SOMSD Changes

ral

This just arrived. Any insight?



Dear SOMSD Families,

I am writing to announce some important changes in SOMSD administrative positions.  We believe these changes will strengthen our efforts to improve SOMSD’s operations, foster student-centered learning, and enhance student engagement as a means to increase student achievement while ensuring equitable access to all that SOMSD has to offer.

Elizabeth Aaron – Ms. Aaron will join the Central Office Team as a Principal on Special Assignment to work on district-wide initiatives.  Ms. Aaron’s tremendous talents, her strong commitment to the community, and her deep understanding of the many facets of the district will be invaluable as we transition to new leadership.

Dr. Kalisha Morgan – Dr. Morgan will serve as Interim Principal of Columbia High School.  Prior to joining SOMSD, Dr. Morgan was co-Principal at Orange High School, and has worked closely with CHS staff in her current role of Director of Planning and Assessment.

Renee Joyce – Ms. Joyce will take over the vacant Supervisor of Special Services position at Central Office, and use her many years of experience with various components of SOMSD’s special education programs to help the new Interim Executive Director strengthen systems for this important department.

Bonita Samuels – Ms. Samuels will be the new Principal of Montrose Early Childhood Center, using her early childhood education and special education experience to build on the strong foundation laid by Ms. Joyce and her outstanding preschool staff.

These changes will be effective Monday July 2, 2018, to give these educational leaders time to prepare for the 2018-2019 school year.

Please join me in welcoming these administrators to their new roles.

Sincerely,

Dr. Thomas Ficarra Interim Superintendent

 


Like  
Don

I'm not sure how much more time Dr. Ficarra is allowed to work as interim superintendent. Perhaps they're broadening Ms. Aaron's experience in case she's viewed as a possible replacement.


Like  
yahooyahoo

I would love it if that was true. But I think she is getting pushed out.


Like  
Don
yahooyahoo said:
I would love it if that was true. But I think she is getting pushed out.

Judging from the reaction, your interpretation is almost certainly right. I'm surprised. I thought Ms.Aaron was fairly well regarded.


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bklyngirl

Pushed out?  Really?  I thought she was well regarded too.


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DaveSchmidt
Stoughton said:


Judging from the reaction, your interpretation is almost certainly right.

What reaction are you seeing/reading/hearing?


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ctrzaska

Outside of the very few one-off parents who had an issue with her and their kid, and besides the BPW, seemingly 95% of the FB traffic (and, anecdotally, the dozens of people I’ve spoken with since) are summarily decrying this move and pissed. 


Like  1 Like
Scott

BOHICA, Looks like our district is destined to make Fox news again.


Like  
Don
DaveSchmidt said:


Stoughton said:
Judging from the reaction, your interpretation is almost certainly right.

What reaction are you seeing/reading/hearing?

 That Ms. Aaron's new role isn't a precursor to a higher job in the district, but move made against her will to hasten her departure.


Like  
DaveSchmidt
Stoughton said:


That Ms. Aaron's new role isn't a precursor to a higher job in the district, but move made against her will to hasten her departure. 


Thanks. I was also interested in where this was coming from, because I’m not on FB and haven’t spoken to anyone with behind-the-scenes insight. Far be it from me, though, to ask you to reveal your sources. Thanks again.


Like  
Meri
ctrzaska said:
Outside of the very few one-off parents who had an issue with her and their kid, and besides the BPW, seemingly 95% of the FB traffic (and, anecdotally, the dozens of people I’ve spoken with since) are summarily decrying this move and pissed. 

 That's the impression I get as well from the FB postings.  If I recall correctly, wasn't one of the items in the BPW lawsuit to find a replacement principal for Columbia?  The fact that BPW has posted a glowing endorsement of Dr. Morgan seems very interesting...


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ctrzaska

It’s coming from a whole host of folks, inside and out.  Whether to hasten her just out of CHS or out of SOMSD as a whole is debatable, though I suspect it really is the former.  


This is also less about Aaron than it might seem on the surface, I think. 


And better batten down the hatches... things are just getting warmed up I think. 


Like  
yahooyahoo

The lawsuit filed by the Black Parents Workshop demanded that leadership be removed from Columbia High School and Seth Boyden. I don't think it's a coincidence that both principals have now been removed.


Like  1 Like
yahooyahoo
Perseverance said:


ctrzaska said:
Outside of the very few one-off parents who had an issue with her and their kid, and besides the BPW, seemingly 95% of the FB traffic (and, anecdotally, the dozens of people I’ve spoken with since) are summarily decrying this move and pissed. 
 That's the impression I get as well from the FB postings.  If I recall correctly, wasn't one of the items in the BPW lawsuit to find a replacement principal for Columbia?  The fact that BPW has posted a glowing endorsement of Dr. Morgan seems very interesting...

They quickly put out a lengthy email praising Dr. Morgan the day after the changes were announced at CHS.  Not a coincidence either. 


Like  
Don

Yes, Paragraph 13 of the BPW's requested relief in the lawsuit is the removal of building leadership at Seth Boyden and Columbia. Guess that one's moot now.

Paragraph 14 is "Upon failure to address the systemic failures that have led to racial disparities in the SOMSD, the merger of the district with a neighboring urban school district or the creation of a county school district to racially balance schools and end racial tracking."



Like  
Tom

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.


Like  1 Like
callista
tom said:
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.

 Too true. What specifically are you referring to in this matter, though? I don't want to be uninformed!


Like  
bklyngirl

If you all don't mind repeating this if it's already been discussed, what does the Black Parents Workshop allege that CHS and Seth Boyden principals did wrong?  Is the SB principal taking the heat for the breast feeding incident?  But, what about the CHS principal?  


Like  1 Like
DaveSchmidt
bklyngirl said:
But, what about the CHS principal?  

The lawsuit the Workshop filed in February (Part 1 and Part 2) contends that class placement and disciplinary actions remain just as discriminatory at Columbia as they were when it brought its original complaint. The implication is that it holds Aaron responsible.


Like  
yahooyahoo
DaveSchmidt said:


bklyngirl said:
But, what about the CHS principal?  
The lawsuit the Workshop filed in February (Part 1 and Part 2) contends that class placement and disciplinary actions remain just as discriminatory at Columbia as they were when it brought its original complaint. The implication is that it holds Aaron responsible.

The principals are the fall guys (or gals) for many years of institutional bias.  Aaron was working hard to fix the system, not perpetuate the system.  There are many problems to be fixed at CHS, but Aaron was not one of those problems.


Like  1 Like
DaveSchmidt
yahooyahoo said:

The principals are the fall guys (or gals) for many years of institutional bias.  Aaron was working hard to fix the system, not perpetuate the system.  There are many problems to be fixed at CHS, but Aaron was not one of those problems.

As a matter of fact, she did this for Walter Fields’s daughter, as reported by The Village Green:

Fields also included a November 2015 letter of recommendation authored by Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron and addressed to the University of Pittsburgh on behalf of his daughter Jordan who was applying to the School of Engineering. The letter details difficulties Jordan faced in being placed in advanced math classes and being provided support once there. Aaron writes, “As part of the resolution agreement with the Office of Civil Rights, the district has acknowledged and agreed to address any patterns of exclusion or practice at the classroom, building or district level of excluding African-American students from upper level and AP mathematics classes.”


Like  
bklyngirl

Got it - thanks!


Like  
finnegan

Wow, almost 675 members of this closed group on Facebook.  Impressive organizing in just a few days:   


Statement from the Newly Formed
Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

Within days following a surprise email on the evening of Saturday, June 30, more than 560 members of the Columbia High School (CHS) community have mobilized on social media to form and join the “Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron” (ECRPA) - with a first rally planned outside of CHS administrative offices (525 Academy Street, Maplewood) on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 10:00am.

As taxpayers and parents of past, current and future CHS students, we as ECRPA members are outraged that Ms. Aaron was removed from her position abruptly, and without any clearly-stated or apparent cause. We are also deeply troubled by the release of this information on a Saturday night before a holiday week -- clearly an attempt to bury this news and hope it blows over.

It will not.

Ms. Aaron’s combination of skills, energy and warmth make her uniquely qualified to succeed in a complex and challenging high school environment. She is at once an excellent administrator, a visionary and leader, a tremendous communicator and excellent mentor -- excelling at one-on-one communications with both students and staff at CHS. She stands in the doorway of CHS every morning and greets students by name. She proudly attends an unending series of CHS events, whether sport, academic or club-related. She has creatively stretched CHS’ insufficient funds and resources in ways that have bettered the lives of our children and of students who are yet to walk through CHS’s doors.

We will not sit back and accept the disturbing and poorly communicated decision of an Interim Superintendent and Board of Education (BOE). We demand the immediate reinstatement of Elizabeth Aaron to Principal of CHS.  We also demand that the SOMSD administration upholds our beloved community’s values of fairness and democracy in addressing this matter.

We are tired of seeing excellent educators and administrators brought into our district, only to lose them just as they’ve had the opportunity to hit their stride.

ECRPA will organize rallies, petition drives and other actions until Principal Aaron is returned to CHS. Additionally, ECRPA is taking initial steps to force a recall vote for the BOE.

ECRPA urges all concerned SOMSD parents, students, teachers and administrators to join in the July 10 rally and sign up to learn about other activities. You can find us by searching our name on Facebook.

Contact:

Eric Shorter, ECRPA Spokesperson
shorter.eric@gmail.com

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/categories/letters-to-the-editor/articles/new-group-demands-reinstatement-of-dismissed-prin



Like  1 Like
bklyngirl

Yes!!!  Good for them!!!!  Don't have a high schooler, but from what I've read here, her removal seems abrupt and un-called for.


Like  
des

Change.org petition to Reinstate Principal Aaron Now


Like  
campbell29

For years, Mr Fields has held the school district hostage to his agenda, which seems to be driven by perceived slights his daughter received whether it's not being recommended for advanced classes due to poor performance, or for her not being allowed into a restaurant with her own food.  For years, the BOE has cowered before him and his litigation and has succeeded at nothing other than trying to equalize outcomes by doing away with any sort of G&T program or allowing kids to work at a higher level.  If you dumb everything down all students will get great grades.


This isn't the way any other school district works.  Most surrounding district schools have levels,  no matter their diversity (WO, Montclair).  No other schools completely redo their academic policies regarding placement because of a disgruntled parent who  has turned his personal issue into a social issue. No other school says "choose your own level".  They have discrete policies regarding who gets placed in which level  The end result is that your district can not find a decent superintendent and chases away talent, like Ms. Aaron because everything is reduced to a racial issue.  It's unfair to each and every kid that they have to go through a district that not only does not recognize excellence" but forces kids into a one size fits all education because a particular vocal minority gets to dictate policy.


Like  4 Likes
flimbro

Wow

Reading that you’d almost believe that the school district didn’t admit that it had a real problem and didn’t admit that it needed to do better and didn’t admit that after years of trying it hadn’t made much progress. 

Segregation is against the law. 



Like  4 Likes
campbell29

I think that allowing children to choose their own level in HS and abolishing almost all levels in middle school goes way beyond what other similarly diverse districts have enacted as policy.  


Mr. Fields has advocated for not only abolishing all levels at the HS level, but also getting rid of AP classes because he doesn’t like the way the classes look.


Nobody is going to argue that systemic racism doesn’t exist.  But we can argue that the best way to better educational outcomes for all is better addressed by providing extra support for disadvantaged students than doing away with opportunities that allow all children to get the best education. 


You can either deal with the achievement gap by doing things on a micro level and implementing programs to provide support to struggling students, or to identify kids who aren’t reaching their potential, or you can do what Mr Fields does and cry racism and force the district to legally defend policies which go way beyond what other districts tolerate, and take away financial resources from programs that would actually benefit students.




Like  2 Likes
flimbro

...or you can do away with segregated education. 


Maybe read the suits, complaints and reports. They’re available on line and contrary to your obsession with Walter Fields they involve more than his daughter. I realize it’s easier to fight an idea when you attach it to a bogeyman and give everyone someone to be afraid of, but there is more to this than Fields and his daughter. There is more to this than just witholding access from Black

and brown students. Kids with learning challenges are given short shrift as well.


The district has a problem and they’ve been unsuccessful in making progress. They’re going to have to do better. 


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