Since Estrella forced out the Principal and Assistant Principal of GTP, and then terrorized the teachers by denying them all tenure despite excellent performance records and recommendations from school leadership that they be given tenure, the school has fallen into disarray. This can all be traced to Estrella’s leadership moves. ..... Chrystine RussellHere is a fun 6 minutes. Dr. Russell is abroad and sent in a statement (see below for the text) that trashes Estrella's leadership and ties in Farina too. She apparently has the right to have her statement read at the hearing by the presiding officer -- meaning Supt Estrella. How much fun to have Estrella reading her own trashing. Well--- I'll let you see how it turns out.
Dr. Chrystina Russell comments to be read at hearing by Superintendent Estrella (as specific as an option by Michael Castelblanco from Accessibility on 1/18/2018 via email)
With the likely support of former NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and other senior leaders, the superintendent of East Harlem’s District 4, Alex Estrella has moved forward with the merger of two public schools, Global Tech Prep (M406) and PS/MS007.
Superintendent Estrella, with the support of the DOE, has violated the procedural rights of the East Harlem community, effectively merging the schools together in the 2017 portion of the 2017-18 school year. Her proposal, which was not scheduled for a hearing until January 18, 2018 and for voting on the 24th of this month, has already been enacted without consulting the community. This shows a deep disrespect from Estrella and anyone who supports her at the DOE on the procedural rights of the community, as well as a willingness to take advantage of a low-income community of color that may have limited time and means to organize, let alone access to the truth that a merger up for consideration has already occurred.
Global Tech Prep, which at one point reached the 98th percentile citywide for achievement while serving nearly 40% special education students has been dismantled by the superintendent, who started on her merger plan at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The school is the district’s only technology-based middle school (skills sorely needed in today’s modern world, especially with a documented digital divide between the profile of students served in East Harlem versus those in wealthier districts). The rights of the community to have a quality special education option, as well as a technologically based school have been yanked by the superintendent’s actions. This has occurred with zero community consultation. It also lead to multiple violations of the rights of some of our city's most vulnerable students--those with special education needs. There are countless IEPs not adhered to now that the merger has occurred and both schools are in disarray.
Since Estrella forced out the Principal and Assistant Principal of GTP, and then terrorized the teachers by denying them all tenure despite excellent performance records and recommendations from school leadership that they be given tenure, the school has fallen into disarray. This can all be traced to Estrella’s leadership moves. Her leadership has also caused significant disruption in the PS 7 community. Currently, the teachers at PS 7 are trying to rally against Estrella by not approving her selected principal by voting “no” in the C30 process, even though this makes them fearful for their jobs given her track record of removing anyone who doesn’t agree with her tactics.
A merger may not necessarily be wrong (although in the eyes of many it is a travesty). However, a merger occurring in the 2017-18 school year with no community consultation (and a proposal being presented to the community for the 2018-2019 school year AFTER the merger has already happened) is a gross insult to the intelligence and rights of the community to be consulted before schools in their district.
Superintendent Estrella, can you please give us an answer for the multiple parents who have contacted us about their child's IEP not being met since you illegally merged the schools without following procedural rights? Additionally, why choose to so blatantly deny the rights of a community that needs you most to be heard? Why must you abuse your power by not only terrorizing teachers and staff but also disenfranchising those that need a good education most--students of color with disabilities? Superintendent Estrella, if you can't follow the simple rules of how to sell your house without a founded conflict of interest, how can you be trusted to make a decision on which of our schools to keep opened or closed? As a public school educator for over 10 years with a doctorate of urban education policy, I can confidently say your leadership is one of the grossest violations of professional conduct I've ever witnessed. Our students, families, and communities deserve better.