Professional Development Picture

We want the worst possible teachers in the classroom” – Said no one ever.

Imagine that you want to really, really teach, but the Department of Education gets in your way. I first had allegations made against me 312 days ago. I still have not been charged. Today is 226 days since I was removed. During my Rubber Room reassignment I have not:

  • Slept
  • Played video games on phone/PC
  • Done anything illegal

What I have attempted to do is learn. Learn about law, learn physics, more earth science, read up on other cases, read up on labor law and union contracts etc.

I have had ZERO professional development on the new Common Core Learning Curriculum Standards. Unfortunately, I am not alone as most teachers, in school, also have not had any training in the new Core Curriculum. Of course they will have their students tested on CCLS and everyone will be evaluated on the CC:S. I smell a set-up!

Want to hear what is even worse? I have made several attempts to obtain any kind of professional development and was ….denied!

See below.


From: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM
Subject: Fwd: Special education workshop on Oct. 4 & 5
To: eclaudi@schools.nyc.gov, Shawn Thompson <sthomps@schools.nyc.gov>
Cc: Sean Rotkowitz <srotkowitz@uft.org>
Greetings Ms. Claudio and Ms. Thompson,
    I would like to partake in this PD and need the OK from one of you.  Thank you.
-Francesco Portelos
*Sent with Samsung Epic
— ———-
From: “Carmen Alvarez, VP for Special Education” <noreply@uft.org>
Date: Sep 24, 2012 2:36 PM
Subject: Special education workshop on Oct. 4 & 5
To: <mrportelos@gmail.com>
 You are invited to a two-day special education workshop
The UFT, in collaboration with the UFT Teacher Center, is offering a series of Special Education Professional Development Institutes this year to support all school staff as the DOE implements special education reform in schools across the city.
Date: Thursday & Friday, Oct. 4–5
Time: 8:40 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th Floor

The response? ?


From: Thompson Shawn <SThomps@schools.nyc.gov>
Date: Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 5:58 PM
Subject: RE: Special education workshop on Oct. 4 & 5
To: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>
Cc: Sean Rotkowitz <srotkowitz@uft.org>, Claudio Erminia <eclaudi@schools.nyc.gov>
As a re-assigned staff, you are not eligible to attend any PD.
Shawn Thompson
HR Director
CFN 211
82-01 Rockaway Blvd.
Ozone Park, N.Y. 11416
(718) 642-5855 (tel)
(718) 391-6187 (fax)


Wait, there is more….

I attempted to sit in on an iPad PD here in the conference room where I usually sit and was told to leave and sit in a cubicle alone and without anything. That is what they are doing here.


Dear Ms. Thompson,

[message truncated]

I was given the opportunity to sit in on an iPad training taking place across from room 308 2 weeks ago. I went up to find you but you were in a meeting. I asked Diane Ali “Would it be ok, since I finished the phone list?” She responded, “It should be OK”. I sat in the training for about 2 hrs. It was beneficial to my professional development as well as to the instructors whom I helped troubleshoot network problems that halted training. You then came down and stated that I’m “not supposed to be in there” (training) since I was placed across the hall. I packed up my things and returned to my designated desk.

Last week you came down to my designated cubicle in room 308. You wanted to discuss a paper I was to fill out for HR. My laptop was on the desk and open.  On the screen I had the official DOE website up. More specifically it contained information about the new Special Education reform I was reviewing. You stated something like “you can’t help yourself, can you?” in reference to my persistent computer use. I responded that I’m following the guidelines you gave me and using the laptop in connection with my “DOE position”. You responded that my position is no longer a classroom teacher. You wanted me to put the laptop away and I did. I asked if “I’m not allowed to professionally develop myself?”


I have been denied again and again from furthering my education. It’s not just me though. I hope you, the reader, are getting a better understanding of what the Rubber Rooms are really about.

Today we just had a new teacher come in. We are at about 16 in the building and at least 3 new inmates in the last week and a half.

Wake up public…something dirty is brewing and you are drinking it up.

Sign Petition

Contact Officials

DMWalcott@schools.nyc.gov,MBloomberg@cityhall.nyc.gov,CJackson-Chase@schools.nyc.gov,Governor.Cuomo@exec.ny.gov,THernandez5@schools.nyc.gov,SpeakerQuinn@council.nyc.gov,MBest1@cityhall.nyc.gov,DBrodsky@schools.nyc.gov,eclaudi@schools.nyc.gov, jmckeon3@schools.nyc.gov, lkaiser@schools.nyc.gov, mrportelos@gmail.com,pep@schools.nyc.gov,drose@council.nyc.gov, NYSAssembly60@gmail.com,savino@senate.state.ny.us,joddo@council.nyc.gov,MMulgrew@uft.org,
RWeingar@aft.org, lbecker@schools.nyc.gov, dweiner4@schools.nyc.gov, lhill2@schools.nyc.gov, dzahara@schools.nyc.gov

Twitter: @mrportelos

Email: mrportelos@gmail.com


2 thoughts on “Professional Undevelopment

  1. Following reading the above posts I am appalled and saddened that educators could be treated in such a manner. The denial of professional development prior to due process is an egregious injustice. As a recently “reassigned” educator I to have been denied professional devlopment opportunities. I was under the impressiom that reassignment was just reassignment. Now I am slowly being convinced it is a form of punishment. Punishment for not conforming to a broken system.

  2. It is saddening that educators would be treated so criminally. The denial of professional development prior to due process is a egregious injustice. Reassignment is supposedly an opportunity for educators to be productive while awaiting due process. Reassignment should not be taken as an opportunity for the DOE to punish teachers. I too have been “reassigned” and denied the opportunity for professional development. Amidst all the DOE posturing and bullying the students lose. The students lose the opportunity to be taught by educators that are really passionate about teaching.

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