Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html










Camps & Sports


Children’s Corner

Collected Features


Cover Stories

Distance Learning


Famous Interviews


Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater


Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month


















New York City
September 2002

Inside the Superintendent’s Office
Dr. Angelo Gimondo: District 30
By Marie Holmes

Superintendent Gimondo has a unique understanding of the immigrant children who attend the 30 schools under his jurisdiction. At the tender age of 16 he came to New York from Italy. It was then that he got his first taste of the citys public schools.

“In those days, they put all the foreign children in a speech class,” he recalls. Gimondo quickly adapted to his new environment. “Within six months I was able to understand what was going on.”

There was one small advantage­English was his sixth language, after his native dialect, standard Italian and the French, Ancient Greek and Latin that he had studied in school. Gimondo has since married a woman from Argentina and added Spanish to his repertoire. Most impressively, perhaps, he has proven himself fluent in the vocabulary of teachers.

When Gimondo took over as Superintendent fifteen years ago, Community School District 30 was overcrowded, with many schools performing poorly. Years of restructuring and the addition of new spaces have left the district operating at just below capacity.

The percentage gain in students meeting math standards was the best in the city this past year. This remarkable turnaround, he assures, did not take place overnight. “Things don’t happen that quickly, especially when you have a monumental system­and even the district alone is very large.” Indeed, Gimondo’s office oversees the education of some 30,000 children.

One of his first moves was to reform the decision-making process. He describes the previous administration as very traditional and top down. Using the collaborative decision-making processes of the Schools Improvement Project as a model, Gimondo organized a retreat. All the districts principals developed a mission statement for the district and agreed that each school would submit an annual improvement plan.

“Not everybody bought into that,” says Gimondo, describing some principals as reluctant. Yet when the state began requiring similar documentation under school-based management, District 30 was the first to submit theirs.

Gimondo has placed a Teacher Center, run by its own staff member, in every school in order to provide the kind of support that he found lacking when he worked as a foreign language teacher years ago. These centers are run in collaboration with the UFT with state funds, while Gimondo covers the salaries of the Teachers Center Specialists. He believes that these centers have been instrumental in improving the schools performance.

“The teachers must have someone in the school who goes into the classroom, sits down with them and works on the lesson plans, classroom setup, management, etc.. They must feel it’s someone who’s not here to rate me, but to see that I improve, that I become a better teacher.”

According to Gimondo, this sense of trust is key. But that doesn’t stop him from marveling at the results. “It’s easy for me to say to a principal, improve here,” he explains, “but for them to do it is remarkable. They do it out of professionalism and respect for the profession, for each other.”

Each school in the district operates around a theme, with several serving as model schools that new teachers visit as a part of their training. PS 148, for example, is a model school for early childhood education. This is one of the most diverse districts, says Gimondo, with its schools serving children from 120 countries, who speak some 80 different languages. He estimates that these numbers include at least 6,000 English Language Learners.

To meet the needs of this vulnerable population, six years ago the district founded the Academy for New Americans, where newly arrived middle schoolers can spend a year before being integrated into the general classroom. There are also exchange programs with Slovakia, Italy and other countries, in which students from District 30 along with their parents live with host families, go to school and learn about the culture. Students from these countries then visit District 30.

Gimondo is proud of the crisis intervention teams in place and plans to expand them. After 9/11 members of these teams dealt with issues that were affecting the children.

Funding for such special endeavors has not always been adequate, and Gimondo relies on a full-time grant writer. District 30 was recently awarded $6 million from the federal government to run a magnet school program. The arts, he asserts, remain a priority. “To provide a well-rounded education is really what its all about,” he says, “which besides the basics includes human values, the arts and multicultural understanding.”#


Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.