Thursday, March 12, 2009

Preventing violence in PPS

Here is PG online's report of an incident at Allderdice today that resulted in the arrest of 20 students:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09071/955152-100.stm

A question is whether there is someone at PPS working proactively to prevent these occurrences, for example by staying on top of current issues and neighborhood tensions, or is PPS just reacting to incidents after the fact?

32 comments:

Questioner said...

Here is the WPXI report:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/18915914/detail.html

Questioner said...

Tribune's article:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_615764.html

Corenlius Figgyfinn said...

Even now, PPS Central Admin is studying ways to get the perpetrators on the pathway to the promise. There must be some way to inflate their 0.0 QPA's and get them into college. Hey, it's a PR opportunity for Marky and his crew.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about pgh promise but it should provide some students to help fill up the CEP school.

Anonymous said...

If Allderdice is our flagship school, what goes on at the other schools? The ship is listing and maybe even sinking.

Parent said...

Gosh, and I'd already filled out my "survey" sent out to parents (for a different high school, since you do it for oldest child).

Good thing I already said I thought the PPS were headed in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the riot at Allderdice - and don't kid yourself, when the city police are called, it's a riot - here is a quote from school police chief Robert Fadzen: "We do not tolerate this behavior, and we're not going to let a couple of people bent on nonsense disrupt the educational process."

The key word here is "nonsense." Everyone at central administration views these serious and often terrifying events as mere "nonsense". Just issue a tough-sounding press release, maybe form a fancy committee to debate the event, and then hope that everything goes away.

And if you do not think that fights are a real problem at PPS, just ask yourself this question: Despite all that he says, why does Mr. Roosevelt feel that he must take a policeman with him when he visits a city high school?

Anonymous said...

You can't rely on Joe Smydo for news---he is a mouthpiece. You can't rely on Andy Sheehan--he crucified teachers at Marky's request last year. You have to look at other outlets. From all accounts, fights were going on each level of the school...well orchestrated by the kids. Mark and his ivory tower crowd probably were having coffee with third parties looking to come in and start another program, at taxpayer expense.

Anonymous said...

Disipline at Dice has been slipping for years, but it has fallen fast the last two years.
This is nothing new at Dice, two many other kids where in the halls during the period change, It was impossible for teachers, security, police, and the weak administration to get control, with out calling in reinforcements. What do you thinks happens when you bring in a 33 year old Principal from no where else but Woodland Hills. Nice nationwide search Marky Mark.

Grammy Cookie said...

Why am I not surprised to hear about the riot(and it WAS a riot) at Allderdice? This has been building for a long time. Maybe they should all be put at the Clayton Academy and let the "professionals" deal with them.

Sam Drucker said...

These young principals satisfy the only requirement needed by the Roosevelt administration---nod your head in agreement with everything we say and remember two things, one--you have 25 years or more until retirement and two, you can always go back to the classroom and teach.
Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

The faculty at Allderdice presented, via the PFT building rep, a list of concerns to the principal. He ignored them. Maybe this incident will be a wake-up call that the concerns are real. And you are correct about the young principals being "yes" men/women. The Allderdice principal is only interested in moving up the ladder. He isn't going to challenge the Bellefield people. He will do as he is told to do. If you don't follow directives, you are history. Forget being a free thinking individual.

Questioner said...

Here is the expanded PG article on the Allderdice incident. This is actually the 3rd version. The first online version, where based on prior experience a parent expressed concerns about her son in a wheelchair, was rewritten to omit that and other segments that were in the original online story.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09072/955288-53.stm

The district spokesperson said that preventative measures were taken the morning of the fight and additional measures had been planned for today. However, while preventative in a way, these measures were still reactive to a particular incident that had occurred the evening before. It would seem that longer term prevetative measures, addressing for example neighborhood tensions, are also called for.

Questioner said...

This wpxi update puts the number of students fighting at 50-60 and indicates that the fight stemmed from a month-long neighborhood dispute.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/18922553/detail.html

Anonymous said...

I remember principals as generally being older and more experienced- people who had spent a lot of time in and around schools and could command the respect of long-term teachers. How much does experience in schools matter for a principal? Is this trend toward young principals happening nationwide? Or is it a Broad development, w/ the "emerging leader" program for principals analogous to the Broad instant superintendent academy?

Questioner said...

Per the PG, arrested students may be sent to Clayton (Community Education Partners) or the Student Achievement Center.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09073/955616-298.stm

Anonymous said...

(Clayton), the district is using the Student Achievement Center to handle the kids Clayton can not. The parents complain that Clayton is not meeting the educational needs of thier child, so the suits at the Ivory Tower send thier kids to the Student Achievement Center and call it a transition period. Nice Tax Dollars wasted Marky Mark.
Check this out Tax Payers

The new principal of Clayton, is the recently retired Howard Bollard. I think he was 3rd in command in the district last year. Maybe he helped Marky Mark with the Schenly thing? He was the former principal of Schenly. Back in the day, he was one of worst get over teachers in the district. He was a Special Ed. Teacher at Dice, the kids played Uno and watched TV. What a nice guy

Parents, keep digging and do your homework.

"Do not piss down my back and tell me its raining."

Anonymous said...

For sure, Howard Bullard would have known a lot about the truth when it came to Schenley.

Mr.Figgyfinn said...

Well...Uno is an academic strategy, isn't it? This was Howard's way of getting kids onto the pathway to the promise. Play Uno, watch videos and maybe give the kids some cookies. In fact, now that we have replaced a 50% grading scale with one which is just as bad--but presented to teachers in a shell game fashion--I propose that teachers provide juice and cookies to all students every day. And perhaps pillows, in case they are tired. Let's all do our parts to make sure our boys and girls are having a good time and at least awake as we move them toward the Pittsburgh Promise.

headache said...

I am using a new moniker for this post because I vowed to NEVER say a mean word about an individual in any post and I must break that vow.

Mr. Bullard is not a good choice to head up Clayton. He is non-responsive and was most likely hired because some parents thought he was charming. He ain't. I know I am only a parent, but I have been waiting for him to call me back for two years. Yeah, I know he retired, but I don't give up easily. When he was Executive Director for Secondary Schools if he did not like the questions you asked he just did not answer. Even if you detailed the questions with supporting facts in email. Keep in mind though, at least he is not a PPS employee, right? He works for the company that manages Clayton/CEP. So maybe PPS actually did something right?

Mr.Figgyfinn said...

He sounds like the type of employee Mark wants on the job for him. Roosevelt's arrogance towards taxpayers, parents and teachers is disturbing, to say the least. How does he get away with it?

Anonymous said...

Well, one way he gets away with it is by skillfully using PR. If you only read the newspapers you'd think he was a genius, held back only by the bad students, teachers, and of course, parents set on their "personal interests."

Loved the quote in today's paper where it was noted that he wants a "very clear message" about violence. Smydo immediately follows it up noting that really it's the school board that will decide this. Beautiful! The board that's given him everything he always wanted, but now he's off the hook. I'm quite sure that Roosevelt pointed that "loophole" out to Smydo, too.

Mr.Figgyfinn said...

Agreed. Roosevelt and administrators in general certainly don't look at parents or teachers as being pertinent to the conversation of education. That in itself is remarkable, in that he has never been an educator. As stated on the "Broad Program" commentary, we are at a period in time in which governmental control of education is being passed off to people like this---individuals who have corporate backgrounds and wish to run school districts in similar fashion. I didn't like Roosevelt from the moment I read his bio as one of the three finalists for the job. I thought he was least qualified. The media and general public however basically peed themselves in falling over about the name recognition. So what?
I am amazed that such an individual is given a free pass where what has transpired under his watch is concerned. It's almost Bush-Cheneyesque. Changes made only for the sake of saying changes were made, fiscal mismanagement, the continual disparaging of teachers, the closure of Schenley High and other buildings, the loss of student population, the decision to bring in third parties like Kaplan and the Pittsburgh Institute to form curriculum which can be called woefully out of touch with the needs of the students, at beast--at huge taxpayer cost, the 50% grading policy and its suspect "replacement", a general attitude which is not in keeping with academia or urban education, in general--especially in light of the Allderdice fights---
and still, the man clings to the Pittsburgh Promise as being something which should make you forget all of his failings.....

Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

If I were an Allderdice parent, I would want to know if Mr. Roosevelt went to Allderdice the day of the major fight/riot.

I am not the biggest fan of previous superintendent Dr. Thompson, but I know for a fact that he went to crisis situations, and he went quickly. Allderdice parents should ask if Mr. Roosevelt did likewise here.

Grammy Cookie said...

Regarding Marky Mark, the word in the schools is that he was brought to the 'Burgh by Theresa Heinz Kerry and the Heinz Foundation because he wants to run for public office and he can't buck the Kennedy's and Kerry's in Boston. So after he "saves" Pgh. and puts all his buddies from Broad in place on Bellefield Ave., which he is becoming more successful at as time goes on, he will run for public office in PA. How about that?

Anonymous said...

The faculty at Allderdice is voicing their concerns in meetings. They want to get control of their building back. The principal ignores the people in the trenches. John Tarka from the PFT was out there yesterday for a staff meeting. As long as the higher ups are in denial, it will continue to be the same old same old. The inmates have been running that asylum for years! Talk is cheap.

Grace Slick said...

I have to wonder about the vision which has been Allderdice for the past decade or so. Didn't anyone stop to think that the school within a school concept could be threatened by neighborhood violence when so many loose cannons were being brought to one place? Did they really believe Squirrel Hill parents could be placated ad infinitum? The little skirmish last week was inevitable and makes one wonder how much isn't reported. I can bet that parents of CAS kids who felt that somehow their children were somehow shielded from all of this are a little squeamish these days.
And I am sure Mr.Tarka is a great deal of help.

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt, He did not go to Dice, he sent Dr. Lane & Jerry Lippert. Marky Mark has not shown up at all! He is to busy to concern himself with a riot, he has never been in one, Just like the classroom. Why is this fool running our school district. Where is his dog and pony show now when the #%&# hits the fan. No where to be found.

marilyn monroe said...

From: marilyn monroe, Say what you want to about former principal Dr. Kemp. BUT, there mever would have been a riot if she was still Principal.

Questioner said...

MM, how do you think she would have prevented the situation at Allderdice- what specifically would she have done that the current (?less experienced?) principal did not do?

marilyn monroe said...

From: marilyn monroe: Dr. Kemp would have been in the halls HERSELF, everyday. She made the students get to class on time, no questions asked!!! She would have been directing security on the other floors to bring anyone caught in the halls to her office for discipline and consequences.

She said...

It was interesting to see that Allderdice had a lower number of students referred to Clayton, according to that powerpoint. However, if you add in just the 20 reported in the riot incident, gosh, their numbers are going to be right up there. (If those kids end up there rather than at Schuman, that is.)

I can't help but think that principals, "tasked" with lowering suspension rates and making their numbers look good are going to be faced with more things like this -- let things go and go and go, with lower numbers and just keep fingers crossed that it doesn't explode into a riot.