By Natalia Wiater ‘16
In a school of 3,800 students built for 2,500, no one can organize schedules better than Mr. Alan Stack, who is on his way to becoming the Assistant Principal (AP) of Programming. Currently in charge of similar responsibilities, he will oversee programming, attendance, grade collection, report card distribution, and maintenance and accuracy of student records.
“I feel like I am probably the best fitting person [for the job],” Mr. Stack said.
Up until this year, Mr. Stack was the program chair, a teacher in the building, and a member of the UFT, the United Federation of Teachers. He held a compensatory time position, or a non-teaching assignment in lieu of a teaching period. As the AP of Programming, new responsibilities will be added to Mr. Stack’s list, such as supervising the chemistry teachers.
Acting as the current interim AP of Programming, Mr. Stack will officially become the AP after completing the C-30 process. After a job is posted, there is a two week opening for applications and an interview with the applicants by a panel of APs, principals, parents, and students. After the top candidate is chosen, there is a follow up interview and then the final decision made by the principal. This process takes a few months to complete.
The new position will increase Mr. Stack’s role in the building and will give him more authority. “This job has expanded dramatically over the last five years, so I’m in charge of quite a bit more, including regents exams in January and June,” he said.
Mr. Stack will face similar challenges to his previous job in his new position, especially regarding programming. Trying to keep the day length as short as possible and supplying everyone with the classes they need to graduate are some of the primary obstacles Mr. Stack encounters.
“The challenges haven’t really changed. There’s a challenge to programming 3,800 students into a building designed for 2,500,” he said.
“We try to get everybody everything they need, everything they want, that works within the budget and structure,” Mr. Stack explains. “So I’m going to ensure you get the courses you need, and I’m going to do my best to get you what you want, as long as you keep within a certain day.” However, because of budgetary constraints, he is not always successful in giving students the extra classes they ask for.
Mr. Stack is not alone in his job and has many helping hands. Ms. Ramos, the assistant program chair, Mr. Ross, who is the data coordinator and tech support for the first floor, and several counselors who help out in “crunch time” such as Ms. Gluck and Ms. Lane, and two school aids, Ms. Pisano and Ms. Logozzo, who handle day-to-day attendance all help everything run smoothly.
For the fall semester of any year, programming starts in March of the previous school year with preliminary hearings and Advanced Placement meetings in April. After that, final grades are examined, summer school is involved, and it becomes “crunch time” around the end of the first week of August. At that point, the focus is on incoming freshmen.
“They’re [the freshmen] are young, they’re new in the big building, and I want them to be in the right classes to the best of my ability from day one.” Mr. Stack said.
After that, program changes are dealt with in the first week of school as realistically as possible. As the years pass, there are fewer changes than there used to be. Equalization changes are also tackled, which Mr. Stack described as a “necessary beast in a school this size.”
For the spring semester, everything has to start over, but there is less movement to be done. During that time, some special classes and teams play a big role, Mr. Stack said. Meetings start in October, and it starts to get busy in mid-November to December.
“The final regents week is pure insanity. It is pretty much 12 hour days, every day, including Saturdays and Sundays for about three weeks straight. Except Super Bowl Sunday, I make sure I am out of here by three p.m.,” Mr. Stack finished.