Patricia Virella

MS, Sarah Lawrence College. PhD (in process), University of Connecticut Neag School of Education. An urban educator who has worked in the urban intensive setting for nearly a decade, she has worked as a teacher, literacy coach, and most recently as a principal.  She has recently presented at the 2016 National Girls School Conference on implementation of Interdisciplinary Framework in STEM and participated in AERA 2017 as a discussant and peer reviewer. Her work in charter schools has led to increased outcomes for students as well as to teacher retention. SLC, 2017–

Graduate Courses

Art of Teaching 2017-2018

Teaching for Diversity

Graduate Seminar—Year

This course will provide instruction in the methodologies of teaching diverse communities of learners, with an emphasis on meeting the needs of at-risk students. The course will address racial and economic inequality, multilingual education, and the educational needs of diverse families, including single-parent, multiracial, foster, adoptive, blended, LGBTQ, and immigrant families. It will bring forward new research-based practice, such as sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP), STEAM learning, and the project model. Engaging families and encouraging them to become collaborators in their child’s schooling will be addressed. All students will attend a biweekly, discussion-based seminar and participate in campus initiatives that address key course themes, including the Art of Teaching’s Film Series and the Undoing Racism Workshop. Students will integrate their experiential learning with theory, research, policy, and practice. Students in this course will be able to: identify the complex social factors of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and ability that influence the teaching and learning process; examine their own cultural experience of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and ability; incorporate developmentally appropriate, evidence-based practice into their classrooms; develop strategies for culturally responsive teaching and assessment; and create a learning environment that respects the dignity of all students.


Emergent Curriculum I and II: The Child as Meaning Maker


Emergent Curriculum is a yearlong course in which children’s interests and approaches to learning are at the forefront. Central to the course is understanding how to create a curriculum that is driven by ideas—striving for wholeness, integration, coherence, meaning—and focused on assisting children in applying knowledge and thinking to real-life problems. Classroom design and organization, media and materials, and approaches to teaching and learning across disciplines will be discussed, with an emphasis on the arts, sciences, and humanities. We will learn how to develop curricula with multiple entry points. We will reflect on ways of knowing in our own learning and that of the children and explore teaching strategies that expand children’s knowledge and modes of thinking and learning. We will discuss curriculum and teaching strategies for individual subject areas, with an emphasis on the connections among disciplines, building toward an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum and instruction. The roles of the teacher as observer, provisioner, collaborator, and facilitator will be discussed. During the year, we will engage in hands-on inquiry in workshop settings and take multiple local field trips to environmental centers, historical sites, and arts museums—reflecting on our own learning in order to draw implications for classroom practice. We will discuss how children’s interests and questions connect to the large ideas and questions at the core of the subject matter disciplines. Value will be placed on enabling in-depth inquiry, experimentation, and discovery and on establishing classroom communities based on collaborative learning and rooted in social justice. National and state standards, including the New York State Standards for the Arts, Social Studies, and Sciences, will be critiqued and integrated into our work. By the end of the year, students will create their own multidisciplinary curriculum plan, which will become a resource for colleagues and Art of Teaching alumni.