L. Tribuzio

Mercy College (UNITED STATES)
My inspiration to teach in an Urban Education program had been Jonathan Kozol’s Amazing Grace, Kozol recounted his year in the St. Ann’s neighborhood of Morrisannia, the South Bronx, interviewing the children who lived in the poorest congressional district in the United States. “ ( Kozol, 1995.) Mid career I left a school system administrative position in Connecticut to come to the Bronx to teach teachers and to find Kozol’s St. Ann’s and Rev. Martha Overall, the dedicated paster of St. Ann’s.

My study What Makes Middle School Meaningful: Student Voices (Tribuzio, 2010) was inspired by a class of first year teachers that pleaded with me to tell them why their students were not listening and cursing, “all the time.” I speculated with my class, that the lack of a wide enough fund of vocabulary to describe what they wanted to say could be the reason for the overuse of cursing in the schools. After all, many students in certain areas of cities come to school with thousands fewer words than their peers from some areas of suburbia. ( Lyons, 2007).

Thus began the study with a small group of teens and their teachers in two urban Middle Schools, a traditional one, and a Charter School. As the researcher I began to find the joy in talking to real people about the solving of a real problem. The excitement came in listening to the actual players describe their world.

The interviews continued. It was apparent that some of the Middle School students were reluctant or unable to pull the words to answer the research question: What makes middle school meaningful? These dynamics are the heart and sole, and motivation of bringing ones study to the field.

I am thankful that invitations from my former graduate students have allowed me to take the findings of my study, the need for workshops to enhance student language and vocabulary, to schools in the city. There I have met so many dedicated and creative teachers who do the daily work that isn’t announced in all of the editorials and debates about education.

The workshops which I will explain in my presentation today are:

Discovery High School, Bronx:
1. Reading Strategies for non readers in hIgh school (Teacher training)
2. Strategies for working with students who have English as their second language

St. Ann’s Afterschool, South Bronx :
1. The Importance of language and literacy skills in pre- (Teacher Training) school and elementary school.
2. Teaching reading: strategies
3. Classroom behavior support

Literacy lessons for Fifth grade
Afterschool students:
1. Architecture of the Bronx
2. Public Speaking
3. Nutrition/garden classes

Kozol, J. (1995). Amazing grace: the lives of children and the conscience of a nation. New York: Crown
Long, N. and Morse,W. ( 1995). Conflict in the classroom. New York: Pro-Ed
Lyons, R. (2007) Funding request. Presentation to Head Start meeting: Washington D.C.
Tribuzio,L. ( 2010). What makes middle school meaningful: student voices. Rhode Island: International Journal of Arts and Sciences