Friday, February 20, 2009

Unmentionables

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.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the principal's notes are odd.

I didn't know about this blog until a few months ago, but was reading the old comments and found a good one. I'd like to repost it.

"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."
***
You'll get no argument on these points. However, the "provision" of the environment and the "fostering" of faith requires one who demonstrates the capacity to lead others toward those goals. That's the point--she doesn't.

Telling people what to do, humiliating people who have a long history at HC, and failing to demonstrate basic competence in human interaction is not leadership.

Only the most insecure person, one who really does not have the capacity to "foster" a POSITIVE "environment"--manages by showing contempt for that which was inherited. NOt only is this approach poor managment practice, it is really the exact opposite of true leadership. Rather than the focus being on BUILDING something positive, it is focused on destroying that which the person views as needing "fixed."

With all due respect, the issue in regard to this person isn't her POSITION, or the ROLE of principal--its her ABILITY to lead--and while the ROLE of a manager of a department store and the ROLE of a principal in a (supposedly) Christ-based educational institution are different, the leadership styles and skill sets are not. One is either a "positive" leader--(fostering a positive environment), a "negative" leader (associated with an abrasive "my way or the highway" type of personality) or not a leader at all (passive bystanders--like the pastor).

While in some circumstances the negative leadership style may actually be effective in the short run (depending on other factors), over time "ruling through fear" will result in long term ineffectiveness and destructiveness to both the organization and those involved in it.

Holy Cross is on that path, and while some may feel that bowing to authority--no matter how arbitrary and mean--is "supporting the school"--I'd like to think that hopeful prayer combined with accurate, honest and constructive criticism (something that she has not provided to others) is actually the most responsible course for salvaging what will ultimately be a very different kind of school.

Continued and consistent criticism, including repeated engagement with the pastor and the Diocese will over time get results.

August 21, 2008 11:02 PM

Anonymous said...

Here's another good comment.

Over time, an institution will reflect its leader's philosophy. Unfortunately for Holy Cross, in the next few years, I suspect and predict that more teachers will leave (after all, no one teaches at a Catholic school for the pay, and if you're going to have a horrible work environment, youmight as well get compensated), and more parents will seek alternatives to what will likely be declining academic standards and the lack of a Christian environment.

Being a "Catholic" school carries with it a type of "brand"--high academic standards, dedicated faculty and a loving but structured teaching environment. Holy Cross has built its "barnd" over time, and through the hard work of previous administrators (two of whom had their own flaws, but nevertheless contributed to its success), pastors and--most importantly--parents. If Holy Cross fails to abide by this level of expectation, it will ultimately close or become a very different school than it is now.

The primary "public relations" ambassador for any private school is the parents who send their children to it. We received high recommendations from parents about HC before we sent our children to it. The days of simply sending your child to a "Catholic school" because it is labeled such are long over--and in some of the blogs I've read, this fundamental reality seems to be missed. Holy Cross must compete in order to survive--and "compete" means having an attractive and welcoming environment for its families who choose to trust their child in that environment.

The very existence of this "blog", and some comments that are in other websites like "Great Schools" and "Private Schools" reveals that there is something dreadfully wrong with the Holy Cross "brand."

It appears that the fundamental problem is the "leader"--or that there really is no true "leader" in the sense of someone who attempts to foster teamwork and build on the successes of the past. If the principal does not fundamentally change--or if Fr. continues to take a "hands off" approach and continues to turn a blind eye to her "style", then Holy Cross School will stop being an attractive school for parents--and it will ultimately become much smaller than it is now.

August 11, 2008 10:50 PM

Anonymous said...

Two very excellent posts. Thanks for refocusign our attention to the problem!

Anonymous said...

And the opposing point of view:

I hate to see our school's good name dragged through the mud like this. Our family is relatively new and we are very pleased with Holy Cross. We enrolled our children so that they would grow and learn in a Christian environment. We have done so at great expense and sacrifice hoping that they would be in a caring and moral environment. I am embarassed by what I've read online from other parents. I understand that people have some grievances but is this forum really a solution? How does this help anyone other than the few who are "venting"? I fully support our right to free speech, but shouldn't we parents be responsible in our speech? Shouldn't we Christians behave in a way that reflects grace, forgiveness and kindness? Perhaps if you were to approach Mrs. Jacono with some degree of respect and kidness you would get some in return. I hope and pray for a successful school year for our school.

August 29, 2008 3:41 PM

The Quizzinator said...

I'll give you credit for at least acknowledging that things may be rotten in Denmark.

And if you are new here, I suggest you take a minute and review the archives. Respect goes two ways, and she certainly got a lot more than she ever gave to some people.

Yes, she does give some people respect...those who either respond to her bullying with equal force, or those who would get their nose broke if Denise turned a corner too fast.

However, I can assure we've tried every way possible, and I can also assure you, should you try to resurect the old chestnut, it is not simply "not getting our way". Anyone who says that is the problem doesn't understand the problem, or has drank very heavily at the Kool-Aide pitcher.

What you don't read here, I hope you notice, is complaints about the teachers or PTO. Teachers are great, and are doing the best job they can. Some pray for strength to make it through another year, some count down towards retirement, and many are desperately trying to get out of the situation.

The PTO has also managed to do a great job under trying circumstances. Donations are down, participation is down, but it is not through any lack of effort by these gallant ladies. I think some are in denial as to WHY they are not doing better, but they can still manage (as can be seen in the pictures in the paper earlier this month) to through a heckuva an event like the Father-Daughter dance.

The school is a good school, and I hope you see that we are not afraid of not getting our way, but losing even more of what made Holy Cross the standard bearer for elementary education in the area.

Jack Mehoff said...

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"-
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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.

Anonymous said...

who is this
/