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Reader frustrated with the superintendent, 7 reasons we are heading in the wrong direction

From a reader:

When is the School Board going to realize that the superintendent is slowly running off good teachers and administrators? Here's a partial list of what has happened since Nicolai has been here:

1. The printing issue is a problem. Support techs have been told not to fix the printers that teachers have in their room and the replacement toners are not available for purchase through the districts discounted supply catalog. Teachers and administrators have been told that printing is to be done centrally at one printer in the school. 

2. In 2013-2014 , all elementary teachers struggled with a new lesson guide that was available to them only when hooked up to the district intranet. The reason? Nicolai did not want another district to steal all the hard work done by the curriculum writers. Now we are using EngageNY, which is freely available to anyone, including parents. 

3 Again, in 2013-2014, several thousands, dare I say, millions, of dollars of novels were ordered for elementary teachers to us to teach with. The support was spotty - some grade levels had better support than others, depending on who wrote the curriculum guide. The teachers were better this year with it - the second year of using the same novels. Now, new novels, new things and ways to teach. Another stressful year of "firsts".

4. Research -research that has been proven again and again, say that it takes at least 3 years to make lasting, effective change in student performance. Nicolai is not giving anyone or anything - except himself - 3 years of a chance to see how it plays out. NOTE TO THE SCHOOL BOARD - he is moving principals after less than one year at a school, but you are giving him more years? What in the H*LL are you thinking?????????

5. The morale at every school is DOWN. People are afraid. People are exhausted. And the extra hour at schools is a JOKE. Teachers are working 8.33 hours, and then have to prepare for the next day. There is no time to prepare at all during any break, because you have to meet with your grade level, or the content coach, or some other meeting.

6. The union is a joke. When the agreement was made with the lowest scoring schools in Jacksonville, they agreed to, and took away, the bargained rights. Teachers are staying until 5, 6 p.m. for meetings "because they agreed to it".

7. And, Nicolai has created a 2 tier school system. One tier is schools that are located in white suburbs, the other tier are students that ultimately go the black high schools. These schools have different expectations, different meetings, different hours, and have different summer programs. Welcome to the 1950s in Jacksonville. 

Having to print curriculum materials is only one of a long list of systemic problems that is going on in YOUR public school system.


  1. Any elementary school teacher at an extra hour school could have written this! We will be on our third curriculum guide in three years (especially for primary). We are still ignoring foundational and language skills (heggerty and making words are great SUPPLEMENTAL materials but they are a supplement not a curriculum.) No one trusts us to teach these needy children. School is not fun for them and it's not fun for us.

  2. Money is the name of the game. He can save more money be getting rid of veteran teachers and administrators with someone cheap and brand new. When you have someone experienced and knowledgeable, you can say anything because it will be questioned. Someone inexperienced would be less likely to complain. They would go along with the flow.This would be a great media request. Since he has been here look at the number of veteran teachers/administrators that have retired or demoted. Then correlate that to the scores in elementary, middle, and high school. It is a numbers game and if someone would dig deeper, we will find the jackpot.