Monday, May 18, 2009

PS 24's Principal Scharper ousted

By Kate Pastor
kpastor@riverdalepress.com

Principal Philip Scharper has been reassigned from PS 24, according to sources.
Marvin Shelton, President of District 10’s Community Education Council, confirmed Mr. Scharper’s removal from the school by District Superintendent Sonia Menendez, saying he had been “temporarily reassigned pending investigation.”
The principal, who has had complaints lodged against him for religious proselytizing and for contributing to an environment rife with bullying as well as instances of corporal punishment, was last at school on Friday, Mr. Shelton said.
“Where he’s reassigned to, I have no idea,” he said.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wish Scharper the best going forward -- while his painful inability to relate to people and to articulate his vision didn't help his cause, the seeds for this disaster were sown at Tweed.

I wonder how many more Leadership Academy principals need to crash and burn before the DOE realizes that it's astonishingly arrogant to assume that someone without much educational experience can successfully run a school.

Anonymous said...

Tweed? Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/resources/man_tweed.shtml

Anonymous said...

Why did I find this information out from this blog and not from my childrens'school? Why didn't my kids come home today knowing that they have a new principal?

24's administration and PA has always been, even pre-Scharper, lacking in ability to clearly communicate with the larger parent body, unless of course, one is "lucky" enough to be in the loop.

What kind of examples are we setting and modeling for our children?

Amy Wright said...

Both of my children knew about it, in fact the interim principal came into their classrooms and introduced herself. The PA did not fire Mr. Scharper, and certainly was not in a position to do so. Most of us found out in much the same manner that you did.

Anonymous said...

I would only assume that there is some overly-complicated DOE protocol that must be followed for getting the appropriate information out - to protect Mr. Scharper AND the school community. I'm on the PA and I found out about the events by going to the school, talking to parents and asking questions. No secret handshake required, believe me!

Anonymous said...

Well it's about time. And thank goodness for the school's brave, dedicated and enlightened PA leadership. If not for them, I am certain that we would still be subjected to the saga of a principal who was just not up to the job.

Anonymous said...

Well, she didn't introduce herself to my kids. You are lucky that your kids were introduced.

Still, why was there no notice from the school to inform parents of the change? Who is the interim princpal, what is her name? Will she be at 24 on a daily basis? How do we reach her? Do the teachers know what the protocol is for them now, should they need their principal's assistance? Do we?

Anonymous said...

who's Scharper, anyway?

Anonymous said...

No need to explain anything. No one will believe this is coincidence.
It is unusual to see PA board members and their husbands gathering together outside school early this morning. It was obvious they were waiting for someone today, just like they waited before the CBS and Riverdale Press reporters came on March 26.
These are the biggest bullies at our school.  

Eva Lana said...

I think that parent leaders should have sent out an email updating us IMMEDIATELY, just as they sent out invites asking us to support them. Parent leaders made "lack of communication" the cornerstone of their platform against Scharper, and now it is time for them to be a paradigm of transparency. Given how deeply involved Parent Leaders were in this matter, I find it hard to believe that they have no information to offer, nearly 4 days after Scharper was fired. I was in the school on Friday, May 15 and I saw that 2 DOE officials had signed the logbook and an emergency Fire truck & NYPD car were parked outside of the school-- what happened? I am still trying to find out. And I am not sure how to find out. To date, I have received a bunch of emails from an array of different listserves . I wonder why there isn't a FULL email list of parents so that we can receive information from our parent leaders.Perhaps the Parent Leaders should assign someone to be in charge of the dissemination of electronic updates to ALL parents. If the parent leaders do not have the energy to disseminate information quickly in a time of crisis (when there are epidemics and grave safety issues in NYC), then I will gladly volunteer for that position.
Looking back at the Whitehall meetings and the Starbucks signings,filled with endless tirades against Scharper's lack of communication, I can only hope that the parents who campaigned so hard for our acceptance will adhere to their own standards, and begin releasing immediate updates on all matters that relate to our children. We need to be cohesive in a time of crisis, as we all want what is best for our children. And to decide to what is best, we need all of the facts. When someone witholds fact, I feel as if he/she is trying to do my thinking for me- and I resent it. Especially in school matters, because elected/nominated parents do not need any special credentials to obtain their posts- so why would I entrust decisions to them without a review of the same facts that they have access to? parent leaders campaigned hard to deny their "clique-ishness" and began an unprecedented effort to include the entire parent body in their mission. Any lack of transparency now,and any unwillingness to involve all of the parents in the current crisis will belie their motives and undercut the progress that has been made. I can only hope that there is something in my In-Box.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the PA knows nothing more than anyone else....seems like the DOE is keeping everyone in the dark. This did just happen yeterday.

Anonymous said...

It is the DOE that should issue a timely statement on Mr. Scharper's removal, not the PA.

The PA leadership is a group of very active parent volunteers. Since when is it the PA's responsibility to issue official notices about DOE staff matters, especially on a subject of this seriousness?

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with Eva Lana. I have three children in the school, and none of them said anything about the new principal.

The only communication we received so far has been an "FYI" e-mail with two links to tiny blurbs in the Post and Riverdale Press.

The lack of transparency has been absolutely appalling, and PA's attempts to convince the general populations that they will be more forthcoming with information failed miserably. The arrogance with which board members tell you "COME TO THE MEETINGS!", "COME TO SCHOOL!" is beyond disgusting. I am one of the many parents at school who work full-time, AND volunteer as much as I can, and there is absolutely no way that I could come to school late last week or this week to find out about Scharper's ousting. Does PA exec board and SLT imply that I should be in school every day looking for information on such matters? saveps24 website that would have been a perfect vehicle to disseminate such information, has been suspiciously silent on the matter.

Ridiculous and disappointing and very unprofessional is how I would characterize PA leadership's handling of this. It is fantastic that we raise a lot of money through PA, it's wonderful that PA is very active and all that. It should have no bearing on PA's ability to handle a crisis like this. It has been and continues to be nothing but inept.

Anonymous said...

Its seems obvious to those with clear heads and minds that the PA probably CAN'T respond in any way until the DOE does. Such an active, ghardworking and involved parent body would not stay silent on an issue they have worked so long and hard on unless they HAD to. Instead of speaking just to hear yourself speak and hurling accusations, perhaps you should contact the DOE and ask why an offical statement has not yet been sent home to the families.

Eva Lana said...

Even if the PA knows nothing more than what was published in the newspaper, then they had a duty to give us at least that information. I have just been told by parent leaders that the DOE wanted to 'announce' Scharpers dismissal "first"-- well, how can they be "first' when the announcement has already been made in the press? And why is the PA- who fought an guerrila-like battle suddenly standing on ceremony? the PA role is not clearly defined, and since alot of folks helped with the Scharper dismissal, and they deserve to know ANY news however small, and this was BIG. None of the parents I speak with understand why information travels so slowly at PS 24 in the midst of the digital age. this problem is particularly acute now that we are faced with a potential epidemic. How are we being informed about important health risks, I wonder. now that we have no principal (even if it is for a day)- who is making decisions- and why the lack of transparency on the medical front? meanwhile,the front cover of today's NY Times reads: "AS SCHOOLS CLOSE BECAUSE OF FLU, NO GUIDANCE ON HOW TO REIN IT IN". When I called in to report Max's fever today, I was told by the PS 24 office that "alot of students are out of school" and when I pressed about the reasons, the response I got was "allergies". well, do I believe that- or should i go to a lawmaker- as Queen parents are - demanding the results of flu tests & that school attendance records be made public? Not to sound alarmist (though its better to be safe than sorry), but alot of things could happen during a leaderless time, with epidemics raging. I do not want to wait for news, nor do i want to wait for the next PA meeting (On May 26)The experts in today's Times said that "disinfecting schools is pointless" because the viruses (that live for about 8hr) immediately repopulate the surfaces when infected children re-enter the re-opened schools. Also, children shed virus for at least a day before they show physical sypmtoms-- so the most effective way to limit the disease is to (1)isolate & remove the sick at the first sign of illness (recommended by Dr. Furuya, infection control specialist and Columbia Presbyterian)and (2)limit contact by wearing masks. though the latter sounds draconian, according to Mr Olsen- an infection control specialist. "the masks capture all the droplets at the point of release" and even though it may be hard to get kids to don a mask,Olsen continues "I dont know how [they will be made to wear masks], but they get them to do other things." If it meant staying in school, I think kids could be convinced that safety comes first- and it could be a good biology lesson on how disease is transmitted. Thus, based on all this information in the NY Times and and my own call to PS 24- i have come to the conclusion that we may need to have some updates on the flu situation- as well as the Fifth's Disease outbreak, that was reported in a letter recently circulated by the Temple. Now I have not seen the letter,but I recall seeing some sort of notice on Fifth's earlier at PS 24. I am in the process of securing the letter and I will make its full content part of my next blog entry.Though I am not an expert in this subject, I have done research on blood borne diseases at the Bronx Veteran's Hospital, and I know that there are steps for limiting the extent of any communicable disease. If we are not even told about the incidence of the illness,however, how can we take the appropriate measures to protect our children, and the wages & education that stand to be lost from school closings? these problems come at a bad time, because we are adjusting to the change of principal- but they are on our plate and the responsibility is ours alone. the CDC (center for disease control) is being inconsistent and their flu website has overlooked the mention of schools, so this may be hitting them out of left field. Just as the Scharper firing hit us. But that doesn't mean that reports should be witheld until someone figures out what to say or do-- because it is NOT clear what the right answer is, and I am tired of waiting for a simple update-- until those who are trying to "help us" figure out how to spin the vital facts, and how to appears as if they know what to do next. It is ok to NOT know how to handle something, especially if it comes as a surprise and it is a multi-dimensional problem. the sound (and fair ) thing to do is to accept that more heads are better than a few,and resist the paternalistic tendency to "manage" our truth. everybody who may be affected has a right to know about everything that affects his/her child. Parent leaders must be sensitive to this and appoint someone to deal with the burgeoning questions that we have. The newly announced May 26 meeting, is too far off for me, because it is over a week away-- meanwhile email is 24/7-- just like the news. So the PA should give us ANY news, however scarce- and endeavor to obtain as much news as possible on the health issues & the new principal.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Lana,

If your incoherent ramblings are indicative of your psychological makeup, the PS24 community would be well served to investigate your removal as the next postive step in school reform.

With parents like you, I am surprised Scharper didn't resign before he was "reassigned".

I suggest that you try the decaf next time.

Eva Lana said...

CONGRATS to the PA!!! for sending out detailed information on the Scharper dismissal- below is text from DOE letter that was included on an email list called "PS24Parent"-- so be sure to be on it!!. in addition paper/backpack distribution was organized by hardworking PA members. Though I have expectations about the flow of information -i am also relieved that the PA is doing alot to help the news get out. Note that Nothing i say in this blog is an attack on anyone who gives their time to the school. To the contrary, I have offered my own. I think that the Scharper crisis was a good training ground for us vis-a-vis establishing communication. we are currently facing an enormous health crisis and parent updates need to be instantaneous. Since I blogged earlier about Fifth's disease at PS 24, I found out that some classes received a notification- but since my child is sick (just a stomach ache- luckily) i did not get such a warning.We have to do better than that-- and we CAN in the digital age. Given that Horace Mann just closed its doors to prevent an outbreak, we need to figure out how to get digital updates on health issues IMMEDIATELY. And to create a forum where parents offer information on their children- so that we can halt the spread of infectious diseases without keeping schools closed all month.
HERE IS DOE MEMO on SCHARPER, in case you are not on the list (and a blogger!)

FROM SONYA MENDEZ: Dear PS 24 School Community,

This is to inform you that effective Monday, May 18, 2009, Mr. Phillip Scharper has been reassigned. Ms. Deirdre Burke, retired principal of PS 340 in District 10 will be the Supervisor in charge until further notice. I am confident that the entire school community will support Ms. Burke as she provides expert leadership.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bob Cohen, Network Leader, at 718.828.3159.

Anonymous said...

This is all very new, and we do not know what precipitated Mr. Sxharper's hasty retreat. I don't think it's fair to come down so hard on the PA. It's really the DOE's job to inform us of what happened.

It's most likely a delicate matter that requires a certain amount of tact, in order to protect those involved in the decision-making. As soon as the DOE leaders came into the mix it was taken out of the PA's hands. They may not be able to say more than they already have.

According to a letter sent out by the PA via email, the interim principal will be sending home a letter tomorrow. As far as any letters going home today, I know some classes sent them home today and some didn't. My daughter's class didn't yet receive the letter but I know some other's did.

I think we need to be patient. There's a great deal of transition going on right now. I'm sure in time that questions will be answered to everyone's satisfaction.

Let's give the PA a break. They have no reason to keep information from us at this point.

Anonymous said...

About Horace Mann: "This morning the school sent an e-mail out to parents and students, saying that the closure was due to "an unusually-high number of student absences, the majority of which have been related to flu-like symptoms, including several confirmed cases of Influenza A, but not Swine Flu."

PS 24 has had almost 100 absences in the past few days. This is almost twice the number of absences on a typical day. Why are they still open?

Eva Lana said...

has the moderator taken off for the weekend?i posted something days ago and this blog seems static

Eva Lana said...

I understand that the announcement of a principal's removal may require an official DOE notice, but there is NO reason that parent leaders need the DOE's permission to inform other parents. And there is NO reason to delay communications, even for a minute in the digital age. One of the BEST things about the internet is ease of communication, and if the PA were using the internet fully, we could all be attending their meetings remotely. Last week I offered the PA my WEBEX technology so that they can beam (and record) IMPORTANT UPCOMING MEETINGS over the NET. I am not sure why anyone on this blog is advising me to be "patient" about information in 2009. I view that advice as paternalistic (though you may have not intended it as such). You are free to cultivate patience, but I prefer to amass knowledge. The reasons the PA may have for being slow to report are irrelevant. the questions for me are (1)do parent leaders hold vital information and (2)do they have the means to disseminate that information--and when the answer to both of these is YES- there is a Duty to inform the parent body without delay. The flu epidemic (which is NOT normal in May according our Westside pediatrician)underscores the importance of immediate communication. Some of us like to live in 2009 and do not want information to be filtered or delayed. Removing Scharper was a predictable occurence- though the bizarre episode that accelerated his removal, was not. These aren't sensitive military secrets. They are not even shocking or sensitive news. they are examples of the things we need to know. so just let the information flow. we all do better when we know what is going on. that is my view, and I have the courage to sign my name to it.

Anonymous said...

It agree, it is an amusing piece

Anonymous said...

The personal attacks on Eva Lana are completely untrue and malicious. The people making them did not address any of the substantive points raised by Eva Lana. Eva won her case with the Dept of Education and has secured free public school for her child-- that doesn't happen if you threaten teachers.Eva raised good points about education & safety- and that made alot of people look bad. But her views were heard by the Superintendent and the principal in a private sit down. And several of the teachers who discriminated against Eva's dyslexic child were later removed. These bloggers resent that fact that Eva Lana is a vocal Harvard graduate who won Intel when she was at Bronx Science. Eva has spent 20 years teaching test prep in colleges and law schools-- and that's why she makes a lot of good points and signs her name to them! I hope she takes action against these liars (as well as the moderator who helped them sneak in their posts after May 19- because they would have been responded to if they were inserted on May 19- the day the blog shut down). The gossips who try so hard to run PS 24 have alot to lose by being exposed- that's why they stoop low enough to write these lies.They belong in high school and their self-serving views on eductaion is keeping our children out of the specialized high schools!

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