Sunday, January 31, 2010

Build It And They Will Come

Moriah wants all of us bloggers who are against mayoral control to start our own news journal and beat Bloomberg at his own game. Go over and see what she has to say.

To all I might have offended with my post on the CBS piece on the Rubber Room, I apologize. I know it could have been more pro teacher and it could have pointed out the fallacies with the system and the corrupt pricnipals, but it was the first piece I have seen that pointed out the other side of the issue.

Red Lights

Black Whale

I forgot how wonderful the Black Whale (City Island, Bronx), is. Not only is the food fantastic, the decor alone is worth the trip. Unfortunately, they have gotten rid of some of the really quaint stuff, but it is still interesting. In the warm weather, there is a big outside garden to eat in.

More Ikea Red

Wires Garbage cans


There Is No Excuse For This

The course ends in June but the resource room teacher somehow arranged for Junior to take the regents in January. Maybe she thought that because he is repeating the course, he would be able to pass the exam this time.

Did she do any prep work with him?

Did she make sure he knew tutoring was available, call his mother to let her know of the extra help?

Did she tell his classroom teacher her plan?

Did she provide the proper reader he was entitled to?

If you answered NO to the above questions, you must know my poor little inclusion boy who once again is going to be faced with a failing grade.

The saddest part is I could have gotten him to pass. He got a 58 this time, so he was almost there. I could have helped him on his lunch periods. (He is very receptive to extra help.) I could even have been his reader on the exam.

If I am correct, there are less than 10 kids in her charge. How can she let this happen?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Red Fantasy

Ikea fulfills my red fantasy. Of course, I drive my husband crazy with the pictures but he should be glad that I am photographing, not buying. He should also be happy we didn't get thrown out of the store. The above pictures are just from the housewares department. I have lots more from some of the other places that I will post another time.


I just paid off on a bet that I was happy to lose. The reward I got from this $40 gave me a high that will last for a very long time.

Last year I made a deal with Rosie. I told her that if she managed to turn herself around and pass all her subjects, I would take her and her best friend to Applebee's for lunch. I made the bet never expecting to have to make good on it.

Well, little did I know that this little bundle of energy had had enough play time and was ready to buckle down and get serious. She showed me her report cards after the first and second marking period, both with not only passing grades, but with good grades. And, although I haven't seen her latest one, I have no reason to doubt her so I made good on my bet today.

Rosie is still Rosie. We couldn't find her when we were ready to leave. While waiting, she sent a text to her friend that she would meet us at the restaurant. We got to the place and there was no Rosie. She finally showed up twenty minutes late.

During lunch, Rosie credited me with turning her school career around. She then asked me why I bothered with her so much more than I bothered with others. At first, it was hard to find the reason. I know her brother scared me when I met him and I did fear there might have been some abuse going on at home and if so, I wanted the school to investigate. I looked at Rosie's data and saw that just one year earlier, she had been a model student and wondered what could have caused the change. But then I looked across the table and came up with the real reason I kept pursuing Rosie. That reason was her good friend Harriet. Harriet is one of the finest students I have ever met. She is bright, sweet and hard working. She is respectful of her parents, her teachers and her peers. There is no way Harriet would hang out with Rosie if Rosie was the delinquent she appeared to be. It might be wrong, but we do judge others by the company they keep and there is no finer company than Harriet.

Rosie is now talking about going to college. She wants to become a counselor and help kids who waste their lives the way she was wasting hers. She will attend a community college but not the local one. She knows she needs to get away from the people she messed up her life with.

The lunch cost me $40 but the satisfaction I am feeling right now is priceless.

Rosie and Harriet
My lunch--I don't eat at Applebee's. They have almost nothing vegetarian on their menu.

Harriet's lunch--she doesn't eat meat either so she was stuck with their pizza.

Rosie's chicken parmigiana--for a little girl, she sure managed to pack it away.

Friday, January 29, 2010


If you happen to be in the NY area and get a chance to see a Broadway show, go see Memphis. It was awesome.

And, make sure you make the trip down the long flight of stairs and then up a few steps to see the sign on the handicapped bathroom pictured above.

He Really Needs A Life

The kids that failed the geometry regents in June came in to retake it this week. Of course most came in cold, without any preparation what so ever. As you can imagine, the results were not pleasant to see.

As I write, Mr. AP is going through the papers, e-mailing the guidance counselors, berating them for incorrect programming and sending me a copy of the e-mail, implying how wrong I was to pass them last year as they will probably keep failing the geometry regents and be ineligible for an advanced diploma.

Mr. AP is right about some of these kids. But, the consequences of failing them could even be worse as failure might keep them from getting any diploma. Besides, some of these kids just don't have it in them to get that advanced diploma. Aside from looking good for the school, the advanced diploma does not even do all that much for these kids. Most will only go on to a community college where the type of diploma they receive means nothing and once they get the college degree, no one looks at a high school diploma ever again.

K is one of the kids I passed last year even though he was weak and failed the regents. K came for tutoring and passed this time. Because of my decision K might be able to get the advanced diploma. K feels the only reason he is not in pre-calculus right now is because Mr. AP made him retake algebra, although he had passed the regents. He believes it is Mr.AP's fault that he is behind in his math studies and is resentful. I don't know whether K is right, or Mr. AP is right as that decision was made before I knew him. All I know is that if I listened to Mr. AP, K would now be taking business math instead of advanced algebra and trigonometry (which he is passing.)

It's Friday night and Mr. AP is sitting at home looking at transcripts and grades and thinking about how awful I am and how bad the counselors who do the programming are. He needs to get a life. Then again, I am not much better. I am sitting at my computer, reading his horrible e-mails and bitching about him again.

It Makes Me Wonder

Still Not Passing

This week's tutoring was only 60% successful. Of the 9 that showed up, only 5 of them were mine last year. Two were new admits from another country and one was a ninth grader trying to get ahead. Out of those 5, only 4 of them showed up both days. Out of the 5, 3 passed. Some might say I was successful because now three students are one step closer to an advanced diploma. I'm proud of those kids and the thanks I got when I told them their grades was priceless. But, I don't feel successful. Two of them still did not make it. When I looked through papers, I saw quite a few from last year who also did not make it and did not come for extra help. These kids could have used it. One got a 63 and the others all had grades in the mid 50's. I should have gone after all of them. I shouldn't have relied on the guidance staff to do their jobs.

I guess I am destined to be the 60% woman forever. It is a good thing we still don't have merit pay. (The feelings expressed here are mine, not those of the administration, not even Mr. AP's.)

Principal's New Office

There is a rumor going around (I started the rumor and there is no evidence what so ever that it is true) that the principal has magnanimously decided to leave from his sprawling office and move into the vacated janitor closet on the second floor. At first, this room was being considered for classroom space, but when the Principal noticed the little alcove, complete with an escape hatch, he decided to keep this room for himself.

The entrance way is complete with pipes and exposed wires. I did see a custodian fixing this as I was getting ready to leave this afternoon.

This little alcove will be perfect for a desk and wait until you see what is behind the door.

It is an escape hatch. If angry teachers or parents descend upon the principal, he can just open the door and jump to the basement and make a safe getaway.

There is plenty of overhead lighting

The front will make a perfect reception area. There will be room for a secretary's desk once the chairs are removed.

Some of the desks have already to be moved out and and are ready to go to their new location.
At night, the janitors will be able to store their equipment inside.
Are we at Packemin lucky? How many principals would be willing to work in a spot like this?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chopping Block

The high schools slated to be closed are full of kids with levels 1 and 2 on their eighth grade assessments. From studying my data, I know these kids are not prepared to do high school work and are not even close to being ready to graduate. It is no surprise that the graduation rates of these schools are much lower than that of many other schools.

Since Jamaica will no longer be accepting these kids, they will have to go somewhere else. I heard that 600 of them are slated for Van Buren HS. I guess this means Van Buren will be on the chopping board next year.

Uniform Problem

The problem with a uniform exam spread out over a twelve period day (kids take the same exam anytime during the day, depending upon when the periiod they have the subject) is that by the time a kid gets to take the exam he has seen every question on the exam.

I am not the only one that sees a problem with this yet the policy continues term after term.