ISA’s January Newsletter

By Abner Oakes

ISA's Director of Outreach


Team from Former ISA Partner School
“Imagines” a New NYC School

A team made up of teachers and an administrator from New York City’s Hudson High School of Learning Technologies, a former ISA partner school, has made it to the second round of that city’s Imagine NYC Schools competition, an initiative to empower students and communities to play an active, central role in creating the future of education. This initiative is the first of its kind in New York City – a student-centered, community-driven approach to creating bold, innovative, academically rigorous school options. There were 230 entries, and 90 teams advanced to round two.

You’re in a #MazeMoment!

On December 17, mathematics teacher John McCrann, who teaches at ISA partner school Harvest Collegiate High School, and ISA’s Senior Mathematics Specialist Nathan Dilworth, along with ISA’s Director of Outreach, Abner Oakes, facilitated a webinar focused on a social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD) strategy called Maze Moment. It was the second in a series of webinars focused on ISA’s SEAD work, which was initially funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“The learning process is beautifully non-linear,” said ISA’s Nate Dilworth, “and many students enter school believing it should follow a straight, uninterrupted path. How can we create rituals that help adults and students understand and process the conflict between this belief about learning and its reality?” Maze Moment is just such a ritual. Watch the webinar here.

Two New Blog Posts

Did you get a chance to read our end-of-2019 reflections, which is here? ISA had a busy year, with our equity seminars, our enhanced research agenda, our new work around social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD), and the addition of several new people to the ISA team. What does your 2020 have in store for you? We know that ours will be even more busy!

See also our latest blog post, courtesy of math teacher Ebony Jason at ISA partner school Carver High School in Winston-Salem. Ebony discusses the important work happening in math classrooms throughout that building.

Welcome, East Harlem Scholars Academy II Middle School

East Harlem Scholars Academy II Middle School started working with an ISA coach this school year. A charter school that’s located in upper Manhattan, it has 173 students and spans grades 5, 6 and 7. This school and the other East Harlem academies are operated by the East Harlem Tutorial Program, a community-based organization that’s been providing educational opportunities for East Harlem’s young people since 1958.

The school is a special place, with school-wide practices that build students’ sense of autonomy and encourage them to have a voice; with various electives, including Spanish, poetry, robotics, art, and music; and with advisory periods that provide formal opportunities to focus with an adult mentor on social and emotional development.

Rhonda Humphries, the school’s leader since 2019, has this to say about the school and the students there: “Our school community prepares Scholars to achieve college and career readiness skills by providing collaborative, problem-based inquiry pedagogy and honoring student voice and choice. I aspire to inspire our students and staff to become lifelong learners that have the courage to become agents of change.”