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Black stays vague on plans, spending first day in listening mode

New York City’s new chancellor Cathie Black spent most of her first day on the job today in listening mode, peppering the students, teachers and principals she met on her whirlwind tour of schools in the five boroughs with questions.

Possibly as a result, Black didn’t give many concrete details about her plans for the school system. She did say that preparing for drastic budget cuts will be the biggest challenge she will face. “The last thing we want to impact is any sense of impacting any individual school or the teachers,” she said.

At North Queens High School, Black sat with students, asking them how they came to the school and what their plans are after graduation. Two students told Black how they fell behind at their former schools and why they no longer feel lost at their transfer school:

At the end of the day, Black stopped again to take a few parting questions from reporters. So far, Black has visited mainly successful schools, and one reporter asked her what lessons she has taken from her visits that would help improve schools that are struggling.

“What I’ve seen is when there is a strong and effective principal and where parents are involved and teachers are committed, you have a great school,” Black responded.