Friday, November 4, 2011
My Adventures As A Gypsy ATR . School #5.
I was sent to another "restart school" in the southern part of the Borough and found that this school rivals the other "restart school" (school #3) in how badly run the school is. This school is underutilized and it appears that only students that were not selected to go to other schools are students there. The majority of the students come from the low-income projects just blocks from the school and almost all the student body are low achieving and struggling students.
Many of the problems in the school comes from an Administration that looks the other way on imposing student discipline. The hallways always seem to have groups of students walking aimlessly around, knocking on doors, screaming obscenities, and socializing. Even during the official attendance period, the school allows students to come in anytime during the period and require the teachers to admit them in their class and mark them "late"(in the world of the school's Administration attendance is more important than real learning). Students threatened to go to the school administrators when teachers rightfully refuse to let these students in during the last 15 minutes of the class.
The student culture of "disrespect & aggression" was the worst I have every experienced in any school. The students "disrespect" each other, school staff, and even their own teachers where cursing seems to be the norm. Many of the students use the school as a social event and believe just showing up to class entitles them a passing grade, or so teachers have told me. These very same teachers informed me that the Administration pressures the teachers to pass the students even when they don't deserve it. The culture of violence is very evident in the school as it is very common to see the male students slapping the girls in the face or punching them on the upper arm and grabbing them with impunity as if they are a "piece of meat". The girls hit the boys whenever they feel like it and simple assault seems to be the normal for both sexes at the school. The boys dress "ghetto" with pants down to their knees, hats and hoodies. The girls act just as badly as the boys with obscenities and threats in almost every sentence spoken between them.
The school has three unfilled official vacancies and science classes of only four periods a week, instead of the required five, savings the school from hiring two Science teachers. Labs are done in a classroom rather than a laboratory room and it seems that some teachers are required to teach an additional science class that is not in their certification area.
Finally, the teachers are subject to the teacher evaluation matrix and many of the teachers complained how easy it is for administrators to abuse it and some have already been through two of them and are not happy about the results. Teacher morale is low and may plummet further as the "ineffective" teacher evaluations pile up.
This is another school, I am happy to leave and for this school to survive, it needs a new Administration and a zero tolerance student discipline code that is presently lacking. I pity the teachers stuck there.