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Parents, kids rally for Boody principal

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While most children are trying to make heads or tails of their math homework, 11-year-old Alexandra Filosa spent a night last week navigating through the 311 system, making sure that the city knows about her desire to keep her beloved principal at David A. Boody Junior High School. “She’s very nice,” Alexandra said about Principal Rose Caniglia, who, according to rumors, could be removed by the Gravesend school, located at 228 Avenue S, in the next few weeks. “She’s always there to greet us and can be seen looking around the classrooms. If you need her for anything, she’ll be there.” “It wouldn’t be fun [if she leaves],” Filosa continued in the endearing stream-of-consciousness, in which most 11-year-olds tend to express themselves. “She takes time to be with us, she talks to us, and I told her my name once and she remembered my name. When I’m in her office, she always has cupcakes or asks us if we want a cookie or something.” When word had spread that Caniglia may not be the principal for much longer, Filosa took it upon herself to call 311 and let her outrage be known. She has also put together a petition where students overwhelmingly indicated that they wanted her to stay. Dozens of parents are taking a stance right alongside her, making their displeasure about these rumors known during a special PTA meeting last week, where everyone was asked to do just what Filosa did: contact 311, as well as the Department of Education (DOE). The DOE, however, has yet to inform them what will become of Caniglia. As of this writing, Parent Teacher Association Vice President Francesca Whalen said that no one has informed them of Caniglia’s departure, which apparently has become the worst kept secret at the David A. Boody School for Magnet Studies. Whalen said that Caniglia’s removal would be a disservice, since she has done so much for the school since moving into the principal’s office. For the last two years under her watch, the percentage of students meeting 3rd and 4th grade standards have increased by ten percent, said Whalen, adding that the school has been reborn in more ways than she could count. Caniglia also brought a host of new after-school and sports programs to Boody, which has given it new life, she said. Those who attended the PTA meeting Thursday couldn’t help but agree. “The school now has some spirit,” said John Filosa, Alexandra’s father. “She [Caniglia] brought that back here by starting up all the after-school programs, and sports programs, and by touching the lives of these children.” “The city shouldn’t nix all that by moving people around,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the deed is done. Right now we’re just walking through the mud.” “[The DOE] shouldn’t drop her,” added parent Veronica Stein. “She turned the school around…she deserves to stay.” While the meeting was filled with accolades about Caniglia’s accomplishments, there were very few answers about the rumors hanging over the school for the past month. Regional Community Superintendent Rich D’Auria and Local Instructional Diane Sharitt, Caniglia’s immediate supervisors, were invited to attend the meeting and discuss the issue, but both bowed out that afternoon. Whalen said that no one, not even Caniglia herself, can talk about the proposed move, claiming that administrators were told “directly from the chancellor’s office not to talk about the principal’s removal.” A spokesperson for the Department of Education said Tuesday that Caniglia was still assigned to Boody Junior High School. “She has not been removed,” the spokesperson said. When asked about the rumors of her upcoming departure, the DOE fell back on a quote given to this paper two weeks ago, which stated that Caniglia was “a probationary principal about whom there are serious questions regarding her ability to lead the school.” Widespread rumors that Caniglia was being set aside so someone left unemployed by the now-defunct school region system could take her place were refuted by the spokesperson, who said that the allegations “were not true.” “We’re not playing any games to create openings,” the spokesperson said.

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