During First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s most recent trip to Bronx, New York, she paid a special visit to P.S. 83, a school located in the Morris Park neighborhood that serves approximately 1,700 students ranging from grades K-8. Accompanied by Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York City Schools Chancellor and Mercy alumna Meisha Porter, M.S. ’03, Biden met with P.S. 83 administrators, teachers and staff to discuss how the school is fairing after the return to in-person classes.
What is notable about P.S. 83 is that the school is located two miles from Mercy’s Bronx Campus and employs at least twenty Mercy alumni. Brandon Muccino, M.S. ’05, the school’s principal, along with five out of the six school supervisors, have all gone through what has become a pipeline from the Mercy College Bronx Campus to P.S. 83.
Additionally, several of the school’s teachers who are alumni of Mercy’s School of Education Master of Educational Administrative Program are now awaiting supervisorial positions. According to Muccino, “In the past five years, we have seen teachers who are alumni of Mercy’s School of Education programs rise to assume leadership roles, both here and at other schools in the borough.”
While Muccino or his colleagues could not have predicted the pandemic, their Mercy College education has ingrained in them the motivation and skills to provide equitable opportunities for those students most in need. Their shared sense of camaraderie as Mercy alumni has helped them navigate an unprecedented back-to-school season and garner the attention of the First Lady.
Muccino describes that while the beginning of the pandemic was difficult, the return to in-person learning has been the most challenging time for schools, as some students are returning to the classroom after 18 months of seclusion. “Just re-acclimating them to the institution of ‘school’ is a task that involves daily social and emotional check-ins and support.”
In line with the sentiments expressed by Muccino, during her visit, Biden reflected on her own experience teaching during the pandemic and provided words of encouragement. She specifically commented on the familial atmosphere at P.S. 83, a school at the hands of Mercy graduates that has remained positive and collaborative despite hurdles brought on by the pandemic: “I want to say thank you and I celebrate you all…I see the respect, I taught in high schools for a number of years, it starts at the top, you set the tone, as I see how much you all respect one another, and I can tell this is a true family.”
P.S. 83 teacher and Mercy alumna Julia Sanders, M.S. ’04 was appreciate of Biden’s visit and her keen understanding of the difficulties schools are facing due to the pandemic. “It was an honor and pleasure having life-long educator First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visit our school and speak with our teachers. Her empathy and appreciation for the numerous challenges teachers have adapted to and overcome over the course of the pandemic was powerful, and our staff were appreciative of her time and acknowledgement.”
To view the News12 story of Biden's visit to P.S. 83, click here.