2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Grace Yang

Heather Slingerland

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Grace Yang
Grade 1-3 Math & Science
BASIS Independent Manhattan

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

The biggest challenges I face often become my special joys. I’ve worked with students from Kindergarten to grade 5 as a special education teacher. Now, I work as a math and science subject expert teacher in a general education classroom. I’ve learned that building trusting relationships is one of the foundations of good teaching. Once a strong bond is established with those hard-to-reach students, I often see that they are the ones who make the greatest strides.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

After years in a special education classroom, this was my first year as a Subject Expert Teacher of math and science. I realized my students’ understanding of math and science was based on making computations and memorizing facts. Since this realization, we’ve had rich class discussions about using logic and strategies for problem-solving in both math and science. Students are now more comfortable defending how they got the answer they did. This ability to solve problems carries over to other subjects and aspects of their lives!

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

Every year, I have the opportunity to work with a diverse population of students and educators with a variety of backgrounds. My students come to the classroom with assorted experiences and perspectives, and I learn from the way they collaborate in the classroom. I have been privileged to work with
colleagues who also bring different experiences and expertise to our team. The collegiality I’ve experienced motivates me to continue bettering my practice.


Grace Yang with Roxana Reid, the founder of Smart City Kids and Mia Weber, executive editor of New York Family. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What do you love about your school?

Our school’s unique co-teaching model allows me to have a fellow teacher with whom I can share ideas and make lessons better. My students benefit from having two perspectives, two educational backgrounds, two teachers to differentiate and instruct them. Co-teaching is not just a benefit for me as an educator, but I feel I am better able to meet the diverse needs of my students with this unique structure we have at BASIS Independent Manhattan.