Source: Wikimedia Commons
Several weeks ago, 24 city schools, including Sheepshead Bay High School, were set to be closed. Thousands of teachers were to be fired and left without work as new principals and faculty were brought in and the school renamed. The action would have brought millions of federal dollars into the system.
Then a court arbitrator threw the brakes on the plan.
The arbitrator determined that the plan to dismiss 50 percent or more of the teachers at each turnaround school was in violation of the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the teacher’s union.
The decision stops the city from moving forward with its plan, and also disqualifies the city from receiving more than $40 million in federal funds for the overhaul process.
GothamSchools.org has a thorough report about the arbitrator’s decision, in which the arbitrator claims the city used “circular reasoning” to justify the turnaround, using the mayor’s own words to reveal the problem with the plan.
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Source: Wikimedia Commons
A Sheepshead Bay High School teacher is speaking out about feeling pressured to “teach to the test,” saying that administrators from the soon-to-be Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay threatened she raise the test scores of two failing students so they could graduate.
Erica Bloom, a 36-year-old geometry teacher who is, according to comments made about her on the Rate My Teachers website, mostly well-liked by her students, told the New York Post that she would receive a “3020” — a disciplinary warning in Department of Education (DOE)-speak — if she didn’t inflate the students’ geometry Regents exam scores from a failing 55 to a passing 65. The warning, she explained would “mean the removal of my license. So I lose my job, my insurance, my pension — everything, after 14 years.”
Bloom says new school Principal John O’Mahoney had insisted that all students take the Regents — and that their scores should count for 10 percent of their final grades.
One of the students notched a 53 on the test. The other failed to show up.
“A guidance counselor [for one student] came in and asked me to change his grade,” she said.
He was followed by the assistant principal “who came in and kept asking, ‘Why are you failing him?’ ”
Another asked about the second student.
“I was pressured by everybody,” she said.
She then went to O’Mahoney’s office but he refused to intervene. “He didn’t say a thing,” she said.
Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the DOE, said O’Mahoney did nothing wrong. “The principal acted properly,” she told the Post. “This was not an issue of changing grades.”
The two students graduated this past Friday.
A U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The United States Navy will show off its air power today with a Fleet Week event right here in Sheepshead Bay.
An MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter will put on an aerial demo above Sheepshead Bay High School (er, “Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay“), with its Explosive Ordinance Team conducting a mock search and rescue operation. Armed with machine guns, the Knighthawk is a combat support helicopter, used for troop transport, supply missions and search and rescue operations. Very soon, they’ll be flying with lasers. No joke. They’re being fitted with Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems.
Oh, another cool fact about the Knighthawk? It’s the first Navy chopper equipped with the glass cockpit, in which the dashboard’s usual mechanical gauges are replaced with four digital screens. Yeah, it’s just like Star Wars.
Anyway, after the aerial demo, the MH-60S Knighthawk will land in the school’s sports field for everyone to come check out.
The event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. Sheepshead Bay High School is located at 3000 Avenue X.
UPDATE (11:09 a.m.): Just got off the phone with the Fleet Week coordinators, and this event is still on despite the rain. We’ll check in again around 12:30 p.m.
UPDATE (12:35 p.m.): The event was canceled at 2:20 p.m. The Navy guys at Sheepshead Bay High School were trying real hard to make this happen. I think the final hold-up came from FAA, not US Navy. Thank you, service members!
After deciding last month to shutter Sheepshead Bay High School, as well as 23 other high schools, the Department of Education chose a name this week for the new school in the old building: Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay.
John Dewey High School – also slated for closure – will be renamed Shorefront High School of Arts and Sciences at John Dewey Campus.
Both schools will close doors in June as part of a federal “turnaround model” – which requires firing at least half the staff. The plan has spurred condemnation from parents, teachers and students as we’ve previously reported.
The schools will reopen under the new names in September, flooded with as much as $1.5 million each in federal funds to get the schools back on track.
We didn’t think the DOE could make it any more difficult to report on school issues, but, alas, they found a way to nearly double the number of characters to type. That’s city efficiency at its very best!
Regardless, we think it’ll be known colloquially as Sheepshead Bay High School and John Dewey High School for years to come. What do you think?