Meet Your Neighbor: Mala Panday

“I was an Assistant Principal at a school in Flushing where QCH had a robust after school program. When I accepted the Principal position at The Young Women’s Leadership School, I wanted to establish a similar relationship here.

“When I started, the NYC Progress Report for Middle School was a C; I knew I had to do something.  My first task was to bring in a community-based organization to assist. I reached out to QCH, and together we worked on a plan to support the growth of this beautiful group of young women of color. Now we are a top performing school in this district, and within NYC, student performance is at an all-time high. I think every girl should have an awareness of how the world works and know that they can be agents of change.

“There is such a great working relationship between the school and the QCH after school program. From eight in the morning until three o’clock, a teacher is a teacher and a principal is a principal, and the roles are largely academic. With a partner like QCH, the counselor role is more of a hybrid – the student feels she is getting academic, social and emotional support. To me, a counselor is comparable a big sister or a mentor. When you think about adolescence, many of us would not have made it without that type of person in our lives. It's the whole-girl approach in full swing!"

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