ALBA Institute inspires record number of New York teachers

December 19, 2013
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New York high school teachers attending the ALBA institute. Photos Rodolfo Graziano.

An unprecedented 71 New York high school teachers—who collectively teach more than 7,000 students every day—gathered at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center on November 5 for a full-day workshop. The ALBA institute, taught by Peter Carroll, James Fernández, and Sebastiaan Faber, introduced teachers of Social Studies, Spanish, and English Language Arts from the five boroughs to the compelling history of the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. In a series of sessions covering both U.S. and Spanish history, the institute participants viewed, read, and discussed a wide range of resources, including letters from Lincoln brigaders, political speeches, posters, photographs, and oral history video interviews. All of these texts and images, made available in a resource binder and online, have been carefully selected to use in high-school classrooms. While introducing a rarely taught but central chapter in U.S. and World history, ALBA’s resources also allow teachers to satisfy the demand for primary source materials central to the new Common Core State Standards. Funding for the institute, which was free for all participants, came from a generous grant of the Puffin Foundation. The institute also marked the launch of a new ALBA website designed especially for high school teachers (, made possible through funding from Neal Rosenberg and the Ohio Humanities Institute.  As they evaluated the workshop, many of the participating teachers expressed their appreciation and indicated they would be using the materials in their classes.

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Stuyvesant teachers in a breakout session. Photo Rodolfo Graziano.

Here are what some of the teachers said:

“Very informative. I learned a lot & hope to use the letters, the New Yorker piece & visuals in my American Literature class.”

“Great experience, great presentation.”

“So helpful & informative, especially for a beginner. I feel upset to have NOT included this the past 8 years.  I feel inspired to incorporate this material into WWII lessons of US, Global & AP US.”

“I feel as though ALBA has really done the legwork to make this knowledge applicable to the classroom environment.”

“This was fantastic.  I knew little about the Spanish Civil War & feel much more informed & therefore confident to teach it.  Great speakers, great resources!”

All attending teachers. Photo Rodolfo Graziano.

ALBA Institute