Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot topic: Is Paul Revere losing its principal?

This from a reader:
Word on the street is that Paul Revere is losing its fabulous principal. Is this true? I'd love to hear from parents -- and teachers -- about the future of this school. Is this still a good Round II choice? Thanks!

31 comments:

  1. Sunnyside's principal is retiring after this year. It said on another thread they will start interviewing soon and make a decision by June. When I started this whole K process I didn't know why people made such a fuss over the principal. But I get it now, they set the tone for the school. A strong leader is important, especially at the schools that are improving. I hope both schools get a solid new leader.

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  2. 8:22 - another way to put it, when you don't feel so kindly towards the principal, is to say that "the fish stinks from the head down." Don't take this the wrong way - it's certainly not a comment on the principals at either Revere or Sunnyside, just a reminder of what often makes a "bad" school bad.

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  3. I heard that the Paul Revere principal quit yesterday as part of the fallout with the "lowest 5%" ranking. Don't know if it's true, but it's too bad if it is. The one-size-fits-all solutions can be ham-handed.

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  4. I had heard from a good source that he has to step down because of the rules surrounding the 'lowest 5%' designation. This will prevent PR from being closed or having to go charter. Supposedly, another fantastic principal is going to be assigned there, but I'm not sure if that will be enough assurance (understandably) to people looking at this for round II. I have heard such great things about PR and its turnaround that I hope the progress is able to continue!

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  5. Will Principal Tagamori be assigned to another SFUSD school?

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  6. @10:04, yes, that is my understanding.

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  7. Maybe they could put the Paul Revere principal at Sunnyside, problem solved!

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  8. Just testing here. Something wonky with the blog.

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  9. 10:33 - I like your thinking as we'll be starting K @ Sunnyside in the fall.

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  10. Your School Site Council at Paul Revere should have or be getting information on the principal selection process. A team of staff and parents, usually from the SSC, will solicit input from the community and be part of the interview process.

    I'm currently heading up the process as a middle school SSC chair (and parent.) I've been through it at our elementary school, too. It usually worked out very well - especially when the parents and staff partnered well as a team to provide a unified voice from the school community.

    I know that SFUSD will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the best continues to happen at Revere.

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  11. I know that SFUSD will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the best continues to happen at Revere.

    Seriously? The way they're doing their best by ensuring that cuts hit classrooms the hardest, while promising to make an equity report and think really hard about giving some money back if the situation improves?

    The way they're doing their best by laying off over half of the teaching staff at several schools?

    The way that they are taking responsibility for their decisions, and clearly explaining why the programs they are protecting are being protected?

    Because if it's any of those ways, well...I'd be worried. On the other hand, if Paul Revere does have some special secret deal other than being on the state's Naughty List, please let us know. Other schools could really use getting in on that.

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  12. teaching staff are being laid off at some schools in greater numbers because newer teachers staff the majority of the school. Part of the reason they are getting laid off is due to cuts in the central office (which people have been saying to do loudly to keep cuts away from the classroom). Many of those people are teachers and have seniority so will come back to a classroom and under union rules it's last hired-first fired, so they will "bump" the less senior teachers. This is what the union has fought to protect for many years (seniority rule) and it is unfair to blame SFUSD for the rules. Many people even within UESF would like to have a more nuanced way to do layoffs. It is true you can skip for specific qualifications, but not sure what some schools qualifications are that are distinct (being hard to staff is not a teacher qualification).

    It is also unfair to compare SFUSD to Oakland and the way they are handling the budget. As was noted at the Board meeting, SFUSD has to include 34 million for special ed since it is a county and city and Oakland doesn't (they are only a city district, Alameda county pays the special ed). Also, on Rachel Norton's blog is an extremely useful guide to what type of state actions are taken if your financial status is deemed problematic (not quite takeover, but they do make decisions) and that is what SFUSD is trying to avoid.

    This pitting teachers against the district against parents is not useful to any of us. Yes, this is an area we can control, but it would be better if we worked together and all accepted that there is going to be some pain next year at least. SFUSD is feeling more pain as well because of the Rainy Day cushion the last two years. Many of these actions would have needed to happen but didn't due to that.

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  13. teaching staff are being laid off at some schools in greater numbers because newer teachers staff the majority of the school. Part of the reason they are getting laid off is due to cuts in the central office (which people have been saying to do loudly to keep cuts away from the classroom). Many of those people are teachers and have seniority so will come back to a classroom and under union rules it's last hired-first fired, so they will "bump" the less senior teachers. This is what the union has fought to protect for many years (seniority rule) and it is unfair to blame SFUSD for the rules. Many people even within UESF would like to have a more nuanced way to do layoffs. It is true you can skip for specific qualifications, but not sure what some schools qualifications are that are distinct (being hard to staff is not a teacher qualification).

    It is also unfair to compare SFUSD to Oakland and the way they are handling the budget. As was noted at the Board meeting, SFUSD has to include 34 million for special ed since it is a county and city and Oakland doesn't (they are only a city district, Alameda county pays the special ed). Also, on Rachel Norton's blog is an extremely useful guide to what type of state actions are taken if your financial status is deemed problematic (not quite takeover, but they do make decisions) and that is what SFUSD is trying to avoid.

    This pitting teachers against the district against parents is not useful to any of us. Yes, this is an area we can control, but it would be better if we worked together and all accepted that there is going to be some pain next year at least. SFUSD is feeling more pain as well because of the Rainy Day cushion the last two years. Many of these actions would have needed to happen but didn't due to that.

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  14. When will we find out about concessions from the teachers' union for class size increase?

    Anyone know?? I'm kind of hoping that's how I'll get my kid into first grade.

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  15. Info from a community meeting last night:
    Yes, he has resigned, as of end of school year. Staying in the school district, probably not as a principal - moving on.
    PR's class size not effected
    Dream School status funds still good for 5 years
    School is now eligible for 50K-2mill per year for 4 years to implement a turnaround model of the school. Considering an after school program and summer school.
    SFUSD has rejected a closure or charter program leaving the other 2 options. They seemed focused on the last option of transformation - as it was already in the works.
    A lot of concern in the crowd about getting those funds, who was going to head the committee.
    They need to compete for the funds. There is a lot of pressure because deadline is June 1.
    It's a fantastic school facility, has issues with the african american population (lack of parent involvement) but a pretty decent community presence and PTA.

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  16. I'm sorry, but the reality is that PR has been in "Program Improvement" since 2001. This will be the SECOND time the school has undergone major changes that are supposed to raise students' performance, close the achievement gap, etc. It's a great example of the fact that these systemic overhauls do not work, especially when we force them on a school every 4 or 5 years.

    It's beyond shameful that SFUSD is pulling Tagamori, and I'm really disappointed that, given the situation, he is not going to continue as a leader at another school.

    If we're really serious about helping the kids at schools like this, we need to take a good hard look at providing wraparound services - health and dental clinics, food banks, ESL instruction for the parents, improved access to social services. Another "Reading First"-type program and more PD for the teachers is just not going to make the difference.

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  17. SFUSD is not pulling Dr. Tagomori from Paul Revere.
    It is his own decision to step away as PR principal, as both of the remaining 2 options that Revere needs to implement under its 'low performing' status require removal of the principal. Hence, rather than engage in a protracted fight, he has decided to take himself out of the equation early on, thereby increasing the school's chances to write a strong grant proposal, and get as many funds as possible, and also allowing for more time to find the best possible successor, with as much community involvement as possible.

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  18. The only NCLB reform option that would allow Tagamori to stay is turning the school into a charter school. Pretty obvious why the district doesn't want that. What I want to know is how many schools are going to have to undergo these so-called reforms repeatedly before people realize that they don't work. Show me ONE school that has been reconstituted or "transformed" that has improved enough to get out from under the heel of NCLB. Can anyone name one? Even better, can anyone name ANY school that has "reformed" itself without a major change in demographics? School improvement = fewer low SES kids, fewer ESL kids.

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  19. "SFUSD is not pulling Dr. Tagomori from Paul Revere.
    It is his own decision to step away as PR principal,"

    You have to respect the man, to fall on his sword like that, leaving quietly with dignity so the school can get additional funding. He must really love the school.

    God my blood is boiling over this.

    "It's beyond shameful that SFUSD is pulling Tagamori"

    It's not SFUSD, but the state that tagged Revere. Although it would have been gracious to give him a principalship.

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  20. dr. tagamori will, i'm sure, continue on and shine his light on another deserving sector of our city's children/youth, no worries there. at the meeting last night what i heard parents articulate in both spanish and english was the desire that any new leadership ensure that the school be allowed to continue on its present course and build upon it. i heard during the small group discussions several parents who had children there before dr. t's arrival (spanish speaking families) talk about how much better the school is now and how they don't want that momentum to be lost. last night showed that there are parents at the school who are committed and want their voices heard. Considering that teachers at the school enjoy great support and appreciation from so many parents, i believe this process of change can be positive if the district is sincere in its claim of respecting the community's wishes.

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  21. Again I ask:

    Show me ONE school that has been reconstituted or "transformed" that has improved enough to get out from under the heel of NCLB. Can anyone name one? Even better, can anyone name ANY school that has "reformed" itself without a major change in demographics?

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  22. 9:51 - I'm still wondering myself if it's even possible. All the hope in the world cannot turn around a school where 2/3 the population doesn't care about education. I am wondering how these children are even passing grades. I cannot think of a better deterrent than to hold kids back.

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  23. You Tagamori fans are ill-informed. He did not resign in order to benefit PR. He had applied for reassignment long before this ever came out and now he is trying to look like a martyr by claiming he is doing it for the school. What a putz.

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  24. 9:00 PM, you go run a school and see how you do. From all appearances, Principal Tagomori did a bang-up job at Paul Revere. He doesn't deserve your contempt.

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  25. 9:00, I'm sure that Tagamori and the powers that be in the district all saw this coming quite a while ago. When your school is in its 5th year of PI and there's little or no hope that all subgroups will make the numbers, well, the law is what the law is. It is highly likely that he is both moving on without a fight for the good of the school (and his own career), and that he decided to do so much earlier than was announced. SFUSD habitually holds back bad news until the last possible moment. It seems to be a key tactic of theirs in dealing with problems while minimizing the light shed on them.

    Flynn parents and those considering Flynn should know that it is in its 5th year of PI, and be ready for what comes next. No one should have been surprised by what is happening to Revere, and the district should have been planning for it a long time ago. In fact, they probably were, but don't expect them to tell that to the public.

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  26. Interesting that the current and last school Tagamori was at are both on the worst performing schools list. I also read in the SF Gate article that he had already put in for a transfer before this ultimatum came down. Not everyone at Paul Revere is a fan of Tagamori. He talks a good talk but is too much of a people pleaser and not strong enough to get things done at Paul Revere.

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  27. We're a Flynn family and I pray they close our school. We are stuck there and my children are suffering for it.

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  28. 8:12 AM, then leave! I know people who would give their right arm for Flynn, and it's at the top of my list.

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  29. Am I reading this right that SFUSD is taking the sweat equity from parents to build good immersion programs on the SE side, when SFUSD knows that "low performing" schools (i.e., those with low test scores, NOT those who are not educating their kids) will be severely disrupted or closed, and knows also that immersion programs have lower test scores because the kids are taught in one language and tested in another? Does anyone else think that this is an insane rip-off of parental labor and resources? What on earth is the point of investing in an immersion school when No Child Left Behind rules the day?

    And I'm really, really disappointed in Obama for not simply dumping NCLB, which has been a disaster.

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  30. Umm, gee. Yea I will just leave. My request for transfer keeps being denied and I can't afford private. But, sure we will just leave, and go where? Hopefully you will not find the violence and aggression there that we have.

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  31. This might not be relevant to this conversation, but an old acquaintance of yours, Arlene Ackerman, is replicating what she did in San Francisco here in Philadelphia.
    The Notebook, a non-profit watchdog of public education in Philadelphia, is running a story today on what you guys called Dream Schools, what it seems we are now calling Promise Academies. To learn more about this, please visit:

    http://www.thenotebook.org/blog/102537/promise-academies-came-dream-school-how-have-they-done

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