Letters to Ditmas

9/11 Garden of Heroes - Letters to Ditmas
Mark Gura

Dear Ms. Santiago -


Good Morning. My name is Mark Gura,

I’m the former Director of the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Instructional Technology and former President of the Literacy Network of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). In my work as a professor at Touro College, where I teach the graduate course “Technology Integration for School Leaders” I was excited recently when I learned about a middle school doing authentic, project- based learning using remote, hybrid and live teaching.

I’ve reviewed this project’s standards-aligned ELA, Social Studies, and Digital Literacy curriculum which focuses on the 20th Anniversary of the tragic ‘9/11” event. I am impressed with the relevance of this curriculum, which was developed by Dr. Rose Reissman and is being implemented by teacher leader, Michael Downes, production specialist Angelo Carideo, and ELA editor/curricula developer Amanda Xavier, as well as 13 other instructional staffers at Ditmas Middle School. I don’t often come across real, student-led, culturally responsive learning opportunities of this caliber and was moved to offer my praise and admiration for this effort.

Further, I feel that acknowledgement is in order for principals supporting this type of innovative, real-world learning experience, especially considering that so many school leaders currently are challenged to simply tread water as they cope with the ongoing shift to blended and remote learning.


I intend to share the design of this project with my graduate students at Touro and will follow the project’s progress as it unfolds over the next few months.

Collegially,

Mark Gura

9/11 Garden of Heroes - Letters to Ditmas

Melinda Kolk

To Ditmas JHS,

Love the video. What a wonderful experience to grow unexpectedly, but so naturally, from the initial idea!

Please tell the students they did a wonderful job speaking, especially through masks.

Melinda Kolk
CEO
Tech4learning


9/11 Garden of Heroes - Letters to Ditmas