Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Memo

If you have students whose exam grades are extremely low, please look on computer and make sure the student(s) belong in your class.  It is already way too late but we want to make sure we fix all the problems before Open School Evening/Afternoon.  I do not wish to be the person to inform the parent that you failed to identify the student and I don’t think the parent will likely accept your apologies.
Xu speaks no English, not even enough to fill out a book receipt.  I knew immediately that she could not survive AP calculus.  I immediately brought her to the attention of my AP who said "She knows derivatives.  She is in the right class."  I went to the ESL department to find out why she was placed in a regents English class.  I was told "She placed out of ESL on the entrance exam.  She is in the class she belongs in."  I sat her next to some students who spoke her language and basically gave up trying to get her changed into something more appropriate.

Thursday night, right before Parent-Teacher conferences were set to begin Mr. AP said, "I took that girl, the one that does not speak English out of AP.  She is only a junior and does not belong there."  I was given no other information.  Sure enough, an hour into the conferences, Xu's mom walked in.  Unfortunately, she spoke no English either, not even enough to avail herself of the translators available.  I brought her to Mr. AP, explained the situation and left.

But, I'm the one that will be expected to apologize. I'm the one that is responsible.

(BTW--I was always under the impression programming belonged to guidance department.  This memo went out on Thursday.)


Moriah Untamed said...

"way too late"
"You failed to identify"
" will not likely"
"accept your apologies"

Administrators didn't used to express themselves this way. Groups tend to generate their own linguistic idiosyncrasies. I wonder where these came from. Wall Street? Harvard Law School?

Anonymous said...

What an inappropriate and unprofessional memo. First of all a memo should go out in September asking for names of students you feel should be placed elsewhere. And make sure you photocopy everything because in your school guidance and administration love to pass the buck and blame the teachers--especially your AP who is so inept he puts in more energy to cover his ass than actually working collaboratively. My principal used to place kids inappropriate if the parents complained. So kids who should have been retained were now advanced to the next grade--and if they also happened to be a behavior problem but were not meeting promotional standards, she would promote them just to get them out of the school a year earlier. What I don't understand is how your principal allows such memos? Doesn't he have to approve them?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that memo was even published- one of the most poorly written professional memos ever...ICK.

Not to mention that the way its written is also insulting towards the staff.

NYC Educator said...

Unfortunately, the ESL testing is highly flawed. The state test is too easy, but kids who come at odd times get the city test, the LAB test, which is preposterously easy. Speaking is a fundamental part of language and, last I looked, played no part in the LAB test. Some people are good test-takers but that doesn't make them fluent in a language.

I once had a kid from China who got consistently high scores on tests come to my office and demand, through a translator, to be placed in a higher level. I told the kid I would help him when he could come and ask me himself. The kid didn't even try to do so, and stormed away with the translator in pretty intense anger.

Sorry to hear you got caught in this. Sadly, with highly flawed tests and metrics being used for increasingly inappropriate purposes, you can expect much more of the same.

mathematicamama said...

Too bad nobody listened back at the beginning of the school year when you found out this:

Jill got a 65 in first term algebra and a 45 in second term algebra. What class should she be programmed for now?

Well, if you came up with Algebra 2, go directly to jail. Don't pass go, and don't collect $200. But, if you said Algebra 3, you landed on free parking and get to collect all the money in the middle because you guessed correctly.

You see, Jill is being moved ahead, the thing our illustrious education mayor wants more than anything. And, it is cheaper to move Jill ahead than to create the classes kids like her need. See, kids like Jill are not being left behind at all.