Clarkstown Central School District

A Legacy of Excellence

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Superintendent's Blog

  • Embedded Coaching Implemented at Link Elementary

    Posted by Martin Cox at 3/27/2017

    "Effective professional development affects many teachers as opposed to some, and many students as opposed to a few. The new definition calls for every educator to engage in professional development as part of the workday."

                                 -Stephanie Hirsch (2009)

                                  Executive Director, National Staff Development Council


    Stephanie Hirsch's research on professional development supports the concept of teachers being engaged in job-embedded coaching.

    In the Clarkstown Central School District, this professional growth concept is highly visible as part of the Columbia University Teachers' College Writing Program. Last week, I saw Embedded Coaching in action at Link Elementary when TC Writing Staff Developer Jonathan Aldanese brought Third Grade teachers and students together at the same time.  In essence, Mr. Aldanese taught the students and the teachers collectively.

    First, Mr. Aldanese met with the teachers - Beth Ann Garvey, Cristen Edwards, Gina Connignton, and Jeanne Gereco-Butler - as well as their Principal, Fran Cuccia, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Susan Yom in a separate conference room away from the classroom. He reviewed and reinforced the concepts of Voice and Domain Specific Vocabulary.  Mr. Aldanese stated, "With Information Writing, it's harder to be precise with details."  He continued, informing the group about the importance of conferencing with students after a mini lesson.

    Moments later in a Third Grade classroom, the aforementioned group of teachers and administrators joined the Staff Developer, along with Special Education Teachers Lauren Haugh and Jen Nelson to implement the components he had just discussed in a pre-lesson meeting.  Within the classroom setting, I noticed one of the key components of Embedded Coaching practiced by Mr. Aldanese: in addition to teaching the students, he periodically stopped and provided timely tips to the teachers in order to provide insight and clarity about the writing strategies.

    Next, when the students broke the group meeting and went to their desks to practice their craft of writing, the trainer as well as all teachers and administrators present were able to engage with students and each other to make the entire process meaningful.

    In summary, I believe the Embedded Coaching professional development I observed at Link Elementary can be summed up best when referring to the author, Hirsch (2009), who stated "When schools become 'learning schools,' every student benefits from every educator's expertise, and every educator grows professionally with the support of his or her colleagues. Collaborative professional learning is a powerful way to ensure great teaching for every student every day."


    TC at Link  TC at Link

    TC at Link  TC at Link

    TC at Link  TC at Link

    TC at Link



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  • Clarkstown Robotics Team Ready to Compete on International Stage

    Posted by Martin Cox at 3/24/2017

    The "World Cup of Robotics" is unfolding this weekend at Rockland Community College and the Clarkstown Central School District will be competing on the international stage.

    Actually, the official name of the event is First Steamworks Robotics Competition, but no matter the title, the fact is that 27 Clarkstown students will compete against 47 teams, including entries from Brazil, Turkey, India, China, Dominican Republic, Great Britain and Equador.  Clarkstown's team name is the 8 Bit Rams and they are under the leadership of Coach Brendan Burkhart, a Physics Teacher at North.

    I had the opportunity to attend a practice session this afternoon at RCC and was immediately met by a trio of energetic CCSD students, Mark Albrecht, Shawn Kuriakose, and Gokul Unnikrishnan. The three students took me to the ring where the robotics competition will officially begin tomorrow and explained the concepts of the event, including the need for robots to pick up plastic wiffel balls and toss them into containers, as just one example of the multiple tasks.

    The competition will take place all day Saturday and continues on Sunday.  Clarkstown is the only school in Rockland County competing in the event, and the students and Coach Burkhart have worked long and hard preparing, using multiple problem solving skills directly related to math, physics, technology and more.  I wish the Clarkstown team the best of success this weekend!

    Robotics  Robotics

    Robotics  Robotics

    Robotics  Robotics



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