Sunday, July 22, 2012

Death Watch for Murry Bergtraum

Lottie Almonte's rumored assignment to Murry Bergtraum would be an act of open hostility on the part of the DOE.

Given the report below from a teacher in the know on Lottie Almonte, Bergtraum, one of the few large schools remaining in Manhattan becomes a clear target. By the way, watch the end game here -- charter networks like Eva's will end up with dozens of public school buildings in their hands.

This is terrible news. Lottie Almonte was forced out of a small school, PACE, the Jefferson building [MY ALMA MATA]. She then got a job with one of the networks dealing with Multicultural HS at FK Lane (2010-2011). She's a nasty piece of work, a messy, disheveled, arrogant scoundrel and habitual liar. The school chapter at Jefferson passed a nearly unanimous resolution that she not be allowed to observe teachers in the school. The network leader acceded to this. She meanwhile aided the abusive, lunatic principal (Liciaga Altagracia) on a regular basis, sitting in on her "meetings" with some teachers which were random interrogations. She's also a part time prof at Brooklyn College. Her assignment to Murry Bergtraum is an act of open hostility on the part of the DOE.
Read the Gotham School report on the removal of Liciaga Altagracia (google her) for sending kids on a dangerous furniture moving trip while the real reason was an outrageous cheating scandal that has not come out full-blown yet. Here is an Aug. 2011 report from the NY Post
The investigation of Multicultural HS Principal Altagracia Liciaga by the Department of Education comes after teachers complained that they were pressured to help kids pass at all costs. Several instructors told The Post that science Regents exams had been brazenly taken out of the Cypress Hills building for scoring in past years. They also said a close associate of Liciaga's was seen holding up a poster containing the answers to math Regents in front of a classroom of test-taking students in August 2010. Ninety-eight percent of students passed the exam with a score of 65 or higher that year, as did 99 percent in 2009. This year, after teachers made efforts to stymie the proctoring oddities, just 1 out of 72 kids passed the math Regents, a source said.

So this is the person Almonte gave unequivocal support to, supporting her harassment of teachers into cheating. The network knew exactly what was going on and covered up. This story I believe has been buried. By the way, a sidelight is that the great Pedro Noguera used the school as an example of how great leadership can get great results despite limited resources in a statement he made in May 2011. Ooops! Note to Pedro: when a school like this gets higher scores in algebra than Midwood HS, look before you leap.

If Almonte does get the job at Bergtraum, she will immediately go after a number of teachers. Talk to the UFT HS reps in Brooklyn for more on her. The NY Teacher should profile her if she goes to Bergtraum as an example of DOE intentions to close a school.

Remember Jolanta Rohloff?

The Almonte story is shades of Jolanta Rofloff, the joke of the Leadership Academy who was sent into Lafayette HS to create such alienation as to make teacher, parents and students wish for its closing. And so that came to be. We have dubbed these principals "Closers." The DOE has done the same with countless schools by recycling clearly incompetent principals to drive them into the ground. Janet Saraceno at Lehman and Matt Malloy of Aspirations Diploma Plus (whose incompetence we chronicled last year with a video of Jeff Kaufman who is Chapter leader there). Both of them are now buried in a network supposed to provide support for closing schools, a supreme joke on the part of Tweed -- putting the very people who caused the closing schools in such a position, as the Daily News point out below.

It's supposed to be an educational SWAT team to help schools as they phase out of existence.

Instead, the city Education Department has turned the elite Transition Support Network into a dumping ground for disgraced school officials with tarnished records, critics charge.
Its staff includes two principals who resigned their positions after investigators found they improperly boosted student scores and a bureaucrat who was suspended for nepotism, city records show.

“This network was supposed to be a safe and supportive space to protect the most vulnerable students in city schools, but instead it has been staffed with DOE outcasts,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a parent leader with the Coalition for Educational Justice. “It is shameful that the city would use this critical network as a dumping ground.”

The support network was launched last year to aid struggling schools that are in the process of being closed down.

When the Education Department closes a school, it usually phases it out, allowing existing students to move up through the grades until graduation while a new school — often with extra resources — takes on the younger incoming students.

Critics charge that process leaves thousands of students in the lurch as their closing schools are stripped of resources.

The support network was created to aid those schools through their final years, but the DOE is apparently also using the network as a jobs program for struggling administrators.
Among the 17 educrats now working there:

l Janet Saraceno, a formerly celebrated administrator who was given a “superprincipal” job to help resuscitate Lehman High School in the Bronx. Superprincipals can earn an extra $25,000 for taking on tough assignments, but Saraceno’s controversial tenure ended when investigators found she’d improperly changed student grades and she lost her bonus two of three years there. She declined to comment.

l Matt Molloy, the founding principal for the poorly-rated Aspirations Diploma Plus, who was caught boosting a student’s score on a Regents exam to ensure he graduated.
l Rosa Gonzalez-Ingles, who was a supervisor in the personnel office of the Division of School Safety in the late 1990s when she was suspended four months for circumventing hiring rules to score security jobs for a friend and for her husband’s cousin.

Education Department officials said they are looking into the circumstances surrounding these three individuals but defended the record of the new support network.
“The department is so pleased with the work that this team has begun that this network will be expanding for the coming school year,” Education Department spokeswoman Erin Hughes said. 

Read more:


  1. "Closers?"

    Shades of Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross:" always be closing!

    Personally, I think the term s too kind and polite. Let's call these people what they really are: serial school killers.

  2. Oh, do I have Lottie Almonte stories.......

  3. We stand ready at Murry Bergtraum with an open hand to work with anyone who wants to collaborate. We have the four Cs: Communicate, Consult, Collaborate in the context of the Contract. Dictators will be sent packing (our Executive Principal left a year early).

    They will close the school whenever they want for whatever reason they want. We won't be blackmailed into submission by threats of school closure.

    We call on the UFT to back us up if necessary.

  4. I am glad I am not part of her school system anymore.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Let's see.....

    June 2013- 53 people were excessed, all but one secretary found jobs at other schools, several teachers found jobs at other schools, seasoned programmer retired after receiving a program in her mail box for the fall indicating she would be teaching 5 classes. Librarian also found a job at another school.

    Sad is an understatement. What happened to the strong union presence that existed the prior years?

    Death Watch for Murry Bergtraum... was an accurate prediction and article title.
    However, MBHS has been 6 feet under for two years now ! The "leadership" has been highly ineffective and the staff and student body has suffered greatly. Where's the follow up and support? This was a homicide that took place next door to 1 Police Plaza and City Hall !


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