So here is the dust pan!
So the other day on THIS blog post I mentioned this newspaper article was printed in one of the local papers about the International School of Bydgoszcz where my daughter go to school at….
Well I mentioned that I would get this posted as soon as I had the link to it. Unfortunately I have not been able to find it online but I did get a English translation of the article for those of you who not read Polish like me!
So it is going to be a long read but I am glad I got it as it because the story was worse then than I originally thought!
Bad things are happening at the International School of Bydgoszcz where, among others, NATO officers’ children study. There are clashes between the management, teachers and parents and the University (the school founder) is unable to mitigate the situation.
It was supposed to be a prestigious international school, with teachers speaking perfect English, classes of maximum 12 students, high-flying curriculum and supervised by the University.
It all started with a fall start. Two years ago there was a scandal when it appeared that the position of the headmistress of the school with English as the language of instruction, was given to a person who hardly spoke this language.
- It is unbelievable! It takes Poland 20 years back! – officers from the JFTC, deployed in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie province were really frustrated. They visited our editorial office because the Univeristy authorities did not show understanding towards their protest. They complained about lack of cooperation between the school and parents. They couldn’t understand why the headmistress fires (during the school year) well qualified teachers with whom they and their children had the best contact. We described this international conflict in the article entitled “Scandal at the International School” in June 2011 and the then President of the University, Józef Kubik,announced changes in functioning of the school and he kept his word. The headmistress was changed and a Council of Parents was created to closely cooperate with her. Peace time lasted for less than a year because in autumn 2012 problems came again.
An American woman gave up the position of the Council of Parents Chairperson. She wanted to explain the case of unusual correspondence of a male teacher with a 12-year old girl, which was a widely discussed topic at school. – Her conclusion was that the management swept the case under the carpet so she quit her position and took her kids from the school – remember parents who are doing the same. Ten families do not want to continue with the ISOB and move their kids to other schools.
- The deputy headmistress, Diana C., is very arrogant, her reaction to problems and remarks that we report is the following: “If you don’t like it here, you can take your child from the school.” – say parents. They admit that sometimes they, adults, left her office crying. – She is only 30 and has only a year’s experience at school but behaves as if she knew everything, she does not tolerate remarks or objections, and the headmistress, Imislawa G. is not an educator but an official who came to the school straight from the city office. This is the reason of lack of skills in managing the school.
- It can’t be like this! Things must change! – said parents during the meeting with prof. Roman Leppert responsible for teaching and quality of education at the University. The meeting was attended by students’ parents and teachers. They spoke about cases that according to them destroy the good image of the school and its mission. We have heard horrifying stories, including the one about a little genius who s a persona non grata at the school.
The 12-year old Paweł’s IQ is 150. The boy easily wins competitions of various kinds and loves scientific publications (parents subscribe for him seven titles in English). His passion is history and geography and Encyclopedia Britannica is his favourite reading. Paweł has only two problems: he’s bored during classes and because of all that he knows he’s got problems communicating with peers.
- Before the mathematician dictates the task to be done, he knows the answer. At geography class there was an oral test: “100 questions to Paweł”. Kids asked him questions and he answered them and it happened that the teacher had to check his some of his answers in the internet because of the lack of knowledge – we hear from parents and teachers of the little genius. In the ISOB Paweł immediately went to a higher grade, but… – Next to highest marks, he also brought comments like: “The student does not concentrate, talks and interrupts during lessons” – say the boy’s parents. They suggested that the boy read one of his favourite scientific magazines while other kids were working on the assignment he had already completed. – Some teachers tolerated this, others did not.
When comments and remarks appeared Paweł came into conflict with an American boy, who aggressively reacted to remarks addressed to him – e.g. beat him in the head, they provided him a psychologist. That helped, Paweł’s teacher and others noticed improvement and there have been no remarks for a couple of months. – the parents say. They were shocked when in June the headmistress called them and announced that there is no place for Paweł at the ISOB.
We heard that Paweł had special educational needs and the school is unable to support them. The deputy headmistress, Diana C., referred to complaints from parents but could not produce and proof of it, like notes or minutes, and the remarks from parents that she quoted were from the previous year. Teachers who attended the meeting with prof. Leppert agree. They say that the decision to expel Paweł was not consulted with the Teachers’ Board because they wouldn’t support it. – There is a special plan of work with such children, developed by one of the teachers, but the school does not execute it. The plan is only on paper and Diana C. who was made responsible for handling problems by Imisława G., prefers to get rid of the little genius rather than work with him and use his unusual talent in creating a positive image of the school and elevating its prestige. – Diana C. told us that the school doesn’t have to explain anything. They will simply not extend the contract with us for educating our son and that’s it. – says Paweł’s father and doesn’t hide his frustration that such things happen at school that is supervised by the University. Us and our son were in a terrible situation because the information that he was expelled arrived when the recruitment process to other junior high schools was over. – say Pawe’s parents and demand the justification for the decision in writing.
Mr B., a NATO officer is also disappointed. He says about Diana C’s unfortunate statement which was a source of huge stress for his daughter. – After a school trip to Auschwitz that made a big impression on her, multiplied by the fact that she was German, she heard from the deputy that she hated Germans. She cried at home for two days and did not want to come back to school. Is this correct behavior of a teacher? – asks the officer.
Parents and teachers sent a letter to the President of the University. They demand that Diana C’s dismissal and change to the way the headmistress accepts her behavior. – Teachers who dare to criticize anything are discriminated against. Also ones who were earlier sent to expensive trainings abroad. – say teachers. – Even those who speak perfect English, because they taught in a foreign school and had excellent reputation but they dared to be against Ms C. – Albertina, an Australian, who had excellent relations with children and executed projects developing their interests was fired because she dared to take exact minutes from the meeting of teachers and the school management and by doing so she, according to Ms C., ruined the school reputation.
We are trying to confront those charges. – I will contact the headmistress and she will decide whether we will be talking about this – informs Diana C., the ISOB deputy.
- Please send your enquiries to the UKW spokesperson – this is the decision of Imisława C., the headmistress.
OPINION – Piotr Kwiatkowski, the UKW spokesperson
A day after prof. Leppert met with teachers and parents form ISOB, the President of the University asked the headmistress for explanation and meeting with the UKW Curriculum Council. This meeting has already been held, the discussion took several hours and ended with sending a request to the President to investigate the charges against the ISOB management. The parents asked for a meeting on 2 July, but because it is holiday period the President decided that not everybody would be able to take part in it so it should be postponed. On Wednesday he met with the headmistress again. She presented papers and documents related to the charges to be analysed. She also presented a repair program that includes better communication with parents. It is worth adding that besides complaints, the University authorities received letters from parents and teachers who were happy with the ISOB headmistress performance.
Interesting, huh? There were even more stories about the school which I did not a know about! I would have liked to have been at that meeting with the university personal with the other parents and students. Unfortunately, I was in north Poland dropping a friend off at the airport, so I could not make it.
So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly. So will the story end? Only time will tell and how Polish politics will work!
Do you think I am over reacting in this is situation? Would you do the same thing if it were you children?