On September 30, Bank Street College was awarded a $4.67M Networks for School Improvement grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will allow the Bank Street Education Center to partner with teachers and leaders in New York City Department of Education District 17 and 18 in Brooklyn, New York, to help strengthen math education for the district’s Black, Latinx, and low-income middle school students. This work will replicate the team’s current partnership with Yonkers Public Schools, which focuses on supporting students’ successful completion of 8th grade math in order to be on track to earn high school diplomas.
As part of this work, teachers and leaders in District 17 and 18 will develop a deeper understanding of research-based content and instructional strategies, child development, and how teacher and student identity impact student learning. In Yonkers, a survey taken at the end of the 2018-19 school year showed that 100 percent of participating teachers and school leaders found their work with Bank Street to be relevant to their daily practice and useful for their professional growth. The new grant will support collaboration in Brooklyn South for three years of work through 2023.
“We know success in math is a gatekeeper for college and career readiness and Bank Street is looking forward to working with our new partners in Brooklyn to help create the deeper and more equitable learning experiences that help all students learn,” said Tracy Fray-Oliver, Vice President, Bank Street Education Center.
Through deep collaboration, Bank Street and District 17 and 18 educators will work to employ a continuous improvement model, which includes identifying existing challenges in instruction, collaborating on a strategy to address those challenges, setting a target for improvement, and replicating the parts of the process that have had a positive impact on student achievement. This approach will emphasize analyzing data to identify a problem, creating a plan for improvement, setting data-informed goals, and evaluating and refining the approach to increase effectiveness moving forward.
“We believe in using a strengths-based, learner-centered approach to teaching and learning that embeds reflection on how child and adult development intersects with race and culture,” said Fray-Oliver. “This enables teachers and leaders in our network to identify solutions that allow us to better serve students in their current and local context, especially those who have been historically deprioritized by the education system.”
“At Bank Street, we see 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. We look forward to helping build the capacity of District 17 and 18 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.