On December 10, Bank Street College was awarded an $11.2M Networks for School Improvement grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue the Bank Street Education Center’s work strengthening middle school math education in Yonkers Public Schools.
The new funding will allow the center to continue its collaboration with 20 schools to help more of the city’s Black, Latinx, and low-income students complete 8th grade math and be on track to earn their high school diplomas. As part of this work, teachers and district leaders will develop a deeper understanding of content and instructional strategies, child development, and how teacher and student identity impact student learning.
“Success in math is a gatekeeper for college and career readiness and Bank Street is committed to helping create the deeper and more equitable learning experiences that help all students learn,” said Tracy Fray-Oliver, Senior Associate Vice President, Bank Street Education Center. “Through the implementation of a strengths-based, learner-centered approach to teaching and learning that embeds reflection on how child and adult development intersects with race and culture, we are helping Yonkers’ students develop their understanding of math in ways that ‘stick’ so they can succeed both in school and in life.”
Through deep collaboration, Bank Street and Yonkers educators will employ a “continuous improvement model” led by teacher teams within each school. The model emphasizes analyzing data to identify a problem, creating a plan for improvement, setting data-informed targets, and evaluating and refining the approach to increase effectiveness moving forward. Throughout this process, Bank Street will help empower teachers and leaders by giving them the resources needed to think about how they can better show up and serve the children they teach, especially those who have been historically deprioritized within the education system.
“At Bank Street, we view teachers and leaders as facilitators of learning and believe that it is the educator’s role to meet students ‘where they are’ to help them develop and realize their full potential. Through our work with Yonkers Public Schools, Bank Street is building the capacity of the district’s math educators to create learning environments and support structures that impact positive student outcomes at scale,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE ’00, President, Bank Street College.
Bank Street will also facilitate inter-school collaboration, conduct district-level planning meetings and school-level leadership trainings, and support school-based math teams in creating interventions to help impact student learning. The five-year project will monitor and track student success through classroom-level data and student work.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Yonkers teachers and leaders and supporting previously marginalized students to succeed in math so they can graduate high school, pursue postsecondary education, and create a positive future for themselves and others,” said Fray-Oliver.