Saturday, October 25, 2014

BREAKING!!! NYS Senator Wishes to Meet Concerning PS 154 in the Bronx

Great news came across the SBSB news desk this week.

After many hours of lobbying, phone calls, letter writings, etc... trips to Albany, I have finally gotten an audience with a highly respected and highly influential New York State senator to meet with me, and maybe some others, on my plight and the conspiracy DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx had diabolically planned against me and possibly others.

I can't give all the details but the meeting will be taking place after the November elections at the senator's office. The senator is aware of the situation at PS 154 and from what his chief of staff has shared is appalled.

Details to follow.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Persecution of the Rubber Room's Tito Landrum

Back on September 4, these pages reported on how the fake cops at OSI came to serve some papers on fellow Rubber Room prisoner Tito Landrum.

The story is that back in the Spring, Tito was covering the SAVE Room for one period. In the room that day was a 3rd grade girl and a 7th grade boy (The school is a K-8 school).

The 3rd grade girl claimed that during Tito's time covering that day the 7th grade boy walked over to her and whipped out his schlong. Soon after that Tito was removed for parts other than the school.

The notice he got was to come down to OSI and speak with them. Tito dutifully went along with a rep from the Bronx UFT. The complaint was that he had witnessed the whipping out of said schlong and did nothing st the time nor did he report it. Tito denied ever seeing it happen and since he never saw what happened he can't report what he didn't see.

He was shown the statement by the little girl, but there was no statement from the 7th grade boy.

The OSI meeting ended and several weeks passed. His principal sent him notice to request a meeting with him and a UFT representative to be held within the walls of the Rubber Room.

The meeting came, he again denied ever being aware of any such incident and that it would be extremely difficult to report what he did not see.

The meeting ended and he went back to gen pop and the principal went on her merry way.

Just an aside. This principal is a Leadership Academy grad. She replaced a trusted and beloved principal at her school. Since her arrival she has systematically gone after veteran teachers. Over 40 teachers have left the school either under their own volition or other indignities. A pattern persists, no? Tito is a 23 year veteran teacher on the wrong side of 50 and makes way too much money. Figure it out.

So a few days after the meeting with the principal, the HR person at the Rubber Room has something for Tito. It is a disciplinary letter to the file. But that is not all.

A week or so after that he gets hit with 3020-a charges. Yep, four specifications all related to this incident.

Among the charges are;

Lack of professional fitness.

Violation of Chancellor's Regulation A-412.

Neglect of duties

Poor judgement

Created a situation in which a student can show off his schlong

Failed to supervise the male student

Failed to supervise the female student

Yeah, someone screwed up here and it was not Tito.  Anyone care to guess?

The principal is covering her tushy for allowing a 7th grade boy into a SAVE Room with a 3rd grade girl. Who would allow such a thing to happen? Why would it happen? The principal needs a scapegoat and she picked Tito to be the fall guy. This is a man who in my opinion could not and wold not hurt anyone. That if he saw what happened or if it truly happened he would have done all in his power to stop it and/or report it.

Why would he not report it? What advantage would he have to stay silent?

On the other hand, why is this even going to a 3020-a hearing? Is this not an incredible waste of time and money? A letter in the file is not sufficient even when it is just one person's word against another?

More curious, it seems that either OSI felt there was not enough evidence to warrant any further action or that they decided to bump it down to the principal for her to take the necessary steps. If OSI didn't feel it needed further action why then did the principal have to go past a letter in the file.

It is open season again on teachers. We are sitting ducks and there is not one person out there who care. The DOE is running scared from Campbell Brown and trying to prove her wrong.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How Does Bronx Superintendent Yolanda Torres Keep Her Job?

When I went into the bodega yesterday morning I saw the headline on the front page of the Daily News that Fariña sacked 12 out of 42 superintendents. Coming so soon on the heels of the ode to District 7 Superintendent Yolanda Torres one couldn't but help to wonder, as well as hope.

Sadly when I turned to page 5 I saw that yet again Yolanda Torres is the Teflon Superintendent. Even though she is responsible for;
....the debacle of Linda Amil-Irizarry as principal of PS 154, to the abuse of students by former 154 AP Derrick Townsend and the subsequent cover-up, the arrest for stealing funds of the principal at PS 31, to the continuing educational failure in District 7, admonishments from the New York State Department of Eduction, to allowing co-locations, to the stealing of time at PS 162 involving former Principal Marilyn Manzolillo and her AP Greg Papadopoulos (In which Papadopoulos only received a letter to the file) and the subsequent death of an AP at 162, and the brain drain (Teachers leaving in droves) at PS 154, one can seriously call into question Yolanda's integrity.
Let's also had in the "wonderful" test scores (Click to enlarge);
 Was the only qualification to keep the superintendent job was to be a principal and have taught for ten years? Or was a qualification to be a leader as well?

But in today's Daily News Chancellor Fariña laid out what she expects from the superintendents in today's Daily News;
“You’re the eyes and ears of the chancellor, you’re accountable for the success of the principals. Being on the ground visiting and listening is crucial.”
Hey The Crack Team has no problem with that.

But The Crack Team has a problem with this;
city’s supers will get the low-down on strategies for aiding troubled schools, including help getting rid of bad teachers.....
But why not work with teachers on how to be the best gosh darn teacher that they can be? But if not, is one of the strategies for getting rid of teachers to have the principal enter into a conspiracy and pre-determine that a teacher will be found incompetent?

But back to the wonderment of how Yolanda Torres has somehow managed to keep her job.

I hate to quote Families for Excellent Schools, but;

" of 11 middle schools in District 7, eight middle schools are failing and only 10% of students are at grade level."
Almost 10 percent of the failing elementary schools in the city are from District 7.
What gives? The superintendents at Districts 8,9,11,and 12 were all let go, yet Yolanda stays. We all know why District 10 Superintendent wasn't replaced...too much money flowing in Riverdale, but The Crack Team is perplexed at Yolanda's seeming good luck.

The Crack Team wants to know, as well as the entire District 7 community, who is Yolanda Torres' rabbi?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Has DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal Secretly Recorded Formal Observations?

DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx has a hidden, well not hidden, rather a special talent that not too many know about.

Apparently, it seems that DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal is not only an educator but a court reporter as well. Yes, you read that right, a court reporter.

It's not being implied that she moonlights as a court reporter, but rather she has the skills of a court reporter and these skills have come across in how she conducts (Or has conducted in the 2012-2013 school year) formal observations.

Back in 2012-2013 when DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal had pre-planned how many observations I was to have, as well as the diabolical plot that I would be found incompetent before the school year started, DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal had a very unique method of observing.

She would enter the classroom with her trusty laptop, sit her self down, and when you started teaching she did what she had to do. No, not taking copious hand written notes, but rather transcribing the entire 50 minute lesson onto her laptop.

How can this be done you ask? Yes, DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal is super duper smart and like James Bond knows it all. But did DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal, while earning her doctorate, also attend some of the finer schools in Manhattan for court stenography? Better yet, does she have the skills were court reporting?

A good court reporter must be able to type about 180-22- words per minute using what is known as a Stenograph (Take a look at this video) on a 22 key unmarked keyboard. Now remember, this is a hard job, even though most of the time there are mostly two people talking, or even one.  Yes, there is a lot of interaction amongst judges, lawyers, witnesses, but not like having 25 kids and 1 teacher.

DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal was able to take these skills as a court reporter and transfer them to the classroom. Not only was she able to transcribe the entire 50 minute lesson, supposedly verbatim, but in the transcription have the name of every child who has spoken, the inflections of the voices, and the movements of all in the class. She was able to do all this while being able to concentrate on the lesson being taught as well.

Now, there were some mistakes made in the transcription handed back. Large chunks of the lesson were missing and comments, inflections, interactions that never happened in the lesson were on the transcript.

Now for the readers of this blog who say, "IMPOSSIBLE!", well, you must put away your cynical hat for just a moment. As my dad said, "Anything is possible, the question is, is it probable."

Hmm, let's put my dad's theory to use.

Can DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal actually type as fast as a court reporter? Anyone can, even a monkey, but type that fast with accuracy or DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal's idea of truthiness? 

If DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal can type that fast, she would have to be spot on accurate with who said what to whom as well as the correct inflection used in each speaker's voice. 

If DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal can type that fast and accurate surely it must take some amount of concentration, concentration that is not used to properly follow the lesson, no? 

If DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal can type that fast and accurate along with the needed concentration wouldn't she not miss out on some of the small intricacies of the lesson? Perhaps even unspoken moments? 

Can DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal truly type that fast and accurate and if not, dare it be said...? That she covertly recorded the lesson on her laptop only to transcribe it later and purposely omit exculpatory evidence to quality teaching?

If DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal was audio recording observations, does this then not explain why (To transcribe the audio) it took almost a month to get feedback, the rating, and the transcription of the observation back?

At anytime, if the observations were being recorded, had DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal informed or gotten permission from the teacher being observed for the lesson to be audio recorded? 

In a previous 3020-a hearing, DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal when asked if she had audio recorded observations denied she had. Was this the truth or a fib?

In a controlled setting, would DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal be able to replicate such skills as she exhibited during formal observations? 
These are all questions inquiring minds would like answered. If these observations were audio recorded it would be a serious breech of trust and of ethics on the part of DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Did District 7 Superintendent Yolanda Torres Know and When?

In 1973, Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, during the Watergate hearings asked John Dean this question in regards to President Nixon's knowledge of the Watergate break-in;
"What did the President know, and when did he know it? 
In 2014, the same question should be asked of Bronx District 7 Superintendent Yolanda Torres.

What did Yolanda know and when did she know about the diabolical (here, here, here, and here) plot that DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx and BFF AP Jessica Cruz were involved in against me and possibly other staff members at the school?

I had spoken to Yolanda on or about July 17, 2012 sharing my concern about the technology, or the lack of technology, at PS 154 and also asked her if she can bridge any differences between myself and DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal. Unbeknownst to myself at the time, the plot was put into play on August 24, 2012.

It is only natural to wonder what Yolanda's involvement is in this sordid conspiracy. One can only look at the past and wonder what machinations she has involved her self in.

From the debacle of Linda Amil-Irizarry as principal of PS 154, to the abuse of students by former 154 AP Derrick Townsend and the subsequent cover-up, the arrest for stealing funds of the principal at PS 31, to the continuing educational failure in District 7, admonishments from the New York State Department of Eduction, to allowing co-locations, to the stealing of time at PS 162 involving former Principal Marilyn Manzolillo and her AP Greg Papadopoulos (In which Papadopoulos only received a letter to the file) and the subsequent death of an AP at 162, and the brain drain (Teachers leaving in droves) at PS 154, one can seriously call into question Yolanda's integrity.

If she was not part of the plot planning then she has hired to rouge administrators and is incapable of leading a school district. If she was part of the planning, then she is still incapable of being a district leader and has serious ethical issues.

These questions must be asked of Yolanda Torres;

Was she the one who facilitated the coming together of DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal and Michael Agona?

In June 2012, myself and several other staff members at PS 154 went to meet with her about our concerns about DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal. She seemed generally taken aback by some of our concerns. Was the fact that myself and others, either immediately or soon after rated U or brought up on 3020-a charges, orchestrated by her? 

If Yolanda was involved in the conspiratorial plot against me (And possibly other teachers) who at Tweed did she confer with or get permission from? 

At what point will Yolanda's leadership, or lack of, for District 7 be looked into? 

And again, what did Yolanda know and when did she know it? 

The ELA test scores at PS 154 are worse now (Page 355, and remember, this years cut scores were lower!) with DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal than before

Where is Yolanda?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Is PS 154 in the Bronx the Next Watergate?

I got to thinking.

I got to thinking after reading some of Chancellor Fariña's Capacity Frameworks on the DOE website. Yep, was really rubbing my chin and pondering.

Under the Framework known as Trust, and so it was said;
Relationships between all members of the school community— including administrators, educators, students, and families—are based on social respect, personal regard, and integrity. Trust creates a school culture where teachers, principals, staff, and all members of the Department of Education value and respect each other...

Another Framework, Effective School Leadership so sayeth;
 The principal sets the tone for the school, develops a climate of inclusiveness, and inspires staff and students with a clear vision for student achievement. The goal of a strong school leader is to build coherent instructional and social-emotional support that improves student achievement. School leaders support teacher development by consistently offering professional development opportunities and providing meaningful feedback.
¡Uni momento, por favor! It seems that someone has not gotten the Frameworks memo. I wonder who, **COUGH COUGH**, **WINK WINK.**

 What would a lay person say if they have read about the shenanigans that DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx and BFF AP Jessica Cruz have engaged in concerning me, and possibly others?

When this was shared on August 7, would any Joe Shmoe from Palookaville see the integrity, the trust, the inspiration, and the meaningful feedback? Would Mr Schmoe find the same values in this? Or this?

One would hazard to guess that the answer would be an unequivocal no way!

But let's give DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx and BFF AP Jessica Cruz the benefit of the doubt for just an itty bitty moment. Perhaps we don't have enough information to make an informed opinion, or enough information to confirm a fact.

But first a little background info.

As reported here on December 3, 2013, the erstwhile and multi-talented Betsy Combier filed a FOIL request in September 2012 for Coviello's any and all emails regarding me. Betsy felt she was quite thorough in using many keywords. But alas, they were one step ahead of her.

In an email in September 2012 from BFF AP Jessica Cruz to DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154, BFF AP Jessica Cruz suggested to DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 that all future emails regarding me should be use the honorific, "Mr."

Now I am not a member of the legal profession, I do happen to be Jewish, and I can assume that this is not kosher behavior. Can this be obstruction of justice as some have suggested? I can't say, nor is it my place to make either an assumption or pass judgement.

But these questions can be asked...

Why were they so afraid of what Betsy would find out and why would they use a pseudonym for me? 

In a school that still consistently has almost 90% of students across all testing grades in both Math and ELA  put so much energy into what some might also call a cover up?

Are there any other teachers from the 2012-2013 school year that were U-rated for the year subject to what I was subject to? 

Are there any other teachers from the 2013-2014 school year that were rated ineffective or developing for the year subject to what I was subject to? 

Are these kind of behaviors by administrators done in a vacuum or is it systematic throughout the system? Knowing that if we all had a dime for every time we hear a teacher say, "My principal set me up," we would be quite wealthy, if this is just the tip of the iceberg in a systematic problem, how many years do we go back to see if this was done and be sure accused teachers are exonerate?

What did District 7 Superintendent Yolanda Torres know and when did she know it? More importantly, was she the one orchestrating this conspiracy? 

Inquiring minds want answers.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rubber Room Indignities at 1230 Zerega Ave Bronx

While sitting around in the Rubber Room at 1230 Zerega Ave last Monday, October 6th, we yet again found out that what others think of us, as if it were really a surprise.

Doing what one usually does in the Rubber Room the big macha, along with his two deputies, of 1230 Zerega Ave came to address all 11 of us. Why were we blessed with his presence?

A little background.

We are warehoused in the large, 10 table, approximately 36 seat cafeteria. In this cafeteria there are two vending machines (One for snacks, the other for beverages). We are also blessed with a former 7-Up soda refrigerator where we can store our food. We are also have a toaster and a microwave.

There is also a 42 inch flat screen LCD-HD TV in there. Hanging up in the corner. We can watch the TV whenever we want. Sadly there is no cable, we just get the over the air channels and whatever corresponding digital channels come along. We just don't have the remote. That is under lock and key by a receptionist, Mrs Forest Gump, in the enrollment center. No one know why she has such specialized attention.

The Rubber Room/Cafeteria at 1230 Zerega Ave.

About 10 days ago we decided to turn on the TV to watch the latest Channel 4 news when Mrs Forest Gump comes into the cafeteria to eat her lunch. We were then hoping to watch New York Live right after but Mrs Forest Gump would have none of it. She had to watch her stories. We were subjected to the Young and the Restless.

It was attempted that we have every right to watch the TV as her and out of courtesy she should at the very least consult with us, ask us, what we want to watch or if it is OK to change the channel. Her reply was quite typical;
"This is MY cafeteria, 'you people' don't even belong here."
Umbrage was taken at this and it was reported. It didn't have to happen this way. It could have been worked out, a compromise found. But Mrs Forest Gump had to insult and degrade us.

Which brings us to Monday.

So like Fielding Mellish had to listen to the general, I too, as well as my colleagues had to listen to the leader of the building belittle and humiliate us. 

He told us in no uncertain terms that we are not in a Rubber Room and we should not call where we are a Rubber Room. We are in the cafeteria.

That there are 180 people at the Zerega Ave complex and that it is very convenient to the 6 train, the Hutch, the Bruckner, the Cross Bronx and the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges. Oh, and the parking is out of this world.

There is no other place to put us at Zerega and this is where we must be as he talked condescending to us implying we should be grateful for the amenities we have (See above).

But he would like one thing from us. We must leave the Rubber Room, oops, the cafeteria from 12:30 to 1:30 so the rest of the staff at Zerega can eat lunch. Never mind that half the building is out at schools and whatnot and the rest are eating lunch at their desks. We must vacate or as he implied;
 "We can find other reassignment centers in the Bronx for you."
When asked that even if everyone in the building wished to eat lunch at that time there isn't enough room for everybody, he ignored that and shared that people wish to converse with one another at lunch and talk about the travails of the New York Jets and we will be inhibiting such dialogue.

We were told we can go to lunch (But not in the cafeteria), sit in the bullpens of our networks, sit in unoccupied meeting rooms, or the copy room. But NOT IN THE CAFETERIA!!

This is really unacceptable. We are professionals and human beings. We have already lost a great deal of respect and dignity from others, why must this person come in and kick us when we are down. The Leader even admitted that it was true that this decree was in response to the complaint about Mrs Forest Gump. The same Mrs Forest Gump that insulted the teachers in the Rubber Room last year and the same decree was declared. There is a pattern here for the Leader to notice. Mrs Forest Gump does not play and work well with others.

And if you are asking yourself is the cafeteria overcrowded due to the exodus of the Rubber Room inmates? Not exactly. Mrs Forest Gump has been the lone person having lunch there from 12:30 to 1:30 everyday and watching her stories unfettered.