Thursday, April 24, 2008

FiOS finally!

Ok you FiOS customers . . . turn on channel 43 and you can see that NNTV is on the air!

Freak show, part II

If the previous board meeting made you cringe, then last night's event will make you cry. Despite an admirable attempt by a joint coalition of parents and seniors calling for calm, the meeting was marred by political hacks in the audience who were part of a well-orchestrated attack. They even bussed in some teamsters for the occasion. And their assault wasn't just aimed at me (as expected) as there was even an over-the-top personal attack on the superintendent.

The good news is that the board behaved itself and worked through the agenda without much discord.

I'll have more thoughts about last night's meeting in a couple days. In the meantime, here's a link to the Courier Times summary. Please make a point of watching the TV taping, which hopefully should be updated in time for tonight's 6pm broadcast. I'm sure you'll have lots to say about it.

2008-2009 School calendar approved

The first day of school next year is Wednesday, September 3rd. The last day is scheduled for Friday, June 19th, 2009.

Let the vacation scheduling begin!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blog Filtered from staff, students - SEE UPDATE BELOW

If you are a Neshaminy employee or student trying to view my blog, you've probably experienced some difficulties lately. For some unknown reason, the district's filtering system is blocking access. According to district officials, there is no intentional effort involved and this is just the random actions of the filtering software.

Unfortunately there is nothing to fix because the district is well within its rights to block access to any website, intentionally or otherwise, when their resources are in use. All staff and students can do is to log on to the web via their personal access to view this blog.

Update 4:45pm - 4/15/2008: A Neshaminy employee alerted me that a rival blog that criticizes me is visible to staff and students, which raises the question why my site is being filtered and the other is not (both use the same blog service). I have sent a query to our superintendent asking that this matter be investigated. Stay tuned for further developments.

Update 12:00pm - 4/17/2008: Neshaminy staff can now view this blog unobstructed by the District's filtering software. Administration has verified that no intentional, selective blocking occurred although they cannot explain why this blog was filtered while others were not. Apparently it was just the random act of the filtering software. Let me restate that the District would be within its rights to block this or any other blog, and I did not ask them to fix anything but rather confirm whether or not the filtering was intentional.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Personnel matters and board interference

Once again your school board is under the microscope over its insistence on mucking up the hiring practices of the district. Despite the fact that board policies exist which forbid such behavior, some board members choose to trample over the established rules while other board members do nothing to enforce the rules.

Self governance is not a strong point of this board. Here are a couple of examples:

Back in October 2007, superintendent Kadri stated in a public meeting that there is “inappropriate interference” in personnel matters and requested an executive session meeting with the board. No such meeting ever took place.

Several months ago, Dr. Spitz and I requested information about the attorneys being considered for the upcoming teacher contract negotiations. During a meeting in which several board members were present, the board president acknowledged his intentional refusal to supply the information we had requested. Shortly thereafter, the board president issued an email to the entire board stating he never received the requests for information. There he is – our board president caught in the act of withholding information, then contradicting his previous statement to the entire board as to why he withheld information. So what did the other board members do in response? Nothing.

We have so many important issues going on at the moment – building closures, redistricting, budgets, PSSA scores, etc. – that the issue of board ethics could be a most unfortunate distraction. But how can we turn our backs on the matter of ethics? How can we pretend that our board is not impeding our district staff when we should be empowering them? If our own school board isn’t watching out for the welfare of all employees in the hiring process, who will? If a board member violates written policy and the other board members refuse to take action, then what is the point to having written policies?

You can read a summary of last Tuesday's meeting in this Courier Times article.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I want my NNTV!

Don’t cancel your cable just yet.

Despite completing their work to physically link up to Neshaminy, Verizon notified district officials today that more technical work is required in their main center, and the result is a further delay of broadcasting the Neshaminy channel on Verizon FiOS.

The latest predictions from Verizon are end of April (at the earliest) before you’ll be able to see NNTV on FiOS.