Recently, The New Dealer was honored to interview Principal Katz. She is very proud of all the amazing students and staff here at FDR. Here is our Q & A with Principal Katz!
Q#1: What are some school goals going into this academic year?
Ans: We are making sure that every student, and teacher, get all the resources they need. We are having students become independent learners, so they can become more confident in themselves. We are stating to use a strategy called CUBES. (Example for Math- C = Circle key numbers and units, U = Underline the question, B = Box math “action” words, E = Evaluate, and eliminate, S = Show your work and check). The CUBES strategy can be used in a wide variety of subjects. Utilizing these techniques should help our students become active and responsible learners.
Q#2: What challenges do we need to overcome?
Ans: We always work to support students, especially as they learn and improve their English. Learning subjects in a new language can be quite a challenge, but our students and staff can definitely make this happen. Another goal for our school is raising our graduation rate. Years ago, our graduation rate was 58%, and lower. Now it is 70%. Each year it is increasing, and our students are performing incredibly well. I also want students to become college-ready, and not have to take remedial English and Math classes in college. This is why we encourage, and want, students to retake the English Regents if they have below an 80 on it.
Q#3: Are there any big changes we should expect this school year?
Ans: We are working to provide strategies and tools for students to use across subjects. Now, we are using the CUBES strategy in almost all classes. We have new teachers for the Dual Language Chinese program. In this class we use English and Mandarin, so if Monday is taught an English, then Tuesday’s lesson will be taught in Mandarin. I want students to become proficient in the language, and not have any discomfort using it in the future. The PTA is also organizing a Haunted House in the auditorium and having bake sales throughout the year.
Q#4: I know we have greatly expanded the course offerings here at FDR, what supports are available for students who are struggling in these courses?
Ans: I really encourage students to speak with the teacher. If the teacher isn’t available to assist the student, we can arrange for a tutor from the Honor’s Society. We also have a Homework Club, where you can go after school and get all the help you need (from a teacher that teaches the subject you are struggling in). If it’s an AP class, or a Regent class, you can go to AP prep or Regents prep on the weekends, as the exams near.
Q#5: What advice would you give a freshman at FDR?
Ans: Come on time to school, and get to know your teachers. They are the ones who can guide you in the future, and they can help you when you need it. Also, have your parents come to every PTA meeting and follow your work on PupilPath.
Q#6: Any special message for the Cougar Family, or words of wisdom?
Ans: My happiest times are when I go into the classrooms. It really touches my heart when students are participating or discussing what they’re learning. I am not only proud of the school academically, I am also proud to be the principal of such a diverse school. Diversity is our strength, and it makes us more unique.