NYU Steinhardt News

Professor Frances Rust Joins Metro Family to Develop an In-school Pilot Teacher-Support Program

 Amir Brann, current social work director, leads second-graders in an art exercise that helps build collaborative skills.

The program, located at the Brownsville Riverdale Avenue Community School, is based on a medical residency program. Dr. Rust stated “Our model draws from the concept of a residency; designed to enable both new and experienced teachers to work together to develop solutions to complex problems and to share these solutions to cultivate and evolve the knowledge base of education.”

The pilot is being developed by the principal, teachers, school administrators and university facilitators in partnership with the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools—a professional development center within NYU, the CUNY Early Childhood Professional Development Center, and the New York Department of Education (who designated the pilot site). As the project matures, a rapid prototyping design will provide all of its teachers, partnership leaders, and funders with timely data to shape new models of school-university interaction that support the continuous improvement of learning. Simultaneously, the project will reconfigure teacher education, taking it beyond pre-service preparation to encompass the entirety of a teacher’ professional life.

The program’s focus is to support the implementation of instructional strategies for English as a New Language (ENL) and Literacy – both critical areas for children’s success in primary school.

The work of Professor Heather Woodley focuses on supporting teachers in meeting the academic, linguistic and social-emotional needs of emergent bilinguals, particularly Muslim immigrant youth who speak less common languages. Drawing on her broad experience with the arts, dance, and music, she will work with early childhood (pre-k to grade 3) and upper elementary (grades 4-5) teachers and aides as well as specialists in dance, music, special ed, and social workers, in groups that enable teachers to work across the elementary program to support students’ new language competence. Heather will meet with teachers beginning in December to design the workshops and to coach mentors who will support the teachers to implement the strategies developed in these workshops and facilitate their discussions about what they notice regarding students’ growing use of language.