Darwin High School: https://darwinhigh.nt.edu.au
Darwin High School Part 2 will deep dive into the school survey data. Watch this space!
First: Thanx to current staff & others who worked on this post. Cardfightback can’t do it without ur help. U all know who u are! 🙂
https://transparentnt.wordpress.com also wants emails: firstname.lastname@example.org
Second: Some eagle-eyed reader spotted this:
Ferg Ferguson changed his name from Stephen Ferguson.
He’s the ex-teacher NT GOV’s favorite Aboriginal principal threatened to kill and burn down his house after he blew the whistle on her. Read about it on Crikey web site: https://blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/2015/01/04/lies-death-threats-and-personality-theft-the-nt-education-department-and-the-trained-tattoo-monkey/
Eva Lawler’s best friend Hylton Hayes, who NT DoE awarded him the secret “no tender contract”, wanted to shoot Ferguson a few years later. Read all about it on Cardfightback below & on ABC web site: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-30/education-department-contract-handed-to-friend-of-nt-minister/10049186
His sad story of NT GOV bullying and harassment is in our earlier blog posts a lot. Is Ferguson making a comeback as a lawyer in NT?
Looks like it!!! With his experience we think he’ll be an amazing lawyer to fight NT GOV. We’re sure NT GOV can’t be happy about this.
What’s next? A nuclear bomb under his bed? Time will tell……Boundless Bullying the NT GOV way.
Third: There’s a party at Ruth Billeter’s house everybody! Somebody has moved ‘hostel’ recently.
Is it a year already?!!!
Now back to the rats nest. Here is our Darwin High School responsible team. Below are some names that need shaming for their contribution to the toxic workplace culture and detrimental attitudes of disrespect, bullying and harassment at the core of Darwin High School. Notice how all of them are in positions of management or senior management within the school and mostly likely rewarded by the Department of Education hierarchy:
Jill Hazeldine (Principal) – Primarily an enabler of bullying within the workplace, committed to inaction despite being aware of numerous issues. Jill and Annette are pals:
Annette Pedersen (Assistant Principal for Yr12) – Workplace bully who uses her position in management to manipulate things to her advantage:
Morgana Weller (Business Manager) – In the pocket of management:
Yashodara McCormack (Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning) – In the pocket of management :
Jenny Jenkinson (SIEU Faculty Senior) – Uses the staff in her faculty as informants collecting workplace gossip from around the school to her advantage:
Fiona Foran (Study Center Coordinator) – Workplace bully who is known to harass staff and students alike. Fiona and Annette are pals:
Anne Donnelly (Former Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning) prepared the 2018 Annual Performance Report and attempts to dismiss and hand wave the issues highlighted by the data she herself collected. Anne has since moved into a job within the Department of Education, funny that!
The principal herself and management are just paying lip service to the idea of fairness, equity, equality and respect without having to demonstrate any of it themselves.
THE TIME THAT TUTORS WERE TOO HELPFUL
The Darwin High School Board employs several Tutors amongst its support staff that primarily work with students that are identified as ‘with additional needs’ (SWANs). These include students with ASD, ADHD etc. The school also receives funding from the government to support its SWANs based on an assessment which outlines their capabilities and needs in the context of education. (Keep that in mind as you continue reading). What is often a challenging job is made more difficult by the same gang of thugs in management who often interfere with the support staff to the detriment of everyone.
The Tutor Team
Darwin High School tries to maintain 7 Tutors which includes a supervising Coordinator. The Coordinator only attends 1 class some of the time as they have their own workload to complete so it’s far more accurate to say there are 6 Tutors. There are approximately 20-30 SWANs attending the school during a given year for 6 Tutors to assist. With some basic mathematics it’s very clear that not all of them are supported despite the fact that they are funded.
Now let’s add in the fact that when Tutors leave during the school year, they are not always replaced immediately as it allows the school to “save money” (The Business Manager’s words). The team was down to 4 Tutors in late 2018 for this reason and is still understaffed in 2019. One member of the Darwin High School Board informed us the school has enough money in the budget to employ 10 Tutors.
So where is the money really going?
In early 2019 a complaint was made by Jenny Jenkinson (SIEU Faculty Senior) to Yashodara McCormack (Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning) that the Tutors were being “too helpful” when supporting SIEU students in the school’s Homework Centre. (Before you ask, this is not a joke). The Tutors had been undertaking their jobs in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the school and those of the SACE Board (South Australian Certificate of Education). Nobody was doing their work for them or anything of that nature.
The crux of the complaint was that Jenny Jenkinson was unhappy with the way the Tutors supported the SIEU students and she had no control over how they did their jobs, so she sought to change that. Rather than investigate the issue, Yashodara arbitrarily decided Jenny must be correct. No examples or evidence of this extreme helpfulness were provided in order to facilitate a proper conversation regarding the support of students. In fact, there was no conversation of any kind. It was just dictated that the Tutors were being ‘too helpful’.
To remedy this situation Yashodara decreed that all of the Tutors were to attend in house professional development sessions on how to basically not be too helpful. These sessions were to be ran by (you guessed it) Jenny Jenkinson. This meant that EVERY Tutor would NOT attend classes and support any students but instead attend these PD sessions. Money and time well spent in their minds.
It’s important here to stop and revisit the highlights of our first paragraph. Darwin High School receives money from the government to support SWANs but decided that it would instead spend that money having Tutors attend mandatory PD sessions because somebody made an unsubstantiated claim they were somehow being ‘too helpful’. This example of internal bureaucracy and petty power struggle is one of many that occur on a daily basis at Darwin High School at the hands of these morally bankrupt thugs. It’s just that this one has government money attached to it and is impacting negatively on the educational support of our most vulnerable students who have additional needs. If only the parents knew…..
On the first day of school for 2019, two year 11 male students at Darwin High School were involved in an altercation (full on fist fight) on school grounds. Both students attended Darwin High School in 2018 completing year 10 and were starting year 11 in 2019. They were well aware of the school rules, values and expectations from their first year at the school and not only continued to exhibit aberrant behavior but the aforementioned rules and values did not quash this behavior.
Darwin High staff were made aware of the altercation during a staff briefing the next morning. Little information was offered regarding the incident from the principal, who runs the meeting (Jill Hazeldine). One teacher asked if all teaching staff could be made aware of the students involved in the interest of keeping the school yard safe since all teachers are required to perform yard duty on a weekly basis. The principal denied her request, stating that the situation had been handled and management were resolving it. The principal wanted to keep the issue quiet, hesitant to discuss anything other than what she disseminated. The feeling in the room was that information was distributed on a need to know basis. There has been one other altercation in 2019 but details are similarly limited by the attitudes of Jill Hazeldine and her management cronies to cover up the bullying at the school.
There have also been at least 3 instances in which (Casuarina Senior College) CSC students have threatened to come onto Darwin High School grounds to cause trouble that we are currently aware of. In one instance, a threat was made from a CSC student to come onto the school grounds and attack a Darwin High student. Management decided to send the student home for their safety. This was despite having school based constables on grounds solely to protect students from bullying.
The message was the school could not guarantee the safety of the student despite having 2 members of the NT Police stationed on campus. These are just low level examples that we are aware of. Behavior comes in patterns, where there’s one, there’s probably more.
Darwin High School held its annual school survey in 2018 which collected data that highlights these issues. Below is a selection of responses to survey questions from students. There are several alarming downward trends that are being ignored:
- I feel safe at this school (63% agree, down from 82% agree in 2016)
- Student behavior is well managed at this school (36% agree, down from 58% agree in 2016)
- My school values the cultural background of all students (36% agree, down from 73% agree in 2016)
- Teachers at my school treat students fairly (62% agree, 14% disagree)
- I can talk to my teachers about my concerns (47% agree, down from 52% agree in 2016)
- There is an adult at my school who cares about me and knows me well (51% agree, 31% neither, 18% disagree)
Additionally from the survey, the Darwin High School Counselor saw students for approximately 1500 sessions during the 2018 school year. That is a significant number of sessions considering there are approximately 1300 students at the school, just over one session per student. Of those 1500 sessions, 48% were regarding ‘mental health and wellbeing issues’ with an additional 11% regarding ‘relationship / peer issues’. All of this data paints a concerning picture of student life on campus.
Mobile Phone Use
The rampant use of mobile phones is by far the biggest behavioral problem within Darwin High School. With a lack of policy or even a basic stance on the issue, Darwin High currently has zero hope of tackling this monumental problem. The students know this and take advantage of the lack of consequences and understanding their phones cannot be taken from them.
In class, phones are an addiction for these students, produced from their pockets at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter whether it was during teaching time or a test, students constantly have their phones out. Most of the time from what teachers witnessed they were checking Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat is the most important application of note, since many of the students observed were messaging other students within the school. Anywhere from 25-50% of a class were messaging other students in other classrooms around the school. It’s amazing that any work gets done at all!
The students’ reactions when their mobile phones are temporarily confiscated or removed are even more bizarre. It starts with the usual whinging, sulking and pleading to have them returned. After 45 minutes it has descended into negotiation, name calling and exaggerated begging. This looks very much like someone suffering from withdrawal. The initial sulking and whinging could be palmed off as typical teenage behavior but when you hit the 1 hour mark, they start acting very weird. The moment they get their phones back, the room falls silent as heads dip into digital screens.
We need to talk about AirDrop here for a moment. Allow the Apple product to introduce itself with quote from its website. “With AirDrop, you can instantly share your photos, videos, documents, and more with other Apple devices that are nearby.” This application is used to distribute photos and videos en mass throughout the school and since most students have Apple devices, it’s far reaching. This is one way that photos and videos of schoolyard fights, mischief and other mishaps are instantly spread amongst the school community.
Of equal concern is the Darwin High School Meme Page, a private invite only student operated Facebook group. From what students have told us, they all take photos and videos of other students and staff when it suits them, add some graffiti in the form of devil horns or captions and immortalize it with a quick upload to the page. Most teachers have never seen the page but we know enough to confirm that the group exists but it’s set to private and invite only so it ends there. However this is potentially a Police matter but the school seems like it just doesn’t care to protect its staff (and students).
Many of staff are aware of the inappropriate behavior and disgusting use of social media but the school does nothing. When staff petitioned management to tackle the issue, they refused, citing some social media policy that prevents the school from taking action. It’s horrible having photos and videos taken of you and your work colleagues without your consent to be shared like that. Many staff especially the female ones feel very insecure moving around the school on a daily basis not knowing where the next camera was going to come from.
It’s also mind boggling, that an asinine policy overrides not only the Darwin High School values (respect being the first one) but also people’s own moral responsibilities. What kind of example does it set to students that it’s ok to manipulate the tools of social media into a rogue surveillance system for their own amusement? The claim that Darwin High School values (Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Cooperation and Achievement) are important is nonsense until they take some responsibility themselves and deal with this affront to people’s privacy. We’re just hoping that someone sues the Department for doing nothing about this, then parents and everyone will finally be informed and staff might start to feel safe at work again.
The Problems that the school created
The Department of Education has backed itself into a corner with the introduction of Compass in recent years. Compass is a whole school administration package that is supposed to replace SAMS one day. Parents have access to their child’s attendance, the newsfeed, a student schedule and timetable and student reports. Students are expected to use Compass on their phone or computer to access their timetable, check for homework, download their assessment sheets and submit draft or final copies of assignments.
So if Darwin High School ever manages to figure out a way to tackle the rampant phone use, they now have to navigate an extra hurdle they created. Students’ access to Compass disappears if the phones do (outside of having a computer during school hours). Not everyone can afford a laptop to bring to school but most students at least have a phone. Let’s add to the mix that Darwin High School is planning to become a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) school in the near future, formally permitting and encouraging students to bring their own electronic devices to school for class work and assignments. Management is continually compounding the issue and demonstrating they have no idea what they are doing now and moving forward. We’ll see if anything changes in the near future, our money is on no.
All it’s going to take is for some kids to bring porn in on their own device and all Hell will break loose!
There is something to be said for the irony of the Darwin High School motto “Esse quam videri” (To be, rather than to seem) and the current state of the school. It serves as a reminder that the inverse is true (to seem rather than to be) as smoke and mirrors are everywhere. The management team that is supposed to be caring for its staff is now filled with snakes and cockroaches dedicated to concealing its corruption.
Part 2 will deep dive into the school survey data. Watch this space!