Jun 2, 2010

Rhee's Firing Spree Of DC's Vice Principals Is Underway While More DC Principals Get The Axe !

UPDATE: Inside sources report the principal of Dunbar SHS informed his staff today that he received his letter of termination (aka non-renewal). In addition, it is also reported that principals from Coolidge SHS and Anacostia SHS will not be renewed. If you have additional information, please email saveourcounselors@gmail.com

In a June 1 email sent to me regarding the termination of Watkins ES vice principal Dr. Shanklin- here is a copy below of the email- members of the Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA sent to Chancellor Rhee expressing their concerns about this non-reinstatement of yet another DCPS administrator. So far this makes for 3 vice principals that I have learned about that have been terminated thus far, two at Jefferson middle school and one at Watkis elementary school.

Dear Chancellor Rhee,
"We write to express our shock and dismay with your administration's decision regarding the "non-reappointment" of Watkins Elementary assistant principal Dr. Sharia Shanklin, our considerable concerns regarding the uncertainty surrounding the Capitol Hill Cluster School leadership team, and the lack of engagement with the Cluster's PTA and SAB (nee LSRT) leadership as these decisions are made.

As elected parent leaders of the PTA and SAB, we represent the families of more than 1,100 students and approximately 150 teachers, staff, and administrators of the Capitol Hill Cluster School, which make up the three campuses of Peabody Early Childhood Center, Watkins Elementary School, and Stuart-Hobson Middle School.
Our community was stunned by Dr. Shanklin's announcement Thursday, May 27, 2010 that she had received a letter of non-reappointment from Instructional Superintendent Dr. William Wilhoyte with no apparent cause. We had not even considered such a possibility as Dr. Shanklin's record speaks for itself:

- Watkins students and teachers have met the Adequate Yearly Progress benchmark established by the No Child Left Behind legislation, which requires an annual standardized test score increase of 10%. The accomplishment ranks Watkins above the 80th percentile in DC-CAS test results among all DCPS elementary schools, according to the DC OSSE.
- This year's Watkins first graders met 14 out of 15 DCPS-mandated DIBELS end-of-the-year standardized test goals by the middle of the year. Moreover,test scores increased between 10% and 35% between the first and second tests.
- Watkins teachers are among the top-rated teachers in DCPS,according to the new IMPACT teacher evaluation system. Collectively, Cluster school teachers - Peabody, Watkins, and Stuart-Hobson - achieved "highly effective" status with collective scores 24% above the DCPS average.
- Watkins'"Responsive Classroom" method has provided a safe and positive learning environment for close to 535 children, resulting in self-regulated behavior and a minimum of instances requiring intervention.

Dr. Shanklin has a proud history with the Cluster, serving as one of it leaders for ten years as well as having deep roots in the Ward Six education community, acting as the Brent Elementary School PTA President as well as a supportive parent at Jefferson Middle School and Banneker High School during her three children's attendance there. Not only has Dr. Shanklin invested a lot into our community but we have invested heavily in her as well. And we feel that this investment has been richly rewarded. Indeed she is greatly appreciated by most parents and students alike. Thanks to Dr. Shanklin's efforts our children have prospered and been happy. To lose her would be a terrible blow to our community.

We strongly urge you to reconsider your Administration's decision not to reappoint Dr. Shanklin. Depriving Watkins, and for that matter the many DCPS elementary schools in need of strong and substantive leadership, is counter-intuitive to your goal of recruiting accomplished principals and teachers. You already have one in Dr. Shanklin.

Dr. Shanklin's non-reappointment also raises very troubling concerns regarding the status of the Cluster's entire leadership and places in jeopardy the many initiatives they have planned, in consultation with the PTA and SAB, for next year. We understand that Cluster Principal Brandon Eatman has yet to have his fate decided. The prospect of losing additional members of our administrative team is deeply troubling and runs the risk of undermining several exciting initiatives underway at the Cluster School. Cluster leadership, in consultation with the PTA, SAB, and Cluster Teacher Leadership Committees have embarked upon a very ambitious reorganization plan, a realignment that would seek to reinforce the Cluster concept of one seamless school with three campuses by re-evaluating teacher assignments and team placements. Parents and teachers, eager to hear and work through the specifics, are now in a state of limbo.

Aside from the loss of Dr. Shanklin's wealth of Cluster experience and knowledge serving as a crucial component of the re-alignment, theuncertainty regarding the future of each of our administrators, coupled with the hold on introducing the re-alignment have left the Cluster in a precarious position -- in a state of suspension when we require action.

Finally, this raises perhaps the most troubling issue: a lack of engagement and consultation by your Administration throughout the school year on your vision for the Cluster. While we have been heartened by the work your Administration has performed on the Ward Six Middle School plan, and appreciate the consideration our Montessori program expansion has received, there has been no other interaction regarding internal issues specific to the Cluster.

The only engagement we have had is the placement of an unqualified, RIF'd teacher at Stuart-Hobson, a brief presentation on Stuart-Hobson's renovation plan, and the termination of a high performing and highly valued member of our administrative team.

We are very disheartened to know that while your Administration launches very public processes to hire new principals at schools like Eastern, that our own Administrative team may be picked apart -- with individuals summarily terminated -- without even a whisper of consultation to the school's parent leadership.

We respectfully request a face-to-face meeting at your schedule's earliest convenience to discuss these issues:

- Why your Administration decided not to reappoint a proven administrator without any clear plan of succession.
- What is your Administration's plan for Cluster principal leadership.
- What is the status of the Cluster proposed re-alignment.
- What role the PTA and SAB leadership will have in shaping your Administration's plan and what role the PTA and SAB leadership will have in personnel decisions.
- Solutions to create a more constructive and engaged interaction between your Administration and Cluster leadership.

We look forward to hearing from you to confirm your earliest availability to discuss these issues."


Amanda Bassow, President, Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA
Ed Lazere, Co-Chairperson, Capitol Hill Cluster School SAB
Philip Brady, Co-Chairperson, Capitol Hill Cluster School SAB
Marc Osgoode Smith, Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA liaison to SAB


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll write on this, as the contract passed. IMPACT has always been a bigger threat to teachers than the contract, but thank God my scores have averaged to over 3, a low 3, but still over 3. teachers need to maintain a 2.5 or above to be effective. Now at least we'll get compensated for our stress under IMPACT.
How will Nathan turn the contract vote around in his favor, as GP will be spinning it to his advantage? Y'all have to spin this to your advantage. How will Nathan continue to defend teachers and be a strong teachers' advocate going toe to toe with Rhee? GP negotiated the contract. Now Nate has to take us to the next level, life under IMPACT.

Anonymous said...

How is it that of 4400 members, only approximately 1800 votes were cast? There needs to be an investigation into how there was such a low turn-out for such a high-stakes contract. Something smells fishy in Denmark . . .

BTW, was Nathan allowed to observe the count?

George Parker Pack Your Bags said...

No matter whether the contract was ratified, George Parker pack your bags now. I heard George Parker refused to let the WTU elections Committee use space on Wednesday evening at the WTU office. Parker also refused to turn over the membership list so they could do their job. Don't worry Parker because you are history.

I am voting for Nathan Saunders for WTU President and Candi Peterson for WTU V.P Keep up the good work on this blog.

Anonymous said...

It has occurred to me that if DC has 4000 teachers why isn't avg class size more like 15? Visually, it looks to be around 25. What am I not getting about the number of teachers? Do we have high absenteeism of teachers, as well as students?

The Washington Teacher said...

Reply to anonymous @ 340

You have to keep in mind that all these teachers are not regular classroom teachers. Some are school counselors, librarians, related service providers, instructional coaches, special subject teachers and other specialists.

Anonymous said...


Get ready to serve. Also, how did Bill T. get into the AAA and Nathan was not allowed to watch the count?

Anonymous said...

You can bet your back pay that administrators will go after teachers using IMPACT. With the new appointments of DCPS FINEST THUGS as instructional supervisors there will be a blood bath.

Anonymous said...

To Candi--

Thanks for explaining the "4000 teachers" to me. And congratulations on your victory in the union election.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 5:01
American Arbitration Association allows people to observe their counting of election ballots. I don't believe they require anyone to show identification.I am not aware of Nathan Saunders not being allowed in at AAA. Perhaps you can explain what you mean.

Anonymous said...

We need to seek membership in a different parent union and sever our ties with the AFT. How about the NEA?

Anonymous said...

The Principal of Dunbar Sr. High announced his resignation today. It's funny that some of these fools who help implement the manufactured RIF have been fired or forced to resign! They should have known they were next on the hit list! LOL! Payback is a MF! Can't wait for Fenty's & Rhee's pink slip!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:03

You make a great point: many of the administrators who played right into Rhee's hands by firing/RIFing dozens of their staff are now either receiving their own termination letters or being forced to resign. Principals need to become wise and realize they are as much of a pawn in this game as the teachers are.

Anonymous said...

Rhee believes in equal opportunity termination with one exception: Michelle A. Rhee.

Anonymous said...

The reason Dr. Shanklin was terminated was because she had a PhD. Almost every person in DCPS whose credentials are better than Rhee is terminated. There are very few individuals with PhD's or EdD's remaining in DCPS. You can rest assured that once she can trump up a reason to get rid of them, she will.

Anonymous said...

Is 1800 members enough of a number to represent voting for a membership of 4400 strong? It seems a bit strange.

Anonymous said...

With all of the resignations and firings, business as usual for Michelle A. Rhee, she is cutting off everyone who has participated in her illegal activities. Believe it! That's what happens in every conspiracy.

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Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 5:27:

What's a bit strange is the 2600 members who chose not to vote. Those who exercised their voting rights deserve to have their votes represent a legitimate outcome, despite such a low turnout. Those who chose not to vote on such a high-stakes contract have no right to complain.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that this is a continuing trend. What is accomplished by changing leaders every year. Does this improve anything? Consistency is one of the main characteristics of good leadership. This is lacking. I know from experience and can feel for all those in this situation. Last year around this time, for no reason that was ever shared prior to the letter or after I was told I was not reassigned because the Chancellor was seeking her "rock star" to replace me. I hope she finds these "rock stars" because it looks to me like it's already too late.

EFavorite said...

For more on "Rock Star" educators and the public's unrealistic, romantic attitude towards them, see the reflective educator's latest post:


Anonymous said...

Today's students do not need a rock star teacher nor prinicpal. What they need is a person who has the background in education, the willingness to educate, and expose children to good moral standards. BTW, what makes one a rock star teacher or princial? It seems like Rhee is spending too much time in Disneyland, and not enough time in reality.

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