jamaica high school

New York

Teachers in ATR pool get first temporary assignment of many

The Department of Education gave out temporary assignments yesterday to nearly 2,000 teachers who are on the city payroll but who do not have permanent jobs in schools. That didn't stop dozens of teachers from lining up outside the Brooklyn Museum yesterday afternoon for one of the last hiring fairs before school starts next week. Members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers whose positions have been cut, mostly due to budget cuts or school closures, received special invitations to the job fair from the DOE, encouraging them to be "proactive" in their job search. If those teachers are not offered jobs this week, they will be asked to rotate between different schools on a weekly basis as substitute teachers, according to an arrangement made by the teachers union and the DOE earlier this summer to avoid teacher layoffs. In previous years, ATRs were typically assigned to one school for the entire year to cover for absent teachers. There were 1,940 teachers in the ATR pool as of Aug. 19. Typically, the pool shrinks in the first weeks of the school year as principals hasten to fill open positions. Those who logged into the job portal for excessed teachers yesterday morning found information on what schools to report to in September. English teacher Jerome Madramootoo, who was excessed after the city began phasing out Jamaica High School in June, said he was assigned to work at Newtown High School in Queens next month, but given no specific information about what he would be doing there.
New York

Jamaica HS union leader says teachers saw closure coming

James Eterno, Jamaica High School's UFT chapter leader. (<em>GothamSchools Flickr</em>) The head of the union chapter at Jamaica High School said teachers there have been expecting the school's closure for years and criticized the city for planning to open new small schools without offering help to the struggling large one. James Eterno, a history teacher at Jamaica for 24 years, said teachers anticipated bad news after the school received a D on its progress report this year. But signs that the 1,500-student high school was in trouble had been apparent for years, he said. In 2007, Jamaica was placed on a citywide list of schools labeled "persistently dangerous," and letters were sent home to students and parents informing them of the designation. Enrollment dropped, Eterno said, and when Jamaica became the last choice of eighth-grade students applying to high schools, a new population of students who were less enthusiastic about school entered the school. (Eterno laid out this story in a community section post about Queens high schools back in September.)  Of the school's roughly 500 ninth grade students, slightly less than half did not apply to the school but were placed there after they moved to Queens, sometimes from other countries and knowing little English, Eterno said. "What [the city] should have done and what they could have done was to give us the funding, let us lower class size, let us have reasonable guidance caseloads and let us see if it works," Eterno said. "Then if it doesn't work, then you can make the case to close us down."
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