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During this extraordinary time when New York City’s educators are working closely with students and families from the confines of their homes, we will be publishing a series of posts describing their experiences in their own words. We are now #DOEconnected!

Follow our hashtag, #DOEconnected, join the conversation, and connect online with your neighbors across the City. Share stories of how you, your child, a teacher, or a school community member has become your hero. Remember, not all heroes wear capes.

Dannielle Darbee, principal of the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance in Brooklyn

Ever since New York City public schools made the transition to remote learning, Principal Darbee and her staff members at the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance have been working to ensure “that students feel the same level of social-emotional support in addition to academic support.”

Laptop screen featuring Principal Dannielle Darbee in a Videochat Window

“We have been able to continue many supports including professional development to support teachers individually and in staff meetings, Student Success Team meetings with external providers, and virtual college visits and virtual work-based learning opportunities offered by our CTE and college access partners.”

The complete digital shift of all academic-related support was challenging, but Principal Darbee was confident in the perseverance and commitment of her school’s staff members and students. And she proudly notes that the fact that “we were able to mobilize and transition—from setting up each Google Classroom, distribution and delivery of our school devices to almost every family, and having almost every family logged on by the first day—showed the dedication and resiliency of our school community.”

Although it has been difficult to maintain the social-emotional connection—and mostly the feeling of being together—in the face of the pandemic, the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance community has been building support systems to hold each other up through the rough times.

“Teachers created a block schedule for ‘face-to-face’ live check-ins and instruction that would not be overwhelming to students and families and could ensure all students would have access to all teachers without time conflicts.”

Screenshot of Dannielle Darbee doing a Zoom conference call

Our vision for the solution is to create student-centered spaces, including our Peer Mentoring Program where our 11th & 12th grade students who are peer mentors have created Google Classes for their ninth grade mentees to continue their outreach and support for them. We also have daily weight training through Google Meet, and grade-level spaces for students where our social worker posts motivational messages and has discussions with students.”

Through social-emotional based support and learning, students develop better control of their feelings and social skills to complement the academic lessons learned in the virtual classrooms.

Dannielle Darbee is emblematic of how New York City’s educators are adapting to these unprecedented times on behalf of our students and families. We thank our educators for helping all of us stay #DOEconnected.

Need to talk to someone? Connect with NYC Well for FREE mental wellness support. Services are provided in 200 different languages, 24 hours a day, every day. Visit the NYC Well website, Text “WELL” to 65173, or call 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) for assistance and support.

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