SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Does John Didrichsen of PS/MS 291 in the Bronx Have Flaming Pants?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Does John Didrichsen of PS/MS 291 in the Bronx Have Flaming Pants?

One of the witnesses who testified against me was former literacy coach, John Didrichsen from the failed "Maverick Education Partnership," CFN 407. John currently tolls away at PS/MS 291 in the Bronx as a literacy coach.

John has quite the impressive resume. After graduating with a degree in theater John took Hollywood by storm. John soon, somehow, got into education and taught for three years before becoming a literacy coach.

So after months and months of asking for a demo lesson, John was sent to my class. Not to do a demo, but rather to observe me. Funny thing is I found out at the hearings that John had been at the school since mid-November and for some reason even though I was asking for assistance since before that time John was never sent to me.

But to make a long story short, the day John came to visit me was when I had a re-scheduled 1st grade class. Now mind you, the little ones usually had their preps before noon but this day a most rambunctious class was scheduled for me at 12:20 PM, two hours after they had lunch. Strange.

Here are some of John's testimony along with my retorts;

John claims; What are they going to know at the end of this 50 minutes that they didn't know before? And it should be clearly articulated. I did not see that in this lesson.

Yes, he did. We were talking about how to make and keep friends. Was he not there as I gave them an example of how I made a friend in 4th grade? The book I read on how one can make a friend? Or the turn and talk the students had about making friends? I am confused since John said I had the Workshop Model down.

John shares how my management could have been better;  there were several disruptions, students getting up, Mr. Zucker asking them to come back. There were phone calls from the phone near the door, and Mr. Zucker had  to get up to answer that. Students had to get up to get pencils and/or sharpen pencils.

There was one student who was a major disruptor and most came from attention seeking and whining. Let's call this kid Schmuel Rabinowitz. See, I know this young man, John didn't. If John did he would have known that Schmuel was born addicted to drugs and was not wanted by his biological mother. Schmuel had been in several foster homes by the time of 1st grade. 

Yes, I warned a couple of times that I would change their cards and didn't, but the card system used by the school that year was an utter failure and was to be scrapped the following year. Besides, I like using the countdown to zero to get the students attention and also quieting my voice which works as well. But you need to know your audience to know what works, and I did and John did not.

As for the phone calls. How the heck is that my fault? Students getting up to sharpen pencils? I didn't allow them to. But here is another kvetch; 

Even within this group of special- needs students or students with IEPs, I believe all the students were special-needs students in the class.

John didn't know, it was general ed class. Should he not know his audience? More on this later. 

the fairly easy task that he gave them to do at their desks in a very short period of time, but then they really didn't--they weren't given anything else to do, so a lot of them had quite a bit of time where they

Easy task? They were to start a book on how to make a friend. The first page was about why it is important to have a friend. Easy? This was a very low functioning class, I got them to write, to come up with ideas we shared. To be on task, somewhat, which is good for them. And when some finished early, what did they do? They went to the library to get a book to read. That is what I was told to the classroom library was for. We came back to the carpet and shared. JEEZ!!

See, it is really strange that he testified to these things even thought his write up to me suggested to use more rigor and mentioned that things that were completely out of my hand led to an unevenness of the flow. Oh, but I did not get the feedback from him until June 3. About two and a half weeks later. But there is one more interesting thing he blabbered; 

When you do observations, with Danielson what you like to do is find one competency that you would like to concentrate on more than others.

Say what? That's what this is all about? He even asked me to concentrate on 1-E of Danielson. Even though Danielson does not include the Workshop Model? Under cross John blithered;

Well, they would be judged and observed formally and informally the following year on those competencies, and I wanted them to be prepared for that. It was something--I made it my duty to have teachers know.

If that is not made enough, the worse was yet to come.

Under cross John was asked under oath if he had met with me formally after the period. John said it was just informally for "like about 5 minutes in the doorway". Gee, I remember it differently. I remember sitting with John for almost the entire period after that lesson, a period which was cleared for me and John denies it? I remember getting my lunch and asking him if he minds me eating it in front of him. In fact he was asked under oath if I ate lunch in front of him, he said, "No." Maybe this will refresh John's memory.

Or what about the part where he is asked under cross;
Do you remember telling Mr. Zucker during that conversation that you saw someone who could teach?
John responded;
"Saw someone who could teach?" No, I don't remember saying that.
Hmmm. John might need some help with his memory.

This might not fall under the level or perjured testimony (We here at SBSB don;t have any formal legal training) but it sure smacks of untruthiness or John just might have the proverbial pants on fire.

I understand. John has his SBL license and wants to play with the big boys. Screw ethics and morality. What matters is how you get to the top.

Tune in tomorrow when it is shared about the time John comes to do a demo lesson and the complete and utter train wreck that ensues.


ed notes online said...

Darn - that was the day I missed at the hearings. Now I have the complete picture.

Anonymous said...
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Pete Zucker said...

Let's keep the comments pertaining only to Didrichsen.

Anonymous said...

I was always under the assumption that other teachers can not write up other teacher's lesson or be used against them. WTF..... This is totally against union policy. His statements should not have been allowed in the hearing.... I would check this out. Keep fighting the good fight Peter!

Anonymous said...

Bronx Teacher, it should be pointed out that you linked the words "Hollywood by storm" to the following webpage:

On the webpage, beneath the heading "Did You Know?", appear the words:

"Trivia: Father, with Lauren-Marie Taylor, of two daughters (Olivia and Katherine) and a son (Wesley)."

IMDb had linked "Lauren-Marie Taylor" to the following webpage:

Therefore, it was actually you who opened the door to a discussion of John Didrichsen's wife by linking to John's IMDb page.

In addition, it is known that you appreciate the entertainment industry by having, in the past, provided links to episodes of "The Three Stooges," "The Little Rascals," "I Love Lucy," "Star Trek," music videos, and much more.

In light of the above, it seems appropriate to discuss John Didrichsen's wife and one of her colleagues within a comment.

People may not know too much about John Didrichsen's work, but, inasmuch as IMDb saw fit to link his page to his wife's page, and you saw fit to reveal the link to his page, people should be afforded the opportunity to learn about his wife's contributions to the entertainment industry.

It is also worthy of contemplation that, had you done your Google homework prior to working with John Didrichsen, and then later expressed admiration for his wife's acting ability, he would never have treated you the way he did.

It's true that "It's not what you know. It's whom you know."

But, it's also true that "It's what you know. And it's whom you know it about."

And now, to discuss John Didrichsen in the context of your post...

He treated you very badly.

He obviously observed a good lesson, but then characterized it otherwise, under oath at your hearing.

And it's shameful as to how the DOE allows and encourages this type of thing!