-- Awarded as Part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the Grant Will Fund a Teacher Opportunity Corps Based in Southern Queens --
FLUSHING, NY, December 19, 2016—The Queens College Professional Education Unit, in partnership with the Queens South Field Support Center (QSFSC)—a unit of the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE)—and through the advocacy of New York State Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, has won a five-year, $1.6 million grant from New York State. The grant will help address one of the four critical goals of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The collaborative effort will bolster the retention of highly qualified individuals who value equity and reflect the diversity inside and outside of our classrooms—particularly in high-need schools with recurrent teacher shortages.
The project, the Teacher Opportunity Corps, will provide extra training and coaching to talented candidates from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups. It will recruit, mentor, and provide residencies to a diverse corps of 50 future educators who are seeking Initial Teacher Certification at the undergraduate or graduate level. Additionally, it will cover key educational theory focusing on at-risk students and include a clinically enriched residency experience at high-needs schools, guided by Queens College instructors, QSFSC instructional experts, and veteran high-performing teachers in NYCDOE Community School Districts 27, 28, and 29 in Southern Queens.
“I am delighted that Queens College is part of this important partnership,” says President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “As the school that graduates more teachers, principals and guidance counselors than any other in the New York metropolitan area, we will be able to make a measurable impact in our teaching communities, producing educators who are not only well-trained and deeply committed, but who also reflect the rich diversity of our city’s population. With our commitment to academic excellence on an extraordinarily diverse campus, there is no other higher education environment as well-suited to produce this combination than Queens College.”
“When I voted to allocate $20 million for the “My Brother's Keeper” initiative, it was to make sure that the young men in our community had the resources they need to succeed. Since passing the budget, I’ve worked collaboratively with Queens College, NYC Department of Education Borough Field Support Center, and my Education Task Force to apply for the funding. We worked to ensure the money made it to the appropriate communities.” says Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, who sponsored funding for the grant. “Now, it is incumbent on us as Legislators to advocate for continued funding in next year’s budget.”
QSFSC experts will work with corps members on effective strategies for teaching students with disabilities and students who are learning English as a new language. In addition, project participants—pre-service teachers at QC—will learn effective ways of planning culturally competent lessons and units of study that address state standards and meet the instructional support needs of all learners. Participants will also be supported through the processes of teacher certification and NYCDOE recruitment and hiring, and receive induction support services to ensure that they and their students are successful.
“Our vision at Queens South Field Support Center, and one of the goals of the My Brother's Keeper initiative, is to recruit and retain licensed and highly qualified English as a New Language and Special Education teachers who will support the underserved schools in our community. This mission is becoming a reality through the collaborative efforts of Queens College and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, whose leadership and tenacity have been instrumental in procuring the funds necessary to ensure that our students realize their full potential and give back to our Queens community,” says Marlene Wilks, Executive Director, Queens South Field Support Center.
About the Queens College Professional Education Unit
Queens College—which enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs—has graduated more teachers, counselors, school psychologists, and school leaders than any college in the metropolitan area. All the undergraduate and graduate programs within our Professional Education Unit are united by their shared commitment to the core values of “promoting Equity, Excellence, and Ethics in urban schools and communities,” approved by the New York State Education Department, and accredited by both the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
About My Brother’s Keeper
In 2014 President Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force at the federal level. This interagency effort focuses on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. With the adoption of its 2016–2017 budget, New York became the first state to accept the President’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. The budget includes a $20 million investment in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.