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Commentary: The SRC leaves Creighton school behind

By Frank Murphy on Jun 12, 2012 01:05 PM

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission recently chose to ignore a great opportunity to encourage and support authentic grassroots school reform efforts in the District. They did so by rejecting a self-governance school reform plan submitted by the Creighton Elementary School community.

Members of this school community had sought the support of the School Reform Commission for their proposed self-governance initiative to bring parents, community members, and teachers together to work on ensuring that their school is moving toward greater success.

This notion of self-governance is similar to a model described by Research for Action’s Eva Gold and Elaine Simon in which community organizing can create a new forum for school accountability. According to Gold and Simon, public accountability “is essential for improving urban public schools. Broad-scale, collective responsibility increases and diversifies the resources available for improving schools and also permits new voices to participate in defining when a school is ‘successful.’"

The transformation plan advocated by Creighton’s school community would have provided for the collective responsibility that Gold and Simon discuss. 

In Creighton’s plan, the principal would be replaced, a governance council composed of teachers and parents would be created, and instructional reforms would be implemented. This is a comprehensive, yet low-cost approach to school restructuring that involves all of the major stakeholders in making important decisions. 

Unfortunately, the SRC rejected this plan. The members instead decided to “restart” Creighton as a charter school that would be governed by an outside management group. This is a much more costly option and will replace the current staff that is committed to making Creighton a better school.

Both the transformation and charter conversion models are promoted by the federal Department of Education as two of four preferred options for fixing schools with persistently low standardized test scores. The other two models they support are the turnaround and school closure models. Interestingly, there is little evidence nationally that any of these ideas will work on a large scale. Scattered examples of remarkable improvements at individual schools are offered as proof that these school-restructuring strategies can work. But the individual successes identified are more often the exception rather than the rule.

Given that there isn’t a great amount of evidence to support the long-term effectiveness of school turnaround strategies and charter conversion, it seems hypocritical for the Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon to reject Creighton’s plan for a lack of sufficient evidence.

A more reasonable response from Nixon would have been to offer District supports and resources to help this school to implement a robust reform plan. A new principal could have been site-selected by a committee of teachers, parents, and other community leaders. This new school administrator could have been charged with the responsibility of helping to develop and support a distributed leadership team. The services of a leadership coach, curriculum specialist, and community organizers could have assisted with the development and implementation of a school community-based governance model. Budget funds that had already been allocated to finance the conversion of Creighton into a charter school could have been used for this purpose. These would be the types of services that I would expect to be offered by the “achievement networks” described in the District's transformation plan.

The members of the Creighton school community have demonstrated a willingness to be held accountable for the future success of their school. Their energy and commitment should have been honored. This school already has a considerable amount of invaluable social capital on which to build a better school. This should be recognized and utilized. But instead, the SRC voted to disassemble this school community. This is unfortunate. It also raises grave concern for any other District school that may find itself designated as a failure in the years ahead.  

If our low-achieving schools are to have any chance of becoming highly effective learning communities, then they must be provided with the opportunity to take charge of their own destinies. This particularly should be the case when a school community like Creighton demonstrates they have the capacity to create a reform plan and a willingness to carry it out.

Accepting the Creighton School proposal would have given the SRC an opportunity to demonstrate that they support school-based transformation efforts and a vibrant public school system. From the SRC's actions so far, it seems that its main focus is on turning over the management of District schools to third-party providers, converting them to privately managed charter schools, or closing schools entirely.

If they continue to follow this course, there soon will be little left of our public school system. And in this greatly reduced space, there will be no room for the broad-scale public accountability that is essential for improving urban public schools. The voice of the people will be diminished as private interests gain far too much influence in determining what is best for our children and their future.  

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Comments (62)

Submitted by Bekim (not verified) on June 12, 2012 2:31 pm

I would like to thank the author of this article, so much truth in your article, I am one of those that supported the proposal of the Creighton School. I have a petition urging the School Reform Commission to repeal their vote and implement that proposal.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 12, 2012 2:47 pm

Excellent article Frank Murphy.

Submitted by Michael Churchill (not verified) on June 12, 2012 4:27 pm

"A more reasonable response from Nixon would have been to offer District supports and resources to help this school to implement a robust reform plan."

A major opportunity missed. If the achievement networks are to be anything except an opportunity for outsiders to take over as managers the District is going to have to offer the kinds of supports you described. Perhaps the SRC should specify when and under what conditions they will offer this kind of assistance so that the community and school personnel can start making plans. That might tell us whether they are real about giving opportunities to district personnel. Thanks for the insights.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 12, 2012 6:25 pm

Absolutely correct...Creighton would have been provided supports...except the plan is to dismantle the SDP and initiate Achievement Networks with profiteers who know nothing about education. Their only expertise is lining their pockets.

Change is needed, but not the sort of change where low income students and families will pay the price.

It is disappointing to think that Ms. Nixon has agreed to be a player in this for profit "shell game."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 12, 2012 9:12 pm

I totally agree! If the school was given a chance to remain a public school - the outcome could have been different. If the SD keeps giving away our schools to charter companies there will be an end to public education.

There was a plan and a solution to Creighton and Nixon and the SRC ignored it. What a shame.

I just learned that turnover schools keep their maintenance staff and food service staff. The SD pays their salaries not the charter school. How is that fair? It seems that charter companies get schools and the SD continues to pour money into them even when they are turned over. This seems wrong to me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 12, 2012 4:43 pm

Frank, I am a teacher at Creighton who supported the proposal. Thank you for your perspective on it - how is it that everyone else can see the great innovative approach to turing around a school accept for the SRC.

Submitted by anon (not verified) on June 12, 2012 6:20 pm

eloquently stated. it's a pity that the powers that be are, so far, only pretending to listen. they have received their marching orders from above and are unwilling to be deterred.

Submitted by Teachy (not verified) on June 12, 2012 9:33 pm

Totally. And Lorene Cary is a phony, at best. At least the others clearly portray themselves as nasty. Her granola and crystals rhetoric leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Submitted by Teachy (not verified) on June 12, 2012 9:52 pm

Does anyone have thoughts on or knowledge as to why an embargo on the PSSA results was decided so suddenly last week? My students were asking about it today.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 12, 2012 9:16 pm

It may have to do with the Inspector General investigating the cheating that went on last year. That's going on this week.

Submitted by Teachy (not verified) on June 12, 2012 9:22 pm

That's disgusting, waiting until the last week of school. I'm sadly sick re: education in this state.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2012 5:11 am

I hope they investigate this year's cheating. And yet Universal gets another school - Creighton. Please investigate them. They have no business being in education when they have their own agenda and it is not the children.

Submitted by brent (not verified) on June 13, 2012 9:08 am

My question is -- where was the PFT on this? There has been a power vacuum in the District for 6 years now and the PFT has never stepped up to fill a constructive role, in my opinion. Why hasn't the union applied to take over schools on its own? Did they support the teacher and community takeover of Creighton? A few years ago there was an AFT drive to help unionize schools in the south -- a fleet of busses was to be dispatched during the summer. Several of us in a Building Reps meeting asked -- what about the non-union charter schools right up the street? Where are the busses and resources to unionize them?

A PFT led takeover would be the perfect antidote against the charterization of more schools. Creighton would have been a golden opportunity for the union to prove that it can help run this district. Opportunity missed. Sad.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2012 12:15 pm

As far as I know the PFT was backing up the teachers and Creighton Elementary with the proposal they offered to the SDP.

Submitted by Dina (not verified) on June 13, 2012 1:07 pm

Thank you for this terrific analysis of what happened here - and what could, and should, be happening in schools if they are to be transformed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2012 2:41 pm

Thanks for your analysis of this situation. I am a teacher who supported the proposal for a Council led school. What I learned is that the SRC is really not looking for anything new. They are settling for what is most convenient. As the number of charter schools grow, you are so right when you say that public accountability shrinks. Who will be left to stand up for a PUBLIC system that serves ALL our children?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2012 10:05 pm

I am a teacher at Creighton. While I do not support charter schools, I also do not support the so called teacher's proposal. The one written by the supposed long term art teacher who has only taught art here for two years, was never proposed to the teachers. When we finally saw it, it named the proposed teachers in charge. These three teachers were in the pocket of the principal who let this school fail. They were never in it for the children. They were in it for themselves. Shame on them! All Creighton really needed was a new principal who treated all staff and all students with respect.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2012 10:19 pm

I am so very thankful for your honesty and I applaud your comment.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2012 8:43 am

Don't thank that person - it wasn't honest! The teachers had several opportunities to hear the proposal .. I went to the meetings so I know.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:42 am

I really admire how how some people say that they were in the pocket of the principal, if I can recall the principal was a temporary placement for this year, because the former principal was absent because of reasons I don't have to explain here. So get your facts straight first of all.
I love this country and how people who are not involved with this school make up stories.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:27 am

How could you live with yourself, making up lies like this.

Submitted by bekim321 (not verified) on June 14, 2012 9:12 am

We are all adults here, frankly this is getting pathetic, the topic was about a great idea getting passed by, and people now are turning this topic into a negative mud-slinging contest. Frankly I think that our community does not deserve those teachers. They took on something that made them all accountable. Show me how Universal will do that for our students? Give me proof.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 9:09 am

How were they going to be accountable any more than before? Were they willing to be force transferred if after 2 or 3 years there was no improvement? Was the actual proposal ever disclosed?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 11:15 am

Is Kenny Gamble willing to give the Renaissance schools back when he isn't successful?

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 12:40 pm

Good thing to require from him. I would say that's fair. Probably he'll ask for as many years as Creighton had prior, not making AYP.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 1:55 pm

Universal was unsuccessful with Vare - the SDP took it back - and then returned it to Universal. Go figure!

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 9:18 am

Your comment sounds true. It reflects what I have seen happen at my school as well. Without a strong principal, bullies take over at all levels, no matter how good the intentions may have been. Similarly, I have seen kids not getting educational benefits they easily could have, not only from the few teachers, but also the few parents who were also concerned first and foremost about their own power (status as Home and School), keeping other parents out of the decision making.

Don't let the above attacks upset you. They show lack of critical thinking, which I'm sure the people concerned with their own power gladly welcome. I agree, the proposal should involve ALL the teachers, and ALL the caregivers. Any parent that is asked should be able to explain the proposal and how things would be done differently than in the past. This information seems to be missing/scarce. "Teacher led" must include solid facts.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:13 pm

The proposal was shared many times over - if people chose not to attend the meetings, whose fault is that?
Let me ask parents if they know everything about Universal;s proposal- obviously they don't because today parents are still asking if Creighton is becoming charter and who is taking it.
I guess Universal has not done a good job - their information seems to be missing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It sickens me to think that a person can work so hard to save a school and get criticized because she had the guts to to take a stand. No wonder no on ever steps forward.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 9:32 pm

I don't think your/the work was wasted. Why not make the proposal public through the Notebook? There is already a lot of support for it by virtue of what it represents. Even if the decision has been made for Creighton, there are other schools who will face this same dilemma; and perhaps given enough publicity, the decision may yet be reversed.

Submitted by Brody (not verified) on June 14, 2012 10:41 pm

I was thinking the same thing, Ms. Cheng. The Creighton situation could happen to any of our schools. However, sometimes it only takes one thing to get the ball rolling, and maybe this is it. The buzz about teacher/community-led schools has started. Other states have them, with union support, I might add, and it's time that we get started.

There's no reason to reinvent the wheel, and the Creighton team probably put together a good proposal, so if they are willing to share it, those of us who find our schools in similar situations can use their proposal as a starting point.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 12:37 pm

NO, shame on you. Are you one of the teachers who did nothing because that is why we were in this mess? The SDP needed to change administration but they needed the teachers like you to go too. Are you one of the teachers who curse at the children? Are you the teacher who comes in at 8:15 and leaves at 3:00 before the bell rings? Are you the teacher who lets their students roam the hall? Expose your name and let me tell the readers about you.

One last thing, are you the teacher who is so PFT and who wouldn't vote for site selection but is trying to use site selection? Are you going with Universal because you deserve each other. You can't find a job, so you tell everyone that Universal is a great company.

Enjoy each other.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 1:47 pm

Please don't take my comment as judgement, but your comment brings up one of the issues with teacher administration: that is, how fair, and successful would peer leadership be, unless all are in tight communication (such that culture or judgement does not cause misunderstanding)? The fact that even one staff member feels left out should be seen as something to bridge, not judge.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 4:30 pm

I am also a Creighton teacher. The public might be surprised at how many Creighton teachers did NOT support the teachers proposal for the reasons mentioned above. I think the idea of a council led school is a great one and many of us would have gladly supported it if the proposal had been backed by different lead teachers. Did anyone notice it was the same few teachers that went to the SRC meetings? Creighton has a staff of over fifty teachers.
The teachers who wanted to help run the school have been doing so for over ten years and have run it into the ground. Never have I worked in a more hostile environment. These same teachers were heavily involved in the CAP program which divided the school racially and split the staff. Don't believe me? Check out past class rosters. Creighton's population is approximately twenty percent Asian and yet the CAP classes were well over sixty percent Asian, higher in the lower grades. CAP was a big part of their proposal.
I found it appalling that the same teachers who did not teach many of Creighton’s African American students went door to door over at Hill Creek projects collecting signatures from the residents.
Creighton could have been a great school. It was filled with many great teachers as well as wonderful children and families. It's sad that all that was needed was simply new leadership and the SRC and 440 refused to provide it.
If any good came out of this whole ordeal it is that the idea of a council led school has caught the attention of many and may be seriously considered by others. I think it is a great way to keep public education strong.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 6:50 pm

The above comment is another way to mislead the readers. The petition had more than 75% teacher's signatures supporting the proposal. This shows that the teacher's were in favor of the proposal. There were 4-5 teachers who did not agree with the proposal and a handful that were absent or not available to sign. 75% support of the proposal!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:11 pm

I find it is appalling that you think it is ok to slander people on the web.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 9:31 pm

You need to address the complaints, not the person; otherwise you might as well be the mafia. Is the complaint about CAP valid?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:20 pm

For your information the art teacher has taught art for fours years at creighton, before that english to middle years for four and second/first for five. How dare you -- What do you teach? Anything? - I can bet you are the reason that Creighton not made AYP.

Sound a little jealous to me

Or perhaps you just aren't smart enough to even write a page, let alone a proposal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2012 3:22 pm

So true!

Submitted by Ken Derstine on June 14, 2012 2:39 pm

The constant feuding online between the teachers and parents at Creighton is very disturbing.

Divide and conquer has always been the way the 1% maintains their power. If people fight over the crumbs and who is getting a little more crumbs than the other, the 1% can sit back and keep reaping the profits while putting us all on starvation wages. They will encourage divisions by race, religion, and jealousy over who is getting a few more crumbs to keep people from uniting to make a real change.

This infighting does not bode well for the District as a whole if this is the way people will engage in the struggle against what is being done against the public schools.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 6:33 pm

It is not just the 1% that is subject to power drives; how much do we like to project ourselves there? I was accused of being disloyal and wanting to push others out of power because I insisted on an election, and accountability. There was little recognition of the wrong that I saw. Wrong is wrong no matter who perpetrates it.

Sadly, "infighting" is another result of poor/nonexistent leadership at the principal/supervisor level. Philadelphia is not homogeneous in terms of culture and therefore there are hurdles to good communication. This makes strong leadership crucial to cooperation, and any organized effort; this looks to have been lacking at Creighton.

Would the proposal not have gathered more support had it been disclosed to the general public and thus removed somewhat from the local politics there? I think so. This also would have allowed for valuable input, again apart from the local politics, that might have helped push it through.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:36 pm

Ms. Cheng,

 The proposal was shared.  First, there were three staff meetings to share the proposal. There were two SAC meetings to share the proposal. The meeting in which all charters were to share with the community, the teachers were ready to share it but Darden would not let them. Furthermore, no one except SAC had hard copies of charter proposal - no teachers, no community members - Why is it that the teacher proposal is held to higher standard? The charters just gave power points to community.  Also, a survey was taken at Creighton of staff, out of 84 people asked, 77 signed in support of the teacher proposal.  12 people were either absent or unavailable when survey was sent around.  I would say that is strong support - so the teachers did do something right!

As far as valuable imput, that would have been great if they had months to do it - they had less then four weeks - and basically the week of break and a weekend for the real writing - first two weeks spent on research - tell me who would have spent their vacation break writing all night long? 

Besides, everyone seems to be forgetting , anyone could have written it - anyone- but nobody else stepped up to the plate.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:05 pm

What was Darden's reason why the teachers should not share their proposal?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 10:07 pm

Darden stated that the teacher proposal was not supposed to be shared with the community. His exact words were"that's not how it is done...this is for Renaissance Charters. The teacher proposal only has to go to the SAC". The teachers were ready to share with community. The teachers followed what they were told. If they were misinformed, the blame for not sharing does not go to them.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 15, 2012 7:43 am

That would explain why Universal also only gave hardcopies of their plan to the SAC. This puts the teachers' proposal at a disadvantage. Because so much is unknown, interested readers have to "fill in the gaps"; and this may/may not be applicable.

It is up to the teachers. I don't think it is too risky to give a hardcopy of the proposal to the Notebook. There is a lot to be gained by doing so. Also, there is the right to free speech that precedes and supersedes Darden. "Only has to" and "is only allowed to" are two different things in my mind (though indeed "that's not how it is done" implies the latter). The first is just minimal effort, and the second is just wrong. Remember, the proposal has teachers leading, not following.

Finally, yes kudos to the teachers who did take the initiative and make the unprecedented effort to write an alternative proposal. Please take the criticisms you read as things to be used going forward rather than being discouraged by them. Leaders must also be able to handle and positively incorporate criticism.

Submitted by Ms Perkins (not verified) on June 14, 2012 7:53 pm

Thanks for this artical. I feel like Creighton would have strived as a public school with a new leader. Since Universal have came apart of Creighton it have been a mess. Today was a very sad day. I feel like a lot of adults are acting like childern and what they fail to relize is that the Creighton students have to pay for it. I wish the Creighton staff would have came together as 1. I also wish that the SAC wasnt so messed up. At one time most of us wanted to keep our public school. Universal isnt the best for Creighton thats how i feel although i havent visit there schools but the people that repersents them shows it. Universal is sneaky i can speak on it cause i have been a witness to it. They favor the SAC members who are for universal instead of treating everyone equal. IF ANYONE FROM UNIVERSAL IS READING THIS I THINK THAT SOME OF THE METHODS YOU USED TO GAIN CREIGHTON WAS UNPROFESSIONAL. I DONT THINK UNIVERSAL IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR CREIGHTON. NONE OF YOU INTIMIDATE ME CREIGHTON STUDENTS AND ALSO MY CHILDERN EDUCATION COMES FIRST. I FEEL LIKE SO MANY OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL METHODS ARE NOT PROFESSIONAL. THERE A LOT OF THINGS YOU NEED TO CHANGE. I THINK I PROVED YESTERDAY I WILL NOT BE DOWN TALKED TO LIKE YOU ALL DID SOME OF THE SAC MEMBERS. I PRAY THAT ALL OF DIRT FLOATS TO THE TOP OF THE WATER. I WISH CREIGHTON STAFF THE BEST OF LUCK AND I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FUTURE EVER. I hope a lot of people learned from this for the future when childern are involved I think its best to set aside your differences and work towards the the bigger picture. Its a time and place for everything and during fighting for Creighton wasnt the time or place. To the SAC members that acted childish yesterday just cause your age say your grown doesnt mean you are you have to act grown too. IF WHAT I JUST SAID DONT APPLY LET IT FLY IF IT DO THEN FEEL FREE TO ADDRESS ME. Sorry that things didnt work for Creighton maybe God has something better in store for us.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012 8:43 pm

The Last Day Through A Child’s Eyes

June 14th - the last day of school.
180 days have gone by fast. Two months of carefree fun ahead.
The bell rings one more time and all the kids, including me,
Go racing out the schoolhouse door
In anticipation of the start of our summer vacation.

I love the last day of school!
Except, not this year.

Today is the last day of MY SCHOOL
Thomas Creighton Public Elementary School will be no more
Turned over to the Universal Company,
To be called a charter school
Because the district said it failed.
Because the district said it needs to do this for the students.
Because the district said it is in the best interest of me.

Funny, the district doesn't even know me.
The district didn't’ listen to me.
And to be honest, I don’t know if the district has ever been in my school.

What is the district that it can just take my school away from me?
What is the district that it can tell me I have to leave public education and go to a charter school?
What is the district if it can justify dismantling my second home?
To me, the district seems like an eager monster sitting high on a perch
Just waiting to swoop down and tear apart a child’s world.

When I told the district I loved my school
The district didn’t listen to me.
When I told them not to take my teachers away
The district didn’t listen to me.
When I pleaded just to give us funding to make my school a super school,
The district didn’t listen.
But yet, the district proclaims it is doing this for me!

I may be just a child but I don’t see with my eyes how this is for me!

What do I see?
I see the blank halls and bare shelves
I see boxed up supplies and tons of discarded trash
I see vacant seats and empty promises
I see a list composed by my friend that reads, “Sign here, if you are staying next year.
I didn’t sign it.

My eyes glaze at the
Teachers struggling to cart boxes into their overloaded cars.
Teachers struggling to speak about their new positions next year.
Teachers struggling to hold back the tears.

For a child, I see more than many adults do.
I see that privatizing schools is not the answer
I see that dismissing us was the easy fix, the cowardly solution.
I see that the district really didn't want us anyway!

The last day of school, for me, brings tears to my eyes
Because I see that the district really did fail me!

Submitted by Parent (not verified) on June 14, 2012 11:45 pm

Dear Anonymous,

You touched my heart, you gave me wisdom, you are one of the stars of Creighton. Your expressions painted the perfect picture of what I also saw today. Sad faces, warm hugs and LOVE. My children are very upset too. As a parent I want to say to all of you, no matter where your going to be, remember what the wonderful teachers have always taught you- NEVER GIVE UP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 9:59 am

What a tribute this poem is... not just for what it says, but for the teachers who have guided you to develop the ability to express yourself in this way. As a teacher at Creighton, your poem speaks to me and expresses so many of my personal feelings. I thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. I hope the Notebook gets your permission to publish it with proper authorship, because you should take pride in your gift to be able to express yourself so well. Your words will reverberate with so many whose schools are closing this year, I am certain. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors! With this as a clue to your skills, undoubtedly, your future looks bright!

Submitted by Brody (not verified) on June 15, 2012 11:48 pm

How poignat- Please register to speak/read your poem at the next SRC meeting. The SRC needs to hear this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 6:43 pm

I taught at Creighton a few years ago. Leaving was the best thing for me.The powers that ran the school for years destroyed it. The CAP program divided the students. The regime even had two different back to school nights, two different 8th grade graduations, better computers for the CAP classes. These teachers forgot we work for the students,we serve them not ourselves. For example,the 7th&8th grade classes were made up as: 1 Cap and 2 non-Cap for each grade. Non CAP teachers could not teach CAP kids. The CAP art teacher only saw 1 or 2 non CAP classes. Why this division? CAP classes were able to kick a problem child to non CAP classes but never the other way around. The majority of the students in CAP were Asian. The only Asian non-CAP students were new to our country and could not speak english, Non-CAP teachers had the majority of IEP and CSAP students which increased the work load for Non-CAP teachers. Any teacher can stay till 5:00 when you only teach 3 or 4 of the 9 periods of the day, and have your lunch and prep and SBTL time and MG and peer mediation all back to back. Must be nice only teaching till 3rd or 4th period. Karma is a wonderful thing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 7:44 pm

Funny how you saw it - CAP was five years ago but you keep dwelling on that . Second the current art teacher did not teach art back then. For the record, the 7th and 8th grade CAP classes were over 33 students because the other 7th and 8th grades could not handle the students and they were given the CAP classes. I know because I was a parent volunteer back then and I helped out in all the rooms.
The older CAP classes were a mixture of students not one race - my daughter was in the 8th grade CAP and she is black as well as eight of her girlfriends who were in the same class. I also know that the CAP classes took the kids who were having problems in the other rooms because my daughter was one of the ones who was transferred into CAP because of her behavior.
As I saw it , the CAP teachers cared, worked hard and did what they needed to do.

What it came down to is jealousy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 7:06 pm

I am so happy that more teachers are willing to speak about what really happened at Creighton. Its really sad that people actually believed in fighting for a cause and did not have all the details about the teachers they were fighting with. They say the children will suffer if Creighton does not remain a public school but reading your comment and others and also hearing the same stories from actual teachers who still taught at Creighton this past year, their telling the very same story. If you were not a part of their program, you were not considered part of their click. I don't know if charter is a good thing or not, but I do know anything is better than the treatment that some of those teachers and children were receiving. I am hoping that more teachers who went through this at Creighton will come foward. Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 7:59 pm

Karma is a good thing. The teachers you are talking about seem to be doing fine. They are pretty good now because they were all site selected in great new school and they will begin again. They won’t have to deal with some of the slacker teachers that are there (or were there with you included.) They will leave with fond memories and their students will remember them.

It is a shame that a “teacher “and you stated you were a teacher is a racist person against Asian children. Do you have something against the Asian race? The facts were: every parent was able to choose which community he or she wanted his or her child in. Teachers were also able to choose which community they wanted to be in. Since you stated that the CAP classes were only Asian children, then you must be against the Asian race because you had the opportunity to be a CAP teacher, but you didn't. Was it because you couldn't keep up with the CAP teachers?

Just for the record, on the last day of school for the students, many previous CAP teachers, stood outside on the sidewalk saying goodbye to the children (all of the children) while several Earth Force Teachers got into their cars at 3:02 before the bell even rang. Karma is great.

And as for now, I can't believe school is over for the students and you are still jealous of the CAP teachers. You must learn to deal with your limitations and just keep reading the Notebook to see how theses teachers are doing. I’m sure they will continue to do great things.

If you want to join or teach CAP at Creighton now you can now join Universal Creighton. Have fun and Karma is good..

I "SALUTE" all of the CAP teachers!!!! Good luck and enjoy your summer - GET SOME R&R!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2012 8:38 pm

I just finished my freshman year in college going for an education degree and I went to Creighton. I was part of the CAP Program. And I have to say that the teachers and CAP probably saved my life. I was a student who was always in trouble, never respected authority, started fights and refused to work. I was one of the students the other person spoke of who was put in the CAP Program in seventh grade because the other teachers could not manage their classes nor manage me.. I was put in Mrs. Feighan-Drach's class in November. I can say that in my class there were 35 kids at one time and only about 24 in each of the other seventh grade classrooms. I was trouble but the other seventh grade teachers did not care about the students and it showed. They were there for a pay check. I was disrespectful and gave them a hard time but they had no control. We were allowed to do whatever we wanted and I did. It got to the point where I was ready to be expelled so my mother asked for me to be in CAP.
Moving me changed my life. Yes, I continued to cause problems but I knew that Mrs. Feighan-Drach cared about me, she was there for me and she never gave up on me. Slowly, I came around and I changed my attitude and my behavior.
I changed because of the teachers and CAP. I am African American and the comment about all Asian in the CAP is wrong. I lived it and my class had a mixture with almost half African American, both boys and girls. I can remember several times throughout the year, kids from the other rooms being moved into ours because parents requested it - they knew who the good teachers were and they wanted their kids to have them too.
That teacher who wrote the comment, are you one who did not care about the Creighton kids? I wish you had written your name so I could remember you.
As an education major now, I understand the work and time put into teaching and I am just beginning. I now know and only now appreciate the CAP teachers who put the time into making their classes fun, spent their own money to be able to do things, and planned trips and activities on their own time so we would be engaged and learn. The other teachers didn't seem to want to put the time and effort into their jobs - you can't fault the good teachers because they wanted to have great lessons and do fun things.
I read the notebook because I am an education major and I am sad to think that teachers don't appreciate and recognize when someone is trying to do good.
When I become a teacher, that is, if there are still jobs when I graduate, my classroom is going to emulate that of my CAP teachers. My thanks goes out to Mrs.Feighan-Drach for changing my life for the better.

Submitted by Bekim (not verified) on June 15, 2012 11:11 pm

I am not giving up for the right thing, I have just updated my petition for more signatures... to repeal the vote and implement the Creighton Proposal

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2012 6:48 pm

Get over it. Its a done deal. How come no one fought for Creighton before it got to this point. The school has been in trouble for a while now.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2012 8:59 am

Your article was so on the mark! The school district doesn't want good change - it just wants to get rid of the schools and take the easy way out!
The Creighton proposal would have saved the district money ...but, we don't want to do that

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2012 7:40 pm

The last comment was interesting but no one has answered the question. Why have different back to school nights and graduation? Separate seems divisive. We never did that in my school. Did anyone think about how the students must have felt? Seems to me that Creighton has passionate teachers, you can see it in the comments on both sides. I guess the instructional leaders did not know how to lead them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2012 5:41 pm

The CAP was run as a separate school. The teachers and the students were not treated equally. The division was created by the leadership team and fully sanctioned by the principal. The poster who said CAP was open to all was lying. The CAP students were the top academic performers. They were chosen and recruited based on reading levels and PSSA scores. The students who were not CAP were made to feel like second class citizens on a regular basis.
CAP kids were taken on trips, treated to assemblies, permitted their own clubs and other perks not available to all students. This is well documented. The data from the past 5 years should still be available through the SDP. CAP lasted until the 2011-2012 school year when the region forced the principal to break it up. There were still many classes in 2011-2012 that were made up primarily of former CAP students.
I think it's wonderful that there are former students like "Anonymous" who can thank CAP for their progress today. However, for every one "Anonymous" CAP kid, there are two non CAP kids who never had the same perks. Creighton had amazing teachers, most of whom were not CAP teachers. The non CAP teachers were not jealous, just frustrated, overworked and disgusted with leadership and the lack of support they received. They still came to work everyday and taught to the best of their ability, regardless of the difficulties forced upon them and their students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 8, 2012 10:32 am

This is a rumor. If a charter takes over a school (Edmunds) students who live in that catchment areas can stay if they are already enrolled. They may not transfer in from another school they had been attending. If students wish to transfer in back to a traditional public school and they live in the schools catchment, the home school has to take them. Charter School get to pick 10% of their students from outside of the catchment area.

Re Creighton the PFT leadership has hosted rally after rally. Where is the membership at theses rallies??/ Where are the thousands and thousands of red shirts at Temple for contract votes. Where were the rest of you on labor day?? Show up members. The leadership can't do it alone. PFT members who are in the charter school business get out.

If you won't show up for rallies and meetings blame yourself for what is happening.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 8, 2012 10:31 am

agreed. PFT members need to understand that when they do not show up at rallies, do not show up at membership meetings, do not show up at chapter meetings in their schools. . .that sends a STRONG message to both politicians and the School District and puts the PFT Leadership in a position of weakness. All the politicians or district officials have to say to the PFT Leadership is "you and what Army?" and laugh.

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