The PROSE Newsletter: November 2015 Issue
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Volume 2 | Issue 3 | November 2015

What's the 411?.........Calling Potential PROSE Schools!

The PROSE Panel will be hosting information sessions for schools interested in joining PROSE for the 2016-17 school year. We will be hosting two meetings, one face-to-face and the other virtual via live webinar.  During the information sessions, we will discuss PROSE expectations, selection criteria, the application process and program timelines.  The face-to-face session will take place on Wednesday, December 9th at the UFT Building, 52 Broadway 19th Floor, Rooms B/C from 4 PM - 6 PM.  The live webinar will take place on Thursday, December 10 from 3 PM to 4:30 PM at a computer nearest you.  Please register to attend either the in-person session or the live webinar. We look forward to meeting and welcoming your school community into the PROSE family.

Harvest Collegiate High School Part of Experiment in City School System!!

Harvest Collegiate High School Part of Experiment
VIDEO: Principal Kate Burch of Harvest Collegiate showcases their innovative PROSE implementation.
Harvest Collegiate High School is part of an experiment in the city school system. It's one of 126 schools granted permission to break some of the rules imposed by the teachers' union or Department of Education.

The program, known as PROSE, was introduced in the latest teachers' union contract as a way to let some public schools be a bit more flexible.  

"PROSE has let us take a lot of the innovative ideas that we had and wanted to do but might not have been able to do fully," said Kate Burch, principal of Harvest Collegiate High School.

At Harvest Collegiate on West 14th Street, that means many classes are scheduled in longer blocks than the standard 45-minute high school period.

"You get an hour and a half to learn one thing, and it stresses the importance of that class," said Dashawn Branch, a student at the school.

In January, students stop everything to take one special intensive class. Teachers design these two-week courses based on their interests. Many involve travel, like studying French in Montreal or politics in Washington D.C.

"I always wanted to travel out of state and my parents couldn't really go to other places. So I felt like it was a major opportunity," said Jerry Wong, a student at the school.

Teachers are also evaluated differently. They set their own goals and welcome other teachers into their classrooms for peer evaluations.

"All of the teachers are helping each other get better at their teaching practice every day," Burch said.

At Harvest Collegiate, they say the only reason this works is because the faculty and administration get along, and teachers vote on any changes.

"We have problems, and there are frustrations, but my sense is that as a teacher, I can impact that and be part of the change," said Zoe Roben, a teacher at the school.

They acknowledge that this flexibility and collaboration might not work at many city schools, and critics of the teachers' union say the changes allowed by the union are not nearly enough to make a real difference. But at Harvest Collegiate, the teachers say they believe the new program has allowed them to design a better version of a public high school.

Written By Lindsey Christ, NY1

December 9 - PROSE 2016 Face-to-Face Info Session: The PROSE Application Process information session for potential PROSE schools will be held at 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, Room B/C on Wednesday, December 9th from 4 PM - 6 PM. We encourage all interested schools to attend as we will share information regarding PROSE expectations, the application process, and provide templates of the PROSE application and scoring rubric for guidance.  Feel free to email or for additional information.  We look forward to hearing your ideas and expanding our community!!  Register Now!!

December 10 - PROSE 2016 Info Webinar: If you cannot make the face-to-face information session, you can attend the live webinar from 3 PM - 4:30 PM.  The webinar will be recorded and available on the wiki for access as well.  Please register now to attend.

December 11-13 - Enza Academy Presents Design Your RevolutionEnza Academy is a youth innovation and leadership incubator that fights for racial and economic justice by empowering low-opportunity, high-potential youth of color with the technical skills and social consciousness to build bold solutions to big challenges in their own communities using the force of their own imaginations. As part of our many programs, we are offering a hackcamp titled Design Your Revolution to high school students, December 11-13.  Design Your Revolution is a three-day immersive social impact, innovation and entrepreneurship hackcamp  for  low-opportunity high school youth of color. Students can sign up directly at Please share the flyer with all interested students.
RESOURCE CENTER: School Strategies for Optimizing Time: The first Critical Friends Session was very informative and productive.  Of the three topics discussed, schools were especially interested in optimizing time within the school day since there are less non-instructional days this year. 

To aid schools in their use of time planning and implementations, PROSE would like to share School Time Lab's Strategies for Optimizing Time publication.  This valuable resource identifies and documents effective scheduling models and strategies from ten high schools that are successfully graduating students who are prepared for college and careers.

Throughout the ten featured high schools, key programming and scheduling strategies where identified and are described in detail through case studies.  There are five key themes that surfaced related to Academic Programming for college and career readiness: Designing Course Offerings and Sequences, Staff Learning and Collaboration Time, Extra Time for Student Learning, Allocating Time for Youth Development and Allocating Time for College and Career Learning Opportunities.


 Policy Update

Answers to many of the Frequently Asked Questions from PROSE schools have been posted on the PROSE Knowledge Base.

Mastery-Based Learning Policy:
Many schools express interest in implementing a Mastery-Based Grading system but have lingering questions: "What is Mastery-Based Grading?", "What structures do I need to have in place to implement?"

Mastery-based learning is an approach based on the principle that students can advance to the next course upon demonstrating mastery of course outcomes. Student progress and performance is measured based on specific pre- determined competencies and skills, and data are used to provide timely, differentiated support based on students’ individual learning needs.  There are specific parameters that determine what a mastery-based learning system is.

In a mastery-based learning system, schools:
  • Identify specific standards and competencies on which students must demonstrate proficiency;
  • Align curriculum, scope and sequence, lesson plans, student assessments, and grading policies to identify standards and competencies;
  • Define qualitative, descriptive criteria that indicate how a student can demonstrate proficiency or progress toward proficiency on each standard and competency; and
  • Provide students with regular, specific feedback on their progress toward meeting each identified standard and competency (note: feedback is typically not averaged, but tracked individually).
Implementing mastery-based learning requires long-term planning and strong support from the school community, including teachers, administrators, students, and families. Schools considering adopting a mastery-based system should contact the Mastery Collaborative in conjunction with their field support team.  Please read the Framework for Mastery Implementation, an evolving document that is created by the active school community within the Mastery Collaborative, and the Mastery-Based Learning Policy FAQ for more details.

The Mastery Collaborative welcomes schools who wish to learn more about mastery-based implementation.  Sign up now to be an active member.  R
each out to the Mastery Collaborative at for an application
The Option PROSE teacher evaluation option continues to be popular among PROSE schools.  The number of schools taking advantage of this alternative evaluation option has more than doubled this year, growing from 29 schools last year to 59 during the current school year.
Meet the PROSE Team: Eduardo Taveras

Ed Taveras joins the PROSE team as the Use of Time & Scheduling point.  Ed worked in the South Bronx as a college advisor for a non-profit organization for three years before joining the New York City Department of Education as a program chair for a transfer high school. He recently received his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: Politics and Advocacy at NYU Steinhardt. Before joining the PROSE team, he was at Children First Network 409 working as an Operations Manager specializing in academic policy and DOE systems support.
"I believe that the respect we are given through PROSE, in allowing/expecting us to participate in professional development instead of forcing a top-down evaluation system (partially based in test scores) improves practice and morale."
~Year 1 PROSE Principal
Copyright © 2015 Office of School Design & Charter Partnerships, PROSE, All rights reserved.

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