STC’s Deeper Learning Initiatives are aimed to increase the quality of urban schools by sharing resources and practices and building solutions across sectors.
Professional Learning Groups (PLGs)
Schools That Can NYC is facilitating its first ever Professional Learning Group, which regularly convenes a smaller group of educators and teacher leaders who are committed to working together to improve practices around one of our Keys to Quality. STC NYC is collaborating with the NYC Special Education Collaborative to support their first group, focused on “Meeting All Learners’ Needs.” The PLG consists of 13 teachers and special education coordinators from 6 cross-sector schools, who come together monthly to share practices and build solutions around better understanding students’ diverse needs, and better supporting all teachers in meeting those needs. The group launched in October with a meet-n-greet, and has had 2 meetings since, which have focused on writing mission statements for schools’ special education departments, and introducing the design-thinking process as a structure for our work throughout the year.
Schools That Can is excited to be facilitating its first ever Cross-Sector Co-Op (CSCO) in New York City. The CSCO is a triad of schools – 1 district, 1 charter, and 1 independent – that work together within a collaborative mentorship model. STC strategically constructed the group, considering geography, grade bands, strengths and needs, and leadership styles. Our pilot CSCO consists of Bronx Community Charter School, Journey Prep PS69X, and the Storefront Academy Harlem. The leaders from these schools have met monthly since October, and are eager to share their innovative practices with each other, get feedback from peers, and utilize the group as a support for working through challenges. The congeniality of the group and the deep learning that we see happening each month is testament to the fact that schools can learn from and support each other despite differences.
STC Maker Fellows
In partnership with MakerState, Schools That Can has launched its first teacher fellowship program this fall – the STC Maker Fellows Program. MakerState is an organization that brings STEAM-based makerspaces to children through afterschool pop-up maker faires and afterschool programs. Typically, engineering students are trained by MakerState in pedagogical and classroom management practices, and then they work in partnership with schools to run makerspaces after school with a group of students. Because we believe that this kind of hands-on, real-world, interdisciplinary learning shouldn’t be limited to a small group of students afterschool, we have collaborated to create the STC Maker Fellows program, which trains and supports full-time teachers to integrate makerspaces into their classes. Currently, we are working with 5 teachers across 4 cross-sector schools in New York City, and reaching over 100 students in grades 2-6. Weekly, our STC Maker Fellows collaborate with each other across schools, supported by MakerState, who provides curriculum and resources, and connects learning to engineering principles. Our Fellows will be hosting pop-ups in their schools in the coming months, and we hope to have a STC-wide exposition this spring!