ISA’s New Case Study: On-Time Graduation at Three ISA-Founded Schools

The Academy for Young WritersBrooklyn Preparatory High School, and Hillside Arts and Letters Academy are three of New York City’s public high schools founded in partnership with the Institute for Student Achievement over the past 15 years. Serving a majority of students from high-need and underserved backgrounds, these schools have a track record of students graduating within four years at rates surpassing the citywide average. Click here to read more.

Recent Webinar: Digital Tools to Help English Learners


On January 14, ISA hosted a webinar called Digital Tools to Help English Learners. Stephanie Grasso, an ISA coach, was joined by Sabrina Espinetti, a teacher of English learners at NYC’s Business of Sports School. During the event, Stephanie and Sabrina demonstrated digital tools to use with English learners (EL) in the virtual or blended classroom. They shared ways to promote EL’s speaking, reading, and writing skills through the use of apps, as well as ways that teachers can differentiate activities and assignments using these tools. As in her previous webinar for ISA, Stephanie continued to weave the theme of social-emotional support for ELs as she and Sabrina explored how to best support these students using digital tools. Click here to view the webinar.

The Bearer of Possibilities

(Carlton Jordan, an ISA coach, wrote this article.)

For me, to coach is to tinker. Not in a desultory way. A coach tinkers with purpose. Someone once implied that my approach was consulting rather than coaching. Twenty years ago, I would have agonized over such a distinction. No longer. Intellectual quibbles make interesting conversation over cocktails; they’re not the work. I believe effective ISA coaching is at times a mixture of both consulting and coaching. I believe urgency necessitates this.

I once witnessed a debate between friends, educational giants in my view, in which they placed constructivism on trial. It ended when one said to the other, “If I know there’s a bomb in the backpack, do I let you discover it in an attempt to facilitate the construction of meaning or do I tell you?” A little extreme but point well taken. I think the work I participated in at ISA partner school Innovation High School in Jersey City, NJ encapsulates this sentiment. I created Innovation’s writing framework (instead of letting teachers discover it). I began with tinkering, creating a three-month writing schedule the principal and I dubbed PARCC Push. PARCC Push was not sustainable. We knew that. But we also knew that if teachers assigned writing across disciplines for three months on a “you must be out of your mind pace,” we couldn’t lose. Teachers would see the possibilities of a reasonably intrinsic year-long writing ethos, which would, in fact, be sustainable. Click here to read more.