Letter from the Executive Director

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all members of the Queens South Field Support Center (QSFSC) staff for their unwavering support to our schools, as well as the other sub-divisions that service our schools. Special kudos to our members who, in addition to their daily workload, either spearhead or support our initiatives—mentoring, parent engagement, awards ceremony, grant writing, College Fair, newsletter and thinking and drafting partners around our CTE and Urban Farm School. Always in our debt and gratitude are the staff members who, because of the demands of their individual office, put in additional hours to get the work done.

While our approach to servicing schools persists and has expanded, expectations designed during 2015-2016, are still being refined as we continue to develop alliances between QSFSC, central, and schools. With dedication and great pride, we forged meaningful relationships through tailored “informational sessions’ designed to develop strong content and pedagogy in all core curricula areas in our schools; provided schools with on-site support for identified areas of need; built leadership capacity through lab sites and small group sessions; hosted trainings at QSFSC, and offered year-long series of webinars. Additional enterprises undertaken during 2015-2016 and continuing throughout 2016-2017, were our use of “Data Speak” to communicate information to our superintendents in districts 27, 28, and 29, the piloting of STEM, and the QSFSC monthly newsletter.

As we embark on the 2016-2017 school year, let us advance our efforts to develop effective leadership practices in our schools by persevering in our determination to hone the strong structures and systems that are integral to teacher and student improvement. Four primary elements have been selected from “Structures and Systems that Make Schools Work” to ensure our focus is targeted upon these improvement goals: “Assessments,” “Effective Teacher Teams,” “Student Agency,” and “Writing Across the Curriculum.” Our objective around “Student Agency” is to aid school leaders and teachers in creating classrooms that allow students to take ownership for their learning. This occurs when students set their own learning targets, have discussions about achieving mastery, and identify the gaps in their learning.

Our work continues around our Leadership Improvement Cohorts, general instructional sessions, selected school visits, webinars, STEM, our mentoring program, and parent engagement. We also seek to add a new cohort of male mentees, mentoring for girls and young women. In addition to this, it gives me great pleasure to state that our Saturday Talent Growth sessions will now offer a parent engagement feature. Our newest initiatives for the 2016-2017 school year are the “QSFSC School Challenge Quiz” for grades 5, 8, and 12; an “Ivy League Night;” and a Leadership Pipeline for assistant principals, lead teachers, and staff members interested in continuing their careers in schools.

We have partnered with Microsoft to provide technical training during our monthly staff workshops, to be held on the second Monday of each month. I look forward to a very successful year and encourage you to ground your thinking, planning, and implementation around the Framework for Great Schools and its defining elements of: Rigorous Instruction, Supportive Environment, Collaboration, Effective School Leadership, Strong Family-Community Ties, and Trust. Endeavor to hold each other accountable as we work collectively to ensure that all of these elements exist in our place of work and in our schools so that we can continue “Upwards and Onwards (cw)”.