Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize
New York-based principal Erica Zigelman has worked to improve education in the city for decades. Principal Erica Zigelman was recently honored as a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters, an award for innovative and successful educators.
Each year, Teaching Matters presents the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters, an award recognizing schools that provide the best support for their teachers. Instead of recognizing specific achievement goals, test scores, or fiscal accomplishments, this award honors schools that attract and support truly great teachers. Applicants submit overviews of the groundbreaking work going on in their schools and evidence of the ways they are furthering effective teaching.
These submissions are evaluated based on how well they support student learning, facilitate effective teaching, and promote growth and leadership. Winners are selected by a prize committee in conjunction with a vote by the public at large. A $25,000 award is given to the winning public school.
Essential Allies Challenge
Erica Zigelman, a principal within the New York Department of Education, recently saw her school MS322 included as a semifinalist of the Essential Allies Challenge, which is part of iZone, an office that helps school communities create personalized classrooms to further college and career preparedness in students. Principal Erica Zigelman and her institution earned a grant of $10,000 to continue developing the school’s future state design.
The goal of the Essential Allies Challenge is to help students become more engaged in their learning, which is important to their lifelong success. To make this possible, programs under iZone create new learning models complete with tools and practical application approaches for daily life in and out of the classroom. The organization also allows teachers and students to gain access to improved tools, which network developers and educators in useful collaborations.
One of these programs is called Blended Learning, an educational method that unites teachers and their instruction with technology. This program is used in more than 250 schools in the United States to help students think critically about the new opportunities and new challenges that come with technology. It is important for students to learn how technology is able to support interactions with meaningful data. The purpose is to welcome critical consumers in the technology market, developing their innovation and problem-solving skills.
In Photo: Erica Zigleman, Principal (Left) Followed by Melissa Caballero Aspiring Asisstant principa,l and Lani Macadandang, Aspiring Principal (NYCLA)
On June 18, 2014, The Renaissance Leadership Academy (M.S.322) had the pleasure of hosting 26 principals from Nuevo León Mexico as part of The Center for Technology and School Change at Teacher’s college supports Programa Internacional del Dessarrollo de Líderes de Escuelas Preparatorias (International Program for the Development of High School Leaders). The program engages principals of Nuevo León Mexico in matters relating to educational school leadership and improvement. The main objective of this initiative is for principals to gain a deeper understanding of how their role as school leaders influences change for teaching and learning in their schools. Their work involves designing strategies and plans to support the shifts necessary for improvement in literacy education
Erica Zigleman, The principal of the school along with other members of her staff eagerly welcomed the group. Two students from Mexican families were served as ambassadors and provided the group with a brief introduction of the school. During their visit the principals spent time learning the history of M.S.322 in order to gain a clearer understanding of the school’s mission and the variety of ways the school addresses the challenges in serving a large ELL population . Additionally, a representative from The Children’s Aid Society, the school’s CBO, addressed the group and emphasized the importance of supporting the social-emotion needs of students and during these critical adolescent years. Principals spent the rest of the afternoon visiting classrooms and touring the school in smaller groups.
Erica Zigelman serves as principal of a New York City Department of Education middle school. In a career spanning several decades, Erica Zigelman has also worked as an adjunct professor and a literary coach, among other roles. In her current position as principal, she has helped her school reach semifinalist status in the Essential Allies Challenge, the winners of which will receive grants in excess of $15,000 from iZone.
The Essential Allies Challenge encourages New York City schools to look for innovative ways to strengthen relationships with parents as a means to support student achievement. The challenge requires schools to submit a video entry explaining its goals and motivations for entering the contest; selected schools then work with experts to develop and refine its ideas further.
The contest is open to a group of 280 New York City schools. Winners will be selected by a panel comprising parents, teachers, and representatives from the Department of Education.
Erica Zigelman, principal of New York City’s Middles School 322, or the Renaissance Leadership Academy, possesses more than four decades of experience in the field of education. She has participated in the iLead Instructional Technology Leadership Program for 21st Century Leaders and received such honors as the Resolution A Technology Grant. In her current position as principal of MS322, Erica Zigelman has seen the benefits of the Smithsonian-ePals partnership.
In 2011, the Smithsonian Institution agreed to partner with ePals, Inc., to provide educators, parents, and students across the world with a diverse range of educational materials from the museum and its associated research complex. The partnership makes Smithsonian content available through ePals’ social learning platforms such as LearningSpace and SchoolMail 365. Users can also access the new material through the ePals Global Community.
The educational materials from the Smithsonian include classroom projects, lesson plans for teachers, shared media galleries, and information on topics related to art, culture, history, and science. Students can also learn directly from Smithsonian curators and experts in these areas. Additionally, the availability of this information on ePals’ social platform offers extensive possibilities for collaborative learning on a global scale.
A principal for the New York City Department of Education, Erica Zigelman takes on a number of responsibilities, including but not limited to; the organization of study group programs, conducting professional development staff action plans, and developing academic intervention strategies. Erica Zigelman also established administrative protocols and collaborated with the School Leadership Tam(SLT) to write an effective Comprehensive Education Plan.
Retaining a great team at an educational institution stands out as one of the most effective ways to foster an above-average school. With students depending upon smooth processes and capable professionals to lead the way, leadership becomes paramount. Described below are some important tips for building an outstanding education team.
Play to individual strengths: Recognize when some individuals are better at one job than another, and let them shine in these positions. All team members should serve in the roles at which they prove most competent.
Facilitate development: Nurture your teachers and help them grow professionally. Give individuals opportunities to improve and learn new skills. By pushing boundaries and discovering new capabilities, team members flourish and become motivated to keep growing.
Identify skills gaps: Always keep your eyes open for needs in training and development. If certain qualities or skills are required, hire someone who can satisfy those needs and make the team stronger as a result.