Friday, July 29, 2011

Who Will Take the Heat for The Failure of The Englewood School System?

When attending school board meetings in Englewood, New Jersey, one must learn to read between the lines.  The Superintendent’s Report is usually a dramatic monologue that accomplishes very little except alienation of the public. The strategy is to waste as much time as possible, then tolerate comments from the public that you address for a few seconds at the next board meeting. For instance, at the July 21, 2011 meeting a very important issue was ignored. Why was Yvonne Sheard speaking as Athletic Director in charge of the Health and Physical Education Department? Does this department even exist?  She is not recognized as an Athletic Director by the state of NJ?  Sheard has a CE principal’s credential. This Credential simply lets one seek employment. Once one is employed the district must apply for and issue a Provisional Certificate that allows one to work while acquiring the standard certificate. It only takes 12 credits to become Supervisor, so what is the hold up? If higher standards are being set for students, expectations must also be set higher for teachers and administrators.  Certifications are minimum basic requirements.
Another thing, if one really cares about the academic achievement of athletes, one will not coerce already academically challenged individuals into playing a sport every season. An athlete should not feel pressured to compete in any other than the sport he/she has a passion. Did not a young man injure himself playing football and had to endure surgery with the fear that he would not be able to compete during track season? He was nearly shut out of the sport that he loves? How much better would he have done academically and in his chosen sports activity had he sat out football season. We will never know if he would have run faster and jumped higher had he focused more on academics and training for his sport of choice?
After the drama is over we get to the parade. A bevy of usually Barbie type females are paraded before the board of education and the public. Most are novice teachers without the permanent standard certifications that are required by state law.
To anyone who normally attends school board meetings, take out a couple of your old agendas and turn to the tabs where new hires are presented to the board of education. Anywhere you see the abbreviations of CE, CEAS or the words Provisional Certificate, you shall understand that that person is NOT fully certificated by the laws of the State of New Jersey.  Student teaching is an invaluable experience that should not be skipped on the way to becoming permanently certificated.  Even former students are beginning to notice the inequity of education in districts that need highly qualified teachers the most.
As parents and taxpayers, the New Jersey Administrative Code should become your friend. It is the vehicle that allows No Child Left Behind to function for the benefit of ALL the students.   Make sure you examine both current rules and proposed rules, because things are changing.
The district must also provide mentoring for all novice teachers. In most townships, this internship has a component that is called the Alternate Route. Some Districts even have an Alternate Route Coordinator. If one checks the BOE agendas, one will find the abbreviations of CE, and CEAS listed beside candidates for employment in the school system. The district has the responsibility to make sure that each teacher or administrator fulfills state requirements for certification.
Equity - It should be noted that on the July 21, 2011 agenda, a candidate for the job of principal of Janis E. Dismus middle school is listed as having a CE principal credential. The salary listed is more than veteran, certificated, highly qualified principals with nearly 20 years in the district are making. The school this person lead had less than 100 students.  This type of hiring serves to undermine veteran administrators already in the district.  No Child Left Behind gives parents the right to question and demand action in cases where teachers or administrators do not have the required certificates. These certifications cannot be arbitrarily handed over by local school board members or by Superintendents who also hold CE credentials.  
Authority - It is not within the power of the Board of Education to bestow permanent certifications upon personnel as if knighting a nobleman in the feudal times of History. Our Athletic Director may not legally observe and evaluate any instructional staff without the required certifications. This means that the person we are calling an AD cannot by law run the Department of Health and Physical Education. The board president is NOT empowered to give her this power. At the moment she is a glorified scheduler of athletic events and activities. She does not have a staff and does not warrant an assistant. Children of the AD’s cheering squad will benefit more from a fully certificated, highly qualified Athletic Director.  Help your children. Advise your friends to become fully certificated. Do you think it is okay for your child to be shortchanged in the classroom as long as it is done by a friend of yours?
A person with a Bachelor’s in Business cannot just begin to teach the Culinary Arts without proper certification in that area. The same goes for dance, drama, music, visual arts, social studies, Math, etc. Teachers must be certified within the subjects they teach. Parents and community members must become more aware of whom they entrust the education of the Village children.
Accountability - To make matters worse, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction has been appointed and is being called 3rd in command of the school district. We must point out here that we do not have a 2nd or 1st in command as of yet, since Dr. Carlisle’s contract has not been approved by the state. The person in charge of all Title I, Title II, Title III, and No Child Left Behind grant implementation does not have the proper certification and has been in the district nearly 10 years. Do we now know why there are no Title I Reading or Math classes? Do we know why there is no curriculum in the Englewood school district? Is there instruction? How many children do you think are being left behind? Look beneath the smoke people. Non-compliance with state codes and certification requirements short changes all of the children.
Motives of this writer – It was recently suggested that I had persons in mind to take the jobs that I insist should not be filled entirely with Barbie type white women. It should be made clear at this moment that I do not have any personal relationships with any staff members. I do not have any friends waiting to apply for positions in the Englewood School District. My professional acquaintances avoid Englewood like the plague. Englewood is famous for not having a curriculum, which means that there is no already established map of curriculum. My concerns are with the students. They deserve the best quality certificated teachers and administrators available. New teachers click here for specific instructions on how to enter the Alternate Route Program.
CE:  Certificate of Eligibility - (CE) means a credential with lifetime validity issued to persons who have completed degree, academic study and applicable test requirements for certification. The CE permits the applicant to seek and accept employment in positions requiring certification.

CEAS: Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing - means a credential with lifetime validity issued to persons who have completed degree, academic study, applicable test requirements and traditional professional preparation programs for certification. The CEAS permits the applicant to seek and accept employment in positions requiring certification.

Provisional Certificate - means a two-year certificate issued to candidates who have met the requirements for initial employment but who have not yet met the requirements for standard certification. Provisional certificates are issued to newly-employed instructional, administrator, and educational services staff who are employed as part of a State-approved district training program or residency leading to standard certification. Provisional certificates are also issued to initially-employed educational  services staff who have at least one year, but less than three years, of successful full time experience or the equivalent in another state under that state’s standard certificates.

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