About Bank Street

History

In 1916, educator Lucy Sprague Mitchell and her colleagues, influenced by revolutionary educator John Dewey and other humanists, concluded that building a new kind of educational system was essential to building a better, more rational, humane world.

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Beginnings: The Bureau Years

1916

The Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE) is founded in New York City by Lucy Sprague Mitchell with her husband, Wesley Mitchell, and colleague Harriet Johnson. Their purpose is to combine expanding psychological awareness with democratic conceptions of education. With a staff of researchers and teachers, the Bureau sets out to study children—to discover what kind of environment best suits their learning and growth, then create that environment and train adults to maintain it.

1916

The Bureau of Educational Experiments establishes a Nursery School.

1921

Mitchell’s revolutionary Here and Now Story Book is published. Based on extensive observations of children and their use of language, Here and Now marks the emergence of a more child-centered approach and standard in children’s literature.

1930

BEE moves to 69 Bank Street in Greenwich Village and sets up the Cooperative School for Student Teachers, a joint venture with eight experimental schools to develop a teacher education program that produces teachers dedicated to stimulating the development of the whole child. BEE’s research, clinical studies, and children’s literature work continue.

1934

The BEE Nursery School is renamed the Harriet Johnson Nursery School following the death of Bureau Co-Founder and Nursery School Director Harriet Johnson.

1935

Mitchell establishes the annual Long Trip with an inaugural trip to Morgantown, West Virginia. Designed to expose student teachers to new physical, social, and political environments and expand their concept of human geography, the Long Trip continues until 1951. In 1996, it is revived in its current form.

1937

Mitchell sets up a Division of Publications to produce books for and about children. The Writers Lab—a workshop connecting professional writers and students of the Cooperative School for Teachers—is formed. Early Writers Lab members include Ruth Krauss, Margaret Wise Brown, and Edith Thacher Hurd.

1943

The New York City Board of Education asks the Cooperative School to give workshops for teachers on its methods.

1946

The Cooperative School begins to offer night and weekend courses for non-matriculated students.

Early Bank Street

1950

The Cooperative School for Teachers is certified by the Board of Regents of New York State to confer the Master of Science degree. To reflect this change, the Bureau of Educational Experiments is renamed Bank Street College of Education.

1954

The School for Children, a full-scale elementary school, begins with one class and gradually expanded to include children ages 3 through 13.

1965

Bank Street and its president, John Niemeyer, play an integral role in the formation of the national Head Start program, which provides comprehensive educational and social support for low-income children across the country.

1965

The first Bank Street Reader is published. The first multiethnic urban basal readers, the Bank Street Readers revolutionize early childhood literacy. They are conceived by President John Niemeyer, written by Publications Division staff, and led by director Irma Simonton Black.

1966

The Early Childhood Center begins operation on West 42nd Street with funding from the City of New York and its Office of Economic Opportunity. This experimental multipurpose parent/child community center is designed to meet the educational, health, social, and economic needs of children and families in the area through classes and programs for all ages.

1968

From 1968 to 1981, Bank Street is a prime sponsor and designer of Project Follow Through, a federal program to provide educational support services for kindergarten and early elementary school children and their families in economically disadvantaged areas.

An Expanding Bank Street Leaves Bank Street

1971

After a decade battling space constraints, Bank Street moves uptown to a newly constructed building on West 112th Street.

1977

The Children’s Book Committee, previously of the Child Study Association, joins the Bank Street family. The CBC publishes an annual list of Best Children’s Books and awards prizes for the best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry titles.

1978

The Family Center—a child care, education, and evaluation center for children aged 6 months to 4 years—is founded.

1980

The Center for Children and Technology (CCT) is created, one of the first of its kind for research and development of educational technology.

1983

The Bank Street Writer—the most widely used word processing software in schools (and among adults)—sets new industry standards for ease of use.

1984

The Voyage of the Mimi—a 13-episode science adventure TV series about humpback whales—premieres on PBS stations. Curricular materials include teacher guides, books, and software programs in science, math, technology, social studies, and language arts.

1988

The Second Voyage of the Mimi, a 12-episode TV journey to Mayan ruins, premieres and Palenque, one of the earliest interactive videodiscs, enables students to “walk” through the ruins. Both series are still in use in schools today.

1989

The Principals Institute, a degree program for increasing the number of women and minorities in positions of leadership in NYC public schools, is established

1989

Bank Street is the lead organization in the national Center for Technology in Education, a consortium funded with a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

1989

The Division of Continuing Education is created for research, professional development, and community and national outreach. In 2010, its programs are relocated to the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Studies and Development.

1990

Liberty Partnerships Program launches and provides academic and social support for kids in grades 7–12 at risk of dropping out.

1996

New Beginnings—a 12-year collaborative effort with Newark Public Schools to help restructure early childhood education—is established.

Bank Street in the New Century

2000

I-LEAD, Institute for Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development, a college prep program for students from six inner-city Catholic high schools, is launched.

2001

The Kerlin Science Institute offers elementary school teacher instruction in inquiry-based science teaching in honor of alumna and former trustee/board chair Sally Kerlin ’36.

2001

BETLA, the Bilingual/ESL Teacher Leadership Academy master’s program, is created to address the need for leadership in bilingual programs in New York City public schools.

2001

The Child Life Program begins preparing graduate students to be Child Life Specialists in hospital and community health care environments.

2002

Bank Street is one of four institutions chosen by the Carnegie Corporation to launch Teachers for a New Era, a five-year program to define and document quality teacher education and its impact on children’s learning.

2003

The Adelaide Weismann Center for Innovative Leadership in Education is created in honor of alumna Adelaide Weismann ’46. A first venture is the Laboratory for the Design and Redesign of Schools, a consortium with two institutions, to work with high-needs public schools.

2005

The Priscilla E. Pemberton Society honoring former faculty and staff member and alumna (’66), is established to increase scholarship funds for African American students and to support students and alumni of color.

2005

The college prep program at the Institute for Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development (I-LEAD) and the Liberty Partnerships programs merge into one: Liberty LEADS: The Center for Leadership and College Preparation.

2005

Partnership for Quality—a collaboration between Bank Street and New York City’s Region 9—is set up to help high-needs public schools.

2007

John H. Niemeyer’s bequest sets up annual lectures and panels: The Niemeyer Series in Education Policy.

2010

Bank Street establishes Bank Street Online (BSO) to increase enrollment and provide the Bank Street community with innovative teaching strategies and technologies.

2010

The U.S. Office of Special Education funds Fellows in Special Education Needs-Distributed Leadership at Bank Street, providing scholarships for students who plan to work in public schools.

2011

Head Start’s national office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards Bank Street a five-year grant to direct the National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness in partnership with the Educational Development Center.

2014

Bank Street establishes the Bank Street Education Center to support public school districts to improve teaching practice at scale. Bank Street’s partnership with the NYC Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Education, “Getting Ready for Pre-K” Summer Institute, reaches more than 4000 pre-K educators.

2015

As part of its ambitious 2015 strategic plan, Bank Street launches new work designed to expand its impact on educators, children, and families and strengthen the College community. This work leads to the establishment of the Straus Center for Young Children and Families, a new center designed to advance research and policy in the realm of early childhood development and learning from prenatal to age eight, as well as Prepared To Teach, the Guttman Center for Early Care & Education, and the Center on Culture, Race & Equity, among other initiatives.

2016

Bank Street celebrates its centennial with a renewed vision for its second century, building and strengthening support for children, families, and educators locally and globally.