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Join us at the new GSE Newsroom: gse.news.fordham.edu.

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

This site will be live as old posts are migrated to the new site but be sure to bookmark the Newsroom for all your future GSE news, events, and announcements.

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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.

Back to School: How to Be the Best Advocate for Your Child

Shirly Ulfan with students at Aleph Bet Academy, a preschool she founded last year. Photo by Irene Ulfan-Coopersmith

 

It’s the start of a new school year. As a parent, you want to give your child every chance to succeed. But what’s the best way for you to help? How can you work with teachers and other school staff—who, let’s face it, see more of your child than you do—to make sure your favorite student is getting what they need?

FORDHAM magazine checked in with some alumni of the University’s Graduate School of Education—professionals who work with students ranging in age from preschool to high school—to ask them for some guidance. Here’s what they had to say.

Read the full story in Fordham Magazine.

GSE Talks Innovation in Education Models with Students from Zhejiang University

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This week, Fordham GSE hosts a group of students from the College of Education at Zhejiang University, located in Hangzhou, China, as part of their American Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Camp. The students spent a week touring Los Angeles prior to coming to New York and then will spend a week in Hawaii.

While at Fordham, they will meet with various faculty members and administrators from across the university, as well as visit the JCC Manhattan and the Brooklyn Waldorf School, to learn about the systems and models of American education. ZJUstudents1Fordham lectures will cover topics such as innovation in teaching and learning, entrepreneurship, innovative educational models, and historical and comparative education systems.

On Tuesday morning, the group spoke with Drs. Marilyn Bisberg and Tiedan Huang about Fordham and early childhood education in America before touring the Rose Hill campus and speaking with Kate Kennon of the Gabelli School of Business.

The group prepared a presentation to introduce Fordham to Zhejiang University (ZJU), a leading research university in China with seven campuses and over 48,000 students. The university boasts strong international partnerships and over 700 undergraduate and graduate programs.

 

 

“How we pervert compassion in schools”

florinarodovFlorina Rodov ’07 (Adolescence English) is a former high school English teacher. She founded and is the co-executive director of Authentic Manhattan, a nonprofit providing after-school programs for low-income, gifted students. Read her full piece, “How we pervert compassion in schools” on CNN.com.

When my family and I were new immigrants who’d just moved into our first apartment in New York, a windowless studio in Queens, a distinguished doctor and his teenage daughter paid us a visit. The doctor was a volunteer with the Jewish nonprofit HIAS, which resettled Soviet refugees like us in the 1970s and 1980s. The second his daughter laid eyes on our donated, urine-stained couch, she exclaimed, “They’re so poor!” I was only 3 at the time, but still I averted my eyes in shame and refused to interact with her for the duration of her visit.

Luckily, I never experienced such pity or judgment in school. The public schools I attended included students who were Russian, Israeli, Pakistani, Turkish and Egyptian immigrants, among students from an array of other backgrounds. Few of us had money and many of us had problems: parents who struggled to find work, missed the old country or suffered from depression. But our teachers never felt sorry for us. They expected us to succeed despite our adversities.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today — or at least it isn’t among those in the worlds of education, politics, nonprofits and the media, who bombard us with images of low-income children as unteachable. Many of these people have a sick obsession with the word “poverty;” they shout it on Twitter, nod when they hear it from talking heads on TV, whisper it over lattes and trumpet it as an excuse for failure.

Read the full article at CNN.com.

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.

GSE Welcomes Back Alumni at Inaugural Reunion

On June 9th, GSE welcome back over 40 alumni to the inaugural GSE Reunion. The event was part of the larger Fordham Lincoln Center Reunion that welcomed alumni from Fordham College Lincoln Center, the Gabelli School of Business, the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, and the Graduate School of Social Services.

Dean Virginia Roach welcomed the group back home to Fordham, remarking on GSE’s accomplishments over the past year, including rising 14 spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Watch the GSE video that outlines many of our year’s accomplishments. Later, she reflected on the range of careers and interests of the alumni group, many of whom are using their Fordham degrees to impact their fields in ways they had not anticipated.

Father Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham, spoke to the group about the Graduate School of Education as one of the key mission-driven and mission-focused schools within the university. GSE’s student body reflects Fordham’s founding principle of Service to the Community: they are a group that comes from the city and works to make their home better. He spoke of GSE students as those called into not just a career, but a vocation.

Longtime Fordham Employee Celebrates Family’s First College Grad

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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.