SU President Alex Chen and PTA Co-President Susan Karlic to head School Leadership Team after Ms. Jahoda steps down; new alumni visitation policy addressed at meeting

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At last Thursday’s School Leadership Team (SLT) meeting, Interim Acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda stepped down as chair of the SLT, something that she said was recommended to her by Family and Community Engagement (FACE). Student Union President Alex Chen and Parent Teacher Association Co-President Susan Karlic were chosen to replace Ms. Jahoda’s as co-chairs. Ms. Jahoda will continue to serve as a mandated member of the SLT.

Alex was grateful for being chosen as a co-chair and said, “With Ms. Karlic’s knowledge of school affairs and my zeal to continue improving the school, the SLT will continue its efforts in overseeing CEP [Comprehensive Educational Plan] goals and budgetary issues with the best interests and understanding of Townsend Harris.”

Ms. Karlic felt similarly honored and said, “[Alex and I will] be providing the necessary organization skills needed to complete the tasks of the SLT and chair the meetings.”

SLT member Karen Lin said she liked that the burden would not fall on one person and that “both candidates [were] confident and would do a professional job.”

Several other topics were part of the SLT’s agenda, including the recent changes regarding alumni visits.

Two weeks ago, the procedure for alumni visits abruptly changed, with alumni and teachers calling for the new rules to be written down and provided to the school community. At issue was a new procedure requiring individual teachers to take “responsibility” for any alums entering the building.

Ms. Jahoda said that if a teacher agrees to accept an alum who is visiting, he or she is “vouching for the character of that” alum and “therefore is responsible” for the person. She said you cannot “release a person into the building” without any communication between the staff.

She added that they were in the process of codifying a written procedure and were “negotiating the wording” of it because “it has to be just right.” As of today, no written policy has been issued.

Ms. Jahoda explained that the new procedure was an issue of safety and was created to consider “the welfare of every person in the building.”

SLT member Kerry Rosen brought up that the SLT meeting itself was public and allowed any visitors who were asked to sign into the building with ID, but were not being tracked like alumni, despite the various students present throughout the building. Ms. Jahoda said that these visitors were expected to arrive at a destination [wherever the SLT meeting was taking place] and thus, the situation was different from an alum coming to visit people. Ms. Jahoda further clarified that the rules were different for special events, such as SING or FON.

Ms. Jahoda declined to comment for this article.