SUNY Old Westbury Receives State Education Grant for Partnership with Long Island School District

Professors and Dean Brown with Central Islip team

The School of Education at SUNY Old Westbury has been awarded a five-year Teacher Opportunity Corps II grant from the New York State Department of Education for $324,934 for each of the five years. The five-year total is in excess of $1.6 million.  The award, the fourth largest award statewide, and the only on Long Island, will enable the School of Education in partnership with the Central Islip Union Free School District to increase the participation and retention of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. 

“The purpose of the grant program is to not only prepare our participants to become exceptional educators, but to encourage the students they interact with in Central Islip, and other local districts, to become the teachers of the future,” said Dr. Nancy Brown, Dean of the School of Education. “We will be supplying mentoring and teacher leadership seminars to all Teacher Opportunity Corp participants, in addition to tutoring opportunities for those that require it.”

During the first year of the grant program, 50 currently enrolled SUNY Old Westbury students in the mathematics education, childhood education, special education, and bilingual education programs will participate in observation courses in Central Islip elementary, middle school, and bilingual classrooms. Students will provide an additional 20 hours of volunteering for the district, and the College’s faculty members will conduct college counseling, parent outreach, professional development for the Central Islip teachers, and create an Educators Rising club at the high school.

“Old Westbury has been celebrated as an institution that values the diversity of its student and faculty populations, which on a larger scale models the ever-changing world around us,” said College President Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. “Through this state grant, we will harness that strength to attract, train, grow, and graduate the teachers of tomorrow who value that same social justice inside and outside the classroom.”

Dr. Stephanie Schneider, Dr. Jeanne Shimizu, and Dr. Blidi Stemn, who are the Principal Investigators for this grant, along with Dean Nancy Brown the grant administrator, will supervise the implementation and management of this grant.

The Teacher Opportunity Corp II is part of the State’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiatives. In 2014, former President Barack Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force at the federal level. The Task Force was an interagency effort focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. With the adoption of the 2016–2017 New York State budget, New York became the first state to accept Obama’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. 

Photo Caption: Members of the SUNY Old Westbury and Central Islip Union Free School District teams.

Top: Yves Magliore, Director of College Readiness; Education Professors Shimizu and Schneider; Dr. Marie Holdsworth, Central Islip UFSD Funded Programs Administrator; Jessica Iafrate, Central Islip UFSD Principal; Brenda Jackson, Central Islip UFSD Principal; Brett MacMonigle, Central Islip High School Principal; Sharon Dungee, Assistant Superintendent; Dr. Tracy Hudson, Central Islip UFSD Principal; Dr. Michele Darby, Central Islip UFSD Principal.

Bottom: Daniel Devine, Board Member; Dean Nancy Brown; Dr. Howard Koenig, Central Islip UFSD Superintendent; Norman Wagner, Board President.