Teaching & Leadership

National Science Foundation grant allows Yasmin Kafai to develop synthetic biology project

[[image|left|faculty=4987|caption=Dr. Yasmin Kafai]]What if instead of just learning about biology, students could design synthetic genetic circuits that would enable microorganisms to change color, smell, and shape? 

Does teacher certification matter? Lessons from NYC Public Schools

[[image|left|faculty=5049|caption=Dean Pam Grossman]]Penn GSE Dean Pam Grossman has done extensive research in the New York City Public Schools evaluating the effectiveness of teachers, including uncertified ones.

In this interview, Grossman shares her apprehension about the Michigan legislature's move. “There’s no research I’m aware of that shows uncertified teachers are the solution,” she said.

Penn GSE’s John DeFlaminis brings distributed leadership to a struggling district

In 2014, the York City School District was in crisis. Its budget was busted, and student performance had bottomed out. A proposal to convert the district to all charter schools fizzled, but the glaring problems remained.

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An opportunity for change: Penn GSE’s John DeFlaminis brings distributed leadership to a struggling district

One afternoon last summer, as she listened to Dr. John DeFlaminis tell eight educators how he was going to transform their schools with distributed leadership teams, Danielle Brown felt a surge of adrenaline. This is what effective schools do, Brown remembers thinking. She had worked at such schools before, but not since moving to the York City School District to become principal of the McKinley K–8 School. Brown saw educators in York working hard, but not together, to serve their students. 

Michael Farrell named as next principal for Penn Alexander School

[[image|left|width=200|caption=Michael Farrell|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u225/Farrell%20Pic.jpg]] On June 1, the School District of Philadelphia announced the appointment of Michael Farrell as the next principal of the Penn Alexander School (PAS), a partnership school with Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

VAST Life Program is life changing

On four Saturdays this spring, Sharon Thomas has made the hour-long drive from Hatboro to the University of Pennsylvania with a strong sense of urgency and hope.

The Art of Medicine: Penn GSE Med Ed visits the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Twenty-four physicians and health care providers from some of the nation’s best teaching hospitals walk through Philadelphia Museum of Art. For the last two years, these practitioners have been learning how to better educate the next generation of medical professionals in Penn GSE’s Medical Education Master’s program. 

Three APHD Gates Scholars aspire to help others

Xavier Brown is a case manager in social work by day, and always dreamed of being a guidance counselor. Samantha Martinez hopes to help victims of abuse. Cherish Williams is studying for her doctorate.

All three came to Penn GSE’s Applied Psychology and Human Development program to care for people and become leaders in education. All three are Gates Millennium Scholars—a highly competitive scholarship that covers unmet financial need for students to attend college and graduate school.




The role of Augmented Reality in a lesson plan

Faculty Member: 
Newsroom Home Teaser: 
Susan Yoon on the benefits of Augmented Reality

Susan Yoon suggests educators integrate Augmented Reality into a lesson plan, allowing students to interact and engage on a creative way.



Museums like Philadelphia’s The Franklin Institute engage students and get them excited about STEM concepts. That’s why The Franklin Institute has been a favorite field trip destination for generations of teachers and students. By incorporating Augmented Reality into some exhibits, the museum is finding new ways to connect with students. Augmented Reality (AR) can be a complex computer simulation or a simple game programmed into a cell phone.


Treating racial competence as a skill to be learned

Newsroom Home Teaser: 
Ali Michael on making sense of how racism functions

Ali Michaels emphasizes the importance of racial competence and reframing how race gets discussed in schools. 


Racism can fracture individuals and communities. The first step to repairing the damage is making sense of how racism functions, both in our environments and in our own minds. Teachers can make their classrooms safe places for this crucial learning, so that teachers and students alike can be more fully themselves.

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