Friday, March 9, 2012

That Cheat'n Principal: Passarella Removed from TAPCO

Daily News: Principal of once top-rated Theatre Arts Production Company School removed for faking way to success:  Lynn Passarella has lost her $25k bonus and faces firing

"The behavior uncovered in this report is dishonest and disgraceful, and shows a blatant disregard for principal responsibilities," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, [the lying weasel who knew full well what was going on and could have had the investigation speeded up].
Finally!  Why this investigation took 17 months I have no idea; DOE dragging its feet as usual.  There’s been so much evidence of malfeasance for so long…the fact that this was the top-rated school in NYC shows how blatant the data manipulation has been.
-----Leonie Haimson
What? The Daily News hasn't sent a reporter and photographer to ambush Passarella at her home for the years this investigation took like they did to teachers (including a good friend of mine) on the data reports?

I posted an article on this school at Ed Notes many months ago.
Over this time there have been 81 comments and comments have continued to flow in. A perfect example of the double standard at the DOE where a teacher sneezes without a handkerchief and is put in the rubber room for corporal punishment.

Given this news it is interesting that his batch came in last night. Imagine leaving the school under her charge and allowing her to ruin more careers over 2 years --- the 17 months is since the investigation began but the stories have been floating around way longer than this. Will the UFT gather these people together and get them a lawyer? Don't bet your hat.

Reading these comments provides a real picture of what was going on at the school.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another DOE Scam - TAPCO - Theatre Arts Production...":


I am a former staff member at the school MS/HS225, also known as TAPCO. Although I have not worked at this school for several years, I am intimately familiar with the workings of the school and its principal, Lynn Passarella. I am still in regular and close communication with my students and former colleagues, and have a very strong relationship with a few staff members who are currently employed there. I believe the information contained in this communication is accurate and reflects the current state of the school. It was written after extensive conversation with present and past staff members. Any discussion with a current staff member would support this contention.

It has been over a year since the DOE commenced an investigation into the school and its principal. Countless articles and blogs have appeared. A simple GOOGLE of the name Lynn Passarella reveals many of them:

A Scandalous Success:
Grade A Fraud:
Bronx School’s Top Ranking Stirs Wider Doubts About Rating System:
Nobody Ever Fails At NYC’s ‘Top School’:
Scam Checker: Another TAPCo Fraud:
Ed Notes Online, Another Scam:
Do Not Apply:

Yet despite the investigations and negative press, TAPCO continues on with Passarella at the helm.

So what IS going on at this school? How has the investigation and bad PR affected things? Why is Principal Passarella able to continue running this school despite evidence that she has cheated, falsified documents, mismanaged funds, and is incapable of running the school?

It is the goal of this posting to address these questions, accurately, fairly, and without bias.

When the school opened its doors in September of 2011, many questions remained from the previous years. A handful of teachers had left, but surprisingly many of the core teachers had remained. Discussion with some of these teachers reveals that they believed that Lynn Passarella would be removed, and that they were optimistic that a new, more talented and ethical principal would replace her. Others expressed a loyalty to the students and the community, with a hope that the year-long investigation would have provided a valuable lesson to their principal, and that things would improve. Teachers who left were unanimous in their opinion that as long as Passarella ran the school, things would never improve, and that the process to remove her would take far longer than they could bear.

As the year unfolded, it seemed that this hope that the school would improve, was actually being realized. Passarella displayed a new trust in her staff, supported a new discipline policy run by a former TAPCO teacher (who was pursuing an administrative career), and some of the new hires showed promise.

The new discipline policy (called ARC... not sure what it stands for) seemed to be having a positive effect. Students who came late or misbehaved in class were sent to a designated room monitored by teachers, calls were made home, and students were required to make up any work that they missed. This was in stark contrast to the way things were run at TAPCO before where students virtually got away with everything without consequence. The improvement was noticeable. (CONTINUED BELOW).


Other improvements included the expansion of the school into the areas of the building formally occupied by MS391 (with whom they share the building), and moving the middle school to its own floor. These were great moves. This allowed more teachers to have their own space, and a physical separation of the middle school and high school. Logistically it was now easier to control the flow of traffic between classes, and identify students who were cutting or hanging out in places they shouldn't be.

Another change was the promotion of a new school vice principal, Ms. Janice Acosta (although the school received criticism for not following due process in this promotion). The move was met with mixed opinions. Acosta was perhaps the least liked person in the building, both from students and staff, but at the same time there were some that were willing to give her a chance. Despite her angry disposition and history of backstabbing and manipulation, she was by no means an unintelligent person, and perhaps she too, like her boss, could learn from past mistakes and work toward the betterment of the school. Even though few liked her and even fewer trusted her, she could at least be counted on to help manage a school that had been severely mismanaged since its inception.

But as the first few months passed the signs of inconsistency resurfaced. The discipline program, which was so instrumental in the success of September and October, was neglected and the students took advantage immediately. A few of the new hires began to appear grossly incapable of managing their classes and providing a quality education. The burden to fix these problems fell to experienced teachers who were asked to coach, mentor and push-in with these teachers, further stressing their already over-crowded schedules. Acosta also had problems. She fought with staff, targeted teachers she didn’t like and attacked their pedagogy, and resumed what was perceived as a witch hunt for teachers the principal wanted to get rid of. Staff was also witness to several emotional outbursts, including rages of anger and outbursts, often accompanied by hysterical weeping. Needless to say, this did little in the way of instilling confidence in the school’s leadership. This person, like her principal, seems to bring a lot of her own issues and weaknesses to her job, and it only contributes to the instability and dissention that prevails throughout the school.

Communications were confusing, incomplete, and inconsistent. The first Parent/teacher night was announced a day before the event. Rapid dismissals would happen without notice and students were sometimes stranded without transportation. Town meetings would happen without notice or announcement, and would often be chaotic and without proper planning. Most annoying, Passarella would often grab the school’s microphone and make loud, raucous, celebratory announcements of college acceptances while completely disregarding the fact that lessons (sometimes tests) were in progress. Teachers were constantly caught off-guard. Nobody dared complain.

Breakdowns in the coverage system led to entire classes floating the hallways unsupervised when teachers were absent. Classes were constantly being regrouped and reformed without notice, all without the input of the teachers. Students and staff were left confused, bewildered and unable to see any logic in the sudden regroupings. Teachers have been given new schedules at least 5 or 6 times since September. Once even complained she didn’t even want to waste the paper to print out her new schedule. “Why should I? In two weeks I’ll have yet another one!”(CONTINUED BELOW).
The 37.5 minutes at the end of the day became a nightmare, as students were grouped and regrouped without explanation or proper notification. Students often cut or left the building early. Few received consequences, and as less and less administrative support was given to ARC, the system of discipline and student accountability eroded completely. A visit to TAPCO in January and February 2012 revealed a chaotic, undisciplined environment, and teacher moral at an all-time low. This was particularly true in the high school.

Case in point. One of the school's high school math teachers has had his room ransacked and occupied by students on a number of occasions. Returning to his room from lunch, he would find his room occupied by students without supervision, many of them cutting classes, and the room totally trashed. Despite reporting this to administration, little was done and the offending students received minimal (if any) consequence.

The school took sharp criticism for a teacher resigning at the end of last year (2011). Closer examination reveals that the teacher did not so much leave because of TAPCo's deficiencies, but more because the teacher was unqualified and overwhelmed by the job. Criticism should not have been levied at the school so much for the teacher leaving, but more for why and how this teacher got hired in the first place. The fact that this teacher was unqualified and incapable of handling a class was apparent to everyone (except the principal) from the start. Another example of horrific judgment on her part.

Of greater concern, this teacher was never replaced after resigning. Instead the classes were divided up among the remaining teachers, something that not only increased their already over-extended workloads, but further damaged the already negative perception of the school and its mismanagement of teachers and finances. If the teacher resigned wouldn't the salary be returned to the school? Why wasn't another teacher hired? If not to just cover the classes of the teacher, then to at least provide some relief to the already over-stretched staff? If no competent teacher could be found to cover the main classes, couldn't the money saved at least be used to hire hall monitors or additional staff to keep students from cutting? Or to provide more manpower to the discipline program? Or a teacher to cover the less critical classes without stretching the staff further?]

The answer of course, is no. The perception is that the principal is so incapable of handling money and budgeting for the year that this teacher's salary became necessary to cover mistakes, oversights and misappropriations that have handicapped the school from the start. Simply put, financial management has been horrendous, furthering a perception that the principal’s values and priorities are completely distorted. Money is spent on meaningless things, while the very systems that are essential to properly running a school are neglected.

And funds continue to be mismanaged. The most egregious example is the money paid to an outside consulting agency. It is reported that over $50,000 is being paid some outside consulting organization and its wily director, yet few within the school can point to any tangible benefits this “arrangement” has brought. Certainly this money could have been put to better use. (CONTINUED BELOW)

So why does Principal Passarella choose to spend so much of the school's limited funds on a meaningless consulting agency when there are so many other pressing needs? Perhaps for the same reason she decided to elevate the least liked person in the school to the position of assistant principal: She feels she NEEDS them. They tell her what she wants to hear and sides with her regardless of what the issues are (Of course they do! They are protecting their positions and their paychecks!). Passarella is incapable and unqualified to run things herself, and there is a part of her that knows it. She is unable to figure things out and is in way over her head. Acosta may be disliked and mistrusted by the entire staff, but she backs the principal 100% (right or wrong), reminds her constantly of what she should be doing, tells her who is being disloyal, what compliances are pressing, and where she should focus her attention. The consulting firm may be expensive and unnecessary, but it does and says exactly what she wants. This alone is enough to keep them in place. And they give this unstable, unbalanced leader the “spiritual support” she feels she needs. There is even some kind of ex-principal on the pay roll, a woman who has for years been paid to “mentor” Passarella (don’t know her name... but she has been coming for years). Why is this even necessary? And what does the school have to show for all these years of “mentoring.”? A trumped-up number one rating, an unstable and unqualified leader, an unhappy, disheartened staff, and students who are not receiving the education they deeply deserve.

It’s a crying shame.

The after-school sports program was also taken away from long-time teachers of the school and given to this outside agency. This was done without notice or explanation to the teachers involved. How much additional money is being paid to this agency for this service is anyone’s guess. The teachers who have faithfully served the students as athletic coach for many years were simply left out in the cold. It has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

If you were to judge this school solely based on their ability to meet Chancellor compliances, the principal’s weekly message and contents of the staff meetings, one would think this is an excellent school. They seem to know how to play the “quality review game” well. But the truth is there is little resemblance between this “fantasy school” she presents and the reality. The reality is that the school is mismanaged and people still operate out of fear of incurring her (or Acosta’s) wrath. No one DARES speak their mind. It can only lead to trouble.

This is not leadership. This is tyranny.

Even the hiring of the school secretary is an embarrassment. The staff seems virtually unanimous in their dislike of this person. She is angry, uncooperative, unqualified, unfriendly, and seemingly incapable of performing the basic tasks of a school secretary. So why is she allowed to continue? Because she guards the principal's door like a pitbull, keeping "intruders" and problems away. She faithfully protects Passarella, keeps problems far from her doorstep, and for this, she is greatly valued (shades of Marilyn Arroyo?). It does not matter what the staff thinks. Does not matter if she knows how to fill out a purchase order or that she shows up to work so late teachers cannot clock in. What matters is her blind loyalty to a corrupt, incompetent leader. And everyone knows it.

How about TAPCO's high college acceptance rate? Clearly among the highest in the 5 boros. How is this done? And how are these students doing once they get to college? (CONTINUED BELOW)
Many of TAPCO’s graduates have dropped out or have changed schools. Most have had to take remedial classes. Some are saddled with huge student loans that they are trouble paying back and seem in crisis. Simply, they do not graduate high school with the skills necessary to thrive in a college environment. Is it possible that the school’s mindless pursuit of EVERYONE getting into college has actually harmed some of these kids? Did anyone ever stop to consider that some students are served better by learning a technical skill or craft? How did the school expect these kids to pay back these loans, especially if they have dropped out? Ask ANY student who comes back to visit TAPCO… Did your high school prepare you well for college? The answer is almost unanimously NO. The picture is disheartening.

It is easy to conclude that students have been betrayed by TAPCO. They have contributed to the school’s high college acceptance rate, helped make the school and its principal look good. But attending college for some was only in the school’s best interest. Now, saddled with debt, their futures are being written. Some are even considering the military.

Another interesting area? TAPCO’s uniform policy. The past 4 years have seen the school so inconsistently enforce this policy that few know whether or not it is still in effect. The school will go months without saying anything about it, then suddenly penalize a few students for not observing it. Why is this worth mentioning here? Because it is yet another window into how this school is run and its inability (like ARC) to stick to a policy or system. Make no mistake about it. The issue is NOT whether TAPCO should have a uniform policy. The issue is its inability to enforce it or stick by it. It serves as yet another glaring example of its inability to govern itself.

Another area of mismanagement: Dealing with the Special Education students of the school. Schools receive extra money for each special ed student they take in, but close examination of TAPCO's special ed program will reveal that students do not receive the support that they need. Not by a long shot. This can be seen throughout the school, grades 6 – 12. So where does the extra money that the school receives go to? It is not clear. But logic and history would tell us again that the money is needed to cover other mistakes and misappropriations, while the students continue to be denied the services they are mandated to receive. (CONTINUED BELOW)

NOTE: Michael Berkowitz seems to receive an unfair amount of criticism in this regard. Truth be told, Michael's hands are tied. He has been criticized for being compliant and complacent in the matter, and that he either lacks the courage or ability to take on Passarella and Acosta and fight for what is right. Can he be blamed for that? Not really. He is a capable person, but surely he has to think about his family and his career. And administration seems to work against him. And it must be hard for him to be witness to the incompetency and the poor use of school money while his students continue not receiving the services that they are mandated to have. Some feel that if he would be a little less obsequious and a little more courageous, he would be more effective in advocating for his students, but this too seems unfair. He may know what is right, but to be able to effect change with this kind of leadership in this system is a lot to ask. Safe to say that if Michael leaves, it would be another great loss to the school. Like some his colleagues (Casper, Buchbinder, Sandrowitz, Mudrick, Konisberg, Krakauer, Wold... to name only a few), he represents what is right about TAPCO, and another glaring reason why things need to change before the talent flight begins.

It will happen for sure.

One very important question remains. How is it possible that despite what is known about this principal and her tactics that she is allowed to continue? How is it possible that the investigations have not resulted in her removal or suspension? It is hard to imagine that the DOE and its investigators are unaware of the problems and level of incompetency here. One can make guesses. Here are a few:

1. It is going to happen, but the investigators are waiting until their case is fool proof. Many a crooked administrator has escaped justice because of a case contained too many errors or incomplete investigations. The investigators KNOW they have her, but do not want to take the chance of her union or lawyer finding a hole in their case, or getting her off on a technicality despite her obvious guilt. It’s happened before.

2. The DOE, its chancellor, the former chancellor, and the Mayor himself all have too much to lose on how this story unfolds. Indeed it is not just Passarella who is on trial here. So is the system for rating schools, the Regents system, and the politicians who back these systems. Careers and legacies could be lost or damaged. The DOE has to find a way to spin this story where Passarella takes the fall, and the system (or themselves) end up looking good. She needs to be portrayed as the bad apple that fell far from the healthy tree, and not like the whole tree is compromised and corrupt. And despite her shortcomings, these people may fear that Passarella will not leave quietly. She may try to take a few down with her.

3. Passarella represents the tip of the iceberg. She is far from being alone in her manipulation of grades, Regent scores, attendance data, finances, and parent, teacher and student surveys. To indict her would be equivalent to opening a Pandora's Box of problems for the DOE, and the deeper one investigates, the more it is apparent that this is not just one bad apple, but the inevitable product of a system that is broken and in desperate need of major overhaul. Care must be taken in how she is dealt with. Entire careers are at stake. And no one wants to rock the boat, or be held accountable.

4. They are waiting for her to resign or make a mistake that would make if easy for them to fire her. Again, it needs to appear as if it is SHE who is the problem, not the overall system itself. (CONTINUED BELOW)

When it is all said and done, perhaps common sense and good judgment can still prevail. TAPCO is very much worth saving. It still has a core group of talented, hard-working devoted teachers (the main reason the school has stayed afloat this long) and staff members (including some of the administration), and the students are decent, reasonable kids who deserve a lot more than they are getting. And the community NEEDS a successful, well-run middle school/high school for its children.

But looking at the situation objectively, this cannot happen if Lynn Passarella is the principal. She simply is not qualified. Personal feelings aside, she doesn’t have what it takes. She cheats for a reason. She has to. She has people like Acosta and expensive (NON DOE) advisors around her for a reason. She is incapable of making things work otherwise.

As someone stated earlier in this blog, she is more consumed with looking good, than being good. And in the system she operates this is entirely possible. (In fact, she looked SO good that she brought much of this unwelcomed attention upon herself. Outranking Stuyvesant High School, Bronx Science and the High School For Math, Science and Engineering (CCNY) has cast her into the spotlight, and the facade is clearly not holding up under the scrutiny). And she continues to take little responsibility for her actions. When things go wrong it is the fault of her teachers and staff (and her “non-Acosta” APs). She seems incapable of realizing that the problem lies squarely on her shoulders. And for this reason she will continue to press on indefinitely, blaming her teachers, blaming her APs, blaming the parents. Blaming anyone that might negatively affect her own ranking. Never accepting responsibility herself.

The DOE and its investigators need to operate quickly. It is now time to pull the trigger. To wait will bring upon a talent flight out of TAPCO that has never been seen before. This is for sure. The staff has had it. The very best will leave for sure... many have gone on record as saying so much. It is the hope of almost that she will be replaced soon and the school can finally begin to realize its potential.

This posting is an appeal to what is right, what is just, and what is necessary to help this school and its community. It was written with great care, thought and a desire to avoid being mean-spirited or vindictive. It is the product of extensive discussion with current and former staff at TAPCO.

It also represents an opportunity for the Chancellor, the DOE and its investigators to recognize and correct a problem that should be within their grasp and ability to fix. In short, it is a plea. A plea to act swiftly and effectively.

The students deserve it. The community deserves it.
Agree with this posting. I don't think people are out to insult anyone. I think people are frustrated, disheartened, and believe they are working for incompetent, angry people. This blog is merely a forum to express this without punishment. I just stumbled in on this blog, and except for a few immature entries, it seems overall a genuine expression of dissatisfaction with a school's administration, particularly the principal and one of her APs. And so many people are saying different versions of the same thing, it seems unlikely that they are all wrong. Apparently this school is in bad shape, but is some how able to play the game so well that everything seems rosy to the DOE. This blog seems to be lifting the veil. Seems to be the only tool these people have available to them to tell the world what is going on.

I wish them luck.

See full article below

By Rachel Monahan / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, March 9, 2012, 5:38 PM
 Theatre Arts Production Company School in the Bronx.

Viorel Florescu for New York Daily News

Theatre Arts Production Company School in the Bronx.
Description:     The city removed the principal at a top-rated Bronx school Friday after completing a 17-month-long investigation that showed she faked her way to success.
Lynn Passarella, of Theatre Arts Production Company School, received a $25,000 bonus when her school earned an A on the high school report cards in 2010 with the highest rating of all high schools.
But she boosted scores by falsifying attendance data and awarding credit to students who never attended classes, the investigative report released to the press Friday afternoon shows.
"The behavior uncovered in this report is dishonest and disgraceful, and shows a blatant disregard for principal responsibilities," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a statement, announcing he would seek to fire Passarella immediately.
Officials said Friday that after the investigation started, city recouped the $25,000 bonus from Passarella, who earns $145,493 a year for her leadership of the 6th- though 12th-grade school.


Anonymous said...

This series of comments was incredible. Nothing current and former TAPCo teachers don't know ... but brings light to the rest of the world.

Imagine teaching in a world of fear, intimidation, and manipulation. Several posters have mentioned Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. When teachers are so fearful of their jobs and are threatened constantly, the students are the losers.

When the no fail policy excuses students from being accountable for their own learning ... again, the students are the losers.

We appreciate all you and Leonie have done to monitor educational leaders such as Passarella. Without the media exposure, Passarella would still be sitting on her throne. Reminds me of China's Dowager empress ... who spent the military budget on a garden while western powers carved her nation up. Totally oblivious to reality. Such is Passarella as principal of TAPCo.

The school was falling apart, discipline was non-existent, the staff were humiliated and disgusted, students were failing by the hundreds and still given passing grades ... and all the while Passarella would give rosy speeches at meetings.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Passarella truly was the Empress Dowager. Trapped inside her summer palace oblivious to the collapsing nation around her. Acosta was the head eunuch who whispered into her ear and told the Empress what she wanted to hear.

One cannot run a school on false pretenses. How long did she think she could put up this facade?

With Passarella gone, it's time for Acosta to go as well. Her source of power is gone, and teachers no longer have a need to fear her. She's a headless zombie with no bite. Ignore her or just simply laugh at her.

Ron's first act should be to remove Acosta.

Anonymous said...

How dare you! i know what teacher this is. i am a student with a disability and i have never been turned down by the administration when i felt my needs weren't being meet. i was never put in some Special Class, and am so great full for it. i was allowed to prove myself and now had made it into AP despite the limitations the DOE would of liked to put on me. Miss Lynn always had the students interests at heart. shes not paid to cater to the teachers but to Shepard the students. your a good teacher, but putting the blame on miss lynn is just sicking......ill see you Monday, ill have that work i owe you as well but i know that for my seven years at tapco i always felt that the administration care about me and they always tried to discus any problems i was having. btw i do agree with you that the teachers at tapco play a crucial role in Tapcos success

Anonymous said...

some mistakes, i wrote this when i was pretty upset

Anonymous said...

hmmmm, i think they should just make her a teacher again, AP English since K is leaving

Anonymous said...

Monday is going to be interesting. The students are probably going to be crying over Mrs. Lynn. This is how warped our poor school is. I hope they see her for what she did and not how nice she was to them on her occasional (and I mean occasional) run-ins with them. You should all know that the staff has not been more relieved in all the years I've been here. We have teachers that no longer have to fear for their lives! No more henchmen!!!! Maybe we will celebrate diversity! Maybe we will have after school activities! Trips! A Principal that wants to build a community instead of a prison!!!!! Maybe our students will actually feel self confident in earning real grades. Thank you everyone! TAPCO will be back on the map! We have the brightest students in our building, they just need a new sense of desire and motivation.
Some next step tips for the new principal in my humble opinion;
The Budget-----pay teachers to do arts, they are all artist. Help us build a community with the students, they are rushed out of the building so that outsiders have more influence on them than we do, ******* Regents Spending based programs. Lets build up our sense of spirit first. Repair our auditorium, hire more monitors, special education teachers, hire teachers that actually care if their kids cut. Give us sports, fix our tables and desks, and walls, and hallways, and boards, phones in the classrooms, Paper and folders for teachers on day one, not day 7 before quality review.
School Spirit; Student Government~ News Papers~ Senior Leadership~ Monthly Gatherings~ Walk the halls, show the kids how real principals build relationships with EVERYONE in the building. Plan things ahead of time~ Staff morale is at an all time low! Show the kids that you appreciate people of color with your actions and deeds, not just words.
Accountability; Hold everyone accountable for their actions, including yourself. Get our students back in the habit of routines.
Do all this and TAPCO will be back with a vengeance.

Honorable Mentions;
Janice, you followed Lynn for so long and did all her bidding. Please, continue in her footsteps and rid us of Lynn's last legacy.....YOU

Bronx Teacher said...

Why would you want to have Acosta teach you?

Plus, K isn't going anywhere. He'll be back next year. Every year around this time, he claims he's leaving ... he never does.

Bronx Teacher said...

One step at a time. It took Lynn 10 years to destroy this school ... fixing it won't happen overnight. But the foundation must be set. Ron Link MUST develop an effective and long term discipline policy. Students must be accountable for their work and grades. There must be consequences for student actions (or inactions). Students must know that they cannot expect free passing grades regardless of how little (if any) work they do, disrespect the teachers, text in class, etc, etc.

Ron must open his doors and ears to the teachers, and allow us a voice in the direction of the school. If we are made to simply follow orders again, it will be the same as before. We are the front line in this war. If Ron wants to be successful and turn this school around, the ideas must come from the teachers.

I worry that Acosta will show up with her fake and transparent smile, and try to hoodwink the new principal. Ron's first gesture should be to show Acosta the door.

Bronx Teacher said...

Ms. Lynn never had the interest of the students in her heart. Students were nothing more than a number to her ... a number which can be fixed, manipulated, changed, deleted, and altered. It was all to make HER look good.

Anonymous said...

Agreed!!! Lynn said this herself in a meeting. "I dont care if these kids make it through college. I just want to get them to college." Does that sound like someone who cares about the student or herself? Her goal was to make this a "successful" school at any cost so she could move up the ladder. She also claimed that she had lawyers to protect her... what do you have? to any staff who challenged what she was doing. She manipulated observations for those who she deemed to not help her make her bonus even though it was false data. She caused people to lose their career and sanity. Firing her is not going to be good enough. She needs to be jailed for fraud, and be classified so she can never work around children again. We had a child there with a "disability". She couldnt understand English and only understood Spanish but wasnt identified correctly by Lynn. When brought to her attention she stated "oh that child is just stupid." That doesnt sound like a person who likes to help students with needs.
You may be in an AP class. I dont know which subject but I wonder if your work is truly at the level of an AP class or watered down? But when many of the students that "graduated" couldnt muster courses at college and dropped out I have to say its a disgrace and disservice to minorities and fringes on racism. A minority student trying to get into college cant because a less deserving student from TAPCo got in with fake transcripts and that very student who dropped out because they werent prepared.

Anonymous said...

Now go for her cohort at MS 391. That principal works with the same fervor as Passarella. The nepotism is so rampant and she gives nice, after school paid positions to her friends and those that are yes men/women, yet the qualified that know better are treated like sub-humans. This principal can not even write her own way to the top and have had others do the work for her to obtain her success. Those same people have been given perks for their loyalty.

Anonymous said...

K is a yes man and the nerve that he is your Chapter leader for the UFT in that school since he always sided with Lynn. Lynn said many times that "it was her school and did not want the union in her school." How many human rights and workers right violations have been committed? The UFT should investigate this more and give people their dignity, money, and career back. It sickens me how amnesty international has not fought for the basic human rights in the NYC DOE system. BTW Hillary Clinton was made aware of this Passarella person when she was NY Senator and did nothing. She too should be made accountable. Or is this not the country I was made to believe? That basic human rights are guaranteed. Or is that only if you have the money to buy those rights? Oh and Bloomberg as well should be made accountable. He says that teachers should be evaluated and be made let go by principals? Really? This is why, to any of those who thinks the union protects bad teachers, it is necessary that a union exists to protect the rights of these people on the front line of this travesty.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, things have gone downhill in 391 since Pedro left. But TAPCo has been worrying more about TAPCo.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely ... it is this exact reason why a teacher's union was developed. To protect teachers from the inane transgressions of an unethical administrator who thinks she wields absolute power.

Nevertheless, the UFT has done little to help preserve the dignity and careers of many of the teachers who's careers were sabotaged by Passarella: Murphy, Fakhouri, Hamilton, Demargosian, Shafton, Howe.

Neither Herron nor Krakhaur did a thing to help these teachers who were unfairly given U ratings under Passarella's tyrannical reign.

I'm of the hopes that these teachers can recover from Passarella's transgressions. But I fear the damage is irreversible.

Perhaps with the new incoming administration, the UFT and Ron Link can work together to bring TAPCo back to life.

Anonymous said...

What Lynn failed to realize was that the City is about to implement a new rubric for evaluating DOE schools called "college readiness". This would have been a rubric she would not have been able to hide or alter. The ratings would be based on the academic performances of recent graduates in CUNY and SUNY colleges. This rating would have been out of her control. Imagine her spin doctoring after she finds out that 75% of TAPCo graduates drop out of college within the first year.

That is perhaps the most shameful legacy left behind by Passarella. Three full graduating classes who do not have the ability to perform academically in college. With no NC's to fall back on, no teacher's to threaten ... TAPCo graduates are failing but the hundreds.

Case in point, 2010 graduate Chris Aybar failed a remedial class because he decided to walk out during an exam. In TAPCo, his actions resulted in no consequences ... but in college, walking out during an exam led to an F for the exam. Passarella's inability to instill a sense of discipline in the students led them to believe they could act the same way outside of TAPCo.

Ron's biggest challenge will be to entrench an understanding among the student body that they must take responsibility for their own learning. Students must understand they will face consequences for truancy, absenteeism, laziness, disrespect, and apathy ... which includes suspensions and failing grades.

Nicolopulous must step up to the plate as well, and play a significant role in turning TAPCo around. No longer can he stay "intimidated" by the principal, and play silent fiddler. He must play a big role in helping Ron establish a new vibrant school. He must take a leadership role that his AP title enables him to. He can no longer stand in the corner with that look on his face telling everyone that it was Lynn's idea.

Monica Fisher must also re-establish her identity as an effective AP.

This is a bright day for TAPCo. The cancer has been removed. Now the hard part ... the road to recovery. It won't happen overnight. It will be a long and arduous journey, but if the teachers see progress, no matter how little, the expected exodus can be stemmed. Give the teachers hope, give them support, and they will work doubly hard. That was something Passarella didn't understand.

Anonymous said...

A union meeting should be held Monday afternoon. A motion needs to be taken with a unanimous call of NO CONFIDENCE in Janice Acosta. We must do this NOW before Acosta has a chance to sell her importance to Ron Link.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

only good ones i hear is murphy and Fakhouri

Anonymous said...

um you can look at it that way, or you can look at as her making sure we had the opportunity to go to college, she couldn't hold our hands through college. alot of kids arnt encouraged and didn't get the support from there school to go to college. Miss Lynn may have treated some of the teachers liked crap, i'm glad she didn't protect some of those teachers who were horrible. she listened to the students, and that is an important quality. should she of listened more to the teachers, possibly but lets not forget. you were getting paid $$$$ to work and deal with this. not enough i will add but money it was

Anonymous said...

about the "that girls just stupid", i don't really know how to respond, if its true, then it was clearly wrong of her. we do have someone who now translates and helps them learn English. she wasn't that bad guys,common. she didn't care about your needs which should of been meet but she did care about the school. she founded that school, that was her Jewel, she didn't want anyone to threaten it. But i will say this, as the year went on, and the middle school expanded to HS, i think some of it was overwhelming. If you look at miss lynn like i do, if it wasn't for her, Tapco wouldn't exist. were there flaws, yes. but i say the benefits outweighed the cons. i attended all my classes, never cut, and earned my grades. i got an NC once because i came back in 9th grade and half the marking period so i couldn't be fully graded. i mean, dont you think it would be a little disorganized. she felt threatened, a mother protects her cubs. i had some great teachers at tapco. alot have left, =(. (some because of miss lynn) and i wish that teachers and admin (miss lynn) could of gotten along better
Mr.D was a good person, but need more exp

Anonymous said...

no unions, we need to get ijaz out! hes always talking about how he has tenure

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so you're saying a principal should give the students a voice in determining if a teacher is effective or not? You're also saying that it's ok to fake your way into college? Sounds like a great way to run a school.

No ... teachers are NOT paid $$$$ to take the abuse, manipulation, deceit, and lies, from both the principal and the students. In a real school, doing no work, insulting and disrespecting the teachers, arriving late to class, cutting class, absent for the entire year, texting all class, listening to iPods ... have significant consequences. In TAPCO, this behavior is rewarded with passing grades and the "opportunity to go to college".

You are horribly misguided. In your own words, "she couldn't hold our hands in college". That simply means she didn't prepare you for the rigors of a real academic environment. She passed you through the system with false pretenses of compassion and sympathy, and led you to believe you had the ability to succeed on your own, when in all reality it was a sham. A big fat lying sham!!!

In college, you guys didn't have Passarella to fall back on, to complain to about a teacher, or to force teachers to give you false NC's. You either sank or swam ... and most of you sank because Passarella didn't allow the teachers to put the responsibility of learning on your own shoulders. "Holding your hand" was perhaps the worst thing she could have done for students. It gave you a false sense of accomplishment ... and she then sent you out to the wolves without a clue what was ahead of you.

Teachers were fired for trying to make you guys responsible for your own work. They weren't willing to reward students who do NOTHING !!! Read it in the Investigation Report for yourself.

The reality is that the majority of TAPCo graduates did not earn their degrees. It was given to them on a silver platter ... paid for by the blood and careers of teachers who tried to teach you.

Anonymous said...

84% of tapco teachers are excellent

Anonymous said...

The posts from students defending Passarella give light to a new issue ... the absolutely poor and ridiculous grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and inability to write coherent sentences.

Here again is Passarella's legacy ... students who cannot write sentences. Proven by the DOE's regrading of ELA and Global Regents exams where more than 50% were changed from Passing to Failing.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry, if we wrote it to correct we would be accused of being Acosta

Teacher said...

Can the posters please stop attacking the students at the school? While they need to begin taking more responsibility, they have done nothing but taken the opportunities (good or bad) that were handed to them. Its true that many are not doing as well in college as they might have had the school done things differently, but the issue of college readiness stems far beyond the halls of TAPCo. In addition to the students who have failed out, there are a number who are doing quite well -- who are leaders on their campuses, getting good grades, and being the first ones in their school to attend and hopefully graduate college. While the image being painted of the school is a fairly accurate one, there are many students that have not taken the easy path, and who have gotten every ounce out of the hard working teachers at the school. Don't let your view of the school impact your impression of the students. Hopefully they'll prove over the last few months of the school year how hard they are able to work when given the proper environment to work in.

Anonymous said...

Let's just move forward. We seem to have a smart, exerienced and well meaning Principal. He has exprience and has the right vision.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT TRUE. The colluding ones sucked that's why that had to collude because they knew they were bad teachers and had no "legs to stand on". There are a lot of really bad (teaching stoned on pot), giving worksheets and sleeping on the job, verbally abusing students, unlicensed people in the building running "groups"...teachers who would give the students answers on the regents, teachers who graded however Ms. Passarella wanted. The reason Passarella was successful in her failure was because the teachers were NOT united and that is the bottom line. If the teachers had come together instead of looking out for just themselves, she would have never been able to get away with what she got away with. Also, Jimmy needs to be fired too. He made a lot of those data sheets and knew what was going on and contributed to the lies. He is dishonest and does not have the moral character to be a school leader. Get rid of Jimmy, Acosta and all of Passarella's people who colluded with her. They are JUST AS GUILTY as she is. The UNION/UFT needs to be VERY VERY STRONG at TAPCO if the school will survive. History has shown that the schools with the strongest unions have the lowest turnover rate and the best learning environments for both teachers and students. Students want to learn as much as GOOD teachers want to teach. There is a handful of good teachers at that school-about 2 in the high school and two in the middle school...that's it. Karma is a real thing. I pray for the kids who graduated with no is truly a tragedy. There are a handful of kids who did great, but again we are talking about 8 out of perhaps 80 for every graduating class, the rest are barely literate. Find new jobs good teachers...leave while you can. It's time to move on.

Anonymous said...

The correct way to say what you said is, "The only good ones I heard were Murphy and Fakhouri".
I'm sure you're a TAPCO honors student ;)

Anonymous said...

There is NO UNINON at TAPCO. It was a union free school THAT my friends is the issue, but no one wants a union if they are not going to get privileges and special treatment. A union would mean equal working conditions for all teachers and most of the "privileged/untalented teachers" wouldn't want that because then they would actually have to teach, something they have no desire nor ability to do. Get rid of Jimmy, Acosta and everyone else that contributed to the lies and cheating. They are just as guilty and can ask their Priests for forgiveness but get them out of education-quickly.

Anonymous said...

You have made some valid points. But just as the original poster may be inflating the number of good teachers, you may be doing the same in the other direction.

One thing deserves comment. You wrote:

"The reason Passarella was successful in her failure was because the teachers were NOT united and that is the bottom line. If the teachers had come together instead of looking out for just themselves, she would have never been able to get away with what she got away with."

It' easy to see how you could come to this conclusion. But the one thing you may not be realizing is that teachers DID come together. At least some of them. This corrupt leadership was brought down with the pen, not the sword. It was apparently not the work of one disgruntled teacher. It was done through careful and thought-out collusion, and done in the interest of the school and the kids.

The reason Passarella was successful is that she was able to exploit almost unlimited power within the structure of this school. She was given almost unchecked ability to hire and fire at will, to destroy people and careers at a whim as she did in many cases (Futterman, Dimico, Shafton, Hou... the list goes on....) while allowing far inferior teachers who DO obey continue. And she was an unstable, unhealthy person. It was a dangerous combination.

But yes, there are teachers in TAPCo who just give out work sheets and don't teach. No question. Maybe now they will stop or move on. Now maybe with this new principal staff will be judged based on their ability to teach and their commitment to the STUDENTS, and not based on whether or not they agree to go along with Passarella and Acosta's immoral and illegal ways of running a school (incredible Acosta is still there, isn't it?). But the best teachers tried not to just go along with it. They tried to keep out of the radar and navigate some very, VERY tricky waters. And for some, they did this for the kids and belief that the DOE would eventually do the right thing and remove her.

It's joyful to say that their patience was rewarded.

But just as it is important not to generalize in one direction, it is important not to understate in the other. TAPCO has more than 2 teachers in each school doing a great job for these kids. Way more. It's how things kept from falling apart to begin with. 84%? No, you are right. That's too high. But it's a lot more than 4.

Just an opinion...

Anonymous said...

And not afraid to parade their horrific use of the English language in this blog. Hey kids... put away the electronics, stop cutting class, show respect for for your teachers and take advantage of this opportunity to learn and develop yourself. Then maybe people will take you serious. Do it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

It's easier said than done when you talk about teachers "coming together". First of all, the union reps were always incapable and unwilling to stand up for us. That's H and K. Both were in the pockets of Passarella and were afraid to rock the boat in fear of falling under Passarella's radar.

A strong union requires veteran teachers who know their rights. With a 50% turnover rate, TAPCO had a disproportionate percentage of 1st and 2nd year teachers who did not know their rights, and did whatever the principal asked of them in order to keep their jobs. That's a reality.

Even the AP's did as they were told or would face retaliation. Monica received a U once because she did something which was "right" but not in accordance with what Passarella wanted.

Jimmy does not have the cajones to stand up for himself, the teachers, or the students.

But it's time to move on. Ron Link has some good ideas, and it will take some time to mend this disaster. He's setting the groundwork. It's up to us to work together and, like you said, for the Union to stand strong.

We can't let Ron falter, nor can we let him take shortcuts (ala Passarella).

Anonymous said...

I'm just happy that it's almost Spring Break, and Lynn Passarella is home sulking. Sorry if her misfortune brings me pleasure. The thought of her sulkling in her dark corner, talking to herself, makes me happy. Golem just lost his precious.

But how many other Passarella's are there out there? How many other principals are running roughshod on their schools? The system is broken. There are no checks and balances. Principals were given unlimited power ... and thus, became corrupted by that same power.

Anyway, my fellow TAPCO-ites ... beware of Acosta and Rivera. They carry that Passarella stench.

Anonymous said...

I don't think K was in Passarella's pocket. If anything, he just was unwilling to make the time committment that the job required. But most definitely not in her pocket.

Anonymous said...

Unable to make the time commitment? That may be the understatement of the century. K is a terrible union rep. But let's be fair... it's not entirely his fault... no one else stepped forward to take it. He got it by default, and was unenthusiastic from the start. May only have taken the job because it was a way to annoy Passarella. But a union leader needs to be much, much more than he is willing to give. He's definitely qualified, but not willing to give up enough of himself to do this job effectively. Someone needs to step up next year who is willing to make that commitment. Until someone does, we are not allowed to complain about K.

Anonymous said...

He's not as qualified as you say. Part of being qualified IS stepping up. He should do this job right or not do it at all.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with a comment above. It says "Nevertheless, the UFT has done little to help preserve the dignity and careers of many of the teachers who's careers were sabotaged by Passarella: Murphy, Fakhouri, Hamilton, Demargosian, Shafton, Howe."

As much as I agree with almost everything written in this blog, it is simply incorrect to say that every teacher who got a U rating or was forced to leave was a good teacher. It's simply not true.

Murphy believed STAR WARS and SPARTACUS were substitutes for textbooks and curriculum. Good connection with the kids, but more about himself than his students. Fakhouri was too new to judge... but I don't think his leaving sabotaged his career... If anything, it saved it (she was really unfair to him....never got a chance to show if he was any good). Hamilton was beyond a joke as a teacher and should be U-rated no matter where he is... Demargosian should never have been allowed near kids... a disaster both professionally and personally. And Hou... well, maybe he was the only one in this group that I agree with. She was beyond unfair to him and not at all a bad teacher. Herron, who is not mentioned here... mediocre at best (and ALWAYS late!), and Hedgewood? He deserved it. Not a good teacher. Nice guy. Bad teacher.

Now, HOW she did it... that's another story. But let's not sugar coat everything, OK? There were a lot of bad teachers that got U-rated. And a lot of teachers that deserved criticism as teachers.

Anonymous said...

K is a terrible union leader. Seems he just simply does not want to be bothered. He keeps waiting for someone else to take over.

We are better off with no union leader than one who does not want the job and is bothered by everything he has to do. K, step down. You have been useless. You are a good teacher and a smart guy, but you have done NOTHING for the teachers of TAPCO. Nothing.

Use the time you save in your Union duties for your students. Don't mean to be mean, but the job is really important, and if you can't give it your best, don't do it at all.

Anonymous said...

"And Hou... well, maybe he was the only one in this group that I agree with. She was beyond unfair to him and not at all a bad teacher."

Wow ... thank you very much. I appreciate the kind words.

I'm doing very well right now. I'm teaching math at a great school, with a bunch of amazing students. Though I miss the students at TAPCo very much.

I've heard some great things about your new principal, Mr. Link.

I wish you guys the best of luck, and I miss you tremendously.

Mr. Hou

person in tapcp said...

I would never thought ms lynn leave

Anonymous said...

Just an update, I finished my first year of college with a 3.5 gpa.....I think your statement is now invalid