Addressing School Culture and Leadership with Carmen Fariña

School leaders and learning resource developers are facing a similar challenge. Both groups have never been under more scrutiny to produce results while dealing with huge transformations in standards, technology, and student populations. At the 2015 AAP PreK-12 Learning Group CEO Roundtable Leadership During Disruption, Carmen Fariña, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, will give insights from the beginning of her tenure and her plans to improve school culture and cultivate effective leaders. Creators of learning materials need to pay attention to the priorities in school systems and the opportunities to partner with them to create meaningful  solutions for student achievement.

Highlights of Recent Interviews with Chancellor Fariña

On developing strong principals: “Ms. Fariña… believes that principals need both more experience and more supervision than they had during the Bloomberg years. She increased the requirements for new principals’ teaching experience to seven years from three. And [in January] she re-established the importance of the system’s superintendents, whose role in overseeing principals had diminished during the Bloomberg years. Rather than closing struggling schools, she has said she will support them with more guidance and an infusion of social services, from family counseling to optometry. Shutting schools is to be a last resort.” “Chancellor Carmen Fariña Changes New York City Schools’ Course,” by Kate Taylor, New York Times (Feb. 6, 2015) Chancellor Carmen Fariña Changes New York City Schools’ Course

On developing a culture of collaboration: “I am proud of the strides we have made over the past 20 months, restoring dignity and respect to the craft of teaching and school leadership. We continue to focus our attention on teacher recruitment and retention, providing mentoring and other supports so that our teachers feel valued and continue to grow professionally; every student deserves to learn from an excellent, engaged teacher. We have successfully moved from a system of competition to one of collaboration. Our educators have embraced the new spirit of cooperation that informs all of our work. This summer alone, thousands of teachers, principals, and superintendents attended professional development sessions on topics ranging from STEM and information technology to building a leadership pipeline and creating a college-going culture in schools. This year, we also created a new, streamlined school support structure under the direction of strong, experienced superintendents. The approach, which marries accountability and support with innovation, aims to provide all of our schools with the tools help they need to improve instruction, operations, and student services.” “Carmen Farina: Our Plans for Improving Public Education in NYC,” Diane Ravitch’s Blog (Sept. 8, 2015)

On her greatest challenges as Chancellor: “I think the biggest challenge is time…I really want to get this done, and I want to get everything done at once. And you can’t; you have to prioritize. So, I think the challenge is: How do you make sure that every child is in a safe school, every child is reaching their potential, every parent is being heard, and every teacher has the tools they need? And I want to do it all yesterday. And how do you make sure that the vehicles you’re using are getting you to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.” “Up Close: Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña,” Interview with Diana Williams for 7ABC (June 29, 2014)

At the CEO Roundtable, an exclusive event for C-level executives in the learning resource industry, attendees will discuss leadership and business strategy in the education market. It will take place December 7 in New York. Find out more.

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