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 oldhcs@gmail.com. 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....