Monday, March 31, 2014

Chapter Leader Takes on Murry Bergtraum Closer/Hatchet Princpal Lottie Almonte

The Bloodletting - The aftermath of 2012-2013
After the first year, over 51 staff members left, mostly voluntary in the form of transfers, hastened retirements and voluntary excess. This out of about 170 total staff in the building. No complaints from the Department of Education, not even UFT headquarters. Every instructional Assistant Principal, every secretary, every guidance counselor and dozens of teachers at the top of their game, including our staff developers and Broad Science Prize winner - GONE! With this I gave her the name "Lottie Neutron", as the neutron bomb kills people but leaves buildings in tact .... John Elfrank-Dana, Chapter Leader
John writes:
When it was announced Lottie Almonte was coming to Bergtraum this story appeared in 

Ed Notes Online: Death Watch for Murry Bergtraum

Jul 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 ...
In spite of the tough allegations against her, I went on record stating:

"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..."

Instead we got: 
1. Lack of transparency - constant grievances for information.
2. Comp-time Shell Games - now we have a senior advisor, now we don't. Now we have an IEP Coordinator, now we don't.
3. Programming Chaos
4. Special Ed violations up the wazzu. 
5. Intimidation - summons memos delivered by hand to teachers while teaching, like they are getting a regular court summons.
6. School security run amok - virtually no followup to teacher complaints
7. Observations that seek the glass half empty, and offer no support. 

I feel that I speak for the vast majority of staff that the situation has so deteriorated that they no longer care if they shut the school down. The only people who care are the Bergtraum family who want to keep the name up on the wall. 

Such is the reason for my new Blog Post: The Hatchet Principal

It's too bad that our good faith extension to work together was never part of the DoE agenda. Lottie, as a Closer, has done an excellent job. She will be rewarded. 

My new blog post, The Hatchet Principal
The "Hatchet Man" in the parlance of the business world is a manager brought in for the specific purpose of mass firings of staff...

In the parlance of the NYC Department of Education we have the "Closer Principal."

One of the concepts behind the closer principal is to knock any fight out of the targeted school community, in this case prime real estate in lower Manhattan that was much coveted by Eva Moskowitz, one of the 3 denials -- but I would look for her to be back - she wants this building and will be relentless in getting it.
John makes an important point:
Will this pass muster with a mayor who has a Progressive brand? If the teachers' union doesn't pressure the mayor to do away with these bully principals what incentive does the mayor have? School closings re supposed to be on the outs. So, what about the league of closer style principals out there? How do you change the culture of a bureaucracy that valued teacher bashing the last 12 years?
The majority of the staff at this point would welcome a shut down of the school. The misery is that palpable. Such is the work of the "Closer." What place does the Closer have in a de Blasio educational policy?
I did a follow-up in Ed Notes:


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