Nov 11, 2009

Ballou's Principal Gets A Pink Slip ?

I just received an email earlier today from a colleague stating that Rahman Branch, Principal of Ballou Senior High School was fired. Frank W. Ballou Senior High School is located at 3401 4th St. SE Washington, DC. 

While I do not have the details concerning this alleged termination of Mr. Branch, feel free to weigh in with any of the facts.

Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson blogger in residence


Anonymous said...

I am sure one of the pole climbing assistant principal's got the position or another one of MR friends.

Sharon B. said...

Here is one fact: It's about time that he got his. Mr Branch never saw it coming. TRUST ME!!!! He came to Ballou with the Karen Smith regime who ran ship shod over the teachers at Ballou. No evaluations to no evaluations to didn't know what to look for or what to look at for that matter. He is another New Leaders New Schools Principal. Said he taught in Philly and Jersey. Said he had experience in Special Education. All of it was a big fat lie. Ballou has progressively gone to the dogs since Dr Art Bridges left. The school is out of control and has been for the last five years. Not ashamed to say that I'm sorry for his demise. Rahman Branch's time came sooner than expected. Good Riddens!!!! More principals are on the way out. Watch Out Jeffrey Grant

Disgusted said...

I hope it's true. He did not care about veteran teachers and that's what he gets for the firings at Ballou.

Should the entire school system be concerned about Rhee?

Frank Bell said...

I remember when he came to Ballou as an assistant principal under Karen Smith and always faking calling everybody brothers. I know for a fact that he is not a true but a faking brother. Also, we discovered that Rahman Branch was not able to write a complete sentence as an asst. principal. That tells you about the so called "New Leader, New Schools" and "Teach for America" staff. Michell Rhee and company do not care about your qualifications as long as you can do whatever they ask or tell you to do. If you do not have experience, certification and degrees in subject matter that is no problem in DCPS under Michell Rhee and company. Branch was a lousy, flunky inexperienced principal with a lack of vision for Ballou SHS. He was good at talking down and disrespecting teachers. His time was up long long time ago.

At Ballou, they have the principal, assistant principals, coordinators, deans and ghost employees and they still cannot run a successful school. Shame on Rhee , John Davis and their toxic staff.

Ballou teacher said...

It is reported that John Davis is claiming that Branch has bronchitis.

However, those on the inside know that computers were seized by law enforcement officials. Remember the school band received a donation of $75,000 from Ellen Degeneris and there were allegations that this money was mishandled by Branch. There is an investigation going on by the Inspector General's office.

I believe that Branch is out on administrative leave and not out sick with bronchitis. The lies that are told by John Davis and company are not to be believed.

Sharon B. said...

Yes!!!! the entire system should be ALARMED!!!!! forget concerned. Concern went out the window during Rhee's first year. Her and her croonies are picking folk off one-by-one. In all fairness though, Mr Branch really had it coming. For five years, the atmosphere at Ballou has been one of ineptitude, pettiness, intimidation (started with Karen Smith), and anarchy. The other Vice Principal there, Candace Glenn has been seen "throwing students against walls". She is no better. I KNOW THESE THINGS. All I can say is that the place could have been better if: 1) the administrators were true educators, 2) the administrators had the insight and foresight to keep the teachers who had established a rapport with the students, 3) gotten rid of the truly ineffective teachers-yes there are still some there, 4) LISTENED when they were given suggestions as to what an effective school looks like.

I'm sure you're surprised that I mentioned ineffective teachers at Ballou. Well, if you're honest, you'll know that there are ineffective workers in every profession. It's when the process of ridding ourselves of ineffective staff is breached that it becomes the problem that it is today. TRUST and BELIEVE your job is hanging on by a thread and I hope you have another skill that you can fall back on.

Anonymous said...

Sharon tell it like it is, the truth is that there are ineffective teachers in this school system. The sad part is that a lot of the teachers that are being fired are not ineffective and the ineffective, uncertified teachers are still working.
If every person collects data to expose what is going on in the schools and forward to people that can help i.e. the media, then we might have a fighting chance.
I know that some of the people that are left at the school I was RIF'd from are giving the administration a hard time. Sending letters with proof to the City Council, Community Leaders, and the media. It's just a matter of time I hope.

Anonymous said...

I taught at Ballou and I definitely have to add my 2 cents to this blog. Thanks for this blog cause the truth needs to come out. You see the atomsphere at Ballou was never about the kids....the way they (the admin.) carries it is if you are not a snitch or a yes man you gotta go.

Rahman Branch, who came in under Karen Smith, was nothing but a unqualified flunky who ultimately carried out what Karen could not, before she met her demise. I personally thought they were great in the beginning but soon found out they had another motive. They employed and catered to the snitches and if you had anything to say or were part of the union you were put on shall I say the "bad list." My former collegues know about this list that I found out I was apparantely on not during the summer (which is the ethincal thing to do and they knew about it but did not care to share with me) but on the first day of school. Thats my personal beef but trust me when I say things that are dead wrong have happened to my former colleagues and my former students, whom I love dearly. Thanks Ms. B for being the rebel that you are!!!! I hope that MR goes wherever (cause we know your engagement is just a smokescreen) and somebody comes in that TRULY understands and be able to manage BALLOU and the BALLOU STUDENT. The only person I saw do it with the strong hand was Dr. Bridges.

To Mr. Branch who I hope reads this my mother always said you reap what you sow. To all the yes men who still work at Ballou, I hope that one day you understand your rights. Hallelujah! I still love Ballou!!! Holla!

life gets better said...

Remember that Phylis Harris, the Special Ed Czar, was supposedly on sick leave after she made an absolute mess of things at the beginning of last school year.

She NEVER came back. Why does Rhee have to cover up and lie about everything?

just me talkin said...

Why were 31 terminated teachers from the summer recently reinstated, but not all of them?

What were the grounds that allowed them to be reinstated?

Were these teachers evaluated by only a handful of principals or were they from all over the city?

Anonymous said...

Another New LEADERS FOR NEW SCHOOLS bites the dust.

You go Rhee. By the time you leave, YOU will have completed your mission, to LEAVE ALL DC CHILDREN BEHIND.

As far as John Davis and his staff of pole climbers go, they are back stabbing, incompetent, and career flunkies. Mr. Davis is the white guy in the background who has surrounded himself with a staff of black folks whose only experience is the number of folks they have destroyed.

To bike riding low living FENTY you are a truly special and will be long remember in 2010.

Anonymous said...

These people are not qualified nor have the appropriate credentials!!
But you can find them in DCPS.

Do qualifications mean anything anymore?

I have friends who can not get a job because they do not have a certificate in the field they may have worked in for years.

I guess it is who you know and not what you know.

Concerned Citizen said...

At Ballou, we know that John Davis, Rhaman Branch, assistant principals, and other John Davis back stabbing staff like Stacy Thomas are incompetent and serve no values in the DCPS other than to get rid of experienced veteran teachers. By the way, how can you rate or get rid of anyone or teachers that you have not provided with materials and support to work with? According to teachers, Ballou SHS teachers have not received materials/equipment to work with since Dr. Bridges left. Rhee, shame on you with your devilish toxic acts.

Classic said...

Again I must say WE HAVE TO EXPOSE WHAT WE KNOW!!! Talking here is preaching to the choir. Call the Post, City Paper, Examiner, they will report the story if you have documentation to prove what you know. You dont have to go on the record with your name if you are afraid but as long as people don't talk about what is going on she will continue to get away with it.

Last night there was a round table that was sponsored by the NAACP and there were more RIF'd teachers there than teachers that are still in the classroom. That event was more for you because I am no longer a part of the future of DCPS. We have to do a better job going to these events and making our voices heard. (not in a disrespectful mannor). That event should ahve been standing room only, parents and teachers should have packed that hall. I must admit that I have not always been as active as I should have and now I am on the sidelines fighting from the outside. I do not want the to happen to my former co-workers. We have got to stand together and get MIchelle Rhee out of here!!!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee needs to take a close look at John Davis and his incompetent assistants Thomas Whittle and Stacy Thomas. Investigate their professional background and how they got their positions. They are sneaky backstabbers who walked around Anacostia and Ballou and did nothing but stab veteran teachers in the back. They failed to provide staff development or meet with teachers who were having difficulty. Thomas and Whittle would make appearances but would not go into classrooms and provide support. They failed to support teachers who were on the 90 day plan. These two supported two male assistant principals at Anacostia. One of the assistant principals couldn't write a sentence and he could not speak a decent sentence of English. He was supported by these two. The other assisant principal was a former 6th grade teacher who did not have a clue about high school. These two assistant principals, one a former attendance counselor and the other a former 6th grade teacher were supported by Davis, Thomas, and Whittle. The high schools will never show improvement with this team of back stabbers. They have nothing to offer DCPS. They must know someone to get this far. Where is their evaluation? What was it based on? Give those persons who they stabbed an opportunity to evaluate them.

Sharon B. said...

I have one question: Who is in charge making sure that the students are getting what they have a right to? Ballou Sr. High School reminds me of a building that has been designed to hold all the slaves. Maybe MR was brought in to further tear down the school system so that it has no place to go except a federal takeover. This city should be ashamed to call itself "The Nations Capital".

Anonymous said...

Has anyone kept a record of

1. How many times the Chancellor has fired a principal she hired?

2. How many principals she has fired during the school year?

3. How well the new leaders have done at DCPS?

Glenn Watson said...

Should the teachers in DC, the good ones and the bad, take any responsibility for the mess DCPS is in?

I'm a teacher in Alabama and I see a lot of problems in schools, few of them seem to be caused by teachers but our system is not in the mess yours is in. That makes me lucky not good.

As an outsider to your system I see Rhee making making a lot of changes. Maybe they will work, probably they won't, but she seems to be trying.

The people that are anti-Rhee complain and yet keep doing what they have always done. What is certain is that as a group, what you have been doing is not working. The system you defend is broken. Its not your fault but its broken.

Can you blame the Mayor, Rhee and the people of DC for trying to fix it no matter the cost in teacher jobs?

Anonymous said...

The mayor does what he wants to do. Look at the Hartsock lady, he just put her right back in even though she was not confirmed.

I am so tired of the hearings the council holds as they just act like they may do something and always ending with "at the end of the day" and at that end I have seen nothing. They say things like "thank your for your testimony and I undersand ect..." and that is all.

Mayor Fenty has in action already stated that as long as he is mayor the show will go on and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Again, look at the Hartsock situation and how he just put her back in.

Kings said...

Glenn - I take issue with this statement: “What is certain is that as a group, what you have been doing is not working.”

What is certain is that the system needs fixing. That is not to say that any one group or part of the system is right or wrong or is the key to positive change. While individual teachers can exert positive or negative influence over the children in their classes, teachers as a group already have little power to make systemic change and have even less power in the Rhee regime.

Teachers are also not defending “the system.” Ask any teachers how to improve the system and they would have many useful responses. No one is asking them. Instead “the system” is telling teachers how bad they are - loudly and across the country - and imposing rules on teachers without their input.

Teacher would welcome anyone or anything that tried to improve the system and can see that Rhee changes, like firing teachers in the middle of the school year has only made the system worse. Imagine classes being disrupted midstream and doubled or tripled in size? Imagine some required classed being dropped and kids forced into another class with a different teacher and students already halfway through the coursework.

I could go on and I hope others here will, but please, don’t heap more responsibility on teachers while they are already breaking under unwarranted blame and the horrendous management of Fenty and Rhee.

The Wash. Teacher responds to Glenn said...

In response to Glenn Watson, it is obvious that DC outsiders have been victimized by Rhee's widespread media machine. Rhee's PR machine spins so many tales and anecdotes that I believe on a subconscious level- many begin to believe her rhetoric.

What is a travesty for our students is that so many great teachers are being forced out. Those not forced out have become demoralized and driven away to other school systems and careers. Not to mention those who suffer from burn out due to jumping on one educational bandwagon after another.

I agree wholeheartedly with Kings comment. I don't think I could have said it better myself. I only hope local readers who have experienced Rhee first hand as a parent, teacher, counselor, student, etc. will respond to Glenn. I am really interested in hearing what those impacted by this regime think.

Your thoughts ?

The Wash. Teacher responds said...

Response to anonymous on Nov. 15 @ 9:39 am

I am not aware of anyone who has kept a record of how many times the chancellor has fired a principal she hired or the exact number of principals being fired yearly. the problem is there is no transparency and many have trouble getting information under FOIA.

It seems that this administration is not forthcoming. This was the case when Phyllis Harris was fired and escorted out of the central office, DCPS staff were told that Dr. Harris was sick.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Unfortunately, Fenty has plotted with Rhee to close schools to rent or sell DCPS school buildings for monetary profits and personal political gains.

If Fenty or Rhee really supported and committed to Public Education, they would follow the DC Government laws, be transparent, have effective communication with all stakeholders as well as provide appropriate resources in all DCPS schools, especially in our low economic areas in meeting all of our ethnic students' academic, social and career needs.

Can I blame Fenty, Rhee and Company who are destroying DCPS and using veteran educators as scapegoats? Clearly, DCPS Teachers do not have any authority.

Are you aware that Rhee's salary is $275,000.00? Rhee's only intentions are to promote/hire Teaching Fellows, The New Teacher Project, Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, etc. It also appears that Rhee's personal goal is to have FAME/FORTUNATE on the backs of DCPS veteran educators.

Fenty, Rhee and company use the Educational slogans very loosely, "Children First," "Fix DC Schools," "No Child Left Behind," or "DCPS School Reform," these are all political agendas.

The other side of the story is that this is the worst scenerio how Fenty and Rhee are financially raping DC Taxpayers? It really isn't about all ethnic children.

The time is now for the DC City Council members to take action and have an Emergency Legislative to take back the control of DCPS and hold EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE. Please be mindful that parents are the first teachers.

Classic said...

In response to Glenn, I know that you can only read what is in the media and the comments on this blog, but PLEASE understand no one is defending bad teachers or a bad system.
When Michelle Rhee came in she was given total power by the Mayor. In the one area that he could not give her she total power she has done everything in her power to get. Her mission is to bust up the Union so that she can make teachers at will employees. If you are a teacher than this will affect you if she is successful. Every Superintendent in the country will follow her blueprint and they will be Union busting all over the country.
As for our Mayor her is doing the same thing, ask any police officer, fire fighter, or cab driver in the city.

I am really sick of people saying well it was a bad system so it had to be bad teachers. There are SO many elements the go into a bad system teachers are only on part of the puzzle. Let's look at DCPS constant refusal to comply with the basic law of IDEA, lack of parental involvement, lack of consistent community support. lack of resources. DCPS standards have changed 3-4 times in the last ten years. No curriculum for core subjects. No universal grading system, or on line grading access for parents. I could go on and on so please let's stop making teachers the scapegoat to a system that has been broken for decades. They could fire every teacher in the system and guess what we would still have problems because no one is focusing on the other issues that exists. Michelle Rhee thinks she can fire her way to a better system and that is just not the case.

Anonymous said...

@Glenn Watson:
Chancellor Rhee has worked very diligently to --
see that DCPS employees are completely vilified all over the nation,
to deflect her own failures which are many to lay blame at the doorstep of the employees she is supposed to lead,
to have a constant public relations campaign, especially with a room of computers at Central Office where her flunkies spend government time blogging on her behalf. Check out Trace1. She HAS to be on the payroll.

As for Adrian Fenty, if he wasn't out on that bicycle all of the time he too could see what a failure he is. He'll see exactly how valued he is in 2010 when he is voted out with the same record numbers he had getting voted in. He makes Sharon Pratt Kelly look competent and that's quite a feat.

With all due respect, Alabama is also a failing system. There are no school systems really doing the things they should for the children. Most are lowering the benchmark children have to meet to appear in control. We all need to concentrate on making things better where we are and keep ourselves busy with the things we can control.

Lindsey said...

Glen Watson at 5:16pm

Yes, I can blame Fenty and Rhee.

I can blame them for deciding to fire teachers just after the beginning of the school year-which is not in the best interest of children (she admitted so
so herself at the Ward 3 meeting on October 29th).

I blame both or them for not engaging the parents and other community stakeholders about the method to her madness.

I blame them for working in a vacuum and not on a transparent playing field;

For your information, Glen Watson 5:16 of Alabama, teachers unwittingly supported the Mayoral Control because we, too, want better for our students and ourselves. We did not support the status quo. But we did not sign up for this right-winged dictatorship style which presumes they know it all, and stakeholders no nothing. Sir, it just doesn't work that way. And I hope the voters in the District of Columbia remember all of this in Election 2010...I know I will!

Anonymous said...

Please stay on track on your comments about crooks running Ballou Senior High School from John Davis, Karen Smith, Rahman Branch, assistant principals, especially Tharon Washington, Mark Nash, C.J Glenn, Gasque, and the coordinators, and deans destroying Ballou for their own needs. Some of them are lovers of each other and students. I will probably pull my son out of Ballou because he said, his favorite teacher is gone and the students are running wild there.

Glenn Watson said...

How can you take issue with the fact that the DC public schools are not working. You have one of the worst school systems in the nation and you spend more per pupil than almost everyone else. I am not blaming the teachers. I don't know who is to blame, (I suspect it's the students and parents) but the true it the truth. What you are doing is not working! Nothing in your post even argues the point I made. You just keep attacking Rhee. I agree that she seems to be a problem but before she came you guys were in a mess.

Glenn Watson said...

I have to say it is NOT obvious that DC teachers have been victimized by Rhee. It is not clear that many great teachers have been fired. I have been studying Rhee for three years and I can see that she is abrasive but she was hired to fix something she did not break.

She does not care about you. She has made that clear. That is honest at least. You seem shocked at this. I have no idea why. She does not owe you anything.

I don't blame the union for trying to protect teachers. That is their job. But I also don't blame the mayor and the parents for wanting to clean the slate and start over in DCPS, even if it means some good teachers get the short end of the stick. New Orleans had Katrina to clean house in that messed up system. You guys got Rhee.

In a way you are like Barack Obama. He has been put in charge of an economy that he did not break BUT, if he cannot fix it he will be blamed. It's not fair but its reality.

You are being blamed and while it is true that many DC teachers are NOT to blame, so what. They did not build the schools for you. They built them for the students.
If you are interested in what fired teachers think I can satisfy your curiosity. They are angry, both good one and the bad are angry. But frankly if I was a parent in DC I would not give a darn. Parents care about their children and nothing else and no matter what you say, no matter whose fault it is what the teachers of DC were doing WAS NOT WORKING!

classic said...

Once again I will sound like a broken record.. we need to go to the press. If people have proof that illegal stuff is going on at Ballou then you need to call the press and take your proof. If enrollment is dropping off as a result of the RIF's then we need to take that info to the press. The only way we are going to win is in the court of public opinion, we need some valid bad press for MR and her team.

i agree with Glenn said...

I agree with Glenn. I am a DCPS teacher, and the system is broken. Regardless of the cause, what the system (teachers included) has been doing for years has not been helpful to the children.

You can't blame parents and other taxpayers for wanting to try new strategies to make the system better.

The anti-Rhee side is not promoting any real viable ideas. I got a flyer last fall that said "We can do better [than the WTU's contract proposal with the red and green tiers]." I never heard anyone say what "better" was.

Kings said...

Glenn - teachers are NOT like Barack Obama - he's in charge - teachers are not. Superintendents have been in Charge. Rhee's in charge - Mayor Fenty's in charge.

Teachers are NOT in charge - though you'd think they were, considering that they get so much blame.

classic said...

Wow Glenn, I was actualy with you for a minute,you are right Michelle Rhee doesn't care about us and she was hired it fix something that she didn't break. Then I get to the last line of your post "whatever DC teachers were doing is not working" and I realize you just don't get or don't want to get it. All I can say is come up here walk a mile in my shoes then judge me.

Anonymous said...

@ Classic....As a former Ballou teacher who is still in the system, let me explain why it is difficult to get current DCPS employees to go public with their proof and allegations. You see if we show up at one of these meetings/forums/union meetings etc. there may be a "spy" there for the sole purpose of putting you on the "bad list." Then you may have to watch your back and fear that you will be terminated/written up for something bogus etc. This so called system is filled with a bunch of backstabbers who, if you complain about anything, will go and "snitch". I have seen it happen. Its terrible that its that way but it is. The school I'm currently at does not hold union meetings and I'm figuring that a large portion of that comes from FEAR. A few of my colleagues do have the proof to back up the wrong doings but whats going to happen if and WHEN the truth comes out. Will I loose my job again....only to be rehired?
@Watson to answer your question of, "Can you blame the Mayor, Rhee and the people of DC for trying to fix it no matter the cost in teacher jobs?" Yes, I can blame them because fixing can be done with respect and integrity. These croonies are messing with peoples' livelihood and health by having us on pins and needles everyday hoping that we have a job at the end of the day. Who runs a system like that? I agree with the person who said that all they want to do is sell the buildings for money. VERY TRUE! You see DC is all about politics. At the end of the day decisions are based on personal gain and not on the children we serve. They should change there motto from "Children First" to "Politics First".

Kings said...

I agree - the system is broken -- finding out the cause may be difficult and time-consuming, but that's what it takes in the end.

The attitude that nothing else has worked, so let's fire teachers and see what happens is just plain stupid. The people espousing that don't care about the kids, they just want save money on teachers' salaries and break the union.

Anonymous said...


Any updates on the status of Mr. Branch's employment with DCPS?

The Wash. Teacher said...

Response to Anonymous:

All I know is that there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the DC Auditor's office regarding the metro fund, the Ellen Degeneris fund and another school fund. It has been reported that Mr. Branch's office computers were seized. Attempts have been made to contact Ballou staff who may have information.

Some now report that Branch has returned to Ballou but think it is odd given that most people are placed on administrative leave during an investigation of this type. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

The word I hear is that the rumors were not true. Mr. Rahman is the principal to stay. We should be careful about spreading unsubstantiated rumors.

Anonymous said...

I will be soooooo glad when the corruption at Ballou is exposed!!!! The people over there are doing whatever they want to do. Now I heard that there is another trip to Africa very soon. I wonder where that money is coming from? Did Ellen Degeneras pay for that too?

Glenn Watson said...

To say that fixing the schools must be done with respect and integrity for the teachers misses the point. If after 20 years of trying to fix teh school nothing has worked then its not crazy to say lets start over and to heck with the teachers. Its not fair but there it is.

The Knights said...

The fact is that qualification is not necessary to be a principal at Ballou High School according to Michell Rhee and John Davis. The requirement is that you have to know how to kiss and eat ASS well like Branch and Nash, and f Washington among others in the administration. If you can snitch, lie, manipulate/change test scores, and kiss butts, you will get a position at Ballou. These are acts of insecure, incompetent, lack of qualification and experience to take the job challenges.