Bildersee Principal Aims To Raise School's Image
By Dara Mormile
When Fralin came to I.S. 68 in 2002, he served as an assistant principal and worked closely with principal Iris Zvi on enhancing the school's image.
Most of the community, he said, perceived Bildersee as a "school in chaos," but Zvi encouraged him to continue making changes to further improve education at the East 82nd Street school.
"I've had ideas for programs and events for the students and she would tell me to 'run with it.' She supported me wholeheartedly," he said.
Fralin grew up in Boston, Massaschusetts and attended Boston University where he majored in management. He later moved to New York City and attended Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan where he obtained a degree in leadership.
"My career brought me to Margaret Douglas Middle School (I.S. 292) in East New York," said Fralin. "I thought I would only be at the school for a year or two as a supervisor and teacher, but I wound up staying for five years. It was during that time I fell in love with the idea of bringing change to the education system - especially where middle school children were concerned. I really feel that education changes a community and there's a great need for change."
By focusing on parent involvement, he said, he hopes to influence the way children's emotional and social needs are met. Fralin has already had a hand in developing several after school programs and other extracurricular activities.
"We recently hosted a family science trip where parents and their children work on projects together," Fralin said. "We collaborated with the Museum of Natural History and the Urban Advantage Program. We also had science teachers show parents and kids how to conduct experiments at home."
Additions to the school's extracurricular programs include performing arts, which includes a Broadway and expanded music program, and expansion of sports such as basketball, football and tennis teams.
"It's important that we help our students develop and manage their emotional intelligence," he said. "As educators, we have to think of strategies and solutions for when a child gets angry; recognizing the strengths in their talents rather than just seeing failures is important for both teachers, students and parents."
Fralin credits the Department of Education's regional office as well as City Councilman Lew Fidler for assisting with many of the school's improvements. The principal explained that Fidler helped secure funds for the new library, which opened earlier this year, and the two-year-old science lab.
Fralin also feels it is important to prepare students - emotionally and intellectually - for high school.
"Sometimes," he noted, "'drop out' thinking starts in middle school and preparing them for high school involves helping students deal with peer pressure, developing a sense of self awareness and teaching them to be responsible for themselves.
"We also want to reduce and eliminate the violence these students may carry with them to high school."
When school isn't in session, Fralin loves to travel. "There's nothing like going home and visiting Martha's Vineyard," he said. "I also love to take road trips and explore places I've never been before."
Fralin also considers himself a gourmet, so he enjoys visiting lounges and restaurants with exquisite themes.
Fralin sees himself at Bildersee for many years to come and has many visions for the future of the school. "I know that the staff and PTA are committed to making things better. I have a two year plan to improve student achievement and we have a lot of work to do."