Saturday, October 12, 2013
Just Jam Them Into The Classroom! - School #2
School #2 is a large comprehensive high school in central Queens with over 3,400 students jammed into the school. It had the most oversized classes in the City with an astonishing 400 of them. The Principal has been there for over a decade and has had his run-ins with investigators throughout the years. The school is a full time scanning school and no cell phones or other electronic devices are allowed into the school. In the last few years over 33% of the teachers, most of them senior staff, either left, resigned, or retired so that many of the staff have less than five years in the system. This year the DOE dumped an additional 300 over the counter (OTC) students into the school that contributed to the overcrowded classrooms as many of these OTC students were not selected by other schools and many others in the area were being downsized or closed. Contributing to the overcrowding problem is that many teachers are given full time comp time positions like Deans and advisers with no assigned classes. The overcrowding makes the classrooms somewhat unruly and noisy, not a good environment for learning.
The student population is somewhat diverse within equal number being of South Asian ancestry and of Afro based origin. There are a large minority of Hispanic students and isolated East Asian and White students but they are few in number. The halls are relatively quiet as the Deans do a good job keeping the students from hanging out. However, the school cannot attract the better students and according to the staff, even their Advanced Placement classes include many students that shouldn't be in them. In the more advanced classes there seems to be a 3 to 1 ratio of girls to boys. It appears that academically, the school has problems attracting males with good middle school grades. The lack of cell phones make teaching easier since it takes away the temptation from using them. Unfortunately, many of the students find other ways to pass the time and not do the work.
Parking is atrocious, especially on Monday and Tuesday. Teachers consider themselves lucky if they can park within a mile of the school. Many teachers simply take a car service or mass transit to get to work. That alone makes going to this school everyday an issue. Why the Principal didn't arrange for parking for his teachers as many other school did is a question that the school should address. Oh, by the way I never met the Chapter Leader nor did he(she?) bother to seek me out to let me know how the school works.
The school gets a passing grade but just barely. While I would accept a position at the school, I would not be happy about taking it.