I've been been teaching and learning ever since I graduated from Hunter College, CUNY in 1983. Early in my career, I helped to start University Heights Secondary School in the Bronx, NY, one of the first Coalition of Essential Schools. Along with my colleagues, I learned that doing school better didn't have to be the same-old, with more effort. We replaced grades with portfolio assessment. We re-thought subjects and departments with cross-disciplinary, project-based teaching teams. And we taught multi-aged groups of students without regard to age.
At University Heights Secondary School, we dared to ask what school would look like if we stopped using Carnegie units or credits, gave no heed to seat-time requirements, developed projects that went beyond subject-areas or disciplines, never summarized learning into grades, avoided tests, and stopped separating students by age. This was my "golden age" as an educator, a time that I probably remember more fondly than it was, and that I am always trying to recapture.
After teaching at University Heights for a dozen years, I moved on to work with English Language Learners at the International High School in Queens for a few years, and I worked as a technology teacher for a time, before returning to teaching English. Currently I teach in a blended learning program at the Bronx Academy Senior High.
I have been the Tech Liaison the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) for over ten years. In 2003, along with +Chris Sloan , +Susan Ettenheim, +Natalie Bernasconi, +Gail Desler , +Patrick Delaney and colleagues in other local sites of the National Writing Project, I helped develop Youth Voices youthvoices.net, a school-based social network where students develop, display, and discuss self-directed digital projects, and where teachers build and collect curriculum together. I have also been one of the co-hosts of Teachers Teaching Teachers, a webcast and podcast that has been broadcasting live at edtechtalk.com/ttt every Wednesday since 2007.
This summer, along with New York City Writing Project colleagues, +Grace Raffaele, +Jim Nordlinger, +Noah Gordon I will be co-facilitating a Youth Voices Summer Program that brings together 18 high school students from different schools in the Bronx (and a couple in Queens) and 5 Bronx teachers to develop interest- based, passion-fueled, multimedia projects that will give all of us new experiences in making and learning more about connected learning.