PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pace University School of Education students and faculty members experienced a different kind of schooling last week, thanks to Regina Cellio, principal of Anne M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining.
Cellio explained to those in attendance what it's like to be a principal in a diverse middle school during a time of profound cultural change. She spoke to a large crowd about her school's diversity and the importance of educating all children. Ossining Union Free School District has received regional attention for this initiative, having recently been featured in a Journal News article announcing Ossining High School as a 'School of Opportunity,' just one of 20 schools nationwide to receive the award.
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think,” Cellio said. “It’s not so much about the theory, it’s about the reality. What kind of reality do we want for our children?”
Cellio discussed the impact of educational trends and pointed to various trends from the 1970s through today such as Ebonics, Teach for America and charter schools. She went on to discuss additional trends that are impacting education such as rights for students, accountability, school reforms, technology, safety, and learning standards.
“It’s not about kids doing worksheets, it’s about getting kids to be critical thinkers,” she said. “Students should feel safe and comfortable and respected.”
She pointed to the importance of differentiation. “Every child in your classroom is a different learner...Our responsibility is to teach differently and expose children to what’s going to be meaningful to them.”
Cellio went on to say that the secret in education lies in respecting the students. She also challenged future educators. "Do not work with sympathy, but work with empathy. Give them your heart, your real heart,” she said.