by Saurabh Bansal ’18
From a teacher to the head of Health and Safety, to head of the Social Studies department, and now acting principal, Mr. David Newman has reached a new peak of the administrative ladder for the past eighteen years he has been here. As a teacher, he taught most of the social studies classes that Tech offers: Global 9 and 10, U.S. History, AP U.S. History (APUSH), AP World History, and Criminal Law to name a few.
He received his Bachelors of Science and Sociology at Pennsylvania State University. He later got his Masters in Secondary Education and Masters in Education and Administration from Queens College and Brooklyn College, respectively. Before college, he attended Bronx High School of Science, so as principal, it was easier for him to relate to our struggles.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Newman was able to answer questions that concerned students in Brooklyn Tech.
Q: Was there any notable challenges in the transition from Assistant Principal to Acting Principal?
Yes, there was a major time factor that has proven to be a huge challenge. There’s also the part that nothing can be perfect no matter how hard one tries, but making Tech close to perfect is my objective as principal. Every decision I make must be taken with huge consideration because what I decide can affect someone else elsewhere. Every decision I must make must be thought through.
Q: Are there any major changes you are planning for Tech?
The changes I would like to see implemented in Tech wouldn’t be considered major. Some plans include a homework committee that consists of two students from each grade level, two parents from each grade level, two assistant principals, and two teachers from each department. In this meeting, students talk while parents and administrative staff listen to the issues with the homework. I’d also like to increase in the amount of college classes so students can understand their majors more.* Ultimately, I would like to increase communication between myself, faculty, and students so Tech is a safe and open environment.
Q: Why can’t students choose when they start [schedules]? (Jennifer Wu ’18)
That is a great idea, but the problem is that many factors go into schedule making. Teachers’ lives are also taken into consideration because many teachers live far from Tech and can’t start so early. We could take choosing starting times into consideration to make at least 50% of the students happy, but that already happens because some students start third period.
Q: How does the teacher evaluation process work? Is there any way that students can help improve it? (Glib Fahim ’18)
Teacher evaluation revolves around the teacher being evaluated in how the teacher works in the class and how the teacher wants to be evaluated. There are things outside of the classes: if a teacher is absent a lot or they are unprofessional, they are talked to professionally to fix the issue. If a teacher is unfair with the grading process, then their grades are compared with that of other teachers in the department. If there are a large number of outliers, then they are talked to professionally about their grades.
Q: How long has the lead problem been in Tech, and what will be done to fix it? (Kevin Long ’17)
The water problem has to do with the inactivity with the pumps. If the water isn’t used then it just sits in the pipe where lead accumulates. When the water was tested, the water from all the fountains was found to be clean, but the water from the sinks in the classrooms have the high lead amount because it isn’t used as often, if at all. One way it can be fixed is if teachers are told to switch on the sinks in the class to get rid of the old water so new water can enter the pipes.
Q: How can you make sure that students feel safe and welcome at Tech?
Many times in Snacks with The Principal, students talk about the lack of school spirit and morale. One way to start is through team building and unity amongst the majors. There needs to be more events to demonstrate Tech’s pride. Overall Tech is a safe place to attend.
“I hope you are happy with your choice to come to Tech and that you feel safe in Tech. I hope you feel it is an open environment where students can talk to their teachers if they have any issues regardless of whether it’s in the classroom or outside their classroom. I hope you feel that Tech is a welcoming place for them: that they’ve learned here, that they made new friends here, and that students have an appreciation for Tech and all it has to offer.”
—Mr. David Newman
*Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before the 2017 major changes, including the addition of the LIU PharmaD major.