Newsletter

  • Brainstorming solutions to community issues

    Empowering Students through Civic Engagement: Event Recap

    “Ultimately, you are the protagonist of your own life. You are the author of your own narrative. You as young people, even though you are told, ‘You’re young, what can you do?’, every movement in the last century has been led by young people,” said Hector Calderon, founding principal of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, “Do you know why it’s been like that? Because young people don’t see the world as it is, but they see it as it could be.” A room full of school leaders, educators, students and community members applauded. Calderon was a part of Read More >

  • ESI remembers star student, Justin Zemser

    The ESI team pays tribute to a young man, U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Justin Zemser who was tragically killed in the recent Amtrak train derailment. Justin was returning to NYC to see his family and to present at the 2nd Annual ESI Male Summit that took place on May 16th at Channel View School for Research. Before attending the Naval Academy, Justin spent 7 years at Channel View where he graduated and was the valedictorian for the Class of 2013. In his speech he encouraged his classmates by saying: “The time has come for all of us to take a Read More >

  • The Missed Middle; The Missed Opportunity

    The Expanded Success Initiative’s name challenges the stereotype that African American and Latino youth are swept up in a social pathology of disinterest in education, irresponsibility and criminality. At SEO, we can attest to the determination of low income youth to succeed, despite the daunting adversity that many of them face daily. This past winter, we had one thousand seventy New York City 9th grade public school students apply to SEO Scholars. They applied knowing that for the rest of high school our program requires students to attend SEO classes in English and math three Saturdays per month, from 8:45am Read More >

  • A conversation with Harvey Chism

    “If we had the opportunity to build a school from scratch that followed the same mandate, in terms of improving the college and career outcomes of black and Latino males what might it look like?” This is the question the ESI Design Fellowship is working to answer. Consisting of EPIC North, EPIC South, and the Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice, the new ESI schools follow a newly designed curriculum with a heavy focus on culturally relevant education and competency-based learning. During our ESI conference, one of the design fellows, Harvey Chism, spoke on the work being done at the Read More >

  • Umoja Leaders

    During the ESI Conference, Ingrid Chung gave an Ed Talk that moved the audience. Ingrid Chung is a high school English teacher at Urban Assembly for Applied Math and Science. Here is what she said: We were well into the school year when I first met Devante three weeks after I started teaching humanities, for the first time, to seventh graders in the South Bronx. I had practiced saying his name in front of the mirror like I did with the other students on my class roster. De-Van-Te. I was determined to memorize all of my students’ names before my Read More >

  • Seeing and Taking the Time to Notice: Looking Beyond Partial Representations in the Classroom

    Yolanda Sealy-Ruiz is a professor at Teachers College Columbia University. Yolanda brings her knowledge of Culturally Responsive Education to ESI teachers. On May 19th Yolanda gave the keynote address at the ESI Conference. Seeing is an immediate response to sense impressions. Through seeing, we match images with established schemata. Noticing, however, involves experiencing and exploiting moments with complete and full attention. Noticing implies that a person is paying attention. It requires a set of practices for living in and hence learning from experiences that can inform future practice. We rarely notice unless we are being deliberate. I was honored to Read More >

  • ESI and Beyond: A Conversation with Michael Prayor

    Michael Prayor was principal of Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology, an ESI school. He is now HS Superintendent for Districts 17, 18, 20, 21, 22. Why did your school apply to ESI? We saw the benefits of being part of the initiative: At Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (BKLAT), 70% of our student population are African-American males. We saw it as an opportunity to think directly about a majority of our student population and how best to serve them. We wanted ESI to be something new and exciting for our teachers. What resulted was an ongoing Read More >

  • All Star Code

    What is All Star Code? All Star Code (ASC) is a nonprofit organization that attracts, prepares and places talented young men of color on pathways of leadership and success within the technology sector. Understanding the achievement gap between African-American and Latino boys and their peers, ASC exists to close the gap and cultivate untapped talent. All Star Code builds an “ecosystem of access and education” through programmatic initiatives that focus on education, mentorships, college guidance, industry exposure, parental education, and internship placement. Through this unique approach, ASC provides these young men with the skills, networks, and system know-how to become Read More >

  • CRE: A Teacher’s Perspective

    For the last two years, I have participated in several CRE workshop Sessions facilitated by Dr. Michelle Knight. I am a social studies teacher at The School for Human Rights in Brooklyn. The CRE workshop sessions truly helped me to work better with my ninth and tenth grade students. These sessions have been some of the most useful, informative sessions I have been a part of since the beginning of my tenure with the Department of Education in 1981. We have discussed and done many exercises based on but not limited to the Danielson Framework for Teaching through a CRE Read More >

  • Taking Back Our Children: A Conversation with Cheryl Wills

    I sat down with NY1 news anchor, Cheryl Wills on March 28th. It was a cold evening and the sun was starting to set. When I arrived at the 6th floor of the Chelsea Market building, Ms. Wills was waiting for me at the front desk of the New York 1 News Studio. Wearing a bright smile, she welcomed me and gave me a quick tour of the news studio. After a few pictures, Cheryl and I sat down to talk. Many of our students and ESI Liaisons will remember Cheryl Wills from the ESI Day of Action, where she Read More >

  • Student Voices

    Ramon Abreu, Jr., Senior Since the time I joined the Restorative Justice League, I can say my mindset changed for the better. From being a hothead and not caring about the situations I would get myself into with my group of friends, to now thinking two steps forward and having self-control, Restorative Justice gave me a perspective on what it is like being on the peace-making side of the situation because problems should not be dealt with violence. Restorative Justice taught me to not fight with violence but speak your mind and find a solution to the problem in a Read More >