In schools throughout New York City, Fordham is known as a fount of knowledge, a valuable resource and a trusted partner. For this, the Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) Anita Vazquez Batisti, Ph.D., GSE ’78, is due much credit.
Batisti, associate dean and executive director at the Center for Educational Partnerships, has been spearheading coordination between the GSE and the New York City schools since 2006, when she was tapped by Dean Emeritus James Hennessy to create a center that would be a bridge between academia and working teachers.
For her efforts, Batisti was awarded this past academic year with the Fordham President’s Meritorious Service award. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a proclamation recognizing her work, and also declared Nov. 16 to be “The Center of Educational Partnerships Day.”
Although the New York City educational landscape has changed much in the past 10 years, Batisti said the center’s core goal—to deliver applied research to schools—has never wavered. The center does this by training teachers in literacy, math and science, and social studies; supervising a regional bilingual education resource network; and helping implement educational reforms.
That last charge of educational reform has been very important, she said, as New York City schools experienced a shift when Bill de Blasio succeeded Michael Bloomberg as mayor, and Carmen Fariña took over for Dennis Walcott as chancellor. Under Bloomberg, school principals were encouraged to identify with CEOs and contract to help schools secure individual services, many of which Batisti’s center offered. Under the current system, that Partnership Support Organization model has been replaced by more comprehensive partnerships with low performing schools, focusing on the whole child. The center is currently partnered with three schools in the Bronx.
“The mandate that Dean Emeritus Hennessy gave me was, create a center to go into schools and do more than what we’re doing now,” she said. “We wanted GSE much more involved at all levels of school life in schools throughout the city and throughout the metropolitan area. I think we’ve done that with the initiatives we’ve implemented, and the services we’ve provided.”