Mastery Collaborative News: Vol. 3 Issue 1
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Newsletter: Vol. 3 Issue 1  |  9.15.16

Welcome Back: Renewing our Community Focus

Welcome back to everyone in our community of mastery-based practitioners, schools, and partners. We look forward to another productive year for mastery/competency education in New York City and beyond. In our first year, the Mastery Collaborative focused on building a common understanding around the tenets of competency education and creating a trusting community. In 2016-17, we will build on this momentum with a new and necessary focus on culturally responsive education.

Why do mastery? As our thinking on this has evolved, we have a greater sense of urgency to push for the growth of mastery-based shifts. We are proud to be at the table in a national conversation about the intersection of mastery and culturally responsive education. Exploring how mastery-based learning environments can be more responsive to students who’ve been disadvantaged by the status quo will drive the work across our schools. We're excited to see what we can get done together with you this year!

                                 —Jeremy, Joy, Charlie, & Patrick of the MC home team

Mastery Incubator

We’re excited to be starting a Mastery Incubator initiative at 5 of the MC schools. This initiative is designed to bring the collective wisdom of our community of practitioners to inform practice in five schools that are building out their schoolwide approach to mastery learning. We hope to be able to document different paths schools take as they make the big shift to a mastery approach. Congratulations and welcome to the 5 Mastery Incubator schools for 2016-17. Look out for giant steps into mastery this year from:

  • Brooklyn International HS

  • Crotona International HS in the Bronx

  • EPIC South HS in Queens

  • Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School,
    a middle school in Staten Island

  • The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx,
    a Grade 6-12 school

Positive Press for MC

This past summer, published an amazing suite of articles featuring the MC program and community of schools. This series, by Chris Sturgis, has generated major momentum for the program. The posts have been picked up and blasted out by the Nellie Mae Foundation, Tom VanderArk and 'Getting Smart', and Springpoint Schools, among others!

Make sure to read Catalyzing Mastery-based Learning: NYC's Mastery Collaborative and check out the 'Press' section of our website for more recently published pieces featuring Flushing International HS, TYWLS-Astoria, North Queens Community HS, KAPPA International HS, EPIC North HS, Chris's Big Takeaways about mastery in NYC, and a conversation with Model Redesign Team’s John Duval. Please share these articles widely—you're part of a unique community that is drawing national attention!

Also, in November, Kappan Magazine will run a long piece about the MC in an issue entirely dedicated to competency-based education. Keep an eye out.

Upcoming Events

MC Fall Quarterly — register here by October 12

Wed. October 19, noon-4:30 pm
Brooklyn Law School, 205 State Street, Brooklyn NY
Lunch at noon, program promptly at 1 pm

Join the entire MC community for an afternoon of sharing and collaboration. The focus for the Fall Quarterly will be: the crossroads of CBE + CRE. Bring your school's mastery team of 3-6 people, and be ready to turnkey information and ideas when you get back to your building.

Please save MC Quarterly dates for the year, for a team of 3-6 from your school, including school leadership and teachers. Quarterly gatherings are our only full-community gatherings for the year—it is our chance to talk shop, cross-pollinate, learn from each other, and share out about our work. We aim for 100% participation from MC schools. Practicing schools learn best from each other.

MC Updates

Ahead this year:

  • Working group on CRE/CBE with Border Crossers

  • Antibias trainings with Border Crossers

  • Mastery Incubator

  • Online sessions tailored to your goals for the year

  • Spring visits to Living Lab schools

Welcome, Patrick!

A warm welcome to our new team member, Patrick Williamson, who is joining forces with us to better support our Active Member Schools. Besides swimming with dolphins, Patrick has recently completed a Masters Degree in Education Policy at Columbia Teachers College. We are thrilled that Patrick is bringing his interest in mastery and cultural responsiveness to benefit the MC.


Welcome, New Active Member schools!

We are also happy to welcome 3 new Active Members schools so far this year:

  • WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School)

  • Murray Hill Academy (a transfer school in midtown west)

  • South Bronx Community Charter High School (from the same school designers who founded the EPIC schools)

New email addresses and mailing address

Our team has switched to new email addresses. Please reach at:

Mastery Collaborative, NYC Dept of Education
175 Varick Street, 4th Fl, New York, NY 10013

(Our old addresses, ending in, will forward to the addresses here.)

Summer Recap

This July, over 100 members of the MC community from 20 schools gathered at four full-day PD sessions focused on building capacity with aspects of mastery implementation. Reviews were positive, and resources are now posted for your use.

Day 1: Instructional Design Deep Dive: Joy teamed up with Christy Kingham of TYWLS-Astoria and John Derian of Brooklyn International HS to talk about designing strong outcomes-based curriculum and assessments.

Day 2: Outcomes-based Facilitation and Coaching featured Lisa Genduso of Carroll Gardens School of Innovation

Day 3: Designing Systems of Outcomes featured Andy Clayman of KAPPA International HS.

Day 4: Grading Policy Deep Dive, featuring Michelle Bensignor, Xia Gauthier, and team from the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Academic Policy.

Big thank you to all our amazing presenters. 
You will find extensive resources from each day on!

Do you know a mastery-based school that is not yet in the MC? Please let us know. We are accepting a few more schools via rolling admissions, and are especially interested in schools with active schoolwide mastery systems. 

About us

The Mastery Collaborative is a community for NYC public middle and high schools that are using mastery/competency-based approaches to assessment, teaching, and learning. 

Mastery Collaborative is a program of the Model Redesign team in NYC DOE’s Office of Postsecondary Readiness. 
In 2015-16, we are funded by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Mastery Collaborative
NYC Department of Education
175 Varick Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10013 
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Mastery Collaborative, NYC DOE · 52 Chambers Street, Room 205 · New York, New York 10007 · USA

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