Friday, January 2, 2009

Bloomfield-Garfield group requesting info and input on proposed IB location

It would be great if other community groups would get involved as well.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09002/939103-298.stm

32 comments:

Questioner said...

High school planning for the Homewood area is being done through a broad based community process. It is not clear why there is no such process for the Bloomfield-Garfield-Highland Park community, or for the IB community. In general it is not clear how what the reasoning is behind decisions to seek recommendations through a committee appointed by the district as opposed to a more open process.

PPSparent said...

I think this is because the Homewood coalition came together before the opening of the ALAs and tried very hard to be a part of that decision as well. They're one group that has tried to be proactive and get their input in early enough to have some sort of impact.

However, I'd say (cynically) that this is still more window dressing. The administration has its plans. They aren't looking to have them critiqued or changed. They're willing to show up and listen and if it doesn't interfere with (or actually helps) their already formulated, if not disseminated, plans, they'll consider some minor changes.

But, this is them trying to do a better job of making the community think that they have a say -- better than they did with Schenley or with the ALAS, etc. However, the problem is that it's still not transparent.

Schenley parents were saying a year ago that the rest of the district should take notice of the coming changes -- but people don't have the time or the energy (or the level of distrust) needed until they see concrete plans in front of them. And then, it's really too late.

Be interesting to see if they are given access to the minutes of those meetings.

Questioner said...

It will be interesting to see if there really ARE minutes.

The IB website in October indicated that information on the site selection committee's work would be posted for review. That note seems to have been removed and no information posted.

Anonymous said...

Why has there been no study to see if the PPS can support an IB school, as a school unto itself? With only 49 applicants for next year's 9th grade, it appears not to be a school that many students and their families are choosing- at least not as their first choice, perhaps as their second or third. With other choices, such as Allderdice, CAPA, private, charter, and comprehensive suburban, high scoring schools as proven options, students are looking elsewhere.
Many students did choose the IB program in the recent past because it was a specialized school within a larger comprehensive high school that was large enough to support activities and amenities attractive to high school students- similiar to an honors college within a larger university. Although this may seem to be an elitest approach, it is one that allows upward mobility and a place for students to experience different options.
As PPSparent states, there is now starting to be an awareness of what the reform plans are doing to the health and makeup of the PPS. Now that many East End neighborhoods do not have a comprehensive high school to send their children, there is a realization of the lack of options- not the opposite.

Questioner said...

Well stated!

Anonymous said...

Way back before Mr. Roosevelt was even hired, the international studies cluster made up of parents, teachers and other interested parties met at Frick to discuss needed improvements of the language magnets and IS schools. About 75 of us met with Mr. Roosevelt and Dr. Spaminato and presented our ideas and concerns. Little did we dream that they would take our request for some tweaking of our program and attempt to destroy the spirit of Schenley.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:15, activities and amenities are extras I am not sure the administration fully appreciates. 49, really? Ouch.
Would that 49 be included in the 3,000 applicants for magnet programs or is IB not part of that?

Anonymous said...

Of course, IB is included in the magnet applications, regardless of the number of total applicants. Apparently the district is saying that there are 113 applications for IB, but that is most likely including the students that chose IB as their 2nd or 3rd choice- and may not intend on going there unless all other options- public or private fall through.

Questioner said...

Since private school admission decisions do not come out until March- there are very likely students for whom IB is just a backup. 100 students is probably a very optimistic projection- and the district has already said that it is difficult to offer a good range of electives, sports and activities in a 400 student high school.

Anonymous said...

Even some of the 49 that had IB as their first choice might be less likely to go if numbers are low. Something needs to be done to make the IB program more attractive.

Mark Rauterkus said...

49... Hold the phone.

I don't think for a moment that that number is true.

So, what I've asked for some weeks ago, is the count of all the student applications for all the schools. That application process can be transparent.

The one-week extension was crazy dumb.

The big hidden factor now is the CAPA application and audition process. Many more are trying to get into CAPA than space allows. Remember, Rodgers, the 6-7-8 grades are going to be moved downtown.

Those that don't get into Rodgers are prime for I.B -- in some instances.

They wanted 150 9th graders for the fall of 2009.

Anonymous said...

We need to re-damand the numbers for the magnet schools. All the numbers.

Anonymous said...

We need to re-damand the numbers for the magnet schools. All the numbers.

Questioner said...

The 49 figure comes from some very good sources.

Remember, that's just the number that selected IB as their first choice. 113 seems to be the figure that includes students who put IB as their second or third choice- but many of these students are also considering Allderdice or private schools.

PPSparent said...

My understanding is that the lower figure is those who put it as their first choice. However, I've also heard that those are a pretty strong batch of kids -- that is, kids who are looking for an academic challenge and up to it. I wonder if some of the others put it as a second choice figuring it really is a good *second* choice.

So, in one way the school may be succeeding -- becoming a place where every kid that's there has a good shot at getting the diploma. That's the good news. The bad news is that there may not be enough of those kids right now -- not saying not enough motivated kids but saying not enough kids or parents that understand the option, understand the IB program, understand the quality of the academics.

That seems glaringly obvious to me as I hear all sorts of people picking sci-tech as the first choice and IB as second. Give me a program that's been proven already and that is overseen by an international organization that actually looks at the work done and makes sure it's graded correctly.

Sci-tech is their entirely made-up curriculum -- last I heard without any AP classes offered in the sciences. They're hiring people "in the fields" to take next year to write curriculum...and get certified to teach at the same time. That says to me that they are not ready to open this school yet! Again, done right, it could very well become a good to great school, but I haven't seen anything yet (ALAs? UPrep's first year?) that says they're great at getting their ideas transformed into reality.

They're lucky to have CAPA with all parts already fully functioning -- *all* they have to do is move and combine the programs. They aren't re-inventing the wheel at the same time.

Just hope that IB can hold out long enough for all of this to become apparent.

Anonymous said...

At the IB meeting they clearly stated that the goal was NOT to have 150 IB diplomates. In fact, they seem to be really de-emphasizing the diploma in an effort to make the program more inclusive.

As good as the program has been, IB does not provide a complete high school experience and so to attract these students who have other options they really need to work on the complete package.

Anonymous said...

PPSparent, I agree that there are not enough kids or parents who understand the IB option. My kid will be graduating next year from a comprehensive PPS high school, but has only been a PPS student for five years. Transfering from a parochial school we had no idea of options and nobody offered any explanations. I am sure it is an area being improved, providing more help and guidance to incoming students. Still I probably would not have opted to send my 9th grader on two buses to school at Schenley at 6:30 a.m. or earlier.

PPSparent said...

Anonymous at 9:06:

Yes, they aren't planning on everyone having a diploma, however they are planning (or have been) on only offering IB classes. Those two things though are rather in conflict, right? If only say, 50% are expected to try for the diploma (and that would be 75 kids a year, which is a biiiiig number), why are they running a school with classes that only really cater to half the school? If it's not even 50% the whole premise of the thing doesn't make sense.

And yes, you're right, the other parts of HS are what attract students (and colleges who will be looking at these students) too. That's the biggest problem with the current "theme" planning -- it overlooks what I think should be the purpose of middle and high schools, which is broadening the world view and providing many options and activities to kids, in the hopes that even the least motivated will find something that hooks them.

Or, shorter: what Schenley was.

PPSparent said...

Did anyone go to the magnet fair? One person who went, looking for her 8th grader said that the CAPA presenters were awesome and that the IB group was disorganized and off-putting. She knew people that had liked IB, and had also liked Schenley, but said that after talking to the people at the fair, she crossed it off their list.

I'm not sure who was there at the fair, but I can think of a couple of people associated with the program whose gloomy/snippy presentations are off-putting to those of us with kids already in the program!

Threatening that kids will never get jobs in the coming economy without a global outlook is not as inspiring as they seem to think. The same message could be much more positively presented.

Instead of selling what is a great program, they make it sound like taking bad-tasting medicine.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lottery results will instill a little humility in the place of snippiness.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I was at the magnet fair in Frick. It was jammed. It was not well done. Okay, but not well. And, at the magnet fair, there was a lot more push to the Sci Tech, of course.

But, you know, that is not a deal breaker. Not ideal. Can be improved upon. But the one fair experience isn't the end-all-be-all.

The whole event was a blunder -- however, some good info was delivered if you could extract it.

Mark Rauterkus said...

2nd choice pondering ...

I know of a bunch of folks who are putting IB down as a 2nd choice and CAPA / Rodgers as a first choice. Some of these folks would be fine with either.

I think that there might be a pent up demand for CAPA and that's where there might be the overflow into IB.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I'm still NOT certain of these numbers revealed above. (RUMOR from good sources, perhaps?)

There are 49 who want IB at 9th grade for 2009 entry as a first choice.

(Right?)

There are ANOTHER 113 for IB at 9th grade for 2009 entry as a 2nd and 3rd choice.

(Right?)

That's 49 + 113 = 162 total.

(Right?)

What about grades 6, 7 and 8 for entry in the fall of 2009?

How many are in grade 9 at present?

Questioner said...

They have already held the lottery so 113 is probably the maximum on board for IB so far, subject to reduction by those deciding to go to Dice or private school and any late additions such as those moving to Pgh. 100 would be a good target.

Questioner said...

No 113 was not in addition to the 49.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Does it make sense to, in the fall of 2009, eliminate the freshmen class at PEABODY?

Peabody would go away in 3 years. The last class to graduate from Peabody would be this year's freshmen.

Does it make sense to put 6, 7 and 8th grade of IB Jr. High into Reizenstein in the fall of 2009 -- however -- put the 9th and 10th IB kids into Peabody in the fall of 2009?

What about moving the rest of the Schenley kids into Peabody in the fall of 2009 too?

They've got 4 schools now --- Peabody + Schenley + IB High + IB Jr. High. And, they've got 2 buildings.

Can you put 4 schools under one roof? If you ask me, that's insane.

The PPS system is now all boxed up and there isn't a good solution for the transition.

Is the will of the remaining Schenley students broken enough, yet, that they'll find it attractive to be a part of the IB High, and skip out of the need to identify as Schenley?

Is the Schenley name and transition to IB now just a formality anyway?

Questioner said...

To encourage enrollment in IB for 2008-09, they promised IB would stay in Reiz thru 2011. Also promised IB would never again be in a neighborhood school, after Schenley "faded away." So unless something like a problem w/ the Reiz building is discovered, it is what it is for the next 3 years.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I'm really upset that there is no clear plan with Westinghouse and Peabody and Oliver and Langley. Those are the drop out factories.

- Can of Worms Alert -

If the demand is high for the Sci & Tech -- perhaps it makes more sense to move Sci-Tech into Westinghouse ASAP.

Then take WESTINGHOUSE into Peabody for 3 more years for a phase out.

That might (giggle) cut down the demand for Sci-Tech. But, it might be huge for future growth.

Give the Westinghouse kids a free pass into Sci - Tech too. Same w Peabody kids.

If Sci-Tech goes to WESTINGHOUSE, or, to Peabody, (w Robotics at Peabody already moved last year), the the Frick Building could continue to be an IS/IB Middle School.

There is going to be a strain on Reizenstein with both a Jr. High, IB High and remains of Schenley. So, keep the middle school kids in the IB program in Oakland.

Then, after Peabody is empty -- move the IB Jr. High and IB High into Peabody. Until then, keep the IB Jr. High and IB High in different buildings.

Finally, I think it makes sense to make serious conversations about a choice for single gender high schools. In the long run, Oliver could be for boys, for example, and Westinghouse (if not Sci-Tech) else Frick could be for boys.

Questioner said...

Re: Oliver & Langley- word is they will close- so maybe Oliver students will go to Perry & Langley to Brashear, along w/ Peabody to Westinghouse- but they may not go quietly.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Okay then. If there are 113 in the pool now for IB for 9th grade to begin in fall 2009 -- then -- I think it makes sense to have an "open enrollment" for a period of time, say 6 weeks, for the IB program.

A family can make an application for a student, grade 9 or 10 -- and then get a reply in 48 hours.

Students without language skills -- take a test or make a plan for remedial efforts, on their own, before fall of 2009. Then take another test. Or, Japanese.

You know -- I hated the idea of recruiting for a lottery. That's not something a friend does to another friend. You can apply to get a chance at Russian Roulette. No thanks.

However, an open enrollment for an additional 25 slots could -- no -- WOULD bear fruit.

Open enrollment does NOT mean that the school is FORCED to take the student if there are questions with academics. But, if the student is solid, 2.5 at the very, very least, -- and PSAs, etc. -- then bring them in.

There are many kids at Falk and at the Jewish and Catholic Schools -- as well as perhaps, some in the burbs, that would go to a competitive, strong, IB school. But, they don't want to be jerked around by the big district acting like a giant putz.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Finally, what are the #s for 6, 7, and 8th grades at the start of 2009?

I would LOVE to have the high school classes be twice the size of the Jr. High classes. This was to be the formula for the Sci-Tech School too. For example, 50 each in grade 6, 7 and 8 but 100 in each grade, 9, 10, 11, 12. That way the high school classes are larger and there is some inflow of students after 8th grade.

That was a serious flaw of the program so far. The IB program was only going to grow from the ranks of the Jr. IB High. Not good. Not healthy.

I'm not sure what the ideal #s are. But, I love to see some mile-stones with gateways to other schools within the district.

For example, I know some kids who would be happy to go to Rodgers / CAPA Jr. High and then go to IB High for 9-12. That would be very welcomed for families' choice.

Questioner said...

For programs with space left- enrollment seems to be "open" to qualified students until classes begin- at least that's how it has worked for magnets in the past. So students should still be able to choose IB.