Downtown teacher honored

Michelle Persaud of Murry Bergtraum. Courtesy of the Fund of the City of New York

Seven New York City teachers have been recognized for their outstanding achievements in math and science classrooms, including Michelle Persaud, a science teacher from Murry Bertraum High School.

“She has a special talent as someone who can create really interesting curricula,” said Mary McCormick, president of the Fund of the City of New York, which presented the awards with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation last week. Persaud has established traditionally college-level courses in anatomy & physiology, biomedical technology, psychology, and forensic science.

Persaud has been instrumental in finding ways to overhaul the curriculum and create engaging, dynamic courses.  Students can receive college credit for some of her classes from Syracuse University, which trains high school teachers to conduct college-level courses.

James Spencer, the associate dean for science at Syracuse, said in an interview with the Fund: “We look for master teachers and Michelle is one of the best. Young children tend to love science, but lose that interest by high school. Michele gets these students re-interested in science.”

She also participates in an after-school program run by the Y.M.C.A. The director of the program, Hannah Arafat, told the Fund, “The success of the program is due to Ms. Persaud. She develops lesson plans, she provides resources for teachers, and she’s the essence of the feedback loop between our program and the school’s teachers.”

Persaud became an NYC Teaching Fellow in 2001 and has been at Murry Bergtraum on Pearl St. since 2007. Persaud was not available for comment.

More than 100 teachers were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators for the Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. Persaud and other winners received $5,000, with an additional $2,500 awarded to their schools.

— Kaitlyn Meade

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