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Chapel Haven 2 (Diana Bilezikian).jpgBy Mariah Klair Castillo

There are very few places in the world that are as safe and welcoming to adults with learning differences as Chapel Haven. On a recent visit by publisher Dr. Pola Rosen and assistant editor Mariah Castillo, it was clear that Chapel Haven offers great support services for adults on the autism spectrum and developmental and social disabilities. It is also one of the six programs awarded by the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) in 2013 for being one of the best and most innovative practices for adults with autism. The program is the first of its kind, offering adults with learning disabilities the skills they need to live independently and to advocate for themselves. It remains a pioneer in these areas.

The idea of independence and self-advocacy can be seen in the program's history. The residence was opened in 1972 by Jerry Rossman and Sydney Krauss as the Maplebrook Parent Association. According to Dr. John Bilezikian, Chair of the Board of Directors, it was the young adults themselves who decided to name the program Chapel Haven partly because Chapel Street in New Haven is the original site of the program. Originally, while the co-founders believed that it was necessary for these adults to learn how to live independently, ultimately, it was expected that they would return home to their parents. "They didn't expect their kids to say, 'Wait a minute, we're doing great here. We want to stay in New Haven,'" added Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, the Vice President of Admissions. In fact, now about 85 percent of the adults who have graduated from the program live independently, in the surrounding New Haven community, with reliable public transportation and great social atmosphere. Having achieved the goal of independent living, they don't return "home" but make their new home in and around the Chapel Haven environment, an ideal arrangement for continuing the goal of independent living.

For their first two years at Chapel Haven, adults live on campus as part of Chapel Haven's residential program. There, adults follow a curriculum to meet over 200 objectives that cover various skills that Chapel Haven deems necessary to live independently. While the adults may learn these skills in a classroom setting, they are also assessed in real-life settings. "What differentiates us from many programs out there," said Michael Storz, President of Chapel Haven, "is that we believe that in order to truly learn independent skills, to not be dependent on this campus hub, your classrooms need to be held in authentic settings which include apartment settings, community settings, recreation, and employment. Assessments are held in all of these settings. If someone is doing well in the school setting which has structure, but not in the apartment setting, for example, we can add more structure to the apartment setting.

Many residents, in addition to mastering skills for independent living, have also gone to get their high school, IEP, and college diplomas. These students register for classes at the various community colleges in the area, including Gateway Community College and Southern Connecticut State University. The students can use Chapel Haven's blended subject requirements to gain their diplomas.

After the initial two-year program, Chapel Haven students are assessed on how well they've mastered the skills. Those who are able to live independently, with support from Chapel Haven, find employment and a place to live. Those who are not yet ready to live independently, even with support from Chapel Haven, are eligible for an extra year of services through a residential Chapel Haven program called "Bridge." Those in need of more extensive support move into another residential Chapel Haven program called "SAIL".

Chapel Haven also has a program for young adults with Asperger's syndrome, a residentially-based 2-year program that provides an individualized core curriculum focused on Social Communicative Competencies. Chapel Haven also features a satellite campus, 'Chapel Haven West' in Tucson, Arizona.

Most of the graduates of Chapel Haven are able to live independent lives and find employment. Some have gone to be very successful in their various fields. In a first for Chapel Haven, Diana Bilezikian, the daughter of Dr. John Bilezikian, has written a book, called Dear Diana: Diana's Guide to Independent Living- for Adolescents and Young Adults with Different Learning Styles and Special Needs.  The book was a sell-out at a recent conference! A few graduates, including Chris Murray, David Hogin and Vito Bonanno have become successful artists. Storz listed various graduates who have obtained impressive positions in a variety of business settings. Bilezikian emphasized, "Chapel Haven does more than help its young adults find employment. It gives them the assurance that they are needed."  For example, his daughter wasn't feeling well one morning and was advised by her parents to stay home. Diana said to her parents, "Mom and Dad, I have to go to work. They need me!"

It's not just the members of the Chapel Haven community who recognize the talents of the residents; organizations, schools, and even the state of Connecticut have seen the amazing range of talent. This recognition has allowed Chapel Haven to set up over 40 collaborations with an array of programs and employment opportunities that fit best the talents of these special young adults. The most recent collaboration is called UArts Chapel Haven, a unique artisan studio program funded by a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts. This program pairs Chapel Haven's artists with local artists. They then create and sell high quality products such as scarves, bags, and greeting cards. The opening of this first state non-profit collaboration took place recently in January.

Situated in New Haven, Chapel Haven has benefited from partnerships with Yale University. For example, the university is conducting research with the residents to test the effectiveness of the Chapel Haven model. According to Storz, the research thus far shows that there is "significant" progress on social cognition, as adults on the autism spectrum are responding more like neurotypical individuals. While this doesn't mean that the adults are being cured of their disabilities, the study, which will be finished in 2018, so far shows that Chapel Haven has a program that works for many. Storz would also like to use the data to improve the program for those who aren't showing as much improvement. The point, though, is not to transform these young adults into someone who they are not. Rather, the goal of Chapel Haven is to deal with the differences that impair their ability to be fully integrated into the everyday traffic of life in such a way that they are effective, functioning members of the regular world.

When asked about what they envision Chapel Haven to be like in the future, both Storz and Bilezikian had big goals in mind. Storz said, "We've been in existence for 42 years now. We have adults that have been living in our community for over 35 years. They have mastered and are proficient at living on their own, but now they're aging. So now there are senior and medical concerns that are becoming new obstacles for these individuals.

"There are very few, if any, programs for these individuals to retire to, so what's happening is that many of our adults are being moved into nursing homes with people 20 to 30 years older than them in very restrictive environments, often far from the community they have known for so long.

"The immediate response is that Chapel Haven is developing its own assisted living program, so that adults who choose to live their lives in the place that they call home will have that opportunity. Chapel Haven, thus, plans to expand its mission to lifelong programming, where their adults can begin here, learn independent living skills, become active employed members of the environment at large, and as they age in place, take advantage of whatever additional living structure will be required. This is no different from the lifeline of most adults without special needs."

Overall, Storz said: "There is a huge need for transitional programs in adult services, whether they are day options, clinical services, or employment services, so I can see the Chapel Haven model being replicated in various parts of the country to help fulfill the need."

Bilezikian adds, "We're going to need many more Chapel Havens. I think we are uniquely situated. We are pioneers. This model really works. Will we continue to be the best at what we do? I hope we will."#

Reflections of a Union Leader


By Ernest Logan, President, CSA

When Carmen Fariña was named chancellor, all kinds of speculation ran wild, especially: "Will she get rid of the networks?"  Well, folks, she's getting rid of them.   For the last five years, I've seen some positive things develop under the 55 networks, but I've continued to worry about doing without superintendents.  Superintendents were there by law, but they hovered in the background like ghosts.ErnestLogan.jpeg

In introducing a new school support structure that strengthens superintendents while incorporating some of the best network features, the chancellor has made her most sensible decision to date.  Good superintendents are good for schools. They have school leadership backgrounds and finely developed instincts about what really happens in schools.

Their virtual absence hits home hardest when a tragedy strikes at the heart of a school community, a school is abruptly closed or a Principal or AP is suddenly swept up in an unfair investigation.  If a Principal is up against the wall, her network leader doesn't have any formal responsibility for her and her superintendent might not know her very well.

There was a bizarre disconnect between support and supervision. The person who knew The Principal best was her network leader, a consultant she hired under a corporate model, to supply the school's instructional, operational and student services supports.   By law, superintendents maintained the responsibility to hire and rate the Principal, but they were devalued as "mere educators" and many felt marginalized and barely visited their schools.  School leaders were left vulnerable and probably thought about it only when they had a problem and said, "Who do I call?" 

Now, there will be no guesswork. The superintendent will be held accountable for helping school leaders improve their school's performance in a way the network leader never was.  As with the networks, instructional, operational and student services support will be united.  Principals will maintain independence over their budgets and human resources. The finest network talent will move under the superintendent or into a Borough Field Support Center.  New Affinity Groups will spur camaraderie. Professional learning communities, like Learning Partners, will foster collaboration across boroughs.

Another disconnect with the network system was geographic.  A lot of the networks had schools in three or more boroughs.  Community ties to elected officials, community leaders and organizations eroded.   Relationships that had once existed between school levels frayed: the pipeline among schools that used to feed into each other, such as elementary into middle schools, began to weaken.  Principals often didn't know anything about the school down the block.

 Because networks weren't rooted in geography, issues like weather-related disasters, crime and policing, and health emergencies sometimes couldn't be approached effectively at the neighborhood level.  For parents, the geographic disconnect was also significant.  If they couldn't resolve their child's issue at the school level, say, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, they might have to turn to a network office in Woodside, Queens.  This could be baffling.

 Often, our Education Administrators and Supervisors navigated a geographic wasteland.  A building might contain three separate schools, each part of three separate networks.  A Supervisor of Psychology could serve his network school in a building that housed two other schools, but he couldn't walk down the hall and serve the kids in the two others.  Instead he might have to travel to two more boroughs.  You can't make this stuff up:  the cost in money, time and human forbearance was high, but, most of all, the children were getting short-changed.

For schools in low-income areas, the network system often worked least well.  Schools that needed the most support sometimes ended out working with the weakest networks.   Networks had the same number of staff whether they served 25 schools with 7,000 students or 25 schools with 40,000 students, and whether most of them were high performing or low performing.  Now, the neediest schools will get the most support, through a superintendent hand-picked by the chancellor. 

That's been the most ironic disconnect of all:  The networks, through no fault of their own, weren't set up to provide much accountability to the chancellor. Networks were a complex archipelago of independent islands so remote from Tweed that the chancellor could be held blameless for what happened at the school level.  In the end, accountability fell almost exclusively at the schoolhouse door.  .  .  at the feet of the Principal.  I'm thrilled that nobody, least of all the chancellor, will be held harmless anymore.#

Ernest Logan is the President, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators is the collective bargaining unit for 6,100 Principals, Assistant Principals, Supervisors and Education Administrators who work in the NYC public schools and 200 Directors and Assistant Directors who work in city-subsidized Centers for Early Childhood Education.

The Power of Education: Grace Outreach


 by Kisa Schell and Dominique Carson

Grace Outreach, founded by the Grace Family, is an academic program that helps lower-income women earn a GED. Using a results-focused model, Grace Outreach combines a rigorous curriculum with an individualized component to support every student's needs. The learning takes place in a safe, judgment-free environment that encourages students to pursue further education and employment goals.

Several students from Grace Outreach spoke, one said, "I'm going to college to become a lawyer. I'm so happy to say that they are really like a family to us and they really encouraged us. " Another student said, I'm currently studying graphic design and this has just been an amazing journey. "

The Director of Mathematics at Grace Outreach spoke and said, "I need no applause for doing something I absolutely love to do. I'm in my 8th year teaching there and I'm just so proud of the organization."

Grace Outreach recently was awarded a 100K grant from News Corp to build a Technology Center. Foundations, corporations, and private individuals privately fund the program. 

The programs provide women 18 years and older the opportunity to continue their education: individualized instruction to pass the TASC exam (high school equivalency diploma); college Prep Program - prepares these woman to pass the Compass Exam in order to enroll in the CUNY Schools without having to take remedial courses that are non-credit bearing.

Keisha Smith, the honoree said, "This honor is a shared one tonight, with my colleagues who also joined me tonight. We began to think about how to make philanthropy an innovative example and we learn that when we as corporations partner with non-profit organizations," it empowers individuals to live their best lives." #

by Rodney J. Croft

No surprise that 2015 is chockablock with World War II- themed materials, marking as it does the 70th anniversary of the end of that significant historical event.

And no surprise that scarcely any corner of this conflict attracts aficionados, as well as professional historians, to mine some neglected area of interest or study.

Rodney J. Croft, a semi-retired British surgeon, has turned his attention to 'Operation Hope Not' the codename for the

State and private funerals of Sir Winston Churchill, the first book ever written with this its sole subject, perhaps arc
ane to some, yet one that no doubt will find an audience among worldwide Anglophiles, Churchillians and amateur historians particularly intrigued by the British affinity for, and expertise, in pomp and ceremony.

State funerals, usually reserved for the British monarch, have been provided to certain distinguished commoners, such as Sir Isaac Newton, The Viscount Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, and William Gladstone, who served as prime minister.

Queen Elizabeth II had actually decided to provide a state funeral for Churchill shortly after her own coronation in 1953. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Churchill's funeral, which took place on January 30, 1965, following his death on January 24. And it's no surprise either that Churchill had provided detailed instructions for his burial--it wasn't as if he were someone to leave anything to chance. As Croft writes, "Everything was planned just like a full military exercise, down to the last minute and in some cases seconds."

Beyond the granular detail that Croft provides in this volume about the State funeral and Churchill's burial, he also includes commentary from British and world leaders after Churchill's death (including then-president Lyndon Johnson). There are excerpts from some of Churchill's most memorable speeches--such as the still stirring " we shall never surrender"--and a thorough bibliography and poems from Churchill's daughter, Sarah, that offer other dimensions to this tightly focused work, which provides a highly interesting read. #

From Dr. Herman Rosen:

I so enjoyed reading this book, Churchill's Final Farewell. The book is very engaging and has meticulous details, which, to me, as a physician sound "evidence-based" and I find fascinating. Congratulations on a tour de force.

I am sure Rodney Croft is very proud of this splendid work.

Herman Rosen, MD, FACP, FASN

Clinical Professor of Medicine

Weill Cornell Medical College

Published by Croft Publishing 2014: 155 pp.*

Available in eBook from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and ePub. In paperback from Amazon.

 Photo Caption: Dr. Rodney Croft at Tower Bridge

The Startling Case of the Dyslexie Font


 By Dr. John J. Russell

 Paul Simon said it well in his song "The Boxer" (1968): "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." While there are almost endless examples of this type of myopia in every field, education tends to be particularly prone to the shortsightedness of substituting anecdote for evidence. Fueled by a remarkable amount of positive media coverage, the Dyslexie font has the potential to make inroads into education in spite of a glaring lack of research support.

The Dyslexie font was created by the Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer with the intended purpose of making reading easier for people with dyslexia. Boer, a self-identified dyslexic, began work on the font in 2008 while he was studying at the Utrecht Art Academy in the Netherlands, and the design of the font eventually became his graduate school project. While the Dyslexie font has been around since 2008, it did not take off as a media darling until November of 2014 when it was featured at the Istanbul Design Biennial. A blizzard of publicity followed. The New York magazine feature, "The Approval Matrix," rated the Dyslexie font as somewhat "highbrow" and "brilliant" (November 17-23, 2014). The on-line magazine Slate reported, "Designed to make reading clearer and more enjoyable for people with dyslexia, Dyslexie uses heavy base lines, alternating stick and tail lengths, larger openings, and semi-cursive slants to ensure that each character has a unique and more easily recognizable form" (November 10, 2014).  The Guardian of Great Britain (demonstrating a lack of understanding of the true nature of dyslexia) got on the bandwagon saying, "Watching letters float and twist across a page, flipping and jumbling with gymnastic abandon, can be a daily frustration for readers with dyslexia. But the restless characters might soon be tamed thanks to a new font", and that Boer, "...has put all 26 letters of the alphabet through a finely-tuned process of adjustment to weigh them down and make it harder for similar letters to be confused" (November 12, 2014). The Dyslexie font was also the subject of reporting on NPR radio and CBS television, and quickly began to trend on social media outlets like Facebook.

Supported by this positive media coverage, Boer's website proclaims that, "Traditional fonts are designed solely from an aesthetic point of view, which means they often have characteristics that make characters difficult to recognize for people with dyslexia. Oftentimes, the letters of a word are confused, turned around or jumbled up because they look too similar." His website also posts, "Representative research among many dyslexics has shown that the font actually helps them to read text faster and with fewer errors."

The only problem with these glowing reports and enticing promises is that there is scant evidence to support them. 

Actually, the evidence is far less than scant. On his website, Boer has a section called "Research." One of the principle sources of the evidence listed there, that supposedly supports the Dyslexie font, is the paper that Renske de Leeuw (2010) wrote as part of her graduate school program. There are several significant problems with this research. For example, the sample was compromised in a number of ways. It consisted of a small number (43) of adult (ages 19 - 25) Dutch speaking dyslexics and non-dyslexics who attended the same university as Leeuw.

All of these factors severely limit the ability to generalize from the results of the study. Most astonishing are the conclusions that Leeuw reaches based on the results of her study that examined four hypotheses. Three of the hypotheses dealt with reading speed and accuracy differences, which was produced by the Dyslexie font in dyslexic and non-dyslexic participants. She concluded that the results of this study did not confirm two of her hypotheses: "The results indicated that neither the dyslectics [sic] nor the normal readers did increase their reading speeds significantly while reading the words on the EMT and Klepel with the Dyslexie'" font." EMT and Klepel are the instruments that were used in this study to measure reading speed and accuracy. The results directly contradict the claim on Boer's website that with the Dyslexie font, "Reading is faster, easier and, above all, more enjoyable."

The second hypothesis in the study predicted that reading with the Dyslexie font would allow dyslexics to read more accurately. The results provide conflicting (scant) support for this hypothesis. Leeuw found that while dyslexics made fewer substitution errors with the Dyslexie font, they made more guessing errors.

Another study cited on the Boer website was conducted by Pijpker and reached the same conclusions as Leeuw: there was no improvement in reading speed with the Dyslexie font and there were mixed results for reading accuracy.

The graphic designer Chuck Bigelow has examined more than fifty scientific studies and books about the relationship between dyslexia and typography. He concluded, "In the scientific literature, I found no evidence that special dyslexia fonts confer statistically significant improvements in reading speed compared to standard, run-of-the-mill fonts." He also found conflicting evidence regarding reading accuracy: "Some studies found that for certain subsets of reading errors, special fonts do reduce error rates for dyslexic readers, yet for other subsets of errors, special dyslexic fonts were no better, or in some cases worse; hence, the findings on reading errors are mixed."

Despite the enthusiasm of the media, like many other educational innovations, claims about the Dyslexie font's ability to make reading faster and easier for dyslexics simply do not survive careful scrutiny. While Boer's self-proclaimed intentions are admirable, it should be noted that he owns and sells the Dyslexie font. All students--and most certainly dyslexic students--need to be protected from well-intentioned innovations and fads masquerading as science. As the ultimate consumers of educational innovations, we must all be wary of the substitution of anecdote for evidence, testimonials for data, and personal opinion for real science.

Since 2002, Education Update has been honoring women leader and innovators for their accomplishments and contributions to society. Here is a list of all the women we've honored in our March issues so far:


Edith Everett, Ceo, Gruntal & Co., Philanthropist, Cuny Trustee Emeritus

Barbara Gordon, New York State Teacher of The Year 2002

Astrid Heger, M.D., Founder Violence Intervention Program, 
Univerity of Southern California School Of Medicine

Chief Joanne Jaffe, NYPD

Captain Rochelle Jones, FDNY

Rita Kaplan,COO, Kaplan Family Foundation, Philanthropist, Social Worker

Augusta Kappner, President, Bank Street College of Education

Carol Anne Riddell, President NYPress Club, NBC Education Correspondent  

Judith Shapiro, President Barnard College

Sheila Wellington, Ceo, Catalyst  


Augusta Souza Kappner, President, Bank Street, Leader and Champion For Children Everywhere

Eve Kurtin, Ph.D., Managing Director, Pacific Venture Group

Marianne Legato, Md, Pres., Partnership For Women's Health, Woman In Science Award, American Medical Women's Association

Jill Levy, President, Council Of Supervisors And Administrators

Dr. Louise Mirrer, Executive Vice-Chancellor For Academic Affairs, Cuny

Dr. Lorraine Monroe, President & CEO, The Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute

Dr. Alice Wilder, Executive Producer, Blues Clues, Wnet 13

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 1997


Muriel Siebert: First Woman of Finance
Marilyn Horne: Metropolitan Opera, 
Mezzo-Soprano Agueda Pizarro Rayo: 
Poet & Professor

Sheila Johnson, Co-Founder, Black Entertainment Television

Regina Peruggi, President, Central Park Conservancy


Ruth Messinger, Executive Director Of The American Jewish World Service'

Carol Berkin, Professor

Dr. Alexandra Levine

Nyc Comissioner Martha Hirst

Nadia Comaneci

Mary Lu Christie

Lisa Gossels

Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields

Renee Fleming

Dr. Maya Angelou

Alicia Ashley


Marin Alsop

Kathryn Anderson

Mary Brabeck

Yaffa Eliach

Temple Grandin

Kati Haycock

Yolanda Jimenez

Jill Levy

Diane Ravitz

Randi Weingarten,

Peggy Williams

Kathryn Wylde


 Worldquest (WWQ)'s Women Of Discovery Fellowship Awards: Dr. Jane Goodall Dr. Constanza Ceruti, Grace J. Gobbo, Dr. Erin Pettit, Dr. Terrie Williams

Dr. Charlotte Frank

Erin Gruwell

Rosemarie Reed

President Susan Fuhrman

President Catherine Bond Hill

President Donna Shalala


Augusta Kappner, President, Bank Street College

Judith Shapiro, President, Barnard College

Margaret M. Grace, Esq., Founder, Grace Outreach

Artemis Simopoulos, M.D., Founder, Center For Genetics & Nutrition

Julie Freischlag, M.D., Chief Of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical School

Shirley Cohen, Ph.D. Professor, Hunter College
• Paula Nadelstern, Artist & Quilter

Sheila Johnson, Co-Founder, Black Entertainment Television

Carol Bellamy, Director, World Learning

Young Leaders Who Will Shape History

Heather Maher,
 State University Of New York, Potsdam

Katarzyna Nikhamina,
 Columbia College, 2007

Liza Novogrodsky, 
Teachers College, Columbia University

Sarah Stuckey
, Trinity College, Hartford
Former Reporter,  Education Update


Lady Pauline Perry

Carolyn Blashek

Deborah Axelrod, M.D.

Helen Benedict

Kakuna Kerina, President/CEO of The Harlem School Of The Arts

Conductor Victoria Bond


Michelle Rhee, Chancellor Of District Of Columbia Public Schools

Doris Cintron, Dean
The City College Of New York

Veronica Kelly, Director Special Projects, The Bowery Mission

Janet Alperstein

Nancy Ploeger, President, 
Manhattan Chamber Of Commerce

Pat Winchester: The Good Dog Foundation



Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate & Liberian Activist

President Susan Fuhrman, President, Teachers College, Columbia University

President Deborah Spar, Barnard College

President Jennifer Raab, Hunter College

Linda Macaulay, Philanthropist, Ornithologist

Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, The State University Of New York

Dr. Randi Herman, First Vice President, Council Of School Supervisors & Administrators

Roseanne Haggerty, Macarthur 'Genius' Award

President Regina Peruggi, Kingsborough Community College

Dr. Ciara Harraher, Neusurgeon

Rita Dimartino, Cuny Trustee

Dr. Lisa Chipps, Dermatologist

Future Leaders

Dominique Carson


Michelle Obama

Carla Markell: Delaware First Lady

Christine Quinn: City Council Speaker

Shelia Evans-Tranumn: Chair, Board Of Trustees, Casey Family Programs Foundation

Carole Berotte Joseph: President, Bronx Community College

Tisa Chang: Founder, Pan Asian Repertory Theater

Dr. Maria Mitchell: President, Amdec

Joan Kretschmer, Ph.D.: Musician, Creator

Dora B. Schriro: Commissioner, Nyc Dept. Of Correction

Deborah Strobin: An Uncommon Philanthropist

Alice Weiss: Teacher, Lawyer, Poet

Cindy Sherman: Photographer, Innovator


Laurie Tisch

Joyce Cowin

Judith Kaye

Christina Paxson

Nan J. Morrison

Judith Hochman

Ntozake Shange

Kimberly Cline

Sylvia Montero

Wu Man

Elizabeth Shwal

Ellen Futter

Kate Hathaway

Jeanne Shaheen


Margaret I. Cuomo, M.D.

Dean Laurie Glimcher: Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Mary Malewicz-Carter: Renal Research Institute Sustainable Kidney Care Foundation

Dr. Gertrud Lenzer: Founding Director, Children's Studies Center At Brooklyn College

Suzanne Wright: Co-Founder Of Autism Speaks

Dean Donne Kampel: Touro College

Dr. Harriet Fields: Health Care Activist In Africa

Cecelia Mccarton, M.D.: The Mccarton Center For Developmental Pediatrics

Dr. Linda Kaboolian: Harvard University

Ellen Baker, M.D.: Astronaut

Jo Ann Corkran: Golden Seeds

Jennifer Baumgardner: The Feminist Press

Peggy A. Ogden: Brown University

Lauren Ruotolo: Director Of Entertainment Promotion, Hearst Magazines

Mariette Dichristina: Scientific American

Dean Terry Fulmer: Northeastern University

by Gillian Granoff

When I traveled to Open University in Ramat Aviv to meet Ofir Zukovsky, the Executive Vice President of Business Development at the Center for Education Technology (CET), the non-descript concrete walls of the building led me to expect a stale corporate environment. Instead, I discovered a budding metropolis of scientific discovery. The bright orange walls and modern interior design belie the misleading exterior and is a reflection of the transformation of a company that has set the standard for reinventing curriculum technology for over 40 years. This vitality and creativity are what have helped CET to secure its position as a pioneer in the education technology industry.

Set on the campus of Open University, CET embraces an open philosophy, creating a successful partnership between corporate and community values. Founded in 1973, the center was an initiative by the Israeli Government and Baron Rothschild to bring computer technologies into the classroom. It eventually grew to become the largest publishing house for school textbooks in Israel. Today, CET has pioneered innovative and inclusive platforms for education technology in Israel and abroad.

For over forty years, CET's programs have redefined the interaction between teacher and students, facilitated independent learning, and helped students of all levels to fulfill their potential through technology. The center is known as a leading architect in redefining the global landscape of education by designing computerized curriculums proven to improve the success of students from all backgrounds, including those students with special needs students. The variety of curriculums speaks to their commitment for social outreach and equality. The curricula provide interactive platforms giving students the resources to work independently or with tutors. CET has literally put learning at student's fingertips.

CET's bilingual platforms enable a cross-cultural dialogue between Arabic and Hebrew learners that cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration. Students from both backgrounds engage online through CET's virtual campus, Ofek. Ofek publishes a bilingual human rights website for primary school students as well as an online youth magazine for high school students titled Makom. These platforms allow students to express their views on a range of topics from current events to politics and the environment in an accepting community of their peers.

CET also uses technology to meet the needs of students with disabilities as well as new immigrants in Israel. To increase the success rate of immigrant students and children of immigrants, CET has developed innovative models that allow immigrant students to prepare for the Matriculation examinations. The diversity in the subjects offered encourage and stimulate marginalized students who might otherwise dropout.

CET receives additional support for its global initiatives from individual contributors and by the nations coordinated and managed by the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization, Al Quds University, The Hebrew University, The Cite des Sciences et L'industrie in Paris (CSI) and the Bloomfield Science museum in Jerusalem. Funding goes towards many projects, including a training program for teachers in Macedonia, online seminars for 250 universities in South America (currently in development), and mathematical gaming initiative using 3D technologies for high level math students in Singapore.

In addition to pioneering new technologies and innovative curriculums, CET aims to support the training and growth of other startups in education technology through its subsidiary, MindCET. CET supports an inclusive model of education that cultivates tolerance and makes learning accessible to all students in a complex political and religious climate. #

By Jayme Stewart, Director of College Guidance at York Prep

The end of the calendar year can be a daunting time for high school seniors seeking college admissions. There is urgent work for seniors who have not yet completed their college applications, from organizing recommendation letters to finalizing personal essays. A timely approach to the college application process is necessary for both students and their parents to ensure a feeling of control during this hectic time. Every high school senior has the opportunity to take extra steps to bolster his or her collegiate appeal before hearing back from college admissions departments.

Students must take great care in preparing the supplemental materials that will accompany each application. Once again, time management is a key factor in ensuring students are putting their best foot forward and have all necessary materials to meet application deadlines. Students should give teachers ample time to write thoughtful recommendations and, if they are applying for financial aid, keep their parents informed of deadlines for the FAFSA form, CSS, and each college's own application for financial aid.  Students should by now have identified a unique topic idea for their personal essays, which should address who they are as students, who they are as community members, and how they could be an asset to a particular college or university.

Seniors who are waiting to hear, and particularly those who are applying for early decision or early acceptance applications, should send their mid-year grades and exam scores, provided that they have kept their grades up. This information can be accompanied with a letter or email to the college's admissions department with any updates that might better position a student for acceptances, such as new volunteering endeavors or extracurricular accomplishments. These letters show admissions departments that students are serious about pursuing higher education and are committed to attending the college or university to which they've applied.

Students who have already submitted their college applications should remain in close contact with their guidance counselors. A good guidance counselor sticks with a student throughout the college application process, especially in the critical period between application submissions and acceptance or rejection letters from colleges, as this is the time when colleges are making their decisions. At York Prep, we often make phone calls or email recent accomplishments of each senior.

Those students who are deferred from their top choice school may choose to write "plead letters" to express to the college just how much they wish to attend the particular school. These letters may include supplemental materials, such as continuing excellent grades, which could be useful for admissions staff members to see when making their final decisions about candidates. The game is never over until the summer. Wait-listed students will need final grades to show that they are still working hard to earn a place at college.

So clearly, seniors need to keep their final grades up after college applications have been submitted. They must also resist giving into the temptation of taking the easiest classes a school has to offer at any point during their senior year

Finally, students should maintain an open line of communication with their guidance counselors at all times. While students are expected to drive the college application process, it is invaluable for them to have a supportive team of people working to keep them focused and motivated throughout the process. #

Jayme Stewart founded York Prep, along with her husband Ronald Stewart, in 1969. She served as the head of York Prep's English Department during the school's first 10 years and has served as Director of College Guidance for more than 45 years. Mrs. Stewart, and her co-director, Janet Rooney, work closely with students to prepare them for acceptance into top colleges, which paves the way for successful and fulfilling careers. She wrote the well-received book on college prep, "How to Get into the College of Your Choice and How to Finance It" Mrs. Stewart has provided numerous lectures and media interviews on the topic of college guidance and preparation. Mrs. Stewart graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College.

China Institute February Newsletter


Mao's Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution ~ Through April 26, 2015

Around half a century ago during the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976), China was in a political "mango-fever." In 1968, after receiving a gift of mangoes from the visiting Pakistani foreign minister, Mao Zedong sent the fruit to the "Worker-Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams." It coincided with a turning point in the Cultural Revolution from student-leading to worker-peasant-leading. Mangoes, an unfamiliar fruit at that time in China, became a temporary political symbol of Chairman Mao's benevolence and love for the people. Illustrations and photos of mangoes appeared in publications, paintings, posters and badges, as well as on everyday objects such as mirrors, quilt covers and enamelware. Wax mango models were displayed in glass boxes to express respect for Mao, along with circumstances of the gift printed in red on the cases. By showcasing over 80 mango-related objects, Mao's Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution explores the interaction of material culture and politics during this period. This exhibition is organized by the Museum Rietberg Zürich and is curated by Alfreda Murck and Alexandra von Przychowski. The China Institute Gallery showing of the exhibition has been expanded to include loans from the Collection of Judy Manton and from an Anonymous Private Collector.

For PreK-12 Students:
Chinese for Children Afterschool Classes ~ Spring 2015

Learn Chinese in a fun and immersive environment! Registration for Spring 2015 classes is still open to both current and NEW students! We will be accepting registrations up to the 3rd week of class (February 13th). We are introducing new textbooks to further strengthen our curriculum and to help our students achieve high proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. 5% discount for siblings. To learn more or to register, please contact Valerie Ong at vong@chinainstitute.org or 212-744-8181, ext. 110.

Open House for Summer Study in China 2015 ~ February 7, 2015

On February 7th from 3-5pm, China Institute will be hosting an Open House for those interested in our Summer Study in China program. Summer Study in China gives high school students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Chinese language and culture in a vibrant, wide-ranging study abroad program. In addition to daily intensive language courses, cultural activities, and field trips, students live with host families, giving them an unbeatable window into the lives of local residents.

Children's Outreach Workshops

China Institute's We All Live in the Forbidden City program offers a series of children's workshops that can be brought to schools, museums, and libraries near you. Led by the program's experienced teachers, students will learn about Chinese culture through creative activities, interactive storytelling, animations, and group discussions. The first two workshops in the series teach children about the life and responsibilities of an emperor, and how nature was the inspiration behind the architecture of the Forbidden City. Please contact us if you are interested in bringing these workshops to your community.

For Adults:
Adult Chinese Language & Studio Classes
The Spring 2015 semester will start on April 13th, with registration opening on March 1st. China Institute offers a wide range of Chinese language classes for students at every proficiency level and with different expectations or goals.

We are pleased to announce the following NEW course offerings in Winter 2015:

[NEW] Chinese for Heritage Learners (Intermediate)

[NEW] Reading Chinese Media Texts (Newspaper and Internet)

[NEW] Lunch-Hour Conversation (High Beginner)

We continue to offer our very popular FREE one-on-one tutoring sessions to registered students while group classes are in session. The tutoring office hours (45 minutes per segment) are available on Monday through Thursday from 10:30am-12:45pm and 5:30-7:45pm.

In addition to the Group Classes, adult learners can also purchase hours from the Private Tutoring Program. The Adult Private Tutoring Program has been designed to meet an individual's specific language needs. Every class can be customized to fulfill any language training goals, from beginner to advanced, across multiple work streams.

In the adult studio program, we continue to offer our long-standing and well-received art and culture courses, including Chinese calligraphy, brush painting and Taijiquan.

Short Course - A Course on the Uniqueness of Chinese (3-Sessions) ~ Starts February 17, 2015

Given by lecturer Ben Wang, this course will explore the musicality of the language and the artistic and ingenious features of the written characters as living images of the Chinese culture. An in-depth understanding of Chinese written characters, their sounds, and the tonal system enables one to grasp the structure of the Chinese language.

For Educators:
Plan for Better Teaching: A Pedagogy Short Course ~ Starts March 8, 2015

"Plan for Better Teaching" (PBT) is a short course designed for in-service Chinese language teachers to learn best practices in the standards-based classroom. Participants will learn key concepts and examine issues related to curriculum development, instruction, and assessment. By engaging in a lesson-plan development project, participants will have the opportunity to: implement lesson plans in their own classrooms and individually discuss their work with Dr. Wei-Ling Wu during mentoring sessions.

Programs & Events
Literati Painting: A Genre Unique to Chinese Culture ~ March 17, 2015

Blending poetry, calligraphy and painting, Chinese literati painting glows as an enchanted garden of art. In this lecture and performance, two masters of the form will be introduced: Qi Baishi (1864-1957), whose art proclaims the triumph of the romantic over the commonplace, and Pu Ru (1896-1963), whose works transport viewers to a realm of bliss.

Members' Events
Young Associates Lunar New Year Soirée ~ February 28, 2015

The Young Associates invite you to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of the Sheep, at The Golden Unicorn Banquet Hall on Saturday, February 28, 2015. The evening will begin with an open-bar cocktail hour where you will meet a diverse group of young philanthropic professionals from the New York Tri-State Area. A formal and traditional Chinese dinner will follow, featuring six symbolic dishes to wish our guests a prosperous and fruitful 2015. The evening will showcase a plethora of live performances and a Chinese art auction. We will conclude our festivities with a live music performance and dance party hosted by special guest DJ Hiyawatha. This is a celebration you won't want to miss!

Renwen Society
Lecture: Nanjing: Capital City for Ten Dynasties in China ~ February 15, 2015

Nanjing, which means Southern Capital, is known as one of the four major ancient capitals in China together with Beijing, Xi'an and Luoyang. Dr. Luo Ling of the City University of New York, herself a Nanjing native and historian specializing in the study of the city, will discuss the rise and the fall of Nanjing during ten dynasties and the underlying factors for Nanjing to be favored as a capital city for China.

Performance: Chinese New Year Celebration at Pace University ~ February 22, 2015

The Renwen Society is co-sponsoring a music and dance performance in celebration of the Year of the Sheep at Pace University. Free to the public with RSVP required.

Performance: The Legend of Mulan ~ March 5-8, 2015

For the first time outside of China, the Hong Kong Dance Company brings to the stage an inspiring re-telling of the household folktale of love, peace and virtue in a dance drama, "The Legend of Mulan." The spectacular production is presented by The China Arts & Entertainment Group and will be performed at the David H. Koch Theater (Lincoln Center) March 5 - 8, 2015. The Renwen Society supports the performance. Renwen members, including China Institute members, and their friends receive 30% discount on their ticket purchase. Please use the code Renwen when buying your tickets.

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (www.usdan.com), the nationally acclaimed summer arts day camp whose alumni include Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, Jane Monheit, Jackie Hoffman, Olivia Thirlby, Taylor Dane and many others, announces The New Usdan with many new courses for 2015. The Center begins its 48tth season with new program options that will add breadth to Usdan¹s renowned offerings, while new calendar options will accommodate more family summer plans.  

 In addition, Usdan will now offer Aftercare, from 3:05 to 6 PM each camp day, at no extra charge, for busy and working parents.     The next, free Open House for the new season is on Wednesday February 18 from 11 AM to 2 PM at the Center¹s 200-acre woodland campus, at 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights (Huntington), New York 11798. For information and reservations, call (631) 643-7900, write toinfo@usdan.com, or visit www.usdan.com.  

New Dance programs include Hip hop (for grades 4-12, intermediate level), Beginning Combination Dance (grades 4-12, incorporating jazz, lyrical, theater and modern dance styles), and Lyrical Dance (grades 4-12, combining ballet and jazz). The Art Department will offer classes in Sewing and Fashion Design, beginner and advanced, where students can both design and create their clothes, Architecture Design (grades 7-12, building design principles, drawing and model-making), and Lego Design (grades 2-12), a program that uses Legos to create works of art and building design.

 In Recreation, new courses include Yoga, Archery and Quidditch (the non-Wizard version), all for grades 2-12. In addition, for students age 15 and up there will be a course in Lifeguarding, one leading to American Red Cross certification (proof of advanced swimming ability is required, plus a supplemental fee).

 A second session of Usdan¹s special and successful 3-week season will launch in 2015. The new session will begin as Usdan¹s season opens on June 29, while the second 3-week session will begin on July 27. These options are in addition to Usdan¹s traditional 7-week and 4-week sessions.  

 In addition to the Center¹s frequent Open House dates, Usdan offers individual weekend guided tours available by appointment. Weekday self-guided walks are also available. For directions to the Center, visit www.usdan.com. For an appointment, call 631-643-7900 (Visitors must be 21 years of age or accompanied by a parent). Families who cannot attend an Open House may make individual appointments for visits on weekends or weekdays throughout the Fall and Winter.           

Usdan Center offers more than 40 programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, creative writing, nature and ecology and chess, annually hosting more than 1,600 students from towns throughout the Tri-State New York area. No audition is needed for most courses, and transportation is provided in air- conditioned buses that depart from most New York-area neighborhoods. One- third of Usdan¹s students receive scholarship assistance based on family need. Video from many of Usdan¹s programs and special events, may now be viewed on the Center¹s website, http://www.usdan.com as well as on YouTube. Also, families can check out Usdan¹s Facebook site, where additional information and late-breaking news is featured.  

 Future Open Houses during 2014-15 will be on Sundays, March 15, April 19, and May 17, all from 11 AM to 2 PM.  

 Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships and a Musical Rep Theatre Ensemble. Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.   Usdan Center also recently co-presented the sold-out ³Jimmy Webb and Jane Monheit² concert at Port Washington¹s Landmark on Main Street. ###

spot-john dewey beach cleanup Kaiser Park.jpg

By Dominique M. Carson

Recently, educators, administrators, and organizations joined together at John Dewey High School's STEM collaborative meeting to discuss how to apply K-12 sustainability themes to the New York Waterfront.

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education that gives students a better understanding as to why these subjects intertwine with the real world and how it's imperative for students' success.

At the meeting, Lane Rosen, John Dewey High School's Marine Biology Teacher and assistant principal explained why it's necessary for schools and various agencies to collaborate with each other, create a STEM Pathway from kindergarten to college, and provide leadership roles for students from the STEM collaborative program.

 "STEM has always been a part of Dewey; I started at Dewey around 2002 and we already started doing some wonderful things in the program.  My colleague, Mr. White, from Edward R. Murrow High School and I did a sand dune restoration with about 30 students and a grant from the New York Aquarium. The kids really got involved in all of the field studies," said Rosen. "We did fishing, looked at different animals and measured them, we kayaked, the kids participated in field studies and it was great."

Rosen also mentioned Dewey's robotics lab that allows students to construct robots after school and they compete annually in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).  The school has an aquarium classroom that teaches pupils how to take care of the aquarium and the fish.

Linda Curtis-Bey, Executive Director, STEM, NYCDOE also shared a few words about the program and why the Department of Education should work on engaging students about what they need to know about STEM.  She says teachers need to build a framework for students to figure out the relevance in various STEM topics so they can understand the bigger picture once they leave the classroom. 

 "Having done this for a quite few years now and working with professional development of teachers, principals, and administrators, I began to understand the idea that once you start teaching, you really start understanding what you're teaching. "For me, STEM is about how we take what we know in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and apply it. It's about problem solving and figuring out different ways to solve the problem.  Through the process I think we get students to understand math, technology, and science but also engage in their communities and environments and what's around them."

US Navy Career Counselor Chief Freddie McAbee and Michael Fourte, Lt. Commander were present and shared how STEM helped them create a remotely operated vehicle for the SeaPerch Challenge.  While the students are building the vehicle, they are learning about ship and submarine design, naval architecture, and the origins of the ocean and marine biology. The SeaPerch Challenge is an underwater robotics program that encourages teachers and students to learn more about engineering, technology, science, mathematics, and robotics.

The next assignment for the STEM collaborative team is to work on a marine educational workshop, "It's My Park Day," at the Kaiser Park Waterfront with Gene Ritter from Cultural Research Divers and City Parks Foundation.

The overview of the STEM collaborative meeting was a "natural outgrowth" for everyone to figure out how they get more students, schools, and organizations involved in their community and environmental based activities on the STEM curriculum.

Kathleen Elvin, Principal of John Dewey High School summed it up by saying: "We have lots of opportunities in this room for our kids to learn together, to learn from each other and to have those experiences that I think everybody remembers. The trips they had in elementary, middle, and high school, the projects they completed, that's where we build a science community. It becomes the culture; it becomes the way we do things instead of just the things we learn in the classroom." #

Having already won four national titles in three separate decades at Duke, dating back to his first title in 1991, Coach K has sustained a level of greatness that ranks him, perhaps, as the best to ever coach college basketball. Still, for Coach K, it's the passion for the game and the relationships to his players and fellow coaches that he's built along the way that seem to mean the most to him. As a player at West Point, legendary coach Bobby Knight mentored him, allowing him to realize the value of connecting with others. He, in return, has counseled countless coaches and players in pursuing their goals in basketball and in life.

When St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin was given a chance to be the interim Head Coach of UCLA, Coach K guided him by telling him. "The kids deserve you to be 100 percent in the moment and giving everything you have," said Lavin, who ultimately went on to get the Bruin job.

Coach K's former player, long-time Duke assistant, and present Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said, "Coach has been an amazing mentor for me. He's just a phenomenal role model in every sense of the word, not just from a basketball perspective, but also from a personal one. I think all the guys that have been around him would echo what I said. He's a very unique person and he's had a profound impact on so many of our lives in basketball and outside of basketball."

At the moment from the upper press box at Madison Square Garden, I looked down at the Duke bench and saw Coach K jumping up and down in the huddle in a defensive stance urging his team to get past the 32-32 tie.  A 67 year-old man coaching, well, like he was the interim coach at Duke. Wanting to deliver for his players as though this was his first victory and not his 1000th. Everything that I had seen and researched about Coach K had made sense in that moment.  He was being in the moment, winning the day, and doing what he does best, teach -even in front of 20,000 people.

The game ended up being anything but an easy win. Against a very athletic and tough St. John's team, Duke ended up coming back from a 10-point second half-deficit to win 77-68.

At the post-game press conference coach K was his normal courteous and reflective self: "As long as I'm doing it, I'm going to bring energy. I want people around me to give me energy, too, " said Mike, who has also won two Olympic gold medals as the coach of USA Basketball. "When my guys started going, it really was beautiful to see them fight and win."

Coach K had done the unimaginable in winning his 1000th career game and his focus was on how his team worked together for this monumental victory. It's no wonder that Coach K has made so many friends along the way.#

Mike Cohen is a sports editor/reporter for Education Update.  Mike is also the founder and director of Throwback Sports, an individualized and small-group program for children. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net.

About Me

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