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January  30

Teacher Shocker

Mount Hebron students were shocked to learn today that one of their favorite teachers, Stephanie Ferrara, had resigned. A Mount Hebron mom writes in...

There was no notice of this whatsoever. She gave homework on Friday and the kids showed up today to be told that she had "resigned" and that they must not ask her what happened (except that they were told that "she's fine.").

When the mom called Mt. Hebron to ask what happened, she was told she could find out more by attending a meeting tomorrow at 8 a.m. at Mt. Hebron. Apparently, the only folks finding about the meeting are those who call the school asking after the teacher. Consider this a heads up for parents who may not have heard about the meeting. We hear kids were crying over the news; Ferrara started the Pizza and Poetry Club, a monthly get-together for students to share their own poems or favorite poems over their lunch hour.

Got something else to share; feel free to chat here, now...

January 30, 2006 in The Daily Chat | Permalink


I like pizza and poetry...but seriously, i know how it sux when a favorite teacher leaves...you feel like they are letting you down...i hope she's ok.

Posted by: The Iceman (8T) | Jan 30, 2006 6:08:28 PM

I hope someone else keeps up with the pizza parties and poetry.

Posted by: katie | Jan 30, 2006 6:16:44 PM

Stephanie Ferrara was the most inspirational teacher my son has ever had. Not only was he excited about going to her class, he has told me that she was the main reason he likes Mt. Hebron. Her creative writing assignments, her sensitivity to young writers and poets, well all I can say, it's going to be very difficult to fill her shoes.

Posted by: faith | Jan 30, 2006 7:11:07 PM

Ms. Ferrara also offered a terrific class in Mt. Hebron's "After School Program" called "Growing Up Female," a girls-only club designed to help young female students support one another and overcome the drama of middle school. The class description said, "After all, noone said you are supposed to survive middle school alone." Mt Hebron will be a lot harder to survive without the guidance and inspiration of this wonderful teacher!

Posted by: Tamima | Jan 30, 2006 8:06:13 PM

Greetings folks - I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, with plenty of opinions like everyone else, but I actually know something about this subject. Stephanie Ferrara, in just her second year as a teacher is dynamic, creative, and young enough to be a real friend and confidant to her middle school students. For my daughter she's a real lifeline, probably for many other kids too. She's one of those teachers you get once in a lifetime, if you're lucky. I speak of her in the present tense because I won't accept her permanent departure until I learn what this is all about. Tomorrow morning's meeting (which was announced by the school by phone message) may shed some light. If it doesn't, Dr. Jennings is going to find himself in the midst of a hornet's nest. Did she resign, or was she pushed? Is it some sort of legal matter? This is too important to our kids to let go of without a full explanation and an earnest search for alternatives, ie. a leave of absence, or suspension pending review.

Posted by: Troubadour | Jan 30, 2006 8:39:55 PM

Even though I've never heard of her, I still kind of want to know what happened. I guess it's just me sticking my nose where it doesn't really belong, but that's just weird that she just "resigned" all of a sudden without any notice. I hope she's ok.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30, 2006 9:34:23 PM

Is it true that Dr. Jennings' daughter has taken over the class?

Posted by: appletony | Jan 30, 2006 9:37:13 PM

Yes, the note that came home said that Ms. Thayer Jennings will replace Ms. Ferrara effective Jan. 30. Ms. Jennings is a recent Montclair State U. grad w/ a degree in English Education. She finished her student teaching at Renaissance Middle School last year. She's a certified Language Arts teacher and has worked as a sub the last two years.

Posted by: Dan | Jan 30, 2006 10:00:10 PM

Yep, it's true. The kids have seen her as a substitute, and the reviews aren't good. According to my daughter, Miss Jennings is cold, uninspiring, and "straight as a line."

Posted by: Troubadour | Jan 30, 2006 10:00:18 PM

I went to Mt Hebron in the 80's, and my bus driver was arrested for d&d,they found a bottle of mad dog on him.

no lie

Posted by: JOE | Jan 30, 2006 10:50:31 PM

Montclair Public Schools royally suck! There is so much incompetence and nepotism there!

Posted by: Black Irish | Jan 31, 2006 5:49:24 AM

i think the schools here are great. i'm impressed with the quality of the teachers. my children are at the high school now and it is evident that their teachers care passionately and want them to succeed.

Posted by: i'm fran, dammit | Jan 31, 2006 8:33:28 AM

While faculty departures during the academic year are unusual, they are not necessarily an indicator of wrong-doing. For example, a spouse's job may be transferred out-of-town requiring the family to relocate. Let the facts be heard before making final judgement.

Posted by: Jim | Jan 31, 2006 9:10:08 AM

"Let the facts be heard before making final judgement."

New to Baristaville?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 31, 2006 9:13:57 AM

I know this comment could also get an ROC comment of "New to Baristaville?" but I'll say it anyway. Could you and your kids pelase give Ms.Jennings a chance? She IS a new teacher, and she obviously has big shoes to fill. But she got excellent training at Renaissance working with one of the most dynamic, well-liked and inspiring Language Arts teachers I've ever encountered (Ms. Durber). Maybe she learned something. So give Ms. Jennings a chance. It isn't her fault that Ms. Ferrara left.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 31, 2006 9:21:28 AM

We are also affected by this devastating news..my son had finally developed a love for creative writing that did not exist before...this makes it his 4th teacher at Mt.Hebron, (that he truly liked and learned from,) that has been yanked out of his life yet again.

Posted by: mtc citizen | Jan 31, 2006 9:42:49 AM

I'm curious why all the fans of Ms. Ferrara are posting here instead of attending the meeting and getting info from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
Will anyone who attended said meeting be posting?

It's nice to hear of kids actually wrenched by losing a teacher. Never quite occurred in my nun-ridden boyhood.

Posted by: cathar (8T) | Jan 31, 2006 9:46:56 AM

It's inappropriate for Jennings to bring his daughter in to the school. I don't care how good a teacher she is. It's hard enough getting teachers to be accountable without having Daddy as the boss. Let her teach at another Montclair middle school, not Mt. Hebron.

Posted by: walleroo | Jan 31, 2006 9:59:26 AM

Did anybody go to the meeting this morning? What's up with Ferrara?

Posted by: walleroo | Jan 31, 2006 10:10:29 AM

i agree about ms. jennings. i have never met her and my children don't attend this school. but to say negative or discouraging things about her in an online forum strikes me as unkind--she cannot defend herself and it creates an atmosphere of mistrust for this young teacher. i would be distraught if someone did that to someone i cared about. let's give all the teachers a fair chance -- it also suggests that there is something somehow "suspect" in the replacement teacher's appearance. for all we know, there may have been some sudden personal urgency which required ms. ferrara's absence and the new teacher may have come in this quickly as a favor, to help out, with the best interests of the school at heart. please, let's be supportive and receptive where our teachers are concerned. and yes--my mother was and is still a teacher. i see her devotion and i hear about the devotion of her colleagues, even those who aren't the most popular with the students. they still care and they still want the best for their students.

Posted by: i'm fran, dammit | Jan 31, 2006 10:15:22 AM

Stephanie Ferrara sounds awfully familiar. Was she a Baristaville HS grad?

Posted by: Erin | Jan 31, 2006 10:16:08 AM

Pizza and poetry! Bwahahahahahahah!

Posted by: Richard | Jan 31, 2006 10:19:06 AM

First, parents were notified of the meeting by phone Friday afternoon and by a letter given to Ms. Ferrar's students. Dr. Jennings, the principal, said he could not divulge her reasons for leaving but said she was not asked to leave by him or the administration. Parents expressed their concerns for the students, Ms. Ferrar and Ms. Jennings. Stephanie Ferrara was an energetic and enthusiastic teacher with high standards that showed in all she did. Just to interject a bit of humor into an otherwise very somber time...one student suggested that Ms. Ferrara had to go into Witness Protection.

Posted by: Jane | Jan 31, 2006 10:34:59 AM

(starting the conspiracy countdown clock...)

"beep : beep 0:00"

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 31, 2006 10:41:54 AM

My wife attended the meeting and reports little-to-no satisfaction in terms of details about Ms. Ferrara's sudden departure.

As far as Dr. Jenkins' daughter filling the spot, it was announced that making her position permanent or not will be a school board decision, not Dr. Jennings' call -- I guess that's something.

Posted by: Appletony | Jan 31, 2006 10:44:25 AM

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