Saturday, July 9, 2016

Video: Chapter Leader of Art and Design HS at PEP: Principal Manuel Urena Ignores Collective Bargaining Agreement

The next day he sent letter to Farina who has not yet replied -- and if she does I'll have to find a hat to eat.... Ed Notes

Principal Urena has repeatedly ignored the contract and disrespects and mistreats faculty members in manners they have never experienced before.  ... Jason Agosto, CL
A&D CL Jason Agosto attended the MORE event on Wednesday regarding chapter organizing and made good contributions to the discussion, including pointing out just how useless the UFT has been in providing assistance, which was the common theme at the MORE event. MORE posted the video and I am reposting with Jason's letter to Farina.

MORE will be doing follow-ups in early and late August in downtown Manhattan to help people brainstorm how to deal with these principals.

Chapter Leader of Art & Design HS Informs Carmen Farina About Principal’s Treatment of Teachers -

The chapter leader of Art and Design High School in Manhattan appeared at the monthly Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) meeting on June 22, 2016 to inform Chancellor Carmen Farina and members of the PEP that their principal, Manuel Urena, has treated teachers at the school in an unprofessional manner since he took over in February 2016. This video contains Jason Agosto's comments.


The next day he sent the following letter to Farina who has not yet replied -- and if she does I'll have to find a hat to eat.

UFT Chapter
The High School of Art and Design
Jason Agosto, Chapter Leader

Dear Chancellor Farina:

     I write to thank you for your attention at yesterday’s PEP meeting. As I mentioned when I spoke to you, the faculty at the High School of Art & Design have been under a constant state of duress since the new principal, Manuel Urena, arrived in January of this year. Contrary to the vision laid out by you and Mayor DeBlasio when our current contract was negotiated, we are not treated as partners by the administration of our school. Instead, Principal Urena has repeatedly ignored the contract and disrespects and mistreats faculty members in manners they have never experienced before. This also extends to the way Mr. Urena and his assistant principals misuse the Advance rating system and the Danielson rubric that forms its foundation.

     There are many other items governed by the labor agreement between the DOE and the UFT that the administration of our school have ignored or misapplied.  We have engaged in the grievance process to address these transgressions. Union officials from the UFT Manhattan borough office have been into the building at least half a dozen times in the last two months. Just today, the faculty turned out in large numbers to express their sadness and anger at the way they are being treated to the PTA leadership. But we respectfully ask for your help as well. I would like repeat my invitation for you to come to our school and speak with our teachers about their struggles to deliver high quality instruction in an environment in which they feel scorned and disrespected by the current administration. 

     We know it is very late in the school year, but would greatly welcome a meeting with you before everyone departs for the summer.  If that is not possible, we would look forward to meeting with you in early September. By carbon copy of this letter, I am informing UFT President Mulgrew that we have opened this conversation with you. We hope it will be acceptable to both you and him that we would like his participation in these discussions as well.

     Thank you again for your time.  We look forward to joining with you to secure the most productive, inclusive environment for all members of our school community. Our students’ continued achievement will be best served when all stakeholders can make meaningful contributions without fear of negative consequences.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Jason Agosto
Chapter Leader
High School of Art & Design (02M630)


  1. I found out the principal closed the programming office and will replace the programmers with an assistant principal friend of his. This happened to me at the Bayard Rustin HS for the Humanities in Manhattan and the school opened without programs for students. Students were simply assigned to classrooms to keep them out of the hallways. It took two months to win in arbitration to get my job back as the programmer and correct the massive programming fiasco of the administration. The administration thought programming a school with 2000 students split among 4 small learning communities could be handled by a part-timer who came in for 2 - 3 hours a day for 2 or 3 days per week. Even more incredible is the fact that the "programmer" had no programming or teaching experience! Needless to say it was a complete fiasco. It was reported to Klein but then as now administrators can do no wrong and teachers can be treated with utter disdain.

    1. Maybe they didn't know what they were doing. I don't get that from THIS principal. He has a track record of success.

  2. If you walk into the school and there are no programs for the kids on the first day of school, contact members of the press (anonymously or not), even the non-friendly teacher ones. They really don't like teachers, but they really like making the mayor look bad.

    1. Doubt that will happen...I heard that students will get their programs in August. WOW...

    2. I'm a current student at Art and Design. I just received my schedule in the middle of August. I'm very happy. This has never happened since the two years I've been at the school. Hi is a very nice man who cares. I don't know why anyone would write stuff about him. I don't like that he is being attacked for doing the right thing.

  3. I graduated from his previous school. This does not sound like him at all. He did nothing but love and care for us and brought new programs to our school. He may not be perfect but, I just don't see this coming from him.

  4. Mr. Ureña is one of the most caring and most competent professionals I've ever met..., both as a student and as an educator. No leader can please everyone he leads, nor can anyone ever satisfy all that are given the opportunity to simply complain. DJT



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