Nov 18, 2010

Precarious Predicament for DCPS Instructional Coaches

Featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence and candidate for WTU General Vice President

11/21/10 UPDATE: "Holdover" President Parker was a 'no show' at the Nov. 19 meeting, according to attendees.

DCPS Instructional Coaches (IC's) find themselves in a precarious predicament being government employees manipulated at taxpayer's expense. The Washington Teacher has confirmed that Instructional Coaches are required to attend a mandatory November 19 afternoon meeting with "Holdover" president George Parker during instructional time instead of their previously scheduled training.This is the second hastily called Friday meeting for IC's with Parker at taxpayer's expense and has some IC's feeling miffed about the misuse of instructional time and directive to meet with Parker.

In a November 18 email to Jason Kamras, one IC wrote: "In all my years as DCPS employee, I have never worked under administrators who disregarded the sanctity of instructional time. The last such meeting was a total sham! George Parker and Mary Collins presented nothing of educational, or professional value to teachers. Needless to say, I am shocked and disappointed by this administration's callous disregard for instructional time. I have no recourse but to respond to (Washington Post) Bill Turque's queries about this meeting as many WTU members have forwarded the email notices about this meeting to him. Please explain why this meeting is preempting one half day's training for Instructional Coaches for a Union meeting. I pay taxes in DC and I know that you and Kaya do too; thus, I do not believe that DC tax payers will look favorably upon this misuse of learning time for teachers and students."

Another union activist complained to Parker earlier this week in a terse email : "Despite the recent meeting with DC teaching fellows, you have not called a union meeting in six months. This violates our Constitution and you (Parker) are directly responsible for this on-going destruction of unionists' democratic rights." One has to wonder how important these IC's issues really are to Parker given that he hasn't conducted any union meetings (rep. assembly or membership mtgs.) as the WTU Constitution requires. Perhaps Parker's meeting with IC's is as Washington Post writer/blogger Bill Turque suggested about Parker's recent meeting with TFA/DC teaching fellows an attempt by him to reach out to a less active segment of the electorate to garner votes in the runoff election against the Nathan Saunders slate who received the most votes overall. I was in attendance at the TFA/DC Teacher Fellows meeting and the menu piled on crab cakes, London Broil and quesadillas while Parker promised to work on the DC fellows job related issues (i.e not being paid, exorbitant costs for private certification to the tune of $4000, etc.) and provide special IMPACT training.

Given that the city is demanding that teachers be held accountable for student performance- is this union meeting an appropriate use of Instructional Coaches time or is it the payback of Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson to Parker? As a Washington Teacher commenter wrote to me: "I expect this from Parker, who has pulled every trick out of the book to stay in office, but I'm feeling abused by Kaya Henderson right now. Gray better watch these actions. "


Sick and Tired.... said...

I am not surprised, but it is shameful how Parker is able to get away with these actions...Hey, what about the latest email saying that Parker wants to hold targeted meetings with specific groups? Is he so afraid of his own membership that he refuses to hold a membership meeting?

What's up with that?

And once again, the AFT is silent!

Everyone.....mail your damn ballots!

Classic said...

It's funny to me how the Washington Post keeps talking about how Gray has a debt to pay with the AFT after their support during the election. It seems to me that the person that is paying a debt is Kaya Henderson, maybe this is her way of thanking George for his endorsment of her new position. This is crazy and I hold Al Squire responsible. He is suppose to be over the elections to make sure these kinds of things don't happen. I hope the IC's give it to George today and then check the box for the Saunders/Peterson slate and MAIL it today!!!!

Anonymous said...

Henderson and Kamras are cut from the same cloth as Rhee. You can see by Henderson's recent actions that she intends to follow in Rhee foot steps.

I hope Gray will have the good sense to rid DCPS of these two fools.

Ms. Charolette's Crab Cakes for Becky Sue! said...

I have been a member for 2 decades and never served the food reported in this article by my union. Parker wants something and it is our votes. He lost my confidence long ago. He thinks that nasty personal attacks against Nathan Saunders and crab cakes for new teachers are the way but he is mistaken. I wish we could stop his spending until after the election because all he is doing is wasting the union's treasury. Candi, the Saunders Slate got my vote and my school too.

Parker needs to get an impact training for himself.

Anonymous said...

Parker makes all of us look like fools. Help me, Jesus.

Anonymous said...

@sick and tired - Yes!, Parker is afraid to met with the rank and file. Has he called another meeting with those who were dismissed over certification and IMPACT issues this summer or those who were RIFFin 2009?

Wow! Instructional time off for IC's. I smell a conspiracy.

Rogue Teacher

Anonymous said...

If Saunders wants votes, I'm wondering when the last time he went to some upper NW elementary schools like Key, Mann, Hyde, Janney, or Murch to gather support from the young talented teachers at those schools.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28PM

Your comment -- wonder why Saunder's have not met with the "young talented" Northwest teachers is another way of trying to divide the teachers in DCPS. Who are you one of the "young talented" NW teachers? Also what about the "young talented" teachers outside of NW. Are you saying GP has met with the "young talented NW teachers?

Also, I heard that Kamras showed up at Logan and held a meeting. GP came later. Kamras and Henderson got hit hard by ICs about allowing the scheduled PD to be cut short so to save face he comes and pretends to have a real discussion about the role of ICs.
Again, why are ET15s being allowed to impact other ET15s evaluations.

ICs are hand-picked by school administrators and many are no more qualified than the administrators who hired them. ICs and the MEs are one more weapon of Kamras to attack teachers.

Anonymous said...


Do you have any names of the individuals working on Gray's education transition team?

Rick said...

To Anon at 11:28pm,

Good point...but I'm wondering, do those people up there even belong to the union? (I mean full members). I thought since most of them were highly effective, they probably believe they don't even need a union, anyway! (just kidding)

You know how it is, you don't really need the union, until you really need the union. (not kidding)

Anonymous said...

I'll be so glad when the votes are counted. I'm so glad that Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty are no longer perpetuating lies in the media about DCPS and I can't wait for the day when George Parker will finally understand (as they did) where abuse of power can get you. He risked everything to go after Nathan. Nathan is still standing. George never wanted to go up against Nathan and now no matter where you are in DCPS there are people who understand thst George is not the leader to move this union forward. George your boat has sailed. Rhee and Fenty are waiting for you. NANANANA NANANANA HEY HEY HEY GOOD BYE ... TAKE YOUR UNION BACK AND VOTE THE SAUNDERS SLATE.

Anonymous said...

I heard that some individuals on Gray's educational team and suggesting that IMPACT stays.

I hope Gray will keep his promises and make sure that if not scraped IMPACT should be tested before firing any more teachers.

IMPACT is a joke? One teacher I know received a 2.0 plus rating from the so-called school administrator and two days later a 3.0 plus rating from the ME. What's up with this? Seems like a little bias from the administrator.

Anonymous said...

All the Instructional Superintendent and Coach positions need to be reevaluated for the purpose of need and of course economy. Some of them do little more than follow orders from above and have little or no impact on student achievement.

Anonymous said...

Candi, when will the votes be counted and when will we know the election results?

Freda said...

"I think the antics of George Parker use of the PD's of instructional coaches on DCPS time can possiblly be used by teachers who have been unfairly terminated in a class action suit against the union for lack of representation. Actions like these raise more than an eyebrow about whose interest he was protecting in contract negotiations. If terminated teachers get organized and retain the services of a good attorney they could potentially win a class action suit against the WTU and the AFT."

The Wash. Teacher said...

The votes will be counted in the evening on November 30. We should know the results that same evening.

GOTV and encourage teachers and school personnel to vote the Saunders slate.

The Wash. Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous 11/20 @ 9:32

Leading Gray's transition team: Michael Lomax, president and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund, Katherine Bradley, the president and co-founder of City Bridge Foundation, a nonprofit that has pushed universal pre-K.

Former Mayor Anthony Williams and economist Alice Rivlin will advise Gray on the city's budget. Former George Washington University president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Barbara Lang, president and chief executive of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, will handle economic development.
Maria Gomez, head of Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, Chinatown activist Alexander Chi; and former attorney general Robert J. Spagnoletti, who is Gray's personal attorney.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumor that Kamras is using IMPACT as the basis for his doctoral dissertation. Several people has mentioned this to me.

If this is true, what the HELL is going on?

Five To Go said...

Oh, I too, believe that Kamras, aka."The Rat" will probably use Impact as his doctoral degree. It seems that every person outside of the Metro area uses DCPS and the DC Government as their ticket to the big leagues. The other Rhee-Rat-Kaya Henderson should not be trusted. This woman in my opinion is the real sell-out to DCPS teachers. Rhee never had any real opinion of DCPS teachers, until Kaya Henderson told her so. I'm not saying that what Henderson told her were lies or the truth, but Henderson gave her background information on some teachers. And lastly, the Washington Post was the medium to tell lies, and attempted to sway public opinion. Well, Fenty/Rhee are not around, and Henderson/Kamras/Parker are next.

too little too late said...

Parker sounded desperate tonight on his umpteenth robo call.Right before the votes are counted he wants to hold a committee meeting on IMPACT and get out another survey. What does Parker actually do with all of these surveys? Ive never seen anything come out of these surveys. There Parker goes reacting again. I guess he's worried that Saunders slate will win (again).

DCNeverSleeps said...

Looks like IC's are not on solid ground either. Looks like everyone should be scared of losing their job. The current climate is not helping teachers be excellent. Can IC's come and observe teachers? And also evaluate, officially or even unofficially, teachers under IMPACT?

Anonymous said...

It was a shame that we were pulled from our IC cohort meeting to attend the WTU meeting on the 19th. We had NO forewarning as to what the meeting was about and one IC indicated that the meeting was a "waste of time" and that it would have been more effective for Dr. Carey Wright to meet with each individual cohort.

Each IC cohort is different and has different needs. Certain IC cohorts contain ICs who work in specialized schools such as Education Campuses (EC), Full Service Schools (FSS), or SAM schools. The session was a gripe session for disgruntled coaches or for coaches who are displeased with their PD Specialists, and nothing was solved ultimately.

However, there are some cohorts who truly have good PD Specialists and some ICs who truly help teachers become more effective in implementing best practices. We ICs are ET-15s. I am not used in an administrative capacity and am fine with that. My principal does not use me to compromise my integrity, and I have built rapport with teachers in my school especially with the veteran DCPS educators in my building.

Instructional/Literacy/Academic Coaching is not a new practice to schools nationwide; however, DCPS puts ICs in a tricky situation as ET-15s where we walk a tightrope daily to not be seen as administrators or as "know-it-all," snitch teachers. A percentage of our IC IMPACT score is based on teacher growth in our respective buildings; if we are pulled out of productive, professional time for secretive, ridiculous meetings, then how will we continue to learn strategies to help our teachers in the classroom?

Going Data Crazy said...

Is anyone in other schools doing what we're doing at my school? Teachers in the testing grades are pouring over the students' most recent DCBAS results,looking at student mistakes and determining which standards they reflect. Question #9? 60% of the kids missed it. It's a question on data and probability, for example. Then we are to indicate what strategies we'll use to teach or reteach the standard. Small groups? Using manipulatives? Exit slips? Morning warm-up questions?
Sounds good but it's taking hours. Plus the principal wants it all plotted on some spreadsheet, for both reading and math.
Teachers are going nuts. Anyone else doing this?

Anonymous said...

When you say Instructional Coaches... do you mean the math and reading coaches in our buildings? The ones that never work with kids? Do you mean the ones that are now part of the administrative team and they are ET-15's too!??? I am just curious... what are the IC's at your school doing and are they too a part of the "admin. team?"

This is Crazy said...

Anonymous at 4:21:
We might be at the same school. To make it worse, the ICs have computers in their room (a small computer lab actually) but were forbidden to see students. Yet, I can't get a computer in my room.

And, yes, Data Crazy, I have to analyze data all kinds of ways. The sad part is, an administrator "helped" me figure out why children were missing certain math problems (maybe they regrouped in the wrong place or switched numbers around) when the real problem was THE KIDS COULDN'T READ THE WORD PROBLEMS!

Somebody stop the madness pleeeez.

Anonymous said...

going data xrazy..

Used at my school and totally pointless. The principals collect it to use as IMPACT but we never analyze the data so I don't pay much attention to it.

Anonymous said...

This data craziness is a result of Rhee. This person had no experience and it showed. Now DCPS is "dunked" on again,Kaya Henderson-"Rhee". This school system needs a leader who has experience in running a school system in the right direction "Up" not "down".The IC in my building is an unpaid assistant principal. This person has all of the responsibilities of a assistant-principal, but not the pay. What a fool, to work with no pay nor title.

I Love Data, but said...

My complaint isn't against analyzing and using student data to reteach etc. It's just that my principal is making us do it in the form of a report that must be turned in, with little time to do it. About the IC being used as a defacto AP. Hey at least your IC is doing something. We have two. They're nice and all, but don't work with students, spend a lot of time chatting (and not about teaching strategies) and I just don't think they're going to have a lot of valuable suggestions to offer classroom teachers.