Small Schools Symposium: Developing and Sustaining Collaborative Partnerships

A symposium that brings together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to discuss issues surrounding the development and sustainability of small schools partnerships.

WHEN: February 1, 2006 – 5:00 PM

College of Staten Island
Center for the Arts – Room 120
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island NY 10314

Jackie Ancess, Co-Director, National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University;

Anthony Conelli, NYC Department of Education, New School Intensive Leadership Academy;

Norm Fruchter, Clinical Professor of Education Policy, Director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University;

Michael Levine, Executive Director of Education, Asia Society;

Amy Horowitz, Principal, CSI High School for International Studies;

Susan Semel, Associate Professor of Education, City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center;

Susie Walter, Program Officer, New Visions for Public Schools

CSI recognized for trailblazing work with deaf students

A team of specialists from the College of Staten Island (CSI) recently received the first annual Dean Michael Ribaudo Award for Innovation in Technology at the 4th Annual City University of New York (CUNY) Information Technology (IT) Conference.

Dr. Michael Kress, vice president for technology systems at CSI, accepted the award on behalf of his team, which includes Margaret Venditti, director of disability services, and Maryellen Smolka, a captionist and interpreter with the college’s Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RCD).

The team received the award for the college’s trailblazing work in deploying the Voice to Text project, which supports the educational needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHOH) student population in a standard classroom setting.

“This technology places deaf students into the mainstream classroom with speech to text transcriptions of the professors’ lectures provided in real-time,” said Dr. Kress in the acceptance speech. He also remembered Dean Ribaudo as “truly visionary” for his contributions to CUNY, which included a University-wide videoconferencing and multimedia distribution system, which was among the most sophisticated in the nation at the time of its implementation.

A native Staten Islander, Dr. Kress currently resides in West Brighton and has worked at CSI for more than 30 years. Since 1992, he has been developing computer technology for assistance with the teaching of the DHOH student population. He is an alumnus of Staten Island Community College and Richmond College.

The Voice to Text project was implemented at CSI in 2001. In a mainstream classroom, the DHOH student is accompanied by a hearing lector or captionist, with the student and lector connected via a wireless network.

As the professor conducts the class, the lector voices all audible portions of the classroom scenario into a microphone. This means that the lecture, as well as student questions and remarks are all voiced verbatim by the lector, and the transcription appears on the student’s laptop in real-time. The lector’s microphone includes a shield that eliminates the disturbance of the lector’s voice to other students.

The DHOH student is also able to participate fully in the classroom by typing text to the lector via his or her wireless network, with the lector then voicing this text to the classroom. The complete transcript is then saved on the student’s laptop and is immediately available for viewing or editing.

According to Dr. Kress, who is also a professor of computer science at CSI, the advantages of this project are many. They include: support for all DHOH students, both non-signing and signing; full student integration into the classroom; student service; and cost savings.

“Some people dream of the day when an instructor will wear a lapel microphone and students will see the lesson transcribed,” commented Dr. Kress. “Today at CSI, real-time captioning has evolved into an effective and user-friendly teaching tool.”

He notes that there are still technical and logistical obstacles that are not easily overcome, but vows to “utilize the dynamic application of CSI’s overarching philosophical drive to ‘make it happen!’”

CSI is currently providing transcription services for five students using three lectors.

For more information on this program, contact Margaret Venditti at (718) 982-2513 or TDD (718) 982-2515.

CSI Food Drive and Holiday Flea Market

The College of Staten Island will host a local Food Drive and Holiday Flea Market on Thursday, December 8th, from Noon to 6 p.m. in the Campus Center of the college, located at 2800 Victory Boulevard.

There will be approximately 30 vendors selling jewelry, women’s accessories, DVD’s, toys, holiday decorations and much more to help shoppers make the most of their shopping dollars.

All proceeds from table rentals will be donated to the College’s Katrina Relief Fund. But as CSI seeks to help people along the Gulf Coast, the college is also mindful of the needs of people closer to home, especially those dependent on Staten Island’s community food pantries for their daily bread.

Flea market shoppers are also being encouraged to bring canned food products to the Campus Center on December 8th as well. All donated items will be picked up and deliver to those in need by Staten Island’s Project Hospitality.

“Our College community has stepped up and provided significant support to people affected by Katrina,” commented Carol Jackson, vice president for student affairs at CSI. “But as we seek to help people along the Gulf Coast, we must also be mindful of the needs of people closer to home, especially those dependent on Staten Island’s community food pantries for their daily bread. Throughout Staten Island, these pantries are running low on supplies.”

Two CSI Faculty Members Receive Major Research Grants

Two faculty members at the College of Staten Island (CSI), Frank Burbrink and William Wallace, have recently been awarded major grants for scientific research. Burbrink, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, received $100,000 from the State of Arkansas for a study of salamanders, and Wallace, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, who is affiliated with the College’s Center for Environmental Science, received approximately $90,000 from New York Sea Grant to investigate mercury transfer along aquatic food chains in the Arthur Kill and surrounding areas.

Burbrink, who previously gained recognition for discovering a new species of Corn Snake in the United States, the first new species identified in 56 years, is currently examining salamanders that live in the Oauchita Mountains in Arkansas in an attempt to discover other unknown species. These salamanders are members of the Plethodon ouachitae group, inhabit the peaks of these mountains, and do not come down to the valleys to interbreed. Burbrink states that at present, scientists believe that there are only three species of these salamanders, but he will examine the genetic makeup of collected specimens to see if the number of species is actually much larger.

Regarding his research, Burbrink explains, “you can’t look at these salamanders and tell the differences between them. They may have been isolated on the tops of these mountains for who knows how long, and if they’ve been isolated for a long time they may have evolved into different lineages, as there is no gene connection with the other ones. So, I’m looking at these things genetically and trying to assess the diversity of these salamanders.” Burbrink will use his fully functional DNA sequencing laboratory, which is located on the CSI campus, to conduct these investigations.

The goal of Wallace’s research is to understand the fate and effects of pollutants such as mercury in aquatic ecosystems such as those surrounding Staten Island (i.e, the Arthur Kill). In his work, Wallace will examine the factors controlling the accumulation and detoxification of mercury in invertebrate prey (e.g., worms and shrimp), and how these factors influence mercury transfer along aquatic food chains. Future studies may address similar questions with land-based food chains.

Wallace notes that the process that he is using to understand this transfer of mercury from prey to predator is based on previous studies that resulted in the development of a useful method to measure this process. “This method uses the partitioning of metal to certain cellular compartments (proteins and components of cells, known as organelles) as an estimator of metal transfer to a predator.”

Wallace adds “that this system has worked well with other toxic metals (cadmium and zinc)” and that he “is now applying this technique to mercury.” Wallace will use state-of-the-art mercury analysis equipment that was purchased with this grant.

This is currently an exploratory project, but Wallace is optimistic about future funding for this study. “Even though this is a one-year project, there is great potential for future funding from not only this current agency (i.e., New York Sea Grant) but other agencies as well, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation, as mercury is one of the most important pollutants due to its toxicity and tendency to “biomagnify,” or grow in intensity, along food chains,” Wallace says.


The College of Staten Island is a senior college of The City University of New York, the nation’s leading urban university. CSI offers 35 academic programs, 19 graduate degree programs, and challenging doctoral programs to 12,600 students.

The 204-acre landscaped campus of CSI, the largest in NYC, is fully accessible and contains an advanced, networked infrastructure to support technology-based teaching, learning, and research. For more information, visit

The Staten Island Economy: Past, Present, and Visioning the Future

The Center for the Study of Staten Island will hold its annual policy conference, “The Staten Island Economy: Past, Present, and Visioning the Future,” on Friday December 2 from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts building of the College of Staten Island, located at 2800 Victory Boulevard in the Willowbrook section of Staten Island. The event is free and open to the public, with registration available at the door.

The conference brings together leaders from the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors to discuss their visions for the future development of Staten Island.

The conference raises the vital question: What should be the character of sustainable economic development in the decades ahead?

Topics that will be discussed include the outlook for the regional economy and plans for economic development projects on Staten Island, including the revitalization of Stapleton on the North Shore, home to the Staten Island ferry terminal.

Confirmed speakers include: Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Andrew Alper, and Independence Community Bank President Alan Fishman.

For more information on the event, visit and click on Calendar.

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Scope and Purpose
Staten Island’s future depends on sound economic development policy. A vibrant economy is the foundation of a healthy community. The conference raises a vital question: What should be the character of sustainable economic development in the decades ahead?

The conference brings together leaders from the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors to discuss their visions for the future development of Staten Island. Drawing on the resources of the CSI–SIP Staten Island Indicators Website, CSI faculty will add perspective with information about economic trends and historical and comparative analysis of the local economy.

Panelists will identify Staten Island’s competitive advantage in the regional and global economy, as well as the island’s economic relationship with the surrounding counties. Panelists will also consider how the tools of economic development may best be employed to achieve sustainable economic development.

Experts from the public and private sectors will identify strategies that can improve the skills of the local workforce and enhance entrepreneurial opportunities on Staten Island. The day finishes with a close examination of a case study of a public/private partnership, namely, the recent urban revitalization effort in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton.

Fresh Kills Landfill: World's Most Extraordinary Park

Representatives from the Department of City Planning will discuss the development of the master plan for the now closed Fresh Kills landfill that will guide the site’s evolution over the next thirty years.

New York’s new parkland at Fresh Kills will be one of the most ambitious public works projects in the world, combining state of the art ecological restoration techniques with extraordinary settings for recreation, public art, and facilities for many sports and programs that are unusual in the city.

Rebuilding the Fresh Kills Landfill: The Master Plan for the World’s Most Extraordinary Park

Thursday, November 17
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

College Staten Island, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314
Building 3S, Room 117

At 2,200 acres, Fresh Kills is almost 3 times the size of Central Park. Nearly 45% of the site was used for land filling operations, but the remainder of the site is composed of wetlands, open waterways and unfilled lowland areas.

NY Philharmonic to play at CSI

Five principal members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra will play selections from Schubert and Mozart at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts (CFA) Williamson Theatre on Tuesday, November 1.

The program, which is free of charge, will begin at 6:00pm with a pre-concert reception. CSI Music Professor William Bauer will follow at 6:30pm with a lecture entitled “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, or, How Baseball Players and Chamber Musicians Turn Hard Pitches into Classic Hits and Winning Scores.” Bauer’s lecture will be informative, yet upbeat and humorous.

The musical portion of the event will begin at 7:30pm, and will feature Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K. 285, and Schubert’s String Quintet in C, D. 956. The participating members of the Philharmonic include Sheryl Staples, Principal Associate Concertmaster; Cynthia Phelps, Principal Viola; Irene Breslaw, Assistant Principal Viola; Carter Brey, Principal Cello; and Robert Langevin, Principal Flute; as well as Michelle Kim, Assistant Concertmaster, and Eileen Moon, Cello.

Attendees will be able to speak with the performers at a post-concert reception.

This program was made possible by a generous grant from the Shugrue Cultural Development Fund.


College of Staten Island Halloween Benefit for Hurricane Disaster Relief

The College of Staten Island will sponsor a Halloween entertainment festival on Wednesday October 26, at 7:30 p.m. to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The evening will feature The Magic of Lyn, music by the Michael Packer Blues Band, a surprise movie and numerous donated performances from CSI student groups and organizations. All events will take place in the College’s Center for the Arts.

The Magic of Lyn features master illusionist Lyn Dallies, who has performed across the country, including in such notable venues as Las Vegas and Lincoln Center. Her combination of magic and illusion – she once made an elephant disappear — hypnotic lighting and dynamic music mark her as a master entertainer and extraordinary magician.

The Michael Packer Blues Band, which has donated a number of performances to Katrina relief, is a nationally-recognized blues ensemble whose latest recording is “Bleecker-Bowery.” The recording will be available for sale at the College with all proceeds going to hurricane relief.

The benefit will also include a fifty-fifty raffle with proceeds donated to the Humane Society of the United States and Noah’s Wish. Both agencies care for animals displaced and abandoned due to the hurricane.

Tickets for the Halloween entertainment are $10 for adults and $5 for children and can be reserved by calling the College at 718-982-2787 or through the college website at All proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross for disaster relief.

The Wednesday event is part of a continuing hurricane relief program initiated by CSI. Along with announcing plans to accommodate Gulf Coast college students whose education had been disrupted by Hurricane Katrina, the College has collected over $7,000 in cash and checks, which has been matched by a donation from the Staten Island Bank and Trust.