Oct 9, 2008

SOS - DC Shadd Center: A Wholly Mess !

This is a follow up to my earlier piece about "NO Special Education Teacher For You." It seems that the DC Shadd center which is reported by my colleagues to be a self-contained warehouse of students with emotional disturbances. There is a significant teacher and service provider shortage with morale problems and many safety concerns for students and staff which are leading to high turnover rates for DC staff. Read the anonymous post and feel free to weigh in on how we can get the troops out to help ! SOS!

Hi Candi,

"I am so frustrated with news today that DCPS are putting more services in place for special ed students in eight elementary schools in the hopes of preventing further transfers to private placement. Haven't seen the article but NPR said that the schools will get additional clinicians and wrap-around services. What about providing for the students with an emotional disturbance who are most in need and are completely out of compliance (academically and clinically)over at Shadd? I have trepidation about sharing information publicly for a number of reasons. Please handle this as coming from anonymous source if included in your blog or if repeated in conversation. I don't want to discourage future employees from coming here because the need is so great, and am concerned about providing rough numbers of staff shortages because in three weeks there are going to be significant structural changes to the Shadd program. Also, the enrollment numbers are in flux, (i.e. many un-registered students who will be removed from the roster, and absenteeism through the roof, with no attendance counselor to hold parents and students accountable). This translates to many classrooms slated to have 12 students, who only have four or six show on a given day. Original numbers reflect a program with 176 students enrolled, and 17 classrooms. As of a week ago, we had 98 officially registered. With the original numbers, I have heard we are short about 7 special education teachers, and about 13 social workers. We have had several contract social workers but they don't remain long because of the climate here, and because of dissatisfaction with Dr. Harris' model of remaining in the classroom. We have only four or five behavior techs in the classrooms, so the handful of clinicians really fill this void. We have quite a few techs that serve the function of "crisis managers" but they aren't in classrooms, they're monitoring the halls, or providing interventions. We have a speech therapist, a couple of psychologists (one doing assessments, and one providing interventions another recently quit.) I have not seen any indication of an itinerant Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist , and have to believe that there are a handful of students in need of these services. And then we have about 15 or so Special Education Specialists temporarily assigned here to provide support in the halls, in some classrooms, and a couple during lunch. There are still many classrooms with only one staff present. New staff are trickling in at the rate of about one or two per week, but they seem to be quiting at the same rate. It could get somewhat better once the structural changes are implemented at the end of October, but morale is really waining. They really need to find some DCPS social workers (who are invested in the system so -- unlike the contract workers -- they won't leave) and some permanent teachers and techs. Otherwise, I don't see the program being able to succeed. I am particularly concerned about vast majority of the students not receiving services and the safety issues. Thanks-" Anonymous educator. Posted by The Washington Teacher


jmannii said...

What is the union doing - not just about Shadd, but also other schools mentioned on this post??

Gen X Teacher said...

i don't know if this post is making 825 do something but ALL of a sudden there is a VACANCY listing SPECIFICALLY for SHADD in our official DCPS website.

in my years in DCPS, this is the first time i see that they posted a vacancy for SPED teachers under OSE/Central Office. check it here.

COINCIDENCE or providence?

Anonymous said...

I just saw the vacancy announcement. What strikes me as being odd, is that there isn't the qualification to have a teacher's certification. WOW!!!!! Hmmmm, whatever happened to recruiting HQ teachers. First DCPS let the teacher's go who aren't "HQ". Now it seems they don't even care and have adopted the let's just get someone in there attitude and recruit those that aren't considered "HQ".

jmannii said...

These problems that people are talking about – understaffing, deteriorating buildings – existed before Rhee got here, but finally people are speaking out and saying, “This will not be tolerated.” I think this is one of the positive, unpredicted consequences of having Rhee in town. More people are getting active and going to the media. Some teachers have never gotten involved in controversial issues before now.

I support her reform efforts. I hope that you all are letting her office know about your concerns and not only reporting them to this blog. Document your efforts to improve your schools.

I know some people have been doing this for years, so I am not speaking to you.

Peace said...

Stay in the saddle and lean with the trees ! GS 94-142 !Red Alert !What's the attorney general's office saying ? "Sail on sailor !" The rest of us in the US are watching this like a hawk on a mouse !"Say what you need to say American teacher's !"You are not alone !Read Manufactured Crisis !

Peace said...

United States Teacher's March On Washington !For interests greater than ones self ! Roger that ! The DC teacher's need support and when do you need us there ? Where do we gather peacefully and what's the date ? Enough is enough !Call the judges and attorney general's offices !We need an okay to go peacefully for fair contractual terms of agreement !Call the mayor,congress and the senators ! It's about the kids ! You get those teacher's and principles everything they need in DC ! NCLB and 10 % ? End the mandates !"

Peace said...

"Puts your hands together !" O'Jay's ! Call the fire department and ask if we can use a fire truck to blast mucic via the speaker's ! We have been up for three days and seen the sun going over all this DC reform !That GS 94-142 is in a jam and the books for the children ? We need to see what the Ready Schools Initiative audits for evaluation ! Have basic needs been met and two months ago principles were asking for books!"Change does not happen from the top down but the bottom up !" "When you hear the hounds keep going !" Get up ! Never throw the first punch but always throw the last !Have all basic needs in schools been met viewing reform efforts ? Better check GS 94-142 and hearing a call for help!We'll start a love train and be there !Don't ever under estimate the love a teacher has in her heart for the whole child in an inner city school ! American Teacher's ! Head's up and check out this DC deal ! Everybody stay cool !Get your law books out on education !Uh oh ! Razzle,dazzle! "Money.Money,Money" "Do things, do things, good things with it !" Are operations clear sailing in all buildings ?Keep the faith ! Don't jive us on the contracts now ! Don't try to bamboozle us now !There is a lot they can do with a contract !"Unity and divided we fall !" We'll make a stand !Get up ! Come together !Give a choice with no penality !

Peace said...

Excuse me ! When you are speaking with the news and the United States of America is watching your educational reform efforts Mrs. Rhee, do not use the adjective "pissed" to describe your vision reform complications of which you identifed ! Living for the week-end,let's go down town !O'Jay's to ya and good luck ! Better check out that GS 94-142 in your school buildings !

Anonymous said...

Reporting Suspected Special Education Violations of the Blackman/Jones Decree

Dear Washington Teacher,

Please inform DCPS parents, teachers and school staff how they can anonymously report certain categories of apparent violations of special education policies and procedures.

The Blackman/Jones consent decree establishes certain requirements and procedures to which DCPS has consented. Its primary focus is on:

1. Obstacles to proper implementation of hearing officer decisions, settlement agreements and/or resolution of complaints; and

2. The proper deployment of special education and related service staff and resources (including funds) to meet the IEP services and timely assessment needs of students.

If anyone thinks he has evidence of recurring practices or issues that they consider relevant and requiring to the attention of those charged with oversight over the decree's implementation, they can report the matter, including any supporting evidence, to the court appointed monitor, Ms. Amy Totenberg, Esq. (Blackman/Jones Monitor, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia). They can be sent anonymously with no return address to:

Amy Totenberg
757 Flat Shoals Ave. SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
404-622-6970 office


To the plaintiffs' counsel, Ira Burnim, at the Bazelon clinic:
Ira Burnim, Esq.
Judge David Bazelon Center
1101 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202-467-5730
Fax: 202-223-0409

Thank you,
DC SPED-vocate

Peace said...

Great IDEA anonymous ! &504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.Is the school system providing reasonable accommodations under a facially neutral policy and have the teacher's of these children of concern checked in with their physician's ? The teacher's don't seem to have the support needed to carry out procedual safeguards.This is not an isolated situation for just the DC schools in our American school buildings to audit and be aware of in concern viewing GS 94-142 and IDEA under NCLB. Perhaps an area for the Re-authorization team to investigate and our courts to re-examine.How many IEP's state 3 hours of resource in a teacher's classroom in the US today and this child is going without services ? It hurts but raise your hands principles and teacher's.Reform efforts are wonderful but have basic needs been met in our buildings under NCLB and 10% a law not funded that has increased accountability. Hooray for Judge Cole in the 6th district and we won ,Judge Koetl,(FERPA)"The sole remedies recognized in the NCLB Act for noncompliance with any of it's provisions are for the "Secretary of Education to take action against a federal funds recipient by withholding funds and conducting proceedings for recovery of funds and issuance of cease and desist orders." Team up and make sure those teacher's and principles have their basic needs met in all this centralization of educational business model reform !Is there a Doctor of Education at the top running this reform Rhee reports to ? Didn't see any on the, "at the top", listed but feel like they are there to consult if someone will. "Wholly Mess" is right and God Bless ! So far Clinton is the only one we have that raised her hand on the stump and said end the mandates on NCLB and she's on the Re-authorization team ! Not into punching bags but if so, would hang it and call it NCLB !Sounds like we have some in this situation being left behind !God Bless Amy Totenberg !Ask her how much trouble we'll get into on a Saturday if we all march on Washington for support in public education and funding for NCLB !Ask State Senator Meeks if he'll be there !

Anonymous said...

Did Dr. Zion, who was just fired by Rhee have the operational budget she needed to run the business ? Dr.Zion was the fifth principle in this school and had only been there three months.No formal review was given or did Rhee share what mistakes the principle Dr.Zion had made. This story is so unreal it reminds me of the twilight zone !Who are the investors in this school system besides tax payers ?