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Swing Into Spring!

What a great start to March! We launched our Peer-to-peer Coaching program, a program designed to support you develop a culture of coaching in your school, and participants couldn’t have been more excited. Here is what teachers, like you, shared about Part 1 of the 5-part series.

~Looking at hurdles is great for self-reflection. ~ 

~I loved going over the hurdles. It gives me the language to know to communicate better. ~ 

 ~I’m interested in reading more about the role of a coach and learning about my role as a peer literacy coach in my school. ~ 

I found the way the presenter scaffolded the theory with practice very helpful and then provided time to think and discuss. The follow-up activities and access to resources are extremely helpful. 

~Seeing the hurdles up front was really nice because it gave me a good sense of areas where “I’ve got this!” as well as areas where I can improve. ~  


The Power of Peer-to-Peer Coaching:
A PLC Program for Success

A Model for Peer Collaboration, Professional Growth and School Improvement


The Long Island PDRC and the Upstate PDRC are pleased to offer an exciting opportunity, The Power of Peer-to-Peer Coaching. This program has been intentionally designed to prepare school leaders and teachers to become Peer-to-Peer coaches through an Art of Coaching lens.

  Starting Tuesday, March 8, the program is structured in two parts:

Part I: The Power of Peer-to-Peer Coaching: The Why, The What, and The How

Part II: The Application of Peer-to-Peer Coaching: PDRC Support of Implementation

For schools and/or educators interested in enrolling in this this program, please email the Long Island PDRC Director, Rita Stavrou (rita.stavrou@catapultlearning.com) for more information.

Supportive Leadership Circle

How Can Leaders Best Support Teachers During This Most Challenging Year?


Join a generative PLC to discuss and explore leadership issues around Teacher Burnout, Teacher and Leaders Self-Care, Coaching for Retention, Differentiated Feedback, and “Stay” conversations. Meeting every other Monday morning at 10:15am, the next session will be on March 14.  

Leadership Corner

By Mitch Center

As we push into the final third of another most memorable year, we as leaders have the opportunity to help our communities come together, identify collective learnings, and plan for a brighter future with our kids and staff. While there is much healing that will continue to happen, there is also a lot of hope and some glimmers of normalcy on the horizon. Understanding that ALL these conflicting feelings and emotions live within our schools is part of what makes leading so challenging. One way we could help navigate it all is through the language we use. As leaders our words carry a lot of weight, and how we discuss issues is how those issues will be discussed by staff, students and families.  Consider the following statements: 

Rather than harping on the “Learning Loss” , think about how you could move your staff to reframe that conversation as “Unfinished Teaching and Learning.” The first phrase is deficit oriented and seemingly places the emphasis exclusively on kids, while the second includes teachers and provides a bit more hope. Unfinished teaching and learning means teachers need to collaborate more; they need to better understand each other’s work and curriculum in order to best support kids when they see them. 

~Mitch Center provides leadership professional development and coaching for Catapult Learning and is a monthly contributor to our Leadership Corner Conversation.

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Rather than thinking about “Getting back to normal,” reframe the conversation as “What can we take with us from this past year as we move into our new normal?” In other words, maybe we don’t simply go back to life before the pandemic, but rather incorporate the learning, the challenges, the new skills and the resiliency we’ve developed into our new normal. What new teaching tools were gained that we want to bring with us? What new social-emotional coping strategies can we bring with us when life throws us a new challenge? There is a lot to be said for getting students, staff, and families to reflect on how they’ve been changed over the past two years, and how a new school year should honor and embrace those changes. 

Finally, we have to keep remembering that we grieve and celebrate at different times and at different paces. We need to continue to make space for one another, and keep asking “How are you feeling?” Think about how you could use The Mood Meter and other tools to check in on one another, and to take care of each other.  

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we do indeed have a shared humanity, that we each experience a wide range of emotions, and that together, we can find support and move forward towards a brighter future. Leaders, I would encourage you to think carefully about the language you use so that the conversations in your schools continue to tilt toward the optimistic and hopeful.  

Meeting Educational Leaders on Long Island 

St. Anne's Students

Brian Colomban – Assistant Superintendent of Data and Instruction at the Diocese of Rockville Centre Education Department

This past July, Brian began his newest role: Assistant Superintendent of Data and Instruction at the DRVC Department of Education.  “The transition to this new role was a similar experience to moving from the classroom to the principal’s office,” said Brian.  “Although you’re still in education, you’re looking at it through a completely different lens.  That being said, the foundation I built as a teacher and principal helped tremendously.  I’m able to empathize with the professionals that I serve, and I can use my own experiences to help them navigate difficulties.”  

Brian was born and raised in Queens, New York and is a product of Nursery through 12 Catholic education.  He received his B.A. in English from Binghamton University, his M.A. in Adolescent Education 7 – 12 ELA from St. John’s University, his Advanced Certificate in School Building and District Leadership from Hunter College, and began doctoral work in Educational Leadership at Molloy College.   His career began where his own education began, at St. Joseph School (now St. Joseph Catholic Academy) in Astoria, Queens.  He taught there for five years starting in 2009, ranging from 5th and 6th grade Science to 7th and 8th grade ELA, and even taught Phys. Ed. to Nursery through 8th grade students.  During that time, he completed his schooling to become a School Building Leader, something he had aspired to from day one.  

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“I loved the classroom and making connections with my students,” Brian explained, “but I knew that as a principal I could make an even broader impact, and that was always my goal.” In 2014, Brian became the Principal of St. Pancras School in Glendale, Queens.  “It was a tough transition, because it truly was a totally different role,” Brian said.  But, he learned quickly and was able to support the teachers, parents and students of the school.  

In 2017, Brian received an offer to become the Principal of St. Joseph School – not in Astoria, but in Garden City, Long Island.  “I had never seen myself working in Long Island,” Brian said, “since my entire career – really my entire life – had been centered in Queens.” Brian did eventually accept this new role, and remained at SJS for four years. “Truly, those four years were the most formative in my entire life,” Brian explained.  “I hope I was able to do as much for that school and community as they did for me. I was truly blessed to have been a part of St. Joseph School.” 

Brian’s responsibilities include overseeing the data gathered through i-Ready, a growth-monitoring program that assesses and supports students as they strive for content mastery in ELA and Math. He also facilitates the Curriculum Lead Team, which is a group of highly effective teachers nominated by their principals to provide professional development opportunities and support to their peers throughout the Diocese.  “The CLT is one of my favorite things to be involved in,” Brian said with a smile. “Working with such gifted educators keeps me on my toes, and we learn so much from each other. It’s such an authentic professional community that I’m lucky to be a part of.”  

Brian also began the Aquinas Program for elementary schools throughout the DRVC, which is a critical-thinking, student-centered, project-based learning opportunity for highly motivated students.  “I’m so happy to bring this program into the DRVC,” said Brian. “It’s going to give our students more opportunities to grow as learners and develop essential critical-thinking and teamwork skills.” 

When asked about his goals moving forward, Brian responded, “I want to use my experience and skills to continue to grow our strong academic programs in our Diocesan schools.  I’ll do that by staying connected to principals and teachers, as well as providing individualized support where necessary.” Brian ended by saying, “I can’t believe I’ve only been in this role for seven months, it feels like longer!  We have such a great team here, and our support of one another really stands out.  I’m happy to be able to serve the DRVC and I look forward to the bright future we have ahead of us!” 

Marching Into Math!

March 14 is Pi Day Check out some Mathtastic Pi Day Activities. We interviewed several Long Island Educators about what math looks like in their classrooms. Here’s Ms. Nan’s of the Progressive School of New Hyde Park, shared:

The Standards have shifted how I teach math because I really try to get the mathematical practices — or what I call “thinking” — into the classroom as much as possible. My classroom is a very busy place, with students in small groups all of the time. I give the students multiple ways to experience the mathematics. I challenge them to think about it, talk about it, and reason it out using a collaborative approach. My students use many different ways to represent their thinking: presentations, videos, solutions and sometimes, finding the questions! We focus on problem solving of all types: simple, complex, application, and real world.  

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