Community Teachers Initiative Spring Dinner

On June 2, 2017, Lexington Brass was once again the location for the annual Spring Dinner! As usual, we had a great collection of scholars, school administrators, and CTI board members (Tim & Paulene) who enjoyed wonderful food and conversation. Young teachers were able to exchange ideas and information with more experienced colleagues, and those who are still in class were able to get an idea of what awaits them. All agree that the annual Spring Dinner is a tradition to be continued!

Another Proud CTI Graduate

On May 31, 2017, Lizmary Valdez, one of Community Teachers Initiative’s Peter Greeman scholarship recipients, graduated from CCNY and was a graduation speaker! Tim Greeman, CTI President, had a front row seat when CCNY sat him on the stage. Lizmary’s speech was an inspiration to all who heard her: from a childhood in the shelters to a teacher of young minds! She is an inspiration, as well, to all of us at CTI.

CTI Expands its Involvement with HipHopEd

Community Teachers Initiative has always supported HipHopEd, and has always been there at the big musical event when the music is playing and the students are up on stage, rhyming about science. On February 10, 2017, we went a little further: CTI showed support by additionally attending one of the preliminary guidance meetings. We met with the wonderful teachers who help the kids with their raps and make this whole thing happen! Chris Emdin, one of (our scholar) Edmund Adjapong’s mentors, was on hand to inspire the teachers and volunteers who make it all happen. Of course, Edmund was there to make everything run smoothly and make sure all participants had the support they needed.

CTI Attends the NYC Men Teach Initiative Launch Meeting

On February 8, 2017, CTI President Tim Greeman was lucky enough to be invited to the official launch of the NYC Men Teach Initiative partnership program with CCNY. This is a program of creating teachers in CUNY schools in concert with New York City Board of Education that shares the main aim of CTI – putting local youth in teaching programs to produce community-connected teachers. CTI met with “Men Teach” representatives from many of the CUNY schools, and we hope to work with them again soon.

Edmund Adjapong

We are so proud of Peter Greeman Scholar Edmund Adjapong for writing and publishing this excellent article for the Huffington Post on November 22, 2016: “Teaching While Black: A Reflection of my Experiences as an Educator of Color”.

He provides invaluable insight into the teaching experience, while inspiring all of us to constantly evaluate and improve in our classrooms.

To read this article please copy and paste this link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5834bac6e4b050dfe6187764?timestamp=1479851728191

Community of Teachers Cohort (CTC) meeting

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We are pleased to announce that on November 4, 2016 we held our first “Community of Teachers Cohort (CTC) meeting” for the benefit of all of our Peter Greeman Scholars. It was a great meeting where the CTI Scholars exchanged ideas and experiences, some that were common to all and others that were not as common. It was a meeting which celebrated their successes, expressed concerns, contemplated hardships, and mulled over some sensitive issues which only other teachers can truly understand and relate to.

We used this meeting as a time to learn from one another and to hopefully establish future bonds and partnerships with one another. The CTI Scholars used this opportunity to identify, examine, and consider classroom strategies that would strengthen their teaching.

It is our hope that over time these will become regular meetings which will provide opportunities for our CTI Scholars to come together and collaborate as a potential resource for one another, with the mutual understanding that they all strive for one common goal – to be the best possible culturally-connected teacher in an urban classroom.

The evening was a tremendous success as we all walked away from that CTC meeting feeling more connected to one another.

Science Genius

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2016’s Science Genius rap battle came with new sponsors, new friends, and a giant new space!  Of course, the music was as great as it always is!

We met this year at New York’s legendary Javits Center, in conjunction with ESI’s awards ceremony.  Student teams of rappers came from seven different schools, as well as from Canada.  Program directors Chris Emdin and Edmund Adjapong did a fine job of producing a show of no equal.  Once again, Hollywood star Derek Luke headed the cast of judges tasked with the impossible – pick a winner from our finalists.

What a great group they were!  Once again, Science Genius searched schools all over New York to find and develop the best of the Science rappers.  This year was exceptional!  From all five boros they came, as well as visitors from the North. We had groups, we had solos – but most of all we had science.

At the came-too-soon end, a champion was picked, and took home the trophy.  But all agreed – winners and runner-ups alike – that it was a special evening, sure to instill pride and confidence in students and their schools.  And the music was great!

We hope to see everyone again – and all of you – at next year’s event!

CTI Scholar Dinner

Friday night, May 27th, was a glorious celebration dinner of CTI’s scholars. The celebration was held at the Lexington Brass in New York City!

Along with the scholars, administrators from our participating colleges and CTI executive members Tim & Paulene Greeman sat down to enjoy a sumptuous meal and pleasant company.  It was a great success, with all the students discussing their experiences and triumphs of the past school year!

There was plenty of good news to share:  Michelle and Bianca are graduating, and will soon be established in their own schools and working! Lizmary is close to graduating and just needs to complete her student teaching!

The dinner was a very positive experience. It was wonderful to have 7 out of the 11 Peter Greeman Scholars in attendance, sharing and elaborating on their individual teaching experiences. We wish everyone could have attended, but understand that it was the Friday before the Memorial Holiday weekend.

After the scholars introduced themselves, we had the scholars pick prepared questions out of a hat and give a brief response (i.e. – If you could change something about your school, what would it be? What surprised you this year?) It was a great way to break the ice and enabled everyone to become comfortable enough to actively engage in conversations about their classrooms and experiences. It went so well that we kept the room for an extra half hour, and continued talking even after that.

Before we left we were all in agreement that it would be beneficial and constructive to replicate the experience by having regular meetings during the upcoming school year. We agreed to start by scheduling two meetings – one in October and one in March. (We’ll be using the recommended “Doodle” app to schedule these get-togethers, meeting places to be determined.)

Where it will go from there is anyone’s guess, but it is our hope that these meetings will evolve into regular monthly or bimonthly meetings where a “Community of Teachers” can come together to share and collaborate.

HipHop Ed

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HipHopEd, a non-profit organization created by Chris Emdin and Edmund Adjapong recently hosted The Science Genius program’s presentation of B.A.T.T.L.E., the hip-hop science competition!

Edmund and Chris have been doing ground-breaking work in Reality Pedagogy, which uses the students’ lives and experiences to help them learn. With HipHopEd, students are given an opportunity to use their love of rhyme and music to express their knowledge of science. The results have been spectacular.

It also makes a great show! On June 20th, 2015 parents, teachers, friends, and HipHopEd all met at Teachers College for the final “showdown” between the top ten rapping groups/individuals from ten different NYC-area high schools. The event was proudly sponsored by Community Teachers Initiative. Every act was great! The knowledge and passion expressed should be prominently displayed to all the doubters of both rap music and its educational value. These students performed brilliantly.

We are so proud to be involved with such an exciting, important piece of teaching/learning history. And we are going to do it again next year!

Spring Time

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This past spring CTI gathered to celebrate the graduation of the first Peter Greeman Scholarship recipient, Edmund Adjapong, from Teachers College Columbia University. Board member and founders, teachers and college administrators joined with all five Peter Greeman Scholars to commemorate Edmund’s achievements as well as look forward to their own graduations and future endeavors. Excellent food and beverages were served and Henry’s restaurant did a great job of making us feel welcome. There were speeches and congratulations all around.