On Tuesday November 27, 2012, I spent the day efficiently converting oxygen to carbon dioxide for the 103rd day in the Rubber Room. At night, I attended an Educators 4 Excellence event at Baruch College. I had seen someone share a link on Twitter and saw the words “New Teacher Evaluation” and “Walcott“. I signed up, grabbed my colleague and we went.

I would say there were about 170 people on the 14th floor event that night. The average age seemed to be about 28 and we were all given digital clickers to respond to questions.  From the conversations we heard, we surmised that some teachers were a good amount of first time attendees. As we entered the conference hall, I saw my boss, Chancellor Walcott, at the doorway. He had a bunch of people asking questions, so I held off introducing myself. I thought I could just catch him later and we grabbed a seat at the far end. As I sat, I started tweeting and continued to do so throughout the event with #nyceval. I didn’t realize, but my presence there caused some interesting buzz on Twitter. I think people thought I was there as some secret operative, but I wasn’t. I’m an engineer and what I do is collect all types of data and information, process it and spit out some ideas. I needed more data and hence I attended the event as well as the after party to get some one to one conversations with E4E members. I had an interesting chat with Deputy Chancellor David Weiner though. We had a lot in common. Except of course the Rubber Room issue, which he stated he was unaware of.

See Provisions here:

New York State Teacher and Principal Evaluation
2012-13 and beyond
Summary of Revised APPR Provisions

The presentation was interesting for me because I had not put that much thought into the new evaluation. Reading my blog you might see I have a lot of other topics to deal with right now. I do realize its tremendous importance though and I do have my concerns. In speaking with other educators and seeing the results of the presentation poll, we do have these concerns:

1. Do we trust the administrators for the observation process?

I received all satisfactory observations and my class was praised for years. I even requested my own observation in December 2011.

From: Mr. Portelos <fportelos@dreyfus49.com>
To: lhill@dreyfus49.com
……I was told I could request an observation. Is this true? If so can I meet with any administrator? I have not been observed since 2009 or early 2010.
-Mr. Portelos
Berta Dreyfus IS 49

I received a satisfactory on that as well with only a period between my pre observation meeting and actual observation meeting. So back then I felt like many of the E4E members who have the mentality “I’m a good teacher, why should I worry?”

Now my first UNSATISFACTORY OBSERVATION. Let me tell you how it went down as I was being attacked in March. I was out from Friday to Friday due to Jury Duty. I walk in Friday morning, first period, to a destroyed computer lab and four special education student class. Who walks in behind me with a clipboard??? None other than Assistant Principal Joanne Aguirre with a CFN person and two clipboards. They were conducting a “short informal observation” Keyword is SHORT. They stayed for 90 minutes, interrupted and asked me questions. Very distracting. You can read about my only U here in detail. A few weeks later, March 26, 2012, I called the Office of Equal Opportunity on this AP as she had been harassing me for months since I rebuffed some lewd comments she made to me at a bar in October. Three days after my call to OEO, she calls me in and gives me my first U ever.

I ask…”Can we trust that the observations are fair?” I have spoken to many educators in and out of my building who have this fear of “gotcha observations”. Even the attendees at the conference voted like this:


Putting this aside, can we have administrators sacrifice the large amounts of time needed for pre observations, observations and post observations as well as informal ones? That’s an average of three periods needed per teacher per observation. E4E would like 5 and that, to me, means approximately 15 periods per educator per year. When will the admin have time for running the school/

2. State Testing:

Can we trust that these tests accurately measure what a student learned and what a teacher has taught effectively? I asked members, at the after party, “What if a student comes in a level 3 and leaves a level 3?” What growth or “Value Added” does that input into the formula?  they stated there will need to be some “tweaking. How about my saga and state testing? I was removed from school the morning of April 26, 2012, the day of the NYS Math test. Do you know when Principal Linda Hill and Assistant Principal Joanne Aguirre ordered that my class lock be changed??


photo 4 Lock changingphoto 1

I know…you can’t make this stuff up. I was sent texts and emailed from various staff who stated you could hear the hour long banging down the hall. How many students were affected? Are we supposed to evaluate the teachers and students on this test? Read my post about this here:

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Now this deadline and money? A reporter at the E4E event said it… “Is $300 Million that much money?”

I did that math and it’s only 1% of the DOE’s $24 Billion budget. Why are we rushing it? Is the UFT going to listen to the teachers? Is the DOE? I have to further research the pilot program for this.

Bottomline…we are worried and very worried.

I wrote this in haste…sorry for grammar. I hope my ELA teachers don’t get upset.


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