Monday, December 31, 2012

St. Francis Prep's Phony Inflated Grading System

If you are a graduate of St. Francis Prep, the grade you received in any given class may not be the grade you actually earned. That's because Prep has a phony inflated grading system. Are you shocked? At this point probably not.

St. Francis Prep tells you that the minimum grade for passing a course is 75. They like to tell everyone that because it makes them seem like their standards are higher than other schools, where the minimum grade for passing is 70. But in actuality, the effective passing grade is lower than 75, it is 71, which I will explain in a minute.

Mind you, you will not find any of this information in any publication given to students or parents. And that's a shame, because for $7,000 a year in tuition, they deserve better. This information is distributed to faculty only, via memo signed by Patrick McLaughlin at the end of marking periods and the faculty handbook.

The minimum grade any student can receive for the 4th quarter at St. Francis Prep is 55. That means, even if little Sally or Johnny really earned, through their own effort (or lack thereof) a 40 in Chemistry, they will still get a 55 on their report card. In addition, final exam grade failures "below 55 must be recorded as 55." Keep this in mind now as I tell you a final grade for a student for any course may not fall into the range of 71-74. This is also prohibited. Quarterly grades may be in the range of 71-74, but failing grades for a whole course may not be in that range.

What is funny is that the faculty handbook, in Section D-5, it states for Regents Exams, for teachers to "record the actual grade." Wow, isn't that a novel idea!

Here's the actual page from the handbook:

And if you Google St. Francis Prep faculty handbook, you can see the whole thing.

So let's break this down: 

At the end of the year, after all the quarters are averaged with her final exam, Sally's final grade is 73, which should be failing because passing is stated to be 75 in the school calendar. However, a teacher is prohibited from giving a final grade for a course in the range of 71-74.  If the teacher fails Sally with a 70, her mom or dad comes in and says, "But her average is 73, so why did you give her a 70?" What would you say as a teacher? How would you explain giving a grade lower than the actual average? You would never actually lower a kid's real average just to fail them, right? To do so
would mean you are an obvious liar and horrible person to the parent. So you bump the 73 up to 75 so that Sally passes the course. No parents would complain about you adding a couple of points through the goodness of your heart. Even if a teacher insisted on giving the lower failing grade, it is prohibited. If a student's real grade for a course is 71, they are REQUIRED to be bumped up to a passing grade of 75. Look above where it says "the final grade may be higher, but not lower than this average."

A lot of kids passed courses this way. They didn't really pass, they passed because of a phony inflated grading system.

The required minimum grade of 55 for the 4th quarter also bolstered the averages, as I had mentioned earlier. Some teachers were pissed about this, having to give a phony minimum grade of 55 instead of the lower, real grade. So what they would do is give 55 on the report card, but then for the year end average, use the real quarterly grade that was lower than 55 instead of the falsely inflated one. This, however, was not really "supported" by the powers that be. They wanted to keep the averages as high as possible so it could look like students at Prep earned better grades than they actually did.

I didn't have many students with averages lower than 55 in my almost 4 years teaching there, so I never really had to grapple with that issue much. I did, however, have quite a few kids fall in that 71-74 range for a final course grade. The faculty would frequently talk about that situation - why not just make passing 70, like at other schools, and give kids their real grade?  But administration never wanted to do that. They would rather go with the phony, inflated grade that made the school seem like it had higher standards.

If you are a Prep graduate or student, go look at your report card. You will not see a failing 4th quarter grade of less than 55 on a report card, nor will you see a failing course grade in the range of 71-74.

At the end of every year, I had ethical trouble with the 71-74 thing. I graduated from Fordham's business school second in my class, and I never cheated on anything. My freshman year there a girl offered me $2,000 to write her Philosophy paper for her because she was failing out and I didn't do it.

Every year, as I would calculate the final grades for my students at St. Francis Prep, my wife would say to me, "Why do you do this? You know this is not OK. Why do you keep working there?"

"Because I love the kids," I would say. "I love them."

By the way, a tenth anonymous phone call today. "Whomever" is doing this can kiss my ass, these blogs will keep going up until there is change. Happy New Year!

March 2nd, 2013: St. Francis Prep has made the public link to their Faculty Handbook password protected as a result of the February 28th, 2013 blog about their Child Sex Abuse Policy. So you won't be able to view the grading policy online now. However, we have printed a complete copy so if you want one sent to you, please contact us and we will send it. Thank you.

August 21, 2013: By the way, here is a copy of the email sent to faculty on June 16, 2013 regarding rigging the grades:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Not My Son"

My first year teaching at St. Francis Prep, I had a male student in my business law class who did reasonably well the first quarter, but in the second quarter his grades went down significantly.  On parent-teacher night, his mother came to see me to discuss his grade.

"Mrs. ___________," I said, "I think the problem is that _________ is distracted with his girlfriend."

"He doesn't have a girlfriend," she told me.

"Oh, yes he does," I said. "They kiss in front of my door before every class."

"Not my son!" she said. "He would never do that. No, not my son."

"Well," I said, "you may not want to believe it, but it happens before every class, and he comes in all starry-eyed and doesn't pay attention like he used to."

"No, not my son," she said again.

A few weeks into the third quarter, he was caught having sex with his girlfriend on West Top-Top, the west side of the floor above the highest floor with classrooms, where the Brothers reside. He was suspended for a couple of days.

His mother never said "Not my Son" to me again.

Sometimes the truth is not what you want it to be. Some are hurt by it, and some just accept it and move on. Either way, it's still the truth.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I Can Lead a Horse To Water, But Can I Make It Google?

I am writing this blog just to clarify a couple of things. One, for all of you who are saying I am making money off this blog, you don't really know anything about websites. You only make money on pages that show ads. Do you see any ads on this page? Noooooooo. I purposely keep it that way so people like you can't have shit to say about my company making money off the blog.

Secondly, the well spoken and observant person who on the last blog commented "you yourself is a lesbian" who also stated "you would have proven all this to be true the second you found out"...uh, if you had actually read the blog, you would see that it all happened before I worked there, and everyone knew, especially the administration,  and no one in a position of authority did anything about the vast majority of it. And if they did do something, it was probably because they were forced to by someone who wouldn't back down. The things I found out, like that Brad was dealing drugs, I reported. That's the point. Got it now?  You obviously failed reading comprehension, maybe you should take senior year English again.

One more thing about Brad, for the person who commented "you don't know the story behind the scene with this student." Listen, I knew the story FOR EACH OF MY STUDENTS. Brad was kicked out of his last school, Prep took him in as a senior year transfer, and they begged me to give him decent grades because his dad had money. This is fact. I had poor, hardworking kids in that class with good grades who were going to Queensboro Community and Queens College the following year. Brad, with his shitty record and average grades, got accepted to Colgate.

And for those few who say I am making it all you know how to Google? Let me teach you. Go to In the search box, type Tom Nuzzi. Then click on the first link that pops up, "Defendants in the Nuzzi Lawsuits." See the 742 comments? Click on that please. Go down to the March 28, 2007 entry by Randy. Do you see where he mentions the ski trip scam at St. Francis Prep? Do you see all the other 700 or so sexual harassment/stealing complaints and comments? This piece of shit worked at Prep, stole from kids and f*cked girls, and no one at Prep did a fu*king thing about it to stop it from happening again. They let him go quietly out the door, and even this happened only because a parent found out. Then this piece of garbage went across country over the next 20 years, doing the same thing to other kids in other schools. Is it sinking in yet? I certainly hope so.

So far I have received 9 anonymous phone calls since the first blog went up, and "someone" tried to hack my personal email twice. I know this, because Yahoo sent me notifications.

That's pretty much all I have to say tonight. And below is a little treat for you. G'night, y'all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am EC, and Saint Francis Prep Has Mistaken Me For Someone Who Gives a Shit - And Who Is the Mole?

It's been too long. It's time to tell the whole story of this website, how it came about, and all the things that happened after it launched. I am an owner of the company that owns this website. On various posts on my website you will see users calling me EC. I attended Saint Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, NY, from 1983 - 1987. I was an honor student. I had a pretty good experience there up until 1986. In 1986, the head of the Phys. Ed department, Thomas Nuzzi, was my driver's ed teacher. He was a disgusting pig. He tried to get me alone in the driver's ed car or back at his house on several occasions. He often asked me to come over and help feed his dogs and told me he would drive me home. He constantly said things like, "my wife is dying of a brain tumor and I am lonely." He said things like "you are special." He made passes at me in the driver's education car. He made passes at me in front of my friends. When I did not show interest, he got angry. He said he would fail me for driver's ed. Somehow he had "never received" my project that I handed to him directly two weeks earlier. I didn't tell anyone. I was afraid if I told that my father would kill him and go to jail - that's how Italian men feel about their daughters. Later in the semester, Tom Nuzzi and two of his friends were fired for fraud- they were telling parents student ski trips they organized cost more money than they did, and they were pocketing the difference.

Years later, in 2007, I taught business at Saint Francis Prep. I had been a lawyer for several years, but wanted a change. I believed what had happened 20 years earlier was an isolated incident of madness. I was mistaken.  My very first day teaching, a religion teacher told me about a freshman girl who had slept with a teacher. I was told that the administration did nothing until a little girl gave graphic details.

The longer I worked there, the more people came to "the lawyer" with their concerns. A few months into working there, I was told by my then department head, Brother Mark, that the man in charge of the school's finances, Joseph DiSomma, is a convicted jewel thief who was tied to the mafia, and whose mob name is Joey Diamonds. He said everyone in the building knows, but they all overlook it. I googled it. You can google him yourself and see what you think.  Brother Mark promised to protect me as much as he could from all the sordid characters at Saint Francis Prep. Those were his exact words, "I will protect you." Brother Mark quit at the end of my first year there. It was unheard of for a Franciscan Monk to quit working at a Franciscan school and he had to get permission from the powers above him in the Franciscan hierarchy. I was very sad to see him go. He was a good man. He stood up for what he believed in. He gave me three reasons why he was quitting - Br. Leonard (the Principal), Pat McLaughlin ( the Assistant Principal) and Joe DiSomma (the Controller).

Time went on. Story after story after story was told to me by others. Like, for example, how a couple of years before I started working there, a homeless man walked into the school cafeteria and set it on fire. The doors weren't locked and there was no security that day. The reason it wasn't in the news is because the school has graduates working at most of the major networks and they covered it up.

I witnessed horrible injustices myself. At the end of 2008 the school was going to be featured as Cosmopolitan Magazine's Ultimate Prom. The head of the guidance department, Robyn Armon, pretty much hand-picked who would win prom queen, because her niece was involved in running the contest for Cosmo. She picked the cheerleader daughter of the the football coach/Italian teacher. I was advocating for a student in my accounting class who had cancer, and who came to class weak, bald head and all, so she could graduate with her friends. Robyn told me she wasn't "the face of SFP." Really? I would like to think that type of person is exactly who we would want to be the face of SFP. But I guess I was mistaken.  (By the way, the head of Campus Ministries was present for that conversation, so please Prep don't try to lie about it, it would be really pathetic.) And Suzy R., I am sorry I let you down. I tried.

In 2009, my best friend at the school, Andrea, was overheard talking about "Joey Diamonds" with her coworkers. She was called into McLaughlin's office for a meeting. Joe DiSomma was there. She was warned and told never to speak of it again. So she didn't. Later, when all the shit went down with this website, and tons of posts were going up about shady situations at the school, Andrea was accused of being the mole. This information was leaked to me by the real mole, who didn't work at the school at all. But more about the mole later.

During my third year teaching, there was a kid in my accounting class named Brad. Brad was obviously high in class on more than one occasion. I kept sending him to the Dean until he was drug tested. His drug test came back inconclusive because the school nurse had left Mr. Clean on the counter in the bathroom where he had to pee in the cup. So he poured the Mr. Clean into his urine sample. Bingo, he was let off the hook! They let him out of the nurse's office high and he threatened to beat the shit out of me. The next day they sent him back to my class. A few days later, in my communications class (yes, I was blessed to have him as a student in two classes!) he came in asking if anyone had change for a $100 bill. Then he asked to go to the restroom and took his backpack with him. With the help of another student, I put two and two together and I had called security to come to my classroom when he came back from the restroom. They found drugs and cash in his backpack. He had confessed to dealing drugs to hundreds of kids at the school. My question was, why did I have to keep pushing this issue to have some action taken? Oh, because his dad was President of a corporation on Long Island...I see, I see.

It was around this time that the former Dean of Women, Carolyn Szostek told me about a teacher whose name was Stenger. I remembered his name vaguely from when I went to Prep in the 80's. She had said that the administration knew he "touched the boys" and was a "pervert." The administration never did anything about it, and Stenger taught there pretty much until he died. By the way, she said he left almost his entire estate to the school, and made one of the teachers his executor. She had reviewed the accounting for the estate and made sure the teacher had received his executor's commission. A nice, happy ending, except for the decades of boys who had been touched inappropriately by this man. Carol told me about another teacher who was generally considered a pervert.  It was someone in the religion department. When my site went live, a student posted about this man repeatedly whispering in students' ears...coincidence? When Patrick McLaughlin saw that post, he asked me "How could you let such a thing go up on that site about _______________?" This is how I could let it go up, Pat, BECAUSE HE IS a pervert, and somebody f*cking needs to do something about it!

At the end of my 3rd year teaching at the school, my accounting students won the NYC Stock Market Game sponsored by SIFMA. This is no small feat. We beat 1450 teams and were featured in the Daily News, and on the radio news shows in NY. I was temporarily a superstar among the administration. Later, when all the shit went down with my website, teachers were instructed to spread a rumor that I had paid off SIFMA to win. Wow, you guys are loooooowwwww...attack me all you want, but to diminish the efforts of brilliant graduates at your school, that's beyond shitty.

At the beginning of my 4th year working there, I had an idea for a website. I wanted a venting site that people could go to and let off steam. With the recession in the U.S., people were angry. I was going to call it, like tell all your troubles to Burn and rot in hell! It was actually my wife's idea to call it that, because that's what she says about things that piss her off. I thought it was a great idea. I asked the Dean of Women, Carolyn Szostek, if I could do such a thing. I asked her because we were friends and she was also the principal's right hand person. She was all in - 150%. She was made an administrator on my facebook fan page. I have her handwriting on my terms of use, which she reviewed and made suggestions about. Her daughter researched copyright issues for me. When I found out I was going to be interviewed about it on the radio, I asked if I should let the principal know. She said "No, it's not necessary." 

She knew I had told some graduates and current students about the site and she didn't have a problem with it. I was not hiding anything. I talked about it openly with faculty and staff (right Ms. V?). I asked the school priest if it was ok to use that name for the site since I worked in a Catholic school. He said it was fine.

Months later, when the website was up and running, kids started posting about their experiences at the school. I was also inundated with Facebook messages from students, past and present, asking for help. Atrocious, egregious, and inexplicable situations at the school were coming to light.

The Assistant Principal Patrick McLaughlin called me in to his office. He said he didn't care about the website but wanted the Bad Teachers and Bad Students sections taken down. The rest could stay. I said I wouldn't do it. He said "Why, because it's good for business?" This man should really be the last one talking about business ethics.

The Principal, Br. Leonard, met with me. Let me rephrase that - he didn't actually "meet" with me. Patrick McLaughlin called me into an office with the school priest and Principal and they sort of ambushed me. They had their little notepads on their laps. So scary! And gee, Carolyn was nowhere to be found! Why wasn't she there? Br. Leonard said he wanted those two sections of my website down. I said no. I had asked him why it was ok for one of his teachers to be in a YouTube video marching in the gay pride parade in his underwear but it was not ok for me to have my website. Everyone knew about this video, which was a year old, and which teachers made fun of and gossiped about constantly (which is how I found out about it). Brother Leonard Conway lied to me and said that the video had been taken down. He lied right to my face and I knew it!  Then I said I wasn't taking down those sections of my site, and he suspended me. Funny, that Dean Carolyn Szostek was not suspended also.  They sent me home.

That night, I told most of the world what had happened on Fox News.

The next day, the principal's secretary called me and told me that if I did not come in by 2:37 pm to meet with the principal I would be terminated. I knew they were going to ask me to take down my site. I didn't go. I said "terminate me" instead.

A few days later, they sent a letter home to parents of every student of the school, telling them I was a rogue teacher who did this all on my own without checking with anyone. I was pissed. I went on Fox again. They told me to go on again I had to give them something different or they would not air my side of the story. I told them about the gay pride parade video. Fox blocked the teacher's face out, but aired it. My then business partner decided we should blog about it, too. He did not block the face out.

I sold out for a bad reason, and more students were mad at me than pleased with me, but that's how it goes. My wife told me not to put the video on air but I didn't listen. I made a mistake and I take responsibility for it. By the way, publicizing the video was never about the gay part. I'm gay, and I have marched. As a teacher, I just never would do it in my underwear. I wouldn't do it in my underwear even 20 years ago when I wasn't a teacher and was buff. But that's just me.

I continued to see disturbing posts and receive messages about things going on at the school. Some of this information was posted or sent to me by "the mole." There was someone on the inside who wanted the truth to come out! However, the mole was not someone who worked at the school. The mole was someone who had f*cked someone in the religion department. The mole was a "swinger". Someone who has lots of sex with lots of people. In fact, the mole had sex with about 1/2 of Prep's female population, both married and unmarried. These swingers meet at a specific bar in Queens and "hook up." (I know which one, I have checked it out, but I won't tell you which one it is. Let them have their fun.)The mole went by the name Angel Amore. Every bit of information he sent me checked out. He told me how to contact graduates who had been sexually harassed by their teachers, and boys who had been grabbed and kissed by the Franciscan Brothers. He gave me info about teachers who had done some naughty things, like loaded porn on school computers. I never asked Angel Amore's real name, and I didn't care. As proof of his swinging with the women of Prep, he gave me access to pictures of him having sex with these women who worked there, and a list of names of his conquests. I don't know if these women know they were photographed, so if they didn't before now, surprise from me to you! You're on Amore cam, parked on AIM. You may call Angel a pervert, but I won't. I'm a lesbian and I'm sure  a good portion of the country, even in the year 2012, would call me a perve. What Angel and these women do is consensual and private. I won't judge it.

So, there were two accounts of Brothers kissing male students. There were several stories of sexual harassment of female students by teachers. There weres stories of extreme nepotism that were purposely being hidden from the faculty by McLaughlin so as to not create a stir (like the head of the religion department hiring her niece and niece's fiance to teach in her department), and there is much more.

There was one post on my website made by a student who had written an article for the school paper about why students should not be forced to wear leather shoes. The premise of the article was that St. Francis was an animal advocate and he wouldn't approve.  This student's story was quashed by the administration - too controversial. I am an animal advocate and this, combined with everything else, just about sent me over the edge. Teachers apparently can do basically anything they want at Prep but a student there can't question in a newspaper article whether it is a good policy for students to only wear leather shoes? Does that seem a little unfair to you?

Threats came on the phone and in the mail telling me to take the posts down. A friend of Joey Diamonds' posted on my site about taking the posts about his true identity down. In the process "Michelle DeRosalito" confirmed (accidentally?) his identity. The posts stayed up. Time went by. I received more threats. Ones I got in the mail were more scary because they always have that "I know where you live" overtone. I got nervous about my family's safety, and the posts came down.

Ironically, just a few days ago a post went up on my website from the administration, faculty and staff wishing me a Merry Christmas and peace in my heart. Really? I find this amusing. I wonder what precipitated that, almost two years after I "was terminated." Be assured, I do have peace in my heart.  You can have peace when you know you are pursuing justice. I now know all the things you've covered up, Administration, and I know I provide a vehicle to bring these issues to light. Hopefully someone in a position of authority will see this - the Pope maybe? - and do something about it.

Be assured of this though: If one hair is harmed on the head of anyone I care about because of this blog all the documentation I have will be published. Included in this pile is what will be a very embarrassing series of texts between a former member of your administration and me. Oh, and pictures, lots of pictures. I don't trust the people in charge of Prep as far as I can throw them, obviously.

I have been asked by those closest to me what result I am hoping for from all this now. I only want what will keep children safe. So I guess I want the administration replaced. All of them, every single one. Nothing will change until that happens. I like change, change is good.

Jan. 10, 2013: Please do not infer that anything written in this blog is about Mr. Krolikowski, because it isn't. He is not alluded to in any of the Burn blogs. Please also be aware that the blog about SFP's phony inflated grading system was forwarded to the Middle States Accreditation Commission last evening at a reader's request. It is important that colleges and universities across the country can rely on transcript information that is submitted to them.

Jan. 1, 2013: I am adding this note today, requesting you read the subsequent blogs. There is information there you will find very interesting. I also expose St. Francis Prep's phony inflated grading system. I wrote that blog specifically so that parents of students know that their kids' grades may not really be the grades they earned.

Jan. 5, 2013: As of today, there have been 4 attempts to hack EC's personal email, with detailed notifications from Yahoo, including that the hackers tried to answer her security questions several times. Also to date, there have been ten anonymous phone calls, including ones on her home line which is unlisted. People who are desperate do desperate things.