Dec 14, 2008

Ron Brown Principal Threatens Teachers with 90 Day Plan

Guess what a little birdie told me today... the principal at Ron Brown middle school located at 420 34th Street N.E. is threatening to place his teachers on a 90 day plan. The Washington Teacher gives this principal... Two Thumbs Down. Do you think this is an effective style of educational leadership ? (Posted by The Washington Teacher ).

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our principal at Patterson told staff that she will not continue to deal with the pressure to lie on 90 day plans. She has submitted her resignation already. It's unbelieveable what is happening. While some teachers may be in need of improvement, there are just as many great teachers who have been targeted for other reasons.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would post here where we are on the 90 day plan. I heard principals already had to turn in names and that teachers who are on it have been notified. So how can a principal say he's going to put people on the plan when it's too late now?
Also, the principal at Paterson is courageous by refusing to do Rhee's dirtywork. I truly believe, in fear of losing favor with Rhee and then their jobs, principal are coming up with random teacher names for the 90 day plan list. Is there a quota or percentage for all schools? Rhee really seems to be pressuring principals to put teachers on the plan.

Anonymous said...

Your post is missing some major context. What did the principal say, for example? To whom? In what kind of situation? Can your little birdie be more specific? Instilling fear, especially through the use of minimally detailed hearsay (aka "gossip"), is no different than what Rhee is doing.

Clarification, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong: for a teacher to be dismissed at the end of the 08-09 school year, s/he would have had to be placed on a 90-day plan by Friday, December 5. Principals can place teachers on a 90-day plan at any point in the year, however, but a teacher who is placed on a 90-day plan after Dec. 5 cannot be dismissed in June.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous: My point is not missing any major context. A teacher wrote me asking me to post the details you see. I have no problem with you deciding the context of your own blog .

The reality is administrators can threaten teachers regardless of any deadlines. While teachers may not be recommended for end of the year termination at this juncture, they can be rated as 'needing improvment' which does require an improvement plan (not to be confused with the 90 day plan). Being rated as a needs improvement can eventually lead to termination. Check out the PPEP booklet which spells out the number of indicators for needs improvement.

The PPEP booklet indicates that principals have until December 5th to complete a structured observation on teachers they are considering for a 90 day termination plan. However, they have until December 19th to complete the plan itself.

The real fear is putting our heads in the sand and acting like some of these attrocities aren't happening. Stories like the one I posted here earlier on my blog about the teacher who exceeded expectations for the past 5 years and was supposed to be placed on a 90 day termination plan until she presented an argument that changed the new principal's position. Unfortunately the principal had not evaluated her long enough to be aware of her performance.

Some administrators have reported that they have been pressured to place teachers on 90 day plans. I do not know if there is a specific quota for all schools. What is troubling to most is that our schools have become demoralizing and hostile work environment for many.

Since I get to talk with many DC teachers, I am concerned how this negative climate of fear will ultimately impact us all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:56, you are correct about the 12/5 deadline for possible dismissal in June. And yes, a principal can put a teacher on a 90 day plan anytime, but for dismissal by the end of this SY, teachers must be put on the plan by 12/5. That's why a lot of principals were running around doing last minute observations on Thurday the 4th and Friday the 5th, to get it in under the wire, along with the accompanying paperwork and write-up. Rhee doesn't just want teachers on a 90 day plan. She wants it to lead to dismissal in June of as many of us as principals can find fault with.

Macy said...

This is not leadership. It is an oppressive dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

And most importantly Candi, how a climate of fear will not translate into excellent teaching on our parts, focused on maximum student achievement. How can we do our jobs effectively if we're afraid of the principal coming in our rooms as well as the coaches or whatever they're called from central office and what they might say.

The Union Girl said...

It's nice that you let folks post anonymously, but as a user of your site, I find it difficult to tell if these are different users or the same anon person, over and over. It kind of detracts from the message, for me,and it's a message I'm already open to.

I hope anonymous users create accounts on blogger so that they can also add to the conversation. I have learned a lot from the comments, I'd learn even more from more information, or perhaps additional posts on this site.

I'm so glad that you're doing this blog.

Old School DCPS said...

Ron Brown Middle School. Wasn't that Roper Junior High back in the day?

Anonymous said...

"How can we do our jobs effectively if we're afraid of the principal coming in our rooms as well as the coaches or whatever they're called from central office and what they might say."

We're called "professional developers," and we're there to support instruction, not to tattle to the principal. Your reaction to and reception of us is, of course, your choice.

Anonymous said...

"We're called "professional developers," and we're there to support instruction, not to tattle to the principal."

Right ---

xoxox Anon#2

PS - nice to see you here -- are you reporting back to the chancellor??

PSS - I heard back in Sept - before classes started - that the principal of Ron Brown threatened to put all teachers on a 90 day plan. Great way to start the year. I bet it worked wonders for morale. Wonder if the principal came up with that idea himself or if it were inspired by central administration.

Anonymous said...

This is arbitrary and shocking ! Can't help but wonder if all this doesn't end up a class action law suit. How's that Abolishment Statute in appeals with Supreme Court ? What is the status of the crisis bargaining ?

Anonymous said...

Ask if there is a ligitmate claim of entitlement to job tenure.Conflicting standards of review ? Has Rhee recieved per the courts to delineate tenure provisions ? "The right of the individual to contract,to engage in any of the common occupations of life." Also read Pickering v board !14th Amendment prohibits states from depriving citizens of life ,liberty,or property with out due process. The 14th Amendment protects the citizen against the state itsself and all its creatures. Free and open debate is vital to informed decision making. It is essential that teachers are able to speak out freely without fear of "retaliatory" dismissal.Do you see this mandate in question of retaliatory ? As the court concluded,a change in the contract terms could not be implemented without a statutorily prescribed formal notice and a hearing. Breach of contract and is this discrimination and retaliatory ? The injured teacher is entitled to damages that equal the salary owed...? See Bertrand Russell. Wrongfully discharged and mitigate damages ? What's the resultant debilitating effect such a mandate and threat has upon the learning process of students in the school and or school system ? Good luck and God Bless ya DC educators !

Anonymous said...

12/5 dead line ? Not sure if that will fly but he can non-renew your contract and flunk you out on your evaluations as threatened and that sounds like the objective since the start of the school year alleged per mandates Central office.

Anonymous said...

Get the video's moving of your instruction. Tape record all conferences and take a third party, non-biased into the principal conferences.Think the union attorney needs to be present in conferences concerning the teachers marked for a 90 day plan.

Document everything !Time, date and who entered your class room and what was the discussion. Request your evaluation with the principal to be on video and with a union member present qualified with an administrative degree. Consult with an attorney ! How capricious and arbitrary under Public Law 107-110 clearly a law not funded. Courts can issue injunctions(court orders prohibiting a party from acting in a particular way or compelling a party to take specific action.)

Perry v Sindermann the US Supreme Court stated that if the customary practices of the institution created a de facto tenure system, a teacher would have a property interest in re-employment and would be entitled to due process protection prior to dismissal. Are we deprived of any liberty interest under the 14th Amendment in this top down executive mandate to place teachers on 90 day action plans ?

How many procedural violations would one find walking into this building and are all his departments up and running ? Is the building disorganized ? What is the school climate and tone ? Are the copy machines working ? What is teacher retention? Sounds like he's following the directives of Rhee's mandates. Request multiple evaluations from non biased evaluators. Support and instructional feedback is critical for growth and development but that doesn't say threaten teachers with misguided authority and discrimination.

How many first year teachers in the building ? Do they have mentors ? Make sure you have your instructional accountability, all test scores on students and the quarterly exam results. Do you have kids that need modifications? Are the intervention teams up and running ? Are you tutoring the ones behind and that's part of the mandates of NCLB. Has the principal set up that after school tutoring ? There are a million questions to ask ! How are the resources ? Are they backed up and do you see GS 94-142 under IDEA ? How are your IEP's and what behavior modifications are in place with your students ?

The Washington Teacher said...

Any teachers on a 90 day plan have the right to have input into the types of intervention that they need to improve. This is outlined in the PPEP document. If teachers did not make this request, they should make this request immeditaely in writing to the principal and ask for a response back in writing.It is preferable to use email so that they can prove it later.

Teachers have the right to request 'outside intervention' in many forms including a helping teacher from the central office as well as other forms of help they deem necessary.

If teachers have not received help to date, keep in mind the clock is ticking and you should document this in writing via email to the principal. Request a written response to all of your written communication.

Old School DCPS said...

Teachers, if you believe you are on the 90 day plan unjustly, you can fight it. Work with your helping teacher, document what you're doing and most importantly, keep doing a great job for your kids. It may be an act, but put your best foot forth every day, teach your a@@ off and stay positive.

The Washington Teacher said...

Old School DCPS: The problem is that all of the teachers on the 90 day plans do not have helping teachers or supports to go around. Many are already past the 30th day of their plan. It is problematic when our school system fails to provide the promised supports outlined in these plans.

Anonymous said...

please consider that all teachers assigned a helping teacher do not really need help and that all helping teachers are not there to help - only to confirm that their help isn't working.

In a completely subjective system with a quota of firings using the 90 day plan, fairness is not the rule.

Anon#2

Peace said...

This behavior of Rhee's mandates under NCLB and 10% is stating to remind me of the the man throwing shoes at George Bush.Except Rhee is throwing them at the teachers !Just tuck and duck school teachers !