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Meet the Fellows 2016: Valerie Green-Thomas

By Heather Flanagan
April 6, 2016

The BOP-CCERS Fellowship at Pace University is a two-year professional development and training program designed to give teachers the knowledge and tools to engage their students in hands-on restoration science in New York Harbor.  This is our second year of the program, and the first year in which we have two cohorts overlapping. The program is structured so that second year fellows serve as mentors to the first.  

The first cohort of 17 middle school math and science teachers, who began in February 2015, are now finishing up their implementation year, during which they have taught a spiraling BOP curriculum and have taken their students on at least four monitoring expeditions. The second cohort of 24 teachers from 14 schools are currently in their foundations semester, in which they learn from guest experts and receive four days of hands-on field training from staff scientists. 

Last fall we featured some BOP-CCERS Cohort One teachers and now it’s Cohort Two teachers’ turn to shine!  Join us this month as we get to know more of the NYC DOE middle school teachers who are bringing hands-on restoration science to classrooms from the Bronx to Brooklyn. First up: Valerie Green-Thomas of M.S. 390 in the South Bronx.

Valerie writes, "My students and I were celebrating with the staff at New York Life Christmas Dinner. They are members of JUNTOS club - they were part of a STEM butterfly project during the summer at Cornell."

Valerie writes, “My students and I were celebrating with the staff at New York Life Christmas Dinner. They are members of JUNTOS club – they were part of a STEM butterfly project during the summer at Cornell.”

Tell us about…

…your school!

“M.S. 390 is situated in South Bronx – an economically and socially challenging neighborhood. The school motto is ‘Inspiring Greatness.’ It embraces the mission that all students can learn through inquiry and discovery using multiple means of instruction; the school has 33% SWDs [Students with Disabilities] and 39 ELLs [English Language Learners]. [The s]tudent body is diverse but 89% Latino from varying backgrounds. My school is deemed a great place to do restoration as the kids are drawn to STEM oriented activities and usually do very well at these activities. They are very imaginative and innovative.”

…your students!

“My students are diverse and multifaceted. They are mostly visual and kinesthetic learners. They thrive from problem solving learning activities like PBL and love to work in teams where they explore and use hands on approach to make discovery or support arguments/claims made.”

…yourself!

“Business, Law, Education – I have always been an educator and have taught at the elementary, secondary and tertiary level. I’m interested in interdisciplinary connections, and my first love is for science. I am a ‘go-getter’ and love nature as well as challenges.”

What is the nearest body of water to your school?  Where would you like to site your restoration station?

“Roberto Clemente Park – the Hudson River runs parallel.”

What’s something you’re proud of in your teaching, your school, or your students?

“I am proud of my students who put aside their negative attitudes and forged a collaborative relationship to be the ‘top’ class in the school. They develop ideas and Project-Based Learning activities with the goal of giving whatever profit they made from the varying projects they were involved in to charity. Not only were they successful in providing needed money to a homeless family, but they were also the top class for the school year.”

Anything else you’d like to share?

“My students do STEM-oriented activities at least twice per month. They love to explore.”

We’re so glad to have Valerie and all the other fellows aboard!  Click here to get to know the rest of Cohort Two.

Interested in reading more about BOP-CCERS and how we’re bringing hands-on restoration science to classrooms all over the city?  Sign up for our newsletter and click here to read all BOP-CCERS posts!