I would like to share my experience from the Harlem Success Academy Recruitment Hiring Fair at Eva Moskowitz's headquarters. First of all, I received an invitation to Ms. Moskowitz' Recruitment Event from a head hunter at Execu Search. (This particular headhunter found my name and profile on Linkedin).
After my experience at 310 Lenox Avenue (Eva Moscowitz's headquarters), John Dewey is probably rolling over in his grave if he witnessed what was said and observed at the recruitment event. I was also extremely offended in how Eva used the word 'Sped' to describe special needs students. As a teacher and as an individual who has a disability, I find this offensive. Also as a parent, I would not want my child in a school setting where administrators and teachers call children 'sped' kids. Second, her headquarters looks extremely sterile and cold, all white, blue and orange with a modern appearance. There are many cubicles with HR assistants working all over the second floor of her office. (Ms. Moskowitz has the entire second floor in the building for her network).
When I first arrived at HSA Headquarters, I was greeted by the receptionist who gave me my ID tag and was then escorted into the small conference room. In the conference room, there were already prospective employees (teachers, administrators). We were getting ready to watch the HSA promo video. The promo video involved many statistics about Ms. Moskowitz's network about HSA, for example:
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a)Success at HSA is because children read 2 hours a day, 26 books a month, and their program is 'rigorous' and , they are also deeply involved in the arts
b) In the promo, it was stated that every 7 students apply for 1 seat in Ms. Moskowitz's school. The goal at HSA is to eventually make it up to 40 students.
After the promo video, we were all told to go back into the HR recruiter office area to mingle with the other prospective employees and HR assistants. I asked 1 HR assistant, Victory "If HSA was ever considering constructing their own schools since they co-locate with New York City public schools". Victory's response was , "We are not interested in constructing our own building because it takes 5 or 6 years to construct a building and the children will no longer be there. It takes too long and more energy to construct a building and we know that the public schools are not holding at full capacity anyway. So this is why we co-locate.
My commentary and thoughts : I was biting my tongue during my conversation with Victory. I felt like I was infiltrating a cult while listening to this inaccurate and falsified statements. I really wanted to share my thoughts and give accurate and realistic statistics but remembered that I was in Ms. Moskowitz's office and I did not want to blow my cover.
I also asked Victory about HSA's specific curriculum choices at HSA but she was not able to give me a clear and descriptive response. She just mumbled off jargon from the promo video I just watched, nothing really specific and detailed. After I spoke with Victory, I met with 2 new principals from Bronx SA1 and Bronx SA2 who are very young. They look like they could be my age or younger (I happen to look probably about 10 years younger than my actual age, so this is basically how young they look).
The Bronx schools are fairly new, only K- 1 and they are in the phase of expanding. Since I am an early childhood educator, I asked many questions about the curricular for young children. I inquired if children get a chance to move around and learn through movement. BSA Principal 1 said it is very difficult to follow this kind of authentic curriculum with the current standards for education. I mentioned that even though the current standards are a challenge, there are many engaging, interactive ways to get children to learn their sight words or learn how to read through movement. BSA 1 principal also mentioned to me about the new block program which was brought into HSA this year. The kindergarten and first grade children are guided by a block consultant on how to construct and play with blocks for about 50 minutes throughout the week.
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