NEW YORK, NY, July 19, 2017 – Teaching Matters, a leader in the national movement to support teacher leadership, today awarded its seventh annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters to the Academy of Applied Technology and Mathematics (MS 343) from District 7. Educators at the Bronx middle school introduced an initiative titled “Looking at Student Work” that empowers teachers to isolate students’ mistakes and misconceptions, shift instructional strategies and provide highly personalized intervention.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña attended the awards luncheon at the Harvard Club to congratulate all five finalists for this year’s award. “In 50-plus years as an educator, I’ve learned how essential teacher collaboration and leadership are for ensuring equity and excellence for all students. I congratulate MS 343 and the finalists for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize on their efforts to create a culture that supports teacher collaboration and leadership, which ultimately fosters better instruction and outcomes for our students.”
Each year, more than 100 public schools enter to win the $25,000 prize. Named after Teaching Matters’ founder, Elizabeth Rohatyn, the prize is awarded each year to a public school that advances opportunities for students by positioning teachers to lead, learn, and thrive. Judges reached a unanimous decision after reviewing MS 343’s constructive approach to empowering students.
“When schools position teachers to lead, it is no surprise that this translates to student success. Schools that empower teachers also empower students,” said Teaching Matters Executive Director Lynette Guastaferro. “At MS 343, students are learning to identify and address their own strengths and weaknesses, rather than waiting for a teacher to tell them what they are.”
MS 343’s award-winning initiative follows the development of explicit teacher leadership roles and a new culture in which teachers lead instructional practices and play a key role in decision making. Teachers are implementing a learning target process based on major standards within each grade and using formative data to benefit both teachers and students, promoting self-assessment of student work.
The initiative advocates for student leadership and ownership, helping students feel more confident in their abilities. The $25,000 prize will support the expansion of a data bank to house multiple sources of student data that are accessible to teachers and students.
“It can be very discouraging for a student to receive a failing grade if they don’t know why they received it,” said MS 343 Principal Vincent Gassetto. “Our educators created a self-reflecting system to combat the negative feeling students have about themselves as learners. Feedback is a very important part of learning, and an essential part of teaching.”
The other four finalists for this year’s Rohatyn Prize are:
International Community High School (Bronx, Affinity High Schools District)
Renaissance High School for Musical Theater & Technology (Bronx, Bronx High School District )
The Richard H. Hungerford School (Staten Island, District 31)
PS 253Q (Queens, District 27)
About the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize
The annual $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters is presented to a school that demonstrates an initiative that positions teachers to lead, learn, and thrive. To be eligible, public schools must be within a 100-mile radius of New York City. The committee is comprised of five judges, representing a distinguished cross-section of the philanthropic and education communities within the eligible geographic area. This year's judge panel consisted of representatives from Learning Forward, The Overdeck Foundation and Hunter College School of Education. It also includes the winner of the sixth annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize and a New York City Gates Fellow/Teacher Leader.