Bronx School Wins Teaching Matters’ $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize

Grant Elementary School to support math instruction with award

NEW YORK, July 18, 2018 - In a unanimous decision, Grant Avenue Elementary School (PS 449) won Teaching Matters’ 2018 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize, a $25,000 award that advances opportunities for students by positioning teachers to lead, learn and thrive. The Bronx elementary school will use the funds to support teacher leaders who lead peers in teaching math for conceptual understanding.

Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Named after Teaching Matters’ founder, Elizabeth Rohatyn, the prize is awarded each year to a public school that advances opportunities for students by supporting teachers. In its eighth year of awarding schools the $25,000 prize, the nonprofit received over 100 applications from New York and New Jersey. The winner was voted on by a panel of 10 expert judges, including the principal of last year’s Rohatyn Prize winning school.

“The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize was created to highlight leadership and excellent work taking place in schools, always with a focus on teacher effectiveness,” said Lynette Guastaferro, CEO of Teaching Matters. “PS 449 embodies everything the prize stands for. We have seen how their instruction in mathematics has led to great student success, and we are excited to see what else the school can accomplish with this grant.”

Grant Avenue Elementary School teachers collaboratively planned for lessons using the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics, visited one another’s classrooms to study the work in progress and then debriefed. In the second year of this new program, teachers were able to spread new practices to their colleagues, resulting in more educators within the building teaching math for conceptual understanding.

The $25,000 prize will provide stipends to model teachers who are advancing to the next tier of leadership at PS 449. They will lead productive mathematics discussions and collaborations among teachers as the basis for improved student math performance. The results to date are promising. In 2017, math scores increased by 19 percent.

“Teaching and learning are powerful and transformative,” said PS 449 principal Kristin Erat. “This team of teachers revolutionized mathematics teaching and learning at our school. We have already made great strides in student achievement in math, and this award will help sustain our practices into the future.”

The other four finalists for this year’s Rohatyn Prize are:

  • Chester Park Elementary School (PS 62) Queens, NY
  • Concourse Village Elementary School (PS 359) Bronx, NY
  • Journey Prep School (PS 69) Bronx, NY
  • The Leadership Community Service Academy (CIS 303) Bronx, NY

About Teaching Matters

Teaching Matters is a leader in the national movement to support leadership as a critical means to improving teacher effectiveness and student achievement across the nation’s school systems. The organization works to promote lasting changes to teacher quality and has been at the forefront of professional development for teachers in the U.S. Teaching Matters aims to close the opportunity gap in urban schools by providing competency-based professional learning. Over the course of 20 years, Teaching Matters has offered year-round, in-depth programming to approximately 1,000 schools, 30,000 teachers and 500,000 students. For more information, visit teachingmatters.org.