On April 25, Associate Professor Cheryl Dozier and CASDA faculty member Nancy Andress received University at Albany President’s Award for Exemplary Public Engagement at an awards ceremony recognizing the 2017 recipients. The award recognized their eight years of leadership on a collaborative initiative: Building Professional Learning Communities to Improve Student Achievement with the City School District of Albany. The program was funded through the New York State Education Department’s Teacher Leadership Quality Partnership (TLQP) grant.
The initiative has built a model of embedded school-centered professional learning communities that began with three magnet schools and has since expanded to include a fourth school. TLQP currently has 64 participants including novice and veteran teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, district staff, CAS and CASDA faculty, and doctoral students.
Each elementary school participating in the TLQP program brings a unique focus and perspective to the partnership.
Albany School of the Humanities (ASH) emphasizes arts and humanities.
Montessori Magnet has established a multi-disciplinary focus on environmental education.
Thomas O’Brien Academy for Science and Technology (TOAST) centers grant activities on science and technology.
New member Delaware Community School celebrates the C in community.
UAlbany and CASDA faculty have designed three seminars each year bringing together all participants to engage in a cycle of inquiry and share best practices. At the final summer seminar, participants have heard from renowned keynote speakers such as Dr. Richard Allington and Dr. Patricia Edwards, both members of the International Reading Association Hall of Fame, as well as artist James Ransome and author Doreen Rappaport.
TLQP has built school capacity through a renewed focus on literacy practices, teacher leadership, community building in classrooms, data-based inquiry, mindfulness, family and community partnerships, fewer discipline referrals and stronger student engagement. CASDA faculty member Susan Tangorre has also joined Nancy Andress in supporting this initiative.
Sample teacher feedback from the 2016 summer seminar illustrates the impact, importance and sustainability of the TLQP partnership:
“Over six years TLQP has really pushed me to lead others in the projects I am passionate about. It has allowed me to research and select projects that would help enhance my students’ learning. It has strengthened my leadership greatly.”
“This journey has encouraged me to take risks, seek the help and support of my colleagues and always put the students’ needs for stimulation and growth first.”
“Who knew when we started that this partnership would become such an interwoven element in the fabric of our school community?”