By Janice Llanes Fabry
Daniel Warren’s kindergarteners, first, and second graders will be meeting their new principal very soon. If they welcome Tara Goldberg with half the fondness she already has for them, the new school year will be off to a great start.
“I’ve always been connected to the vitality of early childhood,” said Goldberg. “I love their curiosity, playfulness, and natural wonder, whether they lose a tooth or learn something new.” She added, “It is important to seize children’s excitement, tap into their interests, and create opportunities for them to be highly engaged in what they’re learning.”
Come September, she will be introducing herself by visiting each classroom and reading “Ribbit,” a children’s book by Rodrigo Folgueira about making new friends. She plans to engage families by offering weekly Talks with Tara throughout the year.
“Parents can come in for a brief presentation and Q & A, so they can feel connected beyond newsletters and PTSA meetings,” she said. “I want to create opportunities for continuity and share all the exciting things happening here.”
Goldberg learned of the vacancy at the elementary school in the nick of time, two days before the application deadline. “I knew it would be a unique and special opportunity being that there are very few early childhood K through 2 schools,” she said referring to a student population with which she has extensive experience.
Since 2000, she has been educating K through 2 in one form or another — teacher, literacy coach, and administrator. For the last seven years, Goldberg served as a principal at Robert L. Stevenson Elementary School in Manhattan. Her move here is quite a departure from being one of over 40 principals in a district.
“Now, I am one of four and I am very excited to work in this committed, close, and collaborative team,” she said.
The new principal has already met Daniel Warren’s “extremely welcoming and supportive” faculty and staff. Moreover, she is well underway to familiarizing herself with the school community, so she can build upon its strengths.
One of the primary goals she is most passionate about is launching a new reading curriculum in K-5. The district wide initiative will introduce balanced literacy, which provides customized experiences to focus on discrete skills and then students using those skills in their own reading and writing. This differentiated approach includes reading aloud, as well as guided, shared, and interactive reading and writing.
“In addition to lessons for the whole class, balanced literacy focuses on individual and small group needs-based instruction and offers independent practice. There is more movement within the classroom. We will look at where students are and where they can grow,” explained Goldberg, who has been working with this program for 16 years. “We will also be offering students more choices with a richer library that has a broader range of topics and a combination of picture, chapter, narrative and informational books.”