My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Amherst schools chief may be leaving

Hampshire Gazette
By NICK GRABBE
Monday, March 8, 2010

AMHERST - Lawyers for the School Committee and Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez are negotiating the terms of his departure after only eight months on the job, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

When Rodriguez arrived in Amherst last July, he was the fifth person to lead the Amherst schools in slightly over a year. His hiring provoked controversy even before he started, because of his $158,000 salary, plus $10,000 for housing and $5,000 for travel expenses.

His expected departure comes just two weeks before Amherst votes on a tax override with big implications for the schools. He has been negotiating with the teachers union over contract givebacks, and said he hoped to announce an agreement before the March 23 vote.

The Regional School Committee is scheduled to conduct a public evaluation of Rodriguez at its meeting Tuesday. Last Wednesday, committee members received copies of confidential comments about the superintendent's performance made by school employees.

At noon Friday, Rodriguez met with Farshid Hajir, chairman of the Regional School Committee, and Andy Churchill, chairman of the Amherst School Committee. Tracy Farnham of the Pelham School Committee was also present for the meeting in Rodriguez's office.

An emergency meeting of the Regional School Committee was held at 6 p.m. on Friday. Hajir made a motion to go into executive session "to discuss collective bargaining or litigation strategy," one of the allowable reasons under state law for meeting behind closed doors. The committee has another executive session scheduled for tonight at 7 in the Regional Middle School.

Rodriguez was not present for Friday's School Committee meeting. The only person there besides committee members was Kathryn Mazur, the schools' human resources director.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified said Sunday that the School Committee and Rodriguez have agreed it would be good to find a way for him not to work in the school district.

Two Amherst blogs were filled with speculation about Rodriguez's departure over the weekend. Contacted by the Gazette on Sunday morning, Rodriguez said, "The rumor of me resigning is untrue" and declined further comment.

Hajir issued a statement Sunday after consulting with the School Committee's attorney.

"The School Committees are not in a position to confirm or deny any speculation on the matter at this time," the statement read in part. "The School Committees are dedicated to providing the public with appropriate information in a timely manner within the legal guidelines under which we are governed."

Hajir's statement also said, "If the superintendent is not in the district for any length of time, there is a well-established protocol in place for Assistant Superintendent Maria Geryk to be in charge."

"I wasn't hired to be a maintenance man but a change agent," Rodriguez said at his first School Committee meeting last July. In an interview, he said that his role models are his father, who left Cuba in 1955, and former President Ronald Reagan.

Rodriguez, 49, had lived in Miami most of his life, working as a history teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. His wife and his two daughters still live there, and Rodriguez has spent much time in Florida over the past eight months.

One of the first things Rodriguez did in Amherst was to commission an evaluation of the schools by the deputy superintendent in Memphis. The blunt report, which Rodriguez read to the School Committee in its entirety, said that Amherst should do more for poor and lower-performing students, overhaul the curriculum and find better ways to measure progress.

The controversial School Committee decision to close Mark's Meadow School took place just before Rodriguez arrived, but he was involved in the subsequent wrangling over the redistribution of elementary students among the three remaining schools. At one point he recommended moving all sixth-graders to the middle school.

The next dustup was the resignation of Glenda Cresto as middle school principal four days after classes started last September, with Rodriguez saying she had told him she was not a "good fit" for the position. High school principal Mark Jackson agreed to take on responsibility for both buildings.

Last November, Rodriguez said he would send an email message to faculty and staff advising them to adhere to state law regarding "group recitation" of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each school day. Three days later, after learning that this law is in legal limbo, he said he would consult with an attorney before acting on "this very thorny issue."

Rodriguez arrived in Amherst just as the school district was adjusting to the elimination of the equivalent of 55 full-time positions. For the past three months, he has been talking with School Committee members, principals and staff about a prioritized list of additional cuts for next year, with their severity to be determined by how much state aid Amherst receives and whether or not the override passes.

In mid-February, he became embroiled in another controversy after he gave the School Committee a memo outlining 40 days off between last Aug. 10 and this April 26, including nine days of future sick leave. He did not reveal until later that he had a medical condition that would require surgery in mid-April.

Rodriguez has also been involved in comprehensive reviews of special education programs and the middle school. The special education review is due to be completed in June. Consultant Barry Beers is scheduled to give has assessment of the effectiveness of the middle school Tuesday, at the same School Committee meeting that includes Rodriguez's scheduled evaluation.

This public meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

No comment.

Nina Koch said...

A statement from Farshid Hajir has been posted on the front page of the arps web site.

Rick said...

Keep moving forward and do not allow this to slow anything down in our efforts to continually improve our schools. We’ve got good people to do that; we should just keep doing it.

Anonymous said...

I think we should slow down at least a little and have a conversation about hiring/selection.

Although the schools have been able to hire good principals at the elementary level, the system has failed in the three recent searches (Superintendent, last Principal Middle School and the attempt last year to hire an Asst Superintendent).

Let's identify what can be done better before finalizing searches for these same three positions this year.

Abbie said...

I hope the conditions of his departure don't unduly cost us. I hope there is language in his contract to the effect that if he doesn't fulfill a year's contract then his vacation/sick time is prorated to that time he served. It seems unfair that an employee could use all his/her vacation/sick time due for an entire YEAR without payback.

I also hope his severance pay is reasonable, 4 weeks top.

I also don't agree with the idea that he was hounded out of office. What folks say on blogs should be small potatoes for someone in his position. What professor reads what students say in 'rate your professor' which is usually contributed to by students who do poorly.

What it comes down to was whether or not he could do the JOB.

Ed said...

"he said that his role models are his father, who left Cuba in 1955, and former President Ronald Reagan."

The wrong people were supporting him for this to be true. While I am not really sure what a Republican even *is* anymore, as even I have left the party, I never saw him as one...

Ed said...

Hajir made a motion to go into executive session "to discuss collective bargaining or litigation strategy,"

Catherine, a strongly worded caveat - be very careful with this!!!! I THINK THE SC IS CLOSE TO VIOLATING THE LAW.

The open meeting law is http://www.bristolda.com/DA/open%20meeting%20law.pdf - this on a DA site but it is the law.

And for reasons to go Executive:
(1) To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health rather than the professional competence of an
individual, provided that the individual involved in such executive session has been notified in writing by the
governmental body, at least forty-eight hours prior to the proposed executive session.


So if you go this route you have to give 48 hours notice to him (and he can sue if you don't), and it can only be things other than his professional competence discussed.

(2) To consider the discipline or dismissal of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual, provided that the individual involved in such executive session pursuant to this clause has been notified in writing by the governmental body at least forty-eight hours prior to the proposed executive session.

Gut feeling: this is what you are doing. But you gotta say it...

(3) To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining orlitigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the governmental body, to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel, to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel.

I don't see this applying here - and even if it does, note the bolded part of where public disclosure would hurt the district's negotiating position. It wouldn't...

Now I am not a lawyer, but I do know this law fairly well... And there was a case up in Sunderland where they had to redo a police chief search because they violated the law.

Ed said...

Gut feeling -- if you are negotiating a buyout with him because of concerns about his professional competence, I think you have to do this in public....

I think you do, unlike Maine law which has a blanket "personnel" exemption, the Massachusetts law is far more restrictive.

Anonymous said...

This is upsetting news about the Superintendent. I am concerned that we don't have the right personnel in charge of HR issues in our schools. I have learned about a very questionable hire of a HS principal in the past that put our children in danger.

I am not saying that the HR person makes the final decisions. However, the right HR person should be able to do the research to get us as much information as possible. Also, the right HR person should really be able to argue for the most qualified candidate in a convincing way. Maybe something like, if we hire someone who has never been a Superintendent before, let's look at candidates in the district-- the learning curve is steep and at least someone who is from the district will know Amherst's back story. Finally, the right HR person should have contacts that lead to top talent- or at least be able to tap into the right resources.

Are you reaching out in a targeted way to people in education with stellar reputations who have some local ties, for example alumni from some of the colleges? This takes a lot of work and it just doesn't seem to be getting done. Does the HR person approach the most competent and well-liked people in the district to get their recommendations for open positions? How about asking them for recommendations of people they trained with that live elsewhere but they know are excellent prospects? Have you identified who on your staff is really top-notch and are you using them as a resource to help new personnel? Are you letting your new hires know that this is a very liberal town and Ronald Reagan is not popular here? Are you following up with your personnel on their sick leave requests and asking for further explanation without violating anyone's rights, so that a brouhaha could be avoided?

I am an objective outsider who doesn't know the HR person in town. What I know is that we have serious HR issues, major positions open, and years of personnel issues that seem avoidable. If Dr. Rodriguez has to go, there should be others. Have you gotten his feedback on some of the people who work here?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this isn't the right place to say this but I for one will be watching the negotiation of severance cost very closely.

I was disappointed with the original cost of the contract for Dr. R. and prior to that the cost of the termination language in
the Spragues' contract.


E.S.

Ed said...

I am an objective outsider who doesn't know the HR person in town. What I know is that we have serious HR issues, major positions open, and years of personnel issues that seem avoidable.

Yes, and I am anorexic.

Look, I don't know who you are, or what it is that you have with the HR director, or even who she is, but this is really getting annoying.

I don't know who the HR director is or even what he/she/it did to you (which I suspect is part of this) but I can tell you that when even I get annoyed, it is telling...

So a challenge: put up or shut up - either identify what the issue(s) are or end this. The Perp-Principal was what - 8 years ago? The Supt was interviewed by and hired by the School Committee and subcommittees operating under their authority - blame them.

The Amherst Schools have a real problem because they are stuck in the tie-died '70s and being dragged into the 21st Century without going through the intervening 40 years. That is a cultural/political issue, not a human resource one.

The Amherst Schools have a real problem because of the demographic changes in this town that no one seems to see or care about. That is a cultural/economic issue, not a human resource one.

How the h*** do you expect a human resource director to do what a Superintendent can't?????

Maybe the HR director is a total and complete schmuck, but from where I am from, facts tend to matter. And you don't go attacking people by name without using your own...

Anonymous said...

Hi Abbie at 8:36 a.m. I think he was hounded out of office for sure. Someone or some group made it impossible for him to succeed here.

We made him argue for and enact or set in motion some very unpopular changes and initiatives (cutting personnel, more transparency in the budget ((do you think some of the high-paid Special Ed and ELL administrators were happy to see that their high salaries were public for the first time in who knows how long)) redistricting, disbanding of the language clustering, requisitioning evaluations of major programs and curricula, and even though it had already been decided that Marks Meadow was closing, it seems like he took the blame for that too). And after we asked him to do all those things, we asked the people whose feathers were being ruffled for their feedback about him.


After all that work, he is still not good enough.

This reminds me of church politics. Some congregations run priests out of town year after year.

There are some big egos on the School Committee, and they didn't want him here in the first place so they seized on any negative feedback about him.

Maybe Catherine should change the name of her blog to "I told you so!" I am a supporter of hers and I don't want to take sides. But I was hoping I could support school administration and the School Committee at the same time. Is that possible in Amherst?

Ed said...

I am an objective outsider who doesn't know the HR person in town. What I know is that we have serious HR issues, major positions open, and years of personnel issues that seem avoidable.

Yes, and I am anorexic.

Look, I don't know who you are, or what it is that you have with the HR director, or even who she is, but this is really getting annoying.

I don't know who the HR director is or even what he/she/it did to you (which I suspect is part of this) but I can tell you that when even I get annoyed, it is telling...

So a challenge: put up or shut up - either identify what the issue(s) are or end this. The Perp-Principal was what - 8 years ago? The Supt was interviewed by and hired by the School Committee and subcommittees operating under their authority - blame them.

The Amherst Schools have a real problem because they are stuck in the tie-died '70s and being dragged into the 21st Century without going through the intervening 40 years. That is a cultural/political issue, not a human resource one.

The Amherst Schools have a real problem because of the demographic changes in this town that no one seems to see or care about. That is a cultural/economic issue, not a human resource one.

How the h*** do you expect a human resource director to do what a Superintendent can't?????

Maybe the HR director is a total and complete schmuck, but from where I am from, facts tend to matter. And you don't go attacking people by name without using your own...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed. It's me at 9:54 a.m. again. You bring up some very good points. I agree with you about what you said in terms of Amherst being stuck in a different era and not facing the demographic changes that have occurred.

I imagine that some of the personnel and administrators that have been here for a long time perpetuate the big problems that you identified.

Ed said...

This reminds me of church politics. Some congregations run priests out of town year after year.

My church, which I like to remind people was the taxpayer-supported church until 1855, does things a little differently.

We have an annual church meeting (once literally was the town meeting) and we vote on everything just like town meeting does. Including the hiring and firing of the minster and how much he gets paid this year.

What this does is simple - ensure that the minister does what the congregation wants. And if he doesn't, he doesn't have a job anymore, his job is to mediate the disputes between the congregation and to balance where he thinks the church should be going against where the various factions want to go.

And this is what we need for a supt. Someone who is going to do what he/she/it is told to do by (a) law, (b) Boston and (c) the School Committee -- which I don't think A-Rod was always willing to do.

Someone who can listen to strongly opinionated persons (like such aren't pandemic to a college town?) and then gracefully explain how what he wants to do is not an affront to their deeply held values. Or, conversely, find other values they share and use those to mediate with.

Amherst is a highly opinionated congregation - we need someone who can deal with that...

There are some big egos on the School Committee,

Do we want whimps on the committee?

and they didn't want him here in the first place so they seized on any negative feedback about him

And maybe what you call "negative feedback" was instead documentation of their concerns and the REASONS why they didn't want him here in the first place.

Facts matter folks, and sometimes there are actually reasons behind people's viewpoints....

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed. Me again from 9:54am. Thanks for expanding on the points. You are right, I do want big egos on the SC. And I am thankful to have people who are opinionated and fight for what they believe in to improve our schools. I do agree more than disagree with them this past academic year. Given the tough crowd that trolls this blog and shows up at the meetings, we do need people who are tough and opinionated and smart and dedicated.

And I appreciate the thoughtful post about the kind of diplomat we need as Superintendent. The skills you identify should be included in the job description:

"Someone who can listen to strongly opinionated persons (like such aren't pandemic to a college town?) and then gracefully explain how what he wants to do is not an affront to their deeply held values. Or, conversely, find other values they share and use those to mediate with.

Amherst is a highly opinionated congregation - we need someone who can deal with that..."


I can tell you I am not an employee of the schools, never have been and never will be. Also, I don't know any of the players. ARod, or the HR person. I wasn't here 8 years ago when the perp principal was in town, so that is why I am commenting on it now. It does seem odd that there wasn't more fallout from a hire like that.


It seems to me that Dr. Rodriguez wasn't treated respectfully, and I am embarrassed by it as a member of the community. I think if there were performance issues, that is something that can be figured out and acted on in a professional, dignified way. But I don't like the way the sick leave issue played out in the local media and yes, even on this blog. I wish that someone could have advised him how to avoid a problem like that.

I've lived a little and learned that problems are rarely one-sided and we have a lot to learn when things go wrong. If he is not the right fit for our district, then we should be able to treat him fairly nonetheless, even if it means we negotiate his departure. I told you so might really be in order here after all.

Ed said...

Hi Ed. It's me at 9:54 a.m. again. You bring up some very good points. I agree with you about what you said in terms of Amherst being stuck in a different era and not facing the demographic changes that have occurred.

Someone, maybe not you, is posting everywhere that a certain woman who is the HR director should be fired. Fine. You need to (a) come forward in public and explain why, (b) leak some documents that explain why, (LarryK likely would post them) or (c) keep your peace.

I am rather publicly calling for the UM Dean of Students (and a few other folk) to be fired. But I called her on her actions in public to her face last Thursday - I doubt that anyone else understood what we were tossing back and forth in the conversation, but I did it, in public.

You gotta as well...

I imagine that some of the personnel and administrators that have been here for a long time perpetuate the big problems that you identified.

This is a REALLY interesting option.

I think this is public: after the Bulger scandal of the late '90s, the FBI reassigned absolutely everyone in the Boston office. Everyone. (And that brought in a bunch of young new people who got very interested in Springfield....)

We could fire absolutely everyone employed by the Amherst school dept, everyone right on down to the paras and janitors. Everyone.

I submit that is not a feasable option.

We could remove certain senior people based on senority, but that would also include teachers and others because there is some aspect of self governance in the schools.

Is this feasable? Desirable?

But you really can't just take one person and say she has been here too long and get rid of her - not without her having done specific things you can cite.

For example, JoAnne Vanin has been the Dean of Students at UMass for about 20 years, which in the profession is a long time. But I am not arguing she should go for that reason alone.

Instead, there are some very specific issues I have with her. Some very specific things she did (actually should have done and didn't) to me, and that is going to cost the university some money. There are some other very specific things she should have done that are being discussed in the UM student newspaper right now. There are specific practices like having about 1/4 of the undergrads up on judicial charges each year, but I can specify them.

Facts matter.

And if you have FACTS about the HR director (and I don't mean the PerpingPrincipal because I was on the edge with parents watching that mess and there were a LOT of other people with mud on their faces), then come forward.

Ed said...

Hi Ed. It's me at 9:54 a.m. again. You bring up some very good points. I agree with you about what you said in terms of Amherst being stuck in a different era and not facing the demographic changes that have occurred.

Someone, maybe not you, is posting everywhere that a certain woman who is the HR director should be fired. Fine. You need to (a) come forward in public and explain why, (b) leak some documents that explain why, (LarryK likely would post them) or (c) keep your peace.

I am rather publicly calling for the UM Dean of Students (and a few other folk) to be fired. But I called her on her actions in public to her face last Thursday - I doubt that anyone else understood what we were tossing back and forth in the conversation, but I did it, in public.

You gotta as well...

I imagine that some of the personnel and administrators that have been here for a long time perpetuate the big problems that you identified.

This is a REALLY interesting option.

I think this is public: after the Bulger scandal of the late '90s, the FBI reassigned absolutely everyone in the Boston office. Everyone. (And that brought in a bunch of young new people who got very interested in Springfield....)

We could fire absolutely everyone employed by the Amherst school dept, everyone right on down to the paras and janitors. Everyone.

I submit that is not a feasable option.

We could remove certain senior people based on senority, but that would also include teachers and others because there is some aspect of self governance in the schools.

Is this feasable? Desirable?

But you really can't just take one person and say she has been here too long and get rid of her - not without her having done specific things you can cite.

For example, JoAnne Vanin has been the Dean of Students at UMass for about 20 years, which in the profession is a long time. But I am not arguing she should go for that reason alone.

Instead, there are some very specific issues I have with her. Some very specific things she did (actually should have done and didn't) to me, and that is going to cost the university some money. There are some other very specific things she should have done that are being discussed in the UM student newspaper right now. There are specific practices like having about 1/4 of the undergrads up on judicial charges each year, but I can specify them.

Facts matter.

And if you have FACTS about the HR director (and I don't mean the PerpingPrincipal because I was on the edge with parents watching that mess and there were a LOT of other people with mud on their faces), then come forward.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Maybe it's time to clean house. There's something really wrong with the hiring process here.

Anonymous said...

I can would ilke to think that when Dr R. took the job he sincerely had no idea that he was going to have the health issues that caused him to take so much time off.

I don't think people would have objected so much if a) it hadn't been his first year here, b) it hadn't been such a crisis year requiring even more leadership than usual, and c) the new Super hadn't been specifically brought in -- at a premium salary -- to deal with said crisis.

His salary wasn't that awful if it hadn't included the housing and travel allowances. High, but not crazy high. Amherst wanted a top Super, it paid for a top Super.

In the future maybe we need a super whose spouse WANTS to live in the Valley, if that can be a criteria. It probably can't, though.

Anonymous said...

Maria has already been named Interim Superintendent:

http://www.amherstma.gov/index.aspx?nid=281

Anonymous said...

Five superintendents in a year, isn't that some kind of record?

Anonymous said...

AMHERST - The Amherst-Pelham Regional School District has reached a verbal agreement with Miami-Dade Principal Alberto Rodriguez, Kathryn Mazur, human resources director for the schools said Thursday.


She and Elaine Brighty, vice chairwoman of the Regional School Committee, are scheduled to visit Westland Hialeah Senior High School, where Rodriguez is a principal, on March 19, to meet with staff, students and community members and will return the same day.

Anonymous said...

my guess is that there were warning signs all along, including in the interview process, but that they were ignored because some people here wanted to feel very good about themselves by choosing someone from an underrepresented minority.

Next time: let's go for the best qualified and presume that all of our children will benefit. Fair?

Sue W. said...

1:45pm - it probably can't be used as a criteria, but it could be a flag for concern.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:29
That was last year

Anonymous said...

Hey, we cannot be paying big money to say "sorry it didn't work out".

We don't have it, and no one knows that better than Alberto.

Let's see how much HE cares about "the children".

Anonymous said...

Poor A-Rod. Amherst hardly gave him a chance. People have health issues. People use their contracted sick leave. If the health issues exceed the sick leave, they usually take some leave without pay. Doesn't FEMLA enter into this conversation? Or has the school committee simply fallen out of love because he is not perfect, and see this as an excuse to throw him overboard? He has a three-year contract. He can resign, but we should not consider buying out his contract. (Makes you wonder what is in the fine print of the contract.)

Ed said...

Does FMLA apply?

Don't you have to be working for six (nine?) months in a job before starting to draw time for the FMLA matter?

Anonymous said...

You don't "fall out of love" and throw anyone overboard in this situation.

Either the superintendent performs adequately or he doesn't.

The folks inside the school system know what's going on. After all, they pushed for him in the first place against the other guy. And, when it's said and done, I think that we'll find that they reached a fairly clear consensus in evaluating the Super, candid, detailed, and courageous.

A consensus the substance of which will probably never see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

According to Hispanic friends of mine, Dr. R., being a white CUBAN male, is not what they think of as a minority. And in Florida he is (now) no more from a discriminated against minority group than someone Jewish in NYC or Chinese-American in San Franciso would be. Perhaps as a child he felt the sting of differentness, but that was a long time ago. It would INFORM his thinking but the minority thing (whether you think he's been discriminated against OR given special positive treatment) just doesn't hold water in my opinion.

But I know this won't go away during all the handwringing and navel-gazing that's going to follow his departure.

Murray said...

It has been offered here - more than once or twice - that we have hired "three good principals" at our elementary schools in recent years. I would not only take strong exception to that statement, but also urge the members of our school committee to make every effort to not, in fact, jump on this bandwagon, as attractive and easy as it would be to do so. The SC may not need another thorny personel issue on their plate, but the parents and students of these school communities do need and do deserve to have real attention to already substantive concerns on the part of parents.

I do not take pleasure in finding fault and assigning blame, but is it unreasonable for parents to expect our school officials to be able to establish high standards and appoint, without compromise, in accordance with such. This should be true at every level.

In pursuit of an excellent school system, I am not going to celebrate the news that we have good principals in our three elementary schools. If you want to have the best schools, you need to hire the best teachers. Considering that the primary responsibility of a principal is hiring and evaluating teaching staff, merely having a good principal in place is not enough.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately our ES principals are all about firing, not hiring, right now. Remember, 17 laid off ES teachers and 5 jobs as of late March?

I expect some of the jobs will be reinstated when all the dust clears in late August/early Sept, as usually happens, but nonetheless the district will be losing some great new teachers.

I just hope there will be some funds for staff development and morale building.

Demoralized Discouraged and Disappointed said...

What else is there to say.

Anonymous said...

What is the agenda for the meeting tomorrow night? Is Dr. Rodriguez going to be there?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Waiting for the deletion of the above post Catherine, as well as the prior ones referring to the HR person. Are you serious about the standards of discourse on YOUR blog, or not?

Anonymous said...

To March 8, 2010 8:00 PM

Very good! That's from Shakespeare's Henry the IV. Great visual. I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire. Why should this post be deleted? I think it's a great description. If the shoe fits and all that. If people don't like the descriptions and posts that go on, don't read them. It's totally voluntary you know. Or maybe you didn't know. Feel so sorry for people with sensitive eyes. Must be awful going thru life with such a thin skin. Are you people with thin skin actually able to function? Like going to the grocery store, the post office, or heaven forbid the mall?

Anonymous said...

Delete the whole blog Catherine! Otherwise ARod will use it to claim hostile work environment and the district will be fleeced!

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting point raised in the last post. If SC members maintain a blog to which posts are made that criticize district employess by name, does that count as creating a hostile work environment? Even if the blog owner has told people not do that, and threatened to delete said posts (but hasn't, yet)?

I guess a first amendment lawyer might know, or maybe that's a 21st century question to be determined through legal action.

Which Amherst needs like a hole in the head, not that I suggesting we not have this blog.

Nina Koch said...

so, 8:26, if you have such a thick skin, why are you unable to attach your name to your comment?

I would think you would be able to "take" any repercussions from the post.

Yes, people can opt not to read something, but that doesn't solve the problem of other people reading it and someone's reputation being damaged by false and/or malicious statements.

Anonymous said...

So, if a SC member maintains a blog on which people (against stated blog rules) repeatedly post hostile statements about district employees by name, does that constitute a hostile work environment?

Interesting question.

It's not like these things haven't always been said in every district rocked by controversy. It's just that we didn't have an anonymous forum for them before.

The superintendent of schools in my hometown was the gentleman in this article. Where are these leaders today?
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2007/05/03/joseph_killory_85_calmly_eased_start_of_metco_program/

Anonymous said...

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2007/05/03/joseph_killory_85_calmly_eased_start_of_metco_program/

here's the full link. maybe we just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Anonymous said...

sorry, the link isn't working
if you want to see Google Joseph Killory and look for his obit

Anonymous said...

Ed you seem like a ninny. really.

Anonymous said...

It is official....go to masslive

Ed said...

ninny

A new insult! I have been called many things, but never this before.

On a more serious note, Catherine, what recourse does a person have who wants to complain about a district employee without being destroyed himself/herself/itself? It is almost like the district needs an I/A program like police have.

Anonymous said...

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/amherst_releases_school_superi.html

Anonymous said...

So now what? I guess we see what the teacher union decides, and how the override fares, and then we'll know what 2010-11 is going to look like, more or less.

I hope the obligatory raking of the Super situation over the coals is short-lived. I mean if he's gone, it's over, let's find out about next year's budget and then figure out what to do. There are lessons to be learned from Dr. R's short stay. I hope we learn them w/o wasting a lot of time on finger-pointing.

BTW, did anyone see that higher meals tax is actually bringing in more revenue? Doesn't that benefit Amherst's coffers somewhat?


And I'll bet those SPED folks are breathing a sigh of relief. Too bad, as there are some great teachers and a lot of knowledge, but overall the program needs closer oversight. This is not criticizing the SPED secretaries, specialists, teachers or paras -- actually it would help them, too, if they had more support at the building level (as I keep saying).

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

It is late, and I just walked in the door from Executive Session. So, this will be brief:

1. There is a new post which updates the community re. Dr. Rodriguez's situation. I think the statement issued by the committee speaks for itself.

2. The middle school report will be presented at the Tuesday night, as intended. This meeting will be held at Town Hall - and shown live on ACTV (and available on demand). I imagine there will also be a discussion about future leadership plans in the district.

3. If anyone has substantative concerns re. personnel in the district, contact me privately and I'll forward the concern to the appropriate party: casanderson@amherst.edu. But the point of this blog is NOT to complain about personnel, and I'm deleting those.

4. In terms of my comment on the situation: I didn't vote for Dr. Rodriguez when he was hired, because I had concerns about his ability to serve effectively in this role, as I stated at the meeting in which he was hired (and posted on my blog). That being said, I certainly hoped he would work out and supported him in any way I could, because I really believe the district needed strong and stable leadership (as one who has been on the SC for less than two years and has already worked with Jere, Helen/Al, Maria, Alberto). I'm disappointed that this situation didn't work out--and believe the statement issued by the SC tonight (and reported by the Hampshire Gazette - and posted on my blog) speaks to why his departure was ultimately the right way to go.

Anonymous said...

Ed that is just the type of response I would expect from Grade-A ninny.

As someone else suggested, you should really start your own blog. I checked and ninny.org is available!