SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: A Love Letter to PS 154 Principal DR Alison Coviello

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Love Letter to PS 154 Principal DR Alison Coviello

Been so busy. Sorry for not posting for so long. But now that school is out, the summer is in and I wish to unload about this past year at PS 154. It was a harrowing year to say the least. Not just for me, but for several of my colleagues that all happen to be over 40, and either male, or of color.

Needless to say, starting today I will chronicle (not chronologically) from the files of that the Crack
Team gathered so copiously on the craziness of the 2012-2013 school year. The Crack Team is very good at being copious. The Crack Team believes in verification, verification, and more verification.

Today's entry is a "love letter" I had emailed to PS 154 principal, DR Alison Coviello. DR Coviello is very smart, she has a PhD. But serously, I will be the first one to say that she really, really knows her stuff. Like Ted Williams knew everything about hitting.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I was set up to fail. I believe that God, sees what is right and the truth will come through from him.

So without further adeiu, the "love letter," written around the beginning of March.

Dear Dr Coviello-

I wish to thank you for the time you took with me today for my pre-observation. Even though I had been out this week on jury duty, I am curious as to why I was emailed at 6 49 PM EST on Wednesday February 27, 2013 to inform me that I was to have a pre-observation meeting with you today, February 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM EST. Am I required to check my PS 154 Google Apps (Jdhyatt school email) on a consistent basis while at home or not working? If so, what is your recommendation for how often I should check this email?

On February 15, 2013 you did a walk through of my classroom after school hours. You rated me unsatisfactory under the column, "The classroom learning environment is organized and clutter free." Yet in your comments, you said "Writing paper is strewn on the teacher's desk. There are no other materials." What is your definition of strewn? What do you mean by no other materials? In the column “the teacher's desk should be minimized,” if so, should not the teacher's desk be tiny as well? Seriously, my desk is tiny and all the way in the corner. Also, is it not possible and probable that not only am I in the habit of putting materials away each and every day due to the fact that City Year uses my classroom, and materials in the past have been lost and abused, but that I was attempting to clean the room and with the best of intentions, knowing in the past you have shared with me my desk is "too cluttered?" Is there any photographic evidence of my desk in this condition?

You rated me unsatisfactory on my classroom library. Again, on September 29, 2012 Assistant Principal Jessica Cruz told me these books were for me to read to the class. She agreed with me that none of these books were specifically geared to character education. However, I was told to find passages in said books and read to the classes I support that correlate to the topic at hand. Assistant Principal Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall then told me just last month that the library must be to each "topic" of character education. At no time did he offer to assist nor on his own come to assist. In fact, I am still awaiting his demo lesson, which he promised me a month ago and which he told me will be awesome, with great anticipation.

You mention that there are no conference notes. Please share with me when and by whom modeled the proper way to take conference notes. Again this goes back to my previous question of if I must do “Character Education Through Literacy,” am I responsible for the students standardized test scores? Also, being a cluster teacher that sees students either once a week or twice a week as opposed to the everyday that other teachers see students why am I being held to the same standard as classroom teachers? Are other cluster teachers, other providers held to the same standard?

You checked unsatisfactory for materials organized and accessible to students. In which way must materials be accessible at 4 PM or late on a Friday afternoon or evening for students? Again, is it possible that I put these materials away at the end of the day, due to my classroom being used by others?

Again I got a U for inaccessibility for student notebooks. Did AP Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall tell you of the two month wait I had for him to get me these "notebooks"? But I do not have notebooks, I have green folders. Why do I get folders but all other teachers get black and white composition notebooks? Did AP  Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall  tell you that since I have nowhere to put these folders that the students bring them to and from class?

This goes for the U you gave me under "ample student work in folders or notebooks." What is ample? I got the folders from AP  Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall one week before Christmas break. How much material should be had?

Again, I received a U for not having process charts. I do. But apparently not in the way in wish you mandate, which is your prerogative and I respect that. But at no time did AP Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall in his two informals ever once mention anything about process charts. In fact he checked off as S that I do have process charts.

As for the other U's you gave me, I do have the teaching and process of students work up as well as standards. I feel I do have high quality (please define this) work up as well.

One thing I have noticed is the rating sheet that you gave me for this informal observation is quite different (different checklists, goals, standards) than the rating sheet for AP Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall 's observation. Is this an oversight or done purposely?

Are the strewn papers and the books crooked actually harmful to the learning process and actually a mess?

As for as today's (February 28, 2013) you told me that as an 18 year teacher I should know Writer's Workshop. I explained to you that I had Writer's Workshop, briefly, 15 years ago and felt that the support given to me has been insufficient. You then told me that as a Common Branch teacher I should know this. I told you that as a teacher that has not done this for almost 15 years that support is needed which I feel I have not fully gotten. At no time have I been offered inter class visitations for either classroom environment or teaching points. In December of 2012 I mentioned to you that while it was nice to receive training in the TC method that my workshops I had attended had been in pieces and I was not involved in the before planning or the share out with the TC coaches. Why would this be? In that same meeting I mentioned to you that I felt that what I was participating in was being done in isolation and that for me to better understand the process it would have been better for me to have had training in the complete philosophy of TC from the beginning. You raised your voice at me and told me no.

I am still curious, and must say still awaiting some answer, on how a Reading Workshop presentation on 2nd graders picking out the correct non-fiction book will help me with Character Education and AP Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall's edict to me, and yours, that the students must "write, write, write!"

Speaking of TC, in our meeting today, in your reply to my concern on lack of sufficient support, you told me that the coaches from TC are available for me to speak with. Have you shared with me their schedules and the days they are in the building? Email addresses? Have they come by to see me in my classroom?

But, in elementary schools, someone with a CB license can teach Phys ed. If this imaginary phys ed. teacher had been teaching gym for 15 years and was thrust into the position I have been unfairly thrust into. This goes to my analogy of a medical doctor. An ophthalmologist and a cardiologist are both licensed medical doctors. Will one go to an ophthalmologist for heart issues?

I also take umbrage at you raising your voice to me today and telling me "You have a brain, use it!"

But you did bring up an interesting point in that we as teachers must use our talents. I brought up what my talents and strengths as an educator are yet you won't use me to the best of my ability. When I suggest that perhaps I switch places with the current Emotion Response Provider so that there will be no more problems, or considerable less problems with the 5th grade, I felt that your laughter after my comment was inappropriate and mocking. It hurt my feelings.

I thank you for your time and look forward to your response.


1 comment:

Francesco Portelos said...

U rated observation after jury duty you say? They must have received the same support my admin did. Any Labor Support people visit your school?

Don't stand down.