For Jo Ann Westhall, an elementary school education includes reading, writing, arithmetic — and computer science. Westhall, a computer science teacher and the chapter leader at PS 31 in Bayside, Queens, brought a subject reserved for middle and high school students to children as young as 4 years old.
“My goal is that students start to see themselves as problem-solvers, and that there’s a process by which we approach problems using the lens of the tools we have in class,” says Academy for Software Engineering in Manhattan teacher Jonathan Rothman, who was awarded a 2018 Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics.
Susan O’Rourke, a school secretary at PS 23 on Staten Island, encouraged her three older sisters to become paraprofessionals.
Anthony Sanchez, his wife, Alejandra, and his mother, Juana, are all paraprofessionals in schools in Queens.
Christina Cingari and her daughter, Brianna, are both paraprofessionals who followed in the footsteps of their mother and grandmother, Mary Valva, now retired.