Posts from April 5th, 2012
April 5, 2012
- Bronx Science baseball players say they’re getting a raw deal from the city Parks Dept. (SchoolBook)
- DFER head says a “large overlap” of donors will exist between his group and Rhee’s. (New York World)
- Pre-kindergarten applications for the 2012-2013 school year were extended to April 10. (InsideSchools)
- A federal task force wants more time to craft rules to evaluate teacher-prep programs. (Teacher Beat)
- An upstate charter school lost a rematch legal fight for its charter versus its district. (LoHud)
- In another “first-year reflection,” Walcott says the education debate’s tone has mellowed. (SchoolBook)
- And he’s going to commemorate his anniversary by eating a “celebratory banana.” (Tell Me More)
- John Merrow: Current test culture and reduced arts offerings are cheating students. (Taking Note)
- A supporter of Newtown High School says the school does have problems that need fixing. (Invest Truth)
- Around the country, states are cutting crucial Pre-K programs to plug deficits. (Rotherham)
April 5, 2012
Replacing teachers at the remaining 26 turnaround schools could cost the city as much as $60 million, according to a new analysis released today by one of the city’s most vociferous opponents.
The report, released by the Coalition for Educational Justice in advance of an organized student and parent protest at City Hall, also took aim at the process the Department of Education used to assessed many of the schools that remain on the turnaround list. A dozen schools are doing well enough on their annual progress reports that they cleared the city’s own closure benchmark.
The CEJ cost analysis found that up to 849 teachers in the 26 schools could be replaced in order to qualify for federal school improvement grants, which require that no more than 50 percent of teachers can be retained under the turnaround model. The analysis omitted teachers who were hired in the last two years because they are likely to be exempted from the total pool of teachers that must reapply to their positions.
The final figures will almost certainly be less than CEJ’s projections because DOE officials have begun telling principals they won’t be on the hook any specific number of teachers.
The report details the salary and tenure profile at each of the 26 schools. For instance, teachers at John Dewey High School, where college-readiness rates exceed the city average, earned the highest average salary, $82,641, and just 7 percent of its staff was hired in the last two years. At Banana Kelly, where more than half of its teaching staff joined the school in recent years, just one teacher would need to be removed at the school to qualify for the funds. (more…)
April 5, 2012
More details are emerging about how “turnaround” is proceeding at 26 schools still slated to undergo the controversial overhaul process.
For a month, the department has been informing principals of some of the schools that they would be removed at the end of the school year or even sooner. Now their replacements are making their first appearances at the schools, and teachers are starting to learn about the schedule for the rehiring process that could cost up to half of them their positions.
Teachers at Newtown High School found out this week that their longtime principal, John Ficalora, would be replaced by Marisol Bradbury. Bradbury has been working in school support at the Department of Education for the last several years but led a small high school in Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School, before that.
A proposed principal for the school that would replace Long Island City High School toured the building yesterday with the superintendent, according to teachers there. The city’s choice to take over is Vivian Selenikas, Long Island City’s current network leader. Selenikas led the High School for Arts and Business in Queens from 2003 to 2007 and will replace Maria Mamo-Vacacela, who does not actually have to be removed under turnaround rules.
And at Flushing High School, teachers and families have been invited to a “meet and greet” with Magdalen Radovich on April 25, the day before the Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on the turnaround plans. Radovich is currently an assistant principal at Queens Vocational Career and Technical High School. The city decided not use turnaround at Queens Vocational, where a residency program has been training teachers to work in turnaround schools. (more…)
April 5, 2012
This has not been the easiest week for Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
He got to champion his middle school initiative at a policy symposium earlier this week. But he also had to reverse course on two policies — a ban on some words on tests and a plan to “turn around” seven schools — after public outcry. And today, as the first year of his appointment comes to a close, the Daily News reported that he has come under fire for his staunch fidelity to the Bloomberg administration’s educational agenda and that little has changed in the school system since he replaced Cathie Black.
But those criticisms did not dampen Walcott’s usual eagerness to get involved in classroom activities, which was on full display this morning when he joined a group of middle schoolers caught in a frenzy of midterms and test preparations for an impromptu salsa dancing lesson.
Walcott has also gained a reputation for that seemingly-boundless energy. He often tells reporters about his early-morning running and swimming routines, and he was back at work the day after completing the New York Marathon last year. This morning, Walcott racked up points on the pedometer he wears at his waist while touring Manhattan’s Dual Language Middle School—a visit that gets him closer to his stated goal of visiting every school before Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ends.
The school was Walcott’s first stop of three on the last day of school before break. Later in the day, he traveled to the Young Scholars’ Academy for Discovery and Exploration in Brooklyn and P.S. 48 on Staten Island. This evening, he will fete the student selected to design the cover of next year’s high school directory. (more…)
April 5, 2012
Schools conducting test prep this week — and, in some cases, next week during break — have been doing so with a potential cheat sheet nearby.
English language arts exams begin the Tuesday after spring break for students in grades 3-8. But schools have had the tests since as early as Friday — an arrangement intended to give test coordinators enough time to make sure the right number of booklets and answer sheets are on hand for the three-day testing period that begins April 17.
The state distributes exams to local districts weeks before the testing dates, and districts decide when to pass the tests out to schools. Like many districts across the state, the city Department of Education has long distributed tests to schools by about a week before the test dates. But this year, because the exams begin right after the city schools’ spring break — a schedule that caused hiccups when the state rolled it out this year to facilitate new teacher evaluations — the department decided to deliver the tests even earlier. Schools received the tests more than two weeks before they are due to begin.
The adjustment raises questions about how the department can ensure that all tests remain secure while they are in schools. The department has strict guidelines about who can handle test materials, for how long, and in what ways. Last week, principals received an extra reminder about test security this year.
“Please take all necessary steps to ensure that these exams are safeguarded during spring break,” read an item in this week’s Principal’s Weekly email newsletter.
But some principals are concerned that not enough is being done to make sure all schools closely adhere to the guidelines, particularly as some keep their doors open through the break to allow for additional test preparation. (more…)
April 5, 2012
- In 10 years, the Chancellor says he’s never disagreed with Bloomberg on an issue. (Daily News)
- Though Walcott’s opinion of teacher data seems to be evolving away from the mayor’s. (NY Post)
- Teachers at a turnaround school are split on a new principal’s soaring U-ratings. (GothamSchools)
- Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirstNY chapter officially announced its launch yesterday. (WSJ, NY1)
- A college is pairing with a high school to help students obtain a free degree. (GothamSchools, DNAInfo)
- Detroit’s school chief is turning 10 high schools into “self-governing” entities. (Detroit News)
- The president of Medgar Evers is accused of abusing his authority with spate of firings. (Am News)
- Police say they found a stash of child pornography in the home of a former basketball coach. (News)
- The lawyer for nearly-shuttered Williamsburg charter school says the board voted to appeal. (DNAInfo)