kaye houlihan

New York

New Fort Hamilton HS principal nixes unorthodox $1 student fee

A Fort Hamilton High School student held up the back of a program card she was required to bring to school earlier this year. Until recently, Fort Hamilton students who forgot or lost their program paid $1 to have a new one printed out. The price of admission for forgetful students at Fort Hamilton High School is finally falling. Under new leadership, the school has put an end to an unusual and unpopular policy that for years required students who did not bring a paper copy of their schedule to school to pay a fine. Like all large high schools, Fort Hamilton faces a daunting task of keeping track of thousands of students' whereabouts each day. At some schools with advanced technology, administrators can scan students' plastic identification cards to check their schedules. Most schools instead require students to carry a program card, a sheet with their official schedule printed on it, to prove that they are where they are supposed to be. But unlike many other schools, Fort Hamilton had for years enforced the rule by charging $1 to students who came to school without their program cards. Students and teachers at Fort Hamilton, which enrolls 4,000 students, said the policy was strictly enforced. "I've wasted a good $30 during my entire four years here," senior Matthew Cora said. One teacher estimated that as many as 50 students per day had to wait in a separate line before they could go to their first-period classes, suggesting that the school likely took in thousands of dollars a year through the fine.
New York

After precipitous retirement, Fort Hamilton HS gets a new leader

Kaye Houlihan, a longtime administrator in city schools, was named interim acting principal at Fort Hamilton High School today. Principal Jo Ann Chester resigned last week. Weeks after teachers at Fort Hamilton High School began speculating that their longtime principal was on her way out the door, the Department of Education has appointed a replacement. Kaye Houlihan, an administrator who for seven years led the English department at the city's most selective arts high school, is the city's choice to take over for Jo Ann Chester. Chester retired precipitously last week after 13 years at Fort Hamilton's helm. Chester had long maintained a low profile beyond the Bay Ridge school, but in the last year, she ended up under multiple investigations. One focused on a cost-cutting scheme in which Chester hired teachers on a full-time basis but paid them as substitutes. Another investigation began in February after a Department of Education audit concluded that some Fort Hamilton students had gotten passing grades on Regents exams when they should have failed. Shortly after school year began, teachers at the school said they saw Chester removing personal belongings from the building. "She left quieter than a mouse,” one teacher said after the second week of the year. Last week, after Chester did not return after the Rosh Hashanah holiday, and department officials confirmed that her retirement would become effective the next day. On Friday, an official from the school's support network, Bill Dugan, arrived to take charge for the day, but teachers were told that a permanent replacement would not come until today.