Friday, November 18, 2011
My Adventures As A Traveling ATR - School #7
Well, I just finished another weekly assignment and found this once great school is struggling to survive. This large school is in Eastern Queens and has seen an influx of "academically challenged students". Quite a few of these students were pushed out of the middle schools either due to their age , behavior, or academics, maybe all three. This school bore the brunt of the closing of Springfield Gardens and Jamaica High Schools and the result was that many of the higher achieving students that , in the past would go to this school, have decided too go to other schools farther North in the Borough.
This school, unlike the "Restart/Transformation Schools", have so far avoided that fate However, the teachers at the school have seen a steady worsening of the school environment. Too many students wander the halls, especially in the "Special Education" wing where Deans and School Safety Officers (SSOs) are not to be found. This school Administration gave out the most "unsatisfactory" ratings than any other school in the Borough which further lowered teacher morale.
The discipline in the school is uneven. At times the hallways are clear when the Deans and School Safety Officers occasionally sweep the schools. However, where there are no Deans and SSOs available, especially in the "Special Education" wing, where the students congregate and disrespect teachers who try to disperse them back to class. I heard one student tell a teacher to "suck my d**k" and another student called a female teacher a "white b*tch". This disrespectful group that reminds me of school #5 are thankfully a minority of a reasonably well-behaved student body. However, it is a sizable minority and growing and that is a problem.
Academically, the school has few higher level courses, especially in Math and Science". In those two subjects Advanced Placement courses are no longer offered and Pre-Calculus and Physics are only given to two classes. The school has a Special Education vacancy that is not advertised and a hidden Math vacancy.
The school is not in immediate danger of closing. However, they did receive a poor grade by the DOE and we all know how the DOE feels about large High Schools. There is plenty of parking in the area. The staff is friendly and I did receive a key to the bathroom and classroom (I admit I needed to ask the custodian for it). Finally, like most schools I have been to, many of the teachersand AP's did not leave meaningful work to do and the students tend to misbehave if they are not given meaningful work. This issue is an ongoing problem for many of the ATRs, not just myself. Oh yes, this was another school where the Chapter Leader never came to greet me and I never met him or her. I guess Michael Mulgrew's message haven't reached the Chapter Leaders of the schools I end up in.
If offered a position in my subject area I would probably accept it.