International High School at Lafayette has an energetic, diverse and dedicated staff that works together to guide the academic and social-emotional development of all our ELL students. Like our students, many of our staff members are immigrants themselves, speak multiple languages or have previously lived and worked abroad. Find out more about the amazing folks who work here by reading their bios
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Mr. Jon Harriman started his career in education in Tonga in the South Pacific, where he worked for two years as a science teacher as a Peace Corps volunteer. Following this, Mr. Harriman taught ESL in Madrid for two years before launching his career with the New York City DOE in 1998 as a GED teacher in a housing project on the Lower East Side. He then taught math and science at Brooklyn International High School, was a founding teacher at Flushing International High School, and an assistant principal at the International High School of Lafayette for four years prior to becoming principal.
Mr. Harriman has a bachelor of science in microbiology with minors in philosophy and chemistry from the University of Arkansas, an MA in secondary science education from Teachers College, and advanced certification in administration and supervision from Hunter College.
The International High School is a small learning community designed exclusively for recent immigrant English Language Learners (ELLs). We accept only students whose native language is other than English, who have resided in the United States for four years or less, and who have been designated as beginner or intermediate English speakers as a result of their performance on the NYSESLAT test. We serve immigrant students who hail from over 25 different countries and speak 15 languages. We are the eighth such International High School in the city and belong to the Internationals Network for Public Schools, a Gates Foundation funded non-profit organization. All of the International High Schools in the city follow the “Internationals Approach.” This approach is built upon five core principles. These principles inform all aspects of our structure, pedagogy and operations. They are:
We strive to attract as diverse a student population as possible in terms of ethnicity, country of origin, native language, race, gender, English proficiency and academic level. As a result, students have the unique opportunity to learn about nations and cultures from around the globe, thereby gaining new perspectives on the world and developing respect for those who are different from themselves. Heterogeneity in the student population also facilitates greater language development. Students of are divided into four groups of 19-21 students each. Within the classroom, each of these groups is placed at tables in such a way that when they collaborate on projects, the only common language that members at each table share is English. As our curriculum is project-based, students have the opportunity in each class everyday to speak, read, write, and listen in English with their peers as well as with the staff. In addition to facilitating language development, collaboration also spurs academic growth. Research has shown that students learn best when they learn from each other. Thus in every class, students work together in small cooperative learning groups. Only through working together can they do the research, analysis, synthesis, and application necessary to complete the interdisciplinary projects assigned to them. In cases where we have students who are very new to English, we pair them with peers who speak the same native language so that they are able to participate in all aspects of the school day. Through various extracurricular activities like after school clubs, student government and cultural celebrations, students have the chance to collaborate in new and different ways.
Research has also shown that students learn best by doing. As a result, the International High Schools support experiential learning, whereby our students are provided with opportunities to grow academically and linguistically outside of the school’s four walls. These include not only field trips developed to supplement the academic curricula, but also career internships. All students in their junior year (this will occur at IHSL for the first time in the 2007-8 school year) will complete an eight-week long intensive internship where they will gain on-the-job experience, knowledge, and skills in order to prepare them for the world of work. In addition, school-sponsored experiences outside of the classroom promote language development for our ELL students. They must use English and their native languages in order to communicate, in both verbal and written forms, in “real-life” situations that have not always been structured or scaffolded for them. It affords students the chance to assess themselves and pinpoint areas where they need continued support.
The International High Schools integrate language and content in what is referred to as a “content-based ESL” approach to pedagogy. This means that there are no discrete ESL classes where students are learning the mechanics of English in a vacuum. Through the Internationals Approach, opportunities for language development are embedded within all subject area classes. Students acquire English and content area knowledge hand-in-hand throughout the day. As a result, we expect every teacher, regardless of their content area expertise, to be a language teacher as well. Our professional development program ensures that all teachers get the support and training they need to build curricula that provides the necessary supports for the acquisition of language and content area knowledge. Our interdisciplinary, project-based curricula are faculty-generated. Teachers work together in teams to design and implement projects that challenge students at all academic and linguistic levels and highlight thematic connections between the disciplines. Such interdisciplinary planning facilitates student learning as the subject matter students encounter throughout the day is interconnected. They do not experience the abrupt shifts from period to period that most high school students do when traveling throughout the day between disconnected subject areas.
We believe that decisions about instruction, operations, and budget are best made by those who are closest to our students – our staff. Our staff knows our students and their needs and thus is best equipped to make the choices which will most directly affect their learning experiences here. As a result, decisions are made collaboratively in a group where all constituencies of our learning community are represented. The decision-making body must come to a near consensus in order for a new policy to be adopted. As an Empowerment School within the New York City Department of Education, we are fortunate to have even greater flexibility in decision-making on a broader scale. Our membership there allows us to design our own professional development, budget our money with fewer restrictions, and hire the staff members we deem to be most appropriate for our school. In exchange, we are held to higher standards and made accountable for the performance of our students.
Whatever is good enough for the students is good enough for the rest of us too. Recognizing that everyone in the learning community is continually growing and acquiring new knowledge and skills, the staff adhere to the same principles that guide the way we educate our students. Teachers work collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams much the way students do at their classroom tables. Together, staff members develop challenging and engaging interdisciplinary, project-based curricula. They share ways in which to embed multiple opportunities for language development across all subject areas. At weekly meetings they sit down together not only to discuss the progress of their shared community of learners, but to critique each other’s work through the analysis of student writing and feedback from peer observations. In the future, they will support one another in the formulation, maintenance, and execution of our internship program, which will offer our students more off-site opportunities for linguistic and personal growth.
We prefer candidates with these qualities:
•Willingness to commit to the school’s mission and educational philosophy
•Demonstrated ability to plan lessons that incorporate a wide range of instructional strategies including: interdisciplinary, project-based, ESL methodologies, and cooperative learning
•Demonstrated ability to provide an instructional program that recognizes individual learning styles and multiple intelligences
•Experience working with a heterogeneous LEP populationKnowledge of performance-based assessmentsDemonstrated competence in subject areaAbility to communicate effectively in English, both spoken and written
•Willingness to participate in school governance and other school activitiesWillingness to teach elective and/or advisory class
•Provision of current professional letters of recommendationPreferred knowledge of a second language