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Monday, July 8, 2019

"FAME" School Gets a New Interim Acting Principal

Yeou-Jey Vasconcelos has been named as the new Interim Principal at La Guardia.

 Let's hope this time the NYC DOE got it right!!!

Principal Lisa Mars is Removed From "FAME" School Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter

Inside Schools says this about her former school Talent Unlimited:

Talent Unlimited combines a strong performing arts program with engaging academics, preparing students either to go to a liberal arts college or on to conservatory training in musical theater, voice, instrumental music, drama or dance.

Housed in a wing of the Julia Richman Educational Complex on the Upper East Side, Talent Unlimited has its own entrance. It shares facilities such as a library and cafeteria with other schools in the building. The corridors could use some fresh paint and brighter lighting, but the classrooms are sunny.

Music classes are on the same floor as math classes; dance is on the same floor as science, and drama is on the same floor as English and social studies. This arrangement encourages teachers to integrate academics and art and to take advantage of students' artistic talents to make academics more accessible.

Students read Shakespeare in English classand act out scenes in drama. A math teacher gives a lesson on wavelengths, and the musicians learn about intervals and frequency. A science teacher makes a connection between radioactive decay and the rhythms that dancers understand. Students taking an introduction to engineering make props and sets for a school play.
While seniors at many New York City schools have a very light course load, Talent Unlimited encourages students to take four years of math and four years of science and about one-third of them do. The school offers a few Advanced Placement courses.
Principal Yeou Jey Vasconcelos joined the staff in 2016, replacing retiring principal Linda Hamil. Vasconcelos is a strong communicator who sends bi-monthly emails and letters home, according to parent-teacher association secretary, Lois Vigilante. In recent years, communication and strong family-community ties have gotten lower marks on otherwise strong school surveys.

Vasconcelos is a pianist who previously organized the music department at Eleanor Roosevelt and taught all instruments there. She studied science before moving into the performing arts and education. Vigilante said the principal "has a strong personality, is organized, addresses problems, looks for solutions." (There were no school surveys on her leadership from teachers and students at the time of this posting.)
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: A few students have won POSSE scholarships to the University of Southern California and Wheaton College in Massachusetts. One dance student was admitted to Juilliard.
ADMISSIONS: Students may audition in dance, drama, voice, instrumental or musical theater. Applicants should score level 2-4 on standardized exams and have an 80 average or above in academic classes. There are weekly tours from September to December. (Clara Hemphill, 2012: updated by phone, Lydie Raschka, 2017)
Read more

‘Fame’ High School in New York City Names Acting Principal
Department of Education makes appointment after departure following student graduation protest threat
Wall Street Journal,

“I plan to hit the ground running and begin meeting with the students, families, alumni and staff immediately to ensure a smooth and successful start to the 2019-20 school year,” Ms. Vasconcelos said. She begins her new job Tuesday.
Early in her career she worked as music director at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, and became principal of Talent Unlimited in the 2016-17 school year.
Department officials said that in September they will undertake a formal search process for a permanent principal of LaGuardia, with the school community getting a voice.
The agency announced the departure of LaGuardia’s former principal, Lisa Mars, on June 24, hours after she didn’t attend its graduation ceremony. Students had threatened to turn their backs on her during the festivities. This spring many held a sit-in to call for more focus on arts education and heavier weighting of artistic talent in admissions at the public school, formally known as Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
Dr. Mars was moved to a senior advisory post at the department’s central office, in the office of the chief academic officer. She didn’t respond to requests for comment when she left, and couldn’t be reached immediately on Monday.
Like LaGuardia, Talent Unlimited High School screens applicants based on audition, interview, attendance record, core-subject grades and New York state examination scores. Assistant Principal Bridget Kiernan-Salemme will serve as interim acting principal of Talent Unlimited, department officials said.
Write to Leslie Brody at