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EDUCATION: Hillhouse Transitioning- Administrators NEED HELP

EDUCATION AGENDA - To say that James Hillhouse High School Is Going through Transition is to make a GROSS understatement.
OneWorld invites you to read the article and posted comments in the New Haven Independent linked below.


Superintendent Garth Harries said the district could have managed this year’s transition better. Why not start right now Mr. Harries?  Painting the rooms should be the LEAST of the immediate concerns of Hillhouse administrators. There are far more serious issues at hand.

“There are certainly things we could have and should have been better at in the process here, in terms of communicating,” he said. But “there has been significant communication” with those who would be most affected by the changes.”

Hundreds of parents, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students at Hillhouse disagree there has been significant communication with those most affected. We suggest that the Supt hold a meeting with many of the seniors to get their input and hear their concerns.

To those who are seniors this year, their lives have been turned upside down for 50 percent of their high school years: as juniors and as seniors.

Did the Supt and the academy principals make a conscious decision to create chaos?  Not at all! In fact, the principals and their assistants are trying very hard under a very odd set of circumstances. MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE. There needs to be someone with a great deal of experience at the helm! Ms. Baker and her assistant principal Garfield Pilliner are passionate and skilled educators; they are also inexperienced administrators.  This has nothing to do with their competence; it has to do with the length of time they have held leadership: education administrative positions.  Putting them in charge of so great a task without anyone who is more experienced there to help was short-sighted, at the least.  They are to be given enormous credit for taking on the task. 

Zakiyyah Baker is an indomitable spirit.  Most people would have said "no" when placed in her position.  She did not.  There is no doubt she is giving this her 100 percent effort.  It's still too much.  Garfield Pilliner, her assistant principal was a Math teacher at ESUMS and New Haven's Teacher of the Year in 2013. Baker was NHPS top teacher of the year for 2010-2011 School Year. This woman cares about students and she cares about education. Don't burn her out.

Aliyya Swaby File PhotoMelinda Tuhus Photo

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/new_hav...; Here she appeared on OneWorld's TV program in January 2011, along with other top teachers from Hamden, No. Haven and WH.

"As students poured out of Hillhouse High School’s classrooms for dismissal, Zakiyyah Baker enthusiastically greeted some students, directed hallway lingerers to after-school activities, and answered questions when she could. Including questions about whose principal she is this year.

One student — enrolled in the Law, Public Safety and Health (LPSH) Academy, one of four separate schools-within-a-school at Hillhouse — started to ask Baker for “a favor.”

“Ask Principal [David] Diah,” Baker informed her with a pat on the shoulder, then continued on her rounds."

Last school year, Baker was the student’s principal. She ran LPSH. This year she’s running two of the other academies: College Career Readiness, which is being phased out this year; and a brand new Social Media and Art (SMART) Academy, which is being phased in.  It’s the latest step in an experiment launched last year in breaking up city’s large comprehensive high schools into mini-schools with special themes and more individual focus. (Click here, here and here to read stories about public debate over that approach.)


• Administrators being sorry do not make things better for the students. Unless something substantial is done to address the concerns and relieve the anguish some seniors and their parents are experiencing, the months ahead could be more difficult for everyone.

The posts below are copied from the NHI article dated Oct. 6, 2015

posted by: HillHouseSeniors on October 7, 2015  8:51am

We are the seniors of the James Hillhouse high school and we have read this article we disagree with it, none of this is correct. This is all LIES! We have not been able to work with any of the underclassmen at all. We are kicked out of the school after our lunch at 12:47. They spent 14,000 dollars on painting(The third floor where the seniors are were not even painted), not leaving any funding for school supplies. For example culinary students sit in their class room not being able to cook. We are not even treated like we are even here in this school. During our senior seminar class they told they gave us a fake reason why we are back on the third floor. There are 300 seniors yet we have the smallest classrooms. We are treated unfairly, our school motto was “One HOUSE one FAMILY” What happened to that?

posted by: JohnTulin on October 7, 2015  1:25pm

Thank you Hillhouse Seniors - please encourage your classmates to weigh in on this, accurately and honestly, also.

Also, what are the qualifications for the school-within-school principals?  For example, to pick anyone, how is Daniels qualified to lead the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Action school?  Is Diah an expert in Law, Safety, Health.  Pretty diverse training.  Or do they just stick the title onto a name and see if it sticks…until the next idea?  Curious.

posted by: Jones on October 8, 2015  8:26am

The Lies Continue….  Not only are they treating the teachers as second-class teachers. Now “The seniors are part of the lies”.  Maybe that’s how they are preparing seniors for the real world.  Let’s just call it a fantasy education.

I understand that the school is up for New England Accreditation next year stay tuned.
http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/hillhou...

Visit OneWorld's Education Index on our web at:

http://www.oneworldpi.org/education/index.html  

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/new_hav...  

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Comment by N'Zinga Shani on October 10, 2015 at 11:28pm

Zakiyyah Baker is an indomitable spirit.  Most people would have said "no" when placed in her position.  She did not.  There is no doubt she is giving this her 100 percent effort.  It's still too much.  Garfield Pilliner, her assistant principal, was a Math teacher at ESUMS and New Haven's Teacher of the Year in 2013.  He too is a brilliant, talented and committed educator. Baker was NHPS top teacher of the year for 2010-2011 School Year. This woman cares about students and she cares about education. Don't burn her out.  The Supt and the NHPS directors at Central office need to be more involved and provide more help to the staff at Hillhouse.  What is happening is not the best for the students or the staff.

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