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Esther Fusco

Adjunct Professor Emerita of Teaching, Learning and Technology


Degrees

PHD, 1983, Hofstra Univ; PD, 1979, Hofstra Univ; MED, 1967, Hofstra Univ; BS, 1963, SUNY Coll Potsdam


Bio

Esther Fusco is currently an Assistant Professor and Chair at Hofstra University in the Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership in Hempstead, New York. She served as an adjunct at Hofstra for fifteen years before becoming a full time faculty member. She was the principal of the Port Jefferson Elementary School eight years and the principal of the Babylon Elementary School for eight years. In Babylon she also served as the Director of Curriculum K-12 and the Director of Special Education. Dr. Fusco was a Middle School Reading Coordinator and Elementary Gifted Coordinator in Shoreham Wading River School District. Currently, Dr. Fusco is the Chair for or the IRA SIG on Balance Reading Instruction. Dr. Fusco has authored several books, children’s literature programs and numerous articles on curriculum and instruction and a series of books on portfolio assessment and include Steps to Organizing Learning and Quality Full-Day Kindergarten: Making the Most Of It. Her most recent book, published by Teachers College Press is Effective Questioning Strategies in the Classroom.

Dr. Fusco was named New York State Elementary School Principal of the Year by State Association of Administrators of New York and National Principal of the Year by National Association of Elementary School Administrators and the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally she received the Hofstra University Teacher of the Year Award.

Teaching Interests

“Planning for student learning should be a challenging, exciting and gratifying activity. The ideal outcomes of an effective instructional plan should be not only to teach students what they must know in order to get along in today’s world, but also to serve their specific needs as individuals.�? (Jerrold E. Kemp, 1971) From the time I began my full time responsibilities at Hofstra, I have had the opportunity to teach a variety of courses. The courses include fourteen undergraduate and graduate courses in the Learning and Teaching Department. Most of the courses I teach are literacy courses. But I have also had the chance to work with student teachers in the Classroom Perspective Courses and an Elementary School Curriculum course. Additionally, I now teach the Coaching and Mentoring Course in the doctoral program. This diversity has great appeal to me because it allows me to use my extensive background knowledge and skills from my teaching and administrative career in the public schools. I think if there is one thing that I bring to the program is it my knowledge and experience of classrooms across all grade levels. For example in ELED 123 and ELED. 223, along with the course curriculum, I work with students on their interviewing techniques. I do mock interviews and review their resumes. Because I was a principal for many years, I can share with the students suggestions from my many years of interviewing candidates. The students greatly appreciate my advice in these areas. Of course, I also encourage them to use the Career Center. In these classes, I share my own portfolio as an example of a professional portfolio similar to what they will produce. They are surprised when I show them photos and children’s portfolios. They are impressed with the quality of the work and the children’s ability to reflect on their work. They value these experiences and seem more motivated to create their own portfolios. I believe that students value these opportunities because they respect my practical knowledge and connection to public schools. I have the skills and knowledge to be able to teach across areas, so I can teach literacy courses, perspective classes and curriculum courses. My many years of public school experience and my consistent work in the schools as a consultant has kept me current. Over the years, this has been very beneficial for the students. For example, for the past few years, I have been the only faculty member to offer the ELED. 227 course. I feel highly qualified to teach this course because I have had extensive experience as an administrator and teacher in planning and constructing curriculum maps across K-12. My curriculum knowledge and resources support students in their understanding of how to build lessons and units without having to rely on a single resource, such as a textbook. This course interdepartmental course is taken by the MA and Special Education graduate students. I feel that students are given a holistic experience and they learn how to create authentic curriculum that can be tied to the State Standards in all disciplines. Finally, I have been actively engaged in creating opportunities for students to study abroad. This has been a remarkable experience.

Research Interests

The common underpinnings of my writing are that good instruction has a basic foundation rooted in an understanding of the child, the curriculum and the strategies that produce the desired learning. Connected to this framework is the principle that literacy instruction must be embedded in real content to engage students thinking and appreciation for the process. Throughout my career, I have examined effective instruction and considered which factors are necessary for the classroom. Theorists whose work resonates a great deal with mine are the work of Keene and Zimmermann, who report that children learn more about each other from questions than from any answer they’ve stumbled upon. Creating this type of environment is vital in an effective classroom. (Keene and Zimmermann, 1997, p.100) Currently, the topics of the steps to organizing classroom instruction and effective questioning strategies in the classroom are the focus of my research.

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
CT 364 MENTORSHIP & STAFF DEVELOPMENT Graduate
CT 500 PRACTICUM IN LRNING & TCHNG Graduate
EADM 602 DISSERTATION PROPOSAL Graduate
ELED 136 INTGRD TCH RD,WRT,CHLD LIT Undergraduate
Photo of Esther Fusco

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