The Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College advances urban education reform by strengthening literacy and mathematics teaching and by supporting teachers as key educational decision-makers. We conduct professional development, program evaluation, and research projects in educational settings ranging from schools to colleges and community organizations.
Writing and Math Project Spring Conferences Highlight Student-Centered Teaching Practices
On March 18, 2017, the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) annual Teacher-to-Teacher (T2T) Conference brought together more than 200 educators from NYC and the surrounding areas for a full day of professional learning. T2T included multiple teacher-created and -facilitated workshops and panels on a variety of topics appropriate for teachers of varying grades and content areas, as well as an exciting keynote address from Dr. Christopher Emdin. Dr. Emdin, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of Science Education at the Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education, is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
As the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement, Dr. Emdin is a much sought-after public speaker on a number of topics that include hip-hop education, STEM education, politics, race, class, diversity, and youth empowerment. His most recent book, the bestselling, For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll too, provided the foundation for a dynamic keynote on how teachers and students can actively co-construct learning opportunities in the classroom.
The New York City Mathematics Project (NYCMP) hosted its 26th Annual conference, A PRIME Year for Math, on April 29, 2017. One hundred sixty educators attended the conference from New York City and the greater metropolitan area.
Participants chose from 21 different breakout sessions for grades K-12. Topics included: growth mindset, discourse in the classroom, kinesthetic mathematics, technology, problem solving strategies, developing conceptual understanding, working with special populations, graphic organizers, hands-on explorations in geometry and more.
The keynote speaker was Mr. Daniel Russo, the founding Principal of The Walton Avenue School, P.S. 294. Mr. Russo’s address was “Orchestrating Productive Discourse in the Mathematics Classroom.” He has lead PS 294: The Walton Avenue School since 2013 and has achieved accelerated school turn-around status, particularly in the area of mathematics instruction. Based off the text "Five Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussion" published by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Mr. Russo's math team has developed a unique inquiry-based math model that has been showcased to teachers and principals from across New York City.
Conference evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive: “Best conference ever!” “Excellent event.” “I learned a great deal to take back to my classroom from the keynote and breakout sessions.” “Thank you for inspiring me.”
"A Prime Year for Math": The New York City Math Project Announces its 26th Annual Conference on April 29
The New York City Math Project announces its 26th annual conference, "A Prime Year for Math." The conference is designed to provide professional development to enhance mathematics teaching and learning. The conference is on Saturday, April 29, 2017, 8:00am - 1:30pm in the East Dining Room at Lehman College, CUNY. For Registration information, please download a registration flyer here.
Save the Date: The NYCWP Announces Speakers for the Annual Teacher-to-Teacher Conference
The New York City Writing Project's annual Teacher-to-Teacher Conference will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2016 at Lehman College. This year's keynote speakers are writer and author Kiese Laymon and Dr. Christopher Emdin, professor at Columbia's Teachers College. For more information, check the NYCWP's page for conference registration and proposal applications, here.
ILS Adult Learning Center Volunteers Support at CUNY Citizenship Now! Event
On Saturday, December 3, 2016, CUNY Citizenship Now! held an event to assist people with their citizenship applications. At the event, hundreds of documented immigrants began their applications for citizenship, taking the first step in a process that can often seem overwhelming and intimidating. In addition to the many people that attended the event for free legal aid, a number of CUNY faculty and staff volunteered and participated in the event. Frida Marte, case manager from the Adult Learning Center was one of the event volunteers, pictured (left) with Lehman College President José Luis Cruz (center) and Eboni Mason (right), manager at CUNY Citizenship Now!
Statement from CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken on the Presidential Election
Dear Members of the CUNY Community,
We have just experienced a long, contentious campaign and what was to many a surprising outcome. I have spoken to many of our students about their reactions to the results, and many of those range from confusion to concern to a sense of vulnerability for themselves or their friends and classmates.
We cannot be certain about whether or how statements made in the midst of a hard-fought campaign will be translated into policies beginning in January. What we can be certain about are our own values and the critical mission of The City University of New York. CUNY’s mission is the same today as it was a week ago, and it will be the same next year. For nearly 170 years, CUNY has been committed to providing opportunity to immigrants and low income and underrepresented students. This will not change, and the city and the country will be much better for it. Our students bring ambition, talent and dreams and they contribute immeasurably to making New York the world’s greatest city. In fact, it’s obvious to anyone who has paid attention that New York is what it is today because of the very students CUNY has welcomed and educated for generations.
I know that all of my colleagues at CUNY join me in proudly embracing CUNY’s history and share my commitment to sustaining its vital mission in the years ahead.
James B. Milliken
Say “Hello” to our new team member! Gail Gray, Contract Administrator, brings extensive experience in business operations and administrative functions to the ILS. Having worked in both small business settings and corporate entities, she comes well versed in a variety of environments. Her strengths include identifying and improving efficiency with internal systems, personnel resource allocation and financial planning and budgeting. Gail’s experience includes contract negotiations, policy/procedure development and business planning. She has a track record of taking the initiative to foster relationships within an organization, with their client base and extended professional associations. Gail is a graduate of Brooklyn College and her wealth of experience will allow her to provide crucial support to the ILS and its affiliated projects. We welcome her to Lehman and the ILS!
We are pleased to announce that two students of the Adult Learning Center have been honored at this year's Peter Jenning's Awards. Kamar Ledgister enrolled at the ALC in 2013 after emigrating from a rural community in Jamaica. Determined to become an engineer, he spent two years preparing for the TASC, before passing and promptly enrolling at Bronx Community College in the fall of 2015. He has won a $2,000 Peter Jennings scholarship to support him in his studies. Eudy Lopez enrolled at the ALC in the spring of 2015, also in order to prepare for the TASC, which he passed in December of that year. A talented writer and visual artist, Eudy is looking forward to studying art and psychology at BMCC and he hopes to pursue a career as an art therapist. He has won a runner-up $200 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Congratulations to both Kamar and Eudy. We are so proud of you!
Since 2013, Suzanne Libfeld, director of the New York City Mathematics Project (NYCMP), has served as the Eastern 1 Regional Director of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM). NCSM is a leadership organization that works to support and develop mathematics educators. Suzanne's NCSM service, in addition to the demands of running the Mathematics Project, shows a broad commitment to improving mathematics education, not just in New York City, but in diverse communities nationwide. We at the Institute would like to congratulate and thank Suzanne for this work. We are proud to call her our own.
After a year-long national search, Dr. Jaye Jones has been appointed as Director of the Institute for Literacy Studies (ILS). In her new capacity as the head of the Institute, she will provide leadership for and advance the work of three major programs—the Adult Learning Center, the New York City Mathematics Project (NYCMP), and the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP). Jaye began her work as Director on April 18, 2016.
The Institute and the Lehman College community welcome Jaye, whose background in literacy education and social work, practitioner’s knowledge of adult education, scholarship, perseverance, and vision for addressing the needs of learners of all ages—teachers and students alike—is exceptional. Dr. Harriet Fayne, Dean of Lehman College’s School of Education, notes, “Jaye brings a rare blend of experience and understanding of urban education in today’s world.”
Dr. Jones has served as Project Director of the ILS’s direct-service program, the Adult Learning Center, since 2012. In that capacity, she has also served on various ILS leadership teams, fostering fruitful collaborations with the NYC Mathematics and Writing Projects, the Institute’s two professional-development programs that provide services in schools throughout the metropolitan area. She presents regularly at local and national conferences, and has been invited to present in London at an international conference for educators this coming summer.
Jaye Jones received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Chicago, an M.S. degree from Columbia University’s School of Social Work, an M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa. While she was a candidate for her doctorate, she volunteered at Literacy Chicago, was eventually hired as a Senior Program Manager, and created an award-winning reading group that still exists today, helping adult learners explore classic literary texts. In 2006, she gained an international viewpoint on literacy and criminal justice when she volunteered as a basic literacy education teacher and developed a culturally-specific curriculum at the Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, South Africa. Her work as a scholar and an educator focuses on how the impact of rapid socio-cultural and economic changes affects students’ lives. Her commitment to transdisciplinary reflection and action are compelling and translate into a kind of leadership that bridges the worlds of academe, public education, and broader communities.
We are pleased to announce that the Institute's 2014-15 Annual Report is now available. It features our accomplishments in the past year, and highlights how we develop teacher-leaders, help students of all ages achieve and build professional communities. Please read it here.