Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Educational Neglect Occurs At Excelsior Preparatory High School And The DOE Does Nothing About It.
Its no secret that the Bloomberg small high schools that now inhabit the Springfield Gardens Campus in Southeast Queens have been rapidly deteriorating academically. No longer can these schools exclude "high needs students" or are given extra funds as they were able to obtain previously. With the leveling of the playing field, these small schools are less appealing to the academically inclined parent and child and the results in the last few years show that. Each incoming freshman class is more academically challenged then the previous one The college readiness rates have dropped into the single digits and are not trending in the right direction. None of the schools are diverse and that's a major part of the problem. Two of the schools received a school grade of "A' under the bogus grading system. I guess "A" stands for awful.
I have been to all four high schools at the Springfield Gardens campus and cannot recommend any of them either as a teacher or a parent of a student. Students run the halls during class, disrespecting teachers and each other is the norm, and the school feels unsafe. However, this post is about the educational neglect that occurred at one of the schools, Excelsior Preparatory High School.
Excelsior Preparatory High School is run by a "Leadership Academy Principal" who has grossly failed in her duty to provide her students with a complete and college-ready academic curriculum. In my opinion the Principal practiced educational neglect when it came to her school's 100 Earth Science students. In a school known for emphasizing Science this makes it even more troubling. Why do I claim educational neglect? Let me tell the reader the story and decide for yourself.
The story begins with the Science teacher, who taught the Earth Science classes and was "u rated" by the Principal in the last two years and apparently was on his way to receiving an "ineffective" when he stopped showing up as the second semester began. Officially he was calling in sick but some staff suspected that he was removed. Regardless, this left the school without an Earth Science teacher. Did the school recruit for a replacement or check the ATR pool? Apparently not. For the next three months the school used the weekly rotating ATRs to "babysit" the class. It was only in late April did the school assign a Biology teacher to finish off the school year. By then the lack of labs and because the classes were so far behind in the Earth Science curriculum, the Principal decided to cancel the Earth Science Regents. That's right, Excelsior Preparatory High School, known for their Science will not be giving the Earth Science Regents tomorrow.
This travesty didn't need to happen. By a stroke of luck, in March an ATR certified in Earth Science showed up at the school. Teachers, students, and even the assistant principal was thrilled that the 100 students now had a fighting chance to meet the Earth Science qualifications and sit for the Regents. The teacher, while not too happy that he might have to stay there for the rest of the year, still worked hard and started doing the labs the students needed and was in the process of setting up a program to get them on task by the end of the school year. For the first time in months the students were enthused and started to believe they now had a real chance to pass the Earth Science Regents. However, there was a problem. The Principal decided not to ask the DOE to assign the teacher to the school. Why did she not do the right thing for her students? Maybe it was that the teacher reminded her of her former "u rated" teacher who left the school, maybe she didn't think the teacher was the "right fit" for her school? Maybe her Children First Network didn't recommend she keep the teacher? Whatever the reason, the Earth Science teacher left at the end of the week and with him, the last chance for those students to succeed. It took another month before the Biology teacher was temporarily hired to finish the school year. The result? No Earth Science Regents are being offered at the school.
Will the DOE take action and punish the Principal who neglected the needs of 100 students or will they put their collective heads into the sand and ignore it? I'm guessing the latter since its "children last....Always" at the DOE.