By Gina Martinez
Flushing High School is facing major staff changes.
The school, located at 35-01 Union St., and Bronx’ Dewitt Clinton High School are both part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s renewal school program. The program features low-performing schools that are required to make gains in test scores and hit improvement targets or face major overhauls. Last year Flushing High School was the only school on the list that did not meet its turnaround goals.
The Department of Education said 128 Flushing High School staff members and 98 Dewitt Clinton High School staff members must reapply for their positions. The interview process is set to begin by February 2018 and be completed by the end of the 2017-18 school year. Staff who want to reapply for their positions will be interviewed by staffing committees made up of the schools’ principals, the DOE and UFT representatives. The committees will determine hiring decisions at each school and there is no minimum number of employees to be retained, DOE said.
DOE has restaffed eight schools under the de Blasio administration, including August Martin High School in Jamaica and John Adams High School in Ozone Park. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that DOE chose not to retain Flushing High School Principal Tyee Chin but Principal Pierre Orbe of DeWitt Clinton High School will remain as principal. Ignazio Accardi took over as principal of Flushing High School last Friday. He will be the sixth principal in six years for the Flushing school.
“Having a strong leader and the right team of teachers is essential to a successful school, and this restaffing process is the necessary next step in the work to turnaround these schools,” Fariña said
UFT Vice President Janella Hinds was reportedly at odds with Chin. He was reprimanded by the DOE for ordering staff members to blindly praise the school during surveys and in May he reportedly refused to publish the student newspaper after an article painted teachers in a negative light.
“In the case of Flushing High School principal, Chin came in with an attitude that wasn’t collaborative or supportive, and the UFT had to file a discrimination case with the state Public Employment Relations Board after the principal threatened to press charges of ‘racism and harassment’ against the chapter leader for doing her job,” Hinds said.
Chin said his clash was with the UFT, not teachers. He said the UFT was unhappy that he was holding teachers accountable and to a high standard and that a lot of teachers were actually sad and disappointed he was replaced.
“I am very proud of the work myself and the teachers did to improve the standard at Flushing High School,” he said. “I will truly miss working with the students, teachers and Flushing community and wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart