Admissions & Financial Aid

Ask Students or Alumni

Bank Street students and alumni want to share their experience with you.

The graduates below serve as a resource for prospective students during the application process. Please feel free to explore their profiles and connect directly with any individuals whose interests and goals match yours.

View our Graduate School Viewbook

Sarah Ely, GSE ’17

Program: Dual Language/Bilingual Childhood General Education
Hometown: New Canaan, CT
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Skidmore College (Spanish and Theater)

“I chose Bank Street for its strong Bilingual Education program, which was something that I was very much interested in pursuing. I met Dr. Luisa Costa, who explained that as part of an introductory bilingual course at Bank Street, students would be asked to write an autobiography of sorts, outlining their own personal bilingual journey. I believe that the commitment that Bank Street professors have to their students, their practice, and to New York City schools is outstanding. I am also a career changer (having been an actor), yet Bank Street encourages students like me to bring their knowledge and expertise into their teaching practice.”

Arianne Haneine, GSE ’17

Program: Early Childhood General Education
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Universidad Anahuac Mexico (Law)

silhouette-placeholder“My hometown is Mexico City, and I initially heard about Bank Street through my childhood kindergarten. At that time, I was finishing up my undergraduate studies at Universidad Anahuac Mexico with a focus in Law but knew that I wanted to make a career change to education.

I started volunteering at my childhood kindergarten in a 4s classroom while finishing up my degree. Many of the teachers in the school had studied their Masters at Bank Street and spoke about a progressive approach to education. As I researched Bank Street, I knew this was the perfect school for me. Not only for the educational philosophy I would be immersed in but also the way the course was set up. I was fascinated with a blend of academics and fieldwork.
It’s been a year since I graduated, and Bank Street was the best educational experience I’ve had thus far. It shaped me into a reflective teacher and learner.”

Abigail Laub, GSE ’16

Program: Early Childhood General & Special Education
Hometown: Born in Guyana, South America and lives in Manhattan, New York
Undergraduate Institution & Major: New York University (Healthcare Management)

“Bank Street provides an intimate and exciting learning experience. If you are a learner who thrives in a group setting where your ideas and values are respected and encouraged, then Bank Street is the place for you. My advisor and teachers greet me by name and with a smile when we encounter one another within the walls of Bank Street and outside.

I have been a student in the Early Childhood General & Special Education Program at Bank Street since January 2014. The faculty and the staff provide an encouraging, holistic, and inclusive environment for my colleagues and me. The teachers are dedicated, involved, and deeply passionate about their work as educators. The practice of the development-interaction approach is prevalent in the culture and core of the Bank Street experience.

My fieldwork experience has been challenging, thought-provoking, and insightful, with an emphasis on social justice and differentiation for all students. The weekly conference group has been instrumental in helping me delve deeper into the fieldwork experience. The tools and experience I have acquired have helped to shape and sharpen my awareness in the field of education. My toolbox is expanding every day that I continue this work. Looking back at my own experience as a student, Bank Street stands out clearly as the best one yet.”

Julie Lee, GSE ’12

Program: Early Childhood Special Education
Undergraduate Institution: Binghamton University

“I chose Bank Street because I loved seeing all of the children’s work during the tour. The classrooms at the Bank Street School for Children were a game-changer for me because I knew in my heart that student-driven work that’s organic and thoughtfully documented was at the heart of authentic teaching and learning. I graduated in 2012 from the Early Childhood Special Education program and was hired as a K-2 SETTS teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn.

Five years ago, I transitioned to New York City public schools right when they put in rigorous teacher evaluation systems and a Common Core-aligned Math and ELA curriculum. With these challenges and less time for play and student-driven work, I value what I learned at Bank Street more than ever. I learned to truly think outside of the box with best practices in mind and, above all, to be an advocate for children and families. Among other things, the advisory support you receive at Bank Street is what makes the school truly unique.” Now as a Learning Specialist for a private school in Brooklyn, I will be referring back to the amazing courses at Bank Street that challenged me to look deeper into how children learn and think.

Elizabeth Ortega, GSE ’18

Program: Dual Language/Bilingual Early Childhood Special and General Education
Hometown: Spanish Harlem
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Wheelock College (Early Childhood Education and Communications)

“I first heard about Bank Street College from a friend who had just finished her first year. We attended the same undergraduate school and mentioned how similar both institutions were, such as their class size, support, and resources. During that time, I was deciding whether I should go to NYU or Bank Street. I then decided to take a tour and talk to the director of the program I was hoping to be part of. After these two opportunities, I knew Bank Street was the choice for me. This is my second year and I feel that I have grown as a student, learner, and teacher for my students. Due to my advisor, professors, and mentors, I feel prepared to continue to advocate for myself and to use my teaching philosophy in any school I teach in.”

Shavon Patrice Frazier, GSE ’12 and ’17

Program: Early Childhood Special Education (2012) and Early Childhood Leadership (2017)
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY Oneonta (Early Childhood General Education)

“I was first introduced to Bank Street by an alumna of SUNY Oneonta during a phone conversation. I then began to look into Bank Street through its website and I attended an Open House as well as a Career Changers panel discussion. I also completed the Admissions Informational Interview and had a tour of the building. I fell in love! I loved the positive energy of all of the staff, as well as the fact that the building houses two major children’s programs as well as the graduate school. I also liked that the classes were nightly as opposed to weekends. The major thing that really caught my attention was the conference groups during fieldwork. They allowed me and my colleagues to meet on a regular basis with people on similar career paths and be observed by and meet with my advisor regularly.

I loved Bank Street so much that I decided to return for a second degree in Early Childhood Leadership. I have always wanted to be a school leader and eventually open up my own early childhood center. This program has afforded me the opportunity to spread my leadership wings and gain a deeper knowledge of the inner workings of the education field and the type of imprint I can make outside of the classroom.”

Sara Saltzman, GSE ’15

Program: Childhood Special Education
Hometown: Livingston, NJ
Undergraduate Institution: Susquehanna University (Elementary Education and Psychology)

During my undergraduate years at a small liberal arts college, I was deeply invested in my dream of becoming a special education teacher. I greatly benefitted from meeting regularly with my advisor and small cohort of peers while studying best teaching practices.

Choosing Bank Street to continue my studies was the best decision for me because I felt supported and confident in its community in New York City. The small class sizes, hands-on approach, and conference group discussions reflected the systems I needed as a student. Additionally, Bank Street’s philosophy aligned with my vision of a successful and thriving classroom community. I learned more about differentiation, social justice, and authentic learning experiences from dedicated professors and mentors in engaging courses.

In addition to taking courses and teaching, I became involved within the community as a staff member in the library and at Bank Street Summer Camp. As I continue to work with students with a variety of needs and learning styles, I value Bank Street’s approach and inclusiveness.

Jared Slater, GSE ’16

Program: Childhood General & Special Education
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Undergraduate Institution: Drama, UC Irvine

Photo taken by Kevin Ramsey“To be perfectly honest, I did not know much about progressive education when I began thinking about making a career change. I spoke to several friends who are in the education world and they all suggested I look at Bank Street. Between their recommendations, attending the career-changer forum, and looking through the school website, Bank Street was of high interest to me. What made me realize that Bank Street would be the best fit for me was going through the application process, which requires much more meaningful writing and self-reflection than any other program to which I applied. This seemed indicative of the approach taken in the Graduate School. My hunch was right! The program encourages reflection and deep learning; it was a perfect fit and I am so thankful for my time at Bank Street.”

Elif Topbas, GSE ’18

Program: Early Childhood General Education
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Binghamton University (Environmental Studies)

“I decided to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education after many years of working as a paralegal. As I began looking into different graduate degree programs, my sister had recommended that I look into Bank Street because of the school’s exceptional programs. I attended multiple Open Houses and felt most supported at Bank Street. The professors and staff members available at the Open House truly believed in and were passionate about the work that was being accomplished at Bank Street, with a goal to educate the whole child. As I walked out of the Open House, I knew that I wanted to attend Bank Street.

As for myself, returning to school after many years of working came with feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. However, the Bank Street community has always been supportive and provided me with guidance as I progressed from a part-time student to a full-time student. I think that Bank Street stands apart from other graduate degree programs because of the intimate setting that is created by small class sizes and the individualized support that is provided by academic advisors.”

Katie Potter, GSE ’17

Program: Teaching Literacy & Childhood General Education
Hometown: Rumson, NJ
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Skidmore College (Psychology & Spanish)

“I chose Bank Street because I wanted to know more about what students are learning and engaging with in the classroom. I previously worked as an educational researcher with children and knew a lot about children’s development and assessment. However, I wanted to know more about progressive education and how to teach children in a dynamic and experiential way. Bank Street was the perfect place for me because the Literacy & General Education program was a perfect combination of both my interest and passion for children’s learning.”