Editor's note: The following was written by two veteran members of the Canarsie High School staff, who want the community to be aware of the situation since it was announced last year that the school was being "phased out" and replaced by three smaller schools in the 1800 Rockaway Parkway building.
Although we are well aware that Canarsie High School is "phasing out," let it be known that the remainder of the student body and staff is being treated unfairly.
Last Friday afternoon, prior to the end of the school day, four assistant principals, four counselors and 18 teachers were given their "walking papers" to become ATR's (Absent Teacher Reserves) and "waste the taxpayers money" to sit and do nothing at other schools. Students were hysterically crying and screaming as they watched faculty members pack up never to return.
On Monday, there was utter chaos in the school. Teachers were re-assigned several periods to teach "out of license," overcrowded classes, while students scurried all over trying to find out which class they belong in and who their counselors were now.
This is the second shake-up for students who not only had their principal replaced during the last school years, but were told that school was closing. Last week, the school was informed that the replacement principal would be leaving shortly.
By Monday, students should be smoothly sailing with the first marking period ending October 10, instead students programs were changed causing bedlam in the school.
The students who remain here should get the same education opportunities that all students in the public school system receive. A counselor that was removed, phoned to inform us that she is sitting in another school doing clerical work, while 2 others report they are sitting doing nothing all day!
ATRs get the blame for "wasting taxpayers money" when it is the NYC/DOE who is assigning them to unprofessional duties at other schools at the expense of the students. The blame should not be on teachers or counselors who want to do their job. Students are paying for the price for the mismanagement of the DOE.
Canarsie High School parents need to be informed of the injustice being done to their children by the NYCDOE. It is funny how there are funds for the "mini schools," but no money to keep teachers and counselors here for the remaining CHS students.
The following are excerpts from an E-mail sent by a current senior at Canarsie High School.
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm writing this so everyone can be aware of the disaster that is currently happening in Canarsie High School.
In the spring of 2008 I heard my school was going to be closed down and I was excited because of all the issues that was (sic) going around, but when I finally realized that Canarsie High School was coming to an Era, I was devastated and so was (sic) teachers, staff, and my fellow peers. Then a few weeks later there was a rumor that there were going to be three mini schools so we all were shocked because the same was done to South Shore and the outcome was a disaster, so we were all frightened.
So come the first day of school on September 2nd, I entered and was informed there were changes made throughout the building…and I walked around the school and saw on one side of the building students in uniform and new classrooms with new furniture and behind every classroom a sofa bed. I was shocked…everyone should receive the same value and equal education."
I went to my Guidance Counselor and he explained that those were the new schools, so, from then on, I kept everything cool and attended classes daily. Then, around the second week of school the principal, Tyona Washington, reported she was assigned to a new school and will be leaving for "an opportunity and was taking it."…A few days past (sic) and news was going around the school that she changed her mind and was staying, so that caused disruption throughout the classes in progress and we haven't heard from her since.
Last Friday, September 19, my guidance counselor told me he has just received a letter from the DOE stating he was just excessed and reassigned to a part time position till (sic) he finds a school to work at. I felt like I was just stabbed because it really hurt that out of any staff member it would be him because I was losing someone very close to me. I was so emotional, I started crying hysterically not even realizing that it would make a change but it hurt not only me, but over 100 students gathered in his office crying and thanking him for his help and motivation.
Not only did they remove him but also our college advisor, so it's just so much pressure on us during senior year to have to have new staff who (sic) doesn't know us and for us to be reassigned to new counselors is just beyond ridiculous. They could have at least remained with us till (sic) the school year was done.
At that point I wanted to transfer to another school but I couldn't because I would have been leaving a lot behind. I'm basically writing this to make a change for the better, because I'm a very great student and want to let everyone know what is currently going on at Canarsie High School and need help trying to get some of our staff back to Canarsie High School. Thank you for your time and cooperation!