Welcome to a New School Year!
August 27, 2018
Dear Staff, Students, Families, and the entire P.S. 229 Community,
As many of you are aware, Mr. Robert Zappulla decided to retire after seven years as principal.
It is with great excitement and anticipation that I take this opportunity to introduce myself as the Interim Acting Principal of P.S. 229K.
I will share a little bit about myself. I am a parent of four children. One is a graduate of the NYC public schools and the other three still attend. This year, my wife and I will have one in college, one in high school, one in middle school, and one still in elementary school. Two have IEPs and have received special education services.
I began my career as a special education teacher, with 13 years of classroom experience in a variety of settings, Pre-K though high school. I was an education administrator for two years, as part of the “regional support structure.” Returning to a school-based position, I was a middle-school assistant principal for five years. For five years, I have served as a Teacher Development & Evaluation Coach, the last four spent working with the thirty-eight schools in District 20.
My educational beliefs include the following:
- I love the following quote by educator, Robert John Meehan: “Each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding.” If the school community can tap into each child’s unique abilities and needs, to then provide meaningful learning experiences, we will produce not only successful learners but also successful leaders.
- A simple statement can say a whole lot. For example, “Teaching is done with students, not to them.” Indeed, teaching is a complicated and challenging endeavor. Successful teaching certainly relies on content knowledge and a repertoire of instructional skills/strategies/approaches. We cannot sell short however, the necessity of building positive relationships. I believe as the late great Rita Pierson stated in her famous TedTalk, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Leading education pioneer, James Comer put it in a slightly different way, “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” Let’s build those relationships, and they will learn.
- The P.S. 229 logo clearly depicts the importance of the home-school-community connection. Our students do not only learn inside of a classroom. A child’s first learning happens in the home, and it does not stop when the child enters school. We must not only continue home-school connections, but strengthen and build new ones.
- Both home and school exist as part of a larger community. We must support our students and our community because they are interdependent. When our students are successful, our community thrives. When students contribute to the community, they are accepted and respected. When the community supports students’ in their struggles and celebrates their accomplishments, students feel valued and want to achieve more.
My initial hopes for us are to take what has been working well and make it even better. Find out what families, staff, and students want and need to make the school the best it can be. Then, identify the resources to make those wants/needs become a reality.
I look forward to meeting each of you, and to working together for all of our students’ successes.
William S. Kirk
P.S. 229K, Principal I. A.