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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Principal Arisleyda Urena Leaves The Academy For Language and Technology After Conducting Unauthorized Raffles

Former Founding Principal of Academy for Language and Technology, Ms. Arisleyda Urena, Was Involved in Unsanctioned Raffles for Minors and the Misuse of a Department of Education-Issued Credit Card.

AP Jose Vinales (left) and Principal Arisleyda Urena (right)

Ms. Arisleyda Urena was engaged in conducting unauthorized raffles, with student participants, while she was the principal of the Academy for Language and Technology, in the Bronx (09X365).  In December 2011, and December 2012, Ms. Urena and Assistant Principal Jose Vinales hosted unsanctioned raffles for students.

Ms. Urena hired two educational consultants to help her with the day-to-day running of the school -- Dr. Rosamaria Leon is an F-status principal and Ms. Elena Papaliberios is the former Bronx Superintendent of High Schools (and Ms. Urena’s former supervisor).  Dr. Leon and Ms. Papaliberios were also aware of the unsanctioned raffles.  These raffles violated Chancellor’s Regulation A-660, the Regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, New York General Municipal Law§195-a, and New York City Department of Education Standard Operating Procedures. 

While working as a teacher at the Academy for Language and Technology (ALT), a former teacher witnessed Ms. Urena and Mr. Vinales selling raffle tickets to students (who had not been banned from purchase for infractions) for fifty cents per ticket.  Students who were in good “academic standing,” had not been cutting class, and had not been suspended were eligible to buy tickets for the raffle.  Students bought tickets for the purpose of being able to win expensive sporting equipment and Apple electronics in raffles that took place in December 2011 and December 2012.

The occurrence of these raffles had not been shared with parents via letters or other communications from the school.

According to New York General Municipal Law § 195-a:

"No person under the age of eighteen years shall be permitted to play any game or games of chance conducted pursuant to any license issued under this article."

Ms. Urena had purchased these items for her 2011 and 2012 raffles using her Department of Education-issued credit card (known as a “Procurement Card” or “P-card”) in an inappropriate fashion.  In this video at the following URL -- -- from about 23 seconds to 4 minutes, 56 seconds, Ms. Urena, Mr. Vinales, and several teachers are raffling off at least twenty laptops, iPods, and tablets.

In this next video at the following URL -- -- commencing at about 6 minutes, 8 seconds, Ms. Urena is raffling off two very extravagant gift baskets.  According to the New York City Department of Education's Standard Operating Procedures §2.7.7:

"Only moderately priced incentives, with a market value of less than $25, may be given to students as part of an officially sanctioned incentive program such as dropout prevention, honor roll, attendance, etc. are permitted."

 Ms. Urena also permitted unsanctioned raffles at PTA/PA meetings to induce parents to attend.  In the past, she had raffled off electronics and Broadway tickets.  She had improperly purchased these items using her P-card in an inappropriate fashion.  See the attached Excel printout (obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information Law request) of the purchases on her P-card statements.

According to Chancellor's Regulation A-660 III(C)(2)(c):

"Any sale of raffle tickets must be done in compliance with the provisions of the New York State General Municipal Law, and  applicable regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board."

(See page 33 at the above URL.)

Also, see:

 Ms. Urena resigned from her principal's position on November 1, 2013.  She now currently works in "Administrative Services" at 131 Livingston St., Brooklyn, NY.  She is  under investigation by the Office of Special Investigations for misappropriation of school funding.  Jose Vinales is currently the Interim Acting (I.A.) Principal of the Academy for Language and Technology.

P-card 2007-2012




Anonymous said...

ms urena was the most excellent pricipal l never saw before, yes she did all this raffle but she have a reason she just want to help her students, , probably she make a mistake but no one is perfect , and as a student l know that she was a great principal ,, she helped all studens to progress and also make a change in our community.

Anonymous said...

It was about time, someone said something of the mistreated use of funds that was occurring at that school.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap that was my principle in my schools but this is not even an issue they broke many student codes before that breaking students rights and threatning them as well.. I am a victim as well but i already graduated there many things wrong with that school hood thing i graduated already.

Unknown said...

no way Ms. Urena was the most excellent principal in the world and comparing ALT to any other school the other school are nothing. She was always preoccupation about us. If we have to give the money back we will no there no way you can say bad thing about ALT OR Mr. URENA. J.P

Anonymous said...

Finally somebody talks about her protectors including the Bronx Superintendent for High School. I wonder when NYCDOE will start taking about other things like: illegals studenst session, credits, great teachers and staff getting terminated, students getting transfer illegally, etc.

Concerned Educator said...

Ms. Urena is a 2007 Graduate of Mayor Mike and Joel Klein's NYC Leadership Academy. She's class of 2007 and almost flunked out of the principal class.

Aris did her internship as an "Aspiring Principal" under Anthony Rotunno of JFK High School. She learned from the "best" as Rotunno was known for cooking student grades, stealing student funding, misappropriation of federal/state funding, scrubbing Regents scores, and getting rid of teachers who refused to bow down to him as their lord and sovereign. Tragically all of the above went down at ALT while Urena served as principal.

Children, if Principal Urena cared about you, then think of this:
1. How come every year ALT looses 40-55% of their teaching staff?
2. How come you do not have money for new textbooks?
3. How come you stay in the same homeroom hour after hour?
4. How come student enrollment drops every year?

As evidenced by this article, Urena is FINALLY catching fire for what the DOE has let her get away with for the past 7 years.

Kudos to Betsy and the brave soul who was brave enough to come forward with their story!

Concerned Educator said...

Urena was actually mentored by Joel Klein, if you can believe it.

Actually, ALT was mentioned in an article all about credit recovery through APEX. Urena allowed teachers to look the other way to allow students to cheat their way through earning credits.

“It’s a big issue at the school . . . the reason the principal does this is to make our school look good on our progress report,” said a former teacher at the Academy for Language and Technology in The Bronx, where 13 percent of credits came from makeup work in 2011-12.

Anonymous said...

This lady has No business being an administrator. That school took pride in exhaulting 7 Values of Success--but she must ask herself, how many, if any, she herself ever practiced. She's completely delusional if she thinks she was fair and just to everyone around her--or just when it suited her needs. Glad to be outta there and away from that terrible terrible admistrative staff.

Ex-ALT Teacher said...

When are people going to talk about the conflict of interest violations?

- Being buddies with the old UFT rep Claire Brennan and having Brennan be her baby boy's godmother?
- Hiring School Aide Pablo Guzman to do construction on her house?
- Hiring Elena Papaliberios to be a consultant (and paying her in Title III LEP funding)?
- Buying computers from a teacher's family computer store?

The DOE could spend years investigating Aris Urena. The woman is dirty.

Anonymous said...

Im an Ex- Student from ALT.
I saw so much of the injustice that was occurring here, I even called 311 and reported the school but never did they do anything. For example: students were sent home at plain morning back in previous years for not having a simple tied? Students were threaten to be suspended because they couldnt express themselves by their hairdos, and nail color, nor could they give an opinion to Jose Vinales because he will quickly feel offended. I thought that was our First Amendment right? apparently the school didn't believe in that. There's so much more behind walls!. The DOE is lacking and what Principa Arisleyda Urena has done is an example.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Ms Urena has been whispering to her friends that just as soon as she's done serving her "penance" at the Administrative Services Office, that she has been promised a choice position by some of her powerful political allies, cronies and others she bought favor from over the years. Surely the DOE will not allow this to happen.....or will they? Will justice be served or will it be "business as usual" and the DOE? The one thousand people who have already viewed this blog will be watching and waiting...

Anonymous said...

She had the good students getting off school at 4 and 5 in the afternoon and working their asses off in a math class none of them basically needed and those students that she didn't want to have as part of the school because they were either pregnant or or just too bad of a student she gave them all the credits necessary so they could graduate a whole year before they should have... Nonetheless they went to school from 11 to 1

Anonymous said...

How is it that Ms Urena is allowed to "Work Off" her missing Funds at the Administrative Services Office? When you resign, aren't you out of the system? Don't we fire people who do what she allegedly did or are we really so corrupt at the DOE that we can just make what she allegedly did "Go Away" by working for free at her hourly rate until it's paid back? Is the City serious letting this happen? Why is she not terminated? The only one laughing about how easy it is to make all of these allegations "Go Away" is Ms Urena. We are a disgrace. Truly.

I understand that the person who worked on her house was allowed to punch in early and out late daily and in on some weekends..... Makes you wonder how he got paid for all the renovations on her house.... I understand that they terminated some school officials on Long Island for using school employee's to do this type of work. I'd recommend an investigation but based on what's transpired so far, I have zero confidence that the DOE cares about any of this and would rather this and all the other called out issues all just go away. It must be nice to have friends in "High" places.

Concerned Educator said...

Oh yes, let's just trust the process and wait and watch.

Anonymous said...

It's sad and I saw so many teachers and staff get treated unfairly. She had a great team and she either gave them a bad rating or they left cause they could not take her abuse and harassment. It's a shame and I've always said that the lord does not like ugly so she is getting everything that she did to so many good people.

Anonymous said...

In addition, Ureña used one teacher as a spy and would punish teachers based on his information, even when allegations were based on a lie. Until he got caught doing malicious acts in the classroom then he disappeared. It was an environment of secrets and fear, so sad because the students are so good and deserve better.

Katniss Everdeen said...

Ladies and Gentlemen:
As cathartic/rewarding it is to use this article as a means to gripe/commiserate/complain about the horrible things Urena has done to you, someone you know, students, parents, and/or the school A.L.T.—does posting on blogs without action really do much?


The time to act is NOW.

People, we KNOW what Urena did is immoral/unethical/corrupt. She sadly is not the only principal the DOE has let run amuck (look at the likes of Iris Blige, Linda Hill, or Salema Marbury– all featured on Ms. Combier’s blog!). We have stories and some of us have hard evidence of the crimes Ms. Urena committed. WE CANNOT BE AFRAID OF HER. She is NOT some all-power deity who can smite you or destroy your career with a single word. She is, for now, under investigation—doing copies in an office in Brooklyn. She’s been cast out of her lair. Does she have friends in high places? Sure. But does this mean it’s a lost cause? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Urena smiles and laughs because by reading our comments it proves to us that she has won in the fact that we are divided, too terrified and bewildered like sheep, to come together and fight back. This was how she was able to control ALT for 7 long years. The fear factor at this school is incredible—you don’t need to go back to Stalin’s USSR to see what a totalitarian government looked like if you would spend a year teaching/learning in ALT. Yes, the DOE babies principals who break the rules. Yes, the Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) may be a part of Gill Hearn’s DOI but they still get paid via the DOE (read: Richard Condon is paid his salary to look the other way on instances of conflict of interest, embezzlement, and child abuse committed by administrators). But this doesn’t mean that all is hopeless.

Will Carmen Farina write the wrongs of Klein/Black/Walcott? Only time can tell. Will de Blasio be able to ensure an ethical DOE where children come first and teachers are treated with dignity and respect as professionals? We’ll wait and see.

I will repeat: The time to act is NOW.

There are many things you can do:

1. Share this press release with the media and government officials.

2. Write petitions and share with the public.

3. Call the Public Advocate, Chancellor, Mayor

4. Share this article/press release with others who would be sympathetic (parents, advocates, students, and teachers)

5. Send requests via the Freedom of Information Act (for more information on this, go to: You can request anything that is public information from the DOE: personal files, budget reports from ALT, audits, memos on investigations.

6. Follow Betsy’s blog and other blogs she has posted. Let’s get inspiration from those before us.

And maybe, we should shoot an email to the contact listed on the press release— Maybe they have some more suggestions on how we can get involved and fight back. After all, they did find the videos of the illegal raffles.

Urena has only gotten away with so much because people were too afraid to stand up to her before. She will succeed in getting her position as Deputy Chancellor or Director of QR, if we do nothing.

Remember: United we stand, divided we fall.

In unity,
“Katniss Everdeen”

Anonymous said...

Katniss, Thanks for the well intentioned pep talk. Unfortunately no whistle blower will go unpunished by the DOE. The evidence is all here, All they have to do is look. It's obvious they are embarrassed enough over this situation and the last thing they want to do is investigate any new allegations regarding Ms Urena. This is DONE! THE FIX IS IN! Ms Urena was backed into a corner as evidence against her was mounting. She saw the handwriting on the wall so instead of standing her ground, she went to the DOE and she cut a deal. This is OVER. She most likely promised to resign her Principal job, serve her penance, not sue for discrimination and pay back the money in exchange for staying on the payroll in a holding pattern until things die down. She then was most likely promised a new job, where she can again either potentially terrorize a whole new team of teachers as the principal of another school or worse, wield power over and punish other principals, as the head of some special DOE department or program. You see this is the privilege you enjoy as a member of the inner circle. This is the kind of power and influence you have when you hire a former Superintendent when she needed a job. Too bad hard working teachers accused of wrong doing are not given the same type of consideration.

Katniss, I'm sorry to rain on your parade but this is nothing more than business as usual. A deal is a deal, right? To my blogger friends, This know as the DOE shuffle. Watch and learn. The music is about to stop and Ms Urena is about to get another, more important job then the one she had as Principal of ALT. Game, set match. Who's laughing now?

Anonymous said...

you couldnt be more wrong about this teacher if you tried! he never spied for urena although he was asked to, the malicious acts never ocurred, they were created as a smokescreen to hide his complaints: the cruel treatment of an office worker who already had received 6 letters of discipline! he left of his own account as he had threatened to do if she did not change her behavior! get your facts straight

Anonymous said...

Regardless what you believe, let's remember that it is Urena who has sowed this fear and mistrust within her teaching staff. No union presence or guts in that entire cursed place!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what we feel and if Ms. Urena is lucky enough to get another job with the DOE. Her reputation is ruined and I have a feeling she won't be back in a school or she might even leave the DOE because this whole situation is embarrassing for her. Only because she thinks she knows it all and no one can have an opinion about anything. People are going to talk about her and that is exactly what she hates is being the talk of the school. When she is not in control she throws a tantrum and wants to get even and takes it out on the innocent. I see her running away because she is not prepared to handle tough situations and is afraid. That is why she had Mr. Vinales there to protect her while she hides in her office and lets him do all the dirty work for her.

Anonymous said...

Is it what I "believe" or is it what I "know" is the case based on low-inference observations and first-hand accounts? Urena had plenty of time to spread lies about anyone she wished--when they were no longer there of course to put forth their defense, and teachers that lacked good evaluative skills rushing to gullibly believe whatever she fed them during CPT didn't help matters either... Lastly, Urena is only partly to blame for the ALT mess. Every person that was under her, for years, including the 2 there now that think they"re APs, that had a chance to report her, and did not--are also VERY much to blame. Ponder upon this little piece of wisdom before your next high-inference blow-up.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha funny how you lie

Anonymous said...

A lot of negative things have been written on this blog about Ms Urena. I am not a former teacher or student from the school, but rather someone from the outside the DOE who had occasion to watch some of what has gone on at ALT. In order to be fair, I believe that you need to consider the complete body of Ms Urena's work, not just the accusations made here. Irregardless of how you feel about her personally, you have to believe that any "A" rated school who's population was largely Spanish speaking, that had the graduation rate of ALT had to have had some pretty good leadership. Just look at how many children were admitted to college last year. Look at the Regents results. Did Ms Urena teach all the course content needed for the students to pass? Did she process all their college applications? The answer to these and other questions I could ask is obviously no. She instead provided the vision and leadership that achieved these results. She saw talent in her team and put the right people over the right targets and completed her mission. Some of the teachers were asked to do more. In some cases, a lot more. I'm sure she knows that she really pushed some of her team to the limit. Again, personality and leadership style aside, lets not loose sight of some pretty impressive results. I can't speak to the missing Title 3 funds or some of the other things said here but I can say that she really understands how the DOE works. I noticed on this blog that she was faulted for hiring a former Superintendent. Was this really a move made for her personal gain or rather an intentional move in order to gain access to raise various needs for her school to a higher level? Does she have friends in high places as has been stated here? Perhaps, but you would have to consider how she may have used this influence to help the school. It's no secret that the DOE is a behemoth of bureaucracy. It should not be part of her job to be a politician. It unfortunately it is and is mandatory if you want to get the most funding, latest technology and deserved recognition for your school. Is Ms Urena tough, sometimes short and all business? You bet she is. She's not running for public office. She runs a High School in the Bronx, Not being a teacher at the school I really don't know everything and will leave critique of her methods of dealing with her staff to others on this blog. I end by saying that there is good and bad in everyone. I'd ask each blogger to consider their own personal style. Ask yourself this: does everyone you work with really like you? If answer yes, you're probably living in an alternate universe.

Maria Hernandez said...

I am a cousin of a teacher from ALT. The most recent comment made by the non-DOE teacher/student, makes me feel that you cannot simply look at data and statistics and consider a school "an A school." ALT has gotten 4 "A's." But does this mean that it's an ideal environment to work in?

Teachers who have questioned Urena have ended up being reassigned to the rubber room (yes, they do exist and Urena is not shy about banishing you to one!) or subjected to an investigation. The data doesn't tell you that.

The data doesn't say how "college ready" ALT alum are. How many of them will graduate from college, on time with a 4-year diploma? The data will tell you that a lot of credit comes from APEX and very careful scrutiny will show you fluffing of transcripts. Students graduating without certain classes or classes with inflated credit values.

Look at the teacher turnover rate and the fact that student enrollment has decreased each year for the past 3-4 years!

It is very hard to remove a principal from power, especially a principal who makes strong political ties to high-ranking DOE brass and one whose school is performing well compared to other schools within the chort they are graded against. Does this mean that we shouldn't stop trying to see that the DOE/powers that be investigate Urena for the questionable things she's done? Certainly not!

We can only hope that someone will find the courage to do more digging of dirt and reveal more skeletons.

Anonymous said...

Not true at all.. I bet the person who wrote this got paid by ureña to do so.. she didn't help anyone but herself.. worst principal ever!

Anonymous said...

Please do not try to justify Ms. Urena's actions at ALT. She was unfair, unethical, and unjust; as such, she resigned her position and ran away from the situation altogether. Anyone with any integrity would have stayed, apologized for her misbehavior, and stuck it out for the sake of her students. If you want to find amazing principals in schools that serve all Spanish-speaking ELLs, look up Juan Villar from Gregorio Luperon or Mirza Sanchez Medina from Manhattan Bridges, just to name two. Neither of these individuals have been scandalized like this -- they are deeply loved and honored by their schools and communities, and have been for decades. The number of students they have sent on to colleges and beyond far exceeds anything that was muddled together under Ms. Urena's leadership. She seriously needs to think about the harm she brought to students, parents, teachers and fellow administrators during her years in that position. For every one good thing she did, it is easy to uncover dozens of lies, deceptions, and crimes -- including the nepotism of hiring her FORMER BOSS, the superintendent who got her into the Leadership Academy and subsequently gave her that job to begin with. For six years, the two of them collectively conspired to terminate over 50 professionals, many of whom Ms. Urena personally hired to work under her: school aides, custodians, safety agents, parent coordinators, guidance counselors, teachers, assistant principals. Luckily, justice and logic prevailed and the two were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Those who got black-listed by Ms. Urena simply moved on to better schools and are now happily employed and productive in their jobs elsewhere. Ms. Urena did the same to students -- getting uncountable numbers of them transferred or expelled simply because she did not like them. Low-inference data on this case tells it all. If you are unaware of what we are talking about, just dig a little deeper. The "A" report card for this school was purchased through misused tax dollars going to illegal sources. The latest "Well Developed" Quality Review Report was based on falsehoods from the current superintendent who feels beholden and threatened by her FORMER BOSS, the former superintendent-cum-newly-hired F-status consultant at ALT. Truly, this school and everything about it is, as another blogger posted, "dirty." Don't white-wash it to make it sound clean. Just go to wonderful places like Gregorio Luperon High School and Manhattan Bridges to know that fine bilingual education is being offered to Spanish students in New York City -- NOT by Academy for Language and Technology in the Bronx.

M. Colon said...

Urena prob. paid u wit a fancy dinner from portifino or caridads! That's wha la bruja is gud at-- buyin ppl's favors!

Anonymous said...

The recent posts have been revealing and contain some expected responses to my post of 1/8. If you read the post again you will see that I gave the actual credit for the results achieved to the teachers, not Ms. Urena. She was cited for leadership. After reading the last posts it appears that you are saying that ALT's academic performance is not what it appears. It sounds like the children were shortchanged and that the 4 "A" ratings were potentially earned through deceitful means. Ms Urena could not do this by herself. This would mean some or all of you may have sat idly by, watched and possibly participated in this work effort. That makes those who knew this was going on, equally complicit in this alleged fraud. You really should have been raising the alarm if what I read on this blog is true. Sitting behind your computer now and hurling accusations for alleged misconduct that took place over a 5 year period that some of you may have taken part in, is simply unacceptable. Is this all really a massive conspiracy or is what I really see in this blog nothing more than a few unhappy teachers who are trying to take down their former Principal? The UFT is one of the most powerful labor unions in the country. This said, It make me wonder how a group of highly educated, intelligent teachers, backed by the UFT and working at ALT were unable to get fair treatment from the DOE. Where were the numerous union reps throughout this 5 year period? Did you not elect these people? Where were they when all this alleged misconduct was going on? I've heard it said that Ms Urena tried to lobby to get some reps elected who would treat her policies favorably. I believe that this might be true as I would do the same in her position. One thing is for certain; she didn't raise her hand and vote 15 or 20 times in order to get her candidate elected. If you voted for who she wanted and not who was best for the faculty, then shame on you. I'd like to understand where the grievances filed and signed by the faculty complaining of their mistreatment? No one at the UFT has confirmed their existence. I'm not speaking of individual complaints from teachers, who did not get tenure when expected, or who were rated a U, or who had their teaching licenses taken. In a union environment I would expect grievances to be filed in these cases as these people have nothing to loose. They are almost automatic, no matter who the Principal is. The UFT is an incredible union. They protect their members to a fault. Just look at some of the teachers who have been hibernating within the rubber room process for over a decade. In a practical sense, they appear to almost be in a state of suspended animation. They remain on the payroll no matter how much public outrage over this appears in the news. Why would you not invoke the protections afforded to you? If what has been written here on this blog is really true, this should have been done. None of this makes any sense to me and I have a hard time believing a lot of the posts, especially the personal attacks I have read. In closing, based on what I am reading here, I believe that much more investigation needs to be done. The DOE needs to investigate the students test results over the last 5 years based on the accusations made here in this blog that point to a possible conspiracy involving the teachers and staff at the school to inflate grades in order to gain an undeserved "A" rating for ALT. They further need to fully vette the existing staff at ALT to ensure that the school has the necessary leadership to guarantee the academic success of its students going forward. Lastly, the UFT needs to investigate why a series of their union reps potentially failed in their duty to report possible ongoing mistreatment of their membership over a 5 year period. If wrongdoing is uncovered, it should be dealt with the same force and velocity that has been requested be used against Ms Urena. After all, I'm sure you would expect nothing less if your child attended ALT.

Anonymous said...

I have seen multiple posts here regarding the alleged tactics of Ms Urena. Not going to the DOE makes perfect sense if she is as powerful as what has been written here. What I don't understand is why all the teachers seem to know about this yet none of them ever went to the union, if only to be on record to protect themselves from what was going on. Surely the teachers had to know that this would all eventually unravel. I am not trying to be judgmental but you can't indict the principal without some of this falling back on you if you let this go for over five years without telling someone. It seemingly was affecting the children at the school. Allowing this to continue despite your full knowledge is what attorneys call "Tacit Complicity" JMO. Best of luck and wishes to all the posters.

Katniss Everdeen said...

Dear poster, not all ALT teachers are eager to sit complicit and ignore what has happened over 7 years. There have been several teachers, a few APs, and guidance counselors who raised the alarm and alerted the DOE and UFT of what had been going on at ALT.

The sad thing is that these people were betrayed by the DOE who alerted Urena what they did and then she despensed of them accordingly: by discontining them and subjecting them to a made up charge of misconduct.

One teacher was thrown in the rubber room for calling SCI and OSI for the embezzlement of $30G of Title 3 LEP funding. This teacher's status is unknown. I hope they continue to keep up the good fight of making sure Urena is fired from the DOE. let's all fight instead of gripping on this blog.

who's willing to fight Urena to see that the teachers and children she wrongged in the past get vindicated?

I am.

Katniss Everdeen said...

My only question for you who wrote the 1/4 comment is this: how well do you sleep at night being apathetic?

Anonymous said...

I do not have information on the entire history of the school, therefore I cannot speak about every UFT election, but in my short experience, there was never a real "vote" for a UFT rep at Academy for Language and Technology. Put simply, no one ran for the office. Certain individuals were approached by staff (and yes, even the principal) and asked to assume the position when it looked like no one else was going to run, but in my experience, no one ever willfully submitted their name for election.

The person who wrote the post above should also know that not one, but two unions--the UFT and CSA--were contacted MULTIPLE times throughout the early history of the school for help and support, and neither union ever officially came to the school to deal with the situation. They blatantly ignored ALT, to the extent that they would come to the building to meet with the UFT reps of the other two schools and not even mention to ALT staff that they were in the building. (The one time we did receive correspondence from our UFT district rep, it was a meager 3-paragraph email that was written at 3 am and contained over 32 typos -- not really something to boost ye' ole morale!)

During the first few years of the school's existence, Urena had full support from the Leadership Academy and the Chancellor's Office. Chancellor Klein himself stopped by with his entourage several times to shake our hands and to take pictures. Furthermore, Urena was on speed dial with the superintendent at that time, who was well known for wielding power to remove certification and licensure of anyone who opposed her. The UFT and CSA were fully aware of that.

So, where did that leave the staff of ALT?

Yes, for several years staff members at ALT were "tacitly compliant." No one will deny it. But we were also "not stupid." We needed to protect our jobs and careers for the sake of our children who needed a parent with full employment who could put dinner on the table. We received NO support from the unions to do this, nor did we have the desire to wind up in a rubber room and 'fight the good battle.' In the end, most of us moved on to different positions in the DOE and are happy that we did so. That does not mean we cannot contribute to a discussion like this one, particularly when someone like the blogger above tries to put Urena in a good light. We do have things to say about our experience at ALT, but we also have our children and families to protect. And that, for now, takes priority over everything.

Thanks for understanding.

Finally, adding to the allusion someone posted above, I pray we all try to remember at all times "who the real enemy here is."

Concerned Educator said...

This is in respond to the comment posted by "Anonymous" posted on 1/12 at 6:16am.

The newest UFT rep was "hand picked" rumor has it by Ms. Urena when Ms. Brennan was "asked" by the UFT District Rep to step down. The new UFT rep is up for tenure so you can be certain she will do whatever she can to please Mr. Vinales and the two others someone else alluded to who "act like APs" (Brennan/Orban). Nothing will change at ALT.

The DOE has abandoned us. The UFT and CSA does not care about the teachers or children. No wonder the turnover rate is so high.

My question for the rest of you is this: what can we do?

I only suggestion is keep talking about what has happened in the hope that someone will take an interest and do some investigation of their own.

PS: I appreciate the Hunger Games reference!

Anonymous said...

I think it's very telling that we should "Not forget who the enemy is". So I guess it's official. This is an enemy/character assignation blog? I was hoping that bloggers here were in search of actual evidence or even the truth. Wait, there is no evidence in the comments section. I believe that all bloggers have to be very careful what they post here. In your zeal to bury Ms. Urena with everything negative you have thought or heard rumor of, you are giving people the impression that you let some of the issues cited go on without acting on behalf of yourselves or the children at the school. I guess you can't see this? It would be informative if someone would post the letter with the "32 Typo's" here for all to see. That would be most welcome and would be hard evidence supporting some of what's been said. This would answer some of the questions asked and is exactly the type of evidence I was hoping would be presented. This would definitely explain some of the staff silence as well as show everyone what your UFT due's are paying for. Katniss, I'm glad you are "willing to fight Urena to see that the teachers and children she wronged in the past get vindicated". Good for you! I myself am not fighting anyone or taking a stand one way or the other so as luck would have it, I'm not required to be brave. All I have done in my entries is ask questions and at times, propose a different perspective. Most of you are uncomfortable with this because it takes the spotlight off Ms. Urena and it sometimes shines it on the staff. If there is nothing to be worried about, why be defensive? Re-read my entries. I would not call any of them a rousing defense of Ms. Urena or usable as evidence in her prosecution or defense. I am only looking for the truth no matter where it takes us, even if its discovery requires formal investigation. Katniss, you on the other hand, are taking a brave stand; or are you? You hide behind a pseudonym. Katniss Everdeen is nothing more than the fictional heroine from the Hunger Games (actually katniss is an edible plant). How heroic. I apologize for my sarcasm in advance but I hope you borrowed her bow and arrows while you were busy taking her name. In closing I have yet to see any real, usable evidence posted in the comments section of this blog although I will say that Raffles Entry at the top was well documented with great supporting evidence. Compliments to the author! In aggregate, from what I see, the accusers here in the comments section are ineffective and are at a crossroads. You can keep up the personal attacks or you can stop and think about what you can prove and post it. Katniss seems like he/she may be ready to do this. Keep in mind that If you choose to continue to post emotional unsubstantiated statements it may feel good but you will be doing nothing more than playing Ms. Ureas game. If you must, go right ahead but my advice is to remember the wisdom of George Bernard Shaw: “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

Anonymous said...

Correction to my 1/12 post. It should have read “Keep in mind that If you choose to continue to post emotional unsubstantiated statements it may feel good but you will be doing nothing more than playing the “get Ms Urea game”

If Ms Urena is found to be responsible for any alleged wrongdoing I trust that the DOE will do what is required. If in fact, Ms Urena is found to not be party to any wrong doing, will there be posts on this blog acknowledging this? Will she get her reputation back? One can only hope.

Concerned Educator said...

Principal Urena and Union-Busting Activities.

See link:

Anonymous said...

Facts about ALT:

#1: Teacher turn-over reached 50% in 2012. Last year it nearly reached 70% when you include school support staff.

#2: Urena hired four IA APs (Interim Acting Assistant Principals) between 2008 - 2012. Each left before his or her first year. Two were forcibly removed and attempts were made to strip them of their administrative licenses and certifications. Two left before Urena could file against them.

While they were at the school, each of the APs reported Urena to various organizations, including but not limited to the UFT, CSA, DOE, OSI, CAS, and other city and state organizations.

All four APs claim Urena required them to participate in fraudulent, unethical, and illegal actions. When they did not do what Urena asked them to do, she had them removed or harassed them until they left.

No AP was ever given required, mandated mentoring. Urena never conducted the required C-30 process for IA APs. When asked why she never conducted this mandated process, she claimed it required "too much clicking" (through various screens on the computer).

#3: Jose Vinales is the only AP that has worked over a year in the school under Urena. He is now Interim Acting Principal.

Prior to going to ALT, Vinales was an IA AP in excess in three different schools over three years. Vinales has never taught in the classroom. He holds various degrees in guidance and counseling. He was asked by Urena on several occasions to conduct observations of teachers in the classroom. He frequently rated those teachers ineffective.

#4: To aid her with supervisory duties in the school, Urena brought in two personal friends and a former boss, Dr. Rosamaria Leon and Superintendent Elena Papaliberios. These two were hired as consultants for the school.

Over the years, these consultants have earned tens of thousands of dollars from Urena. This money has come from different budget sources, including but not limited to Title III. Each consultant engaged in activities well beyond what is typical of consultants, including writing observation reports that were then used to file misconduct allegations on teachers who Urena needed to get out of the school.

Most recently, these consultants helped compile the school's faulty and exaggerated Self Evaluation for the latest Quality Review Report, which was lead-conducted by Papaliberios' hand-picked successor, Carron Staple, who gave the school an overblown "Well Developed."

#5: Over the course of seven years, Urena prematurely broke contracts with two DOE support organizations (PSOs). The school is now with its third network, Christine Jimenez's PSO (Network 402). Similar to the consultants named above, Christine is a personal friend of Urena's. She came to her aid when other support organizations like New Visions cut ties with her due to illegal and fraudulent activities. Christine and her network are fully aware of the illegal activities in the school, and support Urena and the school regardless.

#6: Teachers such as Claire Brennan and Jessica Orban are used as supervisors despite the fact that they do not hold administrative licenses or certification.

#7: Over the years, school aides such as Pablo Guzman have been used to report situations around the school that are then used against teachers who Urena needed to push out. Guzman is the father of several students at ALT. He is also a personal friend of Urena's and has performed several duties for her in her house during school hours.

#8: Guidance counselors and Parent Coordinators have been put through the same roller coaster ride as teachers and administration. Several have lost their certification due to the fact that they did not support Urena's fraudulent and illegal demands. At various times during its history, the school has gone years without counselors and/or a Parent Coordinator.

It is high time that the DOE do a thorough investigation of this school and all that has gone on -- and continues to go on -- there, even after Urena's resignation.

Anonymous said...

I am ex student at ALT.. i graduate in 2011. we have a wonderful teacher.. he was excellent ROLE MODEL for young mens but one day we make joke to Urena. We say he is REAL principle. of this school jajajaja but she no laugh. next week the student govrnment say every body gonna sign this petition but i no sign it because is full of mentira lies of my favorite teacher.. then the next day the secretary she take me to a room.. the petititiion is on the table.. i say in SPanish i NO gonna sigh!!! but then the parent cooridinator she say she have my phone number and house direccion and she say i gonna call your deportation.. actually i have 17 cousins/uncles with illegal in this country so I start to cry in my heart and i sign the paper. nextweek the excellent teacher no come anymore. i wanna say many times i am so soory to my favorite teacher but i never say it to nobody until i see this Blogger in FACEBOOK and then i put my history here.

next i wanna talk about the MONEY$$ at ALT. we plan a senior trip to MIAMI but the trip was 500$ so i work everynight in supermarket and i give 350$ in effectivo to the student governmnt but then the trip is cancellation.. After grauduation i go to ALT to get my $$$ cuzthat is my money no there money. but when I go to the officina MR:Vinales he yell at me like that GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!!! so i never go back to that place again. then we hear from other people that MS:Urena she take students's money and redecoration her officina. she say MR:Guzman goto Home Depot and buy her a new stuffs for her officina. lmao.. MS:Urena one day you gonna meet GOD good luck lol. i am happy you no more the principle cuz now you no make bad things to good people.. you take FULL ADVENTAGE of good student and teacher at ALT cuz we NO had protection.. -JPM

Anonymous said...

My Blogger friends, I know you are all tired of hearing me say this but you have to stick to the facts and supporting evidence. The last poster laid out some pretty serious charges. No matter how hard I try, I can’t find any supporting evidence displayed here. Words like “Fraudulent, Unethical and Illegal” are very serious.

The poster referenced Dr. Rosamaria Leon and Superintendent Elena Papaliberios. The blogger wrote “Over the years, these consultants have earned tens of thousands of dollars from Urena. This money has come from different budget sources, including but not limited to Title III.” I’ve heard this before on this blog. Does anyone know if paying these professionals is not allowed under the Title III rules? What if it is? Are the funds really missing as has been said at times here or are they just paid out to consultants to help Ms Urena with her LEP students. You might have made a different choice with the funding but she was the Principal. I was happy to at least see the blogger use the word “earned”. The truth about all this is that you don’t know everything that transpired around the utilization of this funding and if it is important to you, dig into it and try to find out. What you will discover just may very well surprise you.

I was an early commenter on this blog who joined with others to call for the DOE to take action on Ms Urena. I was influenced by all the emotional posts speaking of alleged mistreatment. In retrospect, I am sorry that I allowed this to happen. In my rush to judgment I perhaps did not look close enough at the lack of facts nor did I dig deep enough for evidence. This was probably a mistake. I apologize to Ms Urena for this and as I have said before, hope that she gets treated fairly by the DOE. As I said in my earlier post, If they investigate and find her liable for wrongdoing, so be it. I trust the DOE will take appropriate action. After all, I know you are all watching. If in fact they find no wrong doing, that the most serious charges are baseless, or do not rise to the level of dismissal, I can only hope that this news will be posted on this blog as well. Best of Luck to all Posters!

Anonymous said...

An Allegory, Part I

Once upon a time, there was a young but aspiring chef who lived in a Big City. One day, the Mayor of the City decided to increase the number of fine restaurants; so, using cash from his own pocket, he set up a program to quickly train several hundred young and aspiring chefs—our young, aspiring chef included. Once the brief training was over, the mayor bestowed upon each of these chefs a new restaurant and a 3-million-dollar annual budget. Then he told them, “Go forth and feed the hungry people!”

So our young, aspiring chef opened her new restaurant. In its first years, she was showered with accolades for the fine restaurant she created. People flocked there each night to savor the delicious dishes. But then, gradually, a few customers grew ill after eating food. The sickness they encountered brought them pain for many days, but they kept their illness secret. After all, who would believe that the food at the young, aspiring chef’s restaurant had poisoned them?

Time passed, and more and more customers grew ill. In fact, in the fifth and sixth year, 3 out of every 10 customers who ate at the restaurant got sick. Everyone sensed there had been food-poisoning—yet, the City’s Rating for the restaurant, proudly posted at the front of restaurant, remained a solid “A.”

In the last year, a full FIFTY PERCENT—in other words, one out of two people who ate at the restaurant—wound up on their knees worshiping the porcelain throne after eating the chef’s food. At that point, there was public outcry. Seemingly with no choice left in the matter, the head chef submitted her resignation.

Slowly, the affected customers began to emerge and talk about their experience. Some even bravely posted comments and ratings on the Internet, claiming that the chef had poisoned them; for indeed, over the many years the restaurant had been open, the only constant was the chef. Dozens of sous chefs, wait staff, maître ds, and dishwashers had come and gone during the time the restaurant was open, but only the head chef had been there from the beginning. This in mind, the customers felt validated holding the head chef publically accountable for the wrongdoing.

A full-blown report—several reports, in fact—eventually appeared on the Web about the restaurant and its chef. Links appeared on Twitter and Facebook, and within a few days thousands had read the reports. Customers who had gone recently to the restaurant as well as those who were patrons in the early days began to chime in, sharing their experience, memories of their illnesses still fresh, regardless of how many years had passed since they had visited the restaurant.

Anonymous said...

An Allegory, Part II

Then came a backlash. One or two bloggers galloped in on white horses and boldly cried out to the customers, “Shame on you for accusing the chef of these actions! Surely you are only here to destroy her reputation! Pray, provide us with REAL EVIDENCE of these misdoings! Show us FDA Reports and the Restaurant’s Inventory Lists with Food Expiration Dates! Gather Footage from Security Cameras Showing the Grime, and get Two or Three People from the Restaurant to Produce Witness Statements that They Saw the Head Chef Never Washing Her Hands after Using the Bathroom! For we SIMPLY CANNOT BELIEVE YOUR WORDS! We need EVIDENCE proving where the tainted food came from!”

Attacks against the customers didn’t stop there. Adding insult to injury, some bloggers even accused the customers of being “tacitly complicit.” They asked smug questions like “But didn’t YOU butter your own bread and put salt on your own potatoes?” and “Didn’t YOU sit near the kitchen and watch the food being prepared, so shouldn’t YOU be blamed for your sickness?” (These same bloggers coyly admitted that “As luck would have it, WE never ate at the restaurant, therefore WE are not accountable for ANYTHING.”)

The customers who had grown ill over the food at the restaurant saw these comments and simply shook their heads. It was not their job, nor their responsibility, to “dig up” evidence to support their accusations—they knew that 1) they had been wronged, 2) the statements they presented in the blog were true, and 3) they lived in a country with free speech.

As time passed, it became clear the customers had successfully accomplished a different purpose altogether: the City had been warned. There was the small chance in the future that the chef would be allowed to claim another restaurant. Now the residents of the City knew that if they went to the new restaurant to eat the food from the head chef, or even worse, work for her in her kitchen, they would be putting themselves into seriously grave danger. A leopard doesn’t change her spots very easily.

In the end, ironically, the “lack of evidence” that the customers had been accused of stood as evidence against the head chef. After all, she had had many opportunities in the early days of the accusations to come forward with her own reports to show the customers, the Mayor, and others in the City that her culinary skills were up to snuff and that she was, in fact, a legitimately good chef. But she chose not to present anything at all. Instead, she went into hiding once accusations were made.

And that, for the customers, said everything.

The End

Maria Hernandez said...

As evident by the above two comments regarding the allegory and the "Maria Gomez" story (see:, I think these issues about Arisleyda Urena's "leadership" are sufficient evidence about this woman's incompetence. Sadly, can we really expect the OSI or SCI to take our complaints seriously? Ms. Urena's charges of Title III misappropriation were found to be unsubstantiated. We know CFN 402 is corrupt and they will stand by Urena and Vinales. We KNOW what she did with the money was unethical and unlawful, but can we really depend on the DOE to give an ethical and unbiased investigation into our claims?

Warning parents and teachers ("customers" and "employees" in the "restaurant") is ONE thing but does it really solve the big problem of unearthing and providing justice to the hundreds of CHILDREN and professionals who were wronged? Chew on this....

Anonymous said...

I hope for the sake of educators that truly enjoy their occupation, and ELL students who truly care to succeed, that they never run across people like this Urena and her followers, her admirers, and worse, her academic supporters--all who have allowed themselves to be fooled. Run for daylight or perish under the dictatorship left behind by her majesty, Ms Araña!

Concerned Educator said...

Ex-ALT Teacher said...

Anonymous said...

Finally, the main stream media discovers the story and releases it to the masses!

DTOE said...

DTOE is looking to update this list of "F List Principals."

If you would like to help us update this list go to Click on "About DTOE" and shoot an email to the email listed for "story ideas."


Anonymous said...

This story has now hit the Spanish press:

With any luck, those parents, students, teachers and school aides who worked for several years in the Parent Association and on the School Leadership Team at Academy for Language and Technology will finally get a glimpse at what they were dealing with!

Anonymous said...

And I thought the seven values were the first thing on her mind..., In ALT there is not fairness or honesty at all , students have to go thourgh unfair situations like we cannot express ourselves because them we have the counselor or te principal screaming at us ...

Anonymous said...

Lydia, Hope you stay in Central Booking was nice!

Anonymous said...

More reports continue to trickle into mass media:

Anonymous said...

Ms H will gladly suffer ADMINISTRATVE and Anonymous fools in her quest for the SEVEN VALUES OF SUCCESS.

Quit being a troll, aris (or one of your little amigos)

Anonymous said...

It's so ironic that she was always talking about THE SEVEN VALUES OF SUCCESS and acting like "I'm the best" when she is actually a THIEF and I don't fucking care what she used it for, it still been a Theft. I'm so glad Viñales as well as her treat people like animals, like they didn't deserve respect, that is why I left that stupid school and I'm so glad I did. They wanted respect but they didn't give any to others, that is also why I never ever in the time I spent there stood w my mouth shut on them. Viñales, Alvarado and, her were all the same.

Anonymous said...

Is the school better or worse now?

Anonymous said...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Same old insanity is going on under Vinales. He learned it all from Aris and he's continuing her madness.

Anonymous said...

I was in that school when they did the raffles and decided to transfer school due to their unfair treatment and teachers only talking about suspension and detention. Months after in my new school i saw one of my old teachers who worked there and he told me how he was victim of the unfair treatment ureña would give to teachers and how most of the teachers in there quit working for her due to that unfair treatment.

Anonymous said...

The story has hit both the English and Spanish press. Ms. Urena was found to be guilty of misusing money and failing to follow DOE rules to the tune of over $12,000 unaccounted for. She ran away rather than be charged.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely absurd she got fired and this horrible person that was her accomplice is now the principal. He is a rude, uneducated, unprofessional atrocious, awful man. He is unpleasant and speaks to people as if they were animals. He is a horrible, appalling and disgusting man. The DOE is destroying the children of New York and they are using these horrible people to do their dirty work. This man should not be in the Department of education and nowhere near children. Just horrible.