Posts from August 6th, 2012
August 6, 2012
- After 2011′s Matt Damon-studded event, 2012′s Save our Schools Conference is smaller. (Politics K-12)
- A former New York City teacher is chronicling his SOS attendance to the last detail. (Urban Teacher’s Ed)
- Two new novels present thinly veiled portraits of Park Slope’s P.S. 321 and Tribeca’s P.S. 234. (Times)
- Lafayette HS produced the most baseballers of any city school; most top producers are closed. (Times)
- The ACLU is suing a La. charter school that expels girls even suspected to be pregnant. (Mother Jones)
- Being forced to a higher floor means warmer classrooms at a space-sharing school. (Inside Colocation)
- Pennsylvania has done away with the requirement that superintendents have taught. (District Dossier)
- An educator lists 10 axioms about education that he says are incorrect and even harmful. (Answer Sheet)
- And a city teacher pokes holes in beliefs held by the ed tech “missionary set.” (Schools as Ecosystems)
- A teacher grapples with the question of whether selling her work compromises her. (Shoulders of Giants)
- A Common Core advocate pans materials by the educator behind the city’s literacy curriculum. (Flypaper)
- It’s not just what a teacher says or does but how he says or does it that matters, a coach says. (Coach G)
August 6, 2012
A longtime educator who began her career teaching girls in jail has been named acting principal at the city’s most selective high school.
Jie Zhang, who led a different elite high school for five years, will be interim acting principal at Stuyvesant High School, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today. She replaces Stanley Teitel, the school’s 11-year principal, who announced his retirement last week amid an investigation into a cheating scandal at the school.
“We are fortunate to have tremendous leaders and talented teachers like Jie Zhang in New York City public schools, and we are thrilled to have her join the Stuyvesant High School community,” Walcott said in a statement.
Zhang is not actually new to Stuyvesant: She has been a parent there since 2005, when her older child enrolled, and last year she headed the Department of Education “network” that Teitel selected to support the school. Her daughter is a junior.
The cheating scandal that erupted in June implicated more than 70 students, giving rise to criticism that Stuyvesant’s cutthroat environment encourages students to take shortcuts to success. But in a phone call with reporters today, Zhang said she did not learn about widespread cheating at Stuyvesant as either a parent or an administrator. Still, she said, improving the school’s “culture” so that cheating does not take place is her first goal.
“I have not been made aware … or have a reason to believe that there is ongoing cheating there,” Zhang said. “However, my top priority is to create a positive school culture that ensures integrity and zero tolerance for cheating.” (more…)
August 6, 2012
The sudden and surprising leadership change at Stuyvesant High School is an opportunity to make the school more diverse and less cutthroat, according to a graduate who is running for mayor.
Tom Allon, a long-shot mayoral candidate who graduated from the elite city high school in 1980 and later briefly taught there, made the case in a press release sent this morning in response to Friday’s resignation of Stanley Teitel, the school’s principal since 1999. Teitel announced his retirement amid a cheating scandal and an investigation into how he handled it.
“I’m afraid Stuyvesant has become a place where education and knowledge have taken a backseat to testing and grades and hyper-vigilance about college admissions — not unlike the testing and data-driven grading that is crushing the life out of public education throughout America,” Allon said in his press release.
Allon suggests that the school switch to an A-F grading system, instead of awarding numerical grades on a scale of 100, which he said encourages students to worry about small swings in their grade-point averages.
He also offers a slate of recommendations geared at shaking up the ultra-competitive admissions process, which for decades has been based solely on scores on the city’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. (more…)
August 6, 2012
All but a handful of ninth- and 10th-graders at Pathways in Technology Early College High School have an ambitious summer goal: to pass the Regents exam in geometry before school starts in September.
To that end, they are enrolled in a six-week long summer enrichment class meant to get them up to speed on the information technology-themed school’s academic expectations and prepare them to take the state’s geometry exam this month. Classes are long — two to four hours each morning — and involve a mix of group projects, drills, homework, and writing assignments.
GothamSchools spent the morning in one marathon math class two weeks before the Aug. 16 exam. As the students worked in pairs on projects, four teachers hovered above, sometimes chiming in with explanations of geometry concepts and sometimes reigning students in when they wandered off-task.
After class, the lead teacher, Jamilah Seifullah, explained how she kept track of the students and what she wanted them to learn. As when we chronicled Ryan Hall’s math class in May, we’ve included Seifullah’s commentary in block quotes beneath our observations.
Seifullah, who taught geometry to a small cohort of advanced math students last spring in the school’s first year, took turns directing the class with Rachel Jamison, an English teacher who is pitching in with math instruction this summer. Jamison is also offering English lessons, but not for credit and during a shorter class period. With the Regents exam approaching, she and Seifullah agreed to combine the classes for longer math sessions, but weave in tasks that build literacy skills.
10 a.m. Already, 32 P-TECH students had been working in pairs on a major assignment for almost an hour. Sitting at round tables in groups of five or six, each pair was using a computer to put the finishing touches on presentations on various geometry concepts, such as surface area and the isosceles triangle theorem, they would later present to their classmates. (more…)
August 6, 2012
News from New York City:
- Stuyvesant High School’s principal has resigned. (GothamSchools, Times, WSJ, Daily News, Post, NY1)
- Stanley Teitel’s departure comes amid an investigation into cheating, which critics say is rampant. (Post)
- Where the ultra-elite school’s next principal will come from is the subject of speculation. (Daily News)
- The School Construction Authority is spending 10 times as much on injuries than in 2002. (Post)
- Two teachers so far are getting backpay in the Fort Hamilton HS payroll scandal we reported. (NY1)
- Many teachers at Lehman High School are not returning, even though they now can. (Daily News)
- A city teen says she was arrested for appropriately using a student Metrocard last week. (Daily News)
- Two competing groups are emerging to respond to the sex abuse scandal at Horace Mann. (WSJ, Times)
- A Queens janitor was fired after asking to suck an early college high school student’s toes. (Daily News)
- A teacher from Washington Heights’ M.S. 324 attended a sustainability camp this summer. (Daily News)
- Hundreds of schools have lenghtened their years to boost learning, and more might follow suit. (Times)
- Virtual charter schools are an emerging sector, but some states are rejecting them. (N.J. Spotlight)
- N.J. Gov. Chris Christie is set to sign into law a bill to overhaul teacher tenure and firing rules. (WSJ)
- Less than half of Texas’s high school graduates met the state’s standards for college readiness. (Times)
- After-school tutoring, long common among Asia’s elite, is now spreading to less affluent families. (Times)
- Whether Boston parents prefer proximity or safety in their schools depends on where they live. (Globe)
- The Times says TNTP’s recent report on teacher retention proves new evaluations are needed.
Last week on GothamSchools:
- City teachers shell out money and time for extra training during the summer. (Thursday, Friday)
- A charter school principal-training program’s first week included a lot of introspection. (Friday)
- A dustup over teachers unions’ stance on sex abusers started at a state education meeting. (Thursday)
- Sweeping payroll problems have landed Fort Hamilton High School under investigation. (Wednesday)
- A new group is pushing for a greater role for teens in local and national schools policy. (Wednesday)
- A comptroller’s audit criticized the DOE for expanding a technology initiative too quickly. (Wednesday)
- Turnaround’s end means the end of a “master” and “turnaround” teacher program, too. (Tuesday)
- A city nonprofit found that students who struggle in high school are likely to struggle later on. (Tuesday)
- Principals of ex-turnaround schools got details about hiring, school names, and more. (Tuesday)
- A TNTP report says school districts are keeping weak teachers and letting top ones leave. (Monday)
- In a rare move, a city charter school offered free public space has opted not to use it. (Monday)