Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nightmare On Elm Street

Ken O’Brien


Last night’s meeting of the Southbridge School Committee was a low point in the history of public meetings in this community.

Given the depths to which such meetings have sunk in the past, that is indeed an unenviable – even if record-breaking – accomplishment.

The only bright spot of the evening was a presentation to elementary school students Jayce Delgado and Tyler LaCroix and second grade teacher Paula Kenda. The quick thinking of the students in reporting an incident to Ms. Kenda potentially saved the life of a choking student.

Following the recognition of these individuals for their meritorious action the balance of the meeting deteriorated into seriocomic psychodrama. 

The next item on the agenda was listed as:
B. College and Career Readiness/Scholarships/Overall Guidance Presentation
            1. Members of the Southbridge Public Schools Guidance Department
            2. Colleen Culligan, Director, Pupil Personnel Services

The agenda was set on Thursday and published on this site last Friday. However, a number of sources have reported that those making the presentation were only advised of their responsibilities after lunch on Tuesday (i.e. yesterday).

Whatever the case, the presentation can only be characterized as disjointed and confusing.

What followed was an orgy of outrage, vituperation and humiliation directed at the presenters by school committee members.

It was a display that, even as it was ongoing, was characterized by numerous viewers, myself included, as a premeditated ambush by the administration and school committee to deflect recent criticisms away from themselves and onto school personnel.

Following this was a presentation by School Superintendent Buzz Nembirkow on the FY 2015 school department budget.

At least, that’s what the agenda called for. What transpired was a self-reflective apologia that leveled blame at all of his and the current school committee’s predecessors for every failing ranging from school choice expenses to global warming.

Words alone cannot do justice to this theater of the absurd. We anxiously await the posting of the video on Southbridge Cable’s YouTube site in order to adequately illustrate the night’s escapades. We can only hope that it appears with greater alacrity than was the case with the last meeting. 

The evening was capped off by the announcement from school committee member Tanya Dominko that this would be her last meeting as a result of her moving out of Southbridge and thus no longer meeting residency requirements.


35 comments:

  1. Buzz did find the soccer balls. I wonder if Capt. Queeg's strawberries are next on his list.

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    Replies
    1. If you don't know about Capt. Queeg see
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlV3oQ3pLA0

      Delete
  2. Last nights Guidance Presentation was a mess. Remember, Mrs. Feraco is not a trained or certified guidance counselor. There are only three for the entire Middle/High School. Is it only obvious to me that this was a result of a lack of leadership and focus? Who supervises these people? There is no one in the system concentrating on this extremely important office in our school. The only counselor with knowledge and care for our children and the community of Southbridge was terminated. Another brilliant move Buzz. BRING DARGIE BACK!

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  3. Well after watching last night's school committee meeting I have decided to take my three children out of our schools.

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    Replies
    1. I too will be pulling my kid. I don't know about Quaboag, but Charlton Dudley and Tantasqua need school choice applications in soon, Tantasqua is due by the end of this month. I'm not gambling with my daughter's future. She is a high honors student and involved in every school activity, where ever she goes they will be lucky to have her.

      Delete
    2. Run, don't walk. These spaces are very limited.

      Delete
    3. While I understand it won't help the rest of us stuck paying for this mess. We are going to miss your mcas scores, sport contributions and good examples.
      Can one of those creative types who make video parodies run with the sc members singing kc and sunshine band -

      I want you to know
      That I'm goin' to miss your love
      The minute you walk out that door
      So please don't go, don't go
      Don't go away
      Please don't go, don't go
      I begging you to stay
      So please don't go, don't go
      Don't go away
      Please don't go, don't go
      I begging you to stay

      Hey, hey, hey
      Yeah

      Delete
  4. Is anyone other than me wondering about the Superintendent's mental stability? He rambled, was visibly sweating, talking over school committee members, talking into open microphones while other were speaking. Is this what a superintendent does? When will our schools get a permanent leader?

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  5. I wonder how Kathy Hatch enjoyed being called out on the carpet by her school committee pals last night? She worked so hard to get McLoughlin and Donovan elected and now they publicly rerate her ( not that she doesn't deserve it.).

    As a parent who had to deal with guidance I can tell you they soarly miss Mrs. Dargie. I don't think they replaced her after Mr. Leach placed her on leave. The superintendent did create anither new main office job. Probably used the guidance money for that

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  6. Is it true that those making the guidance presentation were only told to do so 6 or 7 hours in advance?

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    Replies
    1. You could have given Cathy Hatch a year and you'd have the same result.
      The Superintendent and the school committee members all stated that they have received many complaints about MHS guidance. I bet Ms.Hatch is the most complained about.
      Let it be kno,wn, call your sc member if you're not happ,y. They will have Buzz fire the person.

      Delete
    2. Mrs Hatch is too busy doing union business to see students. This is the same person that "forgot" that the MCAS retest was to take place November 1, 2012. Oops, the students started the test late in the day, diminishing their allotted time. She forgot!

      Buzz and the girls need to investigate how much time she is away from her office on "union business." They'll be very surprised. We teachers can't see her, hoe do you expect those students too?

      Is the only union official afforded school time to do union business on the taxpayers' dime the union president? I think our union president is Dave Williams, grade 8 science teacher. (Check the Grade 8 science scores if you want to see failure.)

      Delete
  7. Okay, what was the story with Amy Allen? Buzz convinced her to take on being principle at MHS. That was a step down from curriculum director. And then he canned her. I’ve heard that it was because she wouldn’t do what she was told by some sc members during one of there “visits”. Let’s hear the truth about that.

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    Replies
    1. She's on paid medical leave!

      Is the new Director of Operations that Buzz hand selected really serving as acting assistant principal at the middle school? If this is true, doesn't it seem like a GIANT waste of money and personnel?

      Can someone confirm or rebut this please?

      Delete
    2. There are too many people who know the truth. Ms. Allen is another victim. Thank goodness she was give an option that preserves her reputation.

      Delete
  8. I find it fascinating that Lauren McLoughlin, as chair of the school committee, allowed employees to be publicly badgered by other sc members on TV. Is this the same Lauren McLoughlin that went on a tirade and crying jag because this blog host called her obese?

    Lauren's concept of fair is certainly twisted!

    She had the gavel, why didn't she use it? (Remember how Woodruff used to bang it like hell when ever Lazo talked?) Oh yea, those are her pals belittling the guidance counselors. If she used the gavel on Donovan who who praise Lauren's daughter later in the meeting?

    Curiouser and curiouser!

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  9. The Buzzfeeders and Bobble-boosters are launching their offensive.
    Unable to defend the horrific display Tuesday night they are launching into their typical slash and burn response. Put the blame on any and every target in sight. Blame the union, blame the teachers. What’s next, blame the parents, blame the kids, blame the landfill? All to deflect attention from their own bumbling.
    It is getting to be oh so predictable.

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    Replies
    1. How can anyone support those bumbling narcissists?

      They ranted about poor guidance performance, and there is little doubt that there are real issues at the MHS. But why?
      1. Ely removed a veteran HS counselor and placed her at the MS level
      2. Ely put an MS counselor into the HS position. This counselor was extremely inexperienced at the HS level. No college application experience, no MCAS retest experience (forgot to start the Nov '12 retest on time)
      3. Had this department supervised by building level administrators with NO high school administrative experience
      4. Buzz reduced the overall number of counselors from 4 to 3. The money from this salary? Most likely used for a continued build up of central office administrators and support staff.

      And you expected improved results?

      All these move took place during the since McLoughlin and Donovan became school committee members. It has been exasperated since these two took control of the committee.

      So to sit at the "dais" and berate the counselors is disingenuous, hypocritical and just right wrong.

      There is no amount of apologies that can be offered to these employees.

      SHAME on McLoughlin, Donovan and Quinney. You are disgraces!

      Delete
    2. Well if we boot the McLauphables we get the Quinney Quacks!

      Our kids are doomed unless er school them at home or in other towns.

      Delete
  10. What's the present status of Mrs. Hatch?

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully on the way out. But she is Union President Dave Williams closest confidant. So she'll probably be all set. Glad my son doesn't have her!

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    2. If she is inept and not qualified for the position then why does she continue to be in that role? The results could be damaging to the future of students. Residents should demand her removal. To hell with her relationship with the President of the union. That alone should be warning enough. From what I hear he's no better! You don't get a clean house until you clean it, I think it's time.

      Delete
  11. Please remember the teachers have to do what they are told from the Central Administration. They have been told exactly what to do and then had that changed on the whims of the Superintendent and his merry band of administrators. ( Keep watching, more Springfield cronies of Ms. Gardner will slide in) With all of the changes from above, how can anyone keep it straight? Just remember that when you blast teachers, they are just doing what they are told to do!

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    1. They are all "professionals.". They want to be paid and treated as such. Mrs. Hatch fails to treat her charges the same.
      Starting the MCAS retests mid day, not getting college applications out on time, not meeting with students unless they initiate the meeting, etc. That a professional?
      She needs to stop doing Union business on student time. Time to go Mrs. Hatch, and take the union president with you.

      Delete
  12. This is Alex. I saw the blog about a bofo. I didn't know what it meant so I checked it out. It's a Greek word meaning idiot. So the user of this word must be a Greek or a bofo themselves!!

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  13. Don't complain about Hatch never being in her office, Dargie and BB would take 2 hr. lunches together.

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    Replies
    1. They didn't get the two hours of prep time you did every day! Grow up!

      Delete
  14. Its looks like the school committee is going to do more door busting and harrassing. This time they are going after and question members of the student council. How low can you get! Why is the advisor allowing this to happen. They are just bullies!!!

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  15. Good job Alex. Now you have to determine how many Greeks are working in the system.Once we narrow it down we can figure out who the real bofo is.

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  16. Well something good is finally happening in the math dept at smhs! My daughter stated that Miss Tashjian decided to come out of retirement to bring some order to the math dept! Thank you Miss Tashjian!!

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    Replies
    1. Miss Tashjian coming back?? When did she leave??

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    2. Here's a fact. Ms Tsshjian is absolutely not returning. She is loving the Red Sox and Bruins, and will be attending many home and away games.

      Delete
  17. There is not a person alive who would come out of a nice comfortable retirement to work under this shit-show of administration.

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  18. Those of us who were fired, retired or left for self preservation can't be more happy that we are not at SMHS. I really feel bad for the students and teachers who are left to deal with all of the negativity. It's sad that the teachers are constantly scrutinized and are now being publicly humiliated by the school committee and administrators. I wonder how many teachers will be back next year. The kids in Southbridge deserve better!

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    Replies
    1. So true! The kids are only reason I feel badly about leaving. Southbridge has unique and wonderful students. That's why so many people want(ED) to make their careers there. People of Southbridge, please vote for new School Committee! The students need help!

      Delete

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