On Thursday, February 26, Bank Street Bookstore hosted New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for a book talk. She read from Dr. Seuss’ Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, a celebration of great educators who go beyond rote memorization tactics in order to teach students “how to think.”
The event, held at the Book Store’s new location at West 107th Street and Broadway, underscored how great books can be essential tools for teachers in empowering children to become engaged partners in their own learning.
Nearly 50 teachers and school leaders, many of whom were students or alumni from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, were in attendance.
“This is a place I’ve known and loved for a very long time,” Chancellor Fariña said of Bank Street Book Store. She recalled how she would often bring her graduate students to the shop while teaching at Bank Street’s Principals Institute years ago. “And when I became a principal on the Upper East Side of Manhattan,” she said, “this is one of the places that I would always tell parents to go.”
Yolanda Ferrell-Brown, Chair of Bank Street’s Board of Trustees, introduced the Chancellor. “Carmen Fariña has done it all,” she said, “and always with the goal of improving our public schools, and helping our teachers and leaders serve the needs of all the city’s children.”
Reading excerpts from her favorite passages, Chancellor Fariña related them to her work for the nation’s largest school system, and to what teachers can do to make schools joyful places even under difficult circumstances.
For a passage referring to a teacher who yelled at her students, Chancellor Fariña said, “yelling obviously bothers me. That’s another way that I use this book—to make sure that educators understand there’s a message here that you must speak to all kids respectfully.”