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Bronx Charter School For Better Learning

Professional Development

The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning provides a singularly vast amount of professional development (PD) to its teachers and teaching assistants.


Most training takes place via workshops, classroom visits and individual and grade-level sessions led by our professional development team and outside consultants. Almost all of our training focuses on some aspect of the subordination of teaching to the learning, including Gattegno Mathematics and Words in Color. Teachers are also fully trained in Responsive Classroom. In addition, we train our teachers to implement learning centers and Writer's Workshop and Reader's Workshop.


Professional development activities include:


  • Multiple days of pedagogical training for all teachers over the summer
  • Additional days of summer training in Responsive Classroom for new teachers
  • Institutes throughout the school year on how the subordination of teaching to learning plays out in English language arts and mathematics
  • Two or more grade-level planning sessions per week
  • Extensive grade-level curriculum planning before the school year
  • Frequent in-class observations and team teaching
  • Close, collaborative scrutiny of actual lessons
  • Attendance at conferences and workshops outside of school



Our staff developers in the school's pedagogical approach, the subordination of teaching to learning, are:

  • Dr. Ted Swartz, Director of Professional Development
  • Dr. Paula Hajar, Senior Professional Development Specialist
  • Dr. Bruce Ballard, Professional Development Specialist
  • Stephanie Poillucci-Cruz, Professional Development Specialist 
  • Rose Lee, Professional Development Specialist



Additional training is provided by:


  • Mr. Andy Dousis (Effective Teaching & Management)
  • Dr. Arthur Powell (Math)
  • Dr. Carol Rodgers (Reflective Teaching)
  • Dr. Sandra Hayes (Efficacy)
  • Ms. Shetal Shah (Technology)
  • Ms. Susan Buckley (Social Studies)




The Subordination of Teaching to Learning: A Distinctly Effective Approach


Our instructional approach, while distinctly effective, is challenging to master. Our purpose, generally, is to use academic subject matter as a vehicle for keeping students in touch with their copious learning powers.


We do not focus on the extent to which students use their memory, a tendency of those who practice more “traditional” teaching methodologies; rather, we attend to how intelligently students function.  We watch closely how they manage academic challenges we pose and we adjust our instructional interventions to support their “knowing” what to do. That “knowing” produces “knowledge,” which the students retain, without the dulling experience that commonly results from mimicry and repetitious drill, which imitation and memorization require.


Thus, we create the conditions for students to empower and inspire themselves.

Click below to view our “Types of Instruction Grid” for an overview of the essential differences between the subordination of teaching to learning and other instructional practices.