Children First Networks – Efficiency, Ratings and Audits

Map of CFNs

Map of CFNs


I’m willing to bet that over 80% of teachers and 99% of parents do not know what Children First Network their school uses for support or even what it is. Perhaps that is the way they are designed. The whole thing is an enigma. Most might say…”Who cares” Exactly!

Even when you click on the NYC DOE Offices link on the main page, The CFN’s are not even listed under “C”, but rather “N”.

Many people missed this because Hurricane Sandy hit, but UFT President Mulgrew ripped these networks apart in October 2012. Read here:


Excerpt from Mulgrew’s Testimony before City Council Oct 25, 2012:

Mulgrew: “We believe the staff at the networks and many of the network leaders want to do what is best for our public school children. But the system the DOE has put in place for networks was not designed for accountability, and so is designed to fail.

Schools need a central administration to provide hands-on administrative and operational assistance to support them with all of the work. Teachers need instructional and professional development support, and then we can hold them accountable. But the networks are not in a position to do this important work.”


I myself have my doubts about the effectiveness of networks and even the DOE Senior Counsel that support them. Remember that each school has one of fifty five networks that they pay out of their school budget for support. There is a specialist for budget, facilities, data, talent (PD), safety, operations etc. As an aspiring administrator I would love to have addition help when I am Principal Portelos (don’t laugh). However, this system does not appear to be working at 100% efficiency. Some networks are doing very well in supporting schools, just the accountability is not there for the rest.

Who is your Network Leader Cluster Leader

1. Go to enter your school name OR look through this fileNetworkAffiliationbySchool

2. On the right sidebar it will state your principal’s name and then your Network Leader and Cluster.

3. Click the links below to see how well they did and how they were rated. My school’s did not do to well. I warned the staff and parents of the School Leadership Team (SLT) who were supposed to assess the CFN ever year and change if it wasn’t working. In fact, I was not only barred from going to SLT meetings, but right after I emailed the SLT about changing our network, DOE senior attorney Robing Greenfield sent a letter to Principal Linda Hill for the team members to sign that they would not share any information about SLT with me. How about that I am upset with the SLT for not bringing it up anyway and here we are. We missed our chance to drop our CFN that has not been working for us and move to one that is on the island. Remember, the people we pay to support our school are two boroughs and twenty miles away. See NYC Educators, Meet DOE Legal

4. Another thing you might want to do is search the employees running these networks. Some are past principal’s who left their schools with grades of “C” and almost “D”. What Seems like that is the MO of the DOE. Administrators don’t get fired, but rather shifted around and mixed into the networks.

5. Next click on this link, enter your school code to see how much money is being spent under line

TL Children First Network Support

My school spends $50,000

The “TL” stands for Tax Levy. Yes the taxpayer pays for the support (or lack thereof)







Also check out some audits done by Tina Kim of NYC Comptroller John Liu’s Office:

Gotham Schools

DOE secretly enlisted Parthenon to devise plan to save networksJune 10. 2013


PS: I would be lying if I said that in my 415 days exiled to Children First Network offices I did not see employees on Facebook at 2:37PM (not lunch), shopping for shoes, making private personal business calls or ordering and eating breakfast at 9:34AM. But hey… I don’t want to “Rock the Boat“, so I mind my own business. Right


About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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