Touring schools that work, chancellor says new approach is needed at those that don’t

In the first school Cathleen P. Black visited, students in a fifth-grade classroom had one laptop apiece, from which they received individualized lessons. In the second school, for teenagers who had been on the verge of dropping out, counselors routinely show up at the homes of students if they are absent three days in a row. The third was one of four schools in a building that once housed one; students had violin and dance classes, aside from traditional subjects like history, English and math. Ms. Black, who officially began her job as New York City schools chancellor on Monday, has been visiting schools for weeks, reports the New York Times. But the tour on Monday, more than an introduction to the system, was a tightly choreographed showcasing of the Department of Education’s biggest successes and newest programs, like using technology to help teachers in the classroom and breaking up big schools into small ones…

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NYC schools chancellor pick will get waiver, official says

Foes and supporters of Black's appointment have lobbied Mayor Bloomberg since the Nov. 8 announcement.

New York’s state education commissioner will grant media executive Cathie Black a waiver to serve as chancellor of New York City schools, an official with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press (AP) on Nov. 26.

The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.

The decision opens the door for the Hearst Magazines chairwoman to succeed Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who is leaving to take a job with News Corp. The 66-year-old Black needed the waiver because she does not have a background in education.…Read More

Can a publisher run schools? The experts debate

Michael R. Bloomberg, in his successful bid to become mayor, sold himself as an expert manager, a businessman who had made a fortune in private industry. He has now named Cathleen P. Black, a magazine executive, to be the next chancellor of New York City’s public schools. Why?

 “Cathie Black is a superstar manager who has succeeded spectacularly in the private sector,” Mayor Bloomberg said this month. “She is brilliant, she is innovative, she is driven–and there is virtually nobody who knows more about the needs of the 21st-century work force for which we need to prepare our kids.”

Ms. Black also has virtually no professional experience in education–not at the head of a classroom, not in charge of a school district, certainly not responsible for 1.1 million children. Is it, then, a sure thing that an expert manager in one field can succeed in another? The New York Times asked four prominent experts in business management what they made of the mayor’s choice, and his confidence in her transferable skills. As a group, they were not put off by the idea. They held up several examples of corporate chieftains who hopscotched successfully from industry to industry, people like Louis V. Gerstner Jr., who went from RJR Nabisco, a maker of food and cigarettes, to I.B.M, a maker of computer equipment……Read More

NYC school official caught spying on co-workers’ eMail

A Harlem associate principal for technology is accused of high-tech spying on colleagues in an incident allegedly motivated by jealousy, reports WABC-TV. The New York City schools investigator says the associate principal secretly read eMail messages of several principals and a school superintendent using computer spyware. He says it was all motivated by a love triangle. The allegations involve Milciades Pepin, an associate principal for technology at three high schools: Randolph High School, Manhattan Center for Science and Math, and the Unity Center for Urban Technologies. The school’s principals were his alleged targets. “He was opening their eMails. He was sending eMails in their name that were fictitious. He was erasing eMails that were meant to be sent to people. At one point, he even sent an eMail to the chancellor,” said investigator Richard Condon. Investigators say the principals relied on Pepin, giving him their cell phones and having him fix problems with their computers over the last two years. He allegedly hacked into their eMail accounts, both public and private. Investigators say they discovered Pepin was using “FlexISpy” Software to access the accounts, which they claim he had gotten for then Manhattan High School Superintendent Francesca Pena. During the course of the probe, investigators say they learned Pepin and Pena were also involved romantically. Pena has since resigned…

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New Visions for public schools

A web-based solution was essential for the school system.
A web-based solution was essential for the school system.

New Visions is an outside organization contracted by the New York City School District to support schools instructionally.  Thus, it is contractually responsible for school performance on student achievement tests without direct legal supervisory authority over school staff.  As such, New Visions targets various instructional levers within each school. Through highly specialized departments focusing on different aspects of education, such as leadership and teacher development, data analysis, and operational re-engineering, New Visions attempts to build learning capacity through multiple tactics in a school.

New Visions for Public Schools is a nonprofit advocating for systematic reform of New York City public schools. As a partnership support organization (PSO) contracted by the New York City school district, New Visions provides instructional and operational support to a portfolio of 76 public schools, most of them high schools.

As a growing organization with an increasing number of support services offered, New Visions urgently needed a web-based solution to manage and track initiatives, capturing school and student-level data that would enable New Visions to iteratively modify both strategies and resource allocations across its 76 schools in real-time. Acumen Solutions helped New Visions to achieve this goal, using an innovative adaptation of Salesforce.com (a popular cloud computing customer relationship management application) to the educational environment and the New Visions operating model.…Read More