Monday, November 1, 2010

Whatever It Takes: How to Get Grad Rates Up 101

This is one example of a letter this principal sent out to teachers at the:

Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute for Law and Public Policy
Soundview Educational Campus

(Entire forests died just to print the name of the school. Bet we see the failure rates drop very quickly in this school.)

From: Laboy Grismaldy (08X519)
Sent: Mon 10/25/2010
To: [a teacher]
Subject: low passing rates

Dear ________,

I have reviewed the first marking period passing rates and see that a large number of students failed:
· 67%

I am concerned. If a significant number of students failed your class, what does that tell you? Did your class master the material and meet state standards? Student performance results shows you how effectively you have taught a class. The summative and formative assessments should inform your
instruction. What changes, if any, have you implemented to maximize student outcomes? For example, if the students are failing your exams, did you conduct an item analysis of the questions the students mostly got wrong and revisit these topics using different pedagogical approaches? Is attendance the problem and have you contacted the Attendance Team and the Guidance Counselors to maximize student achievement. Have you emailed me alerts on students that are failing?

To understand your rates and develop an action plan to increase your passing rates, I need to collect data that includes the following on each student that failed your class. Please submit the following to me by 9am on Friday, October 29, 2010

· Students SMART learning goals,
· Student grades on tests and the number of exams given during the marking period,
· The item analysis of the exams which indicate the student's strengths and weaknesses.
· Documentation which indicates the student's learning style was assessed.
· Lesson Plans which indicate the modifications/differentiation in instruction used to match the student's learning style.
· Log showing the conferences the teacher had with the student, parent or both indicating the situation.
· Copies of the letters teachers sent home to the parent letting them know the student is going to fail the class due to poor academic performance or attendance.
· Explanation of the interventions you have taken

Our motto is "whatever it takes." Have you had a 1 on 1 private talk with the student? Have you called the parents? Contacted the parent coordinator for a parent-teacher conference? Modified or offered additional projects that meet their individual learning needs? Provided additional tutoring? Made referrals to the guidance counselor and/or dean?

I must admit I have not received this year one email from you that a student was failing your class. If I don't know I can't support you and the student.

I look forward to receiving the aforementioned items to support you and the students.

Sincerely,

Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson,
Principal
Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute for Law and Public Policy
Soundview Educational Campus
1440 Story Avenue
Bronx, New York 10473
T: 718-860-5110
F: 718-860-5081
C: 646-300-0633

10 comments:

  1. 1. Why do I get the feeling Grismaldy hasn't spent much time as a classroom teacher?

    2. Any principal who has enough time to bang out a letter like this, then look over all that silly data is not a principal doing their job.

    3. Grismaldy ought to teach a class then invite teachers in throughout the semester to show how it's done.

    4. I can tell by the pomposity of the letter that this is a "Do as I say, not as I do" type personality.

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  2. what a nightmare for the teacher! and what does the principal advise for a student who mourns for his dead father the entire academic year, for the student who is bright,very bright, but in ninth grade is still dealing with his mother's lifelong rejection of him, for the student who missed the early years of education due to serious health problems, the one whose parents is seriously ill, the one who does not take his medication and disrupts the class daily, and so on. It all comes down to the fact that the teachers should run the schools and create a supportive, interactive teacher environment whereby teachers can pool their knowledge and understandings of specific students. In our dreams...

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  3. The message is clear. Change those grades. It doesn't matter if the student sleeps or is not even in class, pass those kids!

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  4. Yes, the principal is asking a lot from this teacher. But at the same time, the teacher has 67% failure rate and apparently did not give the principal a heads up or an explanation. If I were the principal, I'd certainly want to know the kinds of things she asked for. The letter also includes some constructive suggestions, such as doing an item analysis of the questions the kids couldn't answer, working with the attendance office, etc. I'm sure there are other ways to communicate this information that might be less blunt, but as one letter writer noted, the principal is probably very busy. She quickly gave some concrete advice and asked for the info she needed to assess the situation. I would have given the teacher more time to collect the info. (e.g., at least over the weekend), but on substance I don't see what all the fuss is about. Lots of students failed. The principal didn't get an explanation. Now she wants one, and she give some specific suggestions for improvement.

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  5. Hey folks-In paragraph #1, it states "student performance results shows"-Shoudn't it read "student performance results show [leave out the "s"]-need some help here-thanks

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  6. As soon as this principal can demonstrate by EXAMPLE (as opposed by LETTER) that (1) these measures can feasibly and successfully be demonstrated in her own classes and that (2) she can successfully administer a professional development to inform teachers and staff of her success with such measures DESPITE the workload, then sure why not?? A real leader gains respect through example and is able to pass it on. That's because example inspires. Otherwise, it's just talk.
    By the way: overwhelming, overburdening and antagonizing your teachers by inquisition or finger pointing is no way to run a school. Real leaders understand the workload, the full range of challenges, and that their ability to demand is proportional to their ability to constructively show and coach. If your good, this letter would be unnecessary because you would have made it your interest to be well aware of the various issues that lead to student failure and remedy them appropriately and accordingly, as opposed to passing on a laundry list to teachers after the fact.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As soon as this principal can demonstrate by EXAMPLE (as opposed by LETTER) that (1) these measures can feasibly and successfully be demonstrated in her own classes and that (2) she can successfully administer a professional development to inform teachers and staff of her success with such measures DESPITE the workload, then sure why not?? A real leader gains respect through example and is able to pass it on. That's because example inspires. Otherwise, it's just talk.

    By the way: overwhelming, overburdening and antagonizing your teachers by inquisition or finger pointing is no way to run a school. Real leaders understand the workload, the full range of challenges, and that their ability to demand is proportional to their ability to constructively show and coach. If your good, this letter would be unnecessary because you would have made it your interest to be well aware of the various issues that lead to student failure and remedy them appropriately and accordingly, as opposed to passing on a laundry list to teachers after the fact.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is painfully clear that this principal not only has been a classroom teacher but is also trying to gain her next job on the backs of her staff. If they actually get her work done then they will never have the time to do any classwork or breathe for that matter. Is she aware that high grades on state mandated exams is NOT necessarily a sign of learning and understanding?

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  9. It reads like a boilerplate letter. The principal merely filled in the blanks.

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  10. LMAO SHES AN IDIOT I KNOW HER SINCE KIDS SHE GOT HER POSITION CAUSE SHE MARRIED THE BROTHER OF THE PERSON RUNNING DISTRICT 8 WHEN SHE FOUND OUT HE WAS RELATED TO THIS WOMAN. SHE TAUGHT 1 YEAR 10 MONTHS BECAUSE HER HS TEACHER RAN THE SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT IN STEVENSON HS MR BERK. HER WHOLE CAREER WITH THE BOARD OF ED IS A SHAM AND THE CHILDREN ARE THE ONES AND TEACHERS WHO PAY THE PRICE. ONLY GOT HER JOB BECAUSE OF HOOK UPS AND WHO SHE KNOWS.

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