The Urban Assembly Academics and Leadership Team develops schools’ leadership and academic capacity with measurable impact on adult learning and student outcomes for long-term success. The team helps schools build high-quality, relevant curriculum that engages students and prepares them to be able to engage in rigorous college-level work. Through this program, school principals and assistant principals receive leadership coaching to refine and help improve their management skills.

There are four programs under the Leadership portion of this program:

Principals’ Community and Assistant Principals’ Community: Effective leadership is at the core of the UA’s success, and having a strong and tight-knit community of principals and assistant principals is the most effective method through which way to build this leadership. The success of these professional learning communities bolsters the collaboration between the UA and the schools we support. In these communities, school leaders convene to devise effective and efficient ways to address challenges that emerge both within and across the family of UA schools. Through Instructional Rounds, principals and assistant principals have the opportunity to complete intervisitations, observing, analyzing and developing practical solutions to specific problems of practice.

Leadership Coaching: The UA provides consistent, targeted coaching to principals and assistant principals as they develop leadership goals and management skills. The collaboration between the UA team and the schools’ leadership helps identify and develop best practices that leadership and teaching staff can implement to increase student outcomes.

Data Exploration Coaching (DEXPRO): The Urban Assembly Data Exploration Coaching program combines DEXPRO, a suite of protocols and data-dives, and strategic leadership coaching to improve student outcomes. Through this program, schools address credit accumulation issues, explore trends, prepare students for the Regents, and monitor progress with learning targets.

There are four programs under the Academics portion of this program:

Algebra Success: The Algebra Success program was designed to increase 9th grade students’ class pass rate, algebra Regents rate and college-ready rate by addressing issues of discourse in their classroom, and by prioritizing students’ needs.

Leading Literacy: The Leading Literacy program focuses on developing, codifying and sharing effective and research-based literacy practices to high school teachers. The program also curates leadership development trainings and workshops to support teachers, and in turn improve students’ ELA outcomes.

Start Smart - Effective Literacy Interventions to Support 9th Grade Student Success: The Urban Assembly Start Smart program addresses the academic performance of 9th graders through targeted literacy interventions that are data-driven and research-based. Participating 9th grade team leaders will guide their teams to identify academically at-risk students, and will determine and implement interventions best-suited to address students’ needs. Team leaders will also track progress and make the adjustments based on the analyzed progress trends.

Middle School Math Support: The UA Middle School Math Support program combines access to robust curricular activities, a professional learning community, and strategic coaching to provide teachers with proven curricular resources that can be used to increase students’ middle school math scores.

The Urban Assembly Academics and Leadership Team drives continuous improvement of school leaders and teachers through collaboration, goal-setting, quality professional development, data analysis and feedback. Student academic success is always at the center of the Academics and Leadership Team's work.

Team Members

  • Bisola is the Math Program Manager at The Urban Assembly. She is an experienced educator in urban schools and communities with extensive experience providing leadership to organizations, administrators and teachers in designing and delivering math equitable and rigorous math instruction to all students. Her scholarly interests include equity based instructional strategies in mathematics education and studying organizational factors that impact teacher turnover in urban schools. Bisola holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics Education and Educational Policy from the Graduate Center, CUNY, a M.Ed. in Leadership in Mathematics Education from Bank Street College of Education, a M.Ed. in Mathematics Education from Queens College, CUNY and a B.S. in Public Affairs from Baruch College, CUNY.

  • Debra began her career as an English teacher and senior advisor at John Jay HS in Brooklyn NY and then moved into a role as a writing coach for the NYC Writing Project at Lehman College. During her tenure she designed and facilitated graduate seminars in reading and writing theory, inquiry-based and writing-intensive models of instruction, and taking a reflective stance toward practice for teacher teams and school leaders. Prior to joining the Urban Assembly Academics and Leadership Team, she became an instructional coach for a network of ISA high schools which led to her conducting Quality Reviews and Principal Performance Reviews for schools across the city. She received her Master of Arts in English Literature, and is a Harvard-trained Instructional Rounds facilitator.

  • Duane leads the graduation mission at The Urban Assembly, continuously working across schools and UA internal departments to measure and improve growth for our graduating classes. As the DEXPRO Program Manager, Duane works collaboratively at UA, and shares short-term and long-term objectives for high school graduation rates. As a bridge between Instruction, as well as Research and Evaluation, Duane uses his knowledge of NYC and NYS policy, as well as a suite of data tools, to coach school leaders, and to optimize data and strategic planning for all students. Duane has worked in the public sector for over ten years, as a consultant, as a NYC Urban Fellow, and in operations within the innovative Empowerment Zone at the NYCDOE. Duane earned his B.A. in Government from Cornell University, his M.P.A from the Cornell University Institute for Public Affairs, and his Fulbright Scholarship from the Universite de Berne, Switzerland. After being with UA from 2007 to 2009, he is back at UA as of 2013.

  • As Director of Academics and Leadership, Alexis Goldberg leads the team of instructional leaders who support instructional development in Urban Assembly schools. This team works responsively with instructional leaders to build capacity in their schools. Alexis has been with The Urban Assembly for 8 years, starting as an Achievement Coach with a focus on literacy and performance assessment before her current role. Before joining The Urban Assembly, Alexis taught high school English as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows. Alexis has also taught education courses at Fordham University and Bard College. Alexis received a B.S. from Northwestern University, an MsED in English Education from Queens College, and MsEd from Bank Street in Educational Leadership in the Arts. Alexis is also a graduate of Coro’s Leadership New York program