It was either May or June of 2013, about several weeks into the reign of DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx when Mr J said something quite revealing to me.
DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 had decided that mass preps in the auditorium were no longer to be accompanied by a movie but rather the children were to sit there, sometime for several hours, reading books. Good idea, poor implementation.
So one day, at the end of the day, I am covering the mass prep along with The Bow Tie, Mr J. The entire 2nd grade was in the auditorium when a student came up to me with a question. Now this student had a lot of issues, had been a holdover, and was quite challenging. I knew how to handle him and I had gained this young man's respect. Anyway, he came up to me and I was standing next to Mr J. and asked me something or was kvetching about something. Anyway, I got him to go back to his seat and as he was walking back Mr J turned to me and said;
"We'll see him in jail in a few years."I was incredulous. I wish I had said something then, I should have. But as we know if a teacher makes an accusation against an administrator there better be witnesses.
So last night I get an email from a former teacher at Bronx Bridges High School. She knows The Bow Tie all too well and shared her story. A story that she has sent to Chancellor Farina, only to be ignored time after time.
Here is her story of her brush with The Bow Tie, Mr J (We added and/or deleted/edited some and highlighted the good stuff!)
Last June, I met with my principal (NELSIE CASTILLO) for my final conference. I wondered if she would mention that I had only had 5 of my 6 observations. Instead she informed me of my score. I then wondered how the calculation was made.
Upon looking online, I found that one of my observations had been duplicated---DUPLICATED! The date and class period were changed and it was submitted as the foregone observation report; everything on it was exactly the same as another observation report previously submitted. To make matters worse, it just so happens to be my lowest scoring observation that now counts twice toward my MOTP rating. It all seems a little too deliberate to me.
Had I made my observer (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) angry? To be honest, probably. But what a petty way to retaliate. Fire me if you find me insubordinate, because at least then it might sting. Sabotaging my teacher rating is low, immoral, and incredibly unprofessional.
Having received an Ineffective MOTP rating the previous year and undergoing the incredibly meaningless appeal process, I was incensed. If I had to go through another appeal, I would surely quit. You see, an APPR appeal is about a year long process where you amass evidence, present it to the UFT, they review it, you review it again with a lawyer, and finally you have a hearing. I didn’t win my appeal. In fact, no one did according to my assigned lawyer. The appeal process seemed to me more of a way to keep a few senescent lawyers and NYCDOE personnel on the books. I had a solid case and I am sure a great percentage of the other appellants did too.
It turns out, even if I wanted to appeal this year’s rating, I cannot. My MOSL score came back Effective and since my MOTP is Developing, my overall score is Developing too. According to inane rule, you may only appeal a rating if your overall score is Ineffective.
The fact that I had received an Effective for my MOSL score is evidence enough for me that I deserve to have received my final observation. I teach at an all English Language Learner (Bronx Bridges) school. One hundred percent of my students are ELLs. Every student had arrived to the country within the last four years. A number of them are Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE), having left their war-torn countries or the fields on which they labored in search of a better life. The vast majority of them might as well be SIFE students, having attended very poor quality schools their entire lives. Most of my high school students arrive to my classroom with the reading and writing skills of a third grader--in their native language. As far as skills in English, numeracy and logic, there are rarely any to speak of. It has been said that “education is not the filling of vessels but the lighting of a fire”. What is left out of this popular quote is that there has to be something in the vessel to fuel the fire, a spontaneous combustion requires ingredients. The teachers at my school are starting with empty vessels and are evaluated based on whether these vessels, which on most occasions take twelve years to fill to the required level, can be filled in four.
I got nearly 30% of my students to pass on the first try. That may seem like a low number to you, but not compared to similar students within the district. In my classroom, every single one of the students tested grew statistically--between 4% and 98%. These numbers alone stand as testament to the fact that I am not a developing teacher and that I should not have been the victim of someone else’s lack of responsibility, or as it seems based on the observation he chose to duplicate, maliciousness. If anything, he should have fought to keep me as one of his teachers.
My observer (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) just so happens to not be the very best assistant principal out there. Why can’t I rate him (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) as ineffective as he is? He (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) is the same man who on several occasions said that our students belonged in prison, who lost the Earth Science practicums back in January and cost my students 15% on their exams through no fault of their own, who, after having broken up a fight between two boys left them inside his office, to which the door automatically locks, by themselves, only to be found practically killing each other moments later by teachers who ran to pull them apart.
When asked about the duplicated observation, he (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) said that the principal was supposed to do the fifth and sixth observations. He (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) grabbed my file to see if I had signed the observation, as though if I had, that would save him from the repercussions yet to be seen. No, I never signed that I had received it, and no, it wasn’t in my file.
I doubt anything will happen to him. The UFT says he should be fired, but then no one answered a single email all summer. I emailed Farina twice and have yet to hear back. Its as if it's all a big conspiracy.
The evaluation system is meant to put teachers on a bell curve. Its supposed to tell hiring principals and parents how you stack up as a teacher against other teachers teaching the same population the same subject. Someone has to be on the left side of the bell curve, right? After all the bell curve isn’t going away no matter how great all teachers are. The problem is not that this is the goal, the problem is that it is impossible to take into account circumstances out of your control--like lost exams and made up observation reports. This and so many other stories is why the evaluation system is flawed. More so, its why my assistant principal (Rajendra Jimenez-Jailall) should be fired. How is this not illegal?
WHOA! Some takeways.
One, as far as The Crack Team is concerned, it appears as if The Bow Tie, Mr. J had engaged in criminal activity by falsifying public records, the teacher's observation. Read it again. He never did the 6th observation as he should and instead of being a man, decided to just copy the previous observation verbatim.
According to New York State Penal Law S 175.30 Offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree;
A person is guilty of offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree when, knowing that a written instrument contains a false statement or false information, he offers or presents it to a public office or public servant with the knowledge or belief that it will be filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office or public servant.
Offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Not good. Seems that there might be a possibility that Mr J and his bow tie might be looking at some time in Rikers. Maybe there he might meet some of his former students, you know, the ones he had so much faith in. But think about it. What a self-fullfilling prophecy if there ever was one. One wonders how many Newports Mr J would fetch for.
Leaving two boys locked inside your office so they can duke it out Raj? Come on. Even a TFA teacher knows not to do that. Was Mr J written up for that? Doubtful. As he said under oath at my 3020-a hearing, he is a good friend of Nellie Castillo. Ms Castillo looks the other way apparently. Hey Nellie, isn't this putting minors in harms way? A criminal offense?
Losing instructional material? Isn't this something to be written up for? Not if you are an AP and buddies with the principal.
So meanwhile The Bow Tie, Mr J had the audacity to sit in judgement of me and to criticize me and not assist me. When I complained I was looked at as if I am a liar or crazy. Looks like the Karma Fairy has snapped Mr J's bow tie.
But who is really to blame for this? DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx and former and currently exiled District 7 superintendent Yolanda Torres. They both had no problem conspiring attempting to separate me from my direct deposit and actually succeeding with several of my colleagues, but to pass the buck onto others at the expense of the students and teachers at Bronx Bridges HS is beyond the pale.
I am dying to find out about Mr J and what happened with him at PS 154 during his last year there in 2013-2014. Soon I will. We are awaiting discovery from the DOE and soon we will be deposing both DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx and Yolanda Torres. In fact, I think we should depose both Mr J and his bow tie as well.
This man is a waste of human life. He is self-serving and all for himself. He couldn't handle 1st graders, what the hell is he doing in a high school?
For those reading this at Bronx Bridges, keep on sending the stories.