Monday, December 15, 2008

Heard on the street

I’m hearing there will be more than a few people leaving us at the beginning of the year. Now, we here at Musements have always said losses are rarely for one reason, but interconnected ones. When we’ve pointed out decreased enrollment, or a large turnover, we’ve always left “wiggle room” to acknowledge this. We are a military town, to a point, and there is a certain number of people who will leave due to reassignments, and that can’t be helped. The economy certainly hasn’t helped, and simply looking at the blank spaces in the weekly bulletin (and the very large area devoted to asking for ads) tells you that the downturn is hitting some of us.

We believe people make this decision to attend or leave for a variety of reasons. Every person leaving is not because of the administration, but they can’t be held blameless, either. She certainly isn’t helping, and she is certainly a contributing cause to more than a few families leaving. It behooves the school to know why these people are leaving, and to get real, honest answers.

Of course, it is interesting that they seem to be inconsistent in asking why people are leaving. Nice….if you don’t ask “some” people why they are leaving, you then can use only the answers of those you ask. Expect to hear these “selected” answers as the reasons why people are leaving over the next month.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Parental Involvement? Volunteers? Why would they do such a thing?

Indianapolis Public School 57, the city's only so-called "fundamental school," requires parents to sign their children's homework every day, volunteer at the school and respond to teachers' calls or notes within 24 hours.
Teachers sign similar agreements, and the school's 210 students have strict rules, too, The Indianapolis Star reported. If students don't turn in homework for several days, for example, they can earn enough demerits to kick them out of the school.

Interesting....why would they require such things? That whole volunteer is if they think it actually helps the school and parents, or some such nonsense.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Food for Thought

Came across this the other day, and thought it worthy of posting for discussion.....

Quick question, if you get a spare moment, for both teachers and administrators: What would you see are the most important characteristics of an effective Middle School principal?--

All of the characteristics below meld together to create and reinforce a sense of community, energy, and positive forward motion:

An understanding and appreciation of school culture

A clear and inspiring vision of where school is headed

A love of kids and a concurrent ability to relate to them

A love of teaching and a concurrent ability to relate to teachers

An ability to listen effectively

An ability to make and implement effective decisions

A recognition that neither the principal nor anyone else is perfect, and that's ok

A very thick skin (unfortunately!)

An ability to advance financial stability of school

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Exodus Continues

Newszap has been quiet since the great purging, but we get a parent here who is leaving effectively immediately.

What is important isn't the specific reason....I'm not going to argue about whether or not the tracking is or isn't a good idea. This is a perfect example where I'll beg ignorance as to the best methodology...but that isn't the reason this person is leaving. It is the lack of communication, responsiveness, and quite simply a character issue that is the reason the person is leaving.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quiet, but not gone

Quite frankly, I think we've done our best, and that the situation will sort itself out...but there have been some interesting things.

The most interesting is the resignation of the PTO President. I am sure we'll here a politically correct statement as to why she is doing it, but she has not gotten along well with J....imagine that. Other internal issues as well, perhaps, but it can't look good to lose what was supposed to be your key volunteer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Beginning to hear from a few sources that things are beginning to be not as bright as we thought. I'm willing to give her the benefit of doubt, but it is the dozens of little things that bother me. It isn't these things, of course, but what they represent on a deeper level. Things like yelling at parents seem to be creeping back in, after a few weeks of apparent calm. Things appear to be doing well and calm, but I don't know.

For instance-did you notice that after not being around for the mornings, Denise suddenly found time the day before and the day of the PTO meeting? And has not been back since? Why would that be?

I'm sorry, but the Internet filtering is still not fixed. Someone posted the question, and the situation is still the same as last year..broken.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've kept the postings to a minimum, and for good reason.

The beginning of the school year, especially one in which so many things were changed from over the past year, certainly should give everyone pause. Many of the changes were ones that have been called for, and it is gratifying to see them either come to fruition, or to return after a sorrowful absence. I don't really care why the change of heart over the summer, or what caused it, as long as they stick.

That is not to say that there are not things that need improving, or rumors, or gossip floating around. It is just that it is beginning to return to some sense of normalcy, concentrating on relatively minor issues.

There are lines that were crossed by some. I don't think we did that here on this blog (Newszap got a bit hairy, at times), but you are free to disagree. There were those who complained because they couldn't post the same way I do, but I tend to think that this format worked because the writers (maybe not the commenters) did NOT go overboard with inflammatory statements. We didn't even really try to publicize this, but were still getting almost a hundred people coming here right after school started,. It showed me that the word of mouth is pretty powerful, and that was even before the Parking Lot Mafia had a chance to get in full swing.

I also think it important to point out that there were many changes this year that were not challenged. There were significant ones, such as the start time that people certainly could have grumbled about...but I do believe that there was a belief that this was one that had been considered rationally, thought about, COMMUNICATED, and there was no real opposition. I hope that is a lesson in and of itself.

We'll be monitoring the situation, but I don't think we'll be posting quite as much as we have until we see how things shake out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

To make myself clear...

No matter how many weeks I see it, people leaving early from Mass always gets my dander up. I'm busy, you are busy, the Priest is busy...and I fail to see how the 10 minutes makes that much of a difference. Not that there are not good reasons...people leaving to staff the tables in the hall, or when we had CCD on Sundays are certainly reasons to leave, but to beat the traffic does not seem to qualify, to me.

I bring that up because I have a similiar reaction when people question the "why" of bringing these issues up. Maybe it is the genes of my red-haired Irish grandmother, but I do get my hackles up on a few issues.

However, as one poster put it, I do think we should be cautiously optomistic about the changes that were made this year. Maybe, as another poster said, it did take a pound of flesh, but can anyone say that the changes are not good ones? We've got more parental involvement, more openness in the classroom, a group to plan strategically for the future which goes a long way to where we need to be.

So let's pray for a good year and pray that the relationships heal, on both sides. I call on everybody to reach out....wave, greet, call, volunteer, e-mail, or do whatever you feel comfortable in trying to reestablish the rift between those you "know" are for and those you know are against the actions of the post year. I've heard many say that it is too late, but if BOTH sides reach out we can take those steps to make the school as best as it can be.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Back to the Future

From a post below...

When you attack an individual by name on an internet blog, you have no integrity or character period. The issues, the problems, the processes all are up for discussion. But posters here chose to attack Mrs. Jacono's personality and character. Did anyone have the courage to speak to her face to face about that??

Did any of the faceless critics tell Mrs. Jacono that you did not like her? Quiz defend yourself how you will, but you led a personal attack rather than a professional discussion. It seems we both agree though that positive change is on the horizon so I for one will leave with that.

Well, I will not.

I don't know how many times we have to tell you that we DID go to her and to Father Dan before you acknowledge that fact. I can assure you I did after I knew several others had gone with similar complaints. I can't even say that nothing was being done...the survey was a perfect example of something that she was pushed to do. I think it was a lousy survey, with poorly worded and tainted questions, but it is about what I expected.

I have tried to keep her personality out of it, but when you purport to be a leader, personality IS a big part of it. If you are selfless is shows, and if you are self-serving, it shows as well. What I have given you time and time again are facts; sometimes drawing pretty damning conclusions. If that is "attacking" her personality to point out the declining enrollment at her past school until she left, then ther is nothing left. If there is an element of her personality that you think has been mentioned unfairly or not related to her performance, please point it out.

So...we will continue to talk about the good and the bad, but I will try to draw the line at not nit-picking. As an example, I am debating about whether to comment on the student handbook. There are a few errors, including something left in from whomever they copied where they left in the previous school's name, and another area where they specifically state that crocs and sandals are permitted (instead of NOT permitted). Is it important? It certainly shows a lack of attention to detail, wouldn't you say? However, and this may be damning with faint is still better than last year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


More than a few changes from last year...and for something different, welcome ones.

First and most importantly, the volunteer program has been revamped and expanded. There certainly is a lot more encouragement and publicity about the programs, and it looks like parents will be once again welcomed back into the classrooms and barely tolerated. Excellent change and one that has been asked for since she got here.

Second, the school advisory panel is seeing the light of day. A bit late, of course, in that it was supposed to have been formed in July and working already, but the fact that this was another area asked for is a good sign. It is composed of a good cross section of the parish, and their being tasked to review and update the strategic plan is a good thing.

Third, there are a lot of curriculum changes. While treatment of people IS something I know about, curriculum development is not. I've heard some grumbles from some teachers ,but the changes sound interesting, and in some cases I think are great....the changes in the specials, for one. Concentration of the time spent IS a good change, and allowing the older kids some choice in the future is promising as well.

If these changes represent a change of heart and what the future holds, it truly is a new year, and a new start. It also shows that change IS good, and that one can appreciate the attempt.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Open Mike

Ah, the first day of school...and the rumors of change are flying. Some are interesting, some are good, and some are...kind of hard to figure out. In any case, I invite you to post the good, the bad, and the ugly....let's see how the second year starts out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


After years of falling enrollment, the new school composed of the old Holy Rosary and St. Helena GAINED 45 students this year. Obviously the economy has gotten worse, and the demographics haven't changed all that much in the past year. I wonder what changes one could attribute this remarkable improvement?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Young faces

I was able to slip out of work to stop by the school today. One expects to see lots of new, fresh faces at the beginning of the school year, but not usually so many from the teachers. I truly wish them the best of luck this year, and hope that perhaps they will provide the genesis of a rebirth. It is one of those management quirks that when you hire someone, you often feel tied to their success.

However, the over/under of how many will be here next year from this year's class is 4.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust....

Or escaped the funny farm. One of our best lower grade teachers has exited, stage left, to the public school system...and that might not be the last one, either. Check back later in the week.

And on another ridiculous was it to have a "meet the new teachers" day from 1 to 3? I guess they don't want any working people coming by. least have it so some could possibly stop by during lunch.

But that would be encouraging more people to stop by the school....must not have that. Make the appearance you are doing something, but make it an empty gesture.

I'll post the full list of those who have left sometime over the will be interesting to see the reasons that Jacono gives. One "reason" is "left for public school system", that is where they went, not WHY they left.

UPDATE: I checked around a few websites, and Mrs. S., who was to be a first grade teacher this year, will now grace the halls of Lake Forest North Elementary school. Goodluck, and Godspeed.

What Other Schools are doing

"In a high-performing school, you're going to find highly committed parents. It's a critical piece of the puzzle," he said. "We can't leave responsibility only on the doorstep of the school."

Now, it is to the credit of HC that many of these innovations listed in the article are ones we've gotten used to. We've had the grades on-line for a few years, we've got web pages that are sometimes up to date, and we had highly committed and involved parents. I would argue that these involved parents are needed even MORE in charter and private schools because the resources are not as why shut the door on these people?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ways Bad Principals work...

Someone sent me these 10 ways bad principals operate.....any sound familiar?

1. Avoid hiring older experienced teachers who are thinkers./Keep a staff of young revolving door teachers so roots and opinions won't establish.

2. Praise conformity./Staff of Stepford teachers who won't question anything.

3. Give perks to a small group of teachers that form first line of defense against other teachers./Create a barrier clique between administration and teachers by rewarding a few good soldiers who will serve as positive voice pieces for the administration.

4. Overload with work./Create inability to complain about issues - keep too busy.

5. Limit assistance with difficult children or purposely load certain teacher with difficult children./Create inability to complain about issues keep too busy to speak out.

6. Limit support with difficult parents and create barrier between teachers and parents./Attack self-esteem so won't feel empowered and won't trust their own thinking while eliminating parent allies from forming.

7. Place children of high profile parents with teachers who conform./Avoid having parents form allies with strong teachers.

8. Write up false reports./Flex muscles so teacher will know they are being controlled and will become confused.

9. Create files with false and negative reports; create separate file in case contract requires teacher is to be informed, and keep documents out of teacher's view./Build a case against teacher.

10. Threaten- directly or through rumors or innuendo by designated staff messengers./Create wall of fear to silence teacher.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What is School Leadership?

I am once again "promoting" a comment to the front because I think it does provide a great opportunity for comment. I happen to disagree with this person's opinion on what the role of a principal is...I see it as being much more than the narrow defination the person uses.

Contrary to the posts on this particular topic, leadership is not consensus building. Running the day-to-day operations of a school in particular is the furthest thing in the world from running a customer-friendly retail store. The Principal's job is to provide an environment that is focused on student achievement which includes intellectual,social and emotional growth. The "business" of education, particularly Catholic Education is to foster Faith and independent thinking.

The best that we as parents can do for our kids is to support the teachers and the administration in this daunting task.Control what you can at home. Teach your kids to be responsible with their words and respectful of authority. But give your kids a true opportunity to be independent. Come out from behind your anonymity and demonstrate to your children what courage and change are all about!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Control? What Control?

Another of the refrains that was in the post from a few weeks ago and that seems to come back time and time again is the fact that a certain number of people (10% according to Denise, 15-20% by the survey last year) are not happy with their “loss of control.” It is a good buzz phrase, as it trips off the tongue nicely, but what does it mean?

It is another one of those phrases that as soon as one pushes back, the answers seem to disappear into nonsense. What things were “controlled” by parents last year? Were there curriculum issues that some secret cabal dictated? What issues that have been brought up were about a loss of this hypothetical control?

At best, one could stretch the concept and say that those people who contributed their time and talent in the past and are not welcome in these areas miss the “control” of helping paint, donating some food, or planting some bulbs. I am not sure who or what the control was over, or who were the "controlling" people. Can someone here help educate us ignorant 10%?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Deal Me Out

One thing that has been on the rise for the past year is the number of gambling activities sponsored by the school.

Now…there is nothing illegal about a church organization running a gambling operation…where would we be without bingo? However, I think there is a difference between a bunch of little old ladies getting together once a week for some chat and bingo or a raffle for a new car and Cheswold Charlie and Leipsic Louie coming in for poker night and stogies.

If you check out the HC calendar, you will find that we will sponsor not one, not two, but three poker nights during the first part of the year. Now, I get that this is quick easy cash. Basically, for those who are not familiar with the concept, certain non-profits can run gambling operations legally. Most go through a few organizations that put on the parties. They basically “borrow” the name of the organization and conduct the poker night, splitting the fees raised by the players and the sponsoring organization. They do all the work, minus any publicity one does, and the organization gets a cut for doing nothing.

Last year the school ran a football poll that was probably on the borderline of legality, and did run a poker night in conjunction with the KofC. Seems that the trend of relying on gambling for funds is spreading…while admittedly legal, does anybody else feel a bit uncomfortable about this? What if they sponsored a Chippendale night…is there any difference?

Monday, August 11, 2008

I like Apple or Cherry, but not this kind of turnover...

A certain amount of turnover, be it student, faculty, or administration, is not necessarily a bad thing. New teachers and staff bring new methods and new ways of looking at things, and it allows administrators more flexibility in improving a school. One would even expect a bit higher turnover rate with a new principal, even if they were a combination of Mother Teresa and St. Francis. However, too much turnover is bad, as it is in any workforce, as they may require additional supervision and time to get to know the system.

Holy Cross will be a different school this fall. There will be unprecedented levels of turnover at the student and staff level. The latest figure is that from last September, we will have had 22% turnover of the teachers and staff, which is a figure that should raise alarm even among the most ardent Jacono supporters.

22%, people! Now, I know some of them may or may not have been people’s favorite teachers, and some probably needed a nudge…but most were very good people, and good teachers or staff. In any case, they did not deserve to be treated…in some cases, being told in front of people to start looking for a new job….LAST SEPTEMBER. Now, this person was one of the better ones we lost and has gotten an excellent position elsewhere, so I am glad for them.

I hope the new teachers and members of the staff are treated well, and do well. Often when some types of bosses hire employees, they treat those who they hire better. Maybe Denise will feel better with more of “her” teachers and staff working for her, and she’ll feel less inclined to yell at them in staff meetings and in front of kids. Maybe she won’t refer to them as embarrassments to the school and the diocese as much…

And maybe we will not have almost a quarter of the teachers and staff leaving next year.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Decisions, decisions

I’ve decided to address the issues in the posting below separately. It will keep it shorter, and give people the opportunity to comment on the individual topics.

The first one is the refrain that keeps coming back, and that it is all about people not agreeing with the decisions that have been made. While some decisions have been admittedly bad, people accept that many decisions are a judgment call. If a good decision making process was followed, and the decider stands up for the decision, most people will accept it, even if they don’t agree with it. What irks people about Denise is that it appears that these are simply missing, or her flip-flopping on what she said was reason behind the decision when challenged. Maybe she doesn’t want to or doesn’t feel the need to communicate why she does something, but when it is our money, our kids, our school and our church, we are owed that.

As an example, take the switch in uniform companies. I thought Flynn and O’Harra did a pretty good job in producing a quality product at a fair price. Uniforms were available for pickup when they came into the school, and their mail order turn-around was fantastic. Her decision to switch companies is hers to make and could be based on a number of factors. It could be that the school is getting a bigger kickback, er, “contribution” from the uniform company, it could be that they are cheaper, or it could be that she prefers the salesman of one company over another.

When it was discovered the Flynn and O’hara contract had been terminated, and Denise was asked about it, she sputtered and stammered a few different tales, some quite amusing. She claimed one time that it was about a kickback, er, “contribution” that somehow had gotten lost at Holy Cross after Flynn and O’hara sent it and they did not tell them the check was not cashed. Another early one was somehow implying that Flynn and Ohara had cancelled the contract, which is totally ridiculous. One can still buy the higher quality uniforms from Flynn and O’Hara, so why would they cancel the agreement where the school agrees to purchase their uniforms from them?

It is especially telling that her old school went back to Flynn and O’Hara as soon as she left. Also telling was the fiasco with the new company and the gym uniforms...remember how they were falling apart, logos fading quickly after washing?

Even more interesting was that her old school decided to have Flynn and O’Harra gives the 10% kickback, I mean contribution, directly back to the parents. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A DIfferent Point of View

Being the fair minded person that I am, I am publishing one of the anoymous comments that were below...It is a pretty good summary of those who defend her, and I thought it worthy of posting, and does have some good points.....

I have such a heavy heart reading all of the negativity surrounding HCS and the principal. Can any of you posting your negative comments truly say you have walked in her shoes? How many of you have ever gone into a new position, whether it be a paid position or voluntary and have been overwhelmed by all that there is to do that you don't know where to start? AND there are new fires being started daily that have to be addressed in addition to putting out OLD fires? Where do you start??? Who and what do you address first???

I think the principal has done a pretty darn good job at juggling some of those responsibilities in addition to learning the names of many of the 600+ students AND making much-needed changes to the school ! Sure some issues may have fallen through the cracks, but geez, who has the time & energy to stand there and criticize each time one does?How many of you have stood in an auditorium or church sanctuary and have had to face parents who have publicly crucified you without remorse? She has had the courage to continue when many others, probably even some of you, would have given up. How many of you here can truly say you would have stepped into her position and absolutely, positively would have done a PERFECT job? Sure, she may have made mistakes along the way but who hasn't? And changes that have been made that you may not agree with boil down to simply a difference of opinion. But those changes don't require crucifying someone over. Your frustration & anger appears to stem from a loss of "control" at HCS that you disguise as "voicing your opinion". Put your kids in a public school and see how much access you have to the school and how much your voice is heard with regard to policy and administration.

How many of you can say that you have truly been behind the scenes in the classrooms, in the hallways and in the office and seen her in action? How many of you have been a fly on the wall and heard her hashing out all of the issues that HCS faces trying to find the best solution - solutions that will satisfy parents, students, administration and still meet budget? I can guarantee that not many of you have been anywhere within those school walls and been privy the discussions surrounding these issues! So what gives you the right to judge and criticize based on heresay, rumor, and speculation? Put your energy into something more productive. You are the ones giving Holy Cross a bad name by posting all of this junk on the internet and calling it your "First Amendment" right. Have a little class."We judge others by their actions, yet we would like to be judged by our intentions."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pedophile Paradise

The title above was used to describe Holy Cross School, usually while looking around at disgust. It was used both in front of parents and in front of teachers on more than one occasion.

Now, I can think of a bit of “shock value” to such a charge, but I also think it totally irresponsible of a person to make such a statement. If true, then the place should be shut down immediately. It was not used in the context of what should or should not be done, but more of a general indictment of the school.

Granted that it might be a call to action if there actually was real issues to address, but does anybody think the use of such terms by a elementary school principal is ever appropriate?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Security "concerns"

Security IS important for the school, and steps have been taken in the past, but there is a limit. The “sake of the children” program has it’s advantages, but based on when it started and under what light, it seems to be primarily a public relations move to show how much they are doing to combat abuse…while more and more lawsuits on priests continue to come to light.

Personally, I think the teachers AND parents feel better with more parents in and around
the school, especially if they have already been cleared. There are those we don't want in the school, and we need to keept them out, but please tell me when the last Catholic school was sued because a parent abused a kid in the classroom.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Libel? Not Really

Libel is a malicious, false, and defamatory claim that one implies to be factual. Truth is pretty much an absolute defense for it, but even if one makes a mistake, it is still hard to prove, especially if it is expressed as one’s opinion.

For instance, saying one likes or dislikes something at Holy Cross School is your personal opinion. It is a fact that you have that opinion….it could be wrong or misguided, but we have that right in this country.

All of the events that are listed are ones that I am confidant occurred. Reporting on them is not libel, because they did in fact happen. One’s opinion of why it occurred, the impact, or the stupidity of it is back to an individual opinion.

Saying, for example, that the Internet filtering is broken is not libel. Saying that it has been broken all year despite her statements to the contrary is not libel. Saying that this hurts her credibility is not libel, either.

If I say she selectively strong-armed people after the meeting in February (and I certainly could have been one of those), that is not libel. One could argue it was simply to “discuss” things, but it is my opinion based on what I heard was said, and is protected speech.

Now…personal information, even if true and provable is a bit different, which is why I have warned against this, and will prevent it, if I see it. That is one of the reasons I put the email address out there…if you see something you think is wrong or personal in nature, email me at I don’t have time to always read every comment, and I am providing a means to correct any inaccuracies, so it puts me in a much better legal standing if some idiot posts something out of bounds.

And, as usual, thanks for caring.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Questions

Speaking of the school calendar....
When we received that orange slip of paper announcing the resignation of the drama teacher, it was said that the drama program would remain the same for the upcoming school year under the direction of the current music director. However, did anyone besides me notice that there are no school plays on the calendar for next year? There is a grade 3-5 Christmas musical, a grade 6-8 Christmas Musical, and a grade 6-8 musical in April of next year. That isn't the same thing at all. It leaves out a lot of younger children who have participated in many of the wonderful KFTE productions. There will be a tremendous void in the school lives of all of the students who participated in this activity! I doubt that the principal recognizes this since she did not see either of this year's productions or bother to poke her head in to any of the rehearsals and witness, first-hand, the joy experienced by the students. What a shame!


There have been a few postings I think deserve to be addressed up front instead of burying it in the comments.

Suppression: I am puzzled by this comment, as I’ve deleted only one comment since we’ve started, which was from one of the current three writers. If anyone wants to become a pro-Denise blogger (or if you want to join in on the “right” side), you’re invited. Send me an email with the best thing that you think she has done this year, we’ll post it, and see how much interest it draws. If it defendable and you can handle it, I’ll send you an invitation to be able to post articles. What I don’t want is “She is the greatest thing in the world and you are just spoiled children” crap-if that is all you got, stick to putting it in the comments. If you want to play in this game, you’ve got to bring something to the table or, start your own blog…I’ve got a reputation to uphold (or “downhold”, if you like. Heck, I’ll even agree to exchange links if you want to go in that direction. It isn’t that hard to set up one up.

Fairness: First and foremost we are guided by the First Amendment, which basically says that one can say anything you want without fear of the government stepping in, if what is said is true or an opinion (even a wrong opinion). Blogs get protection afforded to newspapers, and because anybody coming here knows these are opinions, it gives a fair amount of protection. I’ll restrain this a bit, in that I don’t want any blogger bringing in personal issues here, even if true. Commenting on actions and attitudes are fair game, but if does not occur on school grounds (or school activities); let’s leave it off of here. I am convinced we have plenty of things to talk about with it going personal.

Comments: Keep it clean and try to keep it on topic is all we ask. If it gets too far off, we may well start a new topic with it, but I am letting most of the comments go. No personal attacks and no personal issues (second time I’ve said that, for those paying attention-it must be important!).

Contacts: I’ve updated my profile, including an email address. Teachers, especially those who have left….feel free to send stuff you might want to put in there. I check it a couple of times a week, but not every day, but I’d love to hear from the teachers. All information will be kept anonymous.

Issues: One of the comments below gave a great list of what the major issues should be. I think there are some that should be added, but I think they are a start, and is a GREAT example of what one would look for in a blogger.

Issues (from a poster)

1. The internet content filter..
2. Security of the school..
3. Free flow of information from school to parents
4. School climate for both teachers and students.

I would say number 1 is good, and change #3 to include TWO way communication, and would bump up #4 to the top of the list. I've got a few other things that probably should be on it, but what do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Questions

Hello again! After returning from vacation and catching up on the blog, it appears once again some are expressing concerns and others are of the "if you don't like it, pack your bags" mentality. I certainly don't think the latter is going to solve any of the concerns expressed. Yes, there are alternatives, but one of the reasons we send our children to HC is because of the Catholic education. However, actions and inactions, communication and lack thereof, have threatened the core of that Catholic education. I have a difficult time coming up with an impartial opinion of what has transpired throughout the past year because I really saw no positive changes. Security has been and remains a concern. Is it the fault of the administration that someone was found sleeping in the auditorium? Absolutely not...yet it is a concern that should be addressed and changes need to be made. That incident was an unfortunate result of today's society, not an individual's fault. However, there comes a time when one must step up to the plate and take responsibility for their errors. There have been many administrative errors and wrongs committed, yet there is no accountability. The buck is passed. One of my questions is that I would like someone to explain the difference between a parish school and a diocese school. I have heard that HC is both - does anyone know? Does anyone know if the staff participated in an evaluation of administration? We completed the survey and I attended the meeting but the areas of most concern to us were not addressed at that meeting.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Credit where due

Let's give Denise some credit for getting us a big thick packet of information to interupt our summer and to remind us of the harsh realities that await us in less then 60 days.
I'm going to emphasize a few positive things I've noticed...

1. Volunteer List! Woo-Hoo!
Okay, she only wants people in two limited areas, and how she can figure that one can volunteer for specific days for the entire year is questionable, BUT this was one of the things she was hammered about last year. I think the school would be better off with an expanded list, but this is proof that the pressure we've put on has had some effect. All of you who talked to her or Father Dan about this, give yourself a hand! A small victory, but a victory, nonetheless!

2. School Board: Probably also something done under duress, but it is going to happen. We'll have to see how independent they are, and if she actually listens to them.

3. Teachers: She has made significant progress in replacing some of the teachers who have left. Granted, only one is certifed (not sure the Pre-Ks or specials have to be), and one is coming down from Holy Rosary, but it is not all bad.

4. Schedule: The schedule looks better this year, with honor roll assemblies actually scheduled. Wonder if they'll have pizza or ice cream this year?

5. School Code: Minor changes are coming, hopefully on those areas that were not really clear. I would watch this one real close....

No letter about Internet safety agreement and proper use this year....I wonder why?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beating a Dead Horse

One thing that was done that should have been a signal to all of us was the fiasco on the first day of school last year. The traffic jams, the confusion, the utter chaos was something that foreshadowed the whole year.

Now, there are people who want to drop the issue. She apologized, after all, and took responsibility for it. This is true, but only because she literally had no one else to blame regarding this. This isn’t the real issue, though. The real problem was that it indicated a failure on several levels even before the first car pulled into the parking lot, and clearly foreshadowed many of the problems that would plague her through the year.

First, she ignored anyone who tried to tell her it would not work. She was convinced we had a problem, and that she had to come in on her silver charger to solve it. She was told by many of the staff of issues that might arise, but she refused to listen to them.

Second, the plan was screwed up. The communication went out to the parents, but it was incomplete and incomprehensible. Key information was missing that would have been the only way to keep what would have been a bad situation from degenerating into the cluster that it did.

Third…it was an exact copy of her plan from her previous school, even down to the map. The problem was that it showed a basic lack of traffic flow and the differences between the two areas. Philadelphia Pike is a bit different then State Street, and there are a “few” more students here than at Holy Rosary. This also foreshadowed changes that have often turned out to be simply an erasure of one school’s letterhead for another. Not reinventing the wheel is a good thing, but when you come from a failing school, you probably should rethink a mass importation of their policies.

Finally…she did try to justify her decisions, and tried to get her hastily formed committee (after she messed up) to back a second try. When they would not go along with this, she abruptly stopped having them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Internet Filtering....or the lack thereof

I'm bringing up a comment that someone posted below about Internet filtering, and leaving out graphics. Leaving out images would make the Internet a pretty boring place. In addition, there are too many diagrams, illustrations and graphic representations that help in explaining things that I would not want to filter out all graphics. I don't think that searching for graphics is the main issue, but what they provide to the experience of learning.

However, that is a minor issue. The real issue, of course, is that Internet filtering is not being done at the school, or at best is set up incorrectly. If you sit in the parking lot you can pick up just about any website you want…except one or two that were manually plugged into the 3COM device. I am talking porn, hate stuff, alternative life style, game sites, social networking, videos….the whole enchilada with extra hot sauce.

This would be unacceptable at any public school, let alone a religious based school. What takes it to the next level is Denise’s insistence that it was fixed, despite several parent’s insistence to the contrary. A few kids got in trouble for getting to “bad” sites, with a patently untrue and weak story about the kids getting around the filtering. While there is a grain of truth that one can use third party web sites to get to bad sites, this is not what happened. These kids simply stumbled onto the websites, and were punished for it. As someone who posted at Newszap said, Denise was aware of it from before the beginning of the school year, but failed to resolve this issue despite offers from professionals.

The web is a wonderful resource, but for the sake of our children they need to be protected. It is amazingly bad management and arguably child endangerment.

Holy Cross Teachers ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say that I know many of Holy Cross School's teachers in one respect or another. I know that this year has been extremely difficult for many of them. Most teachers at HC are caring individuals and offer the students a solid education in a safe environment for the most part.

I want there to be no question of my feelings about this. I KNOW that what we are all saying on this site and on others is that the ADMINISTRATION is the PROBLEM.

In fact, Holy Cross has some really good teachers who earn a low salary for the incredible work they do during school hours and at home off the clock.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Wrong than Meets the Eye

I am glad to see that this blog has been created to replace the previous one. It was upsetting to know that after complaints have been made and concerns in all areas addressed that thoughts and comments of so many concerned people were once again squashed. I am not sure what the internet filtering issue is and would like an explanation of that. My concerns lie more within the fact that 1/6 of the faculty has left during the course of 10 months. With today's economy and the budget cuts in education leaving fewer opportunities for professionals to secure new employment, the situation must be extremely dire to result in so many resignations. There are people who claim teachers have left HC for other reasons than the horrendous administration. Think about it people, if you were trying to obtain a different position in your chosen profession, would you tell the truth as to why you left? It will be extremely interesting to see where the enrollment total is in the fall. Then again, that information may "disappear" from the public eye as well. I don't think there are people who are simply whining or complaining for no reason. The reasons are varied, wide-spread and disturbing.

Change 1

Hi, y'all, and welcome.

I've made the first change to the concept....mainly because I can. I am hoping for lots of comments, but also want to get a few people to help author this blog. Seems like a way to get lots of points of view...but yours is always welcome.

I suspect (and hope) that it will be a bit broader then simply bitching (yes, we can use that word here) about the conditions...I would love to see a range of discussions on the various subjects. Internet filtering is one that one of use will probably start with first, but it is interesting because there are many points of view on it...but HC certainly doesn't meet any of our expectations. The question would be how restrictive should it be, perhaps....I've talked to some parents who are outraged by it that would not even allow pictures of any sort, and those who are of a more liberal bent.

What in the World is Wrong With Holy Cross School ???????????????

Strange that the newszap site has disappeared into thin air!!!!!!!!

Maybe somebody "wasn't getting their way" so they decided to cry to Newszap to take the site off.
Well we are back and soon many more will post to this site.

Rock on .............


Hey, aren't they great?

As a whole, the teachers are perhaps one of the greatest strengths of Holy Cross. I'd point out that Mrs. Grudzina is one of the most fun teachers to watch I've ever seen. She has a great rapport with the kids, and how she gets them to sing and play instruments that actually sound like something is beyond me.

First Post

Hello, world.

I got up this morning, showered, shaved, let the dogs out, and drove 15 minutes to work.....

Heck, no one is really interested in what I do, are they? I have always had a thing against individual blogs, mainly because I don't think that what I have to say about my life really is all that interesting except to Esmeralda, my wife, and the twins.

However....this is a different type of blog. I set this up specifically to address the disapearance of the Holy Cross "blog" from the Newszap web site....and to provide a site that was a bit freerer of any restrictions.

I am not sure how this works, exactly. Most blogs I've been on involve the author making some pithy statement on his day, his observation on life, the universe, and everything, and hoping and praying that someone cares enough to actually look at it. I'm going to kick this off with a comment or two, and gauge the interest in it. Heck, I might throw in a philosophical musing or two, but I want to see what you, the hoped for reader, want. So, with that....