Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Reorganize?: The Academies@Englewood is a Focus School

Have you wondered why there were no lawn signs, persuasive mailings, robo calls, door knob hangers and individuals at your doors urging you to get out and vote? Did you notice that you did not vote in the month of April?

There is no simple answer to that most important and burning question, because the School District gets the largest share of taxes collected in this town. While you were sleeping, 5 people made a monumental decision for you, without your consent.

School Board Elections have been moved to November 4, 2014. Click for details.
The residents of Englewood voted to move from an appointed School Board to an elected School Board so we would be able to vote on the School Budget. 

Earlier this year, 5 School Board Members deprived "We the People" of the right to vote on the budget by moving the School Board Elections to November. 

CITIZENS in 61 Bergen County towns need not concern themselves with voting for or against local school budgets this Wednesday. Their right to vote on school budgets, which consume two-thirds of property taxes, has been stripped from them by their boards of education or municipal governing bodies, with little public notice.  - See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-a-lesson-on-disenfranchisement-1.999324#sthash.6xMClBoW.dpuf
The residents of Englewood will not be able to vote on the budget again, unless we elect School Board Members who will vote to change back to an April School Board Election. 

Why? Because at least 5 Members of the School Board and the Special Interest Groups that they represent have other plans. We would like to see their plans. At least one of their plans, that has been in operation since 2002, has earned us the Focus School Designation.

April 10, 2014 Dr. Donald Carlisle and Howard Haughton suggested that we had a more serious problem than a "focus school" designation. They tried to turn our attention to an allegation that we have hundreds of people attending Englewood Schools in Quarles and Grieco who do not live in Englewood. They think that is a more important issue than dealing with the attempt to change our focus high school into a reward high school. 

That is a ridiculous smoke screen. We know about the "keep away from Quarles" and we will "keep away from the high school" agreement. Isn't that the real reason that it was so important to get rid Richard Segall? Read the documents in this post. You be the judge. If we are teaching children to multitask, then surely our elected officials must model that same behavior. That each may continue to learn while alive.

FACT: The Academy only exists, because of Dwight Morrow
High School? If Dwight Morrow High School did not exist, there would be no reason for the Academy Program. It was created to integrate Dwight Morrow High School. The A@E existence depends on the survival of Dwight Morrow High School.

FACT: Dwight Morrow High School/Academies@Englewood is a Focus School

FACT: When Dwight Morrow High School/Academies @ Englewood was designated a Focus School, by the Federal and State Governments, it was assigned a RAC. 

FACT: The former RAC for Dwight Morrow High School/Academies@Englewood is now Interim Executive County Superintendent for Bergen County.
RAC Interventions... EXCERPT from njdoe Ouestions and Answers about Regional Achievement Centers

  • The QSR is a baseline evaluation of Priority and Focus Schools with quality indicators aligned to the eight turnaround principles. The QSR replaces the CAPA Review.
  • QSRs will be conducted this spring in Priority Schools. QSRs in Focus Schools will start this Fall. School Improvement Plans will incorporate the results of the QSRs.
  • Based on the findings from the QSR, RAC teams will work in conjunction with school and district l eaders, educators, and families to develop comprehensive and individualized SIPs based on the 8 Turnaround Principles and the unique needs of each school. School and district leaders will commit to and be held accountable for the high quality implementation of the intervention strategies identified in the SIP with the support of the RAC team. Example intervention strategies include:
  •  Implementation of NJDOE model curriculum and unit assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards;
  • Redesign of instructional time to better meet student needs and increase teacher collaboration focused on improving teaching and learning;
  • Use of current data to design and implement specific classroom strategies to improve teaching and learning;
  • Required professional development focused on the 8 Turnaround Principles for school leaders and educators; 
  •  Changes to the climate and culture of the school to ensure a quality learning environment with a culture of high expectations for every student;
  • Development of new family and community engagement strategies that are specifically focused on academic achievement; and
  • Hiring or reassigning full-time professionals specialists (e.g. culture and climate leader, data leader, literacy leader, mathematics leader) to be embedded in schools.  
School Improvement Plans will be reviewed and modified if necessary, at regular intervals of about 7 weeks. This activity will be based on the progress of interventions and student achievement.
Will the RAC Team work with the Priority and Focus School leadership in developing the School Improvement Plan? 

The EPSD did not acknowledge the Focus School Designation in August 2013 when they met at a
retreat  in order to create goals and objectives by which to evaluate the Superintendent. There were no goals articulated relating to the desire for Dwight Morrow High School to become a Reward School. Our Board and Dr. Carlisle did not discuss the 8 Turnaround Principles or the Rubric that must be utilized to turnaround the school.

David Matthews and others claim that they were not consulted about a plan that would reorganize the high school with no changes to A@E except the moving of physical classrooms. Do they mean that they were not asked?

Well, now you know how we feel. In June of 2002, DMHS students went home eager for summer fun. When they returned to DMHS in September of 2002, high school life had changed forever.  There is no way to measure all that they lost in just one summer. We were not consulted, asked or informed of these changes. We were not advised that our children would be chased out of the building by a man with a bullhorn at 3 pm.

For 12 years, you have taken care of your own children, now you must take care of all of them.

Has our Board of Education abandoned the children of Englewood Residents?

                                                      How are the children?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Novel Idea?

Found by Laura Winston in a Brooklyn thrift shop. 
Perhaps the "idea" should find its way home.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Schools Are In Crisis: Evolve!

Posted on northjersey.com and reprinted here with additions...

There you go proving our point again. The real deal here is that the children from other towns are better
prepared educationally than Englewood children. That is the important point here. The needs of the many far outweigh the needs of the few. There are only 193 children from Englewood registered in the Academy. We, as taxpayers are supplementing the education of School Choice students to the tune of approximately 1.7 million dollars per year. That does not include litigation, which is an undisclosed amount. "Academic Segregation" is coming to an end in Englewood. It is not benefiting enough Englewood children It siphons off resources in order to survive in the state that it is in currently. Note how the entire school is described by the Department of Education.
"This school's academic performance lags in comparison to schools across the state. Additionally, its academic performance lags in comparison to its peers. This school's college and career readiness is about average when compared to schools across the state. Additionally, its college and career readiness is high when compared to its peers. This school's graduation and post-secondary performance lags in comparison to schools across the state. Additionally, its graduation and post-secondary readiness is about average when compared to its peers." New Jersey Department Of Education  (emphasis is theirs)       http://www.state.nj.us/education/pr/1213/03/031370040.pdf  

It should be noted again, that there is no plan now and there has been no discussion of changing the content
A 6th grade Science class from the Dwight Englewood
School participates in a STEM activity at the 3rd
Street Community  Garden
or makeup of Academy Program classes. There has been no discussion of changing the teachers that you love so much. None. The Propaganda that has your head spinning around is based on lies. Ultimately one must face the fact that the majority of the parents at the April 10th meeting do not reside in Englewood and do not vote here. We did not try to fill the room with children or parents from Englewood. We saw what the deal was and we did not take the bait. We did not want the riot that would have occurred after parents and students from Englewood listened to the remarks made at that meeting. Change will come. The Program must evolve. The entire school district must be reorganized for the sake of all students.

It is a low place to go when discussing this situation to blame a population of children who have been told since 3rd grade that they are not good enough, because of their Math scores. My 27 years in the classroom are not going to waste here. In the 3rd grade, one group of children is given an affectionate pat on the head, while the others are ignored. The situation that exists at the high school is exactly what happens when the district, teachers, administrators and Board members have "high" expectations for one group and "no" expectations for another. Every single parent in the district should sign that contract that is handed out to the IVY children. Englewood children must be better prepared from Pre-K up. It is a tragedy that you feel the way you do, but change must come in order for the entire district to survive.

The students are going to Achieve just as well regardless of the building in which they study. Parents need to
They got a little dirty as they turned the soil in their
chosen raised bed.
calm down and let the professionals do what has to be done. The School Board does not run the district. The parents certainly do not run the district. The parents from out of town come to one Board meeting and everyone goes "wow". I have missed only 2 Board meetings since February 2011. I have seen maybe 3 School Choice parents in attendance. Get a grip on reality. We are not slaves and there are many different types of intelligence. For the record, I prefer a STEAM building. Art cannot be separated from Architecture, Design and Engineering. It is shared by the disciplines.

Change should have come in 2008 when the Board realized that the Equity & Excellence millions were no longer available. It is not okay with me that my property taxes supplement students who heckle Englewood parents, "class Act Fatty". I heard that with my own ears and saw the mouth that it was coming from. I love the way the problems in the Academy are sanitized. Did students earn the right to be disrespectful when they scored higher on the test? Do students deserve the right to crack into the server in
They tested the soil  in the beds. 
order to collect tests and grades of all students in the district? That child/hacker was made a hero. Was he following in the footsteps of this guy who graduated from BA? Are they heroes when they commit the same infractions that north building children are demonized for even thinking about?  Let us just discuss how there are also problems in the Academy Program. Stop talking about an imperfect failed Educational Model as if there are no faults. David Matthews has been complaining about the stagnation for at least 3 years. Which one is it? Is it stagnant or perfect. Stagnant is not good. plagiarized or no.

Albert Koloff, northjersey.com did a comparison study of Englewood's School Choice and the Manchester school district's School Choice Program and concluded that our model is not sustainable. Other districts make a profit on School Choice, EPSD incurs a deficit. That deficit is shouldered by the taxpaying residents. These same residents are being discriminated against in too many ways to list here. Our children are being disenfranchised year after year. Taxpayers from all 4 Wards are losing out on having a successful School District, because our Board vilifies our professionals in public instead of giving them the support needed to educate all children. Learned and trained professionals have given excellent advice on how to raise test scores and overall Academic Achievement, but this Board cannot admit that it shot itself in the foot with a cannonball when this program was constructed this way. I was here and the residents of Englewood were not consulted about the establishment of this Educational Model.
                                    How are the children? How are ALL of the children?