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Bank Street College of Education is a private, nonprofit educational institution in Manhattan, New York City. It includes a Graduate School of Education for aspiring teachers and leaders, an on-site independent nursery-8 school, and the Bank Street Education Center, which supports programs, partnerships, and other initiatives to advance education practice and policy at scale.

Bank Street College of Education
TypePrivate graduate school and school for children
PresidentShael Polakow-Suransky
Academic staff
Students747 (2015, graduate school) 430 (2015, school for children)
Location, ,
United States

40°48′20″N 73°57′59″W / 40.80556°N 73.96639°W / 40.80556; -73.96639Coordinates: 40°48′20″N 73°57′59″W / 40.80556°N 73.96639°W / 40.80556; -73.96639



Founding and beginningsEdit

Bank Street was founded in 1916 by Lucy Sprague Mitchell as the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE). Influenced by the teachings of John Dewey, Mitchell sought to create a group of thinkers from different fields to study child development and to advocate for fundamental educational reform. With assistance from her husband Wesley Clair Mitchell and colleague Harriet Merrill Johnson, the Bureau of Educational Experiments was born.

In 1918, BEE opened a nursery school, which moved to 69 Bank Street in 1930. That same year in its new location, the school set up the Cooperative School for Student Teachers, a joint venture with eight experimental schools to produce teachers dedicated to stimulating the development of the whole child. BEE’s research, clinical studies, and children’s literature work continue. The nursery school was renamed the Harriet Johnson Nursery School in 1934 following the death of Bureau Co-Founder and Nursery School Director Harriet Johnson.

In 1921, Mitchell’s revolutionary Here and Now Story Book is published. Based on extensive observations of children and their use of language, Here and Now marks the emergence of a more child-centered approach and standard in children’s literature.

Mitchell’s innovations continued throughout the 1930s. In 1935, she established the Long Trip with an inaugural trip to Morgantown, West Virginia. Designed to expose student teachers to new physical, social, and political environments, the Long Trip continues at Bank Street today. Two years later, the Division of Publications was founded by Mitchell to produce books for and about children. The Writers Lab—a workshop connecting professional writers and students of the Cooperative School for Teachers—is also formed in 1937. Early Writers Lab members include Ruth Krauss, Margaret Wise Brown, and Edith Thacher Hurd.

Early yearsEdit

In 1950, The Cooperative School for Teachers is certified by the Board of Regents of New York State to confer the Master of Science degree. To reflect this change, the Bureau of Educational Experiments is renamed Bank Street College of Education. The School for Children, a full-scale elementary school, opened in 1954 with one class that gradually expanded to include children ages 3-13.

The first Bank Street Reader, Uptown, Downtown, is published in 1965, revolutionizing early childhood literacy as the first multiethnic urban basal readers designed to reflect the real world. They are conceived by Bank Street President John Niemeyer, written by Publications Division staff, and led by director Irma Simonton Black. That same year, Niemeyer spearheaded Bank Street’s role in the formation of the national Head Start program, which provides comprehensive educational and social support for low-income children across the country. The College’s equity work continued in 1968 as a prime sponsor and designer of Project Follow Through, a federal program to provide educational support services for children and their families in economically disadvantaged areas.

In 1966, the Early Childhood Center begins operations on West 42nd Street with funding from the City of New York and its Office of Economic Opportunity. This experimental multipurpose parent/child community center is designed to meet the educational, health, social, and economic needs of children and families in the area through classes and programs for all ages.

An expanding Bank Street leaves Bank StreetEdit

After a decade battling space constraints, Bank Street moves uptown in 1971 to a newly constructed building on West 112th Street. The College welcomes the Children’s Book Committee in 1977 and the following year, the Family Center opens as a child care, education, and evaluation center for children ages 6 months through 4 years.

Center for Children and Technology (CCT)Edit

In 1980, the Center for Children and Technology (CCT) becomes one of the first of its kind for research and development of educational technology. Among its first projects were:

  • The 1984 pioneering of the Voyage of the Mimi, a 13-episode science adventure TV series about humpback whales that premieres on PBS stations. The series was led by ex-Sesame Workshop producer Samuel Gibbon, with formative research guidance from CCT researchers and piloting with the teachers and students in the Bank Street School for Children. The series gave Ben Affleck his start in film acting at the age of 9. A second series called Second Voyage of the Mimi was produced four years later in 1988.
  • The Bank Street Writer, designed in 1981 by Bank Street educators for easy use by elementary students, becomes the most widely used word processing software in schools (and among adults) and sets new industry standards for ease of use.

In the early 1990s, the Center for Children and Technology left Bank Street College to become a part of the Education Development Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although located at 96 Morton Street downtown.

Bank Street in the new centuryEdit

Throughout the 2000s, Bank Street continues to expand its reach through new programs and initiatives to serve a growing number of children, families, and communities.

In the year 2000, I-LEAD (Institute for Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development) is launched as a college prep program for students from six inner-city Catholic high schools. The following year saw the development of the Kerlin Science Institute, which offers elementary school teacher instruction in inquiry-based science teaching, as well as the Graduate School’s Child Life Program that prepares graduate students to be Child Life Specialists in hospital and community health care environments. In 2002, Bank Street is one of four institutions chosen by the Carnegie Corporation to launch Teachers for a New Era, a five-year program to define and document quality teacher education and its impact on children’s learning.

In 2005, the Priscilla E. Pemberton Society honoring former faculty and staff member and alumna (GSE ’66) is established to increase scholarship funds for African American students and to support students and alumni of color. Later that year, I-LEAD and the Liberty Partnerships programs merge into Bank Street’s Liberty LEADS: The Center for Leadership and College Preparation.

In 2007, former Bank Street President John H. Niemeyer’s legacy paved the way for the start of The Niemeyer Series, an annual lecture exploring urgent matters of educational interest.

In 2014, the Bank Street Education Center was established to advance teaching practice and policy at scale. Several new programs would follow under its name, including the Straus Center for Young Children & Families (2015), Prepared To Teach (2015), the Center on Culture, Race & Equity (2017), and the Guttman Center for Early Care & Education. That same year, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) turned to Bank Street for help in preparing teachers to begin working in the city's new expanded pre-Kindergarten program. Bank Street faculty led a professional development program and worked to prepare several thousand early childhood educators, including leaders, teachers, and assistant teachers. Work with NYCDOE continues into 2015; Bank Street will partner with the city to lead professional development workshops and summer institutes.

Bank Street’s most recent initiatives include the 2019 acquisition of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), formerly located at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as well as new Graduate School online programs that provide educators across the country with increased access to a Bank Street education.

The college is also planning to open Bank Street "Affiliate" Schools in South Korea and Dubai in order to expand its International Initiatives and Partnerships Program, whose programming will also place students in teach-abroad programs in South Africa, Nepal, China, and Rwanda.


Bank Street Presidents
Name Date
Lucy Sprague Mitchell 1916 – 1955
John H. Niemeyer 1956 – 1973
Francis J. Roberts 1973 – 1979
Richard R. Ruopp 1979 – 1988
Joseph P. Shenker 1988 – 1995
Augusta Souza Kappner 1995 – 2008
Elizabeth D. Dickey 2008 – 2014
Shael Polakow-Suransky 2014–



The school is accredited by the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE) and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[1] Bank Street has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools since 1960. It holds membership in the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of the State of New York, the Council of Higher Education Institutions in New York City, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the American Council on Education. Bank Street is also nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE),[2] with the exception of individual education courses offered by the college to educators for professional development and relicensure. Bank Street's NCATE accreditation allows the college to receive national recognition from several Specialty Professional Associations (SPAs), including the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC), the International Literacy Association (ILA), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Bank Street School for Children is accredited through the New York State Association of Independent Schools.[3]

Graduate School of EducationEdit

The Bank Street Graduate School of Education offers master's degree (Master of Science, Master of Science in Education, and advanced Master of Education) and certificate programs, short-format courses, and other learning opportunities for current and aspiring educators and leaders.

Bank Street offers admission to students who have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university. Work experience is highly recommended and admission is offered on a rolling basis.

Programs and initiativesEdit

Continuing Professional StudiesEdit

Continuing Professional Studies (CPS) is Bank Street’s continuing education program that offers professional development, short-format courses, and travel programs for educators. Courses are flexible, offered in a variety of formats with start dates throughout the year, and are taught by instructors who double as specialists and practitioners in the world of education and child development.

Early Childhood Urban Education InitiativeEdit

The Bank Street Graduate School of Education Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative provides current early childhood professionals in New York City’s historically underserved neighborhoods with convenient and affordable access to a Bank Street master’s degree.

Emotionally Responsive PracticeEdit

Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) at Bank Street offers professional development, teacher support, coaching, and other on-site services to early childhood and elementary school programs. The center helps educators and administrators develop emotionally responsive school routines, curricula, and adult-child interactions that support all children, including those with a traumatic history.

Straus Center for Young Children & FamiliesEdit

The Straus Center for Young Children & Families advances research and practice that supports the development and learning of children prenatal to age eight. The center produces and disseminates new scholarship and research-based recommendations for early childhood practitioners and policymakers.

National Center for Children in PovertyEdit

The National Center for Children in Poverty is a nonpartisan center that conducts original research and translates findings into actionable recommendations to help improve the lives of low-income children and their families. Formerly located at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, NCCP work has led to smart policy choices in the areas of childhood education, paid family leave, disability, immigration, physical and mental health, and more to help reduce the number of families experiencing hardship.

Occasional Paper SeriesEdit

Occasional Paper Series is a forum for work that extends, deepens, and challenges the progressive legacy on which Bank Street is built. The series, which is written by authors from both within and outside the Bank Street community, seeks to promote discussion about what it means to educate in a democracy.

Bank Street LibraryEdit

The Bank Street Library provides children, families, faculty, and graduate students with resources and materials to support their education. The Library is home to the Center for Children’s Literature, the Children’s Book Committee, and more.

Children's ProgramsEdit

Children's Programs at Bank Street College serve as important learning laboratories and demonstrate Bank Street’s understanding of how to foster children’s development in the broadest sense by providing children with diverse opportunities for social, emotional, and cognitive growth.

School and programsEdit

School for ChildrenEdit

The Bank Street School for Children is an NYSAIS[4]-accredited, independent, co-educational kindergarten through 8th grade school in New York City. Through an approach that emphasizes learning by doing, the School for Children is a working model of the Bank Street Graduate School of Education’s approach to teaching and learning.

Summer CampEdit

Bank Street Summer Camp offers an extensive program that mirrors the philosophy of the School for Children. A large percentage of counselors are Bank Street teachers, Graduate School alumni, and current graduate students. Children participate in a variety of activities including swimming, movement, woodworking, block building, art, cooking, theater, Spanish, sports, science, and travel.

Head StartEdit

Bank Street Head Start is a free preschool program for children ages 3 to 5 years old offering educational, nutritional, mental health, and social services to 68 families each year. The program, which began in 1964 shortly after the Civil Rights Act was passed, is available to families based on income and residency.[5]

Family CenterEdit

The Family Center at Bank Street College of Education is a non-profit inclusive center that provides child-centered, developmentally appropriate, and culturally sensitive services for families of children aged 6 months to 5 years. The center includes a child care center, a home and community-based program, and serves as a training site for future teachers and education professionals.

Liberty LEADSEdit

Liberty LEADS is a high school graduation and college access program that offers resources and supports to help students from underserved communities succeed in both school and life. Approximately 90% of Liberty LEADS students have graduated high school on time every year for the past 15 years. Additionally, 90% of students have enrolled in college since 2004.

Center for Children's LiteratureEdit

Bank Street's Center for Children's Literature seeks to recognize and provide access to high quality literature for children of all ages.[6] Its components include:

The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature

Named for author and educator Irma Simonton Black, an alumna of the Bureau of Educational Experiments and the head of Bank Street's Division of Publications and Communications until her death in 1972, the Irma Black Award is given annually to an outstanding children's book whose quality is a product both of its exemplary text and illustrations.[7] Children in classrooms throughout the United States are asked to decide the winner through discussion and voting.[8] The winning book receives a gold seal, while three other books are selected as honorable mentions and receive silver seals. Both seals were designed by children's book author Maurice Sendak. The award is then presented at a breakfast ceremony held in New York City each May and attended by authors, illustrators, publishers, teachers, librarians, and alumni and friends of Bank Street College.

The Cook Prize

The Cook Prize, created in 2012 and funded by the School Library Journal, is awarded annually to an outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) picture book for children aged eight to ten. Named for Bank Street educators Don Cook and Michael Cook (from the Graduate School and the School for Children respectively), it is the only prize to honor a STEM book for children in the United States.[9] Like the Irma Black Award, the winners—two from a field of sixteen—are decided through voting and discussion by children across the nation.

Writers Lab

The Bank Street Writers Lab, founded in October 1937 by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, provides a nurturing atmosphere for published children's book authors to read and critique each other's works.[10] Notable past members include Margaret Wise Brown, Ruth Krauss, Edith Thacher Hurd, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Maurice Sendak.

Children's Book Committee

The Children's Book Committee, founded in 1909 as part as the family life education program of the Child Study Association of America, creates and circulates lists of recommended literature for children specific to the requests of parents, organizations, and communities. After the Child Study Association's disbanding in 1977, the Committee became part of Bank Street.[11] Today, it comprises forty volunteer members who work to compile and edit the booklists. The Committee also awards three prizes: The Josette Frank Award for fiction, the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for nonfiction, and the Claudia Lewis Award for poetry.[12]

BookFest @ Bank Street

Founded in 1971 by Frances Henne, one of the country's most celebrated librarians, BookFest @ Bank Street was originally known as Let's Talk About Books for Children and Youth Day or Velma Varner Day, named for Henne's colleague and the editor of Viking Press. Bank Street has been the event's host since 2010, with previous hosts including Columbia University, Teachers College, and the New York Public Library. BookFest is dedicated to the exploration of literature for children and young adults and invites authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, scholars, and readers to discuss and celebrate books each October.[13]

Bank Street BookstoreEdit

The Bank Street Bookstore opened in 1970 in the lobby of Bank Street College, moving to its second location on 112th Street and Broadway shortly thereafter. Now located on Broadway and West 107th Street, Bank Street Book Store operates as a community bookstore for New York's Upper West Side, selling children's books and educational toys and games. The bookstore also hosts readings, daily story time, and celebrity events, with past guests including Stephen Colbert, Julianne Moore, and author Jeff Kinney. Operating losses and a ten-year decline in revenue forced the Bank Street Book Store to relocate in September 2014, moving from its 112th Street location to a new location on 107th Street.[14] Its reopening ceremony featured appearances from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and notable authors Robie Harris and Isabel Gillies, among others.[15] President Shael Polakow-Suransky noted in a press release about the book store's reopening that "the Book Store is a key part of [Bank Street's] commitment to high quality children's literature, and to reading as a fundamental component to lifelong learning. In this new location, [Bank Street] will continue to need support from the entire New York City community and [its] neighbors to keep it the vibrant resource it has always been."[16]

Notable peopleEdit

Graduate School alumniEdit

Shael Polakow-Suransky '00, current president.

School for Children alumniEdit

The SFC has both notable alumni and has at times been popular among celebrities for educating their children, including Robert DeNiro, Bill Cosby, William Hurt and Raul Julia.


  1. ^ "Bank Street College of Education". Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  2. ^ "Graduate Student Outcomes & Accreditation". Bank Street Graduate School. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "Bank Street School for Children". New York State Association of Independent Schools. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "Bank Street School for Children". New York State Association of Independent Schools. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "Age of children and family income eligibility". Administration for Children and Families Office of Head Start. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Center for Children's Literature". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  7. ^ "Irma Black Award". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bank Street College of Education". Award Curriculum. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Cook Prize". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "Writers Lab". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "Children's Book Committee". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  12. ^ "Awards". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "BookFest @ Bank Street". Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  14. ^ Alter, Alexandra (September 1, 2014). "Signs of Literary Life for Two Booksellers on the Upper West Side". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  15. ^ "Grand Opening Festival". Bank Street Book Store. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Sedran, Elizabeth (September 2, 2014). "Bank Street Bookstore finds new location on 107th Street". The Columbia Spectator. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  17. ^ School for Children alumnus receives Guggenheim Fellowship
  18. ^ Ally Sheedy bio at
  19. ^ [1]

External linksEdit