Transcription of the episode “The bigger picture: High school improvement in the Bronx”

Amy H-L: [00:00:15] I’m Amy Halpern-Laff. 

Jon M: [00:00:16] And I’m Jon Moscow. Our guest today is Grace Alli Brandstein. Ms. Brandstein is a school improvement and instructional coach for the New York City Department of Education and supports high schools in the Bronx. Prior to her work as a coach, she was a high school English teacher and director of a small learning community in Queens. Note: her comments today represent her own views, and she’s not speaking as a representative of the Department of Education.

This is the first of a two part interview. Today, we’ll look at the circumstances that disadvantage certain schools leading the New York State Department of Ed to declare them in need of support and improvement and the impact of these designations on students and teachers. Next time, we’ll talk about coaching strategies that work, implementation of culturally responsive education, and abolitionist education. Welcome, Grace!

Grace B: [00:01:07] Thanks for having me.

Amy H-L: [00:01:10] On what basis does the State Education Department identify schools as not being in good standing and needing support and improvement or to be put in state receivership?

Grace B: [00:01:21] So New York State has an accountability system, and it’s tied to classifying schools in one of three categories. The first is a school in Good Standing. And that means that the school has over a 67% graduation rate. And then the two other distinctions are what are called Comprehensive Support and Improvement schools., Which are designated or stated as CSI schools. And those schools, based on the Every Student Succeeds Act, have a graduation of less than 67% and have performed at a Level One on some combination of indicators from the ESSA designation.

And then the second layer of schools are called Targeted Support and Improvement schools, which basically means they may have 67% graduation rate, but they have a subgroup of students that are not performing as well.

And so in those three designations, the first Good Standing school, you know, you’re good to go, but if you are a CSI or TSI school, then that’s kind of where the state comes in and requests that the school gets support.

Amy H-L: [00:02:37] And what are some of the ethical issues of using these kinds of measures to categorize schools?

Grace B: [00:02:44] So I think that it’s a really great question because these schools are being categorized in this way. New York State has always had some kind of accountability system. Before there were CSI and TSI schools, they had Priority schools and Focus schools. And really they’re tied to these larger policies, like eventually ESSA, the policy that was put in place by former president Obama in about 2015. And so I think that some of the issues that come up are just the measuring metrics that are associated with these designations, because they are really tied to state exams and state test scores. For example, some of the ESSA indicators for elementary and middle school are results on state standardized testing, specifically in reading, math, and science, English Language Learner proficiency, and also other metrics that can be used, like non-academics, such as suspension rates and attendance and school climate. And so when you’re measuring a school by those indicators to determine that this school is a great school or this school is in need of support, it really limits sometimes the view of all of the things that go into making a school great.

Jon M: [00:04:03] You worked on the Renewal program. Mayor de Blasio initiated this to help some of these schools that were seen as being in trouble. The press has given it a bad rap as having been unsuccessful. What did the Renewal program do? And did you think that it worked?

Grace B: [00:04:19] So the Renewal program has had in the press a lot of, like you said, negative energy around it in terms of the cost of the program, the successfulness of the program. Honestly, like, as being a person that was a part of the program from the very start, I do see a lot of the successes that were a part of it. Were there flaws? Of course. With every program there are. What I think sometimes gets lost in the story of Renewal is that it originally started with about 14 high schools across New York City. And similar to what we were talking about just before, the schools that were in that original pilot were picked based on a state designation. They were either Priority schools, schools that were performing, as the state designated them, in the bottom 5%, or Focus schools, which were performing in the bottom 10%. And of those 14 original schools, all but one exited the designation by the end of the Renewal program, which was pretty amazing to see, those successes.

And so I think when the media really talks about the Renewal program, what we’re really talking about is the expansion of that program to the 94 middle, elementary, and high schools that were created. And so I think that the program had a lot of wonderful success stories. So for instance, the Renewal schools increased their average graduation rate from about 19 percentage points, they went from 52% to 71%, by the end of their renewal process, their suspension rates decreased by about 54%, their attendance rates increased. So these were all great indicators, but sometimes, you know, in the press, the cost of the program and of course, you know, just not being able to service all 94 schools or get a success out of all of them is what’s painted.

And I think that we learned a lot of lessons from this. I think that having a clear theory of action for what school improvement is was one of those big lessons that came out of it. The Department of Ed used the Framework for Great Schools to really think about what are the six things that we really need to talk about. When we think about a great school, those six things turned out to be rigorous instruction, supportive environment, collaborative teachers, effective leadership, strong community, and family ties. And trust. And so when you juxtapose those indicators against what we were just talking about in terms of ESSA indicators and state designations, it really gives you a holistic view of school in terms of thinking about where those successes lie

I think also a success that came out of the Renewal school process is that we learned that you need, in order to move a school, in order to get improvement, you have to concentrate just as much on school culture as you would on academic performance, that the test grades are one thing, but things like suspension rates, things like restorative justice in school, things like the community schools that were such a huge part of the Renewal program often get overlooked based on graduation and test scores.

I think that one of the biggest issues with the Renewal program was the scaling up from those original 14 high schools to include middle schools and elementary schools with the staff that we had. One of the basic principles of Renewal schools and school improvement reform that the program had was around this intense wraparound support for these schools, onsite coaching, professional learning opportunities, extra funding for these schools to have extra time. And when we scaled them up to those 94 schools, sometimes that wasn’t always there, some parts of that weren’t always there for the schools. And that was difficult.

I think another issue with the Renewal school program, when they scaled up, was leadership, and finding the right for 94 schools that are struggling the most. We have wonderful principals. And one of the first things that happened in Renewal was an evaluation of the principals in schools and what effect they were having on their school communities. And it’s hard to have sustained leadership. So you may have wonderful principals, but being a principal is one of the loneliest jobs, I think in the DOE, and burnout is a real thing, especially in high needs schools. So finding the right people is really an important part of that work.

And I think another issue was just like sometimes the stigma that came along with labeling a school a Renewal school. So what we found was that there, in terms of enrollment, getting students to come to these schools oftentimes was hard because it had this label attached to it. And that was one of the things that we tried to overcome. I think that, you know, regardless of the name that Renewal has for the people that were involved, when you talk to the teachers, when you talk to the principals, that were in these schools, a lot of them will give positive reflections on their time because of the support that they provided. I know Columbia’s Teachers College, they had put out a study where they talked about how Renewal schools were using a strategic inquiry program. And those schools were two and a half times more likely to be on track for graduation than schools that weren’t. To me, the programs, the adult learning that Renewal brought to our schools in New York City, were great because it opened up the conversation in a way that really took a look at schools as a holistic approach.

Amy H-L: [00:10:13] When a school is designated as CSI or TSI, how does that impact the students at the school?

Grace B: [00:10:21] I think that there are positives and negatives to those designations. Sometimes the positive for students is that they will get more services, so extended day, more tutoring opportunities, more afterschool opportunities. There are a lot more eyes on these schools, and so there are a lot more services being provided to our students similar to the Renewal school program. The idea of having a community-based organization in our CSI and TSI schools has really been impactful in providing resources for schools and kids that are in need. So services like a health hub for kids to be able to go and get glasses and get medical treatment. Food pantries. These are all wonderful programs that come to these schools as a result of those designations.

However, I think what also comes, on the negative side of that, is this hyper and intense kind of focus on testing because it’s the metrics that are ultimately going to get these schools out of their TSI and CSI designations. For example, in high schools, one of the indicators is how well do students do on the ELA Regents exam. And so you are designated ELA Level One student, if you have a 65 between a 65 and a 75. And so a student might have passed their English Regents,, but because you [the school] get more points, if you will, and a better chance of getting out of your designation, if you have more Level Twos and Threes, which are kids that scored 75 or higher, there might be a push for students to retake that exam, even though they technically passed. And so that does put a lot of pressure on testing and the testing culture that exists in these schools, not to the fault of the educators or the students, but it is definitely a different environment that I think we have to examine in this hyper-focused way.

Amy H-L: [00:12:19] Is this demoralizing to teachers?

Grace B: [00:12:24] It can be, you know, I talked a little bit about the stigma of what comes along with being labeled a school in such need, but it’s also, I think for the teachers, they are working so hard, the educators that are in TSI and CSI schools that are serving our students here. They are working around the clock, on weekends, developing lesson plans, curriculum, trying to make the work come alive for students in ways that will motivate them. But it also, again, gets back to burnout, right. How sustainable is that? And when you’re showing up to a school and year after year, you’re doing your best, but the test scores are not moving that needle for your school, how does that make you feel? And you know that you’re doing amazing work.

 I think currently in the pandemic, there’s kind of been a freeze on figuring out how to get out of TSI, CSI designation, because the state exams have not been instituted. We haven’t been using the state exams for the last year. And so it is really frustrating for teachers who have seen real progress with their students that they’re still stuck in this designation, even though their students are thriving or were thriving before the pandemic and were on track to maybe be getting off of these lists.

Amy H-L: [00:13:48] Do you think, having been through a year of no testing, that there’ll be any change in policies going forward?

Grace B: [00:13:55] I mean, that is the silver lining and the hope of this. Recently, I was talking with some fellow educators, and the fight has always been like, “Oh, standardized testing, it can be so demoralizing and it can kind of put people in boxes.” And while standardized testing does serve a purpose in terms of measuring progress, and the Common Core and Next Generation standards have a place in how we are kind of leveling the playing field for students, I do think that there needs to be some flexibility in the testing. And, you know, with the pandemic, testing disappeared for a year for us, but the world didn’t end, like things are okay. Students are still trying their best, teachers are still teaching, lessons are being learned, and students are trying to gain what they can.

I think the pandemic really does present real problems of learning loss for students, but having a test isn’t going to fix that. It’s getting back to the business of school and being able to engage, re-engage students. Once they come back, that’s really going to be the true test of how we can kind of move forward.

Jon M: [00:15:07] I mean, it’s complicated because obviously it’s been a remote year, but did you see changes in how teachers were teaching without the pressure of the test this year, or is there a tendency to simply keep doing what one’s been doing because that’s been what’s one’s been doing? 

Grace B: [00:15:27] Yeah, you know, in my work as an instructional coach, I get to see so many different schools and so many different classrooms and so many different students. And. The number one thing that teachers always tell me is if the test wasn’t here, “Oh my gosh, the things that I could do,” and now the test isn’t here, but there is kind of this tendency of, “Oh my gosh, what do I do now?” And, “Can I be free?” And, “Can I engage in these things?” And the answer is “yes.” And so we still have standards and those standards are not necessarily bad things. The Next Generation ELA standard provides a really clear outline of great ideas that we should be striving for. The history standards, the historical thinking practices, the mathematical thinking practices. These are all standards that really do develop students into thriving and striving towards a standard. That makes sense. Now how you get there is up to the teacher and up to the student and up to the needs of what students need in that moment. But it is really interesting to see. Some teachers are really taking some great leaps and bounds in their curriculum and their work, and some teachers are still stuck in that. “Oh, the test asks for this, so let’s teach students how to do this” or, “this is the task that they’ll see so let’s continue to do that.” And it’s been great to see and talk to teachers and educators and see what students can do when you take some of those barriers down.

However, I don’t know if you guys saw recently,  there is a conversation about the exam coming back in some shape or form this year. I know the Biden administration has said that we do need to have standardized testing, specifically in ELA, math, and science. Those are the indicators for ESSA. And so the New York State right now, they’re trying to figure out ways in which that might be possible in our realm right now. So we’ve got to stay tuned.

Jon M: [00:17:31] So what are some of the alternative ways to measure student learning, aside from test scores? I mean, obviously portfolios are one and project based learning, do you have a sense of how these could work on a system-wide level? I mean, thinking back to what you were saying about  bringing the Renewal schools to scale quickly. Do you see a way of doing things differently that could be done on a large scale, or would you think that it’s something that would be phased in over time? How do you see that?

Grace B: [00:18:07] Yeah, there are some really great public schools in New York City that are doing great work around project based learning and portfolio work. The Consortium school networks, do that work really well. And I think that drift from the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more movement towards project based learning in terms of allowing students to show and demonstrate what they know in different ways. And that it’s not just a matter of multiple choice questions and a writing prompt that can really show a student’s genius. I mean, we have the largest school district in America, and we have such amazing students in our system that have such diverse ways of thinking and talents and to kind of put them in a box, to say the only way that you can show that learning is through a test. I think is a way that we need to start re-imagining that. I think project based learning is really one of the best ways to do that because it gives students the opportunity to show their learning in ways that are new, relevant, and applicable to our real world. We keep on talking about the 21st Century learner and how things are changing, and we have a global economy and we have all of these different intersecting parts and movements, but we haven’t changed how we test students or how we ask students to demonstrate their learning ever. We are still operating under rules and ideas of how learning is measured that I think don’t accurately reflect the society that we’re moving towards.

Amy H-L: [00:19:50] You spoke about students who can’t graduate because they can’t pass the English Language Arts Regents that must be terribly frustrating for English Language Learners. Would you talk about that?

Grace B: [00:20:05] Yeah. Again, going back to this idea that demonstrating mastery, that’s the point of these standardized tests, to show mastery of a standard, to demonstrate a student’s knowledge. And anecdotally, from my experience working with schools, specifically in the Bronx, who have high English Language Learner populations, our students are excellent and brilliant and have so many ideas and wonderful things to bring to the table. And  I’ve seen students who have passed all of their other Regents exams, but that English Regents is the one that’s, you know, the barrier. And it is frustrating because sometimes the students have taken this test four or five times, six times by the time they’re a senior and with the same results or incremental kind of movement. And to say that that’s the only indicator is really difficult, because when you talk to these students, when you have conversations with them, when you see them in the classroom, they are demonstrating their proficiency of the English language. I think that when you look at the tests themselves and the way that they are designed, you know, there are some implicit biases that are embedded in these tests that then set up barriers for this sub-population of students. It’s a reading comprehension test, and when we look at some of the reading that [inaudible] for the exam, it really requires some background knowledge. And when we think about barriers for these students, who have been working hard and trying to learn the language and can conversationally speak English, can write in English, but can’t, for whatever reason, get past this test, it does beg the question of is it the student or is it the test. And I think that’s the really frustrating, part because potentially you have a situation where a student has gone through four years of high school, has passed all their Regents exams, but because of this one exam, they will not get a high school diploma and they won’t be able to move on.

Amy H-L: [00:22:09] Could you give us an example of what a student might face on one of those tests.

Grace B: [00:22:15] So I can speak for the ELA Regents currently, and it’s gone through different iterations in the last decade, but the current iteration is there is a multiple choice section that requires students to read three passages. In recent years, those passages have gotten a little bit more culturally relevant. It’s usually a fiction piece, a poem, and a nonfiction piece, and answer some multiple choice questions.

 The second part of the exam is asking students to construct an argument on a debatable topic. And they have to read four tasks. And while I–in looking at the data from schools, that usually is the section of the exam that a lot of students do well on. Also interesting to note that that’s the part of the exam that’s probably the most relevant because to our everyday lives. We’re always engaged in argument and debate and in talking about things.

And the last section of the exam is what’s called a text analysis, where students have to read, usually a fiction passage, sometimes a nonfiction passage, and talk about, well, what is the central idea of that passage. And how did the writer convey that through rhetorical devices. And what often is the issue with this exam is the choice of texts that are put in front of students. So a couple of years ago, there was a test that was included that was about a dinner party from like the 1850s. And they were talking about like, had all of this vocabulary that was very archaic. And if you did not have that, like there there are some native English speakers that I spoke to that were like, I have no idea what’s going on in this text. So if a native English speaker was having trouble with this, you know, what are we to expect of our EL students, who are learning English for the first time and are trying to do this? So I think it’s not necessarily that the test or the idea of the test is a bad thing. It’s really about the construction and what we’re putting in front of our students for the demographics.

Jon M: [00:24:23] In addition to the tests, what are some of the obstacles that students in the schools that you’re working with face and getting their education, in terms of the resources the schools may have or the structures? What are the things that make it difficult for students?

Grace B: [00:24:42] I think that one of the main issues in a lot of our schools that we face in the Bronx is funding for our schools and access to resources. I know that the pandemic has really exacerbated the issues that were already there in terms of access to technology, access to resources that students need. A lot of our students are in temporary housing. We have a huge number that we often don’t hear from, and we don’t, we don’t speak about, and yeah, that has to change because we have to think about like, as we support students, all of the different things that go into helping a student be successful. Something as simple as having breakfast, having lunch, having dinner, knowing that those three things are going to happen during a day. Or things that we take for granted but for some of our students, it’s not a guarantee.

Currently, in the Bronx, we have students that still need wifi access. So they got a device, the DOE has been very clear about getting devices to students, but if you have a device but you don’t have wifi access because you’re in temporary housing or for other reasons, then how are you accessing your classwork and log into your class, zoom with your teacher? And I think that that has been a real struggle for students in terms of resources allocated.

I think the other thing is, when we think about the Bronx, some of the schools that we service, they’re in the poorest congressional district. And that designation itself and the lives that they live comes with a lot of impact on students, whether they have jobs at the high school level, whether they’re high school students caring for younger siblings as their parents are working. These are all things that we have to take into consideration as students come to school. When I work with teachers, I always say you have 30 students in your classroom. That’s 30 stories that you need to find out about and you need to hear, because each child comes with their own set of diverse needs and in order to support them, we have to find out.

Amy H-L: [00:26:54] Grace, why are there such high rates of teacher turnover at these schools?

Grace B: [00:27:01] I wish I had all the answers to that. So that question, there’s so many ways to tackle that question, so many things to consider. I think that a lot of the turnover happens because of burnout, to be honest. I mean, it is a very, very hard environment to sustain. All of the teachers that work at our schools, they’re amazing. They want to do the best that they can for their students. And that’s really hard to sustain. I know teachers that are working until 10 o’clock at night, making lesson plans, grading work, and it takes a huge toll on a teacher’s professional and personal life to do that. You know, they always make this joke about teaching. “Oh, well you have July and August off,” but it’s not anything that’s comparable to the work that needs to be done. When you have such diverse learners, you have classes filled with. English Language Learners, special needs students, your general ed students. And you’re trying to make sure that all of those students’ needs are met and you’re doing it every day for 10 months. That is a real struggle. And I think like the emotional wellbeing and the kind of self care that teachers need in these situations is often not there.

I think also particular to the Bronx, you know, is just access to our schools. A lot of the teachers that I work with don’t necessarily live in the Bronx. And so they’re commuting from different places and so that the commute, getting to where they need to be, adds another layer of that to teachers being able to sustain that energy that they need in these schools. And I think that it really boils down to needing the support, the collective support of their leaders, the principals, to do that.

Another thing is a lot of our teachers that are working in our school, in these schools, they are usually between first and fifth year teachers. And so we get a lot of teachers that come from Teach for America or are Teaching Fellows. And oftentimes, they have a two to three year kind of tour of duty. And then after that, the turnover happens. And so it’s a constant idea of training new teachers and training new individuals who can come into a school, understand the culture, understand the kids. And just when you get it, our teachers are gone. And so it’s really hard to rebuild. And I think that that also speaks to the need for leadership and the support of school principals, because having to retrain teachers every three to four or five years is really draining on our principals as well. 

Jon M: [00:29:54] That’s been an issue for a long time. The idea that the schools, the neediest schools, tend to have the least experienced teachers. Has there been progress on that? Are there more experienced teachers that are there and that are staying for lengthy periods of time?

Grace B: [00:30:13] Again, I can speak anecdotally from what I’ve been seeing in the schools. I think that there are a couple of things that are promising. So one of the things that are promising is New York City did and has a program around teacher leadership. And it’s an incentive program that supports teachers if they are teacher leads or model teachers or what they call peer collaborative teachers.

And that is an incentivized position whereby a teacher who has shown that they have met with success in their classroom can be identified as one of these teacher leaders, get some additional pay, and be able to stay in school as a teacher leader to develop those younger teachers and to keep them moving along. And so I think that that’s been a great move on the City’s part to kind of encourage teachers to stay in some of these needy schools. I think additionally, the work that some of our programs do in terms of building the collective efficacy of teachers in a school building is really what keeps a lot of younger teachers and newer teachers around and allows them to mature and give themselves the space and time to become experienced teachers.

And when I talk about collective efficacy, I really am talking about this idea that together, as a team, individual teachers believe that they can move a school. And so that the burden doesn’t just fall on the 11th grade ELA teacher or the 12th grade science teacher or the ninth grade math teacher. But rather it is an entire school’s responsibility, and within their sphere of influence and capability to move a school. And I think that once school starts creating more teacher teams, more ability for teachers to get out of their kind of isolated classrooms, that promotes that idea of collective efficacy. And that is what we need to have in order to ensure that more teachers stay, because that feeling of alone, being alone, that feeling of this is all on me is what ultimately drives teachers to leave. And if they don’t feel that way and instead they feel like they are a part of a larger community, that are all striving towards a common goal, and that they can actually do it, then I think they’re more inclined to stay. That’s really important. 

Jon M: [00:32:43] And you’re really very eloquent in describing that. I have to ask about something that rarely gets discussed except in schools, where it gets discussed all the time. Is parking a factor in teachers’ decisions about where to teach?

Grace B: [00:32:59] It’s such a funny question and a great question, because it really is. It’s such a small thing that we take for granted, but yeah, parking is an issue, you know, commuting is an issue. When you’re commuting to a school, when you’re trying, you have all of these things in mind, the last thing you need is I need to wake up an hour early to make sure that I get a parking spot. So I have heard teachers ask kind of like when they do interviews and things like that, is there a parking lot? I’ve seen people kind of like whisper it on the side, but it is a real thing because it’s also around quality of life, right. When you are a teacher, when you are a school leader, there’s so much of yourself that you are pouring into a school and utilizing and giving of yourself to a school that the small things like having a parking lot are things that if your quality of life can be improved, if there is good food around your school, that you can go out and eat on your lunch break, if there is a place for you to walk during your lunch break, if there are windows where you can see greenery outside. These are all small things that really make a difference in a teacher deciding to stay or not.

Jon M: [00:34:20] And then, you know, it’s interesting, from a parent’s point of view, people get really angry because what happens a lot of times is the school playground gets used as the parking lot. And you can understand from teachers’ point of view that they need a parking lot. They want to know that their cars are going to be safe. And on the other hand, there’s no place for kids to play. 

Grace B: [00:34:41] Correct. And also like in terms of sports at our schools, oftentimes, you know, the sport programs, extracurricular programs, get shafted in terms of needing money, funding, space, all of those types of things, shared campus space as well to allow for things to happen. And ultimately, some of those things are really important to getting our students invested in wanting to be in school. So when the school football field has been turned into a teacher parking lot, that can be really hard.

I think that one of the things that a lot of our principals have been doing is applying for grants. Grants are such a wonderful way of getting things restored. So I know one school who  applied for a grant whereby they’re building kind of like a parking lot, but then there’s a field on top of the parking lot. So these solutions can come about, but they take money, right. Money is something that we definitely need more of in our system, but it’s also to what end, right? How are we using those funds to make sure that students are benefiting at the end of the day?

Amy H-L: [00:35:51] You talked about teacher turnover. Is principal turnover also an issue?

Grace B: [00:35:58] Yeah. I said it before in terms of being a principal as being one of the loneliest jobs in the DOE, and it’s true all of the consequences end with you, all of the decisions end with you, and that can be very, very, very difficult on a principal’s mind. And I think that with the supports that are provided from the City and through various programs, leadership, coaching, and all of that, there are wonderful ways to support principals. But when you have been working at a school for four or five, six years, trying to get out of a designation, and you’re not seeing the progress, you might be seeing progress in your own school, but the State may not be recognizing that progress or seeing that progress, it can be demoralizing and it can be tiring on principals. 

The principals that I work with in the Bronx are some of the most committed people that I’ve ever met in the Department of Education. And they’re there every day for those students, but at what cost to their own personal lives and their own families as well. And it’s a really hard trade off. And so this idea of turnover, with them finding the right leaders that are capable, is really important. I think that the job of a principal in the last 10 to 15 years has really changed dynamically in the City. It’s no longer really just a management position. It is instructional. You have to know instruction, you have to know social emotional counseling and the SEL work behind that. You have to be able to navigate a lot more things or, at the very least, have a good team that you can delegate those responsibilities to if you are not necessarily an expert in those areas. And that can be really hard. It’s really about getting the right people on that bus with you, right. And making sure that they’re in the right spaces and doing the work in a way that again, gets back to this idea of collective efficacy, belief that we can actually change and we can actually do it.

Jon M: [00:38:08] Thank you, Grace Alli Brandstein.We’re looking forward to continuing our conversation with you to talk about the coaching that you do and strategies that are working. And thank you, listeners. We urge you to join us next week for part two of our conversation with Grace Alli Brandstein. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend or colleague. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and give us a rating or review. This helps other people to find the show. Check out our website,, for more episodes and articles and to subscribe to our monthly emails. We post annotated transcripts of our interviews to make them easy to use in workshops or classes. We work with consultants to offer customized SEL programs, with a focus on ethics, for schools and youth programs in the New York City and San Francisco Bay areas. Contact us at We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ethicalschools. Our editor and social media manager is Amanda Denti. Until next week.

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