Manhattan elementary school wins $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize

by Editorial Team

Wed, 27 Jul 2016:

For immediate release

Contacts: Naomi Cooperman, (212) 870-3505 ext. 2 

Manhattan elementary school wins $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize to support teacher-generated collaboration initiative

New York, NY – July 21, 2016

The sixth annual $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters was awarded on July 20th to P.S. 9, the Sarah Anderson School, serving K-5 students. Their “Peer Collaboration Initiative,” teacher generated and led, has swept the school in just one year with nearly all P.S. 9 teachers participating.

Ilene Altschul, Superintendent of District 3 where the school is located, said the award would help P.S. 9 “enhance professional development, creating teacher leaders, building capacity, and then sharing it with schools across the district. P.S. 9 is an exemplary school and we’re really excited for them to continue to grow.”

Assistant Principal Joanna Freeman from P.S. 9 is enthusiastic. “One thing that I think is amazing about it is that it did come out of the teachers wanting to work together, and look at each other as point people and grow from each other.”

Teaching Matters’ Executive Director Lynette Guastaferro, praising the excellent field of contenders for this year’s prize, echoed the theme of teacher led collaborative work. “Each of the five finalists for this year’s award nurture teacher led work and teacher leadership,” she said. Superintendent Michael Nagler of the Mineola School District used sports as a telling analogy, stressing the importance of not only teamwork, but peer coaching, to bring out the best in all players, or teachers, in the field.

Initially, applicants for the 2016 Rohatyn Prize were drawn from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. P.S. 9 was one of five finalists in this year’s highly competitive field. The five finalists included: Abraham Lincoln High School, Brooklyn, NY, Principal Ari A. Hoogenboom; IS 5 – Walter H. Crowley School of Leadership, Queens, NY, Principal Kelly Nepogoda; MS 137 – America’s School of Heroes, Ozone Park, NY, Principal Laura Mastrogiovanni; PS 9 – Manhattan, NY. Principal Katherine Witzke; and Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, Bronx, NY. Principal David Krulwich.

The selection process for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize relies upon a panel of judges for the initial choice of ten semifinalists, a public vote for the finalists, and the panel naming the winner. The impartial selection committee included: Antonio Freitas, Deputy Director, Early Childhood Division, Children’s Aid Society; Karen DeMoss, ‎Director, Sustainable Funding Project at Bank Street College of Education; Paul Kehoe, teacher, MS 250/West Side Collaborative, the first school to win the Rohatyn Prize; Regina Tottenham, Principal, The Brooklyn Transition Center, P373K, 2015 Rohatyn Prize winner.

The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize honors a school within 100 miles of New York City that has made significant efforts to advance teacher capacity and effectiveness, and help teacher lead, learn, and thrive. The prize recipient receives a one-time award that may be used to support expansion and replication of the initiative described in its submission.

Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Teaching Matters’ services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. They also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom.