“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.


Madison Payton ’13 Among International Literacy Association’s 30 Under 30

Adolescence English alumnus Madison Payton ’13 was selected for the International Literacy Association’s inaugural 30 Under 30 list.

“I’m thrilled to unveil our first 30 Under 30 list of young individuals who are tirelessly working to impact the future of global literacy advancement,” said ILA executive director Marcie Craig Post. “Today, an astounding 12 percent of the global population is unable to read or write. These 30 young education champions are developing new, creative strategies to close the literacy gap and, in the process, are transforming lives in their communities and around the world.” Read more.

Madison teaches at English at the Eagle Academy for Young Men II in Brooklyn, where he established a writing center and AP language and literature courses. See Madison on the cover of the September/October issue of Literacy Today and read his full profile on page 26.

Madison was also recently awarded the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship for High School Teachers, which recognizes “highly motivated early-career teachers.”


Madison Payton ’13 Named Rising Literacy Leader

Adolescence English alumnus Madison Payton ’13 was selected as a rising literacy leader for the International Literacy Association‘s first 30 Under 30 list. The ILA’s list highlights innovators who are changing the field of literacy. Madison will be featured in the September/October issue of Literacy Today.

Madison was also recently chosen for the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship which recognizes “highly motivated early career teachers.”

Congratulations, Madison!