Sunday, April 23, 2017

CPE1 and Global Tech - East Harlem Dist. 4 Supt Alexandra Estrella: Evil Death Star School Destroyer

Alexandra Estrella Sans Disguise
Alexandra Estrella, the District 4 superintendent, has shown Baiz the door in what is expected, by most educators who know both Global Tech and the district, to mark the beginning of the end for the school. Last week, the staff sat stunned and teary-eyed, when Baiz announced at the weekly staff meeting that he would not be returning after spring break.... Global Tech may turn out to be among the first Bloomberg-era small schools to be dismantled by the de Blasio-Farina administration. Those close to the school see Global Tech as a victim of an expanding bureaucracy where “who you know matters more than what you know.”...........Andrea Gabor, Gotham Gazette
David Baiz, the award-winning teacher who was handpicked by Global Tech’s founding principal to become her successor.
Do you see a pattern here, a pattern to put in closer principals with a blueprint to drive out veteran teachers -- a pattern the UFT refuses to acknowledge? 
Despite the turmoil, several teachers at the school, which is also known for low teacher turnover—not a single teacher left last year—are clearly reluctant to leave. ... Several other teachers, though, are updating their resumes. Thanks to Estrella’s decision to push Baiz out early, they have the entire upcoming so-called open-market period to look for new jobs within the department.
Yes, Virginia, Estrella is the very same Supt. who supports CPE1 Prinipal Monika Garg, branded the worst principal in NYC, but has inserted herself into Global Tech to bring in yet another one of her buddies as principal.
....it turns out that she is moving one of her lieutenants, Ellen Johnson Torres, a teacher evaluation and development coach, into the job temporarily—another sign, education sources say, that the school will be merged with P.S. 7.
Global Tech also traces its lineage to the era of collaboration and teacher-leaders that flourished in District 4 under Tony Alvarado and Debbie Meier, beginning in the 1970s, and was, to a limited degree, revived under Bloomberg. That legacy of grassroots leadership and collaboration, which was intended to foster creativity and innovation, is now widely seen as endangered—not just at Global Tech, but throughout the city.
Yes, can we say that DeB/Farina rule is as bad or worse than Bloomberg/Klein? Well, not to the UFT/Unity leadership which has its seat at the table that BloomKlein denied it, but certainly not using it to defend teachers and schools. (Nothing new here: Remember when the DOE under Klein refused to appoint the principal of Bronx High School of Science and put in the awful Valerie Reidy who then hired the equally awful Rosemarie Jahoda of Townsend HS fame?)

It is clear that mayoral control, which the UFT supports, must be gone.
Global Tech has known for nearly two years that its days might be numbered. Soon after Baiz become principal, in 2013, he learned that the superintendent was considering merging Global Tech, which has never had more than about 175 students, with P.S. 7, the K-8 school that shares its building. Russell and other friends of Global Tech within the education department urged Baiz to fight for the school; in what proved a short-lived victory, the principal of P.S. 7 moved to a job at DOE headquarters, and Estrella tapped Pryce-Harvey, Global Tech’s assistant principal and Baiz’s friend, to be the interim-acting principal.
Andrea Gabor gets to the crust of what is happening all over the city as the supposedly progressive de Blasio and his agent Farina, makes war on schools where teachers and parents have played a major role.
last summer, Baiz learned that Estrella had turned down his tenure application; under education department rules, there was a good chance that he would lose his principalship. A few months later she overruled his tenure recommendation for a respected Global Tech teacher—a Math for America master teacher for science who also holds a special-education certification. Getting rid of Baiz appears to be a first step in consolidating the two schools in the East 120th Street building they share, under a principal hand-picked by Estrella. Pryce-Harvey will retire from P.S. 7 this year; her successor has already been chosen.
Below are more excepts from the article - but go read it in its entirety at http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/6858-requiem-for-a-school-that-works
April 07, 2017 | by Andrea Gabor



Eight years ago, I had a front-row seat at the birth of a new small school in East Harlem. Global Technology Preparatory was crafted by its founding teachers over Sunday brunches at the home of Jacqueline Pryce-Harvey, who would go on to become the school’s assistant principal.

Featuring, among other things, a one-to-one laptop program for its poor students and an after-school program—the result of a partnership with Citizens Schools, a Boston-based nonprofit—Global Tech, as it is known, came to be heralded as one of a slew of innovative Bloomberg-era schools.

By most measures, Global Tech is a school that works.

I’ve written before about Global Tech, a Title 1 school with a special needs population that, historically, has topped 35 percent of the student body—most recently about its first class of students, many of whom were getting ready to head to college. I’ve also written about David Baiz, the award-winning teacher who was handpicked by Global Tech’s founding principal to become her successor.

“One thing I've been really proud of—I feel like we've created something special in East Harlem,” Baiz told his staff. “Not every school is like this, in New York City, in East Harlem, in tough neighborhoods. You should be very proud.”

But, in interviews with half-a-dozen current and former staff members, several used the word “dead” or “dying” to describe what they see happening to the school.

“There was so much magic here; the way people worked together, how hard they worked,” said one staff member who did not want to be identified and caught herself speaking about the school in the past tense. “There is already tremendous upheaval in the lives of our kids who desperately need stability,” she added, noting that she expects more uncertainty in the coming months.

“The real tragedy of this is that David was the right guy at the right time,” notes Nick Siewert, a senior educational consultant with Teaching Matters who has worked with the school for several years. Baiz was committed to the school's social-justice mission, adds Siewert, but he is also “a systems-and-structures guy” who believes it is important for Global Tech and its students to do well by “measurable results.” Among other things, Baiz introduced a system of interim assessments designed to help teacher teams analyze specific student weaknesses and improve their practice.

“I love these kids and I love East Harlem,” said Sage Hunter, the science teacher whose tenure application was turned down, adding that she wants to see her seventh grade students through to next year’s graduation. Kayla Hamilton, who started out as a Citizen Schools apprentice teacher seven years ago, said, “I’m going to be open-minded. As long as they keep our kids number one, I’m OK. But if I feel I can’t do what’s best for our students...”

Last month, Baiz was accepted into Harvard University’s Doctor of Education Program, perhaps the most prestigious and selective program for educators in the country.

“He’s good enough for Harvard, but not for East Harlem,” one Global Tech teacher said of Baiz.
***
Andrea Gabor is the Bloomberg Professor of Business Journalism at Baruch College/CUNY and is working on a new book on education reform. On Twitter @aagabor.

1 comment:

  1. This has been going on since Alexandra Estrella, the District 4 superintendent has taken over two years ago. She not only is doing it to teachers, principals, but to any staff member that does not fit her style. Don't understand how a person that cheated on test scores when she was principal, become superintendent? District 4 has gone down so rapidly and the ones suffering are the children.

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