Caught in the act

Caught in the act

Strauss, Susan B

PRINCIPAL: Susan B. Strauss

SCHOOL: Walter Panas High School; Cortlandt Manor, NY


GRADES: Grade 9-12


How many years have you been principal?

This is my 12th year as a building administrator: five years as an assistant principal and seven years as a principal, three years at my current school.

What role does the preschool lab play in the curriculum and how many high school students participate each semester?

The preschool lab serves as a hands-on experience for our high school students who are enrolled in our Business of Pre-School Education program. Approximately 40 students are enrolled each year. They work with the preschoolers three days each week, for 2+ hours each of those days. The other two days are spent studying about that age group (ages 3-5 years) and its social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development needs. The lab is where theoretical knowledge can be put into practice. The program is a multiyear one, and as juniors, students serve as teacher assistants; as seniors, as student teachers.

Do you see the preschool as a means of attracting young people to the field of education? If so, has that been your experience at Walter Panas?

Absolutely! This is an excellent elective for students planning a career in elementary education and/or childcare. Students may elect to take this course for one, two, or three periods, and are eligible for college credit. We have had a number of students decide to pursue a future career based on their experiences in our program.

Do you have similar vocational ed programs in other areas?

Nothing that is as program intensive. We do have a program called WISE (Westchester Individual Senior Experience) where our seniors can opt to earn English and Social Studies credit through an internship experience within a career area of interest to them.

Is there other information you’d like to share about the preschool program or Walter Panas?

I’d like to give well-deserved credit for the success of our pre-school program to teacher Ms. Jean Barrett, who has really grown the program over the past several years and made it the success it is today.

Copyright National Association of Secondary School Principals Sep 2003

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