Friday, July 29, 2016
Another Renewal School To Avoid - Richmond Hill High School
One of the many issues facing the renewal schools is not only the poor academic skills of the student body but the feeling that these schools are unsafe for students and staff alike. In Queens, August Martin and John Adams high schools were declared "out of time" and many of the staff either refused to reapply for their jobs or were not selected, replaced by inexperienced or "newbie" teachers. How that helps these schools and their students are beyond me. Then there is William Cullen Bryant High School with one of the worst Principals in the City pushing out experienced staff and allegedly giving double credits to the students. How about the infamous Flushing High School who has had five principals in six years and where massive excessing occurred wile staff morale is at rock bottom. Finally, there are Martin Van Buren and Richmond Hill where the most weapons were confiscated and most arrests occurred. Who in their right mind would risk their reputation and well-being working in these schools?
Interestingly, the Chapter Leader of Richmond Hill has been playing up the school while admitting that "working at Richmond Hill requires a huge commitment", meaning that teachers are under continuous pressure to improve student performance or else. Moreover, the Principal Neil Garnesh is rated poorly by many teachers and is in the bottom rung of trust for High School principals in Queens. Finally, the school cannot attract academically proficient students to the school and has many teachers not certified in subjects they are teaching in (Earth Science is a prime example). Now it seems Richmond Hill has a new distinction, the school with the most student arrests in Queens.
Cosmetic changes to the renewal schools is not the answer, First, hire "the best and not cheapest" teachers for staff and develop a magnet program (Gateway) for academically performing students Second, bring back high school zoning so that the schools could retain more academically performing students in the neighborhood. Finally, recruit a school administration that willing to collaborate, .and not dictate to the staff. No :Leadership Academy Principals please. These three simple steps will slowly improve the renewal schools not how its being done by the DOE. More about the DOE's renewal school failure in my next post.