Q&A With New Upper School Class Coordinators

We are pleased to announce Cynthia García-Macedonio and Serra Leroy are the new Upper School Class Coordinators. Read on for more information about these exciting roles.
Describe the new Upper School Class Coordinators role. How will each of you be supporting your respective grade level?
Cynthia García-Macedonio: This new role was designed to support students navigating their academic, social, and emotional experiences at the Upper School. Having a faculty member present in their daily spaces, students feel they are being cared for, and guided to overcome challenges that involve every aspect of their lives. As the 11th Grade Coordinator, I connect with students one-on-one, checking in with them, and making sure that they feel seen, heard, and feel a strong sense of belonging to the community. Aside from that, I plan the Advisory meetings, support Advisors and 11th Grade Faculty, as well as coordinate events for the class. It is a role that is morphing day to day, and since it is new, Serra and I have the opportunity to be creative and project our efforts toward looking at the bigger picture, that is, structuring a mindset where students feel fulfilled and joyful with their experiences at Poly.

Serra Leroy: The 11th and 12th-grade coordinator roles offer different opportunities and challenges, but we work together as a team when we think about the broad picture of the student body experience. As grade coordinators, our focus is on supporting the student body experience overall—for our respective grade levels. As the 12th-grade coordinator, I get to meet with the 12th-grade class officers regularly, and help facilitate grade activities (such as the Senior Sunrise, Senior Class meetings, etc), but I also get to talk to students about "big picture" issues facing the class at large. What are the major stresses they're facing? What would they like to get out of their senior year? How can we bring joy to the educational experience? It is a lot of extra planning and work, but I hope it's helpful for students and faculty to have someone in charge of planning these events. 
What drew you to this new role?
CGM: The same reason why I became a teacher. I am passionate about adolescents. I love how expressive and candid they are. Mentoring young adults has always filled my heart with muchas sonrisas, many smiles. I have been teaching for more than thirty years, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be creative in the beautiful process of amplifying students' voices and be there for them to listen, care, and support them. It only takes one act of kindness to make someone’s day better, to inspire them, and remind them to stop and take a moment to breathe.

SL: I deeply care about student voice and the student experience holistically, and I wanted to find a way to support our seniors outside of my classroom teaching role. Even if I don't have a student in my English classroom, I want every senior to know that I'm an adult who will listen to them and who will try to make their Poly experience more meaningful and fun in their final year in the Upper School. I have to balance that ideal with the knowledge that we can't do EVERYTHING that students would like to do. But when they have adults on campus who listen and care, and who try to be reasonable in terms of expectations, then they will inevitably find ways to be stronger as a class and to make thoughtful decisions as a group. 
What are your goals for the year ahead?
CGM: One of my favorite spaces at the Upper School is Advisory. Our program has been transitioning over the years as we have acknowledged the importance of social-emotional learning. I am excited that with our new leadership, Advisory has become a central part of our conversations. I want to collaborate with my fellow coordinators and the counselors to fortify this essential program, by equipping our faculty with the training, tools, and resources they need to better serve our students.

SL: To be a good teacher first, but also to help keep the morale of the senior class positive in these big months ahead. This senior class struggled with online and hybrid learning in their early years of high school, and they deserve to have a memorable end to their time as Poly students. I want them to walk away from this year with the desire to come back, to visit Poly in the future, and to tell us all about the cool things they're doing in college. To make that happen, we need to encourage them to be leaders of the school and to show them we support them, respect them, and that we'll give them space to have fun together as well. What could be better than working with students at this pivotal and exciting age?