Dec 4, 2009

DC's Departing Principal Pope Soon To Get The Boot By Rhee

12/5/09 UPDATE: The story of Mr. Pope's ousting has been officially confirmed. Dana Nerenberg will be taking over Hardy's school and leaving her post at Hyde-Addison elementary school at years end. Pope is slated to head up the development of a new arts school but no word on this from Principal Pope just yet. Unfortunately, the Washington Post failed to cover this story today as a news article but did mention it in their Metro Briefs section of the newspaper. Might I add the information in the Washington Post newspaper was brief and buried in Saturday's newspaper. Some say offering Pope another position is only a smokescreen for Rhee's ousting another competent administrator.

 
Principal Patrick Pope of Hardy Middle School Was On Rhee's Hit List

I received an tip from a confidential source that Patrick Pope, Principal of Hardy Middle School has been terminated by Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Hardy middle school is located at 1819 35th St. NW in Washington, DC . It is my understanding that Dana Nerenberg of Hyde Addison elementary school has already been selected as the new principal at Hardy middle school.

Most of us would not be surprised at this as Hardy under the helm of Pope was the recent subject of the Wash. Post blog (DC Wire) on December 1 in which Rhee stated a major announcement would be discussed about the future of Hardy middle school.  Hardy parents met with Rhee on Friday to discuss what she has in mind for the school. According to Bill Turque, staff reporter in The Wash. Post online DC Wire:  "Rhee kicked up considerable uncertainty and angst - after a Northwest Current article in October quoted her as promising to "turn" the school, which has a 70 percent African American enrollment drawn from across the district. Some Hardy parents took this to mean that Rhee wanted to turn the complexion of the student body and make it more appealing to families at the predominantly white feeder elementary schools in the area." Rhee denies this allegation.

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

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

If true, this is a crying shame. This principal has done so much for minority students. He happily accepts students from the lower wards (7 and 8) and gives them a great education. If these students are sent back to their base schools, then they will most likely end up in schools that are overcrowded and overwhelmed with discipline problems (as is the case with many ward 7 and 8 schools). Their chances of receiving a good education will most likely decrease significantly. Yet another great DC educator has been terminated not due to their performance, but due to political reasons and the children will suffer for it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hardy parents:

Be viligant because what she is proposing is the same exact thing that she did with Adams Elementary. The Oyster parents wanted a middle school to transition their kids too and Adams was predominantly black and they told the parents that their children would be welcome; but in the end the didn't accept but two students (I'm serious) -- just two and none of the teachers. They even told the teachers that they could work in the new school. They shipped them all out. I think one teacher got a job at the elementary school. They just wanted the building and at one point said that's all that they want was an empty building. The parents who are from the Oyster community where persisent in their pursuits to take our school and they did. It's the same thing that they are proposing for you. They'll say that all children are welcome and that all teachers can stay; but as they get closer and closer to the date they'll make provisions (like change the focus of the curriculum) to make it less and less attractive to you. Set a precedence and don't let them take your school and do what they want with it! If the neighborhood children want to go to your school then they have to just go with your kids. They are attempting to whitewash your schoool and don't think it's not ractially motivated because it is. Those parents want the school but they don't want their kids sitting next to yours in class.

lodesterre said...

The Wire has a post up now that the Hardy parent's have been informed that Pope will finish out the year and be replaced. I guess this is Rhee's "good news" that will make Hardy more attractive for the people of the neighborhood. I guess this is the way to change things, fire the principals who are doing well. This has worked at Oyster and Shaw, right?

By the way, what happens to the supposed gains DCPS made on NAEP if it turns out that the 12 schools under investigation for cheating on the CAS test did cheat?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Pope going to be taking the lead in the planning and opening of a new arts middle school? Starting your own school is a good thing. I have given up on the whole Rhee/Fenty thing; we all know it's just a matter of time and votes before the end. However, starting a new school and being the one in charge is not being fired. Getting to pick your own people and set it up like you see fit; lovely! I don't know if he was in on the starting of Hardy, but being able to put this new gig on a resume would thrill many administrators.

Grayformayor said...

Anonymos 2 is right. Adams middle school slowly started changing it's demographics first by changing the boundary line and then by giving preference to incoming Oyster kids from even a whiter boundary until all black kids and most of the needier latino kids were gone. What is worse, the school had a "top section" with more advanced classes and curriculum and "coincidentally" this was an all white section.

Joe said...

Glenn Watson: 1) Are you a DC resident?
2) Why did you sound like a fool in your last comment? I am asking the questions because you sound like a non DC resident who likes to tell us what to do in our city. Also, like Ms. Rhee and Fenty-knows nothing about education but wants to tell educators what to do. If you are not a DC resident, the only thing you know how to do is run your mouth like a locomotive. Pls. shut it up because you are wasting space on this blog. I

If you are a DC resident, pls. open your eyes and use your common sense if you have any.

Anonymous said...

It is outrageous what the minorities (African-American) are allowing Michelle Rhee/Fenty to do to the education of their children in DCPS. It is totally wrong to allow Rhee/Fenty get rid of any outspoken, dedicated, and committed staff and replace them with Rhee's inexperienced program staff. It is wrong because she is setting our city and people back, especially African-Americans in this city.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Watson by his own admission is not a resident of DC or the metropolitan Wash., DC area. He reports on this blog and others that he is from the state of Alabama. If he is to be believed it is interesting that a resident of Alabama spends so much time on the local blogs here in the DC area.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:32: Where did you hear that Pope is going to open up an arts school? I've never seen that reported anywhere. It doesn't sound like Rhee to open up an arts school as her entire focus since she came here has been test scores.

Anonymous said...

Link to the Washington Post Wire today states he is opening a new school, don't if it's true but that is what it says.

"Rhee said that Pope would finish the academic year at Hardy Middle School, home of a highly regarded arts and instrumental music program, and then spend the next year planning the creation of a new magnet middle school for performing arts. Pope will be replaced this summer by Dana L. Nerenberg, principal of nearby Hyde-Addison Elementary, who will run both schools as a unified pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program."

The Wash Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 10:03 there was a short piece on the DC Wire after my entry on 12/4/09 re Principal Pope @ Hardy. Click on the DC Wire under blog links and you can read it.

Many here in DC are suspicious about Rhee's announcement that Pope will the head up a new school. What is interesting is that there was no story featured in the Wash. Post today only a very short couple of sentences buried in the briefs section. The question to ask is what is Principal Pope saying about all this ? I believe that Rhee offers Pope this school because there are a lot of eyes watching because she has fired thousands of DCPS staff even administrators like Pope who have been successful and have high standardized test scores to prove it. It seems this might just be another smokescreen to take the heat off of Rhee due to all the negative publicity she has gotten here in DC lately for massive terminations.

The million dollar question is why didn't Principal Pope have the option of staying at a school he has been successful in creating. We are clear those of us who know about the document called Life After Key- that this move has little to do with a promotion for Principal Pope. It's about these private meetings Rhee continues to have with a small group of parents at schools like Hardy and Stoddart, etc.- where certain parents want to have seasoned administrators ousted.

Need I remind you about what happened to the Stoddert Principal Dr K in a back door meeting with a small band of Stoddert parents who along with Rhee were in search of what Rhee called a 'rock star principal.' Sufice it to say Rhee never finds a rock star because many of these principal replacements are not of rock star quality. Perhaps that's the point if you get my drift.

Of course those who have their heads buried in the sand- I wouldn't expect you to understand what I am saying.

Anonymous said...

Link to the Washington Post Wire blog today states he is opening a new school, don't know if it's true but that is what it says.

"Rhee said that Pope would finish the academic year at Hardy Middle School, home of a highly regarded arts and instrumental music program, and then spend the next year planning the creation of a new magnet middle school for performing arts. Pope will be replaced this summer by Dana L. Nerenberg, principal of nearby Hyde-Addison Elementary, who will run both schools as a unified pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program."

Anonymous said...

Patrick Pope may as well retire. Her statements add up to false hope. Remember who you are dealing with, the great liar. She will tell you anything you want to hear but does what she wants.

Patrick Pope is now a member of the you gotta go club.

update on Dana Nerenberg said...

in August 2006, Dana Leigh Nerenberg was appointed the new principal at Hyde Elementary School. Nerenberg previously was a principal in training at Amidon Elementary School. Her experience pales in comparison to Patrick Pope. She is from Teach For America Corps which explains her connection to Rhee.

Kings said...

“spend[ing] the next year planning the creation of a new magnet middle school for performing arts” is NOT opening his own school. How can you be so naïve after watching Rhee operate for two years?

It means Pope will be spending a year at a meaningless desk job at 825, after which Rhee will quietly fire him when no one’s watching any more. She’s apparently decided giving him a year’s salary (despite severe budget cuts) was better for her than firing him outright, as she originally planned. In a way, it shows her power is weakening. Last year, he would have been out on his can.

just me talkin said...

Hardy is down the street from Duke Ellington - a high school for the arts. It makes sense to maintain Hardy as a school for the arts and let the two schools share resources and let the students continue to intermingle and share experiences. If neighborhood parents want a different school program, Rhee should look into opening a school there for them.

The Wash Teacher said...

Kings:

You are so right and I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

I hope Pope will start looking for a job before years end. Certainly being detailed to the central office is a slap in one's face. It is a pity one's career has to end involuntarily like this. As I have said Rhee's ship is sinking fast !

The Wash. Teacher said...

lodesterre:

In response to your question "what happens to the supposed gains DCPS made on NAEP if it turns out that the 12 schools under investigation for cheating on the CAS test did cheat?"

Might I say that you pose an interesting question. I'd be interested in hearing what others think about this.

I imagine Rhee wants to keep anything about cheating and even investigations under cover. Since Fenty and Rhee are supported by The Wash. Post editorial board- the Post just won't cover any negative news about them. The Post will have to be forced to cover a story that will portray Rhee in a negative light. For instance when the student protests occurred the Post didn't cover it until well after the daily news coverage by local TV stations 4, 5 7, 8 and 9.

Hopefully, people will look to others news sources than just the Post. It seems that David Lipscomb of The Wash. Times is now covering an education beat here in DC. Check him out.

Anonymous said...

i was present at the meeting at Hardy on Friday night when the announcement was made. Principal Pope did not speak at all until the end. When he did, he gave an upbeat, affectionate speech to his students and families, without once stating that he was excited, interested, on board, etc, with the idea of starting this new school. I confess I left before the very, very end, but I was there for most of his speech and he did have the opportunity to clear up any suspicions that he was being forced upstairs. He did not take advantage of that opportunity. So I have to conclude that he is indeed being kicked upstairs, and that this new, proposed school (how will it be funded?) is likely to be a smokescreen.

Anonymous said...

I am a fourth gade teacher and if there is any cheating done on the NAEP it certainly is not on the school level. There are testers brought into the classrooms and the only assistant that they want from the teacher is to help keep order. The testers don't even want you to give out a pencil and you definitely can't touch the testing materials. In all the years that I have been a fourth grade teacher, I have never seen any parts of this test. It really is unfourtunate that the teachers have no idea about what our students are being tested on.

Anonymous said...

There's a full article on Hardy on page 5 of the Post's metro section.

It features a former TFA teacher and former Rhee colleague who is against the changes at Hardy.

Re Pope - Something else to consider. Why is he so tight-lipped about his "wondeful" new assignment? Because it wasn't his idea, that's why.

Anonymous said...

One more thing of interest... Janney ES in upper NW has a new "rock star" principal Norah Lychnell (whom of which was sent directly from Rhee!) and the teachers there are claiming they are under fire and being replaced by Lychnell's "friends" from her alma mater, Madiera School. One teacher was harassed and finally quit only to find out that there was a "friend" waiting in the wings to take her place. There are other classroom teachers that are being ask to come out of the classroom for "special" projects for the school like a Community Service Group Leader?? What is that? I know... a great way to get her out of the classroom and then "cut that program" and have her Madiera replacement take her job! This is scary...

Classic said...

For those of you that are on Facebook the students from Hardy have started a group called Michelle Rhee has gone too far (again) so you can join. They are brainstorming on what to so. There are current students, former students from Hardy, teachers and just people concerned. I think they may be trying to get some things together. I hope they are successful. I will help in anyway possible. I just wonder if anyone is going to stop this woman!!!

Hardy Rules! said...

This is sicking,Hardy Loves Mr.Pope and he loves the Hardy students.He will always love Hardy as long as he lives and so will the students.Hardy Rocks and So does Patrick Pope! Michelle Rhee SHOULD NOT fire Patrick Pope!!! What did he do except be a WONDERFUL principal of Hardy...Let's Go Hardy!!!!!
-Hardy MS♥
For the love of Hardy MS♥

Kings said...

Classic - are you sure you have thename of the Hardy group on Facebook right? I can't find it there.

classic said...

Michelle Rhee's Gone Too Far (Again)

That is the whole name of the group.. include the (again) that is part of the name. I don't know the link

Anonymous said...

Sharon B.
Just say what you mean, be direct so we don't have to try and all post trying to figure out what the heck you are talking about!!!! If you have something to say - just say IT.

Anonymous said...

As a former Hardy parent- what most disturbs me about this uproar is that there are issues about Patrick Pope that no one is talking about. During our 5 year, 2 kid run there Mr Pope's reaction to serious problems would often be to sweep them under the rug- especially issues like kids bullying other kids. He literally hid from parents in these cases- ducking phone calls and meetings. I saw it happen multiple times to the point where parents had to withdraw their kids.
He has always had his own agendas and he is a very strange man.
I couldn't afford the private school alternative. In the end both of my very different children were very relieved to get out of there.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Dana Leigh Nurenberg date the principal at Truesdell Elementary in Ward Four?

Anonymous said...

The FACT is that Hardy IS a neighborhood school that Pope chose to operate like a magnet school. And that's illegal - those kids in Georgetown have a right to attend their neighborhood school, and students from across the city have a right to follow the out of boundary process - not a process with an application, interview, test scores, teacher recommendations, etc, to fill leftover spaces. Rhee saw that Pope would rather operate a magnet school, so she is giving him the option of creating one. SHE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN FROM NOT FULFILLING HER END OF THE BARGAIN, HERE.

Crazy conspiracy theories really need to be put to bed.

Anonymous said...

I think all of you who think that Hardy is not a strong academic school have never been to Hardy and have not seen the test scores of its students. Yes Hardy has instrumental music, vocal music and visual arts but having those three do not make it an arts school. Hardy is a strong academic school that has a strong music and arts program. Mr. Pope created the schedule so that all students receive additional help when needed and all teachers work together to bring out the best in all students. My child loves Hardy, Mr. Pope and all of the teachers. All of the neighborhood students CAN ATTEND Hardy but they decide not to.

Students do not have to be a Monet, a Kenny G, or a Franklin in order to attend. Almost all of the entering students have never played an instrument, sung in a school choir or taken advanced art lessons. If all or most of the teachers leave along with Mr. Pope, Hardy will go down the drain. It is not the building that makes Hardy a great school, it is the administration and the teachers. Without these, Hardy will never be the same. There has to be another reason why people in Georgetown don't want Hardy to remain a neighborhood school with a strong arts program. Students should be well rounded and having a school like Hardy hits every part of a childs mind.

I really don't believe that there will be a magnet arts school and I think that Rhee is using the success of Hardy to change it for the parents who don't want Mr. Pope and the current population there. It seems that Hardy is not the first school that has done well that Rhee is trying to demolish. It seems that if a school succeeds and does not have Rhee's name on it, she destroys it. She knows that she can do whatever she wants to do and doesn't have to answer to anyone. She does not do what the majority of parents or children want, she does what she wants. Rhee is power struck! Something really needs to be done with Rhee.

Kyla Goodman said...

I AM A STUDENT AT HARDY MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASS OF 2010 MR POPE IS NOT FINISHING THE SCHOOL YEAR OUT HE IS LEAVING AS SOON AS EVERYONE COMES BACK FROM THEIR SPRING BREAK! I PERSONALLY BELIVE SHE IS WRONG TO FIRE MR POPE. I HAVE HAD MS NERENBURG AS PRINCIPAL AS WELL AND I CAN PERSONALLY SAY MR POPE IS A BETTER PRINCIPAL! I MEAN MR POPE GIVES YOU A GOOD BALANCE OF SCHOOL, ARTS AND SPORTS. AND WHAT I DO KNOW SHE IS TRYING TO JUST MAKE HARDY MS A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL BUT AS YOU LOOK AT THE FACTS AND THE STATICS THERE ARE NOT MANY KIDS FOR THAT SCHOOL THAT LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, SO THE POINT IS HMS SHOULDN'T BE A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL IT WOULD BE EMPTY! PLUS IF WE ALL GET SENT TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL WE WILL BE IN HORRIBLE SCHOOL THAT ARE NOT GIVING US THE STUDENTS WHAT WE NEED. MR POPE IS A GREAT PRINCIPAL AND I KNOW HE CAN NOT COMMENT ON THE FACT OF BEING FIRED OR WHATEVER MICHELLE RHEED IS TRYING TO SAY THEY ARE BUILDING A SCHOOL FOR HIM BUT POINT BLANK SIMPLE IT IS NOT BUILT YET SO HE WILL BE OUT OF WORK FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME WE ARE IN A RECCESSION!I PERSONALLY DONT CARE IF YOU DO OR DONT KNOW WHO I AM BUT I FELL YOU SHOULD SEE A STUDENT THAT WILL BE EFFECTED BY THIS STUPIDNESS POINT OF VIEW. AND YES WE ARE PROTESTING TO KEEP MR POPE. HOPE 4 POPE!

Anonymous said...

For everyone who wants to know what is really happening inside hardys walls, should ask me a current student at hardy what is going on. Well, rhee said that principal pope is leavin, everyone thought it was a rumor until rhee came to hardy and clarrified the statement. Now when did she ask parents if they agreed? Never. When did she ask the students? Never. I dont even think pope agreed but was forced. I also dont beleive pope is creating his own school because for him to sit down and just talk and do paperwork is umbeivable. Pope loves kids and shouldnt have to be faced with all this drama like this