New Principal Ms. Johnson Explains Reply

With the old principal, William Stroud leaving last year, BSGE faces a new era with a new principal. Ms. Johnson, formerly vice principal and now BSGE’s Chief explains her situation and BSGE’s report card.

Why are you the best principal for BSGE?
This is a loaded question.  Why wouldn’t I be the best principal for BSGE after the founder?  I was here from the inception.  I was a member of the hiring committee for most, if not all of the personnel in the building.  I know the school’s growing pains and history and I am committed to its mission.  I’ve implemented structures and policies to help the school realize its mission.  After the founder I am the best person for the job because I am BSGE; tried and proven.

 Do you have a philosophy?

This is too general.  I have many philosophies.

My Educational Philosophy is that everyone is capable of meeting high academic standards and of intellectual leaps when placed in an appropriate learning environment My image of an appropriate learning environment is one where all feel respected, safe, intellectually challenged, supported, encouraged and nurtured.  It is an environment where people’s differences are not only respected but embraced and used to help others develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their world.  It is an environment where obstacles are viewed merely as challenges thus opportunities for teaching and learning.

What are your plans as principal?

At BSGE we are now in the middle phase of our development.   We have graduated two senior classes, one of which had the opportunity to earn the IB Diploma, and now have a better understanding of the process of earning an IB Diploma in an urban public school. The basic skeletal structure is in place.  Now we have to focus on the innards: the gears, screws, levers, timing and maintenance schedule.  I view this as my current role in BSGE’s existence.

What do you like at BSGE?

I like the fact that everyone strives to be better at what they do and who they are as individuals.  I like the fact that we all are committed to the vision of the school and doing our part in actualizing that vision.  I like the fact that everyone is valued and respected for the role they play in the operation of the school.

What needs to change?

Another loaded question.  The middle school got a C from the board of education.

What do you plan on doing about this grade?

For the most part ignore it.  There are so many flaws with the process that trying to attend to the grade is senseless.  However, because the public’s knowledge is basically limited to what they read we will change our approach to the State Exams.  This is pertinent because we earned a C basically because our student’s scores on the Math and ELA State exams did not change significantly from one year to the next.   Therefore the assumption is that students are not learning.
Clearly our students are learning.  Evidence of this is can be found in the reports of our student’s Regents grades.  Students who scored a two (2) on the State ELA exam in the 8th grade earned performance levels of 3 or 4 based on their ELA Regents results; another exam that we do little preparation for compared to the schools that our scores compared to.
We will take the exams slightly more seriously and make certain that students are familiar with the components of the exam.  We may also administer exams from previous years just to give students experience in taking the exam.

Why should parents send their 7th and 8th grade students to BSGE?

Parents should send their 7th and 8th grade child because despite the score we are a very good Middle School.

The high school got an A which is great, top city schools like Stuyvesant also got an A. We got a 75 and the report says next years target is a 77.

How do you plan to raise this number?
First let me say that some of the data pulled for the HS report was incomplete.  There are missing Regents grades for a few of the students who graduated last year.   The missing Regents grades have a negative effect on the overall score.  The correct information is in our data system but was not picked up when pulled by the DOE.   We have again forwarded corrections.

At BSGE we believe that everyone does not learn and develop at the same pace so we are ok with students needing more than 4 years to graduate from HS.  However, neither our Chancellor nor Mayor shares this belief.  Therefore, we will be more diligent in scheduling students to make up classes either during the course of the academic year or during the summer.  Unfortunately, if the class (es) must be made up during the course of an academic year the student will be eliminated from the IB Diploma Candidate pool. In our first two graduating senior classes there were students who did not earn the required number of credits to graduate on time.  Ironically, these students were intellectually more than capable of graduating on time and earn a performance level or 3 or 4 on the required Regents exams.  These students did not graduate on time because they were not ready for reasons other than intellectual and academic ability.
Many parents don’t agree with the school’s policy of letting in students who don’t pass the admissions test. Many students and parents feel that allowing students who don’t pass slows down students at the top which defeats the purpose of going to a special high school.

Why does BSGE allow students to enter who don’t even pass the test?
At BSGE, as with other schools that have an admissions test, the score that must be achieved to obtain an offer to attend depends on the range of scores of the students being tested.  So it is not that BSGE accepts students who do not pass the test.   But that the passing grade is determined by the scores achieved by the students taking the test. Some years the range between the highest and lowest score is larger than other years.

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