2023 NYCoRE Inquiry to Action Groups

Educators who register will participate in Inquiry to Action Groups linking social justice issues with classroom practice.  Small groups will meet weekly virtually or in-person *(for a total of six, two-hour sessions plus a kick-off ) between January and March to share experiences, respond to readings, exchange ideas and develop action plans. 

Here is the link for registration: 


Read more about the ItAGs offered this year!

** NYCoRE strives to make ItAGs affordable with a registration fee of $35. If you are unable to pay the full fee, there are limited scholarship funds available. Please email Natalia@nycore.org for more details. **

Dreaming Disability Justice: Reorienting towards Inclusion

“What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities.”

– Audre Lorde (1968)

In this ItAG, educators are invited to explore how racism and ableism are inherently interconnected with education. By centering the joy, resistance, and interdependence of those with lived experience (e.g. disabled QTBIPOC), we’ll self-reflect and co-create to make Disability Justice (DJ) dreams a reality in each of our learning spaces. Balancing theory and practice, we will engage with resources from scholars & advocates of Disability Justice (with themes like collective liberation, anti-capitalism, and wholeness), DisCrit (with themes like curriculum, pedagogy, and solidarity), and linguistic justice (with themes like pride, privilege, and power). We will center the perspectives of those with lived experience, bringing an intersectional lens, openness, and curiosity to our learning space.

Disabled educators particularly encouraged to register.

Point of Unity (POU) 9: We believe all students deserve an environment where they can flourish.

Wednesdays • 5-7PM (Virtual); 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 3/1, 3/8 & 3/15

Facilitators: Melissa Braxton (she/her), Jules Csillag (she/her) & Megan Smith (she/her)

  • Melissa Braxton (she/her/hers) is an African American educator who lives and works in Brooklyn. She enjoys working as a Special Educator in the integrated co teaching classroom setting.
  • Jules Csillag (she/her/hers) is a cis, white, queer, middle-class woman, immigrant, bilingual, survivor with C-PTSD & ADHD. She’s also a speech-language therapist, consultant, adjunct faculty instructor, and writer.
  • Megan Smith (she/her/hers) is a cis, white, middle class woman who lives and works in Brooklyn. She has worked as a Special Educator for the past five years in elementary 12:1 classrooms and is currently working in a 4th grade ACES (Academics, Career, and Essential Skills) ICT setting.

Critical Educational Leadership

Working within a school community entails collaboration with educators, students, their families, the surrounding community, and, on a broader level, policymakers and various policies. Working with a school community as a school leader requires that this collaboration be combined with decision-making, leadership, and innovation, usually on the spot. As critical school leaders, social justice shapes our vision and influences our daily work. How do we sustain a learning environment of social justice and revolutionary education while working within a broader context of White-supremacist, cis-heteropatriarchal neoliberal school reform? What steps do we take each day to ensure that young people and adults alike are active participants in their own learning and growth? As a community of inquirers, we will navigate the landscape of educational leadership with the goal of fostering humanistic educational spaces.

Overarching ItAG Goals:

This Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG) seeks to create a safe and critical space for critical school leaders to:

  1. Engage in critical friends’ practices
  2. Share best practices
  3. Participate and lead text-based discussions
  4. Explore critical participatory action research practices as tools to use with adult learners in a developmental manner

Tuesdays •4:30-6PM (In-Person at City As and Castle Bridge Schools); 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/8, 3/7 & 3/14

Facilitators: David Rosas & Rachel Seher

Radical Visions: Educators as School Abolitionists

What is abolition? What is school abolition? These terms have been thrown around a lot recently, but what do they actually mean? In “Radical Visions: Educators as School Abolitionists,” we will work together to create a space where we can 1) develop working definitions of abolition and school abolition 2) connect these definitions to our identities and relationships to privilege and oppression 3) identify practices in our institutions that we want to abolish and grow 4) support one another in doing abolitionist work. As facilitators, we commit to cultivating a space where harm can be addressed and we all have opportunities to reflect through multimedia texts, writing personal memoirs, and engaging our creativity.

Half the spots in this ItAG are reserved for people of color. This ItAG will be 7 weeks instead of the usual 6 weeks.

Thursdays •5-7PM (In-Person); 2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16 & 3/23

Facilitators: Pam Segura (she), Jenna Queenan (she) & Juan Córdova (he)

Musical Circles: Restore and Transform

In this iTag, we will explore the many symbiotic relationships between youth musicians and restorative justice practitioners by researching, analyzing and creating original music based on restorative topics and practices such as community building, conflict resolution and affirmations. Our socially conscious mixtape/performance will consist of specific topics of interest chosen by the youth, as they create their own media, shaping the culture in their own lives/communities. Please note that, for this ItAG, we will have four spots open for the community and three spots for musician activists in our school communities.

Fridays • 3:30-5:30pm(In-Person); 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 3/3, 3/10, & 3/17

Facilitators: Nicholas Ryan Gant (he) & Martin Urbach (he)

  • Nicholas Ryan Gant is a New York based artist and educator.NRG studied classical vocal performance at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and holds a master’s of art in Music Education from Hunter College, as a participant in The Lincoln Center Scholars program. He has had the opportunity to sing support vocals for artists such as Mariah Carey, Jon Batiste, and Childish Gambino.
  • Percussionist Martin (pronounced mar-TEEN) Urbach is a Latine Immigrant, restorative justice practitioner, educator, activist and youth organizer. His work in the classroom is based on facilitating brave spaces for young folks to fall in love with music and to promote social justice through music making in their community.


ItAG Kick Off Meeting: A general kick-off meeting for all ItAG participants will be held Friday, January 27th, 5:30– 7:00 p.m.

Registration: The registration fee is $35. This will cover the cost of materials and support NYCoRE’s ongoing work. Multiple teachers from the same school can register together for the same ItAG for a reduced rate of $30 each. Reduced/Donation based rates available for students/pre-service teachers. Questions about need-based scholarships should be directed Natalia@nycore.org. Registration closes on Wednesday Jan. 25th at Midnight.


*For In-Person ItAGS, the Covid Policy is the following:

NYCoRE ItAGs COVID Community Wellness Safeguards

We want everyone to stay healthy and safe. Therefore, our policy for indoor gatherings is that we:

  • Wear masks
  • If you are feeling sick and demonstrating symptoms we ask that you not attend “in-person”

If/when someone is Covid + we ask that you:

  • communicate with your co-facilitators immediately.

If this happens, we will move the following ItAG session to virtual for a week and return to in person the following week for safety precautions.

Thank you for understanding and respecting our COVID policies. Community wellness is our priority.

We hope that your experience in an ItAG this season is rejuvenating and inspiring.

Please stay well and safe.

NYCoRE Back to School Happy Hour

Invites you to a 
Back to School Happy Hour
556 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn NY
September 14th 
Beer and Wine Specials
*First 15 people will receive a NYCoRE T-shirt*

Shout out to Chris Maestro, a founding member of NYCoRE, as he approaches the one year anniversary of his craft beer and vinyl record bar.

We Want a Union That Believes Black Lives Matter

During the week of February 5th-9th, in schools across the country, educators are taking part in a National Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The week of action has three central demands: 1) to end zero tolerance discipline policies and implement restorative justice, 2) to hire more Black teachers, and 3) to mandate Black history and ethnic studies be taught throughout the K-12 curriculum.

The Black Lives Matter Week of Action is part of a long history of teachers standing up for what is right, in our classrooms, in our schools, and in our communities. Most teacher unions agree: The Chicago Teachers Union, the New Jersey Education Association, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the Seattle Education Association and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association are among the growing list of teachers unions that have voted to support this crucial and timely week of anti-racist action in schools. The National Education Association’s Human & Civil Rights Department has even developed a website for teachers to share stories and resources.

Yet at the United Federation of Teachers Delegates Assembly on January 17, 2018, the largest teachers’ local in the country, at the leadership’s suggestion and after only five minutes of debate, voted against supporting the NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action. Delivering the union leadership’s rationale against the resolution, LeRoy Barr, the Assistant Secretary of the UFT and the chair of the ruling Unity caucus, called Black Lives Matter a “divisive” issue. He argued that with the anticipated Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME, which will likely allow public sector workers to receive union representation and benefits without paying union dues, it is crucial to remain “united.”

But united in support of what? The Black Lives Matter week of action is about uniting to support students by implementing restorative justice, hiring Black teachers, and teaching Black history and ethnic studies. These are basic anti-racist demands that any organization of educators should get behind. Furthermore, most of the students we teach and the families we serve in NYC are Black and Latino. No doubt they can unite behind these demands. This week of action is just one of the ways educators can build greater solidarity with the communities we serve. Far from being divisive, this is about unifying and strengthening our union and the communities we serve.

If, in the face of the attack on collective bargaining that Janus represents, we are in fact divided, it is because we have failed to engage and organize the union’s membership. The privatization of schools has disproportionately hurt the careers of Black teachers. As a union, we should know that an injury to one is literally an injury to all. A union that can’t support a movement to make “Black Lives Matter” won’t be able to build the solidarity necessary to overcome Janus and other right-wing attacks on working people.

We have to rebuild our union from the bottom-up and educate ourselves and each other about the problems we face and the steps we can take together to confront them. Grassroots collective actions in our schools—such as the Black Lives Matter Week of Action—can be part of this process. We invite teachers across New York City to join us and other teachers around the country by taking part in February’s Black Lives Matter week of action as a first step to building a school system where Black Lives Matter.

NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action Organizing Committee
Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Steering Committee
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE)

We are asking UFT members and members of the community that support our statement to sign on as an individual. We will release the names of everyone who has signed on after February’s week of action to show the broad support this statement has and encourage UFT leaders and members to support the week of action in the future. If you’d like to sign on as an individual please fill out this form.

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