This past year, Carl Manalo (‘95, ‘96, ‘11), a LAJF board member and chair of the Program Committee, was featured on the Filipino news program, Balitang America, and had several other articles published about his work as principal at Queens High School for Information, Research, and Technology.
Last spring, Manalo was featured in a series of articles, including Chalkbeat and The Home Room- a Medium page dedicated to covering stories about New York City Public Schools. The article describes how Manalo “creates a culture of caring” at Queens High School for Information Research and Technology (QIRT) where teachers and students feel supported and empowered to help others.
Manalo tells LAJF “the interview was done by a Columbia Journalism Grad student - she was looking at our school for an education piece and was intrigued by our very unique school culture. I actually didn’t realize that one of the pieces was about me. After it was published at Columbia, it was picked up by Chalkbeat and it just grew from there- featured by LAJF, the Posse Foundation, Council for Supervisors and Administrators (my union- CSA), Fordham Graduate School of Education as well as UNNIFIED and AFTA (Filipino American Teacher’s Association), Balitang America (Filipino News) and the Philippine Consulate of New York.”
In the article, Manalo states that QIRT “is a Cinderella school,” and he hopes that the school becomes a place where “every child feels like they can go to the ball.” When Manalo first started in 2014, only 12 percent of graduates were college ready, and only 10 of the 94 high school seniors were on track to graduate.
By identifying specific needs of the students, and creating a solution that fits their needs, Manalo has seen results - “graduation rates have risen to 70 percent, up from 55 percent his first year.” For instance, “He moved lunch to the end of the school day; the second to last period. Many ELL students have the last period of the day free so they can eat a free lunch and go straight to work without having to miss class.” The article explains that many of the students live below the poverty line, and students work to contribute to the household income. By changing these students’ schedules, they are able to work without missing school, and therefore graduate from high school.
“If there is a solution that Manalo believes can help the community to engage with the school and students to achieve, he said he will find a way,” Spanish teacher JoMarie Figueroa told The Home Room.
It is with this spirit that Manalo continues to set new goals for this school year that promote the growth and development of his students, staff, and the school. He told LAJF that he will “continue to support [QIRT’s] brand new Transitional Bilingual Education program, increase our College and Career Readiness rates, expand our socio-emotional supports for students and maintain our 80+% graduation rate.”
Manalo credits CRS and LAJF for where he is now. He told us “CRS and LAJF are probably the reasons why I’m in the field of Education, working with this age group. My experiences at CRS are key to my educational philosophy of inclusivity, the strength of school culture and teaching students to be self-advocates. I am happy to bring an educator’s perspective into the Board of Directors and into the program committee! This year, I am proud to send my second student from QIRT to Camp!”
The values of CRS permeate QIRT’s philosophy and the goals Manalo has set for this year. Like the CRS program does, Manalo provides his staff and students the tools they need to be successful in life, whether it is changing a student’s lunch period or providing staff the opportunity to create new programs at QIRT. “His gift is making everyone think that his ideas are their ideas.”
Be sure to view TFC Balitang America’s segment, LGBT Principal, featuring Carl and his work as QIRT’s principal.
Photo: Madison Darbyshire
If you know of alumni who you would like to see featured through LAJF, send us their story. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the story link or information.