SBL Alumnus Kevin Colon
Kevin Colon is the Assistant Principal at East Side Middle School, and a CITE / College of St. Rose SBL graduate. Below, he shares insight on completing his first year as AP.
I have completed my first year as the assistant principal of East Side Middle School. I was offered this position soon after the completion of the SBL program. The College of St. Rose’s SBL /SDL program through CITE, and the comprehensive internship experience were instrumental to what I feel has been a very successful year. I will emphasize a few key components of what we learned that has allowed me to thrive.
Dr. Hawkins stressed the importance of starting our administrative careers in a place where we can develop as professionals. I landed a position in a school where the Principal values learning communities. He has taken me under his wing as his mentee and, in collaboration with the community, we have a shared understanding of the vision for the school. The Principal made it a point to say that this was a time for learning and that I would make mistakes but we would work together to get through them. The Principal also holds social-emotional literacy at a high regard, which played into my background as a school counselor.
The importance of asking questions has been extremely valuable to me. I can remember Dr. Hawkins asking the class what we would do when we took our first positions and most of us responded with our grand plans for change. No more than a few seconds would go by before he would stop us in our tracks and say “ASK QUESTIONS, that should be everyone’s answer”.
Asking the right questions is applicable to so many situations we encounter –whether it be understanding the culture of a school, observing teachers or working directly with students. Asking questions has helped move difficult conversations to reflective conversations thus opening a window for change.
Another important aspect of the program that helped me through my first year was the importance of engaging the larger community and building alliances with families. We host many events at the school that are open to all families. We have a monthly book club with parents (past and present) which is a great way to gain a deeper understanding your community. We communicate with families regularly and it is not rare to find parents popping into our offices to chat. The Principal and I spend every morning (rain or shine) greeting the students at the gate. This tends to be a very effective check-in for the students and a good temperature gauge for us.
The CITE / College of St. Rose SBL program really places an emphasis on collaboration and continuous growth. The staff here at ESMS is exceptional. They bring their professionalism and expertise to the table every day. This keeps us in a constant state of inquiry and reflection always seeking out ways to improve.
The relationships that I have formed through mini cohorts within the CITE / College of St. Rose SBL program have been a huge support throughout the program and through my first year. It is nice to have such intelligent colleagues working in other school systems that can give different perspectives on issues that arise. We have been there for each other from the beginning and will continue to be there for each other moving forward.
In conclusion, the CITE / College of St. Rose SBL program was definitely one of the best educational choices I have made. I was apprehensive at first but after completing the program I felt very prepared to take the next step in my career. The more you put into it the more your will get out of it. I have gained applicable skills that will help as I progress. A special thanks to Dr. Hawkins and the other professors that challenged me, to my cohort 40 reading group and my Principal.
Kevin Colon is the Assistant Principal at East Side Middle School
For more information on the CITE / St. Rose SBL Program, click the image below: