Wednesday, December 10, 2014

John Dewey's Principal Kathleen Elvin Screws Young Kids Out of Baskeball Program

The Ed Notes June 26, 2014 post about much despised John Dewey HS Principal Kathleen Elvin (No Change of Tone at John Dewey HS: Principal Kat...) has made the top 10 all-time posts on Ed Notes with 5495 hits of as today, with 151 comments.

Today this story surfaced about the queen of mean sticking her fingers into a 40 year after school basketball program for inner city kids. Reuven Blau in the DN does a pretty good job of telling the story. She claimed the gym was in use Sat. from 9-12 but it was stone cold empty the entire time. One must wonder why she would put the screws on a program that has been at John Dewey HS for 40 years. But it is in the DNA of queens of mean.

But then again there was this Dec 6 comment:
Why was the Department of Education’s Office of Investigations (OSI) in the building all day Wednesday interviewing so many people?
Why indeed? (head on over and read some of the love notes to Ms Elvin.)

The Flames have developed enormous community and political support. If Elvin continues to peddle her bullshit there may be a bigger backlash than she expects, especially if OSI - which we all know is a politically oriented operation - is sticking its nose into her operations.

Foul! Brooklyn hoops group says it's getting booted from home court

The leader of a well-known Brooklyn youth basketball group is whistling a foul on a city principal, saying the kids were abruptly tossed out of their longtime home in a Bensonhurst high school in the middle of the season.

Gerard Papa, leader of Flames, a community basketball group that says they are being kicked out of their practice gym. Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News Gerard Papa, leader of Flames, a community basketball group that says they are being kicked out of their practice gym.
The leader of a well-known Brooklyn youth basketball group is whistling a foul on a city principal, saying the kids were abruptly tossed out of their longtime home in a Bensonhurst high school.
Gerard Papa, 61, who runs Flames, a basketball tournament and mentoring program for 700 kids ages 8 to 19, says Kathleen Elvin, the principal of John Dewey High School, closed off the school’s secondary gym last Saturday morning, leaving 90 youngsters stranded.
And she’s blocking future Saturday morning games due to a scheduling conflict.
“It’s our home,” Papa said. “What am I supposed to do with these kids for the balance of the season?”
Elvin told the group the space was needed for use by the Public Schools Athletic League.
“We will continue to juggle our Dewey schedule when possible to accommodate the Flames, but right now there just is not enough gym space to handle all of our needs at the same time,” Elvin told Papa in a Dec. 5 email.
Papa said the auxiliary gym was actually empty Saturday morning.
“They practice in the big gym,” he said of the school’s teams.
The school is also hosting a robotics competition on Dec. 20, which will use most of the first floor, including the two basketball courts and the cafeteria, Elvin said.
The school is required to give priority to its own programs and activities, said Department of Education spokeswoman Yuridia Pe na, adding that the city would work to accommodate the basketball program as best it could.
Papa said he should have been warned about the scheduling conflict before the season started in November, rather than finding out on the day itself.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News Flames, a community basketball group led by Gerard Papa (top right). The group’s alums include former NBA star Stephon Marbury and current Charlotte Hornets shooting guard Lance Stephenson.
“At the beginning of the school year, she should have called us in — and maybe we could have figured something out,” he said. “She let me send out thousands of cards announcing registration.”
The retired lawyer started the basketball tournament in 1974, and has been using Dewey’s gym as its home for 40 years. The group pays about $10,000 in fees to rent the gym each year, operating on a week-to-week schedule.
The group’s alums include former NBA star Stephon Marbury and current Charlotte Hornets shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who both attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island.
Flames brings together kids from low-income families and various city housing projects throughout Brooklyn .
Some travel more than an hour to attend the two-month training program and tournament.
Officials from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and City Councilman Mark Treyger’s office are trying to broker an agreement.
“Everybody is trying to make this work,” said a source familiar with those talks.
Papa has no plans to look for a new location in middle of the season.
“If your wife doesn’t let you in the house tonight you can go to a hotel, but it’s not your house,” he said. “They don’t legitimately need the space.”


  1. I am a John Dewy, HS Alumni and a Flames Parent Alumni. Your article about the Flames Basketball Neighborhood Recreation Program is very informative. I would like to add my opinion about the dire impact of what is happening to Flames.
    I am African American. I raised my (4)four children in the projects as a single parent. I have only one son. I feared for his existence after he reached of age to go outside alone. If it were not for the Flames Basketball Neighborhood Recreation Program; I believe that I would have lost my son to the violence that took place in the parks. My son needed a safe and supervised place to play with other boys his age. Flames provided such an opportunity for my son. I am certain that my story is not uncommon. Flames was a god-send for me and other parents.

    Each parent is required to volunteer some of their time with the Flames. This giving back is also required by the young players. Children learn what they live. The young men who participate in Flames learn about goals and the achievement of their goals. They also learn about the discipline and the consistency that it takes to make their dreams come true. If Flames is not allowed to operate as usual in John Dewey, High School many children will not have the opportunity to experience the excellent lessons, Presently, my son is a member of New York Police Department. He has grown to be responsible, accountable, and community minded and Flames has contributed to this development.

    Flames is an excellent basketball program. It is being dismantled and rendered ineffective at John Dewey, High School which has been its home base for many, many, years. This would be a great loss for John Dewey, H.S. and for the many youths who benefit from this program.

  2. Whereas, it is disappointing to learn about the Flames possibly losing their home in JDHS, there are also many other concerns that need immediate attention by those who can make changes. The actions of Principal Elvin toward the Flames is just another example of how staff at JDHS have been treated since her arrival in March 2012. During her principalship, she has not only negatively affected staff morale but has been a detriment to students as well. How so? Students are rarely given consequences or held responsible for violent behavior; marijuana use is prevalent and overt in the boys' bathroom; there was no summons issued to a student when a weapon was discovered in his backpack at scanning, because the incident was written up falsely, as the weapon being "found" rather than it being brought into the building. Ms. Elvin covers up incidences, at the expense of school safety. Lastly, students know that they will earn credits even if they do minimal work and have poor attendance.This is due to the fact that teachers are pressured to have at least an 85% passing rate for each of their classes. EZ-Pass, some teachers call it. It appears to staff in JDHS that Ms. Elvin's primary concern is to create a public image of herself as the one who was able to get Dewey back on track and transform the school with incredible promotion and graduation rates. Only the insiders know that this is a sham and that the students are the ones to pay the price; when they graduate many are ill-prepared for college. Why would a principal manage a school this way? One can only guess. Perhaps it is to earn the personal financial gain ( as she earned in Williamsburg Prep) or perhaps to move up the career ladder. No matter. As for now, the JDHS staff can only hope that the higher powers ( OSI, Superintendent Prayor and Chancellor Farina) take the current situation at JDHS seriously and act accordingly. If not, then they are equally complicit.

  3. This Principal has no principles! She is only obsessed with control and domination of every aspect of the lives of teachers, students, community members, but NOT for their betterment- no, only to see them crushed, humiliated, hopeless, defeated, damaged beyond repair. She is a truly sick individual, whose karma is very, very bad. I applaud the parent who wrote the first comment, and the "insider" who wrote the second- both have seen through the Big Lie that this self-serving mean-spirited senior citizen has perpetrated in the name of "fixing" Dewey: she has brought a home-grown form of Terrorism to what had been a Field of Dreams. She should be taken out with the garbage, not allowed to fester incessantly.


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