Thursday, July 23, 2009

PPS requesting input in planning for summer literacy programs

Announcement from Mark Conner:

Calling all future middle school parents,If you have a child that will be in middle school (6th through 8th grade) during the 2010/11 and or 2011/12 school year and even if you don’t, your input is requested and severely needed. As we discussed in May, the focus of the ARRA or “economic stimulus” money will be on middle school literacy. We know that literacy is the most important skill a child can learn; a literate child can go anywhere. It is also true that many kids that drop out in 9th grade do so because of academic problems, we want to end that Now. You also know that we plan on extending the school year through the use of summer camps…this is where you come in. We have hired an exciting team of people to plan and implement these summer programs, they have made parent engagement a top priority and they want you involved from the beginning. Join us and meet the team on August 27, 2009 at 6:00 at the Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave. (Hill District)Please RSVP to Wanda Spencer at or call at 412-622-3617. Light refreshments will be served so it is important you respond. Thank you in advance for making yourselves available during the summer; we appreciate your help in designing programs that will benefit our students. Mark A. ConnerDirector of Family and Community EngagementPittsburgh Public Schools341 S. Bellefield Avenue, Ste 422Pittsburgh, PA 15213Phone: (412) 622-3941 E-mail:


Mark Rauterkus said...

I need someone to go to this meeting and take my video camera to record it. I'll be busy at water polo practice.

Can YOU cover for me? Mark.Rauterkus -at- gmail -dot- com.

Anonymous said...

The problem is the Aug 27 date. Teachers will be back but many families on vacation.

parentone said...

Personally, I like the August 27th date, Anything planned for immediately after the kids are back at school is an issue in some households where kids have difficulty reacclimating. Add to that fall sports, possibly fall physicals, the paperwork parents have to complete to start the year, supplies a kid wants and a parent has to track down, etc.

To jumpstart the input gathering maybe we should start the discussion here. I don't have any idea how to reach attendance goals for this summer programing. I recently spoke to a soon-to-be 5th grader and he plans NOT to go. I know his mother and if she says "GO!" he will go. What about others? I have seen how incentives improve participation and like most parents I use them too. However, I have also not offered incentives to my kids and said "hey, pal, this is your stinking job like it or not." Bottom line, nobody wants ARRA dollars to be wasted.

Mark Rauterkus said...

You improve participation and the evenutual impact of that participation from the summer programs by some year-round engagement. The summer weeks should be intense, but the non-summer times need to be regular.

Be consistent.

Trouble is -- some only read when they need to. Duhh. Some can put thinking on hold too, for some strange reasons, it seems.

For sure: It is great to go down a river in a canoe in the summer. Furthermore, it is also a thrill to read about paddle trips in the dead of winter and have more than fleeting memories of your experiences.

Attendance goals for the summer programming need to be woven into lifestyle efforts and deeply rooted experiences that can play consistent motivators for the youngsters.