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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Staff at International Arts Business School in Brooklyn Revolt Against Principal Sheila Hanley

From Betsy Combier:
I was sent the letter below by members of the staff at IABS for posting:

To whom It May Concern:

This letter addresses the improper and harmful actions of Sheila Hanley, Principal of International Arts Business School at 600 Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn, NYC.

Since the start of the new school term, Principal Sheila Hanley has reassigned special needs students from their self-contained environment into Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) classes, even though she is acutely aware that the affected students' IEPs specifically indicate otherwise. These students will remain victims of Mrs. Shiela Hanley's insidious plan if left unmitigated. Even more alarming is that Principal Hanley did not think it was necessary to first consult with, or receive consent from, the parents of the students in question, before placing these once self-contained students into an environment that could now potentially hinder their chances of any academic success.

Mrs. Hanley's capricious plan becomes even more disturbing as it unfolds. In order for her plan to succeed, Mrs. Hanley must circumvent parental opposition. Thus, she constructed a letter wherein the gist of the correspondence informs the parents of the supposed benefits involved in removing their special needs children from a smaller setting, where they would receive individualized attention, into a much larger classroom without adequate academic care. And in so doing, she will carefully disguise the truth of its self-serving purposes from the unsuspecting parents. For example, these above mentioned children with speical needs turned regular education students must now be content with the rigors involved with passing regents exams, although their IEPs deem them incapable of ascending to such demands. The goal is to manipulate their parents into signing the letter thereby indicating their approval to Mrs. Hanley's disguised plan. The fooled parents would never be the wiser to the Principal's backdated later to which they are expected to sign for approval. It is obvious to staff of the school that Mrs. Hanley hopes that they will never discover that their signature would also indicate that they have had prior knowledge of the Principal's reassignment plan under consideration here, and that they had approved of it days before it was implemented.

Although Mrs. Hanley's aforementioned decision is clearly out of compliance with DOE, State and Federal laws, her administrative staff worked in partnership with her to fulfill her devised scheme. The raison de etre behind Principal Hanley's scheme has much to do with the allocation of state funds as opposed to the academic well being of her students. Or, to state it another way, Mrs. Hanley would receive an increase in state funds for CTT classes as opposed to Self Contained courses tailored specifically to the needs of students with IEPs which demand services of this kind. With a "tenuous budget," an increase in state funding would lessen the chance of a possible cut of the arts and business programs at IABS. Indeed, this is significant. Mrs. Hanley currently has to be content with a lack of significant improvement in the school's graduation rate, a recent plummet downward in regents scores, and an increasingly negative school culture that may have very well contributed to the abrupt resignation of the school's PA president who ensured his son was transferred out of our troubled school to a more academically promising Charter School.

What is certain, however, is that Mrs. Hanley's behavior, and those of the members of her administrative staff, speaks volumes about her concern, or the lack thereof, for the students under her care, particularly students who are most vulnerable to falling through the cracks of the New York City school system. Principal Hanley's "unorthodoxy" reveals her willingness to sacrifice the academic success of special needs students in order to save her arts and business program, where she in turn would ultimately be the sole beneficiary. Indeed, it calls into question as to whether she believes in her very own mission statement emblazoned on the school's website. Principal Shiela Hanley's trangression of the Chancellors Regulation to manipulate funds in order to create, at best, a facade of a school in good standing is really reflective of her inability to provide the kind of leadership and to foster the kind of creativity to bring about success in a school whom the Chancellor already determined D-rated.