In a Meet & Greet arranged by the Baldwin School District at the Middle School last night, parents and community stakeholders had an opportunity to meet the newly hired BHS principal and ask her questions. Below is more or less what transcribed during the one hour meeting:
Caterina Lafergola - hired as principal of BHS. 17th year as an educator - started as a HS English Teacher - worked her way up to principal step by step (Teacher, department chairperson etc...) Was hired and then placed into Automotive HS (how NYC does it). School was already failing and she was tasked with turning it around.
Her Philosophy - Educators work in the service of children. Making students believe and feel the school is there and they have a voice in their school (Teachers also have a voice in their school and be lifelong learners so that students will become lifelong learners).
Q - How do you measure your success - metrically?
Automotive was one of the most dangerous schools - during my leadership it was taken off the "impact list." This year taken off the "priority list." Attendance improved and graduation rate improved, but not as much as we would have liked. No more gangs or drugs at the school. Children are happy to come to school. Prior to Automotive was English chair in Valley Stream (I think Valley Stream Central HS - correct me if I am wrong). I am an instructional leader I know how to move students and I know how to move teachers. I am also good at helping people social-emotionally
Q - What is your vision for Baldwin?
I have to be in the school to see what is needed. On a superficial level - attended award ceremony and was impressed by how the students articulated how their past teachers has impacted them. I also learned there is a strong competent staff to produce students of that caliber. I want to be a strong, visual presence in the high school. There is concern about morale and school spirit. I think that is easily fixed by being part of the school community and engaging and coming up with a collaborative plans.
Q - What is the research you did to learn about Baldwin?
Looked at school report card, programs offered, what I could find online. That research is never indicative - data without context does not always tell us much. I wondered how many students are involved in program