One of the most impactful aspects of Corlears is certainly its teachers, who hold the highest degrees in early childhood education and have a true passion for educating children of the youngest ages. When faculty and staff join Corlears, they commit to an active and ongoing process of learning reflecting on their practice. Each year, as part of our investment in our teachers, staff, and our students, we dedicate a significant portion of our operating budget and Annual Fund donations to ensuring our educators are supported with ongoing professional development — both in house and offsite in partnerships with professional organizations and universities.
In the average school year, our teachers and staff partake in a collective 1,600-plus hours of professional learning – including coaching, conferences, and workshops – offered from:
Center for Racial Justice in Education: Talking about Race
Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project
Bank Street College of Education
Reggio Emilia NYSAIS Offerings, including the People of Color Conference
Ongoing racial equity, affinity, and caucus groups
Corlears Instructional Coaches: Early Childhood, Math & Literacy
These sessions, which happen over the summer months, embedded within the school day, during our weekly staff meetings, and throughout the school year on dedicated professional days, ensure the latest research and recommended child-centered and inquiry-based practices are showing up in our spaces.
The school sees this time as an investment in the school’s greatest resource: its teachers. In fact, faculty and staff expertise – along with early years math and equity and inclusion – is part of the school’s strategic focus.
“Our greatest resource is our professional faculty and staff,” says Nicole Ziccardi, Dean of Faculty & Director of Curriculum. “A school is everything because of its people. Teachers are brought to this work because of a common vision and commitment to helping children become independent and confident. While this is a worthwhile endeavor, it is also a challenging task. Through professional collaboration and learning, teachers are given the support needed to respond to the challenges of their work, artfully.”
Each year, Corlears also continues to deepen its social justice and identity curriculum, as well as its overall commitment to becoming a more equitable and inclusive school, a journey that officially began in 2006. When we started teaching a social justice and identity curriculum, it required a new community-wide dedication to the continual work of learning about our identity and internalized biases.
“Having dedicated days to dig deep within our hearts, to improve upon our teaching practices, is essential,” explains Mansi Vasa, Director of Equity, Inclusion & Community Life. “Teaching is an act of revolutionary love, and our work calls upon us to embody anti-racism as a value in our lives, in our relationships and in our teaching practices.”
Every teacher is an expert in their field, with a solid and well-rounded understanding of child development. They create classrooms where students are able to take risks and embark upon challenges that help them learn deeply, and make meaning beyond memorization.
We invite you to explore what makes our faculty and staff so special by learning more about our training and their philosophy here. You can also meet our team of incredible educators and administrators here.