Wednesday, February 4, 2009

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Mark Rauterkus said...

Mark Rauterkus said...

Can't find jack about the "Charlotte Danielson Framework" -- a method for the evaluation of teacher. Mr. Roosevelt spoke highly of this at the accountability talk last week. My early research is not fruitful. Anyone?

Kathy Fine said...

Op ed piece from the NYT states that little things, as opposed to costly curriculum and facilities changes, can make a huge difference in student achievement.

Kathy Fine said...

Interesting piece on the inadequacies of Head Start. We should be learning from the mistakes made and incorporate the best practices on the documented successful HS programs. This seems to justify the conclusions that Geoffrey Canada makes in his book "Whatever it Takes", that Head Start will not be effective if we do not address the lack of cognitive development in teh very early years (0-3).

Kathy Fine said...

In the contract between the district and Community Education Partners (CEP), the private firm hired to administer the Clayton facility for behaviorally troubled students, there is a requirement that states "At the conclusion of the first year and every year after, CEP will participate with the District Review Team in an annual assessment of student academic and behavioral performances."

PURE Reform requested a copy of said review for the first year under the "Right To Know Act" and was told, "it has been determined that there is no public record responsive to your request....Although the District Review Team and CEP have met annually to review performances, such meetings have not produced written records" and that "Furthermore, the reviews were based upon individual student's academic, discipline and attendance records, which are not public records..."

This is certainly not the transparency that we are longing for.

Kathy Fine said...

Cleaner Buses = Healthier Students

As part of the Rachel Carson Legacy Challenge, the Pittsburgh Public Schools will unveil their Healthy School Bus Fund, which will provide over $500,000 for making school buses in the city cleaner, and safer for children. This exciting project will be announced at the Rachel Carson Reception at the Heinz History Center on April 20th at 5:00 pm.

The Healthy School Bus Fund is a joint project of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, The Heinz Endowments, Clean Water Action, Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), and Clean Air Task Force. This partnership was inspired by the multitude of scientific studies that have revealed how dangerous exposure to diesel exhaust really is. While school bus transport remains the safest way for children to travel between school and home, the young passengers are exposed to high levels of diesel pollutants that impede respiratory systems, cause asthma attacks, and have been linked to a wide variety of other adverse health effects including heart attacks, strokes, cancer and premature death. Studies have shown that dangerous particulate matter from diesel emissions accumulates inside the school bus cabin and reaches levels that are 5-10 times more potent than the outdoor air.

These blatant health risks to children are a call to action. Retrofit technology exists that reduces toxic diesel emissions by at least 85%, removing most of the health risks. These emission controls are proven effective through years of testing, and are applied to all 2007 and newer diesel vehicles at the factory. These new, clean vehicles will not entirely replace the Pittsburgh Public Schools existing diesel school bus fleet for another 15 years or more, making it imperative that we protect the many thousands of students who will be exposed in the meantime.

The Healthy School Bus Fund does just that, at no cost to the school district or the school bus companies. The Heinz Endowments has generously provided the initial $500,000 for this fund, and more fiscal support is expected to come from The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department. We will continue our fund raising effort until all eligible buses operating within the Pittsburgh Public Schools are retrofit with clean, healthy technology.

There will be a press conference on Tuesday February 17 at 1:30 PM.

Anyone interested in attending should contact:

Jennifer England
Senior Consultant
Pink Coat Communications
(412) 5 13 9091 (c)