‘High School Heroes’ teach at Plaza Elementary


Aspiring teachers at the Baldwin School District’s Education Academy and Pre-Academy got the opportunity to teach young students at Plaza Elementary School last month.

Baldwin High School students in the Education Academy and Baldwin Middle School students in the Pre-Academy taught a full day of lessons to 10 elementary school classes, from kindergarten through third grade, as part of the “High School Heroes” event in January.

The event was sponsored by Junior Achievement of New York — a nonprofit organization aiming to educate students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. 

The school district said this was the first year the program was held in person, since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and has partnered with Junior Achievement for New York for more than 20 years. 

“We are very excited to have had our High School Heroes program in person this year,” said Dr. Gabriella Franza, Assistant Director of Instructional Programs. 

As part of the High School Heroes program, representatives from the organization conducted two one-and-a-half-hour trainings covering lesson plans and other important aspects of teaching. The school district said participants studied time management, presentation and leadership skills, like accountability, and discipline. The high school students also had the opportunity to apply for college scholarships through Junior Achievement.

“This is the first year that our middle school pre-academy students and our high school academy students have been able to work together on their lessons for the elementary schoolers,” said Franza. “It is truly rewarding to see the collaboration of all grade levels in learning and having a shared experience in both skills development and social emotional literacy.”

This year, in addition to financial literacy, the lesson taught was focused on voting and civic engagement. For instance, during one of the classroom exercises, the elementary students received several “career” cards. They then connected the various vocations on a map, which taught these young minds how all the different professionals interact and work together to help a community function.

The school district said both the elementary and secondary students found the experience to be invaluable and appreciated that the district continues to partner with Junior Achievement.