Dan Prochilo Jul 1, 2014, 3:54 pm
Teacher allegedly disciplined because her students' scores are too high
East Rockaway instructor fights her removal from the classroom
An East Rockaway teacher has accused the school district of ousting her from the classroom because her students' strong performance on standardized tests has backfired.
Voula Coyle, a veteran fourth grade teacher at Rhame Avenue School, said her strong teaching skills have dragged down her school's state rating.
Coyle alleged she has been falsely accused of misconduct after she brushed off administrators’ calls for teachers to do a lackluster job in order to rig the state's ranking system.
She said in an interview with FiOS1 News that district has engaged in a campaign of harassment and intimidation against her and has fostered "a divisive environment where the children are suffering.
"They are not putting their concern where it needs to be: with the children and the taxpayers," said the 17-year instructor at the grammar school. "And they are destroying my reputation in the community."
Coyle and her attorney Vincent White of White, Ricotta & Marks PC in Queens, say they are considering filing litigation against the district.
Coyle, who was reassigned from her classroom to a clerical job at the end of April, said her students have consistently scored above average on state tests, winning her the highest possible rating on the pupil performance section of the state's Annual Professional Performance Review.
But her students' solid work has become a problem for Rhame Avenue School teachers at the next grade level and for the school as a whole, according to White.
The New York State Education Department's performance rating system is designed to reward instructors and schools when students show academic improvement from one grade to the next, White said.
But Coyle's students’ scores either don't improve or get worse while they are in fifth grade. As a result a few fifth grade teachers have been rated as less than effective and the school's entire score has been pulled down, which could pose a threat to state funding, according to Coyle.