Bronx ATR is an internet friend and ATR Adventure blogger. We barely met in-person once at a dissident ATR meeting but we stay in touch on the internet.
This morning he sent me an insiders account of Eagle Academy run by incoming Chancellor David Banks. Bronx ATR did a stint there in his Absent Teacher Reserve rounds. He survived it and is now happily retired teaching English a few days a week to immigrants from Central America.
I’m trying to stay off the blogs, but I wanted to let you know my personal experience with Eagle Academy in the Bronx.
First of all, it’s a completely segregated school. It’s segregated first by race and secondly by gender. The school building off Tremont Avenue is incredibly beautiful and modern. The cherry on the cake is its basketball and gym facilities. Most of it was funded from private donors that Banks has the privilege to be friends with and actively engages for money.
Sports is used as a carrot and a stick with the kids. The kids all wear uniforms and are very covert with their misdeeds. (It reminded me of my Catholic school days in All Hallows Institute on 164th St. I believe Banks has based his schools on All Hallows, although I have never heard him admit it.)
If you’re an ATR or a sub there, you are going to suffer greatly. It was by far the worst school I was placed at during my 5 1/2 years in the pool. If you were a brand new teacher- you were going to suffer. They actively recruit only black teachers from private schools like Boston Latin. The poor devil I knew from there - a great guy and teacher, sold his house in late August and came to work there and was completely misled. (He told me the principal came up to Boston with some of Banks’ bureaucracy and watched his classes and brought him down to Eagle, and kept them there for a couple of days to watch the classes and see how the school was run, and basically cherry picked the classes and the kids he would interact with. He ended up leaving in mid December.)
It was by and large the worst school I was ever placed in. It was a hellish experience. (The school I was in previously wanted to hire me but simply didn’t have the budget. I tried to get hold of Mike Sill but he did nothing to help.) The boys would be constantly dry humping each other and simulating sex. If you turned your back for a moment books were flying through the room. The Deans and those who are trying to keep order could only do so while they were in the room. I was warned by security agents not to go to that school when I was placed there in November of 2017, as they had many officers involved in major problems there.
I should also mention the support staff there was incredibly dedicated. Many of the aides there acted as deans and really did the best they could. The secretaries there were great and were the de facto counselors for some of the teachers and students. When a deeply segregated school tries to maintain the outward appearance of conformity and control everything becomes covert and much more nasty than in an open environment, imho.
I don’t believe in segregation in any form. Just because it’s paid for by private funds doesn’t make it OK. NYC is going to see a lot of ‘private’ schools coming in to New York City because of Bloomberg‘s money and Banks’s and Adams leadership.
The one good thing I will say though is that they suspended kids there but only for serious issues. I saw a kid rip the water fountain out of the wall and throw it and he was actually expelled. So one good thing I think he will see is a return to a suspension policy.
Cheers, have a great Christmas and New Year’s.
I just spoke to another ATR who spent time at Eagle in the Bronx. He confirms Bronx ATR's account. He corroborated that the school was all about appearances but the kids were totally out of control.
Anyone expecting an Adams-Banks change to the DOE culture of "making it look good" is likely to be disappointed.