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Educators Highlight Anti-Racist Teaching Techniques at Cutting-Edge Panel, Workshop

Monday, February 4, 2019

Contact: Wende Gozan Brown, [email protected]

Event Opens Professional Development Sessions for National Center for Teaching Residencies; East Harlem Teaching Residency Selected to Host

(New York, NY) — Educators, community leaders and the public will have the opportunity to engage with teachers trained in racial equity and learn to use anti-bias language at an upcoming panel and workshop. East Harlem Teaching Residency (EHTR) will host the event, “Building a Pipeline of Anti-Racist Teachers,” at East Harlem Scholars Academy on Tuesday, February 12 at 8:30 a.m.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to showcase our racial equity work, which provides the foundation for our successful educational model,” said Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director of East Harlem Tutorial Program, the 60-year-old nonprofit that launched EHTR in 2015 in partnership with Hunter College’s School of Education and AmeriCorps. “All students need to feel valued and supported to become confident learners. At a time when inflammatory rhetoric has become a frightening norm and our country feels more divided than ever, it is essential to ensure educators are grounded in best practices to support students.”

The panel and workshop will serve as a kick-off for the National Center for Teaching Residencies’ (NCTR’s) Instructional Rounds, a time when NCTR and its partner programs collaborate to provide professional development and support to residencies. NCTR selected EHTR to host one set of 2019 Instructional Rounds that will focus on the assessment process, and help programs nationwide evaluate the quality, clarity, and consistency of the feedback that residents receive.

Established in 2015, EHTR seeks to connect the students of East Harlem with highly motivated educators who are invested in the neighborhood and prepared to meet the needs of the community. Rather than training teachers to have an awareness of racism, East Harlem Teaching Residency is designed to shape transformative educators who actively work to dismantle racism. These anti-racist practices prepare graduates to support the young people of East Harlem as they realize their best possible selves.

Recent data shows that East Harlem Teaching Residency graduates are prepared to make their mark: 100 percent of graduates from its most recent cohort are teaching, having graduated from Hunter School of Education with a GPA of 3.8 or higher. During their residencies, each spent a minimum of 22 hours a week serving our Scholars, and each was able to prove student academic growth. Importantly, 100 percent of hiring principals said they would hire EHTR graduates again, according to the American Institutes for Research.

“Students of color are 39 percent more likely to matriculate to college if they have just one teacher of color in elementary school — but nationally, only 16 percent of teachers are people of color,” said Susan Gonzowitz, founding managing director of EHTR. “We recruit a diverse pool of teaching residents and make sure they are all trained in anti-racist practices. In doing so, EHTR graduates help affect educational outcomes in East Harlem and beyond, and promote an equitable society in which students succeed in and outside of their classrooms.”

“Our Instructional Rounds bring together residency programs from around the country in collaboration to improve the residency model,” added Sudipti Kumar, associate program director for NCTR. “The East Harlem Teaching Residency has established itself as an exemplary program, and we are excited to collaborate with them to provide our partners with this unique opportunity for thoughtful observations and professional feedback that will help push the residency movement forward.”

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About East Harlem Teaching Residency: A component of East Harlem Tutorial Program, the East Harlem Teaching Residency — in partnership with Hunter College School of Education and AmeriCorps — is a selective 14-month cohort-based teacher-training and certification program that develops, supports, and certifies aspiring educators to become highly effective first through sixth grade teachers for East Harlem Scholars Academies and the greater East Harlem community.

About National Center for Teaching Residencies: The National Center for Teacher Residencies is a not-for-profit organization created to improve student achievement through the preparation of excellent new teachers for high-need school districts. Headquartered in Chicago, NCTR’s mission is to advance a network of high-performing teacher residency programs dedicated to preparing highly effective teachers that will transform educational practices nationwide.

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Joan Solotar, Chair of EHTP’s Board of Trustees, Profiled in Bloomberg News

Joan Solotar Photographer: Blackstone

Joan Solotar, a senior managing director at the private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, has set her sights high when it comes to increasing the company’s wealth assets — in fact, she plans to quadruple them in 10 years. But a steely resolve to reach her goals is nothing new for Solotar, whom Bloomberg recently dubbed a “private-equity titan.”

In fact, it is something she has had since she was young. Solotar, who is head of private wealth solutions and external relations, is also chairwoman of the board of trustees of East Harlem Tutorial Program and East Harlem Scholars Academies. Our mission of supporting East Harlem youth as they attain college education is one that resonates deeply: Like many of our Scholars, she was the first in her family to go on to higher education, graduating from the State University of New York at Albany.

Bloomberg recalls that Solotar “made the rounds of job interviews at finance firms”; she has said she “remembers the sinking feeling of getting rejected again and again.”

But these days, no one is rejecting Solotar. In addition to her other high-powered roles, Solotar manages global shareholder relations and public affairs. Bloomberg noted, “business has boomed for Solotar’s team. The private real estate investment trust alone raised more than $300 million in one month last year.”

Added Jon Gray, the firm’s president: “Joan has been a champion” of maintaining Blackstone’s standards. “She’s brought tremendous creative energy to this key growth area for our firm.”

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Be a Boss: Women Entrepreneurs Charting Their Own Path Panel and Networking Workshop

Our College Scholars experienced a full day of networking and career development advice as entrepreneurs explained what it means to be a boss and chart their own path.  This is one of the many ways in which we here at East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) invest in our students as they prepare for their futures.

Scholars heard from industry leaders Amanda Eilian, Co-Founder of Videolicious & Partner at _able; Nicole Gibbons, Founder & CEO of Clare; and Flori Marquez, Co-Founder of BlockFi. Each gave her own unique perspective and personal anecdotes on what becoming an entrepreneur means — including the processes of becoming your own boss. They also addressed the importance of internships in gaining real world experience, taking risks, following one’s passion and being able to handle rejection.

“I’ve been rejected a lot, and each time I’ve been rejected, I remember it…and it drives me to work harder…10 years from now I’m going to be able to say in an interview, that company didn’t give me the opportunity that I deserved, and instead I did something 10 times better,” shared Marquez. “Being able to drop other people’s biases…knowing that you’re intelligent, knowing you deserve to be there, and allowing that to continue to drive you forward is very powerful,” she continued.

A Q&A with audience members followed the panel discussion, involving CEOs and entrepreneurs from various arenas including politics, community affairs, marketing, finance, and more. We also opened up the floor to our Scholars and gave them the opportunity to ask questions and have one-on-one conversations.

The panelists shed light on the difficulties of proving oneself as a woman, especially as a woman of color. They emphasized confidence, creating a stable foundation, and knowing the business inside and out when attempting to own a room and get people to believe in their work.

Students continued their day in a variety of different workshops where they tackled social justice issues and networking best practices. Sade Lythcott, CEO of The National Black Theatre, brought all of the topics together in her keynote where she addressed social justice, health and wellness, and the unique path that got her where she is today.



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‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’

Teaching Tolerance ran an article by Michelle Nicola, The Case for Love in the Classroom, highlighting the fact that students learn best from people they love (also, see NY Times opinion piece). It sheds light on what many of us in education understand—relationships matter when working with young people to support them in realizing their best possible selves. Our children must be equipped with not only amazing critical thinking skills, but also a strong emotional vocabulary to navigate our world. And it is revolutionary to #BuildLove in education spaces as a way to prepare our young people for their futures.

As we celebrated and honored Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. yesterday, I reflected on how he used love as a way to fight for social justice. His words about love have been used so much that it is easy for us to dismiss as clichè. Still, today more than ever, holding on to his sentiments is necessary. However you chose to honor him, my hope is that it was in action and with love. We invite you to further experience the value of service and get more involved with EHTP. We are always looking for educators and volunteers who share our passion for learning and social justice. Please go to or contact us for more information.


Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director

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East Harlem Scholars Academies Honor Local Heroes at Annual Celebration

As we look forward to breaking bread with family and friends, East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) is abundantly thankful: Our Scholars are thriving in school, knowing they have the support of the community around them as they strive to get to and through college.

That is why we honor members of our community every year for East Harlem Heroes Day, when we dedicate several classrooms to the role models that help our Scholars dream big and succeed. This day enables new and previous inductees to meet with students and visit their classrooms.

Now in its 7th year, East Harlem Heroes highlights an illustrious list of artists and community leaders, from Maya Angelou to Celia Cruz to Langston Hughes, and a host of EHTP alumni. This year our young Scholars were thrilled to honor:

  • Hiram Maristany, a photographer who has documented life in El Barrio for 40 years, mentoring numerous Puerto Rican and Latino artists in the city.


  • Orlando Ortiz, a retired EHTP employee who, for more than 18 years, ensured our after-school classrooms and offices were clean, safe and ready for Scholars.


  • Suleyma Cuellar, an EHTP alumna of our High School and College Scholars program. She is currrently a lead teacher and robotics instructor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School


  • Bilal Zafar, a longstanding participant in EHTP programs and a current participant of our College Scholars program.


    Students also heard from Alao Hogan, a longtime EHTP student and founding co-chair of our alumni council, who has gone on to serve in the Army and earn several undergrad and graduate degrees. And each year our East Harlem Hero, Olga Ramos, brings superhero capes to her namesake class. With this simple act, Olga sent a strong message: All of our Scholars are budding superheroes. As we reflect over the holiday on the richness that community brings to our lives, we give thanks to those who champion our youth in such meaningful ways.

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  • Giving Tuesday

    East Harlem Tutorial Program has big plans in the run up to Giving Tuesday! We are building our first Scholars Academy High School from the ground up and have set our sights on serving 25 percent of East Harlem students by 2025.

    But you don’t have to buy a building to make a difference in a child’s life! EHTP College Scholars are on track to graduate from college at a rate 8X the national average for students from low-income households. Help us continue that trend this giving season.


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    Teachers and Learners: Getting Our Kids to and Through College

    From left to right: David Coleman, Jessica Marinaccio, Jeff Ginsburg, Havidán Rodríguez

    At East Harlem Tutorial Program, ensuring that college is within arm’s reach of young people is what we do best. After all, over the last five years 95 percent of EHTP students have enrolled in college, and our college scholars are on track to graduate from four-year schools at a rate 8 times the national average for students from low-income households.

    We are proud of our results. But as the adage goes, the true teacher is the learner, and we are committed to deepening and sharing our understanding to increase the depth and breadth of our impact. That is why EHTP gathered several national educational leaders to the fifth in our series of educational roundtables to discuss getting students to and through college. And learn we did.

    Our panelists – College Board President David Coleman, Columbia’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jessica Marinaccio and SUNY Albany President Havidán Rodríguez – inspired all of us to redouble our efforts, and left us with clear takeaways about supporting, educating and interacting with young scholars:

    Increasing Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) is a win-win. The first-year retention rate for students in the program at SUNY Albany exceeds that of first-year students overall, with a full 93% of EOP students staying in college.

    Redoubling efforts to reach children early on is critical. By high school, students may be too far behind academically to be college ready. Even more importantly, kids decide early what their futures hold. It’s on us to show them that college can be part of that future.

    Examining the impact of culminating tests, such as the SATs, is a must. The tests must be administered fairly and inclusively — and students need to know that they are more than the sum of their scores.

    Hosted by EHTP Board Member Billy Rahm at Centerbridge, the event didn’t skirt the obstacles that hold our youth back. Jeff Ginsburg, executive director for EHTP said: “Some things just get in the way: college mismatch, financial difficulties, lacking skills and feelings of isolation for students down to responsibilities that they may still carry.” But, he added, “You see from the data we have that this can be overcome.”

    President Rodríguez asserted, “The very first thing we need to do as institutions of higher ed is provide the atmosphere where students come in and thrive, and provide the support mechanisms so that they can succeed.” But he also noted that getting behind students at the college level is too late. “It’s our responsibility to reach down lower in the pipeline so by the time they get to 12th grade they have the basic [skills] in order to succeed in college.”

    Dean Marinaccio agrees. “Early access and early intervention is key to a lot of success. There are many studies that show students really determine in middle school who they are going to be. Are they going to be a student? How do they see themselves in this journey of going into higher education?. Education is really the door that opens so many opps and moves entire families to different levels of opportunity.”

    And sometimes it is the very tools created to attract a diverse student pool that leave some young people on the sidelines. “For too many kids they see a low SAT score as a veto in their life,” said David Coleman. “There are lots of ways to show your excellence.”

    How do we help overcome this gap? Each panelist emphasized the importance of mentors and role models who can be change agents in young people’s lives. The discussion ended with a rallying cry for deeper partnerships with community-based organizations. “Places like EHTP are essential in the ecosystem,” said Coleman, who added that one thing is clear:

    “What does not work is us working on our own.”

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    How We Respond: #BuildLove

    This week New Yorkers came together to protest the Immigrant Family Separation Policy that has displaced over 2,000 children since its enactment in April. 250 of those children are right here in East Harlem with no plan on how to reunite them with their families. The official policy has been rescinded but the damage has already been done. And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted in a 5-4 ruling to uphold this Administration’s anti-Muslim travel ban.

    I wish I could say that this week is an outlier for our country. I wish I could say that our history is not deeply steeped in removing children — particularly black and brown children — from their loved ones. I wish I could say that safety for our most vulnerable has always been sacrosanct. But sadly I cannot.

    At EHTP, our task is to equip our children with strategies to succeed in the world as it is right now. They have to learn to navigate a deck that is often stacked against them. We have to constantly ask ourselves what more can we continue to do to ensure we remain a safe learning space for all families. How do we remain successful in assisting our young people to realize their best possible selves despite these obstacles and hateful rhetoric?

    There are no easy answers to these questions but they serve as a guide for all we do. It motivates our racial equity work and our #BuildLove campaign.

    Next week, we will launch our next #BuildLove project with our High School Summer Institute scholars, aimed at supporting separated families in need. We will collect goods to donate to shelters in our community, and coordinate volunteer opportunities. We will look to enroll any separated children in our programs and schools.

    We will be in touch soon on how you can get involved. For now, you can find additional resources on how to help separated families here.

    Thank you for your continued support,

    Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director

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