By: Theresa Andersen, Fordham PDRC
Just what is the “Chat & Network '' Program for educational leaders that Fordham’s PDRC offers once a month?
When I joined the PDRC team in September 2020, I remembered telling my team members that there were many times during the spring of 2020 when Covid closed all our schools, after our principal meetings, some of us remained on Zoom and “just talked.” We found comfort and support just listening and talking to each other. We came up with the realization that “none of us was in this alone.”
With that experience in mind, we created the monthly “Chat and Network for Educational Leaders” always hosted by a colleague from one of the schools from the NYC Fordham PDRC community. This is a professional community that includes religious and independent schools in the five boroughs. I found it so uplifting to meet principals and heads of school from independent schools and religious schools from all denominations including Islamic, Lutheran, Catholic and Jewish schools, and share experiences and ideas around the monthly topic.We listened to one another and, by sharing their individual stories, we were able to give a sense of comfort and support so needed in the administrative profession. It was also an enriching experience and a great networking opportunity for everyone involved.
We look forward to bringing our different voices together again this year. These events will be hosted by leaders who have enthusiastically responded to our invitation. Please meet the hosts of the fall events below, and mark the dates in your calendar so you can participate.
September (9/21) Our host, Elie De’u, the Head of Williamsburg Northside School will address the topic, What is your most pressing concern that you have experienced? How did you welcome teachers back?
I met Elie when she was part of a panel we held last Spring on how to best prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. Elie shared her story and immediately I was taken by her passion and deep concern for not only her children, but her staff as well. She was upbeat and positive and she was the likely candidate for our discussion on how to face any challenge with hope and understanding.
October (10/19) Mr. Lawrence Hansen will lead a conversation on How to create a unified staff all living the mission and vision of the school? Mr. Hansen participated in the STEM Professional Development with NY Academy of Science this spring along with his faculty of St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School in Staten Island. From his conversations with his staff during breakout sessions and his comments during the sessions, I was impressed by his professionalism and comradery with his teachers. I felt he was a good model for showing how to keep your faculty unified, particularly during challenging times. I look forward to a rich conversation with participants from all religious and independent schools.
November (11/16) I have known Joann for many years. She is principal of Resurrection Ascension Catholic Academy, part of the Brooklyn Diocese. Her expertise and knowledge of “what works best”for both her families and her staff, made her the perfect candidate for leading our November chat & network event which will focus on How do you prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences this year? Will this continue this school year? Would there be face to face? Will there be a combination?
As one principal described our “Chat & Network” Program, it should be a “safe space”, a place to support one another. I do hope you will join us this school year. We are open to your suggestions and topics to explore for the spring of 2022.
Registration for September: https://bit.ly/PDRC09212021