Friday, January 05, 2007

Bronx School of Letters

This job came down the pipeline today. At the end, you will see my response.

Hello all,

I hope the new year finds you all well. I'm writing to let you know about an exciting, part-time opening at the Bronx Academy of Letters (

With poet Elana Bell, I am one of two writers in residence at Bronx Letters, a small public high school in the South Bronx dedicated to writing. Once a week I teach a journalism workshop to three small groups of young writers, and then at the end of the day I advise the student newspaper, The Raven. It has been a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency I will be unable to continue my residency in the second semester. I am disappointed to have to leave, but I am confident that we can find someone who can fill my shoes and then some. This is a great opportunity for a freelance writer or editor who wishes to work with bright young people who have terrific stories to tell.

More details follow. Please forward this note to those who you think might be interested.

Curriculum: Students must apply to the workshop, so the kids you're meeting with want to be there. I have the foundations of a good unit plan, road-tested during the first semester, that I would be happy to pass along. It's not perfect, but I think it would be a helpful start: The students each wrote and revised four pieces (an opinion article, a news article, a review, and a feature) and shared their ideas and drafts in a workshop-style setting.

Certification: Writers in residence do not have to be NYC certified teachers, but they must be fingerprinted at Department of Education offices before they can be paid.

Skills: For after-school newspaper meetings, knowledge of page-layout programs such as InDesign or Microsoft Publisher a plus.

Time requirement: Once a week for three small journalism workshops (4-7 kids each) and advising the school paper after school, then once every other week for office hours and check-ins. So three times every two weeks.

Duration: Four months, roughly Feb. 1 through June 1.

Stipend: $1,200 per month, paid 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, and 6/15.

Dear Matt,

I just wanted to let you know what people applying for a job at Bronx Letters might go through. I applied for a job there last Spring and was treated very poorly. First of all, the school requires applicants to be interviewed by 9th graders, which I believe is against DOE rules. I went on two interviews there. They were very nice, and I was sure I had the position. I was told to touch base after spring break. After the break, the administrator would not return my calls or emails. When I finally spoke to her she was extremely rude and told me "The students don't feel you are right for our school." I have no idea what happened. I feel that ultimately I wasn't hired because I have cerebral palsy and the staff let the students' opinion of my disability rule their decision.

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