Prabhu Appointed as Interim Acting Assistant Principal of Teacher Support & Development and Data Systems Lead

Biology teacher Marianne Prabhu was selected for the role of Interim Acting Assistant Principal, Teacher Development & Support and Data Systems Lead, a newly-established position at Stuyvesant.

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Biology teacher Marianne Prabhu assumed the newly established role of Interim Acting Assistant Principal, Teacher Support & Development and Data Systems Lead on April 26. Prabhu plans to take on the role along with being a biology teacher until an official Assistant Principal has been determined. Applications for the position will open on May 3 where Prabhu will be among the individuals applying.

The role was created to support teachers technologically and in general instruction, especially amid the pandemic. “The changing times and circumstances require our teachers/staff to build on their capacity in areas of technology, data use, and adaptations to pedagogical approaches/practices,” Principal Seung Yu said in an e-mail interview. “The role will help lead our efforts in preparation for our instructional approach this summer, next school year, and in the future.”

The position is also meant to help support a strong educational experience at Stuyvesant. “Stuyvesant academics are challenging and thus we need to be able to support all learners who may need different things in the teaching and learning process,” Yu said.

To establish this position formally at Stuyvesant, Yu worked with the district superintendent Kelly McGuire to discuss the subject of professional growth for teachers. “I concluded a position focused on teacher support and development would be instrumental in strengthening our overall academic program. I worked closely with the Superintendent's team to determine the feasibility in realizing the position,” Yu said. A hiring manager will select an individual through the C-30 procedure, a process conducted whenever there is an Assistant Principal vacancy.

Prabhu was drawn to the role of Interim Acting Assistant Principal because she felt that the responsibilities associated with the position aligned with her interests. “I enjoy researching pedagogy, educational technology, and different resources available to educators,” she said in an e-mail interview. “I love a challenge and learning new things so this is a welcome opportunity. It’s a time commitment, but it doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing something you love.”

She was considered for this role because of her prior experience with supporting teachers. “She [worked] as a Peer Collaborative teacher leader at Stuyvesant supporting the efforts of teaching and learning [...] coordinated bi-monthly professional development sessions geared around the school instructional foci [...] and supported completion of the probation process for teachers and staff,” Yu said.

Additionally, she helped coordinate with and prepare colleagues for the blended and remote school year. “In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, she provided coordination this past summer with colleagues to provide learning sessions for teachers to share and learn from one another in our effort to prepare for blended and remote learning,” Yu said. “She has a wealth of experience in supporting teachers and a deep understanding in designing and organizing activities for implementation.”

Yu believes that Prabhu’s leadership skills as Interim Acting Assistant Principal will continue to aid both the teacher and student experience at Stuyvesant. “The goal is for her to continue what she has contributed and to build on those efforts,” he said. “She will be a thought[ful] partner for her peers and a team member in leading our efforts to strengthen our teaching and learning.”

To transition into the role, Prabhu has been preparing for its responsibilities. “Right now, I am listening and learning as much as I can. Together with the administration, we will develop a strategic plan to create some consistency across departments, where appropriate,” Prabhu said. “I reviewed a number of tools and wanted to share them with the Stuy community. I also knew that many teachers had found success in their own ways and we could all benefit from hearing and seeing it in action.”

Many students hope that the role will provide the necessary support to both teachers and students. “When we transitioned to remote learning last year, many of Stuy’s existing weaknesses were highlighted,” junior and Student Union Vice President Shivali Korgaonkar said in an e-mail interview. “As students, we experienced a lack of support on many different levels [...] and teachers experienced a similar lack of support in their transition [...] Both students and teachers need extra support in dealing with remote learning, but also looking beyond this pandemic and into changing cultural norms at Stuy that emphasize communication and unity.”

The new role may also be particularly crucial to incoming ninth and 10th graders. “With both a freshman and sophomore class that have never experienced Stuy in its true form, they will need a lot more support than we were given this year,” Korgaonkar said.

Korgaonkar also hopes that Prabhu will welcome student feedback. “We, as students, have firsthand experience with different classes, but our reflections are rarely taken into account between years,” she said. “I want to see student data and input used while strengthening Stuy’s learning practices. I hope Ms. Prahbu is able to make feedback between students, teachers, and administrators a normal practice, as it has not been in the past.”

Freshman Kyle Hon Chan emphasized cooperation in the transition back to fully in-person classes in September. “They need as many hands on deck to create a smooth transition for the students,” he said in an e-mail interview.

Prabhu’s students have mentioned her enthusiasm and charisma, which are important qualities for encouraging cooperation between students and teachers. “[Prabhu is] really sweet and a teacher that seems approachable,” sophomore Lara Ongan said in an e-mail interview. “She’s good at both listening to what people have to say and getting the point she needs to get across, and she definitely takes what people tell her into account. [...] I hope Ms. Prabhu can make learning online more bearable for all of us this year.”

Many students hope that Prabhu will smoothen the transition back to in-person instruction. “I hope that there is sufficient instructional time for teachers to finish their curriculum, while also giving students reasonable time to understand material and avoid having to self-teach everything,” Korgaonkar said. “We have [this] opportunity to change standard practices at Stuy to prioritize effective learning and improve student-teacher relationships.”

Ultimately, Yu hopes that the role of the Assistant Principal, Teacher Support & Development and Data Systems Lead will improve and better support the Stuyvesant community. “I want to grow our prospective leaders and all staff as the strength of the school is rooted in its people,” Yu said. “The pandemic challenged all of us to reimagine and reconsider how we teach and learn; therefore, we must adapt to the changing circumstances by building our capacities to respond to such changes.”