Who Defines the Principal's Role in the Beacon Contract?

June 25, 2017


To the Editor: 


I read Frank Farance’s rebuttal online to your story about the Beacon and the Roosevelt Island Youth Program getting shut out of the process. What a mess! Do you plan to print a correction? You owe all of us the facts.

Mary [Last name witheld]



Editor’s Note: Mr. Farance’s rebuttal, which was posted on the Roosevelt Islander blog, relied solely on the documentation provided to Beacon bidders, and what has been done in the past. 


He did not include the documentation, which was sent to all principals tasked with evaluating the Beacon application. As you might imagine, bidders receive different instructions than the principals of host schools do. According to the Beacon Guidance Note for Principals from the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), principals were required to work with their School Leadership Team (SLT) and interview potential Beacon providers. They were empowered to sign, or not, as many School Partnership Agreements as they deemed worthy.


The Beacon Guidance Note for Principals explains that, “DYCD released a new RFP for Beacons in April 2017. The Office of Community Schools (OCS) worked with DYCD on the RFP with a focus on aligning the model more closely to the Community Schools framework, encouraging stronger collaboration between schools and Beacon programs and developing a more rigorous focus on student level results.” 


The purpose of giving the principal and the SLT this added role in the process, according to DYCD, was to ensure that, before the bidder’s application goes before the DYCD, the principal of the host school, with the advice and guidance of her SLT, believes that, based on its answers to the interview questions, that bidder would be a good partner.  


The principal’s instructions included the exact interview questions bidders were to be asked, including those asked of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP). Farance is correct in that principals do not make final decisions; instead they serve as gatekeepers. The applicants they sign off on go to the second round. The DYCD will make the final decision on the three remaining bidders. 


Mary, I would also suggest you find out from both RIYP Executive Director Charlie DeFino and Principal Beckman how their working relationship has been over the years and whether either has been satisfied with it. That may also clarify your perspective.

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