiz, Staci Tedrow, Kristen H. Turner, Akane Zusho, Carmina Marcial

7:45 – 9:15am
Poster Session 9
Current Controversial Issues in History Classrooms: High School History Teachers’ Practices and Views (#50)
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit Hall D
Presenter: Eytan Apter

Promising Scholarship in Education: Dissertation Fellows and Their Research
The Opportunity Gap at the Classroom Level: Validation of the Classroom Multicultural Competence Measure (#26)
Convention Center, Level Three, Ballroom South Foyer
Presenter: Tinia R. Merriweather

Promoting College and Career Readiness Through Self-Regulated Learning in the Classroom
Do-It-Yourself Science: An Urban High School Teacher Develops Student Self-Regulation
Convention Center, Level One, Room 144C
Presenters: Rhonda Suzanne Bondie, Akane Zusho

4:30- 6:00pm
Catholic Schools: A Focus on Leadership, Data-Driven Decision Making, and Partnerships (Paper Session)
Marriott Marquis, Level Four, Independence Salon B
Discussant: Anthony D. Miserandino

Poster Session 13: Motivation in Education, SIG Poster Session 2
Assessing Adolescents’ Motivation to Read (#36)
Convention Center, Level Two, Exhibit Hall D
Presenter: Lauren Zucker

Tuesday, April 12th

April 12, 2:15-3:45pm
Examining Implementation, Process, and Outcomes of Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education for Teachers, a Mindfulness-Based Intervention

  • Enhancing Teachers’ Well-Being and Classroom Quality: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial of Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education
  • Direct and Moderating Impacts of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education for Teachers Intervention on Student Outcomes
  • Examining Quality of Implementation: How Facilitator Skill and Training Fidelity Affects Participant Outcomes in Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education

Convention Center, Level One, Room 143B
Presenters: Anna DeWeese, Joshua L. Brown, Regin Tanler, Damira S. Rasheed

Tues, April 12, 2:15-3:45pm
Roundtable Discussion 57
Institutional Factors Impacting Black Students’ Success at an Elite Private Elementary School
Convention Center, Level Three, Ballroom B
Presenters: Jane Bolgatz, Tamar Brown, Susan J. Chambre, Enrique Figueroa

U.S. News Ranks Fordham GSE #45 in Nation


In its America’s Best Graduate Schools, 2017 edition, U.S. News and World Report ranked Fordham GSE #45 among 180 U.S. Schools of Education. This rank marks a fourteen spot jump over last year’s #59 ranking.

View the full list.

Juanita de Guzman Gutierrez ’96 Publishes “Speak Tagalog: A Basic Primer”


Juanita de Guzman Gutierrez as a Novice

Juanita de Guzman Gutierrez (Reading Literacy MSE) published Speak Tagalog: A Basic Primer with Outskirts Press. The book covers the basics of conversational Tagalog, as well as the language’s history, its alphabet, and prayers.

Tagalog is the primary or secondary language for a majority of Philippines residents. Since approximately 93% of Filipinos are Catholic, Gutierrez included Holy Rosary prayers for readers.

“This book would make a valuable addition to high schools, universities, and consular offices—for those seeking to further diplomatic relations, continue their adult education, or even for children of Philippine mixed marriages who want to study their mother tongue. It’s good to be a linguist!” says Gutierrez.

Gutierrez spent ten years teaching English and journalism, and serving as the school newspaper adviser in the Philippines before moving to New York City in 1987 to teach. For the next nine years, she taught in the Archdiocese of New York and then spent fourteen years teaching in the New York City public schools.

coverAfter her teaching career, Gutierrez became a pre-post postulant and postulant at the Monastery of Holy Mary in Rockville, Virginia. She was unable to continue her religious life due to family illness and now spends her time traveling and writing books. Read more about Gutierrez and her book, Speak Tagalog.

When asked whether she wanted to send a message to the Fordham GSE community, Gutierrez replied “Go, Fordham, you’re the best!!!”