Tag Archives: NYC

Bear at Work

Quick Comment on De Blasio’s Plan for NYC’s Troubled Schools

Last week the Times summarized De Blasio’s plan for NYC’s troubled schools:

“The new program will designate 94 of the city’s most troubled schools, including the Coalition School, as Renewal Schools based on a list of criteria including low four-year graduation rates for high schools and poor test scores for middle and elementary schools. Students at those schools will receive an extra hour of instructional time each day, teachers will have extra professional training, and the schools will be encouraged to offer summer school. The schools will also be given additional resources, with $150 million spread over two years, about $39 million for this school year and $111 million in the next.

But the centerpiece of the proposal involves turning these institutions into so-called Community Schools, which try to address the challenges students face outside the classroom, with offerings like mental health services for those who need them or food for students who do not get enough to eat at home”.

I engaged in the following exchange in the comment sections of the piece:

Richard (a commenter) wrote:

“Without active parent participation at home and in schools, DeBlasio plan is doomed”.

I responded:

“I agree that parent participation is important. Creating community schools is a step in that direction especially “with offerings like mental health services for those who need them or food for students who do not get enough to eat at home”. Offering these services to parents and guardians too might be one way to increase involvement.

In my experiences teaching public school I noticed that our weekly food pantry encouraged parents to come to the school and made them feel welcome.

It’s a two way street, if schools – especially in low income neighborhoods – do more to support and welcome parents we’ll likely see a reciprocal increase in parent support and involvement in school affairs”.

And another commenter, Sophiequus, added:

“I recall by brother-in-law, a district superintendent in update NY, saying “We just have them 7 hours a day. There’s a limit to what we can do.” If schools are going to become social service delivery vehicles, the school day will need to be extended far beyond an hour.

As a parent of school children, I feel certain nothing can replace a parent in the home who actively supports education, requires/ensures their children attend school on time, complete assignments, and seek out extra help when needed. If you don’t have the parent on the school’s side, I’m not sure how to help children succeed without more extreme solutions”.

I wanted to write a more detailed post on this, but as a new parent myself, I found it challenging to make time to even do this much!

Bear at Work


A Spring 2014 GSTA Blog Retrospective and Useful Index

A Spring 2014 GSTA Blog Retrospective and Useful Index

Winslow Homer  Woman and BlackboardAssessment ASocrates and Platoscissorskeyboardpsych textbooksfoxy writingspring 2014bike rewardsthinking orangutanGSTA LOGO

Dear GSTA Community,

As the semester comes to a close we’d like to thank everyone who read, commented and posted on the GSTA blog. Here’s the list of the posts, which we hope will serve as a useful resource when planning your courses in the fall!

If you have any Teaching Tips you’d like to share please submit them to gsta.cuny.@gmail.com.


The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

Philip Kreniske, Kasey Powers, Francis Yannaco and Theresa Fiani

And follow us on twitter@gradsteachpsych or join our Facebook Group!

Encouraging Inter-Student Participation in Large Lecture Sections using Discussion Board Forums

25 Feb 2014

By Danielle DeNigris


Teaching Tip: Choose Your Assessments Based On Student Learning Goals

04 Mar 2014

By Emily A. A. Dow


A Tool for Understanding Students: the Discussion Forum

11 Mar 2014

By Anna Schwartz


Socrates in the Classroom: Helping Students to Discover What’s Already There

18 Mar 2014

By Jeff Kukucka


A Mixed-Methods Approach to Child Development Instruction: Reflecting on Research Presented at the SRCD

24 Mar 2014

By Naomi J. AldrichPeri Ozlem Yuksel-Sokmen, & Sarah E. Berger


Using Low Stakes Writing as a Learning Tool

01 Apr 2014

By Kasey L. Powers


Short on Resources? A Variety of Useful Options for Graduate Students Teaching Psychology

08 Apr 2014

By Theresa Fiani and Rita Obeid


Teaching with Technology: Just the Basics Part 1

29 Apr 2014

By Francis Yannaco


Flip the Textbook

06 May 2014

By Kasey Powers


3 Tips for Supporting Greenhorn Research Writers

12 May 2014

By Philip Kreniske


Lecturers Can Run a Successful Course Without a Textbook

20 May 2014

By Hunter Kincaid



Winter Pics


It seems like everyone in NYC has some great shots of these past few weeks of winter…

well here are some of mine!

The camera is not great on the Nexus 5 but I managed to get a few good shots of my commute home and then a fun walk in Riverside too.


empire state in blizzard
empire state in a blizzard
Beckham in his underwear in the snow
Beckham’s underwear in the snow


IMG_20140121_141216 IMG_20140121_14120834th street unplowedIMG_20140203_154400IMG_20140203_154029The ParkIMG_20140122_205330 IMG_20140121_180534


IMG_20140203_153307IMG_20140203_154014IMG_20131214_193737the end of the walk

old car on the block

empire state the next morning
empire state the next morning


A Day Late and A Hundred Dollars Short: Photos From A Long Vacation Return

My wife and I were a couple of the travelers who were stranded by the blizzard coming home from holiday last Friday. In the time it took to get home  I read five New Yorkers- cover to cover, and my wife devoured Kevin Barry’s new book City of Bohane.

Here are some scenes  from our return journey (note -we used my Canon Powershot SD1000 from 2004 for all of these photos). It has less megapixels (7.1) than most phones these days – but I think the shots came out okay. Judge for yourself:

Part I – PR

Flying back from one of the little islands – to the considerably larger island of Puerto Rico. Photos from the Cessna:

IMG_1960(If you like piña coladas –  on the plane)

IMG_1962A private island – 5 minutes from San Juan as the plain flies.

Part II – Miami

It was Friday the 4th and we’d the weather was bad but American Airlines (AA) said if we didn’t take our flight the next chance to get home would be Tuesday, four days later! So despite the storm warnings we headed to the airport.

All seemed well, until about an hour from NYC the pilot announced that due to weather we were turning around and would land in Miami. I’ve flown a lot in my life and never has a plane turned around!

I don’t have any photos of the Miami airport – I basically stood in the rebooking line and talked on the phone with AA trying to find a way home. Again I was told the next flight to NYC was Tuesday! Two hours later – as we neared the front of the rebooking line – service to NY had resumed and flights were boarding – but of course they were all booked with standby lists above 200 people long. I never thought I’d say this but  why couldn’t we have just waited on the plane?

One family from PR was heading for a ski trip in Vermont. They opted to rent a car and drive. I wonder where they are now?

To my surprise, even after the booking agent told them there was little chance of getting a flight, many people in front and behind us accepted the Tuesday flight and chose to wait at the airport on standby to see if anything opened up sooner. A few people – like us found alternate routes.

Part III Dallas

So we stayed in the Miami airport all day, my wife neglected to take a photo of me busting out one of our new sleeping mats from my carryon bag and taking a 30 minute nap. Finally, we caught a sunset flight to Dallas:

sunset in Dallas

and arrived at our hotel around 9 pm.  At least there was a Whataburger within walking distance (I’d never been before and it’s a Texas establishment). My review? Whataburger is slightly inferior to In and Out Burger – but it’s a cut above the normal slop served at fast food joints.

I’d also like to note that the people at the DFW Comfort Inn South (there is also a North location – i’m sure they are nice too) were really friendly. In all the flight changes our bags got lost – so we only had the sweatshirts on our backs – no toothpaste, brushes, deodorant. The man at the concierge desk hooked us up with all of that, which I really appreciated and I’m sure the people crammed into those airplane seats next to us the following morning did too.

We caught a Dallas sunrise…at the airport.

Dallas sunrise


Part IV – NY at Last

Finally arriving in NYC around 1pm on Saturday, a day late and a dollar short (more like a hundred dollars: AA paid for nothing as it was weather related).

My wife got some great shots of the city as the plane descended:

statue of libertylower NYCIMG_1983 The Freedom Tower


Part V – Bags

I needed a couple  of days to ruminate and recoup before writing about this epic journey. Coincidentally, my buzzer just rang – it’s American Airlines dropping off our bags.