2003-02-22 / Editorial/Opinion

A Tale Of Two Schools

Lost in the general hubbub over school reorganization and "The Levy 200," is the fact that at least two Rockaway schools, and perhaps more if you believe the rumors circulating this week, have principal problems. The principal is the schools CEO. Although there are many factors that make up the school that principals have no control over, the CEO does set the tone of the school and everything he or she does impacts on discipline, learning, parental involvement and staff morale. The two schools have very different problems, but both need to be resolved and resolved quickly. PS 114 is the only district school that made the "Levy 200" list that includes the top schools in the city. You would think that parents would be thrilled with the school and with its principal. In fact, they are talking about a boycott of the school if their demand that principal Lisa Vecchione be removed from the school is not met. The parents argue that Vecchione has not been responsive to either parents or staff at the west end school. The recent suspension of a fifth grade student for bringing a bright yellow Nerf Gun to school has not helped her cause. Parents said that they had a promise from both District 27 Superintendent Matt Bromme and Education Department official Burt Sachs that their problem would be resolved by January 1. Bromme is now at the Tweed Courthouse and Sachs now works for the UFT. Parents have said that they have done everything "by the book" and that doing things that way did no good. At their last meeting, they discussed a one-day boycott to bring their plight home to Kathleen Cashin, the new leader of Rockaway’s schools. Beach Channel High School, on the other hand, has no principal. It has had several acting principals over the past years, ever since Bernard Gassaway left for a job with the Queens High School Division. The last acting principal lasted one semester. It is time for the school’s C-30 Committee, made up of parents, teachers and administrators, to make a decision and to pass that decision on to John Lee before he too leaves office at the end of the year. We cannot wait much longer for decisions in either school. It is already past time for these problems to be addressed.

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