Sunday, May 6, 2012

Administration Retaliates against Staten Island Teacher for SLT Advocacy

A Staten Island Middle school teacher, Francesco Portelos,has been relentlessly retaliated against by the administration of his school for exposing and trying to correct problems with his School Leadership Team after learning about its responsibilities from this blog.There are also other issues involved which you can read about at and at This type of retaliation is not an isolated case. I experienced it at my school when I whistleblew about principal domination of the SLT and the CEP process, as well as the lack of budget transparency. You will also be surprised to know that rubber rooms still exist with teachers that are pulled out of classrooms and schools without knowing the charges. The following is a comment by School Advocate Betsy Combier: Principal Linda Hill Goes After Francesco Alexander Portelos, a Teacher, With a Vengeance After He Asks Questions About The School Leadership Team ...and became Union Delegate.Hill, now Principal of the Berta A. Dreyfus School I.S. 49, is, it seems, another Principal from Hell who needs to have training in leadership in New York City after graduating from the "Leadership Academy". Almost overnight she started giving Portelos grief when he asked the right questions. I believe this is text-book retaliation. Mr. Portelos created a website to tell the public all about Hill and her sudden discipline. The aim of this lesson is to show attacks of a supervisor on the internet. Kudos to Francesco!!!! Betsy Combier The following is Mr. Potelos' "story" from his web site protect Don't Tread on Mr. Portelos Dont Tread On Me LINK Letters of Recommendation Thank you Mr. Portelos Thank You Mr. Portelos -continued In the News Formal Observations More Stuff Negative Emails Disciplinary Letters in File Renovating the STEM Lab IS 49 SLT Minutes Stay Informed The Story - I am Francesco Alexander Portelos. I am an educator and I love my job. I was an engineer turned teacher and this is my story on how I went from hero to villain by bringing up the needs of the students and community. For four and half years I served my community and school Berta Dreyfus IS 49 the best I could (see tabs above). I stayed late almost every day to not only renovate my S.T.E.M. Lab 2 times and create engaging lessons, but to also, troubleshoot tech issues for colleagues, design more efficient ways to communicate in a 21st century world plus much, much more. My Robotics team has won countless awards in Staten Island including Top Design in NYC. With years of "Satisfactory" ratings I somehow received 3 Disciplinary Letters in my file in 10 days, have been harassed by my administrators, had a DOE SCI investigation started on me, confiscating my DOE issued iPad, Macbook and teacher PC and asked to resign as UFT Chapter Delegate. HERO to VILLAIN Everything was going great at school for 4.5 years. I loved teaching and my principal, students and parents loved my class and dedication to the school. However, I did not entirely agree with all the ways my troubled school was being run. I decided to become proactive. I became Union Delegate and also obtained a seat on the School Leadership Team (SLT) amongst many other things like speaking up in meetings. As part of the SLT I noticed we were never talking about the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) or Budget which were our main goals. At my fourth meeting, December 13 2011, while the principal was out of the room, I asked the SLT Chairperson "Are we ever going to talk about the CEP and Budget?". This sparked a debate as more and more SLT members, including parents, were wondering the same thing. The principal walked in and when asked she told us "The CEP was due December 1st. I already submitted it." Now the SLT members, comprised of educators and parents, all have to sign it. This caused several suspicious looks from the parents and staff. When the principal stepped out again we started looking for answers. The UFT leader said that we could have called an emergency meeting before the due date had we known. I found an SLT Support site and with the knowledge of all members present (including the chairperson) sent the following email to the contact person: MY EMAIL On Dec 13, 2011, "Francesco Portelos" wrote: Jim, I just found your SLT blog. Very intresting. I am a brand new member to the team and very disheartened to see that all we do is discuss calendar events. We had absolutely no input in our schools budget or CEP. What can we do? We all just left a meeting very upset. -Francesco HIS RESPONSE From: Date: Dec 14, 2011 7:13 PM Subject: Re: School Leadership Team To: Dear Francesco, Your principal's violating Chancellor's Regulations A-655 and B-801 and State Educational Law 2590-H (15). Speak with the PTA President and Chapter Leader who are core members of the Team with the Principal. Speak with the principal with other members and inform them that you will have to file a complaint with the Superintendent. You can also contact the District Leadership Team for assistance and FACE, the DOE parent advocacy department. The Team is suppose to be working on the 2012-2013 CEP and budget alignment this school year. Feel free to share this e-mail. Sincerely, James Calantjis I forwarded his surprising response to UFT Representative Rich Candia and SLT Chairperson Susanne Abramowitz to see how we can fix this -------------------- I believe this is the point where they turned on me and made me the scapegoat instead of performing the job they were elected to do. See File Letter 1 in the Disciplinary Letter tab above. Since then there have been countless eyewitness accounts of Richard Candia and Susanne Abramowitz meeting and conspiring with different administrators. Since the series of emails: I have been told to keep my mouth shut and "let it go". I have been kicked under the table during the January 10th SLT meeting when I disagreed with a comment made by the SLT chair stating that "The teachers agreed to keep the academies." I was called a "hindrance" to the community by the principal although I rallied to keep PS 14 open down the block the day before. I was told to be quiet in a UFT meeting by the chapter leader. He walked out along with his girlfriend and SLT chair and tried getting the other 60+ members to leave. The other union members did not and I continued to speak about how "We are all in this together" and not to fight against each other. I was falsely accused by the SLT chairperson and UFT Chapter leader for professional misconduct I had my online account access suspended when I sent an email to union members refusing to resign as UFT Delegate as per the request of the chapter leader. I also received a Disciplinary letter for emailing union members. I was slandered by the principal in a staff email calling me divisive, accusing me of calling the NY Post to make the school look bad. In the email she also quoted a Greek philosopher and it just so happens that I am Greek. I received a 3rd Disciplinary Letter for staying late to create engaging lessons. I was put under investigation by NYC Special Commisioner of Investigation and had the investigators confiscate my teacher desktop, iPad and Macbook and even come to my house. Principal Hill was also heard telling School Safety "Stay away from Portelos' room. We are trying to get him out but it will be extremely difficult." There is more but you get the picture. I will not be silenced or broken tenure or no tenure! "As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task." -Diogenes