PENCIL’s Principal For A Day® Goes Virtual!
During the week of April 26th PENCIL hosted the first ever all virtual Principal for A Day.® For over 25 years, Principal For A Day has been New York City’s most unique annual event that allows business leaders to support public education. This year was no different and the week was full of exciting activity!
Over the course of five days, 22 public schools opened their virtual doors to 27 executives to learn about the inner workings of NYC schools and interact with thousands of students. The week kicked off with a principal’s panel discussion moderated by former schools chancellor Dennis Walcott and we wrapped up the week’s festivities by celebrating NYC principals on social media for Principal Appreciation Day on May 1st.
Principal for A Day® School Visits
The virtual school visits took place during the week of April 26th. Overall, the program impacted more than 2,500 students, 300 teachers and 60 other school staff members.
“I deeply appreciated the level of organization and the efficiency of the program — great to pop into multiple classrooms in 15-minute increments. It was wonderful to have conversations with such talented and devoted teachers and administrators,” Michael Koenigs, Executive Director and Creative Producer at ABC News, who visited John Jay School for Law, said.
Complementing Michael’s efforts, Erin Hogshead from John Jay School for Law said: “The kids’ reaction was priceless. They were so excited to be able to have an honest conversation with a producer. This not only allows our students to engage with different members of our New York Community, but to network, gain wisdom, and be inspired.”
Business executives who participated in the program got a chance to join principals and school leaders as thought partners and advisors, interact with students, offer insight into their education and career trajectories and share opportunities within their company and industry.
PENCIL engaged professionals from 20 companies in different industries like healthcare, law, finance, communication, transportation, sports and more. Whether it’s pairing the head of the new terminal One at JFK with Aviation High School or a pairing a partner from a major global law firm to the Bronx School of Law and Finance, these matches were made keeping school and student interest in mind.
“Thanks to PENCIL and the Bronx School of Law and Finance for such an enjoyable experience! I appreciated the questions from the students and the opportunity to share my career path and thoughts (and hope both were helpful), Bryan Barreras from Mayer Brown, a major global law firm, said. He was the Principal for A Day® at The Bronx School of Law and Finance.
“I just wanted to extend a huge thank you to Mr Barreras for his visit today,” Dr Jessica Goring, Principal of the school, replied. “What a highlight this was! About 60 students came to one of two potential Q and A sessions, and Mr Barreras was warm, welcoming, interesting, and engaging. Thank you for coming, for listening, for sharing, and for advising.”
Principal for A Day® Webinar
On April 26th, four principals also participated in a panel discussion to reflect on the school year and provide more insight into school re-opening plans for the fall.
More than 50 business professionals, corporate partners, and educators joined the discussion to hear from NYC principals: Uche Njoku, EdM, Karen Polsonetti, Moses Ojeda, and Dr. Asya Johnson. All our principals had unique perspectives and insights to offer.
Uche, for instance, spoke about the need for authentic long-term commitments from NYC’s business community.
“If you are going to be a partner to public schools, it can’t just be lip-service. What are you bringing to the table? Because the reality is that we are preparing the next generation of students who will become the leaders whom you will hopefully hire. And we need your support,” he said.
Principals also spoke about their educators’ concerns, their students who are dealing with loss and grief, and personal hurdles. They also shared helpful guidance on how the business community could step up to lend their expertise and resources during these challenging times.
“It’s so amazing to have partners where they bring the business to the school or bring our kids to the business either virtually or in person,” Karen Polsonetti, Principal, Manhattan Business Academy, said.
“I find that opens many doors, and then you get all these internships because our kids are amazing; they are hungry, and they are sponges… I love those doors that open because of PENCIL!”
Principal Appreciation Day on Social Media
Principals shoulder many responsibilities: overseeing staff, coordinating curriculum and providing students with a safe and productive environment to learn. To celebrate the principals in our network, we invited students to share their favorite memories with their principals or reflect on the qualities they admire about them.
Our team then invited Hazel Roseboro, Principal, University Heights High School and Moses Ojeda, Principal of Thomas A. Edison CTE School to a meeting under the pretext of a partnership update. But instead, we played them the video messages their students shared! We celebrated this moment by posting Hazel’s and Moses’ reaction videos on PENCIL’s social channels.
Our team also took this opportunity to thank their past principals, give a shout-out to principals in PENCIL’s network and recognize the hard-work of principals across the country.
Principals, often the first to arrive and the last to leave, spend a great deal of time with the students and their staff. Their work is of utmost importance now when students are maybe grappling with personal losses and a virtual school environment.
“It’s incredibly important work. It’s been done incredibly well, especially in one of the most unprecedented and difficult times in our history,” Jessica Bynoe, Chief Strategy Officer and VP, PENCIL, said.
“You provide the hope, the leadership and the inspiration for our students to pursue their passions, follow their dreams and cultivate the skills and talents they have inherently, Devaughn D. Fowlkes, Associate Director of Programs, PENCIL, said.
“Thank you for being that guiding presence and shining light in our lives. We appreciate you.”