Founders Page

Sylvia Beltran at the 2017 Futures Initiative Colloquium

Collaboration Experience:

Finding common ground during class lightning rounds at the CUNY Graduate Center, Sylvia and Michelle realized their foci were kind of similar. Sylvia bravely approached Michelle and said “hey, I think our focus is the same, we should work together.” Michelle’s face lit up.

Michelle’s Face Lighting Up.

“Yes! I was hoping someone would want to collaborate.” They exchanged numbers and went on their way. Neither one of them reached out for a few weeks, until finally they got their act together and decided to have a preliminary meeting before class to discuss what they could do that would benefit from a collaboration. Sylvia and Michelle did not want to write a traditional paper–instead they opted to build a website in which they’d showcase their research and Big Idea. Sylvia’s eye was on teacher education programs and Michelle was consumed with unprepared college students looking at international education models for inspiration and solutions.


Both took issue with the current status of of our education system, looking for root causes so they could do more than mask the problem (like eliminate remediation or push students through acceleration programs). Thus, their ultimate argument declared that stronger teacher preparation programs would be the most effective way to authentically prepare students for college.


Where The Magic Happens

After the initial meeting, both went on their way and continued their research independently, but started filling a shared Google Drive folder with new research discoveries. The more they dug through education research, the more they realized the faults in the current teacher education programs and the disheartening and depressing trends in which they found an increase in graduation rates, but a decrease in college readiness.




The website you are viewing is a model teacher education program  they believe could truly be a major contributor to a more successful education system. They started with a basic outline and divided up webpages, each taking responsibility for their share. They took a website building workshop together at the GC, and met over the weekends to build the site. They looked over each other’s work and made adjustments liberally. They realized their visions were dramatically in-line with each other’s. Once they could actually build the website, Michelle and Sylvia began to develop the content and details for each aspect of their dream program. It was like a website jam. Both messing about on the back end, refreshing the site to see if their contributions were jiving on the front end.


After the December 13 presentation the ladies met three more times, had some wine, and worked together to build each page more fully: They worked on developing their rationale, pedagogical concepts, visual concepts, branding, and the intuition of this multimodal product.

Michelle Gabay with the Graduating Class of 2017

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