Regional social studies specialist, author, speaker and leader in culturally responsive-sustaining initiatives, April Francis, will transition from her work with BOCES to assume the newly-created Director of Student Life position at Hommocks Middle School, announced Hommocks Principal Emily Macias-Capellan on June 4 at the Board of Education meeting. This new position will focus on supporting the social-emotional growth of students and helping students develop the “soft skills” necessary to optimize their interactions with others.
Francis currently works as the Regional Social Studies/Blended Learning Curriculum and Staff Developer at PNW BOCES in New York, where she consults with school districts across the region. She also serves on the NYS Education Department’s Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Framework stakeholder committee, NYSED’s Civic Readiness Task Force, the NYS Democracy NY Coalition, and as Vice President of the New York State Council of Social Studies. Francis has more than 16 years teaching experience at the middle school and high school levels.
“Ms. Francis’s background as an educator, curriculum and staff developer and her work in culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy, will inform her work in supporting to create a positive school culture of respect and empathy,” Macias-Capellan said. “Ms. Francis will work with our leadership team to develop systems that ensure we know all our students in order to support their social/emotional well-being. As part of her work, Ms. Francis will meet with students and teachers on a regular basis to ensure that all voices are heard and considered as we develop proactive approaches to supporting our growing student body.”
Francis is not new to Mamaroneck Schools, as she has been a frequent visitor this school year, serving in a consulting capacity to lead professional development sessions with secondary teachers and administrators, as well as social studies lessons with Hommocks students.
“In my role, I’ll be helping students learn that when you come in here to Hommocks, we’re one family. We may come from different areas, but when we get here we’re working together and we’re developing relationships that are going to be life-lasting,” Francis says. “Diversity can be seen as a strength for this district because you’re working with various groups of people from all walks of life and coming together. My job is to ensure an equitable learning environment for all and to let students know that Ms. Francis is here for them and that my door is always open for them.”