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New Group at Bank Street Aims to Build More Democratic Learning Spaces Across New York City

Posted by Bank Street on October 26, 2017

The Educational Leadership Program at the Graduate School of Education recently introduced a committee aimed at increasing the number of schools built on principles of progressive education. The Progressive Leaders Group, led by Anthony Conelli, Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, brings together Bank Street alumni in leadership positions and other progressive leaders in the tri-state area to analyze and discuss challenges that school leaders grapple with in schools and organizations.

“We are thrilled to have a new platform dedicated to exploring how we can build structures to support democratic practices in schools across the city,” said Conelli. “We look forward to building a collective voice that advocates for progressive models of instruction to help benefit students.”

The Progressive Leadership Group is built on five fundamental beliefs:

  • Strong school leaders work with their staff to create and nurture structures that support a child’s growth;
  • Strong school leaders understand that learning in real life settings fosters the best learning experiences for students;
  • Strong school leaders support staff in planning an interdisciplinary curriculum;
  • Strong school leaders cultivate opportunities to collaborate with students and staff as an integral part of the school culture; and
  • Strong school leaders know that assessment culminating in projects that allow students to push their thinking measure growth in learning beyond standardized tests.


In its next few meetings, the Progressive Leaders Group will examine the concept of democracy in schools and classrooms. As part of this work, participants will review methods of descriptive inquiry and restorative practices previously shared by two members of the group in a May meeting. Links to their materials can be found in a Bank Street Learning Agenda Blog post.

The next group meeting will take place this fall. Bank Street alumni working in educational leadership positions, as well as other progressive leaders in the tri-state area, are encouraged to join. Contact Anthony Conelli at aconelli@bankstreet.edu for more information on the Progressive Leaders Group or to attend future meetings.

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