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By Mehrose Ahmad and Sumaita Hasan, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief
Following a delay in sending the mid-year reports to colleges for Townsend Harris High School’s Class of 2017, we have confirmed that many mid-year reports will be sent to colleges today, whereas reports of students whose transcripts have grade errors will be withheld until the DOE can finalize the grade changes for those students impacted by the report card error.
On the issue, Assistant Principal Veronica York said, “I don’t have an exact number of how many mid-year reports have been submitted today.” She elaborated that “we have staff sitting at computers and uploading each individual transcript.”
Only transcripts that were numerically correct were submitted today. Today, the school also submitted formal requests for grade changes for all students with errors on their transcripts in social studies teacher Jaime Baranoff’s classes. Ms. York anticipates that the process should take “about 24 hours” and plans to send the corrected transcripts to colleges tomorrow.
Yesterday, there was a dispute over how to submit these changes. The changes require some kind of documentation of the error and three APs claimed they had a method that would expedite the process. They advocated attaching a one page summary sheet of each class’s grades explaining the difference between what Ms. Baranoff put as the grade and the actual final grade. Ms. Jahoda believed the Department of Education wanted the school to send a printout of each student’s grade for every assignment in Ms. Baranoff’s class so the DOE could see all the data that led to the error. The APs believed filling out so much paperwork would take too long. A meeting over this issue led to Ms. Jahoda ejecting one AP from her office and telling another they should “be scared” over the possibility that the mid-year reports would be delayed.
Today, the method advocated for by the APs was ultimately used to send in the grade requests after the DOE approved it.
Regarding the issue, Interim Acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda sent an email to all parents and students promising that every transcript will arrive to colleges on time. It stated: “Clerical errors regarding Term 1 grades have been reported. Transcripts of seniors unaffected by the errors are being uploaded today and I am working with the DOE Academic Policy Department to resolve the reported issues in a timely fashion. All senior transcripts will be sent to colleges in time for review.”
Co-president of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Susan Karlic sent an email to all senior parents regarding the article written yesterday, stating that she had “sent an email to Ms. Jahoda requesting her next steps in expediting the delivery of the mid-year report. Some colleges are expecting these grades as early as next week and a major concern is that the delay can impact acceptances.” This was following texts and emails to Ms. Karlic showing “comments and complaints” from senior families. Ms. Karlic added that the delay “will not be a positive outcome for anyone.”
In response to the news that the mid-year reports had not been sent in as of yesterday, parents and students responded with concern.
Senior Samantha Jaloza questioned why students were not contacted regarding the issue in the first place, saying, “I feel this should have been passed down to the students and parents through the guidance counselors. We shouldn’t have had to wait for a Classic article.”
Regarding Ms. Jahoda’s statements written in the previous article (where she told one Assistant Principal to “be afraid” over the delay), Samantha’s mom Michelle Hutchinson stated, “It appears that IA Principal Jahoda has no respect for the APs. No person, adult or child, should be spoken to the way IA Principal Jahoda speaks to the APs. I have been a parent in this school for both Principal Barbetta and Principal Bonamo, and neither of these principals ever spoke to students, parents or teachers in this manner, that I know of.”
An anonymous assistant principal commented on the controversy, stating, “I think the fundamental shift between last year and this year is that last year, we [the APs and the principal] were one team working to make sure that outgoing seniors are on target [with their applications]. This year, the principal has to be reminded that we are on the same team. If the leader of the building was really concerned with student records going in appropriate time to colleges, the conversation would be like ‘ok guys, let’s focus.’ You wouldn’t say, ‘I would be afraid. It’s your responsibility.’ The fear [for Ms. Jahoda] is not that students’ transcripts will be sent with wrong grades. She is not afraid that the students will be shortchanged. We were meeting with her to solve the problem as quickly as we could, and she saw this as an opportunity to intimidate us.”
Senior Daniell Morales added, “Hearing that our principal had the audacity to kick out an AP during an important meeting for raising their voice goes to show what type of principal she’d like to be, dismissing those who don’t agree or [those] who show a passionate concern. It displays her need for total control and [her] immaturity when it comes to confrontation. Fear is not the way to run a school.”
Senior Jagjot Singh said, “I don’t think it’s her [Ms. Jahoda’s] place to tell someone to be afraid because last time I checked, she is the one about to get fired.”
Ms. Hutchinson also spoke about the impact of the delay in the submission of the mid year reports, saying, “This is a stressful enough times for high school seniors applying to colleges; they do not need the added stress of not knowing whether their mid-semester grades are going to get in on time, precluding them from having a complete application. I spoke with IA Principal Jahoda this morning and she told me they are working on this situation and they are not the only high school in NYC that has not sent their transcripts to colleges. She further said there is no deadline, and I informed her that is not correct—several schools do have clear deadlines of when they need to receive these transcripts. She further stated, ‘they [the students] have not missed any deadlines.’”
Senior Nicole Moshel is concerned that THHS students may be at a disadvantage when being considered for admission. She stated, “This is upsetting and I’m afraid we will not receive the credit we deserve.”
“We gave so much to this school and our senior year, so much is happening to stop us from reaching our goals,” remarked senior Raya Kazdan. She added, “I’m just so frustrated because another part of my application was late for reasons out of my control, and this could seriously prevent me from going to college or getting scholarships.”
Raya attempted to speak to Ms. Jahoda over the matter, but was told by Ms. Jahoda’s secretary that she can speak to her in a few days.
“I don’t even know what to say. It’s just a new low,” concluded senior Erela Datuowei.
Ms. Jahoda was unavailable for comment.