from the life of a teacher

A deeper look at the Harlem Children’s Zone. October 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 9:21 pm


  •  I chose to search the career opportunities section of the website to gain a more in-depth understanding of what the Harlem Children’s Zone expects of their staff. I found that to be a lead teacher for the Harlem Gems program you must have the following:
    • Master’s degree required, preferably in Education
    • Previous early childhood classroom experience, preferably in an urban setting
    • Knowledge and understanding of curriculum
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • Valid NYS Certification in either of the following:

    Early Childhood Education (Birth – Grade 2), Pre – Kindergarten, Kindergarten and (Grades K – 6), Childhood Education (Grades 1 – 6)

It surprised me that a masters degree in education was not required but preferred. I guess the certification was viewed valuable in being adequately trained to work with children.

To be eligible to work in the baby college as a child care worker staff members must have the following

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent; Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development or Education or attending CDA (childhood development associate) classes preferred
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish and/or French) applicants are encouraged to apply
  • Must be available to work Saturdays and some evenings, extra hours may be available, but there is a maximum of 20 hours per week

I thought it was wonderful that they highly encouraged bi-lingual applicants to apply. However, I was surprised that only a high school diploma was required. After all of the articles I have read about the need for higher requirements for early child care professionals to have an early childhood degree I was very surprised that this was not the case at HCZ.

Although I have signed up for a e-newsletter earlier on in this course I have not yet received an e-newsletter.

Through my research this week I learned that the HCZ is working to end the war of poverty on education within the Harlem area. Geoffery Canada the president of the HCZ  declared in his letter Winning the War on Poverty Through Education that it is not realistic to tell families facing poverty they may opt out of sending their child to the area failing schools. Further they believe teachers are one of the most important jobs in the world. Therefore MBA graduate can receive a salary starting at 75,000. This is done in hopes that they are able to attract and keep higher quality teachers.  They also strive to develop incentives for teachers who think creatively in the education realm. Canada ends his article by sharing, “We can spend escalating amounts of money on jails, drug treatment and welfare — or we can pay a fraction of that money up front and do the job of educating low-income Americans right the first time” (pg.3).

This week I also learned that Harlem has one of the highest foster care placement rates in the state of New York.  Due to this HCZ has a Foster Care Prevention Program to help make conditions stable for families to keep them from ending in foster care. HCZ runs 5 of these programs throughout the state of New York. Due to their intensive home visits and a variety of other services the HCZ has experienced very few foster care placements.


One Response to “A deeper look at the Harlem Children’s Zone.”

  1. CCWhite Says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I applaude HCZ for their efforts and accomplishments in reducing foster care placements in NYC. I also agree with Canada regarding spending more monies in a preventative measure rather than interventive–education right the first time, or resultant crime increase (Chase, 2009). I was also glad to hear that bi-lingual teachers are being sought to fill positions. I guess when you see the positive impact that HCZ is making on the community, it’s hard to notice the little things like not making ECE training a requirement rather than a preference. Im grateful enough that they are at least placing the words out on the table in the first place. Great blog!


    Chase, R.A., Anton, P., Diaz, J., Martin-Rogers, N., Rausch, E. (November 2009). Cost savings analysis of school readiness in Michigan. Lansing, MI: Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from

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