Fordham CSTAC Launches Communities of Practice in Regional Meetings

The NYC Community Schools Technical Assistance Center established the groundwork for building communities of practice across the five boroughs. In hosting regional meetings in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, the CSTAC at Fordham University provided the opportunity for principals, assistant principals, community school directors, and parent coordinators to discuss important topics for today’s emerging and successful community schools.

Lead by current leaders in New York City schools, the Fordham CSTAC’s Critical Issues Conversations, held in May 2019, covered three main and interwoven topics: collaborative leadership, community school impact on the classroom, and parental engagement. Each participant surfaced challenges and successes in each topic, participated in open discussion, and shared and learned from each other. To ensure the conversations flowed and met the objectives of the day, two recently retired, successful New York City principals facilitated the day’s professional development.

The participants across all meetings indicated great support for the NYC Regional CSTAC at Fordham’s Critical Issues Conversations days as they were “unique experiences that allowed professional development to be ‘flipped’”, indicated one participant; in these regional meetings, the experts are the attendees themselves with their peers and colleagues. As the days ensued, it became clear that the practicality of the results of the conversations was applicable to each attendee on the next day back in their schools. One principal stated the day’s conversations were “very powerful and productive”.

Ultimately, the days concluded with each participant walking away with ideas, suggestions, input, and an opportunity to share their own success stories. The goal of the regional meetings was to ensure that each participant gained insights on a new way to lead their schools in the day-to-day operations with an orientation towards continuous improvement of the community school strategy. It became very apparent that the goal was achieved by the engaging conversation and full participation by all in attendance.

Photos from the Critical Issues Conversations held in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Pictured are CSTAC Director Michael Pizzingrillo, CSTAC Resource Specialist Erin Verrier, Facilitators Cindy Burgos and Esther Schwartz and some of the attendees and participants in the days’ conversations.

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Email Michael Pizzingrillo at or call 212-636-6100.