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Teacher Residency Program at Brooklyn Campus Graduates Its First Class of Teachers on June 21

Initiative is the first of its kind in New York City


Brian Harmon,Director of Public Relations
Brooklyn Campus,
Long Island University
(718) 488-1418

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Ishmael Kamara teaches U.S. History in the high school where he learned to speak English. Olga Maryamchik is based in an elementary school, working with autistic children who are learning English. And Barbara Borgese runs a high school social studies class made up of immigrants who came here less than four years ago.

The trio — and 11 other first-year educators — comprise the first graduating class of the historic I-START initiative at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, New York City’s first urban teacher residency program. The group will receive their masters degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) during a ceremony at the Brooklyn Campus on June 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Louise & Leonard Riggio Cafe on the Campus.

In the I-START program, the University students are immediately immersed in the classroom as residents, spending their first year apprenticing with an experienced mentor teacher at one of the city’s 10 International High Schools. They become teachers of record during the second year, running their own classrooms.

The classroom experience is supplemented by coursework at the Brooklyn Campus, where the resident teachers gather as a cohort for afternoon and evening classes. The program develops qualified ESL teachers while maintaining a partnership between Long Island University, Internationals Network for Public Schools and secondary schools with large populations of students still learning English.

Several of the I-START graduates are immigrants themselves, having moved to the United States from such faraway places as Sierra Leon, Haiti, Italy and Russia. Two graduates, who both learned English at one of the International High Schools, said they are giving back to the institutions that enabled them to study and excel in other subjects while they learned English.

“The success I had at Bronx International High School changed my life,” said Ishmael Kamara, 24, who left his war-torn Sierra Leon and at 14 moved to New York. He earned an undergraduate degree in just three years. “I struggled in middle school. I would sit in class, day after day, and never say a word. It was different in high school. I was encouraged to ask questions. This is my way to give back for what was done for me.”

Other I-START residents at the University either came from a family of educators or simply felt compelled to be part of the nation’s movement in creating more urban teacher residency opportunities.

“This incredibly unique partnership allows the University to prepare teachers by blending the best practices for educating English learners together with the highly-effective instructional model already in place at the International High Schools,” said Klaudia Rivera, a University education professor who directs the I-START program at the Brooklyn Campus. “It’s exciting to see our graduating class implement these best practices in their own classrooms.”

The Brooklyn Campus is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.

Posted 06/17/2010

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