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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dear Principals, some of you really suck, Merry Christmas superintendent Vitti

Superintendent Vitti said today in the Times Union we don't have enough high performing principals to lead these 50-60 percent filled schools.

You know this is something I have said many times, we don't have enough great leaders and don't seem to be cultivating enough more. I have also said, who you know rather than ones ability has led to many promotions in the district time and time again.

There however is a big difference from me sitting at home blogging on my couch and the superintendent. I am allowed to say those things where he should not be. Who cares what some blogger says, while at the same time the superintendents words carry weight. He should be building our principals up rather than constantly tearing them down in the media (and I hear much worse behind the scenes).

The superintendent routinely disparages the principal corps, Over and over again he has referred to a shallow bench. I wonder if the principals he is referring to and is it a dozen, is it two dozen, is it half the principals or more, know that he thinks they suck and that he would replace them in an instant if he could.

I wonder how many parents are at home thinking, hmm I wonder if my kid's school has one of those crappy principals Vitti is always referring too.

The superintendent takes every opportunity to disparage the districts staff, teachers and principals alike and friends that's noway to run a district.

Maybe the truth is we are one high performing superintendent away from being the district we could be.

My wife says we need the right people in the right seats on the bus but we also need the right bus driver too. 


  1. I keep telling my wife that it's going to take a grassroots effort of the public school parents to stop the madness that is the "leadership" of this district. I am still confounded on the lack of outrage on the parents part.

  2. It would be different if we didn't have a crappy superintendent. Poor leadership starts at the top.

  3. It's not the principals. It's not the teachers. It's not the kids. What does that leave? Only the parents have changed. But we can't blame the parents. That's not the message the district wants to send.

    Vitti talks about the "financial incentives" to entice teachers to go to underperforming schools but we already have the $10K handout to the TFA & last time I checked TFA are already at those schools. So I guess TFA isn't the answer? What's next??

  4. The bench is shallow. That doesn't mean he should publicly make comments about it. AND he should recognize that he is not deepening the bench but making it even worse by attacking his talented principals and advancing people with little to no experience in the classroom ... wait, what? oh, yeah he has little to no experience in the classroom.

  5. The PD in this district is DISMAL at best. That however, is a direct result of Vitti's decision to discontinue the relationship between DCPS and The Schultz Center. When Vitti arrived, one of the first things he did was disband the PD teachers could get at The Schultz Center. No research was done, no teachers were in on the decision, again, a knee-jerk decision based on....who knows what. Now, as stated in the TU article, someone, years later, is noticing there is an issue with the complete LACK OF PD in Duval County. THIS COULD HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED! The Schultz Center handled teacher PD as well as principal PD. WHO HAS BEEN IN CHARGE SINCE VITTI ARRIVED? He needs to ask his own people about why we have PD issues. The "directors" of these areas (teacher and principal PD) must not be doing their job...after all, Vitti himself is criticizing the principals and teachers at every turn.

    “We do not have enough high-performing principals to lead these 50-percent to 60-percent [full] schools,” he said. “In Hyde Grove, I can send in an army to make sure the school is not an F ... but that’s not sustainable financially. We can’t address all these needs” over the long term.

    Vitti said he wants to be able to offer financial incentives to attract and retain high-quality teachers to the two schools.

    Hall countered that if the district would do a better job with “professional development” of its teachers and principals, then it would improve school performance and be financially sustainable.

  6. Well, Vitti treats his principals indignantly. Some of his principals and asssistant principals treat their teachers indignantly. School board members treat teachers indignantly.The governor and the state senators treat teachers indignantly. And parents and students treat teachers indignantly. This is why our educational institutions are in the latrine.

    I also don't think it has to do with professional development of teachers and principals. When the governor, state senators, school board superintendents,school board members and school administrators start to show and demand respect for teachers, our schools will begin to turn around and our children will begin to really engage in the learning process.

    What professional development does a teacher with all that calculus knowledge, for instance, need to teach his calculus students about dividing a pie into thirds, quarters, fifths, etc., and fractions (3rd grade stuff)before he could actually get into the calculus lesson itself. These are the kinds of difficulties that teachers are experiencing all over duval county schools and the US.Let these students go back and learn 3rd grade math and move up each consecutive threader on the ladder. But unscrupulous principals are placing these high-maintenance babies in upper level classes although knowing that they are not even capable of doing the subject matter at the elementary school level.

    Many kids are also just not capable of doing algebra and geometry. That is why we need different tracts, so that there is a tract for those who just want a high school diploma to go work at Burger King, or Crystal's, or Mc'Donald's, or other similar places. Do you know how a teacher feels in her/his stomach when (s)he asks an Algebra 2 student, "What is the sum of 2 plus 3" and the student can't provide an answer? Its heart rending, especially the fact that that teacher will be evaluated on the learning gains made by that student, in Algebra 2. Its just plain PATHETIC! And some who would like their babies be given high grades for disrupting and destroying our schools cry about low graduation rates.

    Well, at First Coast we had something called "PUSH TO PASS". You were given a manila folder with the label "PUSH TO PASS", on the tab, containing a list of names of students who do nothing but give the teachers "HELL". These students cuss the teacher, disrupt the class, seize every opportunity to steal the show from the teacher, produce extremely little or no academic work to be graded. However, we give these students a package with 2 or 3 basic problems from each topic, promise them we will give them an A or B grade if they do the packet. Usually the teacher does the packet with them and give them an A or B to bring up their grade to 2.0 for them to graduate. Image yourself, as a hiring manager, reviewing a high school transcript with a 2.0 GPA including an A-grade in Algebra 2.