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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Do Certifications Matter In Englewood?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Superintendent spoke of School Resource Officers and how the district might hire 1 more.

Principal Marsha Howard (Quarles School) praised the dress code initiative underway at Quarles School. It was made clear that this is not a required uniform mandated by the board and that children who do not adhere to the dress code will not be punished. I do not object to a voluntary dress code. I do object to the advertising of  Marcia's Attic as the preferred vendor. We all know what bids are. This has the taint of malfeasance attached. Families should be informed about the required colors and that the shirts should have collars and leave it at that. White collar shirts may be purchased for less than $5 each in many places. The shirts presented all retailed for $10 and above. She was pleased that staff and parents are happy with the idea. She added that some teachers have considered wearing the prescribed colors. This would be an improvement over some of the outfits I have seen on teachers. Practicing what one preaches always gets a positive nod here.

Calendar Staff:  It was announced that this Committee met 2 times and discussed ways to make up days missed as a result of Frankenstorm Sandy. Middle School students lost more days than the other buildings. One suggestion was to hold school on 3 Saturdays. April 13, 20 and the 27th. It was suggested that these days be used as test support for NJAsk.  June 25 would remain as the last day of school. This has not been worked out with staff yet.

The Board was questioned about the AAU Tournaments and where the money is going. It seems that individual parents pay a set fee that allows the child to participate and each team pays a fee to participate in the tournament. Mr. Caviness wanted to know who pays the officials, if the gym is rented and where the money goes. He also wanted to know where the money goes from the faith based facilities rental. Stephen Brown was a little cute when he said that they have some good tenants, but did not answer the question. There is no accounting of this money that is collected from the Sunday rentals to religious organizations. A concerted effort has been made to market our school buildings. It is a fair question to ask. Where is the money going? EPSD did just fire over 100 people in 2012. Below is a Youtube video featuring Mike Hunken in which he talks about how important it is to rent out facilities space, including classrooms. .He speaks of a fee schedule that he has developed for this rental purpose. Perhaps it is time that the taxpayers got a look at that schedule.

Re-classifications and Transfers were made to create a Technology Department. Members of this Department are as follows: They are all 12 month employees.
Michael Hunken - Director of Facilities & Technology    $124, 163.50 includes $10,000.00 raise
keith Gardner - Network Engineer                                     $73,000.00 includes $1,190.54 raise
Diachi Kono - Technology Specialist                                  $48,500.00 includes $6,848.56 raise
Carlos Otero - Technology Specialist                                 $60,000.00 includes $3,111.54 raise
Rosemary Roche - Technology Specialist                           $71,040.52 includes $2,069.14 raise
Mr. Hunken has been placed in a situation where he must Supervise persons who have more education, experience and expertise in the area of  his assignment than he does. This is a train wreck waiting to happen. It is also not good for morale. EPSD must not use this area as a method to repay favors. It is too important since the entire state is going to administer online Standardized Testing in the very near future. Regardless of what Mr. Brown says, Englewood is not ready. We do not have enough computers to administer this test. The children are also not ready to take it online, especially the young ones. Read what the Superintendent of the Madison, New Jersey School District has to say.  Mr. Rossi attended and testified at the same NJDOE meeting as I on January 16, 2013. He is truthful about his district NOT being ready to administer this online test.  I have nothing against Mr. Hunken, but I do not think it is right that he was given this position and a raise. His present position did not stand up to the OPRA process at the state. Therefore, it is questionable as to whether he held the certification necessary for the position that he already had. Just saying.

These raises, promotions and transfers come at a time when there is a  need for 2 Special Education teachers at the high school. It is very interesting that these 2 positions have been on every agenda for several months. Dr. Carlisle and what remains of the Child Study Team have been trying to hire 2 Special Education teachers since September. These positons are never filled for some reason. Is it punishment for someone? The students and their parents are the ones who suffer. This means that at least 2 groups of special education students have been exposed to a litany of substitutes since September. A different teacher every 19 days so the district will not be forced to pay for a long term substitute. The Superintendent continues to put the 2 positions on the agenda and the need is actually there. What the heck is wrong with this picture? We will never close any Achievement GAP this way. The GAP is getting wider everyday. Why are these children being neglected? A Child Study Team member was stopped mid presentation 3 board meetings ago because she attempted to explain why the positions should be filled. The Board went into closed session in order to discuss these 2 positions, again. It was announced that action would be taken when they returned. We left. The meeting had already gone overlong. Stephen Brown wastes far too much time reading us the agenda. We are capable of reading. It is the students that are having a problem in this area.

Two students from the Academy complained about the Literary Magazine being cut from the budget. This is is a marvel to me. We pay close to, if not more than a half million dollars for the extended day in the Academy. Why is the Literary Magazine not put together during this time? This is an academic endeavor and should be supported. That extended day is beginning to look awful extra. Those students should have their magazine. Not only that, it should be open to participation to students from the North building. 

A parent and President of the PPA (Parent Partnership Association: The Parent organization of the Academy) Dave Matthews made the very strange suggestion that we should look to hire Teach For America young professionals. For some reason he seemed to think they would be better than our present teachers. Stephen Brown suggested that this was being discussed and that working with the Broad Foundation was also being discussed. This is one time when I am glad that we are little fish. The Barracuda's at the Broad Foundation will hopefully find nothing attractive about us. We are too small and would probably get stuck in Eli's teeth. Mr. Matthews failed to notice that we already have Teach For America on the Board in the person of Harley Ungar. The Broad Foundation is a major supporter of Teach For America. One wonders if Mr. Matthews is in closed sessions with the Board comparing notes. His questions always leave room for such long comments from the board President. It should be noted here that TFA describes themselves on Twitter as young professionals who contract into urban districts for 2 years. They are like the Peace Corps or Missionaries who go into impoverished neighborhoods long enough to work off their student loans. They have no allegiance to the district, children, or parents and they do not join the Teacher's Union. Now why would we want to start a partnership there? Keep your eyes wide Englewood. This goes along with abolishing paraprofessionals and contracting out for secretarial staff.

To Personnel: There is no such title as Teacher of the Handicapped. The Title was changed long ago. It is now Teacher of Students with Disabilities.

In School Suspension: When students are removed from the learning environment and assigned to in-school suspension, they are being removed from one learning environment and placed in another. The learning is supposed to continue. Teachers are required to send assignments along with the student. That is the main reason that this smaller learning environment is supposed to be maintained and supervised by a certified teacher. Students may not be assigned here indefinitely. Not even Special Education Students. Please fix that.

                                               How are the children?