Giving Back to Our Partners in NYC

By Danica Fisher ’05, August 13, 2021
The NYC Field Experience Program receives a $60,000 grant.

In July, the NYC Field Experience Program received a $60,000 grant for one year, with the possibility to renew, from the Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation. Since 1997 the Ithaca College Department of Education has maintained partnerships with public schools in New York City through the NYC Field Experience Program, which all teacher candidates attend.

Marcy Sutherland, instructor of education, and Sarah House, teacher certification specialist, took the lead in writing the grant and worked alongside members of the education department.

“For a while now we’ve been thinking about the reciprocity of the program, and how we can give more to our partners,” said Sutherland. “We want to make the program stronger, and to do that, sometimes, you need a little funding and more resources.”

Every October, Ithaca College faculty, staff, and teacher candidates from IC travel to NYC to be in partner schools for a week of rigorous professional development. Teacher candidates shadow teachers and students, create and facilitate class lessons that align with their content areas of study, and most importantly, build relationships with teachers and students.

students by fountain

Teachers Mr. Ma and Mr. Walker from Frederick Douglass Academy join IC teacher candidates in July 2021 as Teachers in Residence. (Photo submitted).

“We go down and exchange experiences and talk about what it means to be in environments that might not look like our own to best prepare our graduate students and undergrads going into education to be able to teach anywhere,” said Sutherland.

The Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation was created by Edith Glick Shoolman, whose dream was to make a difference in the lives of children. Henry L. Berman ’74, one of the trustees of the foundation, talks about why this grant was given to the NYC Field Experience Program.

"One of the qualities of this grant which makes it particularly exciting to me is that it provides three ways to make a difference,” said Berman. “First, it will immediately help children in NYC. Next, it provides learning experiences for the educators of tomorrow, current IC students. Finally, the faculty and staff administering the program will be exposed to current field conditions providing formative evaluation for improving the IC learning experience. As a funder, I found the Ithaca faculty and staff incredibly responsive, open to questions and clearly committed to their students. All these factors made it an easy decision."

House says there are already plans for how to use the money.

“We want to be able to mirror with our NYC partners what we do here locally. For example, we provide mini grants to teachers in the local community for classroom projects,” said House. “We didn't have anything like that in New York City so that's something we've implemented this year through the Shoolman Foundation grant.”

Additionally, they were able to bring two teachers from New York City up to IC in July for a week of co-teaching in one of their college courses with grad students. House said this helped them prepare for their week in New York City.

“We’d always thought about having more opportunities for our students, in additional to the week-long event,” said House. “We’re interested in year-round partnerships so that everybody's feeling invested.”

“Giving our students as many opportunities where they can see themselves successful and have mentors is really important, and it feels like we're doing our job to prepare them to teach anywhere. It’s important that now they have a community of people to build off of.”

Marcy Sutherland, instructor of education

Sutherland understands the positive experience this has on students, and the benefits it brings to them.

“Giving our students as many opportunities where they can see themselves successful and have mentors is really important, and it feels like we're doing our job to prepare them to teach anywhere,” said Sutherland. “It’s important that now they have a community of people to build off of.”

Both Sutherland and House say the college’s commitment to funding the program is foundational, but that this grant money will allow them to collaborate and invest more in both teachers and students.

“We recognize that there are extra costs associated with a week-long trip to NYC,” said House. “This money will help students with extra expenses associated with travel, such as meals and child-care.”

Sutherland adds that when she was writing the grant proposal, it really came down to what we could give back and how to strengthen the relationships with our partners to show how serious we are.

“By creating things like the mini grants and bringing teachers up here and making sure they’re compensated for mentoring helps to make these relationships sustainable and to make sure our students have the extra resources and support that they need to be successful.”