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Local Educators Meet With Billy Baldwin

Community Fund enables teachers to attend Harvard Conference

As with any other village on Long Island, Massapequa has produced its share of celebrities and achievers. None are better known than the Baldwin brothers—-Alec, Daniel, Stephen, and William, all four of whom graduated from then-Alfred G. Berner High School.

Billy Baldwin, the third oldest brother (the brothers have two sisters also), is still involved in his hometown. Baldwin is one of the founders of the Massapequa Community Fund, a successful organization that recently contributed $40,000 to the Massapequa School District, allowing, in the process, up to 14 educators from the district to attend Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom. Baldwin recently met with those same educators to discuss the program’s opportunities. Project Zero is a research group based at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

“It was an amazing week,” said Lucille Iconis, assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction who coordinated the event for the group. “We spent five long days exploring innovative strategies to promote deep student learning, and participated in courses and study groups about issues facing education in the 21st Century.

“It brought people together from around the globe; whether you’re from New York, California, Japan….we all share common issues,” Iconis added. “The understanding is that we go back and share with our colleagues the Project Zero philosophy and successful learning routines.”

In short, the Project Zero philosophy is to study teaching practices that develop a student’s strengths, while promoting the understanding of a subject’s content, while encouraging young people to think creatively and critically. Project Zero’s assessment process is designed to find ways to enhance a student’s future learning. For the past 44 years, Project Zero has investigated learning developments in both children and adults.

The Harvard conference also allowed local educators to share their own classroom successes and how to expand the program on grade school levels throughout the Massapequa district. From the success of the conference, such educators hope to form a collegial circle that will meet on a regular basis.

Baldwin is currently starring in such popular shows as Gossip Girl and Parenthood, along with regular appearances on the revival of the famous drama of the 1960s and ‘70s, Hawaii Five-0. Early in his career, Baldwin, along with brothers Stephen and Daniel had a small role in the 1989 hit film, Born on the Fourth July, which dramaticized the heroic experiences of Massapequa native and Vietnam veteran Ron Kovics. All the while, Baldwin remains grateful for the opportunities the Massapequa public school district afforded his entire family and he continues to assist his hometown in as many ways as possible.

Felicia Fabrizio contributed to this article.