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Bronx Educational Leaders Join Fordham GSE Faculty to Celebrate Bronx-EdD Program Advancing Community-Based Solutions


The Fordham Graduate School of Education (GSE) convened faculty, students, and educational leaders from The Bronx and New York State for an evening of learning and celebration of efforts to address critical problems facing Bronx public schools.

Held Tuesday, December 5, in the Great Hall of Fordham University’s McShane Campus Center, “Bronx Educational Leaders Solving Bronx Problems: A Community Celebration” blended keynote remarks—from Lester W. Young Jr., Ed.D., GSE ‘78, Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents, University of the State of New York; Meisha Ross Porter, Ed.D., GSE ’22, President and CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation, and former chancellor of the NYC Department of Education; and José Luis Alvarado, Ph.D., Dean, Fordham Graduate School of Education—with panel sessions in which local educational leaders who have participated in GSE’s Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy (ELAP) program shared experiences and reported on the progress of their work in the community.

“Tonight, we’re celebrating a longstanding partnership between the division of Educational Leadership Administration and Policy and several Bronx school districts,” said event organizer Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Ed.D., Associate Chair and Associate Professor, Division of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy. “It’s also a culmination of our work since 2017, when we began an intensive redesign of our Ed.D. program around two core tenets: having a strong equity focus and using improvement science as an approach to lead continuous improvement in schools. Ultimately, our focus is on fulfilling our promise to serve the Bronx community.”

Noting that GSE doctoral students are “typically principals, assistant principals, district administrators, sometimes even superintendents, who seek both to advance in their careers and have a greater impact on the schools, districts, and communities they serve,” Dr. Stosich said the program had worked in partnership with Bronx district leaders in 2020 to launch its first Bronx Cohort, in which all of the students came from Bronx schools and districts.

“The idea is for them to bring the challenges and opportunities that they’re facing in their schools and districts to the center of their learning in the program,” she explained. “So, it was amazing tonight to really hear about the great work they’ve done, the success they’ve had, what they’ve accomplished—through their coursework, through their dissertation work—that’s having a true impact on the students, families, and communities they serve.”

In his keynote remarks, Chancellor Young applauded Fordham’s commitment to the Bronx community as unique among universities: “Very rarely do you have investments on the part of the higher education institutions really willing to partner with communities around changing the circumstances of what happens to the young people in the community,” he said. “Yes, they are tuition driven. But what are the investments we’re making in the communities? What are we doing to change the kinds of opportunities that young people are not experiencing?”

As both a longtime Bronx educational leader and a GSE graduate, Dr. Porter echoed the chancellor in praising the ELAP-Bronx partnership for bringing leaders in higher education and school districts together to address complex problems in the community.

“It…creates a pathway to solutions that are really about how…we solve school problems that impact student learning and improve student outcomes,” she said.

After participating in the student and alumni panel discussion, Damian Pacheco, Executive Director of School Support and Operations Transfer Schools, NYCPS, spoke about the impact of integrating and applying elements of the Ed.D. program in his day-to-day work. “Whether it be a simple template that I can use to hold meetings with my school leaders [or]using our professors and my cohort members as thought partners,” he said, “everything that I do at work and all of my leadership is grounded and rooted in everything that I’m learning at the Ed.D. program.”

In addition to the panel discussions, the event provided a chance for Bronx leaders to present their improvement work with posters showcasing innovative ideas and solutions they have implemented. Reflecting on the conversations and presentations, event organizer Margaret Terry Orr, Ph.D., Ed.D. Program Director, Chair, and Professor, Division of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy, noted that the event gave students and graduates a chance both to recognize and share what they have accomplished.

“[We want to] take what they’ve produced and showcase it for others to help introduce them [to]our program, but also to help promote the solutions that they’ve come up with and the way in which they’ve tackled their problems,” Dr. Orr said. “We want to continue to push at the boundaries of how universities and school districts can work together on making improvements in schools and districts.”

As the Ed.D. program actively recruits for the 2024 Bronx Cohort, Dr. Stosich emphasized that the program benefits equally from the experience and contributions of the engaged leaders who enroll as students.

“It really is a very different experience for the students, but also for us as faculty, to have all these students together who are really connected to each other and…have a deep commitment to advancing equity and are able to leverage this network to support efforts in their schools and districts.“ “…it adds up to something bigger than if they would have gotten their doctorate on their own without this sort of network of Bronx leaders. They’ve taken up a lot of important issues, they’ve seen a lot of improvement, and tonight was an opportunity to celebrate that work.”


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