NEW YORK – A landmark program to convey lecturers right here from the Dominican Republic to show bilingual schooling is being probed by metropolis and federal investigators amid allegations some had been subjected to a shakedown scheme and threatened with lack of their visas in the event that they did not pay up.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer stories, MS 80 within the Bronx is a faculty in turmoil. CBS2 has realized that its principal, Emmanuel Polanco, has been reassigned by Colleges Chancellor David Banks as metropolis and federal investigators sift by way of a sea of disturbing allegations that a number of lecturers introduced right here from the Dominican Republic had been reportedly compelled by the principal to pay shakedown lease funds or have their visas yanked.
“I used to be floored by what I heard,” mentioned St. Senator Luis Sepulveda. “I used to be floored. I used to be disturbed… allegations of this type being made, it is virtually a painful expertise as a result of this system was designed to vary the lives of children right here, and the lives of the lecturers.”
Sepulveda is speaking a couple of first-of-its-kind program launched into by the Division of Schooling this fall that introduced 25 lecturers from the Dominican Republic to show bilingual schooling in metropolis colleges. Ten had been assigned to MS 80.
It is an essential program. Final 12 months greater than 22% of metropolis college students spoke Spanish as their first language. Almost 14% had been studying English as a second language.
Sources inform CBS2 the probe began when Sepulveda’s workplace was contacted final month by one of many lecturers assigned to MS 80, charging that she was being compelled by Polanco to pay about $1,800 to lease a single room, or lose her visa.
Sepulveda went to the Division of Schooling, which took speedy motion.
Sources inform CBS2:
- The DOE has obtained emails during which the principal verbally abused a number of of the lecturers
- On Oct. 29, Polanco reportedly held a gathering with lots of the lecturers, telling them not cooperate with the probe
- One of many lecturers went again to the Dominican Republic due to the threats
A spokesman for Banks, who heralded this system when it was first introduced, insisted “we’ll do no matter we are able to to guard and defend our employees from mistreatment associated to their employment.”
“If the allegations are true, they create issues for individuals who got here right here. These folks got here right here from the Dominican Republic, searching for an ideal alternative for themselves and their households. They left households. They left their jobs,” Sepulveda mentioned. “They shouldn’t be subjected to this.”
Polanco didn’t return a request for remark. Neither did the group that introduced the lecturers right here.
The Division of Schooling has employed pro-bono immigration attorneys for every of the lecturers. The company insist it’ll proceed to recruit bilingual lecturers from overseas.
A Portland instructor’s school employed a former principal who beforehand oversaw a school-wide “antiracist” bootcamp marketing campaign for teenagers.
Portland State College’s Faculty of Training introduced on Sept. 7 that it had employed Cynthia Moffett, a former Beaverton Faculty District principal, to its Curriculum and Instruction division.
When she was a principal of Errol Hassell Elementary Faculty, Moffett oversaw a 21-day antiracist curriculum that was a part of a school-wide initiative for the primary days of January 2022.
The curriculum instructed elementary kids to explain their race and knowledgeable them about microaggressions and systemic racism.
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Moffett resigned shortly after Fox Information Digital reported on an inner e-mail from employees, who referred to themselves as “The BIPOC Educators at Errol Hassell,” which addressed rumors that the principal was on the chopping block. The employees – which didn’t embody Moffett – sought affirmation from directors that Moffett wouldn’t be terminated.
The e-mail additionally indicated that employees at Errol Hassell had been pissed off with Moffett. “Workers raised their voice and interrupted Principal Moffett throughout … conferences, and spoke in a disrespectful and aggressive method,” the e-mail mentioned.
A guardian from the college, Jeff Meyers of Save Oregon Faculties, blasted the college’s resolution to rent Moffett.
“This rent by PSU saddens and frustrates me. A easy search on the internet for her title turns up a number of articles that spotlight her failures as an schooling chief and the injury she’s executed to these she is supposed to guide and serve.”
He mentioned, “This was a horrible selection.”
The 21-day-challenge requested college students, “What are among the invisible ways in which racism exhibits up in our lives?”
Lecturers had been additionally instructed that if a baby had been to ask a query that made them really feel uncomfortable, they need to “write them down,” and a employees member would are available and handle them.
On the primary day, college students had been requested to “Consider one or two phrases that describe the colour of your pores and skin” and “draw or paint a self-portrait.”
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Nonetheless, the curriculum cautioned that children needed to “ask … permission” and had to make use of “the suitable colours.”
“You could embody one other different individual in your image, however be sure to ask their permission and use the suitable colours to point out the of shade their pores and skin,” the antiracist curriculum said.
One other day of the problem centered on “defining microaggressions” and addressed “the right way to reply” when one other child microaggresses them. The curriculum mentioned that children ought to “speak to a grown up about it.”
“Microaggressions are outlined as daily, delicate, intentional or unintentional interactions or behaviors that talk some type of bias towards traditionally marginalized teams,” the curriculum mentioned. “These might be feedback, interactions, physique language or different behaviors that make an individual or group of individuals really feel lower than one other individual or group.
Examples of microaggressions, in accordance with the curriculum, included criticizing meals from different cultures, “commenting on somebody’s hair,” evaluating pores and skin tones, and mentioning “apparel corresponding to hijab, yamakas, hoodies and extra.”
Probing into the scholars’ identities, the curriculum requested:
- What phrases do you employ in your race?
- When did you first find out about your race?
- What does your race imply to you now?
The curriculum additionally requested the kids to vow to turn into social justice activists.
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One of many prompts mentioned, “We pledge to be changemakers in our neighborhood by [fill in the blank].”
“How are you going to use your voice to result in change? How are you going to be an activist?” it requested.
“Sufficient is Sufficient! We are able to take actions to make our neighborhood a greater place by us all. Use your voice to talk up and out. Collectively we are able to Heal Our World however now we have to get into good bother,” the curriculum mentioned.
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The scholars had been additionally proven clips about racism, corresponding to “A Child Asks About Systemic Racism.”
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When Fox Information Digital reached out to the college, they mentioned, “Portland State College values the facility of variety of thought and embraces its core values of making ready future leaders. Dr. Moffett has 29 years expertise as a instructor and administrator in addition to her personal expertise as a primary technology school scholar, an expertise shared with lots of PSU’s college students.”
Moffett has beforehand denied that crucial race concept was taught in Errol Hassel, stating, “Just lately, BSD employees have been requested if now we have adopted crucial race concept (CRT) curriculum. The reply isn’t any, now we have not and no, there isn’t any curriculum for crucial race concept and no, there’s not coaching in crucial race concept.”
Anthony DeMartinis, a former assistant principal at Sanford H. Calhoun Excessive Faculty, in Merrick, started his new job as principal of Wellington C. Mepham Excessive Faculty, in North Bellmore, on July 1. DeMartinis was an assistant principal for steering at Calhoun for 3 years.
Earlier than arriving at Calhoun, DeMartinis, 38, served as a faculty counselor at John F. Kennedy Excessive Faculty, the place he supplied tutorial, social, emotional, school and vocational counseling. He earned an undergraduate diploma in felony justice at SUNY Albany, and a grasp’s at school counseling, in addition to an Superior Certificates in instructional management, at LIU Publish. He lives in Bethpage.
When DeMartinis was in school, a dialog with a household buddy, who was a counselor within the New York Metropolis colleges, sparked his curiosity in a profession in training. “My buddy was describing his job to me,” he recounted, “and the way he works with college students all day, and talks about their tutorial progress and their future objectives — the way it had an impression on them — and I assumed it gave the impression of an ideal and actually noble profession, and one thing I’d need to do. Attending to know college students on a person degree, taking a look at choices for them, serving to them by way of the robust occasions and celebrating the nice occasions remains to be so rewarding.”
DeMartinis in-terned at Kennedy Excessive, the place he developed a love for training, and was supplied a full-time place. After a number of years as a counselor, he was suggested by a colleague to take lessons in administration. “I began to consider affecting college students on a constructing degree and using a few of my expertise and management to perhaps impact change there,” he stated.
“To have the ability to do this sort of work with tutorial employees and different constructing chief colleagues, and naturally, the scholars and the dad and mom, but in addition nonetheless have that one-on-one particular person relationship, it’s one of the best of all worlds for me … personally and professionally,” DeMartinis added. “I really feel so fulfilled to have the ability to work with college students in that respect.”
He thanked Bellmore-Merrick Central Excessive Faculty District Superintendent Mike Harrington and the Board of Training for placing their religion in him to guide Mepham.
“His constructing management expertise at Calhoun,” Harrington wrote of DeMartinis in a districtwide assertion, “has given Anthony the chance to function the college’s Dignity Act Coordinator, the architect of the college’s grasp schedule, the executive supervisor for the departments of particular training, world languages, and English as a brand new language, all along with his excellent work in main the Calhoun counseling and wellness middle.”
Calhoun Principal Nicole Hollings stated that DeMartinis has given super assist and care to the college’s college students, employees and households. “He’s a unprecedented educator who works tirelessly to assist college students academically, socially, and emotionally,” Hollings stated.
DeMartinis stated he was trying ahead to attending to know the Mepham neighborhood, and might already see how tight-knit it’s. “Everyone seems to be so excited to impart Mepham’s historical past and to speak in regards to the constructing and this neighborhood,” he stated, “which leads me to assume there’s a lot pleasure right here. It’s simply an unimaginable place to be part of.”
He has realized loads in his time as an educator, he stated, and believes that all the pieces he has realized will serve him nicely at Mepham. “Listening is among the most essential issues that you are able to do for folks, for college kids, employees, for folks,” he stated. “Particularly with all the pieces we’ve been going by way of as a society and as communities the previous a number of years, , listening has by no means been extra essential.”
With a profession influenced by constructing connections, in his first 12 months as principal, DeMartinis stated, his aim is to construct a rapport with the Mepham neighborhood. “I’m excited to face exterior the doorways, to greet the academics, the scholars, the dad and mom which are dropping everyone off,” he stated. “I can’t wait simply to see and meet everybody on this neighborhood and get to know everyone actually, rather well. I feel that’s an essential a part of being a constructing chief.”
Michael Steele has been named because the principal of Columbia Central Excessive College, efficient July 1, 2022.
From 2010 to the current, Steele was the chief principal at Stratford STEM College in Nashville. Along with these most up-to-date roles, Steele labored at Antioch Excessive College, Hillsboro Excessive College, Litton Center College, Bailey Center College, Inglewood Elementary, Maplewood Excessive College, and Whites Creek Excessive College in a number of totally different capacities.
Steele served within the U.S. Marine Corps for 4 years, incomes a meritorious promotion from boot camp, turning into a Coaching NCO, Fight Swimming Teacher, NCO Alcohol and Abuse Counselor, Squad Chief, Good Conduct Chief, and acquired a Life-Saving Award. Steele additionally served in regulation enforcement for 10 years. Steele led and mentored college students at College Christian College as principal from 2008-2010.
Steele acquired a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Columbia Faculty in Missouri, then a Grasp of Science in Psychology and 1 Counseling from Troy College in Alabama. In 2014, Dr. Steele earned his Doctorate in Studying Organizations & Strategic Change from Lipscomb College in Nashville. In 2022, Steele was appointed to serve on the Requirements Advice Committee for the State of Tennessee.
Steele’s certifications are in Steering and Counseling from the Florida Division of Schooling, Administration from the Florida Division of Schooling, Administration from the Affiliation of Christian Faculties, and at the moment, Administration from the Tennessee Division of Schooling.
“I could not be extra honored to have been chosen to steer Columbia Central Excessive College and the Lion Nation,” Steele mentioned. “The Lions and Columbia Central are the highest of the spear in schooling and can proceed to excel in every part we do, permitting no excuses shifting ahead towards excellence. We’ll concentrate on our college students and workers and do nice issues sooner or later.
“I’m excited for Dr. Steele to grow to be a part of the MCPS household,” Superintendent Lisa Ventura mentioned. “His diverse expertise inside and outdoors of public schooling opens thrilling prospects for Columbia Central HS.”
By Wendy Greenberg
Princeton Public Schools (PPS) students will begin the school year September 9 with a new director of student counseling services, and Riverside Elementary School students will have a new principal.
Dana Karas, who has previously worked in PPS, is the new director of student counseling services, replacing Kristina Donovan, who left the district earlier this month.
Ebony Lattimer, who has an extensive background in math, science, and special education, joins the district as the new Riverside principal, as Mark Shelley relocates to Pittsburgh.
Karas, who will officially join PPS at the end of September, worked as a middle school French teacher in Princeton early in her career. She later taught French at the Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School. She was a school counselor at Churchill Junior High School in East Brunswick, and in 1998, she became a school counselor at Freehold Township High School, a post she held until 2003 when she returned to Princeton High School as a school counselor.
This fall, the guidance staff will be on the front lines as students return from remote learning and they resume their social connections at school. “Counseling is extremely important right now,” said Karas. “Many students remained remote and will be returning in person. The counselor is on the front line, recognizing signs of trauma, and helping students to be successful emotionally and academically.” She said this is a critical time to be responsive and supportive.
Karas, who was the New Jersey School Counselor of the Year in 2017, served for seven years in Lawrence Township Public Schools, first as supervisor of Guidance and Classic and World Languages and then as supervisor of Guidance, Careers, and Alternative Programming. She was at Franklin Township Public Schools for more than eight years where she was director of School Counseling, and supervisor of World Languages for grades 9-12.
A graduate of the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in French education, Karas earned graduate degrees from The College of New Jersey and Georgian Court College. She is currently completing her doctorate in leadership from Kean University.
Professionally, she has served as president of the New Jersey School Counselor Association and continues to serve as an executive board member for this organization, where she has co-authored the state’s current approved school counselor evaluation model. She has served as a committee member under the New Jersey Department of Education, where she contributed to the creation of the state’s social-emotional learning competencies and also served on the On-Ramps to College initiative.
She calls joining Princeton schools “a full circle moment,” adding that she had mentors on the guidance staff. “I am happy to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”
PPS Superintendent Carol Kelley said of Karas, “She has impressive experience in school counseling as well as expertise related to students’ social-emotional health and well-being. Her experience and her dedication to students make her a wonderful addition to our team here in Princeton.”
Ebony Lattimer will step into the Riverside principal’s position on August 23. For more than four years, she has served as principal of The Titusville Academy, which is a private, nonprofit special education school known for its work with students who have learning and behavior difficulties.
At Titusville, Lattimer helped to develop and manage a blended-model curriculum for special education students. Blended learning models combine online educational materials with traditional, in-person classroom instruction. Lattimer also served as vice principal of the International Academy of Trenton Charter School. For the last eight years she has been an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Lattimer, who grew up in Red Bank, was selected as a finalist by a committee of Riverside faculty and staff, district administrators, and community members.
“As the current principal of a school for students with disabilities, Ms. Lattimer has cultivated skills and expertise to help a broad range of students succeed academically,” said Michael J. Volpe, assistant superintendent for human resources.
Lattimer began her career in Neptune Township as a math and science teacher in 2003. She left her teaching position in Neptune to accept the principalship at The Titusville Academy. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in administration and leadership from Georgian Court University.
In an email, Lattimer said that what impressed her about the district and about Riverside was the “commitment to educational excellence, and by that I mean not only academically, but also socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They truly do the work to ensure our students are strong, positive contributors to their community and our global community as a whole.
“In addition to being impressed by their commitment to educational excellence, I was impressed by Riverside’s expression of respect and openness to diversity and equity through their display of sawubona (a greeting that means “I see you.”)”
She added that she was looking forward to meeting Riverside students in September, and to working with the “talented Riverside teachers and support staff who make it such a welcoming and special place.”
Kelley noted that Lattimer’s “passion for students, her leadership abilities, and her knowledge of curriculum stood out in a field of very strong candidates for this job.” She also praised Lattimer’s interpersonal skills and her ability to utilize data to improve students’ academic achievements.