Robert Cox's blog

District Fences with FOIL Requests

November 03, 2008 - 21:31

The City School District of New Rochelle and various interested parties including the Mayor and the head of the teachers union have repeatedly claimed that there is no "inequality" issue in New Rochelle between North End and South End schools in the wake of an article in The Journal News last summer. Given the claims by the District, it seems reasonable that someone would have studied the issue of performance of students from the various schools within New Rochelle. Perhaps the most obvious analysis would be a comparison of students from Isaac E. Young Middle School and Albert Leonard Middle School at New Rochelle High School.

How Cheating on High-Stakes Testing Works

November 03, 2008 - 16:47

The New York Times ran a story over the weekend about the sad case of MiShawna Moore, the former principal of a public school in South Carolina. Moore had been widely praised as a miracle worker for her leadership in turning around students at a low-performing, largely minority school in Charleston but is now facing possible criminal charges for cheating on standardized tests.

As test scores rocketed at her school, Sanders-Clyde Elementary, the city held her up as a model. The United Way and the Rotary Club honored her, The Charleston Post and Courier called her a “miracle worker,” and the state singled out her school to compete for a national award. In Washington, the Department of Education gave the school $25,000 for its achievements.

Isaac Young Teacher Disputes Criticism, Defends Fellow Teachers

November 02, 2008 - 20:42

Regina Simoes, a seventh grade teacher at Isaac E. Young Middle School, says teachers aren't the problem at Isaac Young and then singled out parents for criticism, admonishing them to play a more active role in their children's education. She went on to say that Isaac is hardly unique in having problems, claiming there are problems at both North End and South Schools that are not disclosed to parents or the public. That officials at both schools hush up incidents is hardly comforting news for New Rochelle residents.

Simoes, responding to recent criticism of the District, defended teachers and shifted responsibility to parents. "You make it what you make it", she said. She had a blunt message for parents who would complain.

Isaac Young Board Meeting, Failure Every Which Way But Loose

October 30, 2008 - 16:19

Only in the bizarro planet world that is the City School District of New Rochelle could school board members applaud presenters who spent two hours misstating basic facts, torturing data to put forward conclusions diametrically opposed to reality and otherwise misleading the board and an audience compromised primarily of district apparatchiks and assorted hangers on. I have been to quite a few board meetings lately but this one really took the cake.

Isaac Young Math Department Chairman Struggles with Basic Calculations

October 30, 2008 - 14:10

I thought I had seen it all at these through the looking glass school board meetings but Mr. Bongo, the principal at Isaac Young saved the best (i.e., worst) for last night when he presented Michael Galland who is, believe it or not, the Chairperson for Math & Technology at Isaac Young Middle School. Word is that this person is paid over a $100,000 a year to run the math program. I think the tax payers are getting taken for a ride with this guy.

Given his obvious lack of basic math skills the massive improvement in math performance for black and hispanic students at IEYMS described last night is even more incredible.

I have FOIL'd this particular slide so will soon have the actual slide but I can recreate it in a text version here. I do not know how to make tables in HTML so bear with me.

Board of Ed Seeks to Suppress Criticism of Superintendent Making False Statements to the Press

October 29, 2008 - 18:40

At the board meeting on October 7, 2008, I read from prepared remarks about a disturbing incident which came to light here on Talk of the Sound at the New Rochelle Community Pulse blog. It was while making these "controversial" remarks that School Board President Cindy Babcock-Deutsch and board member David Lacher repeatedly interrupted my remarks on the grounds that the "privacy rights" of the Superintendent of Schools were violated. Please note that I was commenting on statements to the press by a public official where no such expectation of privacy exists.

The Journal News reported that two classes of students from Trinity were forced to walk the perimeter of the playground for about 25 minutes during recess one day during the spring of 2008.

Free Speech Rights Suspended by Board of Education

October 29, 2008 - 16:34

At the end of every board meeting there is a public participation period which is described as follows in a lavender brochure distributed at the board meeting:

A portion of the agenda of each regular meeting is reserved for public discussions. During this time, members of the audience may express opinions or ask questions about any aspect of school district operations or procedures, except personnel. In order to protect the rights of those involved, all personnel matters should be referred to the Superintendent of Schools via the proper channels. Such matters are discussed by the Board in Executive Session.

I asked two board members about this policy and both stated that they were told by the District's lawyers that there was a law that prohibited the discussion of personnel matters in public session. I searched the New York State Code. I could find no such law. I contacted the New York Civil Liberties Union.


Latest posts from Robert Cox

New Rochelle School Board Promotes Racist Custodian at Jefferson School

Six months ago Martin Freiman was serving out a 30-day suspension without pay for making racist remarks at Jefferson School but this week all was forgiven as Freiman got a promotion and a nice BACKDATED raise going back to February which would be shortly after returning from his suspension. His annual salary is now $69,487 plus whatever back pay he gets which will do nicely to offset the lost earnings during his 30 day suspension.

TOS Readers will recall we reported last December that the school board suspended a Jefferson employee without pay over racist remarks. Back then we wrote:

At the board meeting on December 16th, the school board went in to executive session and came back to announce a resolution that a "civil service" employee would be suspended for 30 days without pay.

Read more

MedicAlert: Sound Shore Hospital Drops Out of Empire BlueCross BlueShield Plan

2D12C062-1D5E-4DE4-A4FC-5C67DA625F6C.jpgIn a move with wide implications for public employees and retirees in New Rochelle ranging from school teachers to first responders to sanitation workers, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is informing members that Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester in New Rochelle will drop out of the Empire Plan provider network effective June 30, 2009. Sound Shore Medical Center is part of the Pinnacle Group of hospitals which also included Mount Vernon Hospital and Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor. All three hospitals are dropping out of the Empire Plan network.

Empire BlueCross BlueShield continues to negotiate with Pinnacle and remains hopeful and agreement can be reached before the June 30 deadline. Meanwhile, Empire Plan members are being directed to other area hospitals include Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers.

As of June 30, 2009 only the following services provided by Sound Shore Medical Center will be covered on an in-network basis.

  • Cases of emergency; the patient may be moved once stabilized
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Sexting School Guard Resolution Distributed Last Night at School Board Meeting

Make of this what you will:


RESOLVED, the probationary appointment of Donna Henry to Cleaner (position reclassified from General School Aide), Grade 1, Step 14, $43,467, plus night duty, $2,637 be and hereby is approved effective May 19, 2009 with such an appointment to be subject to the required probationary period.

donny henry portrait for ALMS yearbook.jpg

Previously on Talk of the Sound:

New Rochelle Security Guard Implicated in "Sexting" at Albert Leonard, Took Teen's Phone, Distributed Images

Security Guard at Heart of New Rochelle Sexting Incident Identified; Polow Knew

Did Polow Commit A Crime in Failing to Report?

Letter from ALMS Principal Bill Evans to Parents on Sexting

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New Rochelle Gets an iPhone App -- Offline Street Maps with Real time GPS

8B3EFB5E-650A-41F5-81C0-2C060903870C.jpgApple has just approved a new offline map application for the iPhone which allows the use maps offline without internet connection.

The Yonkers-New Rochelle Maps Offline app costs $2.99. It is intended for use when not connected to the Internet and you want to use maps making it particularly useful for iPod Touch users when not connected to a WiFi network. Features include Real time GPS tracking capability, better GPS detection capability even for places with a weak GPS signal, ability to use zoom in and zoom out and drag and move the map around just like Google Maps.

The Yonkers-New Rochelle Maps Offline app uses OpenStreetMap maps and is not intended to replace Google Maps when connected to the Internet.

You can purchase the Yonkers-New Rochelle Maps Offline app directly through your iPhone or via the iTunes store.

Yonkers-New Rochelle Maps Offline (link opens in iTunes)

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June 2nd School Board Meeting: F.U.S.E. Deal Approved, CILA Outrage, Babcock-Deutsch Caught Lying (Again)

COW Meeting starts at 759p because board went into executive session to discuss personnel work history (whatever that means). Board announcements consisted of Reddington on RECS program and Sanchez on IEYMS meetings for Latinos.


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F.U.S.E. Approves Union Contract, New Rochelle School Board Set to Vote Tonight

F.U.S.E. members voted on June 1, 2009 to approve the tentative contract between the City School District of New Rochelle and the employees union. Tonight members of the Board of Education will meet at City Hall to vote on the tentative contract.


The contract was approved overwhelmingly by the rank and file with 743 members voting in favor, 204 voting against and 12 "invalid" votes. Exceptions to the widespread support were union members at Albert Leonard Middle School, Davis Elementary and New Rochelle High School which combined accounted for three-quarters of the "no" votes; Davis narrowly missed voting against the contract.

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New Rochelle Radisson's Executive Chef Makes Reality TV Debut June 7th

A371E7AA-83AF-4BB1-B686-4ADD4AA3C063.jpgMichael Proietti, executive chef at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle will make his reality TV debut on Food Network's Next Food Network Star series on June 7th at 9 PM.

Proietti worked his way up from washing dishes and prepping food to become executive chef after graduating from the New York Restaurant School.

Food specialty: "Global with a love for Asian and Latin cusines – making food fabulous!" says Michael Proietti.

Favorite restaurant: "At the moment, it's this little truck on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. They have the best yuca pasteles and chichorones," says Michael Proietti.

If the show goes well for the 28-year old Bronx native you can expect long waits for a table at the City Chow House, the hotel's American Bistro with an Italian Flair.


Read more


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