Bank Street’s Leadership Preparation Institute (LPI)
As long as New York City schools continue to need leaders dedicated to bringing effective learning to students who represent a wide spectrum of abilities, Bank Street College of Education’s Leadership Preparation Institute (LPI) will be there.
“The Institute prepares school leaders for the opportunities, realities and challenges present in urban school contexts,” said Dr. Sabrina Hope King, the newly appointed LPI Director.
The three programs that comprise the LPI regularly turn out scores of teacher-leaders, coaches, assistant principals, and principals, all of whom are dedicated to the special needs of students at all levels of achievement.
These programs include:
The Principals Institute (PI), whose goal is to increase the pool of women and leaders of color in the city’s public schools. PI’s mission is to prepare public school leaders who are ethical, reflective, and collaborative. In addition, they leave the PI with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to create a school environment where staff and students can reach their highest potential.
PI students work towards a master’s degree and state certification as School Building Leaders, which enables them to get jobs as principals and assistant principals.
Students are assigned into cohorts for the eighteen-month program, participating in and supporting each other in classes together. Each student is assigned an advisor who meets with him or her throughout the program.
“The advisors sat with you, helping you to become a more reflective practitioner,” recalled Trevor Naidoo, principal of Landmark High School in Manhattan and a graduate of the PI.
Another program under PI is the Bilingual/ESL Teacher Leadership Academy (BETLA), a collaborative effort between Bank Street and the New York Education Department’s Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Languages. Dr. Lillian Hernandez, of Bank Street, is the program coordinator.
BETLA, a specialized teacher-leader program, offers 13 graduate credits to students who take a series of courses in advanced curriculum and instructional practice, staff development and leadership development. BETLA-trained teachers are prepared to lead and counsel other teachers of English language learners.
Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, a 2004 graduate of BETLA, says she learned at Bank Street how to develop sound relationships and nurture professional development skills with the teachers she coaches.
“Now I sit in on classes in my school, then help the teachers without a leadership background by studying how language intersects with their students’ cognitive experiences,” she said.
The third program of the LPI is the Teacher Leader Program, a certificate program that prepares students to support teacher development in their schools. Similar to BETLA, the Teacher Leader students are prepared to assume formal and informal roles as teacher leaders while retaining their positions as classroom teachers or while gaining release time to assume additional roles.
After taking a class in literacy as part of the Teacher Leader program curriculum, former student Krista Senator decided to become a literacy coach in her school.
“A literacy coach is a staff developer focusing on literary professional development, which helps meet school goals in that area,” she said.
All three of these programs under LPI focus on student mutual support, collaboration with instructors and personal as well as professional growth, with an emphasis on group meetings.
“Reflective questioning in groups really helps, especially when it is as active as possible. That kind of group work is key,” said Senator.
All three programs, LPI’s King said, “share something else in common and that is a strong commitment to young students most in need.”#