Principals & Parents Support NYC Middle Schools at Conference
Over 400 teachers, middle school principals, and parents met recently at the 52nd annual Middle School Principals’ Association (MSPA) Education Leadership Conference at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Brooklyn.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Middle School Principals Respecting Wisdom, Embracing Innovations.” The Conference honored two former Middle School Principals, Mr. Ernest Logan, and Dr. Dorita Gibson, with Outstanding Educational Leadership Awards. Mr. Logan, is the first African-American President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. Dr. Dorita Gibson, an educator for almost 30 years, is the Regional Superintendent of Region 7 in the New York City Public School System.
Ms. Madeleine Brennan was also acknowledged at the MSPA luncheon for her 44 years of service as a principal. Ms. Brennan is the current principal of Dyker Heights Junior High School in Brooklyn. Middle schoolers Andrea Gutierrez of I.S. 201 and Juannell Riley of I.S. 101 received Youth Leadership Awards for their service to their school and community while maintaining a grade average of 85 percent or above.
The all-city band of middle school students performed at the luncheon. Before the workshops began in the morning, students from I.S. 126 in Queens performed a dance concert. Students from Dyker Heights Junior High School and the Robert F. Goddard school also gave music performances.
Dr. LindaMichelleBaron read some of her poetry about reaching out to even the most disaffected student.
Principals, teachers, and parents also participated in 14 workshops that focused primarily on topics that most impact the educational process of middle school students. Topics included Mathematics and the Adolescent Learner, Parents as Educators: Your Role in Your Child’s Success, and Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein acknowledged the hard work of teachers, parents, and principals. “Thank you for all you do with the kids,” said Klein.
Dr. Candice Scott, President of the MSPA and principal of I.S. 126 in Long Island City, saw this year’s conference as an opportunity to bring educators and parents together to share ways to give middle school students the best education possible. “We are working with principals, we are working with teachers and we are working with parents to improve and enhance middle level education for all types of students,” Dr. Scott said. Most middle schools incorporate grades six through eight. But that is changing. Some middle schools will include Kindergarten through eight grade according to new configurations being formulated by the Chancellor’s office.
Kim Hewitt, Principal of M.S. 101 in the Bronx, echoed the sentiments of Dr. Scott of the importance of this leadership conference. “I hope to gather more of an understanding on how we can support the teaching and learning process on the Middle School level.”
Rosalyn Allman-Manning, Principal of M.S. 210 in Ozone Park, Queens mentioned that she was looking at math curriculum materials for her 8th grade students from one of the more than 50 vendors who attended the event. The Algebra Regents Exam for 8th graders will be held in June 2008 and she is looking to see if her school needs new materials to prepare students for the exam.
Mr. Logan, was full of energy and passion as he accepted his award. He spoke about the need to make sure middle school children are not forgotten in the myriad of changes affecting kids in the New York City public school system. “We have a school for everyone who wants an education,” Logan stated. “I don’t want us to lose the middle school choice.” Logan spoke about being a part of a Task Force on Leadership that included educators and leaders from the community at large. They visited other schools in order to learn about how to best make schools work, such as through effective school leadership. Logan noted you can look around and have the newest “data” but there are no shortcuts to training good leaders. He urged those in attendance to “make us part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Dr. Dorita Gibson, in receiving her award, she said it was “quite an honor” to be acknowledged by your peers. “It’s humbling,” she said. As Regional Superintendent of Region 7 she oversees three districts in the city. That’s a lot of schools.
She noted that after all the meetings, and the decision-making, she goes home and is simply a mom, who takes out the garbage.
Dr. Gibson said in her remarks that “you can’t get it from a book all the time. You need to talk to your neighbor.” The learning process doesn’t end in the routine of the classroom.#