Parent and taxpayer response

JUST SAY WHEN ...TO ANYONE SAYING YOU HAVE NO SAY IN YOUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. We are Citizens for Public School Education. We are Board Watchers. We want a Board of Education that follows the Law, because following the Law works for everyone. The purpose of this site is to help close the controversial Achievement Gap that is the subject in many educational arenas. Teachers are invaluable when dedicated individuals and are entrusted to encourage, nurture, and teach each child to achieve to the best of his/her individual abilities. Principals, Superintendents, Business Administrators, Support Staff, School Board Members, Attorneys and everyone else in the district must be dedicated to making certain that teachers have whatever they need in order to perform at their best. Teachers must be willing to go the extra mile like millions have done before them. This blog promotes an active, accurate & objective telling of history that includes ALL cultures and their literary, cultural and historical contributions to building America. We are Board Watchers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: Adversity Lives In Silent Hearts

October 11, 2011 the Englewood City Council and the Board of Education met jointly. It was an interesting meeting where both groups basically did not impress this writer or each other. The highlight of the evening was when the 4th ward councilman spoke up about the missing conversation on the specifics of educating the City's children. He wanted to know where the reading specialists were. He wanted to know why more attention is not being paid to raising the scores of Dwight Morrow High School students. He was concerned that expectations are much lower than they were when he was president of the Board of Education. He was not blowing the horn for Englewood City and he was not blowing it for the Board of Education. He was experienced, concerned, candid and passionate about the education of Englewood children. He suggested that Dr. Carlisle still has his bags packed.

Janis Dismus newly stocked Library
The old man spoke as if he had been present at the very long board meetings that we attend regularly. Since February, I have witnessed the 4 hour closed sessions.  I have participated in the 30 minute 'privilege of the floor'sessions. Our questions and our comments are clearly only tolerated. Upon examination of the recorded minutes, one finds only questions that they don't mind answering. My questions concerning mentoring, certifications and participation in the New Jersey School Board training programs are no where to be found. You will also not find question posed by Curtis Caviness about Workshops with the School Board Association in which the Englewood Board of Education and Dr. Carlisle is supposed to develop objectives for the district that reflect the CAPA Review and the QSAC. Both are assessments of the District done by the state. Whenever questions are answered, we must wait nearly a month to get unsatisfactory answers. It is a charade. I don't know why I expected these proceeding to be different. We were still only allowed 30 minutes, 3 minutes per taxpayer and only allowed to speak once.

Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Commons
First, we were surprised to find a regular agenda for the board of Edcation section of the meeting. Earlier that day we noticed that the BOE meeting originally planned for October 20, had been cancelled. We sat down to learn for the first time that this was our meeting. The City Council was simply a guest at our board meeting. Even though it was a joint meeting, we were still allowed only 30 minutes of 'Privilege of the Floor'. The Sunshine Law is forced into darkness whenever the EPSD has a board meeting. Privilege of the floor last 30 minutes and closed session lasts nearly 4 hours in total. 

Thomas J. Morgan Gymasium
The unopposed candidate for 3rd ward councilperson spoke. It was difficult to determine what he was talking about. He rambled. A representative from Bergen Performing Arts Center gave the Board of Edcation praise. What else would he do? David Matthews, a former board member blasted the board of education saying they were ingratiating themselves and patting themselves on the back. He said they were making sure that they supported Carlisle, because they had to justify firing a superintendent in order to hire him. He was concerned that not one board member mentioned the fact that Mr. James Olobardi has given his 60 day notice. Mr Olobardi is resigning. Mr. Matthews said that the Board members were all lining up to kiss Don Carlisle's pinky ring. Dr. Carlisle's abrasive, bullying style is reminiscent of the old Don. The board was stoic to a member, but there was visible irritation on their faces while listening to Mr. Matthews. I would hate to work for a man who threatens to outsource everyone's job on a regular basis. He rules through fear, intimidation and the concept of divide and conquer.

Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium
How much $ for  Letters? How much did the
Thomas  J. Morgan  Letters cost?
A parent brought up the 5 year plan and alluded to the fact that 9th graders had told her that they signed a contract promising to finish high school in 5 years. The Student Handbook for the high school does describe this five year program. It does not however, include the fact that students will sign a contract without the presence of their parents. It does not mention that the parents will not be given a copy of this paper. It was said that this 5year plan was planned to begin in the 8th grade. This is highly unlikely since the Handbook specifically states that "upon entrance into the high school" freshmen would begin to participate.

Former blue ribbon principal
who reorganized the
middle school.
A positive.
There was a good deal of support from the community for Lamar Thomas. Mr. Thomas is in charge of the middle school. He, Carmen Macchia and Rosemary Seitel are at the helm of the newly reorganized middle school. Mr. Macchia introduced the new model for the middle school in the spring. It has been divided into 4 teams. Each team is named for an American Ivy League University. Harvard University, Yale, Princeton, Columbia. The newly hired principal form New York has declined the position leaving the position of Principal open.

This was no doubt the most positive aspect of the evening. A community came forth to speak up for the appointing of Lamar Thomas to the job as principal of Janis Dismus. A large number in attendance had come in support of Lamar Thomas and to hear his report on the Middle School. It is important to the community to promote from within. A show of confidence in Mr. Thomas was evident. There are some of us who think that the Ivy League University names for the teams were highly unnecessary and merely mask a more intricate tracking system than was in place before reorganization. We shall see.

Janis Dismus Honor wall 
Two students spoke in defense of their school as if they had been told that someone bad mouthed it. It was good to hear them defend the school. It was not good that they felt that it was necessary to defend the schools against the public. They were defending it from the wrong group of people.

The BOE adjourned into private session promising Mr. Thomas that they would hear his presentation after closed session. 2 hours later, and hours after most of you were snoring in your beds, they returned. Carlisle made a smart remark about the fact that we were all still there. Mind you. He instructed a subordinate and the subordinate did as he was told and waited with his family and the remnants of his cheering squad. Mr. Thomas was told that he would present at the next board meeting. Dr. Carlisle blamed Mr. Olobardi for the lateness of the hour.

Quote displayed in DMHS
main office last year.
This morning, I read an article in that made me wonder if this newspaper has rattled loose in the years following the advent of the Internet and the blog. Some Journalists are finding it difficult to adjust to the technological world of the news. After reading the article, I watched the video footage of the actual board meeting. Were we even at the same board meeting? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I will suggest a tape recorder next time. That is if there is a desire to get it right, to get at the truth. What ever happened to the journalist that presented both sides of the coin. She left out every single important question that was posed at the meeting. If a question or a concern did not have a happy face and a smile in it was not included. Go on Ms. Hayes, earn that check. I hope you sleep well at night.

Our Administration must remember that facts beneath the good press  must stand up to examination. If Small Learning Communities never got off the ground in DMHS, admit it and move on. If the district made a boo boo in establishing a 5 year plan that discriminates against half of the campus, move on. Get past creating a fake persona that the district cannot possibly live up to under close examination. Glad ragging in the newspaper at this time is unseemly.

Cons - criticism: unhappy people
-boy hit by bus, please change route...........Unhappy taxpayer
-the five year plan - contracts signed by minors without parents.....2 unhappy taxpayers
-Credit Recovery Program - (is the illegitimate child of the 5 year plan)...many unhappy people
-The unresponsive board....Mr. Popkin is correct and unhappy again
-ingratiating of board to Carlisle....Mr. Matthews is an unhappy taxpayer
-resignation of Business unhappy situation...He is a good honest man...can't have that...
-Reading of a statement to board about libelous remarks from Dr. Carlisle,
 -scandalous remarks made by and to PTO leaders about another taxpayer (PTO is monopolized by board
   of education wives)
-bringing students of all groups and schools together in some type of activity...was a feel good suggestion that
  did not get any response at all. The population of the schools are segregated. Adults don't want to mix
  children up.
-complaint regarding the fact that pre k and kindergarten children are learning 3 languages at once
-Grieco failed AYP...perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Quarles children are being short
 changed. Their reading and writing has been watered down drastically. Is inclusion working in Quarles working?
-complaint of mistreatment of football son, verbal abuse by coach, complaint about no locker rooms
-Board needs training
-Board wasted money on Carlisle's friend who conducted the retreat in September. The NJSBA Field Service Representative normally does this. It is part of the $26,000 that we pay them yearly. They wasted money when they hired him to attend a closed session in September. He does not belong in closed sessions.

Pros- the desire to retain Lamar Thomas as principal of the middle school
-support of community
-Carlisle said it would be unlikely that any candidate for principal would want to come into Englewood. He said Englewood was shooting itself in the foot with all of the negativity. (He is new. He does not understand that Englewood shot itself in the foot in 1985 when they sued the state frivolously wasting taxpayers money. He is merely witnessing the spread of the infection and the rot.) Oh, I forgot, that is a negative statement.

The two high school students spoke up for their school. This was positive even under the circumstances. The Bergen PAC man spoke favorably of the Board. He will have his pay off down the line. Most of the comments were not warm and fuzzy. Click on the link below and read's Utopian article. This article was sanitized.  It is a load of crap that was probably retouched by the Public Relations person who follows Dr. Carlisle around to his various assignments. We have the videotape. The public deserves the truth. One day the situation presented in this article may be a reality. Now it is only a dream created by the people being interviewed and a reporter who merely parrots. In an older time it would have been called Propaganda or yellow journalism. Where is the Bergen Evening Record? It has disappeared into the Internet and lost its very soul.

How are the children?