Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tweed Subvert School Leadership Training

The entire thread of the SLT discussion so far on the NYCEducationNews Listserve from latest to earliest.

Let me tell you a story about SLT in training in D25 that precedes this OFEA training. From the beginning of the school year, we as parents have had no word ojn any training. As President of Presidents Council for D25 I worked with the UFT and set up a training in D25 that would be conducive for all teams. It would be held in our District from 4-6pm so teams could come together. The flyer was sent out to Principals by our Superintendent, parents through Presidents council and teachers by the UFT. Within a 2 weeks a "mandated" training flyer was sent out by the OFEA but don't ask to whom because most of us did not receive it until a few days before the actual training for our District. I called Martine Guerrier and asked her to please recognize the training we set in place by the UFT as this was meant for teams and was being held at a time that was convenient for most team members to attend. She flat out told me that I never discussed this with her to which I responded that it was she who never discussed any training with us. As President of the District I received the flyer from the Supt when I asked what was mandatory training some parents were asking about and never from the DOE or a DFA. On behalf of the DFA we do not have someone in that position at this time and have not been consistent with a DFA since the school year began. Martine also stated that the OFEA would have a better training and it was important to attend theirs becuase it would cover pertinent information that we all needed to know. After about 15 minutes and not getting anywhere I stated that I was beating a dead horse. Martine said do not put words in my mouth because I don't want to see that I said this to you in the press. Most of the SLT reps in D25 could not attend this training which was held on Monday 10-12:30PM as it was short notice, the week of Thanksgiving and PT conference for Middle Schools. Many do not want to travel to Sutphin, or go on a Saturday or even attend at night. As it is many teachers will not come back at night and I don't blame them. I will copy and paste the emails I had with the Chancellor about this situation and you can have more fun with that. I must say I usually get a decent response from the Chancellor and was shocked at this one.
"Not to be a pain but I was not thrilled with her attitude. She is quite condescending and from anyone I know who has had dealings with her she is not doing Parent Engagement a favor on your behalf. Just a little suggestion for your sake, talk to people who have to deal with her and find out what she is like to them and how they feel after working with her. Apparently she is getting a bad reputation which unfortunately passes on to the DOE.
-------Original Message-------
Date: 11/15/2007 2:37:36 PM
Subject: RE: SLT training
One of the reasons I hired Martine is to address the issue of SLTs -- ensuring their effectiveness -- and she is accountable for that.. That's why I've asked her to address your request. Thanks, Joel

From: Jane Reiff []
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 1:54 PM
To: Klein Joel I.
Subject: RE: SLT training

I am not sure what that means but I would prefer if it would come from you. If you read the email I really wanted you alone to act on this. By your response I am wondering if you truly read what I wrote. Please reread and reconsider.
Thank you
Jane Reiff
-------Original Message-------
Date: 11/15/2007 9:01:00 AM
Subject: RE: SLT training
Jane, I have forwarded your email to Martine for proper consideration. Joel

From: Jane Reiff []
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 11:07 PM
To: Klein Joel I.
Subject: SLT training

Dear Chancellor Klein,
I am writing to you hoping I can make sense of something. Because the DOE was very vague about any training for PTA/PAs, Presidents Council and the UFT teamed up to present an SLT training for our District. The only news we had of any training for parents at all was just that training would be available and the DOE was setting up workshops. We did not know when, on what or anything else. Apparently they threw together training that is MANDATORY for SLT as fast as possible with no regard to the holidays, parents schedules, teachers schedules or anything else for that matter. The training D25 and the UFT came up with was to be held in D25, after school hours so entire teams could do the training together but not too late so there was no issue about coming back to Queens for the training as many teachers have this problem. The MANDATORY training first of all should not be mandatory until the acceptance of the new regs is passed. I realize you are expecting the regs to be passed which was another reason we set the training up as well as helping new members. For D25 it is this Monday from 10-12:30PM when most teachers are teaching and parents are preparing for Thanksgiving and PT conference day in middle school. Many of the schools are busy during PT times creating special events for the parents as they plan on visiting the schools in higher numbers. While other Districts may seem easy to get to it is not a fair assumption that they will travel to Sutphin or any other District for that matter. It is also not fair to assume that SLT teams will go on a Saturday when many parents have plans with their families or other obligations as do teachers and Administrators.
We would like to forge ahead with the training we have planned as time and money has been invested in it and let it count as valid training by the DOE. I spoke to Martine who is what I would not consider very parent friendly or understanding in the least. You have known me for several years and while I may not agree with some of the decisions made by you I have been open and honest with you and what I consider fair and level minded. I know that the DOE would not create policies that would be a detriment for our children and schools on purpose and you have led me to many other people who work for you and I must say that Martine surprises me as someone you would have on your cabinet and this saddens me. No-one else I have spoken with has left with such a cold and thoughtless manner.
District 25 has been shaken and stirred since the beginning of this school year in regards to support and although it is unfair it is part of life. Presidents Council would like to remain a source of stability and the parents reaction to the sudden training has confused them and many for a variety of reasons, some of which I stated already, cannot do the training that has been thwarted on them. I am asking YOU, and noone else to please accept the training we have set up for D25 as a valid training and of course we would look forward to more training as the year progresses and is better suited or should I say situated for our teams.
Thank you for taking your time as you always do and I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Jane Reiff D25
I am also copying and pasting some of the remarks of others about the training along with my email to both the Chancellor and Martine.
Dear Chancellor Klein and Ms. Guerrier,
Well what can you say now? I am appalled and disgusted at what was relayed to me about the supposed SLT training. You, Ms. Guerrier. Personally told me that the training was set up for teams when I argued that holding a training from 10-12:30PM on a school day was not conducive for teachers and administrators and obviously the OFEA training was not meant for teams. Why on earth and how disrespectful can the DOE be to turn around and say that the teachers who were present were not supposed to be sent to this training. First of all your notice that you sent to Principals clearly stated mandated training for all teams. You expected the schools to pay for subs for a 2 and a half hour training minimum ( this does not include travel time back and forth) and the people were thrown out after 45 minutes after enduring a worthless training. The DOE staff then proceeded to say that remuneration would be for the full time of 2 and 1/2 hours. If you did not want the Principals to comply with your notice you were not clear and then of course that would also mean you lied to me.
How on earth can one make sense of this? I clearly stated and requested that the training Presidents council of D25 set up with the UFT be counted as valid training and you clearly told me it would not be as thorough as the OFEA training. By thorough do you mean incompetent because I cannot think of another word that comes to mind to describe what was told to me. Not only have you not reached out to the parents to find out what time would be good for them you apparently have a lack of content to your training. I am copying and pasting some of the comments forwarded to me by the variety of people who attended and other comments about your training in other Districts. Martine, although you basically accused me of trying to put words in your mouth about beating a dead horse and how you do not want to see that in the press (another insult as you have no idea who I am and the extent of my involvement in the schools but Chancellor Klein does), I do not have to make up any of this information.
Jane Reiff President of Presidents Council D25
Well I found out that there was "training" in District 22. It lasted about 15 minutes, they were read to and "the highlight was they got to take home a pamphlet." "The whole thing was a joke". And this was the district that was a trail blazer in School Leadership. One of the districts that Harry Spence used to model the plan.
Once again, the DOE took something that was a real concern to parent leaders, with the possibility of allowing real participation and made a farce out of it. Now they can say they offered training. A far cry from the 2 - 3 hours sessions we use to hold.
Dorothy Giglio
Dear OFEA,
>> I wish to provide some honest feedback on the SLT training. Today I attended the "Mandatory" SLT training offered to the SLT members
>> with a notice of 2 days for our district and the location close to our school. I have some issues I'd like addressed by someone who is responsible for
>> making these decisions.
>> 1. In District 25, we heard the training would be mandatory when the new reg was approved but have had no further communications
>> from the responsible office/DOE Rep. We scheduled SLT Training via the UFT that would accommodate our teachers and parents by
>> being held from 4-6 p.m. Our Presidents Council leader was told that our training "wouldn't count" and the DOE would schedule training. I ask "Why would our training be discredited when no attempt was made as to the content". After attending the DOE training today I must say I was disappointed and rather
>> insulted. The training was scheduled without any regard for parents because we have teacher conferences
>> scheduled tomorrow (this holiday week) and only 2 days notice was given. Also, the presenter did not seem knowledgeable on the material but "read"
>> the slides to a fairly educated audience.
>> 2. Since the DOE is mandating this training, our school, who already has a significant NEGATIVE budget should not have to pay for the substitute teachers
>> who attended. Since the training was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 2.5 hours by my count, the training lasted about 45 minutes. That is 105 minutes of wasted money spent on substitute teachers. We were told that we would receive enumeration for the training. Well, I cannot accept money for time I didn't give and am appalled that this was "acceptable".
>> 3. While I am a relatively new SLT member, I have taken this responsibility seriously and read and studied the regulations to learn how to be an
>> effective team member. I feel that training is a great thing and would serve the members well but find it hard to believe the material couldn't of been delivered by someone knowledgeable of the function and able to provide some guidance for those in attendance. I suggest you look at the SLT training given by the Region 3 ROC last year. I was given a copy and it is a gem of a document. I wish I could of attended that training.
>> Regards,
>> Dave
>> SLT @ I.S. 25
I went to an official SLT "training" this morning. It was something
of a fiasco.
Scheduled from 10 am to 12:30, it began at 10:15 and ended at 10:55.
Almost all that happened was that there was an outline handout that
was also flashed on a screen. A lady read it, slowly, and it was
almost over. I'm certain almost everyone in the audience knew this oh
so basic material of the outline before going to this "training".
After the reading there were to be questions and an Asst. Principal
from a middle school rose as if to ask a question. But what she said
was that all the teachers from her team, as well as herself were
there, and the school went to the expense of hiring substitutes for
them so that they could attend. Her point was that for the
considerable expense and effort the "training" was ridiculous--only 40
minutes and the reading of a rather elementary outline.
I guess she expected to get some sympathy from a DoE attorney who was
there as a back-up knowledgeable resource. Instead she got the bad
news that it was a violation of State law for principals and teachers
to be attending that meeting during the official school day.
Well, there must have been many others, for the room broke out in
uncontrolled and furiously noisy argument all over the place and the
meeting was, effectively, over.
I suggest that if you have to go to the training, bring something to
Melvyn Meer
Queens Community Board 11 Education Committee
No one on our SLT got advanced notice of this required
SLT training.
One of the parents on our team who is also on the CEC
got the flier at the CEC meeting. They did not give
her the flier, she had to insist that she get it.
Of course, all but 1 of the traing sessions had past.
And the 1 remaining session was the next day.

--- wrote:

> Re Required SLT Training...I got a flyer in my
> district for Mandatory
> Training between 5-7 PM.
> First, I wrote back to this person in my district
> and told them according to
> chacs regs
> posted
> on the internet dated 2 /3/04 nothing is Mandatory.
> Second, it also says in Chancellors Regs that
> meeting dates are to be
> convenient to the parent population.
> I got no response back from them, Ha!
> Regards, Linda
Dear Chancellor Klein and Ms. Guerrier,
I am a parent member on the SLT at PS 79 Q. I attended the "mandatory training" for District 25 this morning offered by Cheryl Goode. I wrote to you last week commending your efforts for providing teams with training and offering suggestions. I am very disappointed to report that this morning was the worst meeting I ever attended hosted by the DOE.
The meeting scheduled at 10 am did not begin until 10:20, a disregard for people's valuable time. It was not training in the loosest application of the word by any means. The overview packet handed out was read aloud by Ms. Goode over an inaudible PA system. None of the terms were explained to brand new members and there were only three questions -- none of which were about the information handed out. The session ended within 35 minutes and your representatives stated we should appreciate that we were extended a 2 hour credit toward our required 30 hours as members of the SLT team. We had 10 out of 12 of our SLT members present at this "mandatory" training meeting on 2 days advance notice to your RSVP date. Each person blocked out 2 1/2 hours of our valuable time and were literally READ information held in our hands for 1/2 hour and sent out. We were even told to use the email address to send questions to and get information. HOW are you justifying that as training? All the written information could have been easily mailed to individual SLTs for review at regularly scheduled meetings. There was nothing in the packet that was new and there was no detailed explanations provided whatsoever.
What's more appalling is that although only one date was provided in your memo for District 25 and your memo encouraged whole teams to attend together, we were chastised for allowing the teacher members to come to this training. We were told that teachers knew when they signed on that it meant extra hours and that they should have gone on Saturdays or in the evening. Teachers in the audience were told that they shouldn't have even been released to attend. The UFT did organize training sessions prior to the DOE scheduled training, yet it was announced that only DOE training counts. How are you fostering partnerships by this treatment? Literally half of the audience got up and left the room at hearing such insulting treatment. It systematically ended the meeting.
Not only was it a disrespectful way to treat people and a disregard for their time; unfortunately this effort to train SLT's did little more than provide information already available and being utilized and offered nothing in the way of guidance and direction.
Dina Ingram
PS 79Q
Hey Jane
I just went to a SLT training this morning....almost silly, or even stupid..they gave out a hand out, read it to us and we were done. The info really could have just been emailed to the member. Thought I'd let you know.
I know this is long but a pretty complete story of the event of the training.
Jane Reiff D25

---Original Message-------
From: Jim Devor
Date: 11/19/2007 4:07:48 PM
Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Required SLT Training

As someone who pushed VERY hard at the "parent engagement" task force
for mandatory training (indeed, it was MY idea to condition receipt of
the stipend on attendance at such training), I am very distraught (but
not altogether surprised) at your report.

Please give me more details as to what transpired (e.g., who was the DOE
attorney & the length and contents of the handout). With your
permission, I want to forward your report as well as your reply to

This is not what I spent spring and summer afternoons working for. If
Tweed can't or won't do adequate training, I would very much like to see
it done by parents, teachers and administrators who have the capacity
and motivation to get the job done.
Jim Devor, Acting President ANYCEC

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