A Transformation of Education

  • Teaching and learning was transformed across the Yonkers Public Schools during the pandemic. From this devastating scenario, ordinary people did extraordinary things to reach students and ensure that learning continued.

    It was during the crisis that shuttered schools in March 2020 across the country that ordinary people became hometown heroes arose. Our district changed from 39 individual schools to #WeAreYonkersPublicSchools.

    We taught ourselves how to use technology in ways many had not imagined. We changed the way we delivered instruction. We changed the ways we engaged with students. 

    This short film tells the story of several of these heroes who modeled truly “best practices” when there was no playbook. The film was shot in June 2021 when many of our students were returning to full week instruction.

    Brian Coyle, a veteran high school Social Studies teacher, describes this new world. Klevis Halilaj, a high school junior, explains what the pandemic was like through the eyes of a student. Elena Jacobs, who teaches primary grades in our PK-12 Montessori school, demonstrated how students at home and in the classroom can learn together effectively. First grade teacher Elisa Ospina speaks about adapting to change quickly. Executive Director Dawn Bartz discusses how the Yonkers Public School team faced the pandemic through innovating and teamwork.