Warning to New Teachers in Houston ISD
Institutional Oppression as it Relates to the Takeover of North Forest ISD, and Funding for Apollo

An Inside Look at My Apollo High School via Letter: Houston ISD

     

January 9, 2013

 

Chief of High Schools
Orlando Riddick

 Dear Mr. Riddick,

 If you believe in "Students First," then you must question why I was removed from my language
arts position just when my students were turning in makeup
work, signing up for APEX, and preparing to take finals. If you believe
in creating a successful climate for students and teachers, then you must recognize the importance of having a fully certified educator in each classroom that has passed their examinations on the first attempt, and has a degree in the subject they teach.

 When Wilson and Maloney walk into an ELA classroom, they do not even understand
the educational theory, or the instructional methodology utilized.

 Most school systems insist on
subject area knowledge, yet, the administration at Kashmere is
allowing aides with no certification to teach classes  and plan lessons without a qualified
Texas educator present.

 Maloney is allowed to chair the English and social studies
department, but she has no degree in these fields. She has scant teaching experience, and limited training. She believes in slapping grades on student essays without productive
comments. She believes in making hasty decisions based on the state rubric. She insists on assigning writing, not teaching writing, and this typically causes struggling
students to become defiant and angry.

 She never required us to save artifacts for a portfolio in order to track progress. She simply wants the teacher to produce a spreadsheet with a number on it, and that number, usually a 1 or a 2, must be written on the cover page within a few minutes of reading the student's
composition. Would you make hasty decisions based on the state rubric without producing
positive comments and editing marks on student papers? I doubt you would.

She was more worried about Apollo English teachers having enough literacy skills to pick out keywords from the state rubric. Wasting time in this idiotic kind of way is typical for Kashmere Apollo School.

 A new teacher cannot succeed if he/she is placed in isolation, and continuously harassed by administration with falsehoods. The administration at Kashmere is so unprofessional they discuss sensitive private issues in the hallways with students present. My students
have reported these conversations to me. For example, one student related to me that she heard XXXX
say, "Ms. Eckert needs to get off of that button and start managing
her classroom."  Other, even more inflammatory, conversations have taken place between
the administration and my students. Anything the administration at Kashmere could say to undermine my performance, they would say. In spite of their efforts, the discipline in my classroom was no worse than the discipline in any other classroom, and to say anything differently is to simply lie. Iwill not sign documents that do not reflect the truth. Iwill not sign a growth plan that spans only a week; and I will not sign it for classroom management deficiencies when other teachers are providing anecdotal
information about what the administration is doing for them to maintain discipline, when the administration would do nothing for me. Especially considering the fact that these teachers are having more hideous classroom management/discipline issues than myself.

  Let me repeat, I never had an act of violence in my classroom, I never had
to send multiple students out of class, and my classes were consistently productive. I continuously solved problems created by Kashmere administration discipline policies (or lack thereof) that were inconsistent and unenforceable.

 I find it ridiculous that school
improvement officer Davila will face no consequences for ve rbally abusing me in front
of my students and colleagues during class time .The
inconsistent discipline practices at Kashmere have done more to complicate and damage classroom management than any other single factor. Every time Wilson and Davila devise
a "crackdown" it ultimately fails.
Each time they fail in consistency students become more aggressive and defiant.

I have worked in a variety of schools, and I have been a part of effective discipline strategies. Wilson,
and her administration, has no policy for student discipline.
The ISS system is basically a broken joke. The ISS students sleep,
refuse to work, lie across the chairs,
fuss with the teacher, the campus police officers, and come and go at will
to the restrooms and other hallways. Before my previous letter, teachers were expected to stop instruction and call parents from their private cellphones
when defiant students acted out. My cellphone
contract is with Sprint, and I have inconsistent reception in that area meaning that
conversations with parents were challenging, rushed, and sometimes ineffective. Often, the call was simply dropped. If I went to the office to use the phone, it was an inconvenience for everyone.

 My classroom call button went unanswered numerous times. Nothing happened
in my classroom that isn't happening in every other classroom at Kashmere.
The same students are engaging in the same bad behavior across the board, and it doesn't matter whose class they are attending. In order to prove this fact, I never sent Wilson any "one percenter" names until December. The same students I had chronic issues with appeared on her behavior contract list anyway.This proves my students were acting out with the same behaviors in other classes. However, Maloney and Wilson choose to assist some classroom teachers and not others, exemplifying an unprofessional tendency towards favoritism.

 Defiance is a problem at Kashmere because the administration never lived up to their agreement with their staff. She told us during orientation that open defiancewas an issue for the
administration. This is even stated in our student code of ethics. But, when I began writing student referrals for defiance, I received a hateful lecture
from Maloney and was asked to sign a document stating (September 12, 2012) I was not following directives, even though these referrals were written for my grade level principal. When I asked
my grade level principal if he had a complaint about my referrals
he said, "Absolutely not!" I did not sign that aforementioned document, and I will not sign anything from Maloney, or anyone else, that does not accurately reflect the truth.

 Sincerely,

LaWanda
Eckert

   

 





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