Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Sadness

Losing any member of the family is not easy, and Mr. Mike Dawson was certainly a unique member of the parish. I've known Mike for at least 10 years and he will be missed.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mr. President

Nice summer off...always great to take time off and get some perspective. Not sure how much I'll be writing this year, but I'll shoot for the same quality, as usual.

However, you may see a shift in what I write. Today, for instance, I'm calling out those who flooded the office with frantic calls about the President wanting to talk to the kids about those well known liberal values of studying hard and staying in school. Do you realize how much of a whack job you look like?

I'm not a great fan of Obama, but there are those on the right (and HC is full of them) who seem unable to muster the brain cells to debate the issues logically. There are issues that can be, and should be, debated loudly, but people prefer to huddle about conspiracy theories such as the whole birther thing and now this.

Here is what I think - people are afraid that Obama will have a positive influence on their kids, and this one 30 minute speech will undo everything they've said for the past year about him. He'll seem calm, reasonable, humorous...and will not say anything that they haven't heard before.

Not sure what the school's plans were, or are after this outbreak, but if I was a kid, I'd be mainly annoyed you are taking my lunchtime away.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations...evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism...

A couple of posts I'd thought I'd bring to the top...

The issues you describe may be fact. However, we as a community cannot heal, or begin to think about healing until we unite.
Here is another fact for you to list: this blog at best is a gossip lover's "guilty pleasure" (one of your guest's terms - not mine)at worst it is divisive and harmful to our Church and school.

Here is my suggestion: Ask again and again for meetings with the community and the Church. I know you say you tried this avenue...You really did not...you (or maybe not you) attempted to bully your way past the Diocese and Fr. Dan. Bullying never works! Extending an invitation to a "bitch" session only counts as bullying! There are plenty of things working at HCS. We need to start there.

Not a bad post, really.

First, I tend to agree with your statement about running to the diocese. I thought some went that route too early. As a minimum, those who went upstairs should have tried to meet with Father Dan, or notify him, as to why they felt they needed to do this. I'm not sure those who did, and there were more then a few who did this seperately, followed this route. And, to be honest, I think I even suggested this to at least one person - some control I have over my minions, eh?

However, there has to be a next step, as there is in every other area of our life when we are not getting satisfaction, especially when you can't seem to get through. Calls for meetings by those who were leaving, calls for meeting for those who have left, calls for meetings by teachers and administrative staff were not returned. I tend to think that some of these catagories (ie, teachers and staff) should have stood outside his door, if necessary, to get on his calendar. However, I also understand the average Holy Cross teacher is more mouse than lion when dealing with authority, especially Church authority. While understandable, it also underlines, to me, the extent that some of them have already gone.

The Quizz's posts have really only done one thing...and that is to provide a forum for those who have misgivings to know there are others who feel the same way, and to provide an opportunity for those who don't like our tactics to comment. I haven't deleted a single comment, and have only made one change in almost a year, because I do want a solution. I also think it is a "conversation piece" as I've over heard a few conversations about the blog. Funny, but I let it go, and it is interesting to see how two people will feel each other out as to the opinions posted here. Even Denise has used some of my postings in this matter, which I am certainly honored.

As to solutions, I've heard rumors of another meeting, but a bit more structured one, perhaps on church grounds. Again, I think this is a better solution, but an even better one would be for Denise or Father Dan to take the initative, show some leadership. Here's the deal...you call it a bitch session, I call it clearing the air. We'd have to address any possible retribution (which is difficult if you believe or know that your complaints will get reflected elsewhere), but such a meeting would be either you put up, or shut up. If they had such a meeting, agreed to write down the complaints, and agreed to address them, I'd stop posting immediately. I'd ask for anyone who has complained about her to her face or Fathe Dan to be invited, and maybe a few "referees". Establish some ground rules, and get it out in the open.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It becomes necessary to desolve the ties...

For the apologists out there, do you understand that the teachers, parents, and kids who have left, or who would like to leave but are hanging in there hoping for change or don't believe they have another options, have what they believe are legitimate complaints? Not whether or not YOU think they are legitimate, but those who have taken the ultimate step of leaving felt THAT strongly about it? Pulling kids out of a school is not something taken lightly, and many who have done so were HC grads themselves. There are those who change the subject as soon as you start talking specifics, but teachers and parents have left because of Denise. Cold, hard fact.

Now...no one "fears" this blog. I know who reads it and the number of people who read it. You have to want to read it, which is why I think it is better then Newszap, where everybody gets to read it. You have to search to find it, and if I wanted broader distribution, it would be easy. I could post the link on Newszap, or I could send an email out from oldhcs@gmail.com to every single teacher and parent I could find pulling them to this site. I choose not to do that.

This step was a necessary one, but I believe the complaints that have been posted here are legitimate, and I know that at least some of them were validated by Denise's boss, who promised to address them. Unfortunately, most did not "stick" and though I applauded what I hoped was a new attitude at the beginning of the school year, she reverted back to form.

As for changes....what "changes" has the Quizz really complained about? What changes that she has made that Loyalists think are so wonderful?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

When in the course of human events...

One of the mantras those not happy with the way Holy Cross School is being run is the ever popular, "Why don't you just leave", sometimes expanded to the "if you are not happy with what you are paying for, why don't you just leave?"

Easy answer, really. It may well come to that, but do you think it would stop? This isn't about money; I've been paying this for so long, and it's automatic nature make it more of a utility bill or a car loan that never seems to end that I really don't think of the money aspect of it.

But...the utility comparision IS a fair one. I pay for service, I expect to get it. If my service was great for a number of years, and then it went downhill, I, of course, could always just leave, but I also have the right to try to get the service back to the level that it was before.

As I strolled downtown Dover on the 4th, another of those blasted analogies came to me. Those men who signed that Declaration of Independence certainly heard a similar mantra from many of their countrymen. "It isn't that bad", "If you don't like it, you can leave", or "it beats what else is out there" were all reasons, among many, for the Founding Fathers NOT to try to improve the situation. They tried all sorts of means, and were rebuffed time and time again, but many of their neighbors, who were more worried about their personal affairs, thought it best to keep quiet and just stay on the farm, and hey...I don't read that much, or drink tea, so it doesn't apply to me.

Our "independence day" may well come, but like many of the Founding Fathers, I still feel allegiance, but the intollerable acts are piling up. And, like Great Britian, who learned a hard lesson from the loss of their American colonies through this rebellion, perhaps Holy Cross will learn a painful and expensive lesson.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Well, Well...

Interesting and thought provoking posting from someone that I don't believe is Jacono, but who I have an idea who they are, eh, "girlfriend"?

My point is simple...You, this blog, is an aggitator. You seek to rile folks up with remarks designed to rip Mrs. Jacono and by extension the Holy Cross administration (and even the Diocese!). There is no solution in what you do here! Man-up, Be part of the solution...for if you are not then, in fact, you are part of the problem!!My children are getting a solid Catholic education, which is why I sent them in the first place. I have no problems with how things are run. You and your anonymous cohorts need to know that you do not speak for all. Mrs. Jacono, Holy Cross, Father Dan and the Wilmington Diocese are my home..You may think that the "faithful" do not exist. You are wrong. And I am not Mrs. Jacono!!

Lots to talk about, but I'll take one point right now, and that is the agitator one.

Guilty, dear, as charged. However, like the agitator in a washing machine, without a lot of things going on, there is no effect. Cleant clothes require something to wash, some soap, some water, and the rest of the machinary to work (and, yes, this is an A-N-A-L-O-G-Y...which means that it is not to be taken literally). Without one of them, the agitator does no good. And, like many other "Agitators" like Thomas Paine, Martin Luther (and King), nothing would get done (and, NO I am not comparing myself to Martin Luther King....it is an A-N-A-L-O-G-Y....Tree is to paper as rubber is to tire does not mean I think a tree is a tire).

I also KNOW I don't speak for all. There are many I talk to who feel much, much stronger about her then I do. I even know a very prominent person who believes she is "evil", as in big "E" evil. I don't go that far, believing that gives her way too much credit for what amounts to someone who simply doesn't know the basics of management. However, I also acknowledge there are those who like her personally (like you, I guess) because she treats them differently then others ,for God knows what reason. I also know there are many - perhaps the majority - of people who don't know or don't care about this. I was surprised to find someone like that the other day. I didn't say much to them, believe it or not, but to have heard nothing is something is indicative of someone who hasn't been paying attention - would you agree with me on that?

What you refuse to accept is that there is a certain number of people who feel as I do. Your focusing on me, or elevating me to some God-Like status (it is an...okay, I hope you get it) allows you to ignore the comments themselves. Good tactic, I guess, but way too obvious. You want to ignore the 15-25% who feel roughly the same way I do.

Does that matter? Well, if it was an election, probably not. However, most businesses couldn't afford to have that many unhappy customers, especially one that already relies on subsidies. You don't think the number of people who left last year caused the leadership to "discuss" the matter with Denise?

So...I agitate because there is something to agitate about. The problem is that for most of the first year, people didn't know about each other's issues with her. It didn't help that when they went to Father Dan SEVERAL people heard him say, "Well, this is the first time I heard about this". You want to shoot the messenger (I never realized how many analogies I use...but I don't really believe you want to shoot me - do you?), and ignore the message.

I'll have more to say, but I'll let you and others respond to this.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life after Jacono

A reader sent this in, and I thought it was good enough to deserve it's own post, although it will probably overshadow one of my more clever posts below it....

For the record, there is life after Holy Cross and it's wonderful! The public school teachers and administators openly welcome parents who volunteer, even more so they adore them! The school uses up to date testing, unlike the outdated testing used to track at Holy Cross. Intelligent children are challenged academically, as the school knows these children's success will bring them better funding!

The teachers truly appreciate my well behaved, religious children (and I take credit for that, Holy Cross did not raise them). All students are treated equally and fairly, not just the ones who don't disagree with the principal. Fundraising is minimal and any effort applauded. Specials are not changed randomly year to year, and they are all solid options. Teachers are respected, and if they aren't they can take action, amazingly the same goes for parents ( I know that sounds strange to HC parents it was strange for me at first too!).

Then there are the little things. You can go to any class celebration. You don't need to get fingerprinted to go on a field trip with your child. Your child won't get detention if the dentist can finally get them in at 8:30a.m. on a Tuesday. If you want to sign your kids out with no notice five min. before the end of the school day, so be it, they're your children after all! (shocking I know!) Oh and the secretary won't give you attitude for doing so! Lunch is a dollar and you don't have to plan a month in advance to buy it (get this it's even nutritionally sound and filling to boot!). If your kid wants a rolling backback and notebooks with cartoon characters, they are free to express themselves in such a manner.

Best of all not only do all the students have to play by the rules, but so do the teachers, secretaries, principals, assistant principals, and even ass. supers and superintendants. They don't fly by the seat of their pants making up rules and picking and choosing who they are accountable to. Funny, it's like I left the twilight zone and entered back into reality. I can't tell you how refreshing it has been! While I miss the parents I have become friends with over the years and watching their children grow with mine, and the teachers my children and I have come to know and love, the sense of communtiy left when Jacono came. The teachers weren't the same, stressed Im sure by their own dealings with Jacono, The sense of community was gone. Friendships I had with many parents was shattered by their lack of action despite their many complaints about Jacono.

I am not one to go with the flow sacraficing my childrens education and my own morals, and I was shocked and disheartened when others were so willing to. There is life beyond Holy Cross, it is not the only option, you can raise good, Catholic, well educated children while they attend public school.The ultimate reward for me was when at the end of this school year (we left HC mid-year((yes J it's me your favorite Dr's daughter)I gave the children the option to return to Holy cross if they wanted to, and they both answered with a resounding "NO!".

I am confident next year will be even better, as the children won't have the burden of transitioning to a new school mid-year. I never, ever thought in a million years I would even consider sending my children to public school. Jacono made that decision for me and for that I thank her! We couldn't be happier!!

A bit of a stretch, but...

I think most of us have been somewhat confused regarding the uprising in Iran. It first shows that Iran, and the Arab people, are not all marching lock step with their leaders, and they have, low and behold, differences of opinion, just like us. Imagine that.

What is fascinating is to see the reaction of the establishment to the riots. First, they announce nothing is wrong. Then they say there may be some minor problems, but that doesn't affect anything the people have full control of. They then threatened and forced confessions or redactions from people who they think are behind demonstrations.

And, while we don't know how it will turn out, and it is quite likely that the existing Iranian President will continue in office, there is no doubt that the country and the people of Iran have changed. They have changed the way they see their country, their religion, and themselves, and their actions do not end at this election, but will certainly be felt in the future.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm not planning on updating this anywhere near as much as the last couple of months (you can thank me later, Denise), but will have to celebrate the birthday of the blog next month. I posted some statistics last month, but a full year should be interesting.

I'll try to post SOMETHING at least once a week, but it is the summer and things are slow. I've got a few things, but I do see that we've got one or two new posters who've added some interesting comments to a few of the entries.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One thing that puzzles the Quizz (hey, how many sentences do you see with 4 "z"s in them) is the explosion of various forms of spirit wear by mothers. I'm not talking about PTA/PTO type shirts, or event shirts, but tee shirts, polo shirts, and even jackets with the HC logo on it. As I said, a shirt given for participation in an event or festival makes sense (great fall festival shirt, for instance), but why does it seem that some mothers have a whole wardrobe of clothing? Shoot, even the teachers don't wear the stuff (they do have their own teacher type shirts, though).

And I say mothers, because I don't think I've ever seen a father wear one, unless it was associated with a sports team he was coaching. Wearing elementary school logos seems off the fashion choices for most fathers, I guess.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


One interesting process is the evolution of those who see the light. Be it a gradual awakening or a quick jolt, or simply what they've decided to reveal to the world (spies are everywhere, after all), watching some come out of the closet. Not everyone, of course, starts at the beginning, nor do all spend a whole lot of time in each, but the "Six Stages of Jacono" has been observed in many people.

And, to be honest, I've even observed a few who appear to have gone back, but the Dr. Quiz thinks this is a temporary condition.

1. Blind Loyalty: Nothing she did was ever wrong, everything that has gone wrong was someone else's fault, and problems are blamed on the messengers.

2. Corporate Stooge: A few problems with her, perhaps, and the source of most of the "well, she is a good x, but sometimes she has a problem dealing with some people". However, she is a principal and must be followed....and besides, the church picked her so we simply don't understand it, but it must be for the good.

4. Reluctant Acceptance: Where most people fall, and where most stop evolving, which is to her advantage. Not happy with one or more of her decisions or practices, but content with the teachers or not willing to take the next step. Source of most of the grumbling.

5. Rebel: Have been yelled at, or have yelled at Denise, generally. Have gone to Father Dan, or tried to go even further (not a step that I ever thought had a snowball's chance in hell, BTW).

6. Disengagement: Either waiting out a final child in school, or have already left.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I've been thinking

The Q. rarely relies on pure speculation, but something about the story below about Denise getting her grade school teacher certification didn't quite add up. The assumption of some is she would use it as an escape route, but she is the kind of person who rarely admits they are wrong, so it is unlikely to me that she would retreat to a teaching position, especially as she has been a principal for a number of years.

I have absolutely nothing to go on but deductive reasoning, but I thought I'd float my own theory. Sentences in blue are "facts", so to speak, but the rest is me filling in the blanks.

First, in many organizations, one way that you get rid of a loose wheel, especially a well connected one, is to kick them upstairs to some staff job, or a "manager in charge of special projects" kind of slot. That isn't an option, usually, because there simply isn't that many positions in the diocese. However, one has come open...


That may well fit the bill.

See, Denise is BFF with this person, and is pretty tight with the superintendent, as well. I've heard that there was some pressure to get her down here, which makes sense even if you simply take into fact that her school lost population until it merged with a nother school and she didn't have a job.

One could also assume that one or the other principals at the school would be retiring soon (which the diocese would know, based on age and other information), and let's say the assistant superintendent indicated she wanted to get back to a line position, opening up a staff position at the diocese at some point in the future. Wouldn't BFFs have an inside track to when it was opening up, and what they will be looking for?

Given as we know that Denise views herself as a fixer, and that she loves evaluting people and giving opinions, wouldn't the job be perfect for her? She's got the education, she has the certifications, and she could even argue that she has been through the merger of two schools (Leaving out how she drove people away, of course). I suspect that she didn't really want to come down here, as many upstaters feel, and she thought we'd be a bunch of rubes with flannel shirts and straw sticking out of the corner of our mouths that she could handle. Does anyone really think she is happy at her job here?

And why would she feel the need to publish a list of "accomplishments" and add to her certification unless she was padding her resume? ?

Sure, I've got little to go on, but doesn't a promotion make sense? She leaves on her own terms, she can forever claim that she was successful and got promoted out of this job, her posse down here can have a tearful going away party and she winds up in less harmful and stressful position. She's happy, we're happy, her posse is happy, Father Dan is happy. Everyone wins, no one has to admit a mistake - problem solved.

Maybe not quite Dan Brown, but I think it has at least a chance of happening. Anybody want some action as to whether she puts in for the job?

Credit Report

As the year winds down, I'm going back over some old material and reviewing it to see how it holds up over the months since it was posted.


1. Volunteer List: I was optomistic, but something happened during the year that was noticed by everyone, especially the PTO. There were a few more opportunities but participation seemed to have totally dropped off.

2. School Board: Very slow start, and not exactly the most independent group, but there is still hope there. The survey was kept as independent as I think possible, but it is interesting we have not gotten the results. I suspect it will be mixed, at best.

3. Teachers: Most worked out very well. Denise will be playing musical chairs again next year, maybe because if you want to look like you are making progress, simply shuffle the deck. Many of the comments were about the guidance counselor and the circumstances under which she left, but her replacement has done a credible job.

4. Schedule: I was pretty positive about this, but I see that she is changing the schedule around again for next year. See note above about making changes for change sake.

5. School Code: Most changes were made clearer, but I suspect we'll see more changes this coming year, for the same reason the changes were made in items 3 and 4 above.

Friday, June 5, 2009


One of the reasons that people choose Holy Cross is for the religious aspect. I'm not talking about the religon classes, but the way in which we try to get people to live the life, and set good examples.

There is a program called "prayer buddies" where older kids pair up with the kids in the younger grades. A good program, and one that I think reinforces good behavior on BOTH the older and younger kids. This year, the young children gave their 8th grade partners a "WWJD" bracelet.

Apparently some of the 8th graders wore the bracelet to school, as has been the custom and tradition of the school for years...and promptly were punished by losing their final "tag" day by Denise. I am sure there will be a defender or two who will quote chapter and verse of the holy book of rules and regulations, but somehow a Catholic school punishing kids for wearing a What Would Jesus Do bracelet seems that someone is missing the point.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sign of the times?

I see that Denise is getting her elementary education certification back, to go along with her administrator one. Wonder if she plans on using it any time soon?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Doubting Thomases

What is amazing is how many stories are coming or confirming early reports as we end the school year. Maybe it is frustration or exhaustion, but I'm just full of stories.

Although many readers don't quite believe it, we do try to confirm what we post here. I don't want to get people in trouble, and I don't want to be libelous, either. I've heard great stories that prove our basic contention, but by writing them I would expose sources AND me - at least until I can figure out a way to write it.

For instance - there is a story that has been floating around for a while that one of our former priests said he believes she will destroy the school in 5 years. Now, when I first heard this, it seemed a bit extreme, even to me. However, little birdies are confirming to me that enrollment and reenrollment figures for next year are down for next year, so he may not be that far off. Given as our turnover rate is through the roof, we are accepting more and more marginal students, and the economy offering an assist, it does not bode well for the school.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Here, there, and everywhere

As we start into the last month of school, I thought it might be interesting to some of you to know a bit about our traffic to the site. First, we've not been posting consistantly, so traffic is down a bit from past months, but there are still some interesting figures. I also don't have some of the first month or so figures, as I was not familiar with blogging or how to track traffic, but I'm settle for what I do have.

First, most of you come here directly, meaning you are either typing in the link, or have it in one of your favorites. The Google accounts for a little less then 10% of our traffic, but what is interesting to me is that 6% of our traffic comes from referals on Facebook. That traffic simply didn't exist a year ago. Those who Google tend to use the words Holy Cross and Jacono, which has "helped" make our site now appear on the first page when these words are used.

Second, we get people from all over. I've had visits from China, Russia, Switzerland, Canada...about 20 countries in all, including Italy. Gasp! Maybe the Pope is watching? I suspect most are accidental "hits", but this isn't a site that one stumbles on, either.

Closer to home, we've had visits from 6 states this month (26 states since we've started), and 11 areas within Delaware, pretty much hitting every major city and town.

Overall, we've had 8,000 visits by 550 unique visitors, which tells me that most people at Holy Cross have stopped by here at least once, and if you added up everything they have all looked at, it would be about 35,000 views - and this is without any advertising or really spreading the word. I thought about sending the link to all the teachers and staff, but decided against it, as I heard they knew about it already.

At wit's end

I commented on uniforms a while ago....

but really haven't had much to say about them. I even thought the winnowing down of options was a good idea, for the most part, but was surprised to hear of a bit of a tete a tete regarding a throwaway comment in the newsletter.

Not sure if you have noticed, but the newsletter is often used in a unique way. Want to minimize something? Don't mention it, or put the briefest of comments in there. One can then argue that is was publicized, if only by the strictest defination of the word.

There was a comment about Lands End uniforms...that they are not authorized. Now, I didn't even know that they sold the HC pattern, but apparently this was something carried over from years past. Apparently if you get real, real close, you can detect a few threads in a few of the lines are not exactly the same..but given as we've got at least 2 generations of uniforms out there, was it worth putting in the newsletter? Especially as we did have a relationship with them before Denise got here, at least according to Lands End...


I'll just continue to order from Flynn and O'Hara. If nothing else, I love the name, as I get to say it in a brogue like my great uncle Sean.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What are the consequences of drops in enrollment?


Way back then I posted of the number of students that we've lost over the past year or so...and somewhere, I indicated that I thought the numbers would continue to drop.

I've been hearing that the numbers for next year are bad...so bad, in fact, that they may well be getting rid of teachers for next year. Maybe that is why they've had all the "input" from parents regarding options for specials...maybe soften the blow by saying that it is what "we" wanted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Having a Field Day

Did I miss the announcement of the field days? I mean if one DIDN'T want a lot of parents around, one certainly wouldn't mention it in the newsletter, would you?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fund Raising waay down

Good spin on a bad story, but there is no doubt that the amount of money raised this year, and the number of volunteers, is much less then it has been in past years. The cheery visage by the PTO did not make the news any better. They did make the "Father Dan" tax, which makes the Church happy, and may be all that matters to them.

I don't blame the PTO for many things, really. They are hard working ladies, and I'll even give them credit for defending Poker Night...and acknowledging that there were people who didn't like it, but it brought in the money. While I see the point, I remain steadfast that it is NOT something that we as a Catholic school should do.

The amount of money was much less then it has been in years, and you probably have to go back over 12 years to find a year that was as bad. The economy certainly did not do them any favors, but can even the most hard core supporter see that there might be a correlation between a lack of volunteers and the lack of financial support?

The most interesting comments are heard by some of these....wondering sadly where the volunteers are, almost begging for some answer why support and spirit are down when the answer is just beyond their nose.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Interesting response to the popularity of the Twilight book.

I've heard a variety of responses to the popularity of the book and the movie, and it was interesting to see the school effectively banning the book. My gut reaction is that whenever I see a book treated as such that it is a bad thing, if for no other reason then it makes it more attractive to those who don't have the book.

I'm going to leave aside the appropriateness or not of the book, or what is the right age for kids to read it. It bothers me a bit as some of the Baptist Schools in the area took the step of not allowing Harry Potter in the school, or even at book sales, but that the craze is pretty much either over or past it's peak is probably the bigger issue. I am willing to bet that every 7th and 8th grade girl who wants to read the book already has, and a good percentage of them have even been to the movie. Whether or not younger girls should be reading it is debatable (and I don't think they should, personally), but is banning it the right step? Wouldn't a message to parents about the appropriateness of material, maybe even bringing it up a meaningful PTO meeting made more sense?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Many things cause a lot of debate on this and the Newszap blog, but the Internet filtering didn't cause a lot of debate. In fact, this has been on of the oldest issues with the school, and according to a poster on Newzap, even predates Denise.....For a quick review, here is the first time we wrote about the lack of Internet filtering at the school...


However, I am happy to report that it is fixed. It isn't the greatest filtering, or they simply haven't finished configuring it yet (One is directed to call 555-1212 for help), and you still can get to social networking sites, but it looks like it is blocking most of the objectionable material. YEA! It only took almost two years of denials and what some call lies (ie, if you say it is fixed and it isn't) but she finally got this done. Not like kids don't have all kinds of devices to get to the Internet these days like iTouches and Internet enabled cell phones, is it?

Olde Dover Days.....

I've been busy, so the posting has fallen off, but I think we'll pick it up a bit before we shut it down for the summer. There have been many things to write about, but I just haven't had the time.

Before I get into other things, I want to put down that I thought Holy Cross did a great job during the parade. The band looked great, the float was great, and our kids looked great, as well. The second graders did a fantastic job on the Green, and, wonder of wonders, DENISE actually made a guest appearance. It was brief, but I have to give her credit for showing up.

Food Festival didn't go all that bad, either. Not as big or as well attended as they used to be, but it took a couple of years to get to that perhaps unmanagable stage. Good job, all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pay to Play

Interesting to see the way the Hoops Madness played out, wouldn't you say?

There was a belief that the older kids weren't interested in the "Race for Education", so an alternative was attempted, but apparently fell short of expectations. In a letter that seemed to indicate someone was really pissed off, the whole thing was scuttled and replaced with only those turning in fund raising sheets getting to play....and there weren't that many of them, either. Certainly not the intent of one of the major spring fund raisers.

Sometimes when you reinvent the wheel it doesn't come out quite as good as the original, and this was a perfect example. What made the "Race for Education", or any fund raiser in any group successful is making it more than a tin cup shake-down for money. BJ (Before Jacono) the race wasn't the focus, but rather the end of a celebration/educational process of the need for physical fitness. Everybody participated, regardless of whether or not they raised enough to ante up to play, and getting the parents to participate was part of how the money got raised.

Another hint...what makes fund raisers successful at elementary schools is NOT as much what the kids want to do as much as how the parents feel about the event, and the purpose of the fund raiser. I overhead someone (a Jacono loyalist) bemoaning the lack of spirit in the school...and as active as this person is it is proof positive that sometimes you can't see the forest from the trees. The lack of participation in this, and other events, means that you are getting more and more people who are simply less excited about the school. They may hang around for a while, but it becomes more of a duty, something to be tolerated but not enjoyed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mission and Beliefs

First, here is the text of the report that I've been getting the comments from....


And I probably should include the mission statement of the school, which is to "provide Christ-Centered Catholic education and educate and nurture their students emotionally, intelectually, and spirtually." The report furtuer assures us that this was compiled after "extensive" polling...which is odd, as I haven't found people who have been polled. I guess it could have been done more than 10 years ago, but it seems...weak, at best. How does it differe from any other Catholic school?

Comments are a bit different, this time, in that I have just one. After reading the academic gobblygook, is it unfair to say that what they are saying is that, yes, you have a mission statement, but it isn't really used?

The visiting team commends:

• The spirit and process of collaboration that took place while designing the mission and belief statements

• The school leadership for including the mission and belief statements in the community handbooks

The visiting team recommends:

• The faculty design a means of incorporating and modeling the school’s mission statement both in the classroom environment and in classroom instruction

• The school mission statement and belief statements be posted and easily accessible on the school’s website
• The mission statement of the school be visible to all visitors in the greeting and entry
areas of each building

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Branching out a bit...

Something different, for a change.

I liked the food festival, as it brought the various ethinic groups together. We had a few Italian families making spetza and sausage and peppers, the Mexican families making their food, and some Polish people making theirs. It was a great display of diversity and unity at the same time, long before those words became buzz words.

Bringing it back is a good idea, but I'm not sure that asking for people to donate time, food, and all the profits from their work (and it is a lot of work) is going to be as sucessful as it was in years past. Old Dover Days involves a lot of people in a lot of different groups, especially kids, and people are stretched thin already.

We'll see how it goes, but the sign up sheets this weekend didn't look promising.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Next Comments - Under "Context"

Now, I have not been through one of these myself, but the comments from someone one the inside were interesting. Apparently this dog and pony show is not uncommon. I still think it is interesting to look at, even if by pulling it apart is shows more of the uselessness of evaluations then anything else.

• the pastor for his interest and support in Catholic education

Really? How often have your kids seen Father Dan in the classroom?

• the principal for her vision, dedication, and guidance in her educational leadership of the school

Puhleese. Given as how they say repeatedly that they want written vision, I think this is hard to please.

• the assistant principal for her daily leadership and her supportive role in the school

Okay…what else should an assistant principal do?

• the faculty and staff of Holy Cross School for their dedication, example, and professionalism in establishing a welcoming and family friendly educational facility

Hard to argue with, but if you can stack the deck with who the “family” are….should be an easy win.

• the parents of Holy Cross School for their commitment to and support of Holy Cross

See above.

• the Middle States Steering Committee for the thorough work in organizing the work of the self-study

A bit self congratulatory, wouldn’t you say?

Friday, March 13, 2009

A bit too late, don't you think?

There are times that I've tossed aside some items simply because they start bordering on nit-picking - see, we do have some standards.

However, I do question the item in the newsletter about the meeting of Catholic School Parents up in Wilmington. I may not agree with all of their goals, but fully support the school's efforts to publicize and get parents involved in this group. However, if you want people to attend a meeting, how much good does it do to send it home the day of meeting? I didn't get home until 5, didn't look at the newsletter until after dinner, and I don't think I'm all that different than most parents in that even if I wanted to attend, I found out way too late.

Monday, March 9, 2009

And Now, part II

• The day-to-day attention to supervising the maintenance and custodial issues

Probably would help to improve the relationship, as well. I know she came in like gangbusters on this issue, but obviously we’re not the only one noticing the cleanliness of the school.

• The ongoing professional development for faculty to support the educational goals and special needs of students.

No arguments, although not sure the focus of the past year on children with special needs is where Holy Cross School is, or should be headed. “Special needs” means special treatment, which means extra costs and extra money.

• The continued effort to improve communication with parents, especially through the use of PowerSchool.

I like the “continued effort” that they work in there, but we’ll deconstruct some later comments about that. I think PowerSchool is doing exactly what it should be doing, but am willing to be enlightened what else could be done.

• The updating of the Science lab and the enhancement of technology resources to increase active learning.

Again, no argument here. One of the reasons the high school was forced to shut down (for those not here at the time) was the declining ability to maintain academic standards in such areas. I’d argue, however, that Denise put all the eggs in the basket with the grant application….she never answered the question what she was going to do if the money wasn’t available, and the issue dropped after she was denied.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Part I of Recomended changes

I didn't like the way the last post came out, so I'm going to break the next posting into two parts.
However, I did notice a few odditities about the report, starting with it designating Holy Cross as an "urban" school. Okay, we're within city limits, but do you really think one would or should call it this?

Anyway, on with the post....

The pursuit of the goals set forth in the action plan to ensure the school’s strategic plan
remains a living document

In other words, update and modify the existing plan to something that has measurable items. No arguments on this.

• The establishment of an Office of Institutional Advancement that will ultimately include a Director of Development

This would require good community and alumni relations, which aren’t exactly a strong point right now. THIS probably should be a priority, even in troubling economic times. However, I think any resources are being forced into simply looking for bodies to put in the seats.

• The pursuit of a traffic control study and the establishment and enforcement of rules to address safety issues.

Something that some have been calling for since she got here and pursued a few actions that made the traffic problem worse. The "enforcement of rules" works IF the rules make sense and actually would help solve the problem.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Good News Reviewed

Having some time off today, I thought I'd pull out the highlights of the report listed below...and a few comments, as well. I'm glad they got recertified, but given the rate of schools that do meet the requirements, is that something to crow about? It is like

• The family atmosphere that pervades the interaction throughout the school community

Not as much as in the past, but it is good to see that some of it still survives. I guess if you cherry pick who gets to meet with the panel, it helps, eh?

• The leadership of the pastor and principal that empowers the faculty and staff in fostering a loving and caring Catholic school that is proud of its Catholicity and educational opportunities.

I would doubt that many of the staff feel they are empowered…unless they are told they are told they are, and where they are allowed to be empowered.

• The re-establishment of the School Advisory Panel and their diligence in monitoring the
strategic plan.

“Re-Establishment” is a rich one, given how Denise did everything in her power to eliminate any such group, and said she didn’t want or need it about a year ago…and drug her feet to get it “re-established.”

• The high-level of parental involvement and support of Holy Cross School and Catholic

Want to compare what the level of involvement was in past years?

• The students of Holy Cross for living and assimilating the faith and Christian values
taught in both school and home

No arguments whatsoever. We’ve got good kids, if I do say so myself.

• The accurate evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Holy Cross School as written in the self-study document.

I might doubt the “accuracy”, but the completeness is probably more the issue.

• The actualization of the school’s Mission and Belief statements.

Academic gobbledygook. Read the Mission and Belief Statement sometime and tell me how they could NOT meet it.

• The curriculum improvements being addressed in the areas of language arts, math and

Change is good, I guess, even if it for change’s sake, but I’ll give her this one, as well.

• The organized use of available communication tools throughout the campus.

Walkie Talkies and the Intercom system, I guess. Glad the school is using them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Things to talk about...

Since it is somewhat buried at Holy Cross School's website, and it had very little notice (the short one line notice in the newsletter), I thought I would help the school by bringing some notice.


There are plenty of things to talk about in the report, but why don't y'all take some time, review what is there, and we'll be back. One thing you may want to consider as you look at it is the timeframe and the status of some of the groups indicated.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

It ain't a democracy....

I've heard this line many times, and it is BS on a couple of levels.

First, then, tell me what it IS if it is not? An organization that we are expected to follow blindly, regardless of whether what is going on is right or not? I really don't believe that anybody seriously expects this...and the Church has a whole lot of lawsuits showing the wisdom of following THAT strategy.

Second...Denise's supporters probably would be better off it WAS a democracy, as it would take 51% of the people to make a decision. In a school that is dependant on people making the choice to go, they can't survive if 49%, or even 25%, and maybe even 20% decide to vote with their feet. If we are at 100 kids less next year (a figure I don't believe is going to be out of line), do you not think that will have a serious impact on the school, and it's future?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deserving of it's own post....

Again, in the interest of fairness, I post what someone submitted as a comment to the main screen.

Holy crap (pun intended)! Haven't you gone away yet? Can't you stop? Is it too hard to just keep your pie hole shut?I have posted here before and will reiterate LOUDLY - Catholic Schools, including HC, ARE NOT Democracies. You have the right to your very own opinion and the school, the parish, the other parents and everyone else on the planet has the right to not care.You also have the right to remove your child from the school and go elsewhere. Put your kids into public school. Go cry to the Administrators and the School Board about how you don't like things in public schools. They'll pat you on you widdle head and scoot you right on out the door.You and your secret Cabal Of The Hurt Feelings can take your attorney, secret meetings and hurt feelings and go bye-bye. Seriously, if you would stop for one minute and think like the rational, reasonable, adult Christian you claim to be, you'd be stunned at your whining over the past months. 95% of the other families at school are very happy with our children being at HC.In fact, my only problem is that every so often I hear that "the Blogger" is at it again. Every time I read your rambling whinings, I am losing minutes of my life that I can never get back. Ever. And I blame you.I can sum up my feelings toward you with a quote from "Tommy Boy"-***************************If you guys don't know how to use a seatbelt, just ring your call button and Tommy will come back there and hit you on the head with a tack hammer because you're a *retard*. ****************************Yup, that about does it.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The reference in the newsletter to kids saying things in the classroom that must have came from discussions at home was interesting....but was it handled in the best way? We are left to guess at what came up, in what context, and at what point the parents were called, but it seemed an odd thing to fill up the newsletter. Not sure if it is a "little Johnny" story about where babies come from, or something else, but the more I think about it, the less I am sure what the intent is to be.

Not talk about the "issue"? Hmm...doesn't seem like that makes a lot of sense, especially if I want to exercise my rights as a parent to teach or inform my child of "issues" before society gets their chance. Talk about it and tell the kids not to tell anyone? Again, depending on the issue, it may well go against my wishes.

The issue probably does need to be handled delicately, and on an individual basis based on the kids, the teacher, the parents, and the issue, not mass mailings warning you to be careful on what you discuss in your home.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spreading like wildfire

One interesting character trait that is coming out as a result of the purges that have occured with students and teachers is some seems to be a mixture of meanness and vindictiveness. More interestingly are the results.

We've had schools call back to the principal for input as to students who have left, perhaps when the parents and Denise have not always seen eye to eye. She has refused to give any recommendation or characterization of the student, using the excuse she didn't know the students well enough. While theoretically possibly true, it blows the mind that a principal couldn't defer this to another staff member who COULD give such a recommendation. It also bewilders the asking school, who find it hard to believe that any principal would admit to such a lack of knowledge.

Schools have called on other personnel matters, getting equally odd answers. Refusing to give a recommendation is one thing, but implying dark things is another. Fortunately, the calling schools ignored her comments, but later got clarification on some of the goings on at the school...spreading her Denise's fame even further.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Private School Blues


One thing that we've said time and time again is that people leave schools for a variety of reasons, and the economic downturn certainly has an effect everywhere. I'm posting the article and will have some comments on it later, but I thought I'd give everybody else a chance to have the first word.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Parking lot blues

Maybe it is the bad weather, but doesn't it feel as if the parking lot traffic has not gotten any better, even with less students?

What is funny is that Jacono never quite realized how her "improvements" really screwed the situation up. Even little things like changing the start time (in a town with lots of state employees who use the same streets), or compressing what used to be a staggered start time for the little ones have major impacts on the traffic situation. Of course, to her the problem was the "parking lot moms" who hung out for a few minutes after their kids were dropped off. She has effectively killed that form of information exchange (congrats on that, Denise!), but strangely, the idea that less people rushing to get out at the same time never occured to her as a good thing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Parking Improvements

Inside sources tell me that we've lost a little over $120,000 worth of students over the past year.

I guess that is one way to improve traffic flow through the parking lot.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Volunteers, anyone? Hello, is this thing on?

Interesting request in the newsletter about wanting volunteers for the AR progam. It is interesting for a number of ways...

1. We had a vibrant, well staffed volunteer program for the AR kids. There was this belief that the kids needed a bit of help and/or encouragement to get on and take the tests, especially the younger ones. Someone apparently didn't agree, and ended it...and the kids (of all ages) are now taking a lot less advantage of the AR program. Who would figure?

2. The second comment was about signing a waiver....again, this was something that was suggested to Denise, who snorted her disaproval at teachers and parents who had the teremity to suggest such a thing. And yet, it is now back.

3. Finally, one can volunteer for this...as long as you sign the form (not a bad thing, but certainly not an orginal idea), work with another class other than your kid's, and agree to shield your eyes if you happen to accidentally see your child in passing.

Okay, I made the last point up, but it may be EXACTLY why there are so volunteers this year. It is not from a lack of opportunities, but it is a lack of opportunities that people want to do. When you coordinate volunteer work, one has to realize that YOUR needs are not quite enough, and that there has to be something in it for them. Yes, there is the satisfaction of a job well done, but there is in all of us a need for a bit more...that we ARE making a difference, that we can see the results, and that it also sends a message to our kids that volunteering is important. So while they haven't been breaking down the doors to volunteer to fill beer cups for "Smokey", "One-Eye", or "Creepy" at casino night, that doesn't mean that people don't want to help out. It is that they don't want to feel as if they aren't really needed or that go against what they believe.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bringing it up to the top

Hey...been quiet, but not at HCS.  We've been busy at the Quizzinator household with the holidays and stuff.  We had family in from all over, and you all know how guests can sometime overstay their welcome.

Things at HC are about the same. Quiet resignation by some, quiet desperation by others.  What is the most interesting, as usual, is NOT the events, but the response by the administration.

It is no secret that some that have left have not gone under the best of circumstances, and while I don't expect dirty laundry to be aired, I do draw the line at hearing how these stories are spun. I mean, come on...what is the point of indicating in the newsletter that someone is leaving AND feeling the need to brag/warn that there are 50 applications for the job?  And that the job is advertised, but, perhaps bowing to the reputation that HC is developing, the school isn't even mentioned?