View Full Version : All NYC Q&A with Alicia Perez-Katz, Principal of Baruch College Campus High School

12-16-2013, 03:13 PM
From DNAinfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131216/flatiron/baruch-hs-principal-encourages-students-take-ownership-of-their-learning) by Heather Holland:

Alicia Perez-Katz didn't grow up in New York, but her experience attending schools all over the world has helped her connect with the immigrant families at Baruch College Campus High School, which she has led for the past 10 years.

As the daughter of a Cuban father who worked for international pharmaceutical companies, Perez-Katz, 38, spent most of her childhood in Ecuador, South Korea and Brazil, attending international schools.

I didnt go to New York City schools, but I find a parallel, Perez-Katz said. I went to school with children from all over the world. I see a lot of that here, and Im able to feel like I can connect somewhat with Asian families because I lived in Asia for five years.

Perez-Katz believes her students should take control of their learning, so students lead their own parent-teacher conferences, describing their work and progress. The school also offers extra writing classes on top of the regular English program, because Perez-Katz thinks students need to hone that skill to succeed in college.

Perez-Katz previously taught at Wings Academy in The Bronx before joining Baruch College Campus High School as an 11th-grade teacher, being promoted to principal three years later. She now lives in Cobble Hill and has two young children.

Q: How did you become principal of Baruch College Campus High School?

I was very young, so I had just been a teacher and a staff developer. I had been kind of taking on leadership roles, but I thought that it would be for the future. So it wasnt something I was necessarily planning on doing at that stage of my life, but it felt like it was an opportunity and I admired [the former principal's] leadership.

So she supported me very closely for the first few years, just because I really skipped many stages, like assistant principal.

Q: What are some changes youve made since you became principal?

This year, weve modeled a new advisory curriculum thats really focused a lot more on academic and personal goal setting with the students. We want them to take ownership of their learning and track and monitor their progress in classes and have one-on-one conferences with their advisor on an ongoing basis.

The biggest change weve had this year was [that] we shifted from the traditional parent-teacher conference model to student-led conferences. So the parent met with their own child and their adviser for 15 minutes, rather than three minutes with every teacher.

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