SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Open Letter to my 2022-23 Principal

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Open Letter to my 2022-23 Principal

I just got rated U for the year. Here's the backstory.

I had an accommodation for this year. Working with small groups. OK. I filed the proper paperwork with SOLAS and HR kicked it to the principal to be approved or disapproved. It was approved.

When I entered the school in September, they had me "help out" the Kindergarten teacher. I was there for a few weeks, did coverages, etc...y end of September, beginning of October I was sent to an ICT class that was a teacher short. Again, an extra body. I did small group instruction. Worked with the neediest students. Did nap time two periods a day with pre-K and pre-3. My prep was different than teacher I was with. That's what I was thought of.

At beginning of the year I asked for a laptop. I was told no because I was an ATR. I eventually got a DOE laptop that I needed for my per session. I made a mistake. 

One day, it was a Wednesday in which I be with the outside chess instructor, I had laptop with me and was I was on it. A report to OSI that I was looking at porn. One student claimed he saw the porn from the glare reflecting off my glasses. There was no porn. Heck, OSI thought so too. OSI didn't find the students credible. It was bounced back to the principal. Anyhoo, I got letter to file for doing what everyone else had been doing during instruction time. But then and there I was told I can not use that laptop in the school. That it is not a school laptop. FWIW, this class, a 5th grade class is incredibly disruptive. The have driven their co-teacher to quit mid year, they are extremely disruptive, and get away with everything

When we come back from break in January I was assigned to the other ICT class. Originally I was to work with a very, very, very, challenging student. But after a few days they pawned the student off to a para. 

After I got letter to the file on February 9, I was concerned with risking a U for the year. I had yet to be observed yet. I thought, hey, let's get observed but this through Advance. That why the letter doesn't come into play. Well, here is a taste of things to come.

I had observation thinking, in fact, both me and AP thinking it was under advance. I met with her about 10 days later and she gave me a U, even though the observation was 15 minutes. She told me that if using Advance it would be a Developing. Fine, MOSL would have brought me to an Effective. When I kvetched, we met with principal and her way to fix this was to give me a formal observation with pre observation meeting. When I asked for paperwork, etc... of first observation she refused to give it to me. I know that the 2nd observation was pre-determined. 

 The following is of an email I sent to my principal, District 7 Superintendant Padilla, and other luminaries on June 19. Please feel free to comment. Or better email me if you have any ideas or question.

In case anyone is curious, the Union is taking action. 

  1. I was rated effective for the 2021-2022 school year. Therefore I was already in Advance and I am sure I was in advance at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Seemingly, at some time during this school year I ceased to be in Advance for PS XXX. Who was responsible for removing me, and if need be, who would be responsible for adding me to Advance? At what point was I removed from Advance? What was the rationale for being removed from Advance? 

  1. According to this document put out by the NYC DOE and on page 4 it states:

K-12 classroom teachers1 who teach 40% or more of a full-time position are eligible to be evaluated using the Advance system. A full-time teaching position usually corresponds to five teaching periods per day

  1. In our meeting of Friday, June 16, 2023 you stated to me when I first approached you concerning having an Initial Planning Conference, “I wasn’t sure if you were in Advance.”

Yet, on April 16, 2023 I received this email from Ms. XXXXXXX(emphasis mine) 

“Yes, let's meet on April at 2:45 pm for our IPC.” 

As well as this email of April 18, 2023 from Ms XXXXXXX which contained (emphasis mine): 

                 “Hello Mr. Zucker,

                           Thank you for meeting with me to conduct your IPC.”

          Ms XXXXXXX at the time was under the impression that I was in Advance. Not only was I under the impression, but I had no reason to think otherwise since Ms. XXXXXXX ’s email. However, our conversation where you told me you weren’t sure I was in Advance, was weeks before this email. At no time between our conversation and the email and IPC with Ms XXXXXXX was I, nor Ms XXXXXXX  informed I was not in Advance. At the very least should I have been notified? Should Ms XXXXXXX have been notified? Was I in Advance at the time and removed soon after?  Can you answer these questions I have? 

  1. At no time did I mention to you when I requested an observation, did I ask for a pre-observation conference, which would be under S/U. I asked for an Initial Planning Conference which would be under Advance.  

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 I mentioned, “I asked you several times to put me on the email blast, I’ve never been put on the email blast.” Even though paras and another in the ATR in the school have been.


  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 I mentioned that I asked Ms XXXXXXX  for a laptop and she replied something to the effect of,  “you do not get one because you are an ATR.” This doesn’t make sense because there is  another ATR in the building that received a device and uses it.

  1. Earlier this year you mentioned to me if you had known sooner that I would have been at XXXXXXX the full year you would have used me differently. I took that statement in a positive manner. It’s concerning to me that she wouldn’t know that since for the last three years it has been widely known that ATRs are to be with their school for the full fiscal school year. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you told me, “ You are not in Advance, you said you want one for support, I said ‘OK,’ I’ll support a teacher however they want to be supported.” I never said that this is why I wanted an IPC. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you said something like, “You said no one has been planning with me.” For the first four months of the school year I had a different prep than Ms Curry. When I was switched over to 214, I wasn’t part of the planning until April.. I was assigned to Ms XXXXXXX’ class to assist her. As per Ms XXXXXXX’s email of April 27, 2023; 


Starting this week Mr. Zucker will be staying with Ms. XXXXXX and Ms. XXXXXX during CP on Wednesdays.

The first day I met for common planning was May 3, 2023.

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you reiterated, “No one told us you would be with us for the whole year. Every couple of weeks I get an email saying you’re coming back.” I replied, “It is common knowledge.” You then replied, “It’s common knowledge you're not in Advance”. Should I not have been informed of this? I think I should have been informed prior to the observation since clearly, it’s not common knowledge to me..


  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you said something like, “Based on what you said to me and based on how I worked with an ATR and I never worked with you before and I work with different ATRs differently. You said you work in small groups.” 

This is misleading. I asked for an accommodation to work with small groups. You granted it to me.  I originally put in for it through SOLAS and it was then sent to you to either be approved or disapproved. You approved it. 

I have the right to be treated no better and no less than my colleagues. I have the right to attain and be treated the same as them. Even though I met all the qualifications to be observed and evaluated under Advance, it was denied to me. 


  1. I would like to know why I am unable to see Ms XXXXXXX’s observation of June 1, 2023. This seems arbitrary and capricious. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 when I asked why I didn’t get a laptop you exclaimed, “You don’t need a laptop! And first of all, I thought I was protecting you  because there was some confusion about how the laptop was being used. So, to help you so there would be no confusion, why use the laptop?”

Much, much, more to come.


Anonymous said...

Why don’t you just retire. Who needs the stress!

Anonymous said...

Hey Pete, you should go back over this and edit it. Seems like you’re admitting that you looked at porn because everyone else in the classroom was looking at it. I’m sure that is in the case. You have called me a troll several times in the past, lol; I’m just truthful and call it as I see it - I don’t want to see you or any teacher get themselves in hot water and you seem to have a predilection for it. Fight this. Because believe it or not ever, every U rating has long reaching ramifications. The worst thing about these ratings, I believe, is that they come at the end of the year and destroy your summer vacation. Try not to let that happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Pete I made an error on that last comment is supposed to say I am sure that is NOT the case.

Pete Zucker said...

I edited it and I know you meant NOT the case. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You’re very welcome. They consider us human chattel. Fight them with very thing you got.

Anonymous said...

You are an ATR. You get paid based on your years of experience. You dont have to write lesson plans or take responsibility for being an extra adult in the classroom. Maybe you should consider applying on the open market or just retire.