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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Want A Job At A Turnaround School Left Open After The Staff Is Let Go? The Teachers Are

The New York City Department of Education Wants To HIRE Managers Who Can Recruit Inexperienced Teachers For Turnaround Schools
The Recruitment Programs team, within TRQ, manages the recruitment and selection of diverse, talented individuals who are not yet certified teachers to make a difference in the NYC classrooms that need them most.  In partnership with key stakeholders, the Recruitment Programs team designs and supports cohort model programs that prepare teachers to raise student achievement as early as possible in their careers.
Manager, NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround
Tracking Code
Job Description
Please Note: Reimbursable Funded Position
Position Summary:   The Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (TRQ) is responsible for the recruitment of high quality teachers to meet the staffing needs of Department of Education (DOE) public schools, as well as being responsible for initiatives to promote the equitable and quality distribution of teachers across all schools.  Research has repeatedly shown that teacher quality is the single most important variable in raising student learning.  The Office accomplishes its work through a strategic, data driven approach.  Among TRQ’s responsibilities are to: 
  • Serve as the primary marketing agent and source of information to individuals seeking to become DOE public school teachers to recruit a large, high quality and diverse pool of candidates.
  • Design and manage recruitment initiatives, programs, and pathways for individuals to become DOE teachers, especially to address subject and geographic shortage areas.
  • Select a high quality pool of candidates to become teachers through rigorous, research-driven, screening processes.
  • Provide strategic assistance to schools to help them make optimal, local hiring decisions.
  • Lead teacher portfolio initiatives, including incentives to promote an equitable distribution of teachers across all schools and especially ensure that students with the greatest need are served by highly effective educators.   
The Recruitment Programs team, within TRQ, manages the recruitment and selection of diverse, talented individuals who are not yet certified teachers to make a difference in the NYC classrooms that need them most.  In partnership with key stakeholders, the Recruitment Programs team designs and supports cohort model programs that prepare teachers to raise student achievement as early as possible in their careers.
 The Manager, NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround is a key position in the NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround program, a new DOE recruitment initiative.  The mission of this program is to recruit and prepare talented, committed individuals to become effective teachers who are ready to dedicate themselves to raising student achievement and drive change as part of a school reform strategy in the DOE’s lowest performing schools. Turnaround Residency Managers work closely with 1-2 training sites and are responsible for successful implementation of the residency program in their school/s, which include overseeing the program status of the Residents in schools and advising on the residents’ successful completion of the program to become a teacher in DOE schools. The Manager, NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround is an innovator and sees the big picture with ideas for improving teacher preparation to ensure that the residents are prepared to be effective teachers in some of NYC’s lowest performing schools.  Performs related work. 
Reports to:  Program Director, NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround 
Direct Reports:  N/A 
Key Relationships:  NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround Managers; Program Director, NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround; the Division of Human Resources and Talent Office, Division of Portfolio Planning, external vendors; administrators and principals. 
Program Design and Evaluation 
  • Create systems, processes, and policies for assessing and evaluating Resident and Mentor Teacher performance, including mechanisms for formal monthly feedback, processes for ongoing feedback, reflection, and goal setting in collaboration with Program Director and other Turnaround Residency Managers.
  • Advise the Director of Teacher Recruitment Programs and Director of NYC Residency for School Turnaround on key policies, including whether Residents are in good standing with the program and the DOE, and on Residents’ successful completion of the program and readiness for hire as a teacher at the end of the Residency year.
  • Makes key policy recommendations regarding participants standing in the Residency program.
  • Manage approximately 15 per session employees at a school to conduct the program efficiently.
  • Act as internal expert on teacher education, assessment, retention, teacher quality and teacher preparation, coaching and development.
  • Oversee key areas of program implementation, including communications, technology, training, or school partnerships.
  • Conduct complex analyses and evaluation of residency program, particularly around the preparation and support aspects of teacher preparation programs.
  • Design and implement processes for program implementation and continuous improvement.
  • Design and oversee implementation of NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround program curriculum for Residents and Mentor Teachers.
  • Contribute to key policies on designing the teacher selection model for the Residency Program, and participate in events as appropriate.
  • Communicate with TRQ leadership about ongoing successes and challenges and as founding member of the NYC Teaching Residency staff, proactively recommend solutions. 
Communication and Implementation 
  • Confer with school leadership on policy and programmatic matters, including building school investment in residency model and trouble-shooting challenges as necessary.
  • Serve as the primary point person for residents and mentor teachers in all programmatic matters and trouble-shoot, as necessary.
  • Communicate expectations to mentor teachers and residents for successful program participation, hold all participants to high standards, and remediate if necessary.
  • Create and sustain investment of mentor teachers and the host school in the program and the resident’s success.
  • Visit resident/mentor teacher classrooms on a daily basis and oversee coaching and feedback to program staff and participants.
  • Coordinate inter-classroom and inter-school visitations to meet the diverse learning needs of residents.
  • Coordinate evaluation of residents to determine if they are ready to raise student achievement in their classrooms and participate actively in a school turnaround strategy.
  • Advise residents on their job search for full time teaching positions.
  • Partner with institutions of higher education and support program technology. 
Qualification Requirements: 
  1. A master's degree from an accredited college in economics, finance, accounting, business or public administration, human resources management, management science, operations research, organizational behavior, industrial psychology, statistics, personnel administration, labor relations, psychology, sociology, human resources development, political science, or a closely related field, and two (2) years of satisfactory full-time professional experience in budget administration, economic or financial administration, fiscal or economic research;  management or methods analysis, operations research, organizational research or program evaluation; educational, personnel or public administration, recruitment, position classification, personnel relations, labor relations, employee benefits, staff development, employment program  planning/administration,  labor market research, economic planning, fiscal management, or a related area, for educational program(s) and/or institution(s), 18 months of which must have been in an executive, managerial, administrative or supervisory capacity. Supervision must have included supervising staff performing professional work in the areas described above;  or
  2. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college and four (4) years of satisfactory full-time professional experience as described in '1' above, including the 18 months of executive, managerial, administrative or supervisory experience described in '1' above.  
  • Experienced superior teacher in a high needs school with a minimum of three (3) years of teaching experience, ideally at the middle or high school level in an urban setting.
  • Experience coaching other adults; a strong relationship builder who has expertise in teacher training, coaching and development. 
  • High energy collaborator with the drive necessary to be a key player in launching a new program.
  • Knowledge of urban high poverty schools and success driving student achievement in high needs schools.
  • Experience and success coaching/mentoring adults a must; knowledge of specific coaching/mentoring skills preferred.
  • Strong program manager, including goal setting and tracking, project planning and implementation.
  • An interest in teacher recruitment, selection and preparation, especially through alternative pathways.
  • Exemplary oral and written communication skills.
  • Knowledge of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion strategies.
  • Belief that all students can achieve and low performing schools can be turned around to meet the needs of their learners.
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Exemplary problem solving skills and ability to mediate complex relationships.
  • Ability to build investment of people without formal supervisory relationships.
Salary: $70,000 +
(Internal candidates who are selected for this position and who currently hold comparable or less senior positions within the DOE will not make less than their current salary.)
Please include a resume and cover letter with your application. 
Applications will be accepted through March 30, 2012.
NOTE: The filling of all positions is subject to budget availability and/or grant funding. 
It is the policy of the Department of Education of the City of New York to provide educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, citizenship status, age, marital status, partnership status, disability, sexual orientation, gender (sex), military status, prior record of arrest or conviction (except as permitted by law), predisposing genetic characteristics, or status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses and stalking, and to maintain an environment free of harassment on any of the above-noted gr ounds, including sexual harassment or retaliation.  Inquiries regarding compliance with this equal opportunity policy may be directed to: Office of Equal Opportunity, 65 Court Street, Room 923, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or visit the OEO website at

We Can Get Teachers' Names But Not Prison Guards And Firefighters


The city is pressing to release internal ratings on public school teachers. But cops, prison guards and firefighters don't have to worry about similar exposure.

Under an obscure state statute, personnel records of police officers, firefighters and correction officers are off-limits from the Freedom of Information Law.

Late last year five New York media organization filed a Freedom of Information request with the city's Department of Education demanding internal teacher evaluation records. The DOE was set to comply, but the United Federation of Teachers sued to stop the release, arguing the records were inaccurate and that releasing them would be an invasion of privacy. In mid-January a state judge rejected that suit, ruling that "the release of job- performance related information…does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy"—even if the information is wrong.
The UFT has appealed. It's unclear what chance it has of reversing the first ruling. What is clear, however, is that members of other city unions—like the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the Uniformed Firefighters Association or the Correction Officers Benevolent Association—will never have to wage a similar fight.

There's an obvious public interest in how teachers are educating the next generation of city residents. The performance of police officers—who have the power to detain, arrest and use deadly force—firefighters who are responsible for saving lives and correction officers who wield total control over people who've been deprived of their liberty also seems a subject of legitimate public interest.

But a recent City Limits Freedom of Information Law request to the NYPD was rejected because a state law specifically exempts police, fire and corrections personnel records from disclosure.

The NYPD Patrol Guide refers to Annual Performance Reports prepared for every "member of service." We requested the most recent annual reports on all NYPD members holding the rank of patrolman or detective. The NYPD politely declined, saying: "I must deny access to these records on the basis of Public Officers Law section 87 (2) (e) and Public 0fficers Law 87(2) (a) in that such records consist of Police Officer personnel records and are therefore exempt from disclosure under the provisions of Civil Rights Law section 50-a."
Public Officers Law section 87 bars the release of any records that "are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute."

And, indeed, Civil Rights Law section 50-a says that "All personnel records, used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion" for police officers, corrections officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedics and parole officers "shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such police officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace officer within the division of parole except as may be mandated by lawful court order."
According to Robert Freeman, the executive director of New York State's Committee on Open Government, the exemption applied only to police officers when it was enacted in the late 1970s in response to a court ruling in Broome County that made public records of reprimands of police officers. (Ironically, that Broome County decision was cited in the recent ruling allowing teachers' records to be released.)

"The basis of the law is simply wrong," Freeman says. "The notion was that embarrassing information should not be brought out when a police officer is on the stand." But "The judge has control over the courtroom. If something is irrelevant, the judge will say, 'Sorry, this doesn’t come in.'"

What's more, COOG notes in its annual report, "Other employee groups have contended that if police officers enjoy confidentiality protection, they should as well, even though their work would rarely involve being placed on the stand in a litigation context, and they would rarely, if ever, be placed in a situation in which they would be victims of the embarrassment sought to be avoided. Those amendments now extend section 50-a to correction officers, professional firefighters, firefighter/paramedics and peace officers within the Division of Parole."

COOG has recommended the exemption be repealed. "The other huge, huge difficulty with 50-a is that the result is that the people who have the most power over our lives—at least those in government—are the least accountable."

For now, 50-a means about a fifth of the municipal workforce (there are 35,000 police officers, 11,000 firefighters and 9,000 corrections officers on the city's 275,000-person payroll) is exempt from the kind of exposure that city teachers will soon face—although asCity Limits has previously reported, the majority of teachers in the city are themselves not covered by the internal rating system at the center of the court fight.

Asking For Information Without Legal Counsel

Many people do not want, or cannot find, an Attorney to resolve a problem he or she is having with the government. Then there is the problem of paying the fees for an Attorney.
I have close friends who are lawyers, but my personal admiration and respect for these people does not extend to the industry as a whole. I choose, like many people do, to do my homework and represent myself or  go "pro se" in court. This is not easy. First of all, people in the business of selling their knowledge of the law and procedures (as in lawyers, law clerks, Judges, etc) dont want anyone taking money away from them, as in doing it yourself or telling people that they can be their own "attorney". So, pro se litigants get attacked. Get used to it. Ride it out. Tape the person attacking you, and file a complaint with his or her boss. If you cant tape, then write everything that happened when you were attacked, and send a letter certified return receipt or send by email a detailed factual summary of what happened, and ask for an explanation. Give a deadline for a response.
I found the article below interesting, because in New York City, the Department of Education does not want you to have any information about what they do everyday. Unfortunately for the DOE, anyone can file a Freedom of Information request, of any City or State Agency. However there are exemptions in each State as well as under each Agency. Here is the Department of Justice FOI Law exemptions.
One of my favorite sites for current FOIL information is the Reporters For Freedom of the Press. Talk of the Sound has an interesting historical perspective.
New York State's site for FOIL is too general for me, and the New York State Department of Education has its own rules.
And then there is New York City Department of Education. Joe Baranello, Records Access Officer seems to take the law into his own hands. There is no exemption that either he or Mike Best, General Counsel to the DOE, doesn't use when they do not want you to have the information that you request. Waiting two or more years for a response is not uncommon.
But, filing FOIL requests is very easy, and I urge everyone to keep filing requests, and, ultimately, Article 78 lawsuits if they (the DOE FOIL and Law Department) dont comply. Dont give up.
I send in FOIL requests that look like this - 
Mr. Joseph A. Baranello
Central Records Access Officer
Office of the General Counsel
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mr. Baranello:

Under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, I hereby request to receive E-mail copies of:


If the records have been removed from their original locations, please cause a diligent search to be conducted of all appropriate file rooms and storage facilities.

If any record has been redacted, please identify which categories of information have been redacted, and cite the relevant statutory exemption(s).

If you have any questions relating to the specific record(s) or portion(s) being sought, please phone me at                 so that we may discuss them.

As you know, the Freedom of Information Law requires that an agency respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request.  Therefore, I would appreciate a response as soon as possible and look forward to hearing from you shortly.  If for any reason any portion of my request is denied, please inform me of the reasons for the denial in writing and provide the name and address of the person or body to whom an appeal should be directed.


Behind the News — March 1, 2012 02:01 PM

My Lawyer, Myself

Suing the government for access to info, pro se
Inside well-funded newsrooms, investigative reporters can usually turn to company lawyers for help with stalled public records requests. But independent freelancers don’t have that luxury, and many can’t afford to hire legal counsel on their own. So when the time comes to stop asking the government for public records and start demanding them, what can a low-to-no budget freelancer without legal counsel do?
To start, it’s possible to act as your own attorney and sue for access to information without the benefit of legal counsel—a tactic called pro se representation. Over the past few years, as the U.S. economy has taken a nosedive, more and more people have elected to save on legal fees by representing themselves in court. “It’s generally a bad idea for people to represent themselves in court, period,” said Geoff King, Northern California’s SPJ FOI committee co-chair and a former staff attorney for the First Amendment Project. King, ever the comedian, quoted an adage to me via e-mail: “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” Still, when it comes to FOIA-related lawsuits, there are plenty of resources out there to prevent pro se litigants from looking silly.
Tools like Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2010, a comprehensive 711-page guide to access laws, make it relatively simple to get a good idea where to start when assembling a knowledge base about all things related to FOIA suits. The book, which is updated every two years, covers everything from case law to filing fees. FOIA-specific complaints, which can be modified and used as templates, are readily available at sites like the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project. The FOIA Project, a searchable database of FOIA-related filings compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) and Document Cloud, links to hundreds of court documents from FOIA suits.
Creating a viable complaint requires time and legal research. A number of basic pro se resources exist online, including the Self-Represented Litigation Network and, which hosts a legal library and boasts a community of 4,000 people who have experience representing themselves. Legal blogs like Shlep: the Self-Help Law Express can help you decide whether or not self-representation makes sense.
Thus far, journalists without lawyers have both succeeded and failed in court. Website publisher June Maxam of the online North Country Gazette represented herself after being quoted a price of $7-10,000 for professional legal representation.
“We could not afford that amount of money,” Maxam told me via e-mail. “Each attorney we had consulted told us [our case] should be a “slam dunk” because of case law precedent, and we had two supporting formal opinions from the NYS Committee on Open Government, but no one would help us pro bono…. it was decided to proceed pro se rather than drop the issue.”
Maxam and her co-plaintiff, a local government official, won their case—sort of—in January after filing a suit in September 2011 demanding access to records kept by a local volunteer fire department. The judge ruled that the requested documents had to be turned over, but that the fire department’s meetings weren’t subject to New York’s Open Meetings Law. Appeals for the case, which Maxam says was her first related to public records, are now being heard.
“Just because you’re right and have the law on your side doesn’t mean that you’ll get a ruling in your favor,” Maxam warned. “If you’re not prepared for a fight, then don’t file.” Costs related to her suit were defrayed by a grant from the Knight Foundation’s FOI fund, which provides aid to FOIA litigants.
Ellen Smith, managing editor of the award-winning watchdog website Mine Safety and Health News, considered filing a FOIA suit pro se in U.S. District Court, but decided against it. “It was too complicated and, quite honestly, stressful,” she said. “I started getting everything together (and had sample filings so I could use similar language, but fill-in-the-blanks) when [attorney] Drew Shenkman from Holland and Knight took my case for me. It was a huge relief.”
Even with professional counsel, Smith says, the suit still took up a lot of her time. The day before her court filing was due, the government made a “substantial” release of information, rendering the previous legal efforts more or less worthless.
Others have succeeded by initially filing suits themselves, and then later retaining professional counsel as the suit progressed. Current Miami Herald contributor and librarian Theo Karantsalis, of Florida, began a suit pro se suit against the Department of Defense and the Air Force that later resulted in a victory and records being handed over. The Associated Press detailed his attempts to get information.
Steve Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, has represented himself twice in lawsuits related to requests for information related to federal intelligence budgets. Previously, he received professional counsel from Kate Martin of the nonprofit Center for National Security Studies.
When Martin was unavailable to help with his most recent requests, Aftergood decided that representing himself in court would be “an interesting challenge.” He used the previous filings as a template, since there were both content and case law overlap.
“Even so, it was necessary to do a fair amount of new legal research, and to get acquainted with the rules of procedure,” he said. “I spent quite a bit of time at law libraries, copying old cases and studying them. Pro se litigants should understand that, in courts of law, what you need in order to win is a compelling legal argument. Passion or eloquence (or self-righteousness) is no substitute, and may actually work against you. ‘I really want the document, and I think I am entitled to it’ is not a legal argument. You have to do the research, and to make the case. If you can do that, then you have a chance.”
Prospective litigants should also carefully consider the potential downsides of litigation, Aftergood says. “If they lose their case, they may not only lose time and money,” he told me. “They may also generate adverse rulings that will become part of the legal landscape and that will make life more difficult for future litigants. The fact is, litigation is not always the right move.”
For Aftergood, the hard work ultimately paid off. Though he lost one of his two suits, a judge ruled in his favor and against the government in the other. “For me,” he said, “it was a powerful antidote to cynicism about FOIA and about the legal system.”