High School Teacher of the Year 2016
Degrees and Certifications:
Aferdita Silverman joined the Yonkers Public Schools in September 1996 as a Social Studies teacher at Lincoln High School. Aferdita remains at Lincoln High School where she has taught Social Studies in grades nine through twelve, and for the past eleven years is the department chairperson. In addition, she taught credit recovery, Regents preparation and Saturday Targeted Instruction at Lincoln and Saunders Trades & Technical high schools, as well as teaching in the District's Summer Session program.
Mrs. Silverman attended Pace University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Social Studies from CUNY Brooklyn. A child of immigrant parents who escaped from communist Albania and concentration camps, Aferdita entered kindergarten not speaking English, although she was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her tenacious drive which she credits to her parents' work ethic enabled her to graduate from high school at sixteen. At Pace University, she founded a sorority focused on community service and academics which is still active on campus. These life experiences underpin her teaching.
Lincoln High School students aren't just learning Social Studies in Mrs. Silverman's classes. When asked to demonstrate strategies she uses which leads to her students' knowledge and understanding, the result is an eclectic response. According to Mrs. Silverman, "I understand that students do not learn the same way. As a result, I try to incorporate different strategies when delivering content to help students better master the content and relate it to their lives. I like to incorporate skits, hands-on challenges, review games with music and technology. Regardless of the activity I create, my focus is always on vocabulary development, content retention and understanding, and building skills."
Mrs. Silverman's classroom changes regularly. A children's board game - Hungry, Hungry Hippo, is transformed for students to experience the concept of Imperialism by playing a familiar childhood game. The Industrial Revolution comes to life when the classroom becomes a bakery and students experience firsthand an assembly line. Ella Fitzgerald's music frames the Roaring 20s. "Over There" a 1917 song written by George M. Cohan sets the tone to learn about World War I. The Age of Revolution is taught listening to Twisted Sister's, "We're Not Going to Take It." By introducing timely works of art, according to Mrs. Silverman, "it drives discussion and encourages students who may normally be quieter to share their thoughts." In addition, she uses technology like the Remind Periscope apps to stay in touch with students and parents and Quizlet for vocabulary.
Aferdita and Noel Silverman have been married for fourteen years and have three fabulous children, Kara, Jessica and Josh.