This program empowers educators to take bold steps and think outside the box to deliver a high-quality education for their students and put them on the path to college and careers
NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that 118 schools have applied to participate in the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program for the 2015-16 school year, up from 107 applications last year. The PROSE program, which is currently in its first year and includes 62 elementary, middle, and high schools, allows schools to implement innovative plans that fall outside of the Chancellor’s Regulations or UFT or CSA contracts to improve their instruction and operations. The program was originally established as part of the recent teachers’ contract.
Applications came from across the City: 35 from the Bronx, 39 from Brooklyn, 25 from Manhattan, 17 from Queens and two from Staten Island, and spanned every grade level. Staff members of PROSE schools created a range of plans to drive innovation in their schools. Applications included:
• Goldie Maple Academy in Queens: Wants to structure its school day to take place from 8 a.m. to 4:34 p.m. five days a week. In order to make up for the longer hours each day, teachers would work a four-day week.
• Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science: Teachers and administrators want the ability to “time-shift” their vacation schedules and workday start and end times to allow more staffing to be available when needed. The school would also like more flexibility in scheduling to allow CBO enrichment programs to occur at different times during the day.
“This program empowers educators to take bold steps and think outside the box to deliver a high-quality education for their students and put them on the path to college and careers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of PROSE designs and implementations across the City, and I look forward to seeing how these common sense changes will best serve students.”
“Solutions are found within school communities, in the expertise of those who practice our profession,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “Educators are excited about PROSE because it allows schools with a track record of collaboration to take it to the next level, and gives teachers even more voice in finding ways to help students and to move a school forward.”
“It’s best when we have collaboration and innovation in our schools. Sometimes the best ideas come from within the school community itself. It makes for better student achievement and better morale. We have always supported creative approaches, and our school leaders bring so many good educational concepts to the table,” said CSA President Ernest Logan.
The current 62 PROSE programs range in design, including:
• The School of Integrated Learning: The School of Integrated Learning is implementing flexible teacher-student ratios to accommodate small group learning experiences. Teachers work together to group students in different class configurations in order to achieve specific learning outcomes.
• KAPPA International High School: KAPPA International High School is testing strategies to provide additional time and targeted instruction to struggling students. In order to help students develop skills and earn credit, KAPPA is extending the amount of time students have to demonstrate course mastery while allowing them to continue to the next course if it is the appropriate next step.
• Bronx Park Middle School: Over five days this school year, the staff is engaging in full-day professional development sessions where teachers review student work from the previous unit of study and discuss strategies to support increased student learning. The school has arranged its calendar so that these days are scheduled according to their curricular calendar.
“Being a PROSE school has allowed us to bring new energy and ideas into our classrooms. I truly appreciate the flexibility this program has offered my school, and that flexibility has served as a foundation for innovation and progress. I look forward to continuing my PROSE program in its second year, and I am excited to see new schools join the program and PROSE community,” said Monique Campbell, principal of The School of Integrated Learning.
“The PROSE program empowers educators to make the changes their school communities need into a reality. In our one year as a PROSE school, I have been amazed not only by the innovative program design our educators developed, but also by the results that we’re seeing in the classroom. Our students are being empowered with hands-on learning experiences,” said Panorea Panagiosoulis, principal of KAPPA International High School.
“PROSE recognizes our schools’ need to take chances and implement new plans to ensure that we’re doing the best possible job of serving our students. I’ve been thrilled to take advantage of this initiative to improve instruction. I know that its focus on innovation and progress will continue to help students across the City,” said Dillon Prime, principal of Bronx Park Middle School.
All proposals will be reviewed by a joint panel comprised of representatives from the DOE and UFT and CSA. Proposals approved by the panel must be voted on by UFT staff in those schools, and proposals receiving 65% or more affirmative votes will join the program. The 62 current PROSE schools will continue their initiatives in the coming school year.