Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What We Know, What We Think We Know, and What We Want to Know....

A number of readers have been calling into question our sources of knowledge, identity, and purpose for creating this blog. While we have expressed our concern regarding revealing our identities, many questions still linger. Many who are against this blog want to portray us haters of the school, union folks, or individuals out with a personal vendetta against the school. We have tried to assure you that we are none of those but have had an epiphany regarding our identity; that if we clarify what we do know versus what we think and want to know, it may help others to trust our very positive intentions and remove the need to know our identify as this information can be confirmed.

To that end we have begun with documenting what we know to be valid issues. These issues are based on laws and regulations that govern charter schools and special education concerns. To provide the 'proof' that many anti-bloggers have requested, we have provided the source of our information (i.e. links and quotes to various laws and regulations, as well as a link to the DESE 2008 site visit report that addressed THEIR directives, issues, and concerns. Additionally we have included information from current and former staff members who have contacted us (and that we were able to verify their employment within the school) with their own issues and concerns.
We will start this post with simply what we know, what we can provide documentation to and/or specific references. Meanwhile we ask that should any of you have additional information that you know (and possibly provide us with proof or a way for us to verify it), we welcome your concerns. We also ask that if you have questions you would like answered regarding the school and think we may be able to clarify or research, we also welcome those. Our hope is that once we have identified the major issues that we can compile ideas on how to best rectify the issues that are having the most negative implications to our students and their futures.
We thank the many of you who have continued to support and defend us, as well as those of you who are still questioning our intentions yet willing to keep an open mind in the best interest of all of our children.

What We Know:
·        The school is in violation of conflict of issue and code of conduct laws (Mass Government Ethics Conflict of Interest Laws & Mass Government Code of Conduct Laws: 
    • "You may not hire, promote, supervise, or otherwise participate in the employment of your immediate family or your spouse's immediate family."
    • "You may not take any type of official action that will affect the financial interests of your immediate family or your spouse's immediate family. For instance, you may not participate in a licensing or inspection process involving a family member's business";
    • "You may not take any official action affecting your own financial interest, or the financial interest of a business partner, private employer, or any organization for which you serve as an officer, director or trustee. For instance: you may not take any official action regarding an "after hours" employer, or its geographic competitors; you may not participate in licensing, inspection, zoning or other issues that affect a company you own, or its competitors; if you serve on the Board of a non-profit organization (that is substantially engaged in business activities), you may not take any official action which would impact that organization, or its competitors"
    • "You may not use your official position to obtain unwarranted privileges, or any type of special treatment, for yourself or anyone else. For instance: you may not approach your subordinates, vendors whose contracts you oversee, or people who are subject to your official authority to propose private business dealings."
    • "Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, engaging in conduct which would cause a reasonable person to conclude that any person or entity can improperly influence the employee or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is likely to act or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, or position of any person."
    • Examples of these violations include:
      • The hiring and employment of:
§  Kathy Kinnon
§  Greg Kinnon
§  Burt Shapiro
§  Christopher Finn
§  Anthony Chicurelli
§  Martin Gately
§  John Baglio
§  Francis Brown - Board Members with Repeated Appointments
§  Thomas Brennan - Board Members with Repeated Appointments
o   ‘You may not represent anyone but your public employer in any matter in which your public employer has an interest. For instance, you may not contact other government agencies on behalf of a company, an association, a friend, or even a charitable organization.’
§  Roosevelt Park & General Facilities rentals
o   o   Code of Conduct:
§  Lottery & Waitlist Issues:
·        We have confirmed that relatives of Chris Finn were readmitted.
·        We know of a number of families who were assured of entry into the school through the lottery system.
§  Jordan Shapiro retained as attorney;
·        Served on numerous committees (including YMCA in the past)  with Neil Kinnon;
·        Son is employed at school .
·        Violations of the laws that govern Charter Schools:
o   The school has a very low number of certified teachers compared to other districts and schools yet are required to hire certified teachers.
§  As a side note the school must submit to the DESE a proposal as to how they plan on addressing the high turnover and low retention rate that plaque many charter schools
  • Special Education Issues: These were compiled using emails from staff and information from the site visit report from the 2008 DESE site visit (DESE Special Education Review 2008):
o   IEP’s (Individual Education Plans for students with diverse learning needs) are lacking in that they do not specify students ability at time of evaluation and/or reviews, nor are annual reviews conducted in a timely manner. Additionally, IEP’s and 504’s do not typically identify the explicit method or learning needs of the student.
o   We have from numerous individuals (both parents & staff members) of the Administration informing parents during and IEP meeting that ‘this is how we do it here and you knew that when you signed on’ when questioned regarding their child’s progress. It also appears that the school is unwilling to identify specific learning disabilities within IEP’s and have informed parents that that is a common practice, which it is not.
o   Mystic Valley Regional Charter School is a Commonwealth charter school and by law, is not required to have licensed special education teachers. 
o   Although training is provided during the week prior to the start of school, the school does little to assist or coach new teachers or paraprofessionals in addressing the learning needs of students on an individual basis. We have heard of newer staff members not receiving copies of IEP's or even knowledge of a students needs for accomodations. Any training that is done is conducted in a large group setting where the Director of Special Education (Kathy Kinnon) reads aloud from a power-point presentation and out of respect for the students, teachers are not able to ask specific questions. With the high turnover, new teachers do not have the benefit of consulting their peers as to how best to ensure student success.
o   Although the school does perform training on subject matters required by the DESE, a number of staff and former staff members wrote in regarding the schools unwillingness to follow these laws. As the school outsources their Psychological services, the School Counselors they contract with are limited by the restrictions placed on them by the school.
§  Any threats of students doing harm to themselves or others and/or suspicions of neglect MUST be reported, parents notified, and the appropriate authorities contacted. A number of teachers made mention of reporting these types of incidences to the appropriate Administrator only to have nothing done or to be forbidden to follow the laws. By law in either of these situations, parents must be notified, psychological evaluations performed (if applicable) and the correct authorities are to be contacted.
o   Little oversight or evaluation is performed by independent, highly qualified individuals who are well versed in meeting the needs of diverse learners. Further, the school does not perform self-evaluations on their program or services. This is alarming considering that a number of students have been retained on more than one occasion and that it appears as though the Director of Special Education has had little experience outside of Mystic Valley.
o   Amazingly the school has not required the implementation of an English Language Learner program as it has not had any ELL students enroll. This was partially due to the lack of recruitment and promotional materials being translated for residents whose native language is not English. Additionally, the school does not appear to have any staff with experience in educating ELL non-native English speaking students.
      • According to Department guidance, English learners who wish to participate in a transitional bilingual program or receive some other type of language support may not do so unless they have received a waiver from the requirements of G.L. c. 71A from the school in question. The letters submitted by the school either document the refusal of ESL services by the parent or request an exception for the school year for students 10 years or older. A procedure addressing students who are 10 years or younger was not provided by the school.
o   The school’s student and parent handbook does not contain 1) a nondiscrimination statement; 2) the school’s procedure for accepting, investigating and resolving complaints alleging discrimination or harassment; 3) the inclusion of students with Section 504 Accommodation Plans in the section on procedures for the discipline of students with special needs.


  1. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both | D. Eisenhower

  2. You should have started with the shorter list. You know the one with the things you like about the school. I started it for you.

    1. My child, who of course is God's gift to the whole world, attends the school.

    The End

  3. Yes Andy, you are right - we should list the good things as well...
    2.Our school has many exceptional teachers and staff members and we want to ensure that they continue to have them going forward as we have already seen too many great ones leave.
    3. The school has done an exceptional job of educating many of it's students and we want this to continue. Since my child (and other children and their parents) are depending on this school to provide them all with the superior education we signed on for, we must all work together to ensure that it remains an exceptional and viable school.

    And Andy, while everyone thinks their child is GOd's gift to the world, we should want a quality, adequate education for ALL children, and not be so self-serving.

    Welcome back!

  4. Andrew25: Your children ARE a gift from God. Just ask those who desperately want one and can't have one or had one and had to bury them, no matter how old they were. Do you ever actually THINK before you speak?

  5. Andrew25,
    Do you actually READ before you form an opinion and/or TYPE? We never said children weren't a gift from God but rather that ALL children are - even those that are not our own. We value all of our children.

  6. You mean I actually have to read this stuff before I comment? I may have to stop commenting because reading this crap gives me a headache.

  7. OK. I just wasted 30 seconds of my life reading this BS and have now come to a more informed opinion. It's all BS.

    I would like to point out one of the favorite tactics of the bloggers. It involves our childrens teachers who thus far, I believe, have been exceptional. They'll do their best to undermine a parents confidence in the quilifacations of the teachers, as they've done in this blog, then write how "most" of the teachers(and staff)is what makes the school great. As long as we don't include the staff that should be put in prison.

    Great stuff guys!

  8. Andrew25: If you don't like it, leave! No one is making you read or comment.

  9. Andrew25 -
    You must really keep those blinders on tight while reading because we haven't said anything against ALL of the teachers, we've actually addressed how we want more for them. Our issues with the staff are focused around the fact the good ones leave partly due to the working conditions and lack of empowerment which are less than impressive and the low pay. This makes it difficult to create strong 'teams' of teachers and for teachers to rely on each other as most professionals do. The other issue we have is with the staff that won't leave and who don't add much value to the students or school, basically the employees that are there as a result of something other than qualifications.

    How bad are the working conditions? Teachers are encouraged to rat each other to lead teachers and administrators, the teachers have very little say in matters and are not encouraged to be proactive in addressing issues ('that isn't how we do it here'). Remember Neil Kinnon has made it VERY clear that 'a monkey' could do their job (I guess that's why that monkey thinks he can adequately run the school - sorry too good to pass up). Who wants to have invested money and time into a college degree and/or masters degree to only be comparable to a monkey?
    Oh that's right Andy, you like that and see no problem with it.
    Thanks for making our argument for us...

  10. Let's play a little game called "who said that and wtf does it mean"

    "The school has a VERY LOW number of certified teachers compared to other districts and schools yet are required to hire certified teachers"


  11. Ok, thank you again for proving a point ~ why not everyone should be running a school.

    Yes, that was said and is very much true but as most will tell you, passing a test doesn't make one a great teacher BUT our state requires it. Two very different arguments.... for a school that demands such compliance, lets see them put their money where their mouth is.....

  12. So does that mean a Very High number of our teachers should be replaced? You wrote it. You should make your point clear. This is not the first time I've seen this statement.

  13. Ignore the baiting bully.

    Thank you for returning to the core mission you started with. The other issues distract from the essential problem that our school is bathed in nepotism and poor management. Not to mention illegal practices regarding Special needs students. These are the issues that will hurt MV if we don't address them now like law abiding adults. All of the good that MV has done will be besides the point if we start getting sued and don't play by the rules. i guess the admin either think they are above the law or really want to fall on this sword-what a shame.

  14. Listen, MVInsider is my friend and I won't tolerate you calling her a baiting bully!

  15. How is any of this productive? This is like reading the Enquirer or better yet the Boston Herald. STOP and get back to the real issues. PLEASE

  16. Alright I see this last question makes you very uncomfortable. What other ridiculous statement in your blog would you like to discuss?

  17. Bravo for dedicating your time for this blog UnOfficial MVRCS! I would just ignore the posts from Andrew25.

  18. All you D'Bags need to get a life! MV does a great job and your logic/reason is so off the deep end it is scary that any of you have kids! Even tho Obama fits right in with most of you, he does have one thing right - more charter schools and dump the damn unions; you are just a bunch of haters who have no clue what it really takes to run a business or a shcool. I can't wait for the day (if that will ever happen) when we can all confront you eye to eye and then see how big your words are...Long live MVRCS and the current administration...and for what its worth, I'm none of the folks you keep referring to but am part of the many who support the school...

  19. Ew- you argue like a middle school drop out. Do you talk to children with that hate and language? Or is it just adults you disagree with? Obamba and D'Bags?? Really? Gross....

  20. All you D'Bags need to get a life??? How charming and a perfect role model you are to your children with you lovely slang! God help your children!

  21. hmmm, it seems that the middle school dropouts are the same gutless people who won't show up in public and present their "so called" issues and then debate like adults instead of thier little "middle school" rumor mill and hiding behind this blog! Stand up and have a backbone; my kids will but you gutless and clueless bloggers should look in the mirror as you are such great role models for your children. Power on MVRCS, we need more charter schools in this country who will shake up the BS status Quo of the insane teacher unions who truly don't care about our kids and thier results show it. Time for more "NJ type" leaders (Christy) to stand up to folks like the ones who write this blog...but at least those folks show up to public meetings and don't hide behind thier little blog.

  22. Hey Dip shit Mr Brennan and Mr Brown are Board members unpaid not employees. How the hell do you think Charter Schools start its usually a group of friends and associates. Hey here's an idea why don't you take your misfit friends and start a Charter School. No don't think that will happen because you don't have the courage to stand up in the open and take the crap these people have for years from all corners so all of our kids could get a decent education. And who gives a rats ass if a teacher is certified. Everyone in the piss poor Boston Schools are . Malden has almost all certified teachers what does it mean shit ass schools. You are a Union tool trying to take this school down. To bad you are fooling some fools as they will be crying when they end up back in Everett or Malden public. Stupid pawns. MV has excellent teachers from all over the country who cares what MA says lets compare test scores in tenth grade after all the years in the school. Go to the next Board meeting and stand tall. Your info just like the top two is bogus all inuendo.

  23. Oh my, more ignorant, trashy, and uneducated parents who can't read before they write, and who are heartless, evil people, such as (September 28, 2010 11:48 PM), (September 28, 2010 11:04 PM), and (September 28, 2010 8:53 PM)! MV, see what happens when you destroy the parents who really understood your way of thinking, but not your ethical ways? You end up with parents like the three above. Sad, no wonder you're being dumped on. I used to consider MV as an upscale school. Glad I am no longer in there with this trashy group of folks you now bring in. Slippery Slope! Are these your new members of your family that slide by your lottery system?

  24. Nope! None of us ever attended a Board meeting! Nope! None of us ever came face-to-face with these people! Nope! None of us ever had the guts to speak up! HELLO! ARE YOU PEOPLE THERE AND LISTENING? THE REASON THAT WE ARE HERE ON THIS BLOG IS BECAUSE WE DID ATTEND BOARD MEETINGS, MANY OF THEM. WE VOLUNTEERED AND WORKED AT THE SCHOOL. WE SPOKE UP. WE DID COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH THE BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION AND WHAT DID WE GET? WE WERE TREATED LIKE DIRT, TOLD TO LEAVE, IGNORED, AND WE WERE SCOLDED FOR STICKING UP FOR OUR CHILDREN! DOES THIS SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU NOW? GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEADS FOR ONCE AND READ BEFORE YOU TYPE! I do not ever swear on the internet, but you people are a bunch of F'n idiots! You deserve your school and the likes of Kinnon and his loser, uneducated puppets on his board and administration team! While i continued to support this school, I now pray for the day that they fall on their faces. They are the ones to blame, no the parents who stood by them, even when they s_rewed and hurt our children! Go to H_LL!

  25. Andrew25 wrote "So does that mean a Very High number of our teachers should be replaced?"

    Once again Andy, you make our point for us, no one really has to worry about that because, wait for it, the school has a VERY HIGH turnover rate so most of those that can leave, do. A good number of teachers are replaced each year as it stands. What was it last year - 23? Out of what, 99?
    Is it a certification issue or a hiring issue? Any input on the hiring practices of the folks responsible for the hiring of the teachers - the PDC's? The hiring process there is a joke, not seen as anything more than another body.

    Oh Andy, any other great questions that help to prove the issues and concerns of this blog?

  26. I may have more questions but I'm still waiting for your an answer on this issue. Are most of the teachers grossly unqualified, hired by the totally inept or are they the foundation of a great school.

    I know you may not want to answer a difficult question with a direct answer but you should not argue both sides of the issue.

  27. Andrew25 -
    As with all schools, some of the teachers are exceptional (regardless of whether they are certified or not certified) and some should not be teaching or be working with children. Every school has teachers that are there for the paycheck versus teachers that are there for the sake of the children. Many of the teachers could be even better if given the right leadership, guidance, and resources. Unfortunately, many times what determines a teachers qualifications at MVRCS is based on their willingness to either play or go along with the 'game'. That means they know better than to approach the Administration for assistance (as it will be held against them), question a policy or procedure, to challenge or advocate for students when they see a wrong being done. The difficult part is that some of them these same folks are exceptional teachers and feel that by playing the game and ignoring the illegal actions and wrongs of the school they are bringing more into the classroom. Anyone else ever notice how teachers hedge questions regarding their children? They can't answer or make a statement without having it approved in advanced. If MVRCS had true confidence in their teachers and were doing nothing wrong, the teachers would not be so scared to talk to parents.

  28. I guess this is as close to a direct answer that I'll get. There is enough information here for people to draw a reasonable conclusion about how you feel.

    BTW I enjoyed your last blog. If you had started off with this I would have thought what a great resource to help navigate the sometimes confusing task of educating our children. Unfortunately it will be difficult to overlook the past, and future, hateful smearing of the people we trust our kids with.

  29. Andrew -
    How do we feel? That the issue isn't the teachers but the Board and Administration. Does that clarify it for you?

    I don't think anyone asked you to overlook anything that we have said but rather we just want parents to know what issues are out there impacting the education of their children.

  30. Andrew -
    Thank you for sharing but you made mention of not being able to overlook certain things. We do welcome your sharing, you always helps us bring out points and opinions that may not have expressed without your insight and questions.

    As for the removal of comments, the comments you are referencing contained relgious intonenations which we feel are inappropriate and sever no purpose to this site. But you knew that didn't you?

  31. Andrew25: You don't know the meaning of the word "positive". All I have read from you is bashing and complaining. Why don't YOU pack it in and leave the blog to the parents who are looking to correct the issues the admin won't? We need to change out the board to get new ideas and answers. They've done a terrific job of getting the school to where it is and now it is time to step down and turn the torch over. Why should this blog allow people to post who call them "D'bags"? I would wash my kids mouths out with soap if I heard them call someone that! You think that's ok as I have read many of your comments and see how you set a terrible example for your children. I know, you are only trying to bait people and keep this lively but we could do without you so hit the road if you don't like it here. Cannot wait until Neil and Kompany tell you to do the same when you bring a problem to them.

  32. Jay Sullivan's email address is on the DESE website but should anyone like it so that they too can write to him, please contact us at UnOfficialMVRCS@gmail.com and we will be happy to provide you with any and all email addresses of individuals that we have contacted.
    To all others, you may have better luck obtaining the answers to the questions should you write to him yourself. We hare happy to provide you with his email address.

  33. I thought that many of the teachers who left went back for their masters degree

  34. what is a board member with repeated appointments? you list brown and brennan as such with no explanation.

  35. Repeated appointments are the same as multiple terms. The Board members are appointed for a 3 or 4 year term but when their term expires, they are re-appointed. These board members have been on the board since about 2000 -2001. The DOE requires that they have a set limit on number of terms a member may serve but MVRCS pays no attention to it.

  36. As for the teachers leaving for their masters, some do but many just leave. Many that leave are not given a choice.

    To the comments regarding the bantering and bickering, you are correct and all non-essential comments will be deleted. Thank you for pointing out the annoyance of this. Point taken.

  37. and where is the law that says there are term limits?

  38. Oh Andrew25, you really need to put the bottle down and go to bed? Your nastiness is showing through your anger. Drinking is bad when you post. Your poor children. How sad. The school must be so proud to have you as a parent volunteer. Wink ;) night night Andrew. Time to cool down. You need to be at work at the school tomorrow very early, so get a good night's sleep.

  39. Several years ago I called the DOE charter school dept. and asked about term limits. All other charter schools have them and I was told they were "working with Mystic Valley" to get them to adhere to that concept. Well, the next annual report mentioned terms and the lengths beside each members name. So, according to the requirements, they were reporting as they should. No one mentioned that the board does the appointing. There are no term limits so as long as any of them want to serve, they just keep getting re-appointed by each other.

    The school charter calls for 11 seats on the board. Over the years, people would drop out and no one would replace them. Kinnon has his small group which he can Kontrol. Don't expect any changes until hell freezes over.

  40. so in other words there is no LAW that says there are term limits and the board of the school is complying with the LAW - seems like you really have yourselves tied up in bunches over a non-issue

  41. This is where the "ethics" come in. Just because something is "legal" doesn't mean it is right or ethical and the DOE has said that to me as well. They were clearly taken aback by the real estate deals but could not do anything as there is nothing legally against them doing that. Was it right or ethical? NO. Is that what you want to teach your children? There is a difference and you know it. It's the koolaid that keeps you from seeing it.

  42. There is no Law on term limits. Also the Board started with six members or seven members and never had more. Should there be term limits on Administrators of schools? If not why should there be limits on Boards particularly those who came up with the school and put there time and effort into building it? UnMV who should run it then you or Annie O. Clearly you can't think the Board should turn it over to people so radically opposed to what there vision is can you. Why on earth would they or should they ever do so. You spend so much time doing this why don't you take these unhappy people and start your own. Hey Mr Kinnon might even be willing to show you how to find and finance some real estate for a building. Annie O certainly never tried to help on that front although she griped for years about how the buildings stunk but sat on her ass and did nothing about it just like you and the rest of this crew. Sad

  43. Hey that is it UNMV instead of wasting all this time trying to take the school 95% are very happy with why don't you take your crew and start one down the street. You think you know so much lets see you compete coward. Never happen as you don't have the balls to do something construtive like that. Just sit behind your keyboard and tear my kids school down. Maybe someday we will meet. Comeon you and Annie who's never done anything except work on the failed trash thing she likes to brag about. Funny thing she doesn't even know who was pulling the strings on that effort behind the scenes. Pawn in that pawn in this. Some things never change. Get some gumption and compete instead of complain. MV and its Board will kick your ass that is why you won't compete.

  44. Why doesn't Kinnon use his own abilities to find a DECENT building for the kids now in the school? Not one without a gym or with diesel fuel fumes blowing into the open windows of the school next to it? What makes you think they would've listened to Annie O if she came up with anything? You don't listen to parents after all these years there's no way you would've ever listened to her then! BTW: Whether or not the trash tax failed due to the technicality the city used, you cannot say she isn't doing something. She gets out there and stands up which is more than I can say for a lot of you who oppose this site. Are you trying to say Kinnon was pulling the strings behind the scenes? Not surprising as that is his mode of operation. Just add another one to the list!

  45. Political tactic: When you can't defeat the argument, attack the person making the argument.

  46. Oh, that's an old bash about me starting my own school and why I didn't do anything to find new facilities. My answer then and now: As a founding parent, that IS my school and why should I have to start another? If a parent can't ask a question or make a suggestion the board would answer, why do you think they would listen to me of all people? I was very supportive of the Malden Hospital site which we had the highest bid yet Mr. Kinnon somehow let that slip through his fingers. I was also supportive of the rehab of the Maplewood school which he also ditched. You know he is the one who Kontrols all. If it doesn't come from him, it doesn't matter.

    BTW: I've always known it was Neil who met with Bob Miller up in Wakefield for their secret meetings to get the MTFA started. Bob shared the long list of supporters of the effort from the start. Initially I was uncomfortable working together with him on this issue yet felt it was for the greater good and would deal with him respectfully (more than he's ever done with me!) as the need arose. Much to my surprise, he always remained the "silent" partner. I still don't understand why he chose Bob Miller to head this issue and then never stepped up to show his support openly. Of course now it is clear. He is a master of manipulation and deceit. How can you trust this man? How many secret deals is he involved in? We'll never know as they are "secret", eh?

    Gotta run...Roger Waters is in concert again tonight! He was awesome last night! No hot dogs, all beer! Ka-ching!