In an article written in District Administration, The Magazine of School Management in September 2009, titled 9th Annual Salary Survey: Administrator Roles Shift With the Times by Alan Dessoff, City School District of New Rochelle Superintendent, Richard Organisciak showcases the creation of the School Community Facilitator Position here in New Rochelle.
Under the heading of Family Issues Alan Dessoff writes the following:
Language and social integration issues in racially and ethnically diverse districts are largely behind the creation in many such districts of a school community facilitator position, as was the case in the City School District of New Rochelle (N.Y.), which established the position last September. “It had very much to do with the nature of our district,” which is about one-third white, 40 percent Hispanic and 25 percent African-American, says Superintendent Richard Organisciak. “We just didn’t feel that there was an active, involved connection between the district and the community,” he explains.
The New Rochelle district had previously struggled with being sure all families had access to information they could understand about school events and programs, as well as access to someone they could go to with questions or complaints. The district needed an “ombudsman-type” person, a “point person who could field the types of questions and concerns that community members had,” Organisciak says.
To fill that role, New Rochelle hired Camille Edwards-Thomas at a salary close to $70,000. A mother of three children in the district, she has a master’s degree in supervision and administration, has taught in local schools, and has been a member of local community groups. “If somebody has a concern about a particular school situation, or possibly a legal matter of some sort, she’s available to talk with them and offer some direction,” Organisciak says. He adds that she also attends, “to the extent possible,” all school board meetings and every parent-driven or community-sponsored event, like parades and award ceremonies. In effect, she is “a PR person for the district. That’s an added benefit,” he says.
"Right now it's an evolving position, and it's gaining visibility and respect." -Richard Organisciak, superintendent of schools, City School District of New Rochelle (N.Y.)
Edwards-Thomas also helps resolve issues ranging from disagreements among faculty members over district procedures to student disciplinary problems. With faculty, “she gets into the middle of it and tries to bring the parties together. We don’t want it to become a union matter or an administrative matter where we have to step in at a higher level,” Organisciak says. With student issues, “before it gets to the point of a suspension hearing, she tries to work through it with the family,” he adds. “It’s a broad range of things. It’s only a year old and may not be the way to go on some of those issues. Right now it’s an evolving position, and it’s gaining visibility and respect,” he says.
We wrote about this position before in September of 2008 City School District Creates New Position- School Community Facilitator and District Conducts Interviews for School Community Facilitator.
If anyone is wondering how to utilize the services of this person, you may get more information at theCity School District of New Rochelle website School Community Facilitator page. Good luck with that.