This summer, before SchoolBook was born, we sent a survey to every public school principal in the city, inviting them to describe their school — to their community, to parents shopping for schools, to the public who might come across their school’s page. The idea was to build upon the trove of data compiled on SchoolBook, to fill in the color between the lines, if you will, to give people a sense of what makes each school distinct.
A few hundred principals responded, and the results were enlightening, refreshing and in some cases startling in their frankness and sincerity. To see the range, you can look at the responses to the Q. & A. from Dana Panagot at The Facing History School in Clinton, Manhattan; Karin Kelly at Public School 174 William Sidney Mount in Queens; and Tyona Washington at the High School for Excellence and Innovation in Inwood.
Is your school’s SchoolBook page missing a principal’s response? Would you like to see your school represented?
No regrets. No worries. The survey remains open.
We know that principals are extremely busy. But perhaps the holiday break offers a few minutes for reflection, and some more principals can use SchoolBook to explain their schools to the greater education community.
Principals, for a link to the survey form, e-mail SchoolBook@nytimes.com.
The survey is 10 simple questions. Among them: What three qualities do you look for in hiring teachers? What is a typical day like at your school? How do you encourage a safe and respectful environment? What are your school’s biggest challenges?
SchoolBook is no longer a mystery. We are a collaboration between WNYC and The New York Times, and we are here to provide news and information; give you the most up-to-date and clearest data that is publicly available on every school, as well as the tools to search through them to compare schools; and allow smart, informed conversations to take place, both about the big ideas and challenges facing education and parenting, and what is going on in individual schools. We have been live for more than three months.
Last month, the Brookings Institution found that New York City had the most expansive school-choice system in the nation, but lacked adequate public information to help people navigate that system. We think of SchoolBook as stepping into that breach, but we need your help.
Principals, we would love to include your response as part of our pledge to provide parents with as much information about individual schools as is available. So e-mail us. While we will have a publishing brownout during the holiday week, we will be checking the SchoolBook account, and we would be happy to send you a link to the survey form.
Happy Holidays to all.