Teacher Spotlight Yearbook

Teacher Spotlight - June 2021

Teacher Spotlight Image

Meredith Formica

Social Studies Educator at Irwin Altman MS 172.

Meredith Formica is a Social Studies Educator at Irwin Altman MS 172.

Meredith Formica is a product of New York City schools having grown up in south Queens. As a student she found inspiration and motivation from her own teachers, particularly her high school social studies teachers. They empowered her voice and pushed her to think critically, providing her confidence. In her 13 years teaching in New York City she has strived to do the same for her own students. She strives to blaze a passion for learning by ensuring a sense of community enabling her students to take risks and embarrass their curiosity, this is evidenced by the sharing of ideas and opinions in her classroom through open and honest discussion and communication. Students in Meredith’s classes have opportunities to build their self-worth. They are aware of how to both foster their own growth mindset and grow positive relationships with their peers.

Throughout Meredith’s tenure in the New York City Department of Education she has grown her pedagogic and leadership skills as a mentor and Lead Teacher.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Meredith is completing her Administrative Internship and has been collaborating with Queens North Teaching and Learning developing and co-facilitating professional learning cycles focused on Civics, Teaching History While It’s Happening, English Language Learner support practices, and the U.S. History and Global Regents Exams.

Teacher Spotlight - May 2021

Kristen Conklin, Teacher

Kristen Conklin

Biology and Special Education Educator (ISS), Francis Lewis High School

Kristen Conklin is a Biology and Special Education Educator (ISS) at Francis Lewis High School. In addition, she is an active member of the science community with affiliations to the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) and The National Geographic Educator’s Community Board. She is a contributing author on a variety of journals and educational magazines. Recently, she has published three educational project-based learning units with the NSTA, Trouble with the Tavy, Planet versus Plastic, and The Price of Palm Oil. Kristen embeds current science content and research within her interdisciplinary Project Based Learning units.

Kristen fosters positive collaborative learning relationships, creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance by creating opportunities for students to deeply engage in content and direct their learning as they engage in Project Based Learning units. Her love for nature and people propels her desire to protect the environment and to encourage students to act as informed global citizens. She brings science to life for students at Francis Lewis High School and empowers them to become active members of their local community.

During the “Plastics versus Planet” unit, students started the unit by conducting a plastic audit which included collecting authentic data on personal plastic consumption in order to become more conscious consumers and think critically about the lessons to come. They also engaged in a community beach clean up and utilized Debris Tracker to contribute to scientific data. As a result, students then developed their own solutions to decreasing plastic consumption which included creating innovative utensils made from alternative biodegradable materials, contacting local politicians and government officials in Queens to ask about actions and policies being implemented in our communities to address pollution, and then researched global actions being taken to reduce the use of plastic.

In the past, Kristen has collaborated with the Queen North Borough Office and shared best practices for implementing high quality feedback and assessment systems in the science classroom.