The stars of the 13-minute video are two real-life Children’s Aid Community School Directors, Jeanette Then and Danny Morris, who offer a fictional but realistic account of the experience of a new Director (Morris) as he shadows an experienced colleague (Then) during a typical day at her community school. The video illustrates the complex skill set required of Community School Directors—skills such as problem-solving, active listening, adaptability, and interpersonal abilities. NCCS’s former Director of External Affairs and Communications, Hersilia Méndez, served as executive producer of the video, which she co-wrote with Marinieves Alba, another veteran Children’s Aid Community School Director.
NCCS developed the new guide, which is available in both printed and electronic formats, as a complement to the video. The guide emphasizes the Director’s leadership role in the school, drawing upon and applying the concept of adaptive leadership advanced by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. The guide offers best practices tips and an array of planning tools that Community School Directors can pick up and use immediately. NCCS Director of Special Projects Lissette Gomez served as the guide’s principal author. According to Gomez, a former Community School Director at Children’s Aid’s P.S. 5 in Washington Heights, “For me, this has been a really important project because I so believe in the work. From my time as a Community School Director, I witnessed the power of the strategy and I wanted to help others in this role achieve their purpose.”
Both sets of materials are available, free of charge, from NCCS.