Last year we wrote this story about the deplorable working conditions at Vernon Hill Elementary School as a result of principal Carenza Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a Melinda Boone appointee in her 30’s who was put in place at VH in order to improve test scores so Melinda Boone could have better charts. She was accused by several teachers of lying to parents about services that were never rendered to SPED students. She lied and filed a 51A against a teacher for abuse of a student (which was later deemed to be fabricated), and the teacher was suspended pending investigation. She refused to evacuate the building during an obvious gas leak. She berated teachers in front of students for not having control of their classrooms when behavior problem students were acting dangerously. She posted Facebook pictures like this:
She illegally went out of her way to make sure that MCAS protocols were not followed, and many believe that test answers were altered. She brought her two year old niece with her to school at least 50 times and had students babysit the toddler. She had special ed aides do Dunkin runs for her. She regularly showed up to school 30 minutes after the day began.
The list goes on and on. At the end of the year 10 of the 19 teachers at Vernon Hill transferred to other schools because the working conditions were unbearable. However, some stuck around and have apparently reached their breaking point after another terrible year. Several of them bravely reached out to Turtleboy Sports again because they know we’re the only people who will tell their story. Just like last time, we reached out to Carenza Jackson for comment or her side of the story but have not heard back from her. Here’s some of the new allegations against Carenza Jackson at Vernon Hill Elementary School, which come directly from teachers AND parents we interviewed:
The “break in” of the third floor window
Our building has also had so many “break-ins” it’s outrageous and quite frankly unbelievable at this point. She claims the building was broken into over the summer and all the laptop computers were stolen. These were not insured and now staff has no laptops to use with their students. The funny part is that she claims the building was broken into from the 3rd floor. Now anyone who is familiar with the Vernon Hill building will see this and immediately laugh. Unless Spider-Man scaled the side of the building, no one would have been able to get up to the third floor window, squeeze through the approximately 10 inches that the window opens up to and then break in just to take the lap tops and apparently some of the leveled readers of our fountas and pinnell testing kits for reading. But of course nothing is Carenza’s fault and therefore she wrote a custodian up instead for leaving a third floor window open, during the summer in a building with no AC that reaches very high temperatures. The year before the building had been broken into but that year whoever was breaking in had keys to the building. It is believed that some of the students who were allowed to “hang out” in her office when they were “in trouble” with her, were able to swipe the keys and use them later to let themselves in the building. They would roam around take what they wanted from classrooms. Later the set of keys was found thrown in the soccer field that is next to the building. Nothing to see here folks!!
Serious accusations against Carenza Jackson lead to 51A filed against her
Last year she would not let any teachers speak to the nurse about any of their special ed students. The nurse then had a student come to her who had been screamed at by Carenza out in the hallway and pushed up against the wall behind the swinging door by Carenza and she wouldn’t let him go. The child could be heard in the hallway saying “you’re hurting me you’re hurting me”. Hence the 51A was filed on her but of course nothing came of it because Carenza prepped her witnesses to say what happened which wasn’t the truth.
More problems with gas leaks
That is what Carenza does she’s a professional liar. Like all of last year when the building would wreak of gas. We would go to the office and report the smell thinking that we would be evacuating the building immediately because we all know how dangerous a gas leak can be. However instead an announcement was made over the intercom saying that we should not worry about the gas smell that was overtaking the building it was simply because we were having a gas delivery. A Gas delivery? I’m pretty sure that the building is tapped into the gas lines out in the street. Unless we have propane tanks somewhere on the property there is no way that gas was being delivered to the building. We all know gas does not get delivered to buildings like that. How dangerous to put young children’s lives at risk as well as the adults in the building.
Multiple teachers have told us that the smell of weed on here is overpowering. Not that Turtleboy has any problem with smoking weed, but if you’re an elementary school principal, it’s probably best to give yourself a febreeze bath before walking into the building after fishbowling your car. Just sayin.
“A teacher who is a very good friend of Carenza’s and is often smoking weed at school, mooned two people in the hallway with students closely nearby. The woman actually pulled her pants down.”
A big bag of weed was actually found by a teacher last year in the hallway. It was turned into the office but never reported and nobody knows anything else about it. It mysteriously disappeared.
Illegal pay-to-play “dance studio”
We now also have a dance studio in the building. Carenza transformed one of the old locker rooms in the basement (from when the building was a junior high school) into a dance studio. Above the door it now reads “Vernon Hill Dances Studio”. Although the sign needs editing because it’s not correct, neither is the whole idea of the dance studio. She charges students one dollar to attend dance class after school. Students in Worcester public schools are not supposed to pay for after-school programs. In addition she also has a basketball club where again she charges students one dollar to attend after school.
Violating ethics policy
“Last year Carenza even wrote a positive letter about herself and pressured all these teachers into signing it during school hours which goes against our ethics policy. She wrote the letter herself indicating that she’s doing an outstanding job, stating her praises and accomplishments at the school. She circulated this letter at the school amongst her friends (many of the new teachers are personal friends of Carenza). She circulated this letter because she’s violated so many rules and regulations. It was an effort to defend herself regarding all the accusations that have come forward, which are all true. This was a feeble attempt on her part to try to rehabilitate her reputation”
Refusing to deal with behavior problems in the classrom
“There is no longer a balanced literacy program, no science and social studies being taught and absolutely no discipline. In fact kids who get sent into the office are rewarded with pizza and an iPad. She even bought one terror of a student a brand new bicycle. Most referral forms are thrown in the trash when a student is written up for bad behavior.”
Unethical/illegal methods used to improve MCAS scores
She tries to bribe our students with an MCAS breakfast although it has not worked to improve scores and she’s very vocal about this. I’ve heard her telling the students “I’m not spending $1,200 friggin dollars on a special breakfast for you guys if you’re not even going to try!” She also told students that she was tired of their half assed crap that they would call their best work.
As far as MCAS rules are definitely not followed. For example, a child went ahead to session 2 when she was supposed to be taking session 1, and when the proctor made Carenza aware of this she said “well no one else saw so we just won’t say anything.”
Last spring right before MCAS she called a bunch of students into the auditorium and flipped out on them while punching her fist into one of the beams and while telling them that she doesn’t have time for this no one listens to her. After she left that day she took off on a nice vacation with a bunch of friends to Myrtle Beach. Odd time to take a vacation but felt amazing to not have to worry about her being in the building.
Although she never does follow the MCAS rules. Accommodations are not followed completely. Some kids were supposed to be in a small group setting and were not in a small group setting or were supposed to have a familiar administrator and she stuck them in a classroom with the teacher they had never met before. She also lets the kids talk at lunch during MCAS even when they’re not done taking the test then go back to taking the test.
In another classroom after kids were done testing and sitting quietly reading chapter books Carenza came through and screamed at the students for not working hard enough or long enough. She ripped the books out of their hands and passed the tests back out. She told them they better try harder. Once the test is been collected you are not allowed to pass the test back out kids are not allowed to go back to a session that they’ve already finished.
Another reason MCAS scores have dropped is because she has made schedules so that we no longer teach important subjects like science or social studies. She has made our guided reading block so that we no longer use the leveled library that was built by the previous staff. Instead we are instructed to use a chapter book (that she of course picks) with the whole class that is a grade level reading book. Many of the kids in the class cannot read these books because they are not reading on grade level.
Inexperienced and unqualified friends replacing experienced teachers
Our MCAS scores have plummeted especially in ELA. The reason for this is simple. She has lost all her quality staff members who had been in the building for years some as long as 20 years plus. These were hard-working teachers who were very dedicated both to the building and the families of Vernon Hill. Vernon Hill is the school made up primarily of walkers – it is a neighborhood school. There is only one or two buses that leaves from the school. Teachers had been in the building so long they not only had brothers and sisters some had even had parents of students years before.
Last year one of the “coaches” kept bringing her infant child to school with her and a sixth grade student was seen in the office with the young infant on her lap while playing on an iPad during class time. When teachers would see the coach in the hall with her infant child in her arms she would say “she’s just a figment of your imagination, she is not really here.”
Going into her second year she then brought in all young first-year teachers who don’t know any better and who are willing to do anything it takes to make her like them. She even has an ESL teacher from Canada with little to no classroom experience training her veteran teachers on how to do a fountas and pinnell reading test.
We also have a “tutor” who comes into the building and does everything EXCEPT tutor. She runs all fundraisers, selling everything from Krispy Kreme donuts to school sweatshirts, she does MAP testing, and she gets teachers supplies. Her biggest job is once a month is when she recognizes the golden models. She pulls these students out of class for about two hours and they are treated to a movie and donuts in the auditorium. They are missing valuable class time. In order to be a golden model they are recognized for silly things like sitting quietly maybe when other kids are talking. In other words these are kids were doing what they’re supposed to be doing all the time. But this is considered “going above and beyond.” They get to miss two hours of class to watch a movie. The tutor also organizes Texas Roadhouse nights. She does lunch duty. While she does spend many hours in the building not one hour is spent with children actually tutoring or helping to improve scores.
Carenza has been through at least five or six secretaries, three focused instructional coaches, three assistant principals and most recently our school adjustment counselor was moved by Carenza to another school. She reported that the School adjustment counselor did not believe in her “vision” (the counselor believed in holding kids accountable for their behavior). That’s what CJ does. She’s a manipulator on a power trip that will mess with anyone who won’t bow down to her and think she’s a genius.
Carenza herself has no elementary school experience. She was a high school math teacher. All we ever hear about is how brilliant she is at math however one look at her magical math binder would prove otherwise. You would think that in order to become an elementary school principal you would need some kind of background with elementary school teaching. It makes no sense.
“No one on administration seems to know how to do an SSP but this is nothing new. An SSP stands for a student support program. Since she has gotten there no one has known how to do an SSP. Usually it is the job of the assistant principal. The first year they dropped the ball on even having SSPs . Kristine Hersey, the assistant principal at the time, said “there’s always next year though”. She has since left Vernon Hill. This was a blessing for everybody else because she was clueless, didn’t know how to do her job and the only thing she did do was back Carenza. Now we have an assistant principal who came from a high school and said He’s never heard of an SSP. These student support programs are important for kids. It could be due to an academic problem or behavior problem. But they are supposed to help get them back on the right track and support them in the classroom. However, we will just keep passing them on from grade to grade as if nothing matters. So that when the testing time comes up like MCAS they get no accommodations because nothing has been reported or put into place for them. “
Juking the attendance stats
And then there are of course still issues with attendance. Students are not marked tardy and attendance is always asked to be held until a certain time.
One parent was having a major problem with attendance due to an illness in the family. The parent was late with their child because they needed to get someone at home to their chemotherapy treatments. This was stressful enough and they were still doing their best to get her child to school on time. The parents said they were yelled at by Carenza repeatedly about their child’s attendance and threatened that a 51a would be filed against them by Ms. Jackson. These parents had a child whose absences totaled up to eight times at the most, but all due to the fact that someone at home had been extremely sick. Ms. Jackson told them they would have to go in front of a judge and could be charged with a 51A unless Carenza decided to “let it slide.” However, if that was the case, than if the child was late again the parents were going to be charged with the abuse and neglect. Even if the child were to be sick Ms. Jackson insisted that the kid had to come to school and could be dismissed by the school nurse. She then threatened the child by telling the kid that if they were to miss anymore school they would be “taken away”! This is extremely scary information to receive as a five-year-old child. The teacher who had that child in class had to console the five-year-old because she was so upset that she might get taken away and she was talking to her classmates about it so it was a big thing in that classroom. And she did it all in order to improve her attendance rates, because this is something schools are now evaluated on.
Miss Jackson has no heart though last year a girl in my class had to go to her grandfather’s funeral in Puerto Rico and was promised that the days would be excused. But when they weren’t Ms. Jackson got into a thing with the mother of the girl. Just another example of how she says one thing and then does another.
Carenza Jackson was never evaluated by her superiors
The only reason Carenza didn’t get fired is because the quadrant manager didn’t do her job and evaluate her. With no evaluation there was no paper trail to fire her. Even though about 30 letters stating all the damage she has caused was sent to the school committee, HR and the new superintendent. Letters from staff members both past and present as well as parents. Some letters stating they’d rather clean toilets than work for this monster. But she still has her job!
She dresses like white trash. Short skirts, and shorts, flip flops, rompers and always exposing her tattoos. Very unprofessional.
The way she talks to the students is disgusting. She was overheard telling one girl in the hallway that if she didn’t change her behavior she would grow up to have no friends. She asked repeatedly asked if the girl wanted to be a loser?
She also loses students about every day in the building. We are constantly going into “light lockdowns”. We never used to have a lockdowns they seem to be daily now because she can’t find kids in the building. It’s very scary for young child to hear that they are in lockdown. Kids in class ask “is there a bad person in the building? Why do we keep having lockdowns?”
We have been instructed not to use the GO MATH program at all at school because we are using the magical math binder instead. She does let us hand out the go math books now but were either instructed to have the kids leave them in their desk and bring them home at the end of the school year. You can get in a lot of trouble for using the go math program.
She also gets very upset when teachers go to the union. In fact at our first faculty meeting this year she screamed at the teachers for calling the union. She got all red in the face and yelled “The union president had already been up to school about 10 times, stop calling the union!” This was in the middle of our faculty meeting. She came out in the middle of the crowd and scream “stop going to the union, it was a problem last year, and it’s a problem again this year. I just don’t have time to keep talking to the president of the union. I have 1 million things to do and he keeps calling me!”
She also told Teachers that we should be feeling greatful and lucky to have her because she took a huge pay cut to come to Vernon Hill and work with us and she has a mortgage to pay by herself. Apparently she was making more as the assistant at Chandler Elementary because they have an extended school day.
She knows nothing about Individual Ed Plans and tells us that student’s IEP’s don’t cross over state lines. Several students had moved from one state to another and she insisted that we didn’t have to do anything about it because IEPs don’t cross over state lines. This simply is not true.
She makes teachers stay for extended PD hours. These PD meetings have no purpose or direction. She has no idea what we are doing. We never even get credit for the PD hours because she doesn’t go online and approve them like she’s supposed to. Instead she blames the teachers saying we didn’t go in and fill in the PD sheets within the allotted window time. Another lie! That’s all Carenza knows how to do.
Although she also knows nothing about behavior management either. According to Worcester public schools they utilize certain sites for the assessment and stability of certain elementary age students who are experiencing a significant disruption in academic, social emotional and behavioral functioning in school. Students may come to one of these programs from any elementary school located within the Burncoat, Doherty, north and south quadrants. Students must be referred by the school principal to the quadrant manager. However, If you have a child in your class who is not behaving or appears to be a disruption like this Carenza will tell you just to deal with it. She said there’s nothing that they do in an elementary school for a child who is not behaving themselves and are causing a significant disruption in the academic and social emotional daily schedule in the school. The funny part is TLC used to be right in the Vernon Hill building.
All we ever do is make up hand made worksheets at these PDs. In this day and age with the Internet and so many great resources, why reinvent the wheel? Why make teachers create hand written sheets? Last year she had her “coach” a woman who had dysgraphia, creating these worksheets. They were illegible, messy and I am pretty sure if they were handed out at another school a teacher could get in trouble for giving these to students.
Last year an instructional aide asked for a form to fill out when she was asked to cover a class and Miss Jackson told her that the form did not exist. Carenza decides when and which IAs will get paid when they cover a classroom.
“Coats for kids” is it important program in the city of Worcester. When the last principal was in the building teachers used to be given a form to fill out of students they might’ve noticed coming to school without a coat on or just a family who might be in need of something like this. Teachers are no longer able to fill these things out. Carenza simply picks and We are not even sure if kids get the coats anymore. Coats used to be sent to the classroom in a bag and they were distributed to take home with students. However for the past three years that Miss Jackson has been there none of the students in class have been receiving coats instead she keeps them in the office and hands them out when necessary probably to the “naughty kids” that she is rewarding.
We even used to have a partnership with Sam’s Club and Millbury savings bank and they would come in and talk to the staff and donate money that would be for different things in the building. It’s sad that we don’t have these partnerships anymore.
There’s a shitload of problems at Vernon Hill Elementary School. But honestly, the one that should be easiest to get her on is the MCAS stuff. If she did in fact pass back answer booklets to students that they had already handed in, this is grounds for termination. The principals at Chandler Elementary School and Goddard Elementary School were fired for far less. The state does not fuck around with MCAS, but Carenza Jackson evidently doesn’t care. It’s pretty simple really. A bunch of kids and teachers witnessed it happened. If the state interviews them and they tell the same story they told us, Carenza is toast. It’s not just a mistake. It’s outright cheating.
The bottom line is that if you’re not doing what is in the best interest of the kids, then you shouldn’t be in education. And if you’re constantly having lockdowns, bringing in your incompetent friends to work there, allowing students to misbehave in class, making kids cry, smelling like weed, making kids pay money to go to a bootleg dance studio, not following IEP’s, and having 51A’s filed against you, then you’re not in education for the right reasons. You’re in it for yourself because you’re power hungry and enjoy having authority.
Last time after we wrote about her, her family members started the now defunct “Boycott Turtleboy Sports” Facebook page. It was basically the Jackson clan making fools of themselves:
Sometimes they made fun of fat women too. Stuff like that. Definitely something an elementary school principal would want to associate herself with. Was Carenza in on this juvenile page, which posted hot takes like the ones listed above? Maybe. Several of the posts clearly said, “Carenza Jackson liked this.” And honestly, the fact that an elementary school principal who has been accused of such serious thing would publicly associate herself with such a vile and disgusting page, leads us to believe that the vast majority of things that were reported to us are accuarate.
The bottom line is that Carenza Jackson was protected by Melinda Boone. But there’s a new sheriff in town, and we hope that Superintendent Maureen Binienda is looking out for the best interests of students at Vernon Hill Elementary School. And if that is the case, then Carenza Jackson has to go.
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