bigapplenew178The results are in!

After over 7,800 nominations, hundreds of interviews, several weeks of research, and hours of internal debates and classroom observations, the DOE announced the recipients of this year’s fifth annual Big Apple Awards.

The Big Apple Awards are a citywide recognition program that celebrates the incredible work of New York City’s public school teachers. Open to all full-time teachers in City public schools, the Big Apple Awards are made possible, in part, by support from the Fund for Public Schools, several arts education programs, and inaugural funding from the New York Road Runners. This year, 19 educators were honored with Big Apple Awards, including 17 classroom teachers, one arts educator, and, for the first time ever, a physical education instructor.

For the second year in a row, Chancellor Carmen Fariña and the DOE’s Deputy Chancellors surprised each of this year’s honorees in person with awards in hand. The surprise visits allowed students and school staff members to join in on the festivities and celebrate their teachers’ achievements.

“A great teacher can change a student’s life, and the Big Apple Awards are an incredible opportunity to celebrate the City’s many talented educators,” said Chancellor Fariña when announcing this year’s honorees. “This year’s recipients represent the thousands of incredible educators who go above and beyond to motivate their students and move their school communities forward. I congratulate all the incredible teachers receiving this great recognition and applaud all of the nominees from schools across the City.”

Over the next school year, each of this year’s 19 recipients will serve as Big Apple Fellows, and they will have the opportunity to meet monthly with one another and become leaders and ambassadors for their profession as well as for the schools and students they serve. In addition, Big Apple Award recipients are invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group, which meets bi-monthly to further affect DOE policies across the City.

 

This year’s Big Apple Award honorees are:

 

Diana Bocchino

Danielle Bocchino
(Standing on left)

Danielle Bocchino (Fifth Grade Teacher, P.S. 215 Morris H. Weiss, Brooklyn)

Mrs. Bocchino has taught at P.S. 215 for 14 years and holds her students to rigorous standards, rewarding them with “conversation coupons” when they use accountable talk. Mrs. Bocchino stresses the importance of student independence because, she believes, “It is important to let them do the work.” At the beginning of this year, just 17 percent of her students were meeting fifth grade math standards; by mid-year, 86 percent were meeting the standards, including 34 percent who were exceeding them.

 

Corinne Cornibe

Corinne Cornibe
(Second from left)

Corinne Cornibe (High School Math Teacher, Academy for Young Writers, Brooklyn)

“I want my students to be creators – to design, innovate, and problem-solve their way to a better future,” said Ms. Cornibe. She started a robotics program and later establish an Advanced Placement Computer Science program that have ignited students’ passions and interest in learning. 73 percent of last year’s graduating class took a course in computer science, robotics, or both.

 

Yocasty Diaz Gets Surprised with a Big Apple Award

Yocasty Diaz
(Standing right of Chancellor)

Yocasty Diaz (Middle School Math Teacher, I.S. 219 New Venture School, Bronx)

Ms. Diaz has worked at I.S. 219 for 16 years and describes her classroom as “a center of investigation, discovery, and risk-taking opportunities.” Ms. Diaz utilizes project-based instruction focusing on meteorological science to expand her students’ horizons by exposing them to professions to which they might not have had access to otherwise.

 

Keira Dillon

Keira Dillon
(Left of Chancellor)

Keira Dillon (Fifth Grade Gifted & Talented Teacher, P.S. 163 Alfred E. Smith, Manhattan)

Over her ten years at P.S. 163, Ms. Dillon has exposed students to great works of philosophy and art. Her goal: “to offer enriching academic and social opportunities that mirror this amazing city.” Ms. Dillon believes in building cross-curricular connections and her students conduct a weekly song analysis through a Socratic seminar.

 

Adriana DiScipio (English as a New Language Teacher, P.S. 230 Doris L. Cohen, Brooklyn)

Ms. DiScipio is now in her eleventh year of working with often newly arrived English Language Learners at P.S. 230. “I perceive my students’ linguistic diversity as a strength and a resource.” Beyond her classroom, Ms. DiScipio serves as a Learning Partners Program Model Teacher, sharing work around language learning and vocabulary development with her school community.

 

James Harrington

James Harrington
(Standing left with sign)

James Harrington (High School Art Teacher, High School of Art and Design, Manhattan)

In his eleventh year teaching at the school he graduated from, Mr. Harrington strives to live up to his own teachers’ legacy as mentors who saw their students as artists. Relating to his students, Mr. Harrington reflects, “I became a teacher to pass on the gift of art to a new generation, just as it was passed on to me.”

 

Leslie Lehrman (High School English Teacher, Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology, Bronx)

Ms. Lehrman explains that she left her career in magazine publishing to “combine my passion for reading and writing with my love for children.” As a Master Teacher, Ms. Lehrman acts as the department lead, guiding vertical alignment of instructional strategies, and helps to lead a professional learning community, collaborating with colleagues to develop and deliver monthly professional development aligned with schoolwide goals.


Jessica Martell
(Fifth Grade Teacher, Central Park East II, Manhattan)

Ms. Martell works in an ICT setting and became a teacher to combine her love of New York City with her belief that every student is entitled to a quality public education. This year, each of her students has grown at least two reading levels, and Ms. Martell has fulfilled her goal of ensuring “all students see themselves as capable and brilliant readers and writers.”

 

Nash Matute

Nash Matute
(Center, left of Chancellor, holding sign)

Nash Matute (Reading Recovery Teacher, Archer Elementary School, Bronx)

Ms. Matute has taught in New York City public schools for seven years and serves as a Reading Recovery teacher for a group of first grade students. She is “driven by the never-ending room to grow and develop.” Ms. Matute also serves as an instructional coach for her school’s upper grades and has implemented a schoolwide teacher and peer conferencing system for teachers to assess and build relationships with students.

 

Katie McArdle

Katie McArdle
(Left with sign)

Katie McArdle (Elementary Autism Teacher, P.S. K231, Brooklyn)

Ms. McArdle has spent the past 14 years teaching New York City students on the autism spectrum. “After college, I stumbled upon a graduate program focusing on students with severe and multiple disabilities, and as soon as I began, I knew I had found my niche.” In her classroom, each students’ unique learning style is respected and nurtured.  Ms. McArdle’s primary focus is on developing her students’ self-awareness, self-control, and self-advocacy.

 

Faye Michalakos

Faye Michalakos
(Second from the left)

Faye Michalakos (Sixth Grade Math Teacher, Hellenic Classical Charter School, Brooklyn)

Ms. Michalakos ties all of her instruction to real world examples and experiences for her math students. Understanding the “why” of math is critical to her students’ success, and Ms. Michalakos builds partnerships with parents and families through schoolwide engagement events. In the classroom, she insists upon students using math vocabulary and accountable talk, and prepares them to facilitate their own Socratic seminars and to monitor their own progress by writing themselves “glow and grow” notes.

 

Carmen Morales

Carmen Morales
(Left)

Carmen I. Morales (TASC Preparation Teacher, East River Academy, Rikers Island)

Ms. Morales has spent the past 25 years at East River Academy working with incarcerated students. She often “sneaks” hopeful and inspiring messages into their work to keep them engaged, and cultivates a physical learning environment which is uniquely suited to the social emotional needs of students on Rikers Island.

 

Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy
(Left)

Patrick Murphy (Special Education Teacher, P.S. 199 Maurice A. Fitzgerald, Queens)

Mr. Murphy has inspired students to consider engineering careers after starting a Lego Robotics program. He believes in tapping into his students’ interests and passions to drive instruction, saying, “I became a teacher because I love the art of learning.” Individual student conferences also help him monitor student progress and create monthly goal sheets aligned to rigorous academic standards.

 

Rose Newman

Rose Newman
(Second from left)

Rose Newman (Physical Education Teacher, P.S. 118 Lorraine Hansberry, Queens)

“My Physical Education class is a place of moving and learning,” said Ms. Newman. She is the first PE teacher to receive a Big Apple Award, and her goal is for students have fun while learning about health-related fitness, skills, and character. She also sets specific goals that can be tracked during the year, and students are expected to spend at least 50 percent of class time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and complete at least 1,000 steps during each lesson, as measured by the use of pedometers.

 

Rosario Orengo (Middle School Social Studies Teacher, The Urban Assembly Unison School, Brooklyn)

“I wake up every morning excited to do this work,” said Ms. Orengo. For her, the work of being an educator means creating a safe environment, in which her students feel comfortable taking academic risks and sharing their own confusions and misunderstandings. Focusing on conversation and discussion, she uses high-interest readings and integrates connections to current events to motivate her students, and helped introduce restorative practices to the school community.

 

Elaine Rodriguez (Dual Language Middle School Math Teacher, M.S. 322, Manhattan)

Ms. Rodriguez said she “practices an open-door-at-all-times policy and welcomes positive thinking and mistakes from students, parents, administrators and visitors.” In her dual language classroom, Ms. Rodriguez models instruction in Spanish for one week and then continues the curriculum in English the following week.

 

Julia Satt (Second Grade Special Education Teacher, P.S. 45 John Tyler, Staten Island)

Ms. Satt has taught at P.S. 45 for ten years in an ICT setting, focused on educating the whole child, responding to each student’s unique behaviors and needs, and using restorative circles to promote equity of voice. A significant portion of Ms. Satt’s students have made two years’ worth of reading, writing, and math progress in just one year.

 

Diana Shteynberg

Diana Shteynberg
(Second from right)

Diana Shteynberg (Pre-K Teacher, Shorefront YM-YWHA, Brooklyn)

Raised in a family of educators, Ms. Shteynberg’s goal is to guide students to be “self-initiating and self-directed learners” and to “grow from dreamers to doers.” Ms. Shteynberg seeks to create a welcoming environment and an atmosphere of trust for every child and family, and builds strong parent partnerships, offering positive and constructive feedback. At the end of last year, every student in Ms. Shteynberg’s class was able to enter Kindergarten without the ESL program due to excelling in language and literacy.

 

Binh Thai (Sixth Grade Humanities Teacher, University Neighborhood Middle School, Manhattan)

Mr. Thai began his teaching career 17 years ago as a member of the inaugural cohort of the New York City Teaching Fellows. Mr. Thai implements a 360-degree feedback process in his classroom: students receive feedback from each other as well as from their teacher, and Mr. Thai uses an online form to solicit feedback on his instruction directly from students.

 

Congratulations to this year’s Big Apple Award honorees!

If you would like to honor the City’s great teachers and support the Big Apple Awards for years to come, you can make a donation through the Fund for Public Schools! For more information, check out the Fund’s website.

Posted by The Morning Bell

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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