Bank Street

Faculty Advisor & Instructor Pamela Jones Speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus

Posted by Claire Daniel on October 18, 2011

Bankstreet Goes to Washington!

On September 22, Faculty Advisor & Instructor Pamela Jones, along with Associate Dean & Assistant Vice President for College Relations Farhad Asghar, travelled down to D.C. for the 41st Annual Congressional Black Caucus as guests of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.).

As Rep. Clarke’s sponsored speaker for the panel Ensuring African American Students Get the Education They Deserve, Ms. Jones, M.S.Ed., MPA, brought a bit of Bankstreet to the Beltway when delivering her talk, “Exploring Differentiated Instruction as One Viable Approach to Combat One-Size-Fits-All Education.” [PDF]

Before introducing Ms. Jones, Rep. Clarke shared with the audience her own personal connection with Bankstreet:

“Bankstreet holds a special place in my heart, not only because of the tremendous work that they do, but also because I learned to read using a Bankstreet Reader. In the 1960s, Bankstreet was one of the first to develop a line of readers that featured children of color and contemporary topics. Finally, I had a book that I, a little Jamaican-American girl, could relate to. Bankstreet continues to instill its unique multicultural teaching perspective and teacher training methodology in its teachers today.”

— Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) [YouTube]

Rep. Clarke’s reminiscence provided an apt segue into the day’s exploration of differentiated instruction, an approach to classroom instruction where teachers provide students with multiple access points to curriculum content. “Stated most simply,” Ms. Jones shared with the group, “[it] counters a one-size-fits-all approach to curriculum and instruction.”

Why do we need differentiated instruction in the classroom? Jones says,

“Each person who has ever walked the face of the earth learns differently, and this variation in learning styles and strengths needs to be acknowledged. Our students deserve a learning experience that not only acknowledges how they learn best, but that affirms this reality by tailoring curricula that provide optimal opportunities for academic success.”

While many other speakers focused on policy or politics, Ms. Jones brought a classroom perspective to the conference, sharing real life methodologies proven to be effective in the classroom. After her speech, educators eager for this kind of training surrounded her.

Mr. Asghar notes, “Bankstreet looks forward to continuing collaboration with Congresswoman Clark and other members of Congress as part of the institution’s ongoing efforts to improve access to education for all. “

For further background on differentiated instruction, along with specific steps to follow in the classroom, download the PowerPoint presentation Ms. Jones presented to the Congressional Black Caucus — Ensuring African American Students Get the Education They Deserve: “Exploring Differentiated Instruction as One Viable Approach to Combat One-Size-Fits-All Education.”