Saturday, April 12, 2014

Coney Island Prep Charter Schools Publicly Shame Students

“It is in their handbook that they subject their students to wear an orange tee-shirt over their uniform when they are Out of the PRIDE, when they’re not given enough money in their paycheck,” asserted CEC 21 Treasurer and local parent Randi Garay at a Parent Education Program (PEP) meeting with the Department of Education (DOE) last October. “When they’re Out of the PRIDE, they miss out on enrichment. They’re not allowed to communicate with other students and they’re not allowed to be spoken to.”..... http://www.homereporternews.com/news/school_news/exclusive-orange-is-the-new-blackboard/article_11bfa7f4-c1a5-11e3-85ad-001a4bcf887a.html

EXCLUSIVE: Orange is the new blackboard?

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:13 pm | Updated: 2:17 pm, Fri Apr 11, 2014.
Parents with children at Cavallaro Intermediate School, slated to co-locate with Coney Island Prep, this fall, are seeing red over the orange shirts that students at Coney Island Prep’s Coney Island campus are at times forced to wear as a disciplinary measure.

The orange shirts are the penultimate stage in Coney Island Prep’s system of discipline, which begins with a token economy called PRIDE – a system, measured in money, that allows teachers to reward and penalize students as they see fit by either awarding or deducting PRIDE dollars from students’ weekly paychecks, and which can result in the orange shirt punishment. The final stage in the system is suspension.

“It is in their handbook that they subject their students to wear an orange tee-shirt over their uniform when they are Out of the PRIDE, when they’re not given enough money in their paycheck,” asserted CEC 21 Treasurer and local parent Randi Garay at a Parent Education Program (PEP) meeting with the Department of Education (DOE) last October. “When they’re Out of the PRIDE, they miss out on enrichment. They’re not allowed to communicate with other students and they’re not allowed to be spoken to.”

The system is exhaustively mapped out. According to the Coney Island Prep handbook, students receive $50 worth of PRIDE dollars weekly, which teachers then add to or deduct from throughout the week. At the end of each week, the results are tallied and PRIDE paychecks are printed and distributed for parental signature. Students who fail to bring back their signed paychecks see $50 deducted from their bank accounts and find themselves Out of the PRIDE – a handbook-mandated consequence also visited on students who lose $20 or more in one day from their PRIDE paycheck or end their week with a $0 balance.       

Among the acts for which students receive anywhere from $1 to $5 bonuses are going above and beyond in such areas as enthusiasm, professionalism, respect and integrity, and students may receive $20 for doing an excellent job on a major assignment or demonstrating PRIDE values through an exemplary act.

On the other hand, students can lose anywhere from $3 to $10 in PRIDE dollars for infractions, including, but not limited to missing homework, misuse of materials, grooming in public, leaving their seats without permission and arriving at school after 7:30 a.m.

Higher infractions include $20 deductions for a dean’s referral.

According to CEC 21 Recording Secretary Linda Dalton, the board brought its concerns to the DOE at the PEP meeting where members were approached by a DOE lawyer who took a copy of the handbook. They have heard nothing since from the DOE about the issue.

Despite the controversy, Coney Island Prep Founder and Executive Director Jacob Mnookin stands by the system, adding that the charter school hasn’t heard any complaints from its own parents.
“It’s just a different kind of take on a typical behavior management system,” said Mnookin, stressing the approach’s similarities to thousands of behavioral management systems used in schools across the country. “We think it makes crystal clear what our expectations are and what the rewards are for excelling and good behavior, and what the consequences are for not as good behavior.” The orange tee shirts have no special significance, added Mnookin, other than orange being a school color.

According to Mnookin, Coney Island Prep will not move forward with a PRIDE dollars approach or the orange tee shirts, at its elementary school planned to be housed at Cavallaro. Instead, the charter school will implement what the leader called a “stop light system” that aims to teach its younger students the basics of good behavior.

“Every kid would start every day at green and move to yellow or red dependent on their behavior,” he explained of the system, used already in other elementary schools across the country.

Either way, the team at Coney Island Prep stands by the consequences of being “Out of the Pride.” The school’s mantra – which, according to Mnookin stands for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Excellence -- is also used to define a pack of lions; the school’s mascot.

“Being ‘Out of the Pride’ means that you’ve violated the norms and you’re out of the pack, out of the community” he explained, “but rather than having an in-school suspension, which we feel can take away from the educational aspect, kids can still go to class and participate in class; they just kind of sit separately until they can turn their behavior around.”

            The DOE did not respond for a request for comment.
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5 comments:

  1. According to the Chancellor's regs, it is corporal punishment. Oops, charter schools are NOT public school. My bad:(

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  2. Well, what do you "expect" from someone who can't spell "except" ?
    Orange shirts today...scarlet letters three hundred years ago...what a shame!!

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  3. Is the orange tee shirt the contemporary scarlet letter?

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  4. Isn't this what charter schools were originally designed for -- to come up with ideas to solve essentially unsolvable and seemingly unsolvable problems?

    There are so many problems that center on middle school age children and the problems are intensifiied by poverty, dysfunctioinal family lives, communities where gangs are present, etc. etc. In a real way, who knows what combination will work in real life, even if they are counter-intuitive or go against sound research?

    On the other hand the tea shirt idea is yet another obviously cacamamie idea that is not going to be effective for so many reaons, For example, the kids may come to believe that the bad shirts wearer are "bad" and they will be respect and emulate the "bad" kids. Children at that age are such shaky self-esteem that the shirts will further solidify negative self-esteem.

    In any event it seems the parents were not clearly informed of this "strategy" or were not on board to begin with (not that I can blame them).

    Rate this one a 1. Disband the school and reconstitute another with a band oif profitters in current political favors

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  5. I am a parent whose son attends CIP. The only reason the school is being attacked is because CECD21 was unsuccessful in blocking the co-locations of the middle school and elementary school so now they are attacking CIP policy and procedures. The school has no complaints from parents or scholars about the discipline policies. My son said the orange t-shirt is annoying because he can't interact with his friends. I would much rather my son remain in class learning, than be suspended or removed from class for his behavior which is almost like rewarding a kid for their bad behavior. You can attack the discipline policies and the fact that these kids eat organic lunches but parents have chosen a great school for their kids (one of the top performing schools in the district with the 2nd highest percentage of kids with IEPs) and will continue to support CIP. My son has made enormous academic progress since he started attending CIP and the community I spent my whole life in should be supportive of that. Note everyone that is attacking the school has either worked for or is affiliated with the UFT. And we all know what the UFT thinks of charter schools (except the one they run). Mark Treyger (UFT teacher and rep) Daniel Dromm (UFT teacher) CEC D21 (represents traditional public schools in D21 and is organized and bought by the UFT).

    ReplyDelete

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