If you are an avid follower of this blog, then you are well aware that many of the issues I raised revolved around the School Leadership Team or SLT. I was naive when I joined and thought it had something to do with being part of ateamand helpinglead theschool. Boy was I mistaken.
Not only did we not have an input, but any opposition was squashed by the principal. I remember trying to bring up a 4th goal that would take into account the 75% of non ELL and non IEP students. I downloaded data, compiled it, processed it and threw it into charts and onto a projector in a meeting once. My principal’s response “What is your point Mr. Portelos”
I asked “Are we really looking to move only 3% of English Language Learners up to level 3 and 4 We only have about 96 ELL students which means …ready….our goal for a school ranked 939th out of 1,124 was to move an astounding 2.8 students up. 2.8 students.
Needless to say my 4th goal was not added to the CEP, but the reasons were easy. You see I brought this up in January 2012 when my principal had already uploaded the CEP in December. She couldn’tentertainanother goal made the team believethey had a role in developing it.
“Mr. Portelos, what about the signature page that goes along with the CEP to show that the team agreed Can’t you show that”
Funny you should ask. I actually thought of that and tried to FOIL a copy. Guess what…you are not going to believe this, but….they can’t find it.
How can you not find a signature page that is supposed to be in the Principals office. The actual page itself states that:
4. The original copy, along with any written communications pertaining to this page, is to remain on file inthe principals office and be made available upon written request.
I appealed to Courtenaye Jackson-Chase. She is the top DOE attorney. I received a response that my appeal was denied because they cannot furnish a document that they do notposses.
Missing: Please contact Mr. Portelos if this page has been found.
“What about the budget Mr. Portelos”
Ahh yes the infamous $7.7 million budget. Well as a member of the team I can request a copy of the SLT view of the budget. This is a more detailed view of the one available online.
Would you believe that it’s been over 484 days since I requested the budget and I still have not received it. I haveobviouslyasked countless times since. I even called Michael Tragale’s office. Nothing and he is the Chief Financial Officer of the DOE.
“But Mr. Portelos, aren’t you the UFT Chapter Leader and according to the contract they have to include you in the SLT and budget allocations”
Yes. I have grieved these violations and as any grievance it gets denied and then you wait for arbitration. In my case with this, they couldn’t even deny, because they couldn’t conjure up and more false evidence. So then it goes for expedited arbitration. If we are lucky a decision to allow for my involvement in this school year’s budget will be approved by May. You know…two months before the school year is over.
“Even though you are not allowed in the building, for some unknown reason, you are still a mandatory member of the SLT team, no”
Yes and I have been fighting that since September. My union reps told me the meetings will have to be held elsewhere, but that was never enforced. They tried everything to stop my involvement in the SLT even via speakerphone. There were all kinds of official who became involved in an effort to prevent me from partaking in the meetings.
Finally…a memo from an attorney from NYC DOE Senior Counsel scared the SLT members from sharing information with me. I am deeply disappointed in some of the parents on the team as they knew I was working hard for their children. i know because they told me. Unfortunately, they are not strong community members and have not stepped up to the plate. The ones that try to are silenced by the rest. Can you believe that the principal, in an effort to intimidate an outspoken parent, had security escort them every time they came in to the building
“Why did that memo from the attorney come out in February 2013 and what did it say ”
That’s a good question. I’ll get to that, but let’s read through some interesting excerpts I pulled out of the public SLT Meetings of this year.
OCTOBER 2, 2013 – “Times for SLT meeting changed to 6:00pm except for the 10/2/12 meeting the time will remain at 4:00pm”
DECEMBER 4, 2012 -“Due the reassignment of the UFT Representative (Francesco Portelos), the elected Delegate will represent the UFT- Question was asked of guests DLT, Does the UFT Rep need to be Notified, Response No “
The Chancellor’s Regulations state Chapter Leader or Designee. Designee would be someone I would “designate“, not automatically the delegate. The SLT has been out of compliance since September being that I have not designated anyone. Can you believe that they stated I didn’t have to be notified of this
DECEMBER 4, 2012 – “Notice will be posted for the staff seat on the SLT, and elections for the seat will be held before the January 15, 2013 meeting”
They attempted to fill my seat by holding an election when proper elections were never held for real vacancies. I thwarted that and I am still on the team without any replacement.
JANUARY 15, 2013–“PTA Presidentwas asked by Mr. Portelos to be on a conference call for meeting. Ms. Hill said she spoke to her attorney and said that it could not happen due to legalities.”
Interesting that during a grievance her and I on speakerphone was not a problem, but me giving input to augment my school is an issue.
JANUARY 15, 2013 – “PTA Presidentreceived some papers from the school safety agent during the meeting from Mr. Portelos that had some agenda items that he would have liked to address. We did not have enough time to address them.”
OK, no problem next meeting. The agenda items were:
01.15.12 – School Leadership Team Agenda Items to be brought up for UFT Chapter Leader Francesco Portelos
- Congratulations to Vicky and Cheryl on their official seat appointments
- Chancellors Regulations state that SLT VIEW of the budget should be furnished to SLT members within 5 days. We requested to see this version of the budget over a year ago. Please furnish a copy for all members requesting to see it. 2011-2012 and current, up to date 2012-2013
- CEP template has changed. CEP is due January 18 and the principal should have received an email about this back in December.
- What are the actual raw data numbers of our students To create goals, we need to know what our students scored on tests.
- Asbestos issue is still unresolved. Testing of material present was tested and found to be non-asbestos by DOE Facilities and UFT. However the fact remains that we do not have the results on material that was pulverized by power tools and removed in March and April 2011.
- How is Talk About It going Anything to work on (program cost $3000 and I told them we could do it for free)
- I would like to show my interest in running as Co-Chair for the staff side.
In addition I also added the following before the February meeting and this is where they really got scared and pulled out an attorney letter that I believe has no merit. I’d show you a copy, but no one received a copy and my union couldn’t even obtain one.
- Talk of changing our support network (CFN 211) to a better one that is on Staten Island. We should look into 604 and 533. CFN 211 is 20 miles and two boroughs away and I don’t feel like they are giving us the best support. Ibelievewe send them $60,000 a year.
- Budget without numbers cut off and totals
- Goals for our school using stats from my last email
- furnish official statement stating that no asbestos was disturbed during demo that took place when school was in session.
Again, they felt like they had to scare the SLT members with a legal memo that they were made to sign. A parent asked if they can share the minutes or agenda with me to which Ms. Hill allegedly stated “No”. the SLT minutes are public. The Children First Network CFN 211 probably got scared that I would convince the team to move to another network and pushed for this memo. Remember the school hires and pays the network out of the budget for support.
FEBRUARY 5, 2013- “Reading and signing copy of letter from the DOE Lawyers regarding Mr. Portelos attending any school functions including SLT meeting in person or on the phone.” “Mr. Portelos’ concerns from the last meeting cannot be addressed due to information from legal.”
“Can scanning happen every day Ms Hill informed us that it is not possible. Concerns about the time scanning ends. It was mentioned that a teacher posted on their blog what time scanning ends. Ms Steiner confirmed that a teacher had posted the informed. The school has no control of what time and days School Safety comes for scanning.”
I believe it was either Robin Greenfield or Robin Singer from Senior Counselthat wrote the letter.
Teacher publishing scanning times on blog That’s crazy! I believe what they were referring to was this post I created about breaches in security that they need addressed. http://educatorfightsback.org/guns-knives-and-very-sharp-2-pencils/
So as you can see they have tried everything possible to prevent me from helping that school from the inside or outside. what’s worse is that many other chapter leaders have reached out to me and told me that they are having the same issue. The budget is not being shown and the CEP participation is almost non existent. Perhaps I just hit the tip of the iceberg and that has them running scared. I wish I could share more evidence, but I’m leaving that for my lawsuit.
see also www.sltsupport.blogspot.com