Thursday, December 13, 2018

Is The EPSD Warehousing Our Children?

*Substitutes have been outsourced. 
*Even long term subs have been outsourced. 
*Teacher Aides have been outsourced.
*Secretaries have been outsourced. 
*Bus and Lunch Aides have been outsourced.
At least 2 Teachers are leaving every month for one reason or another.
So what does the Human Resource Manager/Director do again? 
This Stakeholder needs clarification. 

Requirements for Substitutes changed in 2015. It is horrifying that Public Schools are leaving such a delicate area up to a "Referral Agency". This Referral Agency is a vendor. That means that the oversight for this program falls under the Business Administrator. Again, what is the Human Resource Director doing other than conducting the many exit interviews?

How do we know that the Substitutes hired by the "Referral Company" have completed the additional requirements set by the state? Who is the responsible Party employed by the Englewood Public School District to oversee this sensitive matter?

Changes to Substitute Teacher Requirements - N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-7

Changes to Teacher Certification Requiremtnts (N.J.A.C. 6A:9B

Memo to all Human Resource Directors
SUBJECT: Update to Proposed Changes to Teacher Preparation and Certification Requirements

So whom do we blame for a teacher being subjected to having over 40 children per class, because of lack of Substitutes? Seems that Phantom Human Resource Director, the Business Administrator and the Outsource happy Superintendent need to put their heads together so they can STOP warehousing our children. Perhaps our School Board should also collectively wake up and begin to deal with our children as real boys and girls and their parents as real humans.

It would also be nice to read a breakdown of salary for Substitutes, Paraprofessionals & Secretaries (which the district abolished and never reinstated with a resolution) are paid like humans, which should be above minimum wage. Exactly how much of the amount indicated in the contract with ESS goes to the persons who actually work with our children.

It would also be nice to feel confident that there is an Aide on all school buses, since this is where much of the bullying is taking place.

1This document provides an overview of requirements for substitutes. For all official matters, such as issues brought before the Board of Examiners, concerned parties should rely on regulatory requirements at N.J.A.C. 6A:9, 9A, 9B, and 9C as the final authority.

The last I heard Englewood Public School District was over 70% free and reduced lunch. That is considered high poverty. That is definitely a Title I School District. A School Board nor a Superintendent has the power to change the law listed below. 

Take note and ask any Attorney, when the word "shall" appears within the wording of the law, the Board has no choice but to comply. Reports are coming in from parents who have been asked to have their children count heads in their classes that the numbers have increased to over 30 in many classes. 

This writer attributes part of that increase to the fact that teachers are resigning, retiring and being fired at an alarming rate and they are not being replaced. This would cause Class size to increase.

N.J.A.C 6A:13-3.1  - Pages 8 and 9 of 15 - Not FAKE NEWS, NJ LAW

6A:13-3.1 Class size in high poverty districts

(a) A high poverty school district as used in this chapter means a district in which 40 percent or more of the students are “at-risk” as defined in P.L. 2007, c. 260. 8

(b) Class size in school districts in which 40 percent or more of the students are “at–risk” as defined in P.L. 2007, c. 260 shall not exceed 21 students in grades kindergarten through three, 23 in grades four and five and 24 students in grades six through 12; provided that if the district chooses to maintain lower class sizes in grades kindergarten through three, class sizes in grades four and five may equal but not exceed 25.

Exceptions to these class sizes are permitted for some physical education and performing arts classes, where appropriate.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

How Many Children Are in Your Child's Classes?

Board Watch At Work
The last I heard Englewood Public School District was over 70% free and reduced lunch. That is considered high poverty. That is definitely a Title I School District. A School Board nor a Superintendent has the power to change the law listed below. 

Take note and ask any Attorney, when the word "shall" appears within the wording of the law, the Board has no choice but to comply. Reports are coming in from parents who have been asked to have their children count heads in their classes that the numbers have increased to over 30 in many classes. 

This writer attributes part of that increase to the fact that teachers are resigning, retiring and being fired at an alarming rate and they are not being replaced. This would cause Class size to increase.

N.J.A.C 6A:13-3.1  - Pages 8 and 9 of 15 - Not FAKE NEWS, NJ LAW

6A:13-3.1 Class size in high poverty districts

(a) A high poverty school district as used in this chapter means a district in which 40 percent or more of the students are “at-risk” as defined in P.L. 2007, c. 260. 8

(b) Class size in school districts in which 40 percent or more of the students are “at–risk” as defined in P.L. 2007, c. 260 shall not exceed 21 students in grades kindergarten through three, 23 in grades four and five and 24 students in grades six through 12; provided that if the district chooses to maintain lower class sizes in grades kindergarten through three, class sizes in grades four and five may equal but not exceed 25.

Exceptions to these class sizes are permitted for some physical education and performing arts classes, where appropriate.

Monday, December 3, 2018

An Educated Public vs. a Poorly Trained School Board

UPDATE October 17, 2018 Article re: Choice - Another communication from a person concerned about the mandated Advanced Placement rule at DMHS. People are beginning to read for themselves. This is encouraging.

Good morning,

I would like to gain clarity on the policy of having freshman mandated to take AP biology. It is my understanding that students have no options in which Biology class they take. It is also my understanding that almost 35% of the students taking this class are passing , which leaves a huge percentage (65%) of students failing the class. What is being done to assist the majority of students who are failing this class to find success? I know that peer tutoring is an option. There is also an option of going for morning tutoring on Monday and Friday mornings with the classroom teacher where no instruction is being provided just students sitting with a study guide. Why are there no options in class selection such as Biology Honors? Are we systematically setting are students up for failure, or even planning their exits out of the Academies? As the only option that has been given is AP Biology or leave the Academies. Is this all or nothing policy common place in other schools? I received confirmation from the schools guidance department that this is the policy and it is really upsetting as the main goal when educating students is to help them achieve academic success. 

 The College Board( Advanced Placement Program) states: In what year of high school should students take AP Biology? Depending on the program sequence, most students enroll in AP Biology during their junior or senior year. Since a first course in biology and a first course in chemistry are often prerequisites, this allows time for completion of those courses and also gives students time to gain math and laboratory skills. However, there are some schools that teach AP Biology at the sophomore level with no introductory biology course and highly motivated students have been very successful. The most important factor in student success seems to be maturity and motivation. Juniors often outperform seniors, especially as graduation time nears and "senioritis" sets in. -- Carolyn Schofiel . This was taken directly from the College Boards website. 

As a parent and teacher I am very displeased with the current policy and have a lot of questions that I would like answered with exact data as to how and why  your policy is good for the students. 

Read for yourselves.....Don't take our word for it.......
The College Board
Policy: Appropriate Grade Levels for AP Courses

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Waiting to meet the "New Safe Schools Resource Officer" for the EPSD?




It is becoming very tiresome standing before our Board of Education asking for things that are included in the law and getting empty promises of assurances that issues are being taken care of. The School Resource Officer is only one of these issues. We have been assured, by the Superintendent, on several occasions that the Staff is being trained to function as School Resource Officers. I see no sign that this is really being done. That answer also does not seem adequate when reading the Law. What say you?
This blog has been dubbed the "Englewood Inquirer", by some School Board Members, because folks would have you believe that I post fake news. Am I also posting fake NJ Laws? Do any among you know what happens when a school is deemed unsafe? Do you understand what parents are able to do when that unwanted designation is used by the state to describe a school? I will be clear here, this blogger does not want DMHS or any other School in the EPSD to be designated as an "Unsafe School". Read this attached article. It is guaranteed NOT FAKE NEWS

18A:17-43.1  Training course required for service as safe schools resource officer , liaison to law enforcement.    Input keywords "School Resource Officer" in the form after clicking the link.

   3. a. Following the development of the training course pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8) or 180 days following the effective date of this act, whichever occurs first, a board of education shall not assign a safe schools resource officer to a public school unless that individual first completes the safe schools resource officer training course.

   b.   Following the development of the training course pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8) or 180 days following the effective date of this act, whichever occurs first, a board of education shall not assign an employee to serve as a school liaison to law enforcement unless that individual first completes the safe schools resource officer training course.

   c.   A person who is assigned to a public school as a safe schools resource officer prior to the effective date of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8 et al.) or assigned to serve as a school liaison to law enforcement prior to that date shall not be required to complete the safe schools resource officer training co
urse developed by the Police Training Commission pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8), but may in accordance with that section. 

NJ Regulations governing Safe Schools Resource Officers -
52:17B-71.8  Training course for safe schools resource officers, liaisons to law enforcement. Input keywords "School Resource Officer Training" after clicking the link.

   2. a. The Police Training Commission in the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Law and Public Safety, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall develop a training course for safe schools resource officers and public school employees assigned by a board of education to serve as a schoolliaison to law enforcement.  The Attorney General, in conjunction with the Police Training Commission, shall ensure that the training course is developed within 180 days of the effective date of this act. The course shall at a minimum provide comprehensive and consistent training in current school resource officer practices and concepts.  The course shall include training in the protection of students from harassment, intimidation, and bullying, including incidents which occur through electronic communication.  The course shall be made available to:

   (1)   any law enforcement officer or public school employee referred by the board of education of the public school to which assignment as a safe schools resource officer or school liaison to law enforcement is sought; and

   (2)   any safe schools resource officer or school liaison to law enforcement assigned to a public school prior to the effective date of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8 et al.).

   b.   The training course developed by the commission pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall be offered at each school approved by the commission to provide police training courses pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.).  The commission shall ensure that an individual assigned to instruct the course is proficient and experienced in current school resource officer practices and concepts.

   c.   The commission shall award a certificate to each individual who successfully completes the course.

   d.   The Police Training Commission, in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to implement the provisions of this section.
L.2005, c.276, s.2; amended 2010, c.122, s.15.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Back To The Future!!!

Here we go again.......Flashback

School  Board Meeting
November 15, 2018

Do your children's teachers have a

Friday, November 2, 2018

#1, #2 and William Feinstein

William Feinstein 
(Write in Candidate) for Englewood Board of Education
To my Englewood Friends & Family
Re: Englewood Board of Education Election 
November 6th –
William Feinstein – Write in Candidate!
After attending the candidate’s night for the Englewood Board of Education, I was disappointed but sadly not surprised by what I heard from most of the candidates. There are five candidates running for three positions, two are incumbents running for re-election, Molly Craig-Berry and George Garrison. They have served on the Board of Education for 6 & 9 years respectively. During the evening, they attempted to spin their so-called successes and advocacy for better Englewood Schools during their tenure. In fact, they are running under the slogan, B.E.S.T “Better Englewood Schools Today”. I find this ironic since most of their votes have done anything BUT create better schools.
Actions speak louder than words! So lets take a look as some of their actions.
This year they voted to eliminate the Zone Program at the Middle School, Eliminate Dual Language and Language immersion in the lower grades, eliminate the position of Vice Principal & Assistant Principal positions and eliminated over 30 staff members for “so called” economic reasons. Those same economic reasons did not prevent them from approving and voting to reward the superintendent with a bonus payment of $30,000 for achieving goals that, quite frankly, are part his regular responsibilities as Superintendent. In addition, they voted to approve and have already spent over 3 million dollars…and counting, in legal fees for tenure charges that have twice been rejected by the state. This money could and should be used for resources to provide our children with the education they deserve, not lawsuits. How do you square their campaign rhetoric of “better schools” with the actual votes they have cast? You cannot!
Image may contain: Bill Feinstein, smiling
Ms. Craig-Berry and Mr. Garrison have had the opportunity to do the right thing and have failed our district and our Children. They do not deserve to be re-elected.

Mr. Donovan Rodriques is running with Ms. Craig-Berry and Mr. Garrison. He has put great effort in promoting his campaign rhetoric on social media, but when put to the test last night, he failed. He clearly demonstrated he is ill prepared and lacks the knowledge of the challenges this district faces. It was clear that he has no idea what the responsibility and role of a school board member is. In fact, he stated in his closing remarks that he is qualified because he reads a lot and as an entertainment lawyer, he reads a lot of screenplays. What??? The last thing we need is more characters acting as School Board Members.
Mr. Rodriques, Ms. Craig-Berry and Mr. Garrison are also being supported by some individuals who have floated the idea of privatizing the Englewood Public School District. This is unacceptable! I cannot in good conscience support/vote for any of the above candidates. I know many of you feel the same.
The final two candidates, Juan Berrios and Howard Haughton, demonstrated their integrity and independence. They strongly believe in doing what’s right, following the law and ensuring that ALL children are afforded the best education possible. We cannot continue with the status quo, it is not right and frankly is unfair to our children and our community.
With all that being said, I have decided to announce my candidacy as a write in candidate for the Englewood Board of Education. I would ask that you type my name as a “personal choice” as your third candidate for the Englewood Board of Education.
I ask all my family and friends to vote November 6th. Spread the word... We can and must do better!
#1 Juan Berrios
#2 Howard Haughton
Personal Choice
William Feinstein (Write in Candidate)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

No Choice In A School Choice District?

I recently received an email from a Dwight Morrow High School student who wants the public to weigh in on recent changes that have upset a large number of High School Students and their Parents.

Today, another student informed me that the high school principal is not allowing students to drop AP Honors courses that they never signed up to take in the first place. There were tears involved. Now why would a high school administration deny a student's request to switch out of an AP Honors course that they never selected and do not want to continue? 

AP Honors is not a course that students are normally forced to take, not even in the Academy@Englewood. Several School Choice students complained at a Board meeting earlier this year about being forced to take an AP Biology course even if their major was Law and Public Safety. At the time, I thought this was unfair, but I never dreamed that they would also force students in the Comprehensive High School to also take AP courses in the 9th grade. I was wrong. The College Board does not recommend this practice.
"...Educators should be mindful of the following when considering offering AP to younger students. AP courses are rarely offered in 9th grade, and exam results show that, for the most part, 9th grade students are not sufficiently prepared to participate in a college-level course. Therefore, the College Board believes these students would be better served by coursework focusing on the academic building blocks necessary for later, successful enrollment in college-level courses. Many college admissions officers support this position, feeling that students should not be rushed into AP coursework, but should instead develop the necessary skills and conceptual understandings in foundational courses prior to enrolling in AP. AP coursework completed in 9th grade is not often deemed credible by the higher education community...."
In my quest to answer this burning question, I ran across an article in the NY Times that gave me pause....
"Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes? Millions of federal and state dollars are spent each year on increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes in low-income majority black and Latino high schools. Is this a benefit to the students or a payday for the testing company?"
The following overview (in italics) was taken directly from the College Board website. Links from various other sources were provided by the writer:
"...The Advanced Placement Program enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. The program consists of college-level courses developed by the AP Program that high schools can choose to offer, and corresponding exams that are administered once a year...."

Fast Facts

  • There are 38 AP courses in seven subject categories.
  • Each AP course is modeled on a comparable introductory college course in the subject. 
  • Each course culminates in a standardized college-level assessment, or AP Exam.
  • AP Exams are given in May each year at testing locations all over the world.
  • Schools must be authorized by the AP Course Audit to offer approved AP courses and use the AP designation.


Taking AP courses and exams can help students:

  • Stand out on college applications. AP courses on a student’s transcript show that they hve challenged themselves with the most rigorous courses available to them. Success on an AP Exam shows that they are ready for college-level coursework.

  • Earn college credit and/or skip introductory courses in college. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States—as well as many institutions in more than 100 other countries—grant students credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores.

How It Works

Teachers Design Their Own AP Courses
Peter Schwartz,
husband to Elisabeth Schwartz who now serves
on the Englewood School Board.

Click this link and read his Biography.
The AP Program does not supply syllabi for AP courses. What we supply is a detailed set of expectations about what content a college-level course in that subject should cover. AP teachers design their own syllabi with these standards in mind. (They can also choose to use existing, approved syllabi.) We review each course design through a process called the AP Course Audit before authorizing your school to call the course “AP.”)

AP Exams Assess Knowledge and Skills Learned in the Course
Each AP course concludes with an AP Exam. These assessments are designed by the same expert committee that designed the course. The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 by college and university professors and experienced AP teachers. Many U.S. colleges offer credit for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.  AP Exams are administered at authorized schools and test centers.
Which Students Should Take AP?
Elisabeth Schwartz, current
School Board Member

All students who are willing and academically prepared to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses.

The College Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.

Certain AP courses have prerequisites. For example, students taking AP Biology should have completed high school courses in Biology and Chemistry.  Check the individual course pages to see this information.

Who Can Teach AP?

There are no formal requirements or mandatory professional development for teachers of AP courses, with the exception of teachers of AP Seminar and AP Research, who must complete a summer workshop and online training.

However, even if it’s not required for your course, we strongly recommend that AP teachers take part in professional development in their subject area before teaching the AP course for the first time, and periodically thereafter..."
Have our home grown Englewood students been deprived of the privilege of taking honors classes in order to insure a bigger payday for a testing company? 

Believe me I did not like finding that the husband of one of the School Board Members is Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel for the College Board. 

This situation has the appearance of impropriety.

I am in favor of allowing ALL students equal access to AP courses. I am not in favor of forcing any
student to take an AP Honors course. I am totally not in favor of eliminating honors courses and replacing them with AP Honors Courses. The practice of forcing unsuspecting and ill prepared 9th graders into several AP classes is not a best practice.  I also understand the notion of setting the bar higher for ALL students.  When we don’t have the necessary supports in place to make sure students can be successful, we are ultimately doing a disservice to the students, their families and the entire educational system. 

No automatic alt text available.
Additionally, AP Bio has had roughly a 60% passing rate nationally.  In Englewood, over the past 4 years (according to the September 2018 presentation to the Board of Education), the passing rate on the same test exam is roughly 36%.  Also from that presentation, the highest passing rate (47% passing) over that time was when the previous administration (those who had bogus tenure charges pressed upon them) devised best practices to aid in success. 

Some Private schools are actually getting rid of AP classes and some prestigious colleges no longer accept AP course credit.  Why?  It is puzzling as to why some Public Schools servicing largely low income, African American and Latino students are pressing for more AP Honors courses.
"...Some prestigious colleges have stopped giving academic credit for AP tests scores...Specifically, she says students lack skills in research, writing, and evidence-based analysis. Schneider says the general problem of college readiness “raises questions about whether the courses students took in high school, that might’ve been labeled AP or dual enrollment, were really providing students the preparation in writing and research that college itself will emphasize. Different institutions are making different judgments about that.”... "

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, tree and outdoor
If that is not alarming enough, the current administration also modified the master schedule so that each class is 5 minutes shorter so that they could have a failed experience of a unit lunch period.  While 5 minutes may not seem like a lot, when you take it over a 180 day schedule, there are 900 less minutes of instructional time to complete the curriculum.  You would think that the administration would learn from this and go back to the previous schedule.  However, in their infinite wisdom, they decided to have TWO homeroom periods; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  This is a way that “Genesis” may keep track of attendance!   Again, our students take the hit caused by mismanagement.  I have made lots of jokes about "Genesis", a computer software program being our Robot Attendance Officer. Well, Well....
"...experts say it's important for families to consider how colleges use such credits. Depending on your school of choice, your efforts might save thousands of dollars — or nothing.."
At a time when schools across the country are lengthening class periods, DMHS class periods have
Robert L. Kravitz
been shortened. When Teaneck High School went to block scheduling we were presented with what was called the "rainbow schedule". We actually experimented with several different schedules, each being assigned a different color. At the end of the experiment, teachers, students and administrators voted for the color they liked best. Everyone was afforded the privilege of participation. We chose a color and went to the block schedule. My classes grew from
45 minute to 90 minute blocks. Some classes were shorter than 90 minutes . Our Scheduler, a guidance counselor, worked out the schedule for the entire high school, by hand, on a "white board" attached to a wall in the Guidance Office.  I taught Dance and Choreography.  For the first time ever, I was able to teach a real wor
ld dance class in a public school. 

Englewood Public School District Board of Education
The Current Board of Education
When it is all said and done, our Superintendent recommended and our School Board voted to deprive Englewood students of the privilege of taking honors classes. Right now there is an 8th grade Science class at the Middle School that has a different substitute nearly every day. Now tell me, do you think the students in this class will be prepared to take AP Biology in the 9th Grade? Will these students be sufficiently prepared to take regular high school Biology in the 9th grade?

The Englewood School Board should overturn this decision immediately. 

The Principal at the High School should allow any child out of AP Honors who produces a letter from his/her parents giving them permission to leave the class. Contrary to what some people think
students do have rights under the Law and so do their parents. Students cannot be forced to take AP Honors courses. Why are our children being set up to fail?

Have these courses even passed the AP Course Audit

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Displeased Body of Students

The letter below arrived in my email a few days ago. I was aware that students in the Academy were being forced to take AP Biology regardless of their major. Students complained about this to the Board on several occasions. Silly me. I thought this meant Academy Students only. Wow! What next?


October 10, 2018

Good evening, below is one of the many things student would like to be addressed or put out there in any way shape or form. Thankyou!

: Recently, there has been a huge change within Dwight Morrow High School. Before elaborating I would like you to know the situation before these changes were made, students had the chance to enter AP or Honors classes. As of now all honors classes have been combined with AP, this is a huge jump especially if your coming from a regular class. Moving from Ex: Biology to AP chemistry. AP stands for Advanced Placement, the material in this class is college based. -Imagine this, one day your in a 9th grade chemistry class and the next your thrown into an entirely different subject with an entirely different criteria than you were aware of. All students within honor classes who now have AP were not notified of this change until the first day of school, many including myself are struggling to keep up. My question is why did you feel the need to combine two completely different courses? How did this benefit the students… other than lowering their gpa that is. Bring back honors.


A displeased body of students.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Board Members ONLY

When I read this Fort Lee Patch article in 2013, I remember thinking, wow, that could be us.

Well now it is us.

Englewood has inherited Fort Lee's School Board Attorney who seemed to fancy himself a School Board Member while in Fort Lee. My advice to Mr. McKeever is to run for the BOE in the town you live in so you may understand and experience being a real School Board Member.

For now, my advice to our well paid School Board Attorney is to move to the back table where Mark Tabakin was satisfied to sit. We do not want the confusion created by your presence at the Board table. You do not belong there. If the Board President and the Superintendent cannot function without your counsel during a public meeting, there is something seriously wrong.

A video recording of the last Public School Board meeting showed a Board determined to destroy one of their own. It was thoroughly embarrassing. Mr. McKeever, who is supposed to and is hired to protect the interests of the Board actually fed one of the Board members to non-residents who came on a mission with a non Board related problem.

After allowing the complainants 6 minutes to vent, he then informed the public that the issue had nothing to do with the Board.

Gee Whiz McKeever, why did you allow the women to tear into one of the Board members that you are hired to protect? You were supposed to stop those people and let them know right away that they were in the wrong place to voice the kind of complaint they had.

You, McKeever are sitting there at the Board table with a name plate, no less, allowing a Board Member to be vilified. For my tax dollar, you need to check yourself. That Board has enough problems functioning as it is.

The Board President just demonstrated that she has no clue of the law and that she has obvious contempt and disdain for the Board Member in question. Such personal matters should never hamper the smooth running of the school board.

To the Board President, please seat Mr. McKeever at the rear table where Mark Tabakin sat. If it was good enough for Mark, it is surely good enough for this character. In Englewood, only one paid employee may be a member of the School Board and that is the Superintendent.

The 6 minute tirade was allowed and condoned by the Superintendent, the entire Board and the Attorney.

And finally, shame on you George, Henry, Kim, Brent, Dalia, Michelle and Elizabeth.  Your silence was very illuminating.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ciofalo in Lodi vs. Ciofalo in Englewood

Jamie E. Ciofalo, formerly of Lodi
Is it a conflict of interest that Jamie E. Ciofalo was given the job of the man he investigated in the supposed DMHS Student Transcript situation? His findings did not agree with that of the state, yet he was given the job of Director of Guidance after supposedly finding 11 people  and the then Director of Guidance guilty of something.  The tenure charge case has dragged on for over a year. The Englewood taxpayer has been paying the salary and benefits for 2 groups of people plus litigation which has reached more than $400,00.00 to date. 

Millions.....The suspended personnel did not get "due process", yet another set of charges were filed after the state informed the Superintendent and the Board of Education of this fact. We are also paying the replacement staff a higher salary amount than was paid the original employees. While 25 or more employees were let go for reasons of economy, these persons got raises. 

Jamie E. Ciofalo was hired by Robert Kravitz and the EPSD to investigate Student Transcript Problems. These problems were brought to the attention of Mr. Kravitz by 2 Guidance Counselors   who are now suspended and facing tenure charges. After Mr. Ciofalo supposedly found enough wrong doing to take down 11 employees, he was given the job of one of the persons  charged. Jamie Ciofalo needed this job since he had to leave Lodi, because of numerous Ethics charges that he could not beat.  Mr. Ciofalo's Pitt Bull Report got him the 2nd highest paid position in the Englewood Public School District.  

The drama was played up in the newspapers, while children cried and stressed over college
admission and their futures. This Drama affected all students from the Alternative School to the highly lauded Academy@Englewood. The Alternative School was eliminated and those students returned to the high school. High Achievers in the Academy were forced to attend Saturday school and take courses during lunch to garner the credits necessary to fulfill the state mandated graduation requirement. A few of the School Choice students who did not return to their "home districts" when the story first broke were trapped and lamented that they did not leave with their friends. I was told, by students, that they worked on the computer during their lunch period and completed course credits that would not be accepted back home in their own districts. They said that EPSD gave them grades for this work, but did not give them credit. High achieving sophomores were stuck here in the middle of a stressful controversy, because they would be reduced to freshman in their "home districts".

October 13, 2017 was a school
day in the EPSD. What kind of
day did Jamie E. Ciofalo take
to enable him to conduct this
presentation at the Immaculate
Conception High  School?
For years, we have watched this Board brag about the fact that they require 130 credits while the state only requires 120. They strutted about like this was a feather in their caps. The major problem is that students did not complete the course credits that are required by the state for graduation. For some of us, this means that Englewood finally gets the message that John Grieco did not control graduation requirements and neither did those that followed him. Stephen Brown & Company feign ignorance and allow folks on the bottom to be persecuted. At the Thursday, April 19, 2018 Board meeting a vote was taken dropping the credit requirement to 120. Thus, a small part of the charade has been put to rest.  

Mr. Jamie E. Ciofalo and Robert L. Kravitz changed the schedule at the high school in a way that caused pandemonium in an already beleaguered high school. Robert L. Kravitz got a Merit bonus for this Master Schedule change. Mr. Ciofalo has not attended another school board meeting since the change.

(As of today's date, July 20, 2018, it has been noted that the Master Schedule must be changed again. Will we get our money back? I asked that question at the July 2, 2018 meeting in which Robert Kravitz's Merit Goals for 2017- 2018 were the only item on the agenda. I was not the only one concerned. At present, we do not have a Master Schedule for the high school and parents from all 5 schools are wondering when they will know the names of their children's teachers. Others are worried that the overly expensive supply lists for each teacher have also NOT been generated.

Some of us have some choice questions for Jamie E. Ciofalo. The public would like to question him
about the rumors emanating from our high school. Students, parents and others have expressed concern that the schedule has unraveled an already explosive situation involving School Culture and Climate. Students complained about fights every day. This past year, Teachers whispered that they were afraid to go to work. How many teachers have resigned?  Mr. Ciofalo is supposed to be an expert in School Climate & Culture, yet reports from inside suggested that the school was falling apart. There were even rumors of near riot conditions. Many sources attributed the turmoil to the new schedule and the lunch period. It seems that the team of Ciofalo, Kravitz and Bowie attempted to feed  far too many children in too small a time period.

Robert L. Kravitz
Jamie E. Ciofalo
worked together in
Fort Lee, NJ.
Have we seen Mr. Ciofalo? No, we have not. Where is the expert on bullying, climate, culture and conflict resolution? Where is the Newly hired Civil Rights Attorney who functions as our Human Resource Director?  It is July 20, 2018 and we have never been introduced to the Human Resource Director. 

When Pitt Bull Secure Technologies was hired to investigate the Transcript problem, few people, other that R. Kravitz and Nora Peck, knew that Mr. Jamie E. Ciofalo was the auditor for this company. Few people knew that the School District was already using Mr. Ciofalo's bullying nonprofit to train the Harassment & Bullying Coordinators.   The February 16, 2017 (page 20 of 227) resolution suggests that the state (possibly Nora Peck) told him (the superintendent) to hire Pitt Bull Secure Technologies to conduct an investigation into the student transcript irregularities. Did the state also tell Robert Kravitz to hire the Pitt Bull Auditor to replace the man that his alleged findings condemned to tenure charges?

Popular Headlines
February 17, 2017 10 school officials reportedly suspended after 3K grade irregularities found
Letter From Robert Kravitz exclaining to Parents not dated: 

Not so popular Headlines
July 27, 2017    The State Investigation finds that the School Board & District are the guilty parties.
September 17, 2017  The School District filed Tenure charges against 8 Teaching Staff Members
"...If petitioner chooses to again file tenure charges based upon any of the allegations in the within matter – against any or all of the individuals named in the within matter – it must comply with each of the statutory and regulatory requirements for certifying tenure charges...."
"...In essence, what petitioner has done by filing in the manner it has is to usurp
the function of the Commissioner or an assigned arbitrator to issue a decision on consolidation.
Severance is also not an option since the charges as written deprive respondents
of their fundamental due process rights to a clear statement describing the precise nature of the charges against him or her, and a description of the evidence which allegedly supports the charges. .."
Jamie E. Ciofalo
Auditor for Pitt Bull Secure Technologies
Now Director of Guidance
Director of Special Education
Author of the Tenure charge debacle
One might venture to ask how an attorney and a Superintendent might forge ahead ripping apart the lives of employees without first reading  the instructions on how to file tenure charges?  After reading these instructions, one learns that it is not a process without some very distinct evaluations and documentation over the course of at least 2 years. The original "Headlines" read as if Teachers are going to be charged with changing grades, yet not one teacher was charged after the District's Attorney (Mark Tabakin) conducted an additional in-house investigation in which all high school teachers and staff were interrogated.  It should be noted that Mark Tabakin has resigned as EPSD Attorney.

Everyday that the suspended personnel is not back on the job, we are paying salaries and benefits for 2 sets of employees. How many millions of dollars has Pitt Bull Secure Technologies and Jamie E. Ciofalo cost the Taxpayers of Englewood?  R. Kravitz has put him in charge of our most vulnerable students.  The case is still not settled. Suspended Personnel are not being paid directly as some residents think. They have been stripped of their benefits and their salaries are being deposited into escrow accounts pending the ruling of the Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey. Suspended employees do not have medical coverage during this time.

A recent OPRA Request places the amount spent on litigation well over $400,000.00.  Add that to the amount to pay for salaries and benefits for 2 sets of employees and we have passed the $2,000.000.00 mark.

The Superintendent and the Board have proceeded, once again as if the Commissioner of Education for the state of NJ has decreed that these employees are guilty and should be stripped of their tenure.  Guidance Counselors have been put back in the classroom. A tenured Vice Principal has been stripped of tenure and assigned to teach Math. The very title of Assistant Principal/Vice Principal has been abolished in order to make it impossible for persons to return to their tenured positions. Joseph Armental's salary has been reduced to $63.080 from his former VP salary. (Tab 1 - May 3, 2018 agenda. Page 9 of 22.) The job of the Commissioner of Education has been usurped by Robert Kravitz and the Englewood Board of Education. Why?
Robert L. Kravitz

At times like this, one of integrity puts pride aside, cuts the Drama, and accepts the fact that one is not perfect. It is far past time that one admitted that one made a mistake. What was the mistake? The mistake was in NOT consulting, or simply ignoring the State Department of Education's Summary of Legal Requirements for Teacher Evaluation and Tenure Charges.  What was the rush? Why not be a real example to the students in the District and follow directions?

 At the very same time that Kravitz talked about "compliance", he failed to be compliant. His failure to adhere to the rules and regulations and state law has incurred victims. The victims here are the students and the families of the people dishonored in the eyes of the public. The victims are the taxpayers who must swallow the manufactured reasons for the financial tax increase while watching the 20 million pound gorilla in the room squirm in disgust. This Board of Education is wasting our money. As for Robert L. Kravitz, one who cannot accept constructive criticism, delegate responsibility and own up to mistakes does not belong in the field of Education.

Not one of the people suspended had the power to change anything other than a grade.  It is not inconceivable that in a failing school of over 1,000 students, there could be 3,000 plus grade changes. If students make up work, the grade changes. The problems that plague the high school have been an issue since practices were put in place designed to attract students from around the County into the School Choice Program at Dwight Morrow High School.

Did any of the Pitt Bull or EPSD reports reveal that only Academy students did not have the required seat hours in Physical Education Health & Safety? Did any of the reports reveal the fact that  A@E students were on a 4 day schedule. They had free periods. When the story first broke, School Choice students were only complaining about losing their free periods and not having toilet paper in the bathrooms. Why were they losing these free periods? They were losing the free periods, because the HS Administration was trying to fix the problem of "inadequate seat hours" in the Academy. Meanwhile, Englewood students were complaining in a totally different way.

School Choice students have been enticed into the Academy@Englewood Program with this incentive since 2002. In April of 2014, Academy Parents accused the Board of Education of breaking a contract with them which promised that their children, of superior intelligence, did not have to come in contact with students in the North building (the comprehensive high school).  A@E students since 2002 have been shorted seat hours in much more than gym. This situation was not created by any of the suspended employees. The situation has been in play for 16 years. 
Jamie E. Ciofalo is truly a Jack of all trades, but Master of none. Did he have access to Genesis before he was officially on the payroll of the EPSD?
Jamie E. Ciofalo - seems to be a one man outsource monster who negotiated his own salary. Stole money from the Lodi School system by taking days off that were not charged to his employee account. Is he doing the same here?
Ciofalo is the highest paid employee next to the Superintendent
Ciofalo is Director of Pupil Personnel Services (Special Ed)
Ciofalo is Director of Guidance, (The problems he "discovered" are still here)
Ciofalo is Direcot of 504, I&RS Services (which is currently a total mess)
Ciofalo is Director of Nursing Services. 

Ciofalo's Nonprofit businesses - (Official financial disclosures)
  • 'Pitt Bull Secure Technologies - Ciofalo is the auditor for this Company. This is the Company that supposedly found 3000+ grade changes at EPSD. Ciofalo is the one who originated the botched tenure charges that is costing the taxpayer millions of dollars. 'He found problems that got him the previous employee's job. How dependable is that information? Ciofalo needed a job since he was being chased out of Lodi Public Schools where his wife also works. Did he participate in creating problems so he could get in the Englewood Public School District and solve them? I wonder. Remember, he was already supplying our District with his bullying expertise. Members of the EPSD Staff had already attended the training Ciofalo offers at the Lodi Boy's & Girl's Club. This Fact is corroborated by his own Financial Disclosure Statement.
  • Duracio Films
  • ZenDeliver
  • EdJobSpot
  • Power Capital Consultants
  • YoPay
  • Duracio Technologies
  • HIBsterVention
  • Haley House Publishing
  • HIBster PD
  • Power Educational Consultants
  • Team HIBster
  • YoGetMe
  • Duracio Designs
  • President of Board of Directors Lodi, Hackensack, Teaneck Boys & Girls Clubs
When does this man have time to do the job for which we pay him? This arrangement is costing us more money....Mo' Money....Mo'Money.....

Was Jamie E. Ciofalo doing a great job in Lodi where he was hired by friends and his HS football coach? He was forced to leave his hometown dream job, because he was participating in some unwholesome practices with the then School Board President, Joseph Licata. A Lodi blogger, now Lodi school board member, launched a campaign against Ciofalo's unethical practices in Lodi. Joseph Licata, Ciofalo's benefactor and protector resigned from the Lodi School Board. I want to know if these 2 get to skip out on the chaos and illegal activity in Lodi simply by resigning and leaving town. Licata and Ciofalo still work together on Boys and Girls Club ventures. How did we end up with this train wreck?

Ciofalo was hired here with 4 times the duties he had in Lodi. In addition to all of this responsibility, he runs at least 11 non profits and is Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi, Hackensack and Teaneck. He is also on the Board at the Immaculate Conception High School. 

Does Jamie E. Ciofalo wear a cape and tights to work everyday? Did we hire Superman or the Joker?