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Friday, February 23, 2024

Dr. Kriznar explains why birthday parties and so much more are now on the chopping block.

 I am kind of grosseed out at her explanation so I am not going to comment now, but I wanted anyone interested to see it.

This is her responce after I wrote a letter expressing my outrage at the recent policy changes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: When do we require permission slips for events and activities?

Answer: Participation in ALL school-sponsored events and activities will require, at minimum, the district approved permission slip signed by the parent/guardian before students can participate. This includes, but is not limited to, field trips, athletics, extended day, tutoring, book fairs, classroom parties, etc. Until additional guidance is received from the State, the district interprets school-sponsored events and activities broadly. Required instruction or required curriculum activities, generally, should not require permission slips. If you have any questions, please contact Policy and Compliance. Each event or activity will require a permission slip. However, an event or activity with multiple dates can be included on one permission slip if all required details are the same and all scheduled dates are included.

Ex: Monthly classroom pizza parties held as a behavior incentive can be included on the same permission slip, if all future dates are included.

Question: May schools use other permission slips for events, activities, or programs?

Answer: The district approved permission slip is required. However, schools may attach supplemental documents to the district approved permission slips. This may include, but is not limited to, additional details, consent forms, etc. Note: Some events or activities may require additional parental consent. (Ex: Extended day, district athletics, etc.)

 Question: Can students participate if they do not have a permission slip for the event or activity?

Answer: The student will not be able to participate until a permission slip is signed by the parent/guardian. There are no exceptions to this requirement, which is mandated by State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.089, F.A.C.

 We thank you again for the opportunity to respond to your concerns.  Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.



Sunday, February 18, 2024

First, DCPS gets rid of books, and now they are getting rid of, wait for it, birthday parties.

Read that again and let it digest for a second. The same rules and laws that made DCPS in its infinite wisdom (sic) get rid of classroom libraries and books, are now having the district put the kybosh on birthday parties and so much more.

I know what some of you are thinking, but the state, Chris, the state. Yes, the state sucks, yes, the state is trying to harm public education and DeSantis can have all the press conferences he wants but we know the truth. My reply to you is why doesn’t the district fight back, like this and so many other things, why don’t they at least say, we don’t agree with it, we don’t like it, but the state is making us do it. We can’t even get that, which tells me their silence is complicity.

Now, when I heard birthday parties, in-school concerts, and the spelling bee, etc. etc. etc. made the list of prohibited activities, I asked thinking, maybe it's like a game of telephone where what the school board tells the administration changes slightly from what they tell the principal and then what they tell teachers. Surely, birthday parties, holiday dances, and concerts are exempt from an extra layer of bureaucracy.

Yes and no.

I can have a birthday party, but I must get permission slips from my student's parents and guardians. This unequivocally means birthday parties are going to come to an end. Some teachers will be thinking ugh, another thing to do, I don’t have the bandwidth or energy to deal with it. Then what's going to happen to little Suzie and Johnny, whose parents forgot to sign the permission slips or just forgot to bring them back? Emails and phone calls, something teachers used to be able to do, aren’t acceptable anymore. Sorry, kids, you have to go to that class without cupcakes for thirty minutes while we rock it out for a few minutes in between test prep. Yet another reason why some teachers won’t bother.

If the district doesn’t think this is too far, then nothing will ever be too far. If the district can’t raise its hand and say, hey, maybe birthday parties should be okay, then nothing will ever be okay.

First, they came for veteran teachers, and I was silent.

Next, they came for LGBTQ students, and I was silent as well.

Then they came for books, which were ripped off shelves, and I was still silent.

Now they have come for birthday parties.

What will they come for next?

The state sucks, but so do school boards that silently go along. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Parents were used as props to justify the schedule change

 Parents were used as props to justify the schedule change

I hope parents understand that they were used as props in the schedule change. I hope they understand that the district doesn’t care about helping with childcare problems and please don’t take my word for it, take there.

This is what the district said in their specious and self-serving press release.

From the DCPS press release

The change was based on recommendations from the district’s calendar committee, which is comprised of stakeholder groups such as parents, teachers, the teacher union, administrators, district leaders, and community partners. Some of the concerns included the challenges some parents experienced with getting childcare. There were also concerns about low attendance on those early release days and the limited time for instruction.

First notice, anything about testing?

Neither do I, and in fact, I have talked to several people on the calendar committee, and they say testing was never brought up, though helping parents was. Now juxtapose above with what the district told principals.



The 2022/2023 attendance data shows a dramatic decrease in student attendance for the last week of school.  As you are aware the state testing windows go through the last day of school, and several schools received a school grade of an “I” for less than 95% of students participating in the assigned assessments.  Due to the decline in student attendance, and the state testing schedules the Calendar Committee was asked to solicit input regarding the half days implemented during the last week of the 2022/2023 school year.


Now, to be fair, they did mention parent concerns in the second paragraph, but it's obvious that testing kids was their most important reason for the change. This is backed up by the fact they didn’t get rid of any of the other half days. Nope, they just eliminated the ones that were a boon to teachers.   

Parents, there are solutions to the half-day childcare problem. One could be using subs to bridge the gap between the end of the half-day and the extended day, but did the district consider them? Note they just pitted teachers against parents, using parents as nothing more than props. Think about that, friends; if the district doesn’t care about teachers or parents, then just who do they care about? 

My letter to Superintendent Kriznar about the schedule change

So I got a form letter from the super. What you thought when they respond they really care about what you say? Oh, your childlike sense of optimism is adorable. I doubt she wrote it at all. Where she tried to justify throwing staff under the bus for specious reasons. So I told her about how wrong she was.  Her letter to me is below, though if you want your own copy, send her a note saying you disapprove of the schedule change. Because then you, too, can have your own personal copy.

 Hello, and thank you for getting back to me. I am going to be blunt, and I know sometimes that people think blunt can be rude or disrespectful, and that is not my internet.

 The district may have saved some parents from being parents, i.e., providing childcare, but your reasons for doing so are specious at best, and the cost too high. This is compounded by the fact the district will not have come close to solving what the district really and seemingly only cares about, and that is testing more kids. 

 The district took a sledgehammer to a problem that needed a scalpel, and in the process, the district made things worse.

 The district did not solve parents' childcare problems, and Wright's letters to principals show it was never much of a concern. If the district cared about it, they would eliminate monthly half days, but the district did not, instead just eliminating those days that are a boon for teachers.

 Nor will you solve the testing problems, and it's laughable to think those last four days will capture enough students to make a difference. If some admins think we might, it's time to get better admins.

 No, all the district did was say that schools are daycares, teachers are babysitters, and the district doesn't care about making things easier for teachers or what teachers think. All of that is insulting.

 Superintendent Kriznar, I wonder if there were any serious solutions considered? Did the district consider partnering with our sub-service for that last week? Currently, subs don't work half days and are told to leave. Why not have them work full days that last week to bridge the gap between the end of half days and after-school programs? Or better yet, end all after-school programs the Friday before Labor Day. Once again, if the district truly cared about childcare, then it would get rid of the half days too, and that the district didn't speak volumes. 

 As for testing, and once again, there is no way that last week is going to post schools over the top. A better option would be to work with our local legislatures to get them to change the 95% rule. I understand that is more of a long-term solution, and who knows what the rules will be from year to year, but there may be short-term solutions too. If a student misses a test, test them the next day they return and again maybe partner with our sub service to make a class of sub/proctors. Yes, I am just spitballing, but there has to be a solution that works instead of throwing teachers under the bus to employ a solution that has no chance of working.      

 We will never be the district we can be as long as the administration feels it can marginalize and disrespect staff. Never.

 Chris Guerrieri

Mr. Guerrieri,

I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts with the board members and me. Feedback from community members, teachers, parents, and our students is important.

As you mentioned, there is a District Calendar Committee which is made up of Duval Teacher United (DTU) members, PTA representatives, teachers, principals, district representatives, and postsecondary partners. Committee members are expected to share the thoughts of their representative groups. After all feedback is received, the committee works collectively to make a recommendation for the calendar. 

The committee acknowledged many concerns from parents, teachers, and principals with the half-day schedule. There were also members of the committee in favor of keeping the half days.  While the committee did not come to a full consensus on a recommendation to restore the last week to full days, it was clear that student attendance was negatively impacted, and the half days created barriers for many families.  After reviewing the feedback and attendance data, the Calendar Committee made a recommendation to change the last week of school to full days.  I supported this recommendation.


I expect every day of school to impact student achievement in some way.  Many grade levels have both state testing and district end of course exams through the last week. These assessments have significant impacts on student grades, student promotion, state accountability outcomes, and teacher evaluations.  We need to provide students with as much instructional time as possible leading up to these assessments, which continue through the last week of school.  In addition to these important assessments, the last week of school allows different opportunities for classes which have completed required assessments.  I am aware of teachers who use the time after testing to connect the year’s content with creative projects, real-world application, and student interests.  The last week of school can certainly impact student outcomes and create opportunities for life-long lessons.


In addition, the extra minutes we have in the schedule allow us some flexibility when we have to make decisions about make-up days when school is cancelled for inclement weather.  For instance, this year we missed 4 days and only had to make up 1 of those days. 


The recommendation was approved by the board at the January board meeting and communicated via website and social media, which is the same process used anytime a calendar is updated.  However, moving forward I will commit to doing better with communicating directly to principals to allow for better communication with teachers ahead of social media posts and website updates.

Historically, high schools have had an early dismissal schedule for the last week of school due to commencement ceremonies, and all schools have had an early dismissal on the last day of school. This practice will remain in place for the 2023/2024 school year.  The exact dismissal times for high schools for the last week, and all schools for the last day of schools will be shared once the logistics are finalized.


Kind regards,


Dr. Dana Kriznar

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

DCPS doesn't care about parents child care or teachers workload, they took away half days, to increase testing

 DCPS took away four half days at the end of the year, and they gave a lot of specious reasons, including parents needing child care and the need for more instruction. It turns out it was testing that they really cared about, and don't take my word for it; take the word of the memo they sent to the district principals. 

They don't even mention parents needing child care until the second paragraph, and they imply in the first that it wasn't parents who asked for the change.

Parents were little more than a prop to justify their manifestly disrespectful decisions, and teachers didn't even make it to that level. Nope, as usual, the driving force was testing, testing, and more testing because that's what, and perhaps all, the district really cares about.

So to give you some context, schools are supposed to test 95% of their students, but for whatever reasons, one being kids just refuse to take them, some kids miss the first go around. So it looks like students can make up tests until the last week, and giving them a few more hours in which to do so, was the paramount reason they ended those half days, which is manifestly short-sighted. How many more kids do they think they are going to capture, and was it worth throwing the staff under the best to get those handfuls? The answer is not many and sadly and apparently yes.

Finally this letter is just one more example that you can't take anything the district says seriously, you don't just need a grain of salt, you need an entire salt shaker.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

My letter to the school board about the calendar change


I was wondering if the administration and school board knew how disrespectful they were to staff and even parents when they changed the last four days of the school year from half days to full days with scant input and then released the news through Facebook. This has gone over like a lead balloon with staff, and I know because, unlike the district, I spoke with teachers.

Making a big change without allowing staff input tells staff you don't appreciate or respect them. I read the district's self-serving announcement, which said it included teachers. That's laughable because there are only five teachers out of 45 members on the calendar committee. How does that include teachers, especially since I know, at the very least, the middle school representative voiced concerns? The bottom line is teachers were ignored, which goes straight back to not appreciating or respecting them.

I understand that some parents, especially in elementary school, were concerned about child care, and where I am sympathetic, schools are not daycares, and parents need to be parents. Also, if those last four days are a concern, parents will be in for a huge wake-up over the next ten weeks when there is no school. If those last four days are a concern, are you getting rid of early release days? Or is it just days when teachers can get the voluminous amount of paperwork done that needs to be cut? A way to fix this problem instead of blowing up the calendar was to start now by reminding parents and then canceling extended day programs that last week. 

Let's talk about that last week. That last week will not in any way lead to increased test scores. There won't be much meaningful instruction; discipline will be poor, attendance may improve marginally, and that mountain of paperwork teachers must do at the end of the year will have to be pushed back The longest week of the year just got exponentially longer.  

We will never be the district we can be as long as the administration and school board treat staff like they are easily replaceable cogs whose feelings and thoughts don't matter. Never and why you would make such a huge change so late in the year without consulting those who are directly affected is beyond me. I want you all to do better. 

I would urge you to reconsider your decision at least until you get staff input. That is the respectful thing to do. That is what leadership looks like.

DTU finally ways in on the district stripping teachers of the end of the year half days

 Where is the union now that DCPS has stripped away four end-of-the-year half-days and replaced them with nothing?

Saturday, January 20, 2024

DCPS sticks it to staff... again

     Duval County just changed its end-of-the-year calendar with despite what they claim, barely any input from staff. 

The last four days of the year were scheduled to be half days, and now they, including the last day of the year, will be full days. To justify it, they put out a ridiculously self-serving memo.

After reviewing feedback? Get out of town, after being ramrodded through by Corey Wright and a few parents, the district decided to make the change. Feedback, fellow teachers, how much feedback did you give? Or did you just hear about it through Facebook because that seems to be more likely? 

As for the calendar committee, most of them don't work in the classroom, roughly just 5 out of the 45 members, and nobody is worried about losing instruction that last week, when testing is finished, and EVERYONE wants summer to begin.

I am sympathetic to parents who need to find childcare, I am, but if this week is going to be a problem, they are in for a big surprise the following ten weeks. I also firmly believe parents have to be parents, and any shortcomings they might have shouldn't fall on teachers' shoulders. Teachers aren't here to fix all of society's problems. They are here to teach. 

You know DCPS has routinely, over the years, told staff they don't care what they think. That staff, you are just cogs, and we will replace you. Your feelings, heck, your expertise, don't matter, and because of this, I don't believe DCPS will ever reach its potential. Never, it's impossible to do, but does the Ivory Tower care? Nope, and see this latest example as more proof. 


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Let’s talk about Dana Kriznar

There is a good chance she will be DCPS’s interim super come June 2nd, for at least six months, and because the superintendent job will be so unattractive, maybe longer, much longer.

Chairman Coker, who obviously wields immense power, gave her the nod in a recent Jax Today article. This could be a good thing, they must have worked together when Coker was an admin in the district, or it could be a bad thing as Coker worked with her when she was an admin in the district.

This is what has become pretty apparent unless you know Kriznar, you don’t really know Kriznar.      

I have heard her name and think I even met her once about a decade ago after I wrote a piece about reading. Believe it or not, I used to be able to write about real issues instead of made-up culture war BS but that, to be honest, may or may not have happened.

So, the first thing I did was put her name into the search line of the blog. I have covered DCPS admin shenanigans, gaffs, and poor behavior many times, and nothing came up, and I thought that was probably a good thing.

Most of my stories come from people working in the district. When I write about an admin or principal, it has always been because multiple people have come to me, usually pleading with me to say something, and at least since 2007, no such group had come to me about Kriznar.

So next, I googled her, and two pieces of note came up.

First, this is not the first time she was up for the intern super role. She was also up for it after Vitti left.

In another article, Vitti recommended a half dozen people, including Kriznar as possible replacements, one was Iranetta Wright, so I can’t say how serious of a list that was. Ultimately the board at the time went with Dr. Patricia Willis, who I thought was a great choice.

Then after the state got rid of A.P. African American History, I found this article in the Devil’s Advocate where Kriznar tepidly pushed back against the state.

“In the Department of Education, from the framework, they said that it was in violation of the new legislation that they had about indoctrination,” said Deputy Superintendent Dana Kriznar.


According to Kriznar, a member of the AAHTF, Florida may reconsider the AP class if the curriculum is amended.


“We were very excited when we heard they were starting a pilot and asked to be part of [it], and we at least know of one school that got into the pilot for the upcoming year,” said Kriznar. “We were very disappointed when we learned we would not be able to implement that curriculum.”


Additionally, Kriznar supervised Duval County’s African American History Summer Writing Initiative in 2022, where students in Duval County created lesson plans for teaching African American history. With the help of a publisher, the organization’s source books facilitated the program’s course while following standards provided by the state.


“The program was very insightful into local history and information that is often overlooked,” said senior class officer Priya Patel, who participated in the program last summer. “All of these events and people had significant contributions to Jacksonville, specifically through their support for activism towards the Civil Rights Movement.”

It might not be much, but her saying, “we were very disappointed,” is a lot more than I ever heard Greene say about a lot of terrible things.

So after all that, I asked around, and where I only got a few responses, most, not all, but most were positive.

So what’s my takeaway, I honestly don’t know. She worked for two supers I didn’t think were very good, but for the most part, she has a good reputation with teachers and subordinates. She hasn’t been outspoken on much, and I guess that’s up to you if that’s a good thing or not.  

If anybody knows something I missed, I would love it if you would share.

Some random shots, she has been in education for 37 years, is on the board of Junior Achievement, does have a Twitter account, though it’s dusty, which is probably another good thing, and here is a video of her reading the Pidgeon Wants a Puppy.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

DCPS has had a rough year. Probably a lot rougher than you remember

 It’s been quite the year for Duval County Public Schools culminating with Greene’s firing/force out/retirement, whatever you personally want to call it. Some people are on the fence about her leaving so I thought a retrospect of just the last year would put people’s minds at ease with her leaving.

So, since people’s memories are short, I put May 7th, 2022, and May 7th, 2023 in the Google search bar and this is what came up.


May 15th, a teacher known for racist and homophobic comments gets their personal protest.

What does somebody have to do to get sent to Bull’s Bay, oh yeah, stand up for LGBTQ and students of color.


May 17th anti-bullying videos go down and cuts to the LGBTQ support guide are discussed.

DCPS assault in the LGBTQ community picks up steam.


June 10th, DCPS pulls down the LGBTQ support guide.

The march to eradicate LGBTQ from our schools is in full effect. This was a choice DCPS made, the state did not make them do so.


July 11th, DCPS calls for outing LGBTQ students.



July 13th, half of the city’s failing schools are charter schools.

Where not directly on Greene’s shoulders, every one of them had to be approved by the SB after being recommended by the super and she approved some bad ones.   


June 15th, Greene gets a pretty hefty raise.

A bigger percentage than any teacher ever got before that’s for sure.


June 30th, states civics training draws concerns.

From everyone but district leadership that.


July 27th, 450 teacher openings, 3 weeks before school begins.

Who wants to bet it is worse now?


August 10th, subs get a big raise.

Apparently just hoping the problem would solve itself wasn’t working.


August 11th a teacher accused of striking a student was exonerated.

It’s not for nothing but this former teacher of the year never returned to a DCPS classroom.


August 15th a week school has begun we are down to just 400 teacher openings.

Again, any bets that it’s not worse now?


August 15th, Bus chaos grips the district and will for months,

and by months, I mean all year.


August 16th, safe space stickers scraped off walls.

You know, because who wants kids to feel safe.


August 24th, the uber-important mileage increases passes

It is soooo important DCPS announce they won’t do anything till next year.


August 25th, DCPS spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on books and lets them rot,

If only we knew then what we know now.


August 28th, the scathing grand jury report comes back into the public consciousness, and it will promptly disappear until the Moms for Liberty crew sense an opening to get rid of Greene 8 months later.

This report technically covers what happened over a period of years, but I thought it was worth a mention.


September 7th, safety officer arrested for a sex crime.

This makes me so sad but now we have had a teacher, bus driver, custodian and a safety officer all arrested in one year.


November 11th Greene receives a walk on water evaluation

That sure didn’t age well


November 30th, DCPS ends 20-year relationship with JASMYN

This was a choice that Greene and the district make.


November 15th, A janitor accused of sexual battery on a child

Sometimes the worse headlines get lost or forgotten.


December 6th Sex ed returns to DCPS

We had taken the first semester off because nobody in the district has a calendar apparently.


December 22nd, book banning starts.

It will hit warp speed in a few weeks.


January 9th, DCPS cancels the play Indecent.

DCPS’s march to eradicate anything LGBTQ related.


February 1st, Duval’s barren bookshelves go viral.

The district will spend the next few weeks coming up with one explanation after another.

I purposely did not put-up many links to all the book scandals, problems and changes in narratives. I think it has been covered and I also wanted to have a semblance of a weekend.

 February 11th, DCPS cancels youth risky behavior survey,

You know, because if the district knew what was happening it might have to do something.


February 14th, an audit says the district was complying with reporting arrests.

Um this didn’t age well, and can the district get its money back (we are going to need it for all the lawsuits)


March 2nd, DCPS sends out incorrect emails.

Says correct information is coming soon.


March 10th, our directory of books is reassigned.

I don’t know if her views on slavery or the LGTBQ community played a role in that.

March 15th, custodians awarded back pay.

You know because DCPS cares about its employees so much it hired a company who had unfair business practices.


March 31st second teacher pulled form D.A.

2nd of which eventually be 4 more. I want to give these teachers the benefit of the doubt, but it is still pretty troubling.


April 5th, DCPS is in the middle of a lack of media specialist crisis,

This wasn’t created by Greene, but she did nothing to improve the situation and initiated the book crisis knowing how many we had.


April 6th, another premature email was sent out.

Emails can be tough.


April 6th, a bus driver was accused of sexual abuse.



April 13th, its time for DCPS to lawyer up over D.A.

They better get one over books too, JagsfanBryan, the one who put up the video of the empty bookshelves may soon own the SB building.  


April 19th DCPS reverses trans bathroom policy.

Not because we had to but because DCPS is just fine with LGBTQ no longer having a safe space in our schools.

April 19th, the state accuses DCPS of not reporting crimes 

Probably because they didn't.

April 26th, the director of professional standards is reassighned,

You know because only teachers lose their hobs.

May 2nd, emails revealed there was zero call to fire sub who took empty library videos.

Why was he fired again, oh to appease DeSantis and take the heat off Greene.


That brings us to the district and the suer parting ways last week. Hopefully how badly it was handled is fresh enough in people’s minds.

There were lots of things that I didn’t include. Lawsuits about this or that, technology breakdowns, code yellows at schools, relatively routine and minor things.

Then some of these are obviously bigger than others and some people might think I wasted my time even mentioning, but when taken in total, I find it amazing that Greene wasn’t escorted out carrying a banker’s box.  

Then there were some victories, we have a Lego land stem laboratory, and arguably the graduation rates/school grades and the passing of the mileage rate, though those last two come with some hefty caveats that I may explain in future posts.      

Then once again, all above is from just one rotation around the sun.