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Teachers in pre-k summer camp

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña today delivered keynote remarks to open the second week of “Getting Ready for Pre-K: An Institute for Educators,” a professional development program preparing thousands of pre-K teachers and assistant teachers for the fall, added a statement issued by The New York City Department of Education today (August 19). For more information visit http://www.nycschools.gov.

“The Mayor and Chancellor highlighted the successful first week of the Teacher Institute, which is being hosted by the New York City Department of Education in collaboration with Bank Street College of Education, and applauded the thousands of committed teachers who have dedicated their time and energy to learning cutting-edge pre-K teaching techniques and best practices at the sessions,” added the Department of Education.

Nearly 4,000 Pre-K teachers, assistant teachers, administrators and support staff from across the five boroughs and programs in New York City’s unified Pre-K system, including public schools and Community Based Early Childhood Centers, are attending the Institute. “Engaging in small workshops with education experts and their colleagues, they’re learning to build safe, supportive classrooms with evidence-based curricula that uses play to foster the academic and social development of the city’s 4-year-olds,” added The press report.

Two three-day Teacher Institute sessions were held last week at Queens and Brooklyn Colleges, and two are occurring at the same locations this week. Each participant receives 18 hours of instruction. The Institute is a critical piece of New York City’s historic expansion of free, high-quality, full-day pre-K, ensuring that qualified, and high-quality teachers held to high standards will be leading our pre-K classrooms, according to the statement.

“Every child deserves a great teacher at the head of the classroom, and that’s why we’re investing so much in each and every educator taking part in Pre-K for All. The Summer Institute is one of many steps we are taking to deepen this profession and give our teachers the skills and tools they need. This is going to be a unified system that meets high standards across the board—and no single factor will be more important to its success than our teachers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio to the media.

“As a grandmother who saw her two and a half year old grandson off for the first time this week, I have a real sense of the importance of pre-K. To ensure this necessary academic foundation, we must have ongoing professional development which is truly at the core of any excellent teacher,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariñ at the kick-off event. “Today we are joined by dedicated, passionate educators who are here because they want to be even better – and they will through this top-notch support and the collaborative learning that comes with exposure to education experts and new colleagues. Our teachers and assistant teachers will have ongoing supports throughout the school year so they can continue to improve their skills and bring joy and academic learning to our 4-year-olds.”

Participants at the Teacher Institute also receive training in creating a welcoming tone and atmosphere in their classrooms and engaging children, parents, and families from diverse backgrounds including those learning English. Teachers and assistant teachers share and develop strategies for determining and catering to the individual needs of each child including students with developmental variations and children with special needs.

The Institute represents the first stage in intensive, ongoing professional development for pre-K teachers and assistant teachers. At the sessions, participants devote time to identifying goals for the school year, as well as reflecting on the principles and techniques they learn and considering how to apply them in different potential classroom settings and situations. They also meet fellow educators with whom they can collaborate throughout the year, and learn about year-round professional development activities within the Department of Education, added the press release.

“Early childhood experts from the DOE will observe pre-K teachers and assistant teachers throughout the school year and provide feedback to ensure that each pre-K classroom is meeting high standards and effectively preparing its students for kindergarten and their educational future,” added The Department of Education. Additionally, early childhood experts have been working closely to train pre-K administrators” providing even more expertise and accountability for every pre-K program.”

Families can still apply for free full-day pre-K in their neighborhoods and receive alerts and information, http://www.visit.nyc.gov/prek or text pre-k to 877877.

"Even if classrooms are ready and principals are prepared, the success of the mayor’s flagship universal pre-K initiative will soon rest in large part on the interactions between 53,000 four-year-olds and their teachers," added Chalkbeat today (August 19).

“On September 4, the ball gets passed to you, all over this city, to be the people to bring to life this noble idea,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told hundreds of pre-K teachers on Tuesday.The teachers were gathered at Brooklyn College for a three-day training, just 16 days before classes in district schools begin for the year. In back-to-back speeches, de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña reminded teachers of their critical role in an effort that has high stakes for both students and the city.

“You’re going to get [students] on track, and they’re going to stay on track with the help of the other changes we’re making,” de Blasio said, mentioning the city’s parallel expansion of after-school programs. Fariña, who spoke before the mayor, mixed encouragement with specific advice, telling teachers to get a sense of the kids’ natural pace and “move with that tempo.” She also added a dose of realism when she said, only half-jokingly, that teachers might need to take naps after work for the first few weeks.

Over 50,000 four-year-olds’ first foray into formal education also represents the de Blasio administration’s biggest effort to improve student achievement. The institute, offered three times in August to new and returning pre-K teachers, is the city’s most visible effort to make sure the teachers are ready. The city estimates that about 1,000 teachers participated in this round of the free training, which is designed to familiarize them with Common Core-aligned standards for pre-K and with specific strategies for helping students adjust to a school setting for the first time.

“We don’t want to set in place high standards and walk away. We want to figure out with you how to reach that high level,” de Blasio said today at the press conference. For more information about this exciting news story visit http://www.chalkbeat.org. Staten Island teachers are you ready for Pre-K? The countdown has truly begun!

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