Classical High School Parent Concerned As Teacher Allegedly Sleeps in Class

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


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A Classical High School parent is raising concerns.

A parent of a student at Classical High School in Providence is questioning the school department's teacher evaluation process, after she said her son told her his English teacher falls asleep in class -- and expressed her concern to the school administration following a parent-teacher conference, to no avail. 

Lynette Kapsinow spoke with GoLocalProv about both her son's experience -- and hers -- with Classical High School English teacher Kathleen Flynn. 

"The ELA teacher is [around] her eighties and should have retired 10 years ago. I met with her [on Thursday] and was horrified that she can teach at all. My son has told me she dozes off in class, loses all their papers, room was disgusting and has no concept of grading. My son told me he has no idea what his grade is from week to week," said Kapsinow. "My understanding is that all grades from her class are frozen and the school is grappling with her ineffectiveness."

"[My] bigger question is, how did she ever get through her last evaluation? I did call the superintendent’s office and was asked to put my complaint in writing. I also complained to a guidance counselor, all I received was, 'We know,' said Kapsinow. 

GoLocal reached out to both Principal Scott Barr at Classical -- a national Blue Ribbon Award winner as an "Exemplary High Performing School" -- and the Providence Public School Department.

PPSD replied with the following. 

"Teachers are evaluated every three or four years. Ms. Flynn is a longstanding employee of Providence Public Schools, with more than 50 years of teaching experience," said PPSD Communications Director Laura Hart.

"As for any other specifics, Providence Public Schools cannot comment on personnel matters," said Hart. "However, we are happy to meet with the family involved and get their feedback."


"A month ago I asked [my son] for his grade in English, he said I have no idea, our teacher doesn't look at the work," said Kapsinow. "The fact that she's old is neither here nor there. When I went in for a parent-teacher conference, she had a hard time using the computer, or knowing who my son was."

"I asked her for the rubric [for the current lesson] and curriculum, and she said it's here...somewhere. I asked her what's his grade, she said, "A C+...but I can't be sure,'" said Kapsinow.

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It was at that point Kapsinow said she brought it to the Classical administration's attention. 

"I go see Principal Barr who basically said, 'We're dealing with it.' Then I go to see the guidance counselor [Peter] Verrechia, and he says, 'I know, we're dealing with it,' said Kapsinow. "He asked what my son was getting, I told him she said that she thought a C+ or a B. He said OK, it's a B.  My son's usually an A or B student, he's never had a C, but I'm not one of those parents who think their kid's the best, trust me."

Kapsinow said she reached out to the Superintendent's office, where she was told to "put it all in writing."

"The issue becomes from me, is my son has not really been receiving English. How did this woman get through her evaluation? I'd heard stories even years ago," said Kapsinow. "And it's not just us, it's all the children in her class. My son said [Monday] they told them in class they wanted all the students to write down whether they had any problems with Ms. Flynn."

"My son's going to college for engineering," said Kapsinow. "But I'm concerned."

The Providence Teachers Union responded with language similar to Classical's on Monday. 

"The teacher is evaluated on a cycle established by RI law that has teachers who are effective being evaluated every 3 years and highly effective teachers every 4 years," said PTU President Maribeth Calabro. "If a teacher is deemed developing or ineffective they are referred for Peer Assistance and Review services and are evaluated yearly until they reach effective or Highly effective status."

"I cannot comment on ongoing personnel matters," added Calabro. 


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