Affinity Schools

Winter Conference 2020

The 5th Annual Affinity Schools Winter Conference will be held on January 27, 2020 (Chancellor’s Day) at Beacon High School from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

Morning beverages and lunch will be provided.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

Learning to Love in Our Time

In her keynote, Dr. Sealey-Ruiz will emphasize the importance of love in schools, and particularly in places like Affinity Schools, where students are expected to be supported, empowered, and educated to bring about change in the world. Loving students includes respecting and honoring their shared humanity, and educators recognizing the importance of equity in education by incorporating student ideas and culture into the classroom community.

Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz is an Associate Professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research areas of interest include culturally responsive pedagogy, racial literacy, Black Girl Literacies, and Black and Latinx Male High School Students.

Yolanda and two of her students appeared in Spike Lee’s “2 Fists Up: We Gon’ Be Alright” (2016), a documentary about the Black Lives Matter movement and the campus protests at Mizzou. She is the author of “Love from the Vortex & Other Poems” (Kalidescope Vibrations, March 2020) a full-length volume of poetry which explores the journey to and power of self love, and what it teaches us about loving others

For more information on Dr. Sealey-Ruiz's work click here.

At-A-Glance Schedule

Registration - Light breakfast will be served

8:30AM - 9:00AM


Session Title


Affinity Classrooms: Social Studies


Affinity Classrooms is a platform to highlight and share promising instructional practices with educators looking to enhance their practice. This one-day workshop is the inaugural event for educators from schools who will host intervisitation experiences during the spring semester. During this workshop, participants will review and explore the NYSED Social Studies Framework. Additionally, educators will present and reflect upon their instructional and leadership practices in preparation for the intervistiations. (Invitations Only)


AMPLIFY Science Curriculum Support: Progress Builds & Embedded Assessments

In this session, participants will focus on the use of embedded assessments in the Amplify curriculum to determine learning progressions and monitoring that build students' conceptual understanding in science.

Teachers will reflect on unit focused and conceptual understanding aligned to grade-level Disciplinary Core Ideas. They will explore 3-D formative and summative assessment tools and discuss how to use assessment results to inform instruction. Participants will discuss ways to use the program's formative assessment resources to organize small-group instruction.

Session Full


Beyond Benign: Green Chemistry

This session for chemistry teachers focuses on building both science content and pedagogy, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature and interconnectedness of chemistry and engineering design through green chemistry innovations.

Participants will explore open-source curriculum resources from Beyond Benign which are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and New York State Science Learning Standards and feature real-world innovative technologies and safer replacements to traditional chemistry labs. Participants will engage in an immersive experience and learn how to ""green up"" lab experiences in their classrooms.


Budget 101 for Aspiring Leaders

In this workshop, participants will learn and understand how schools are funded and how school leaders can budget accordingly. This workshop will include hands-on activities and discussions around aligning budgets to CEP goals and overall school community needs.

Session Full


De-Escalation Strategies

In this professional learning opportunity, participants will explore the functions of behavior, learn how to utilize support techniques and strategies in order to de-escalate a student who is experiencing a behavioral crisis and understand how adult behavior has a direct impact on student behaviors.


Fostering Student Voice to Empower Choice

Together, we will unpack the NYCDOE Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to explore opportunities to empower students in your classroom and your school community.

Participants will examine avenues in their school communities to develop proposals for fostering greater student voice and choice within students’ personal learning experiences.


Implementation of the Crisis Response Team

This workshop will assist schools counselors and student support personnel in establishing an effective Crisis Intervention Plan and establishing Crisis Intervention Team.


Instructional Leadership Framework 101

Please Note: This session is for those new to the Instructional Leadership Framework who have not participated in the ongoing ILF sessions hosted at Affinity. In this professional learning opportunity, participants will get an introductory overview of the pillars of the Instructional Leadership Framework.

Participants will learn about the priority areas and key shifts, and their implications for changes to instructional and leadership practice. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in instructional routines that support the core, as they experience the Hallmarks of Advanced Literacies.



Instructional Leadership Framework 201

In this professional learning opportunity, participants will gain insight into the Instructional Leadership Framework by taking a deep dive into Priority Area #1: Strengthen the Core.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in instructional routines that support the core, as they experience the Hallmarks of Advanced Literacy.

Session Full


Knowing Your Multilingual Learners Well: Using Data to Plan for Grouping and Collaborative Learning

Using data to plan for grouping and collaborative learning. What informs your decisions when teaching multilingual learners from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, language proficiencies, and years in this country? How can you access and use available data to create learning experiences that affirm, support and challenge your students as they develop their English and access meaningful content?

This session will answer these questions and more. Participants will learn strategies to use qualitative and quantitative data to know their students, form groups that foster academic engagement and collaboration, and cultivate strong relationships.

Session Full


Let’s Talk Math: Engaging ELLs in Collaborative Discussion Protocols

This session is designed to provide secondary math and ENL teachers a space to explore math instructional routines that build autonomy for English Language Learners and engage ELLs in content-specific language. Participants will be given the opportunity to workshop math instructional routines, making content accessible for ELLs at various proficiency levels. We encourage teachers of various math disciplines and ENL co-teaching pairs to attend together. This session is CTLE eligible.


Literacy Data: Using Screeners to Know Students Well

How do we get to know our students well as readers? What literacy assessments would give us useful data? Come to this PLC to increase your awareness of literacy assessments including screeners. By incorporating screener data into a school’s existing assessment system, you can better understand your students’ instructional needs within the content areas.

Session Full


Making our Instruction Accessible: UDL, Differentiation & SDI

This 1 day workshop will assist teachers in making instruction more accessible for all learners through Universal Design for Learning, Differentiation, and Specially Designed Instruction. Participants will learn how to design lessons through a UDL-lens that will maximize the accessibility for different learners in their classrooms. They will explore how a differentiated classroom will allow students access to the curriculum according to readiness, interest, and learning profile. Participants will also explore SDI and how to most effectively individualize instruction for students with disabilities.


Programming Special Populations Working Group

Need some SWD programming support? Significant work time will be built into this session. In this session, participants will solidify their understanding of the Program Services Report (including easy ways to read the report) as well as the needs of their SWDs regarding programming. We will cover common issues that come up in schools and solutions for both the on-the-ground issues as well as the practical side of programming. We will have time to review individual reports to determine trends in the school. This will also allow a look into how IEPs are written for a school to ensure that the services offered to students are reflected on the report. Work time included with support.

Session Full


Quality IEP Writing

This full day professional learning opportunity will increase participants' in-depth knowledge of writing a quality IEP. The focus will be on writing Present Levels of Performance (PLOP), annual goals and transition planning. Participants will understand how to align the IEP and that Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is crucial in Quality IEP writing.


REWARDS: Intermediate and Secondary Reading Interventions - Day 2

REWARDS Intermediate and REWARDS Secondary are specialized reading programs built specifically for readers who struggle with decoding multisyllabic words. Designed for a wide range of struggling learners and instructional settings, the REWARDS approach has been proven effective in increasing fluency, comprehension, and academic vocabulary. Students learn highly generalizable and transferrable word attack strategies that extend from the ELA classroom into the content areas. REWARDS is beneficial for students reading at least on between a 3rd and 5th grade grade level in secondary schools. Teacher and student materials and access to the publisher's data portal will be provided to enable participants to immediately implement the program in their schools, therefore participants must attend both sessions and have space in their program to deliver small-group intervention.


Special Ed 101 for General Education Teachers

This professional learning opportunity is intended for General Education teachers who would like to gain foundational Special Education knowledge. Those who are new to the system or those who want to garner more information on how Special Education services are offered and supported in the NYC Department of Education should join us. Throughout the day we will engage in activities that review IDEA (Special Education law), the 13 disability classifications, a brief review of the sections of the IEP and how General Education teachers can support meaningful planning for students with disabilities and giving purposeful input for creation of quality IEPs.

Session Full


Supporting Multilingual Learners as a Paraprofessional

In this professional learning opportunity, participants will learn about the key components of the three language programs offered by the DOE and characteristics of MLL language proficiency levels that may inform their in-class support of students. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore the new Supportive Environment Framework to raise awareness and increase collaboration and trust amongst staff-student relationships.


The Role of Feedback in Culturally Responsive Teaching

In this session, we will explore different types of effective feedback strategies to help students meet academic standards. This includes conferencing strategies, verbal and written feedback, and peer-to-peer feedback. Our objective is to help all students become independent learners through instructive, specific, timely, and supportive feedback. We will read and discuss excerpts from Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond as a guide. If providing effective feedback is something you are working on or have always wanted to learn more about, please join us!


Writing Identity

During this Affinity Citywide Office, Facing History, and The New York City Writing Project collaboration, participants will explore 1) Facing History’s resource, My Part of the Story, which provides a fresh and engaging way to begin a unit of study focused on identity. It helps students explore who they are and where they come from—to understand the value of their individual voices within the larger story of a nation and the ways that we define ourselves and others. Participants will also experience teaching strategies and activities that not only help students explore their own identities, but can also be adapted to build empathy, 2) why and how to engage youth-writers in daily writing by building from Facing History’s, My Part of the Story. Participants will experience and discuss how The New York City Writing Project uses the power of low stakes writing—frequent, informal writing opportunities that make students spend time regularly reflecting in written language—and the ways in which this approach to writing supports learning from discussions, readings, direct instruction, and their own thinking.