Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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Annette Werner said...

At a meeting on the North Side called by Board member Mark Brently, community members expressed strong support for the idea of a one year moratorium on school closings to allow time for a city wide community planning process.

Concerns included North Side middle school students not in a magnet having no option other than Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville, and Oliver High School students not in a magnet having no option other than crossing a river to Langley.

Anonymous said...

From the HP newsletter:

Au revoir Fulton?

Pittsburgh Public Schools recently released a facilities study by DeJong that recommends closing Fulton Elementary. All Highland Park residents and home owners have a vested interest in keeping Fulton open.

In a separate report, A+ schools indicates Fulton student performance continues to increase (3rd gr. Reading 76%, 3rd gr. Math 78%, 5th gr. Math 89%). The principal, Mr. Kevin Bivins, has been leading and succeeding in his efforts to turn around and improve the school. As parents of a Fulton first-grader, we have been and continue to be happy with the education our daughter receives.

When my husband and I moved to Pittsburgh we looked for a neighborhood that would be family friendly. We fell in love with Highland Park. We’ve had such positive experiences with raising our children here: taking them to the playground, birthday parties or Jazz in the park, and bicycle parades on the 4th of July.

When our older daughter, Helena, was in pre-school at St. Andrews we began learning more about the magnet lottery. We weighed pros and cons for the Dilworth, Liberty, and Montressori magnets as well as the relocated French magnet at Fulton. We were very interested in her having a foreign language. To preview every school we had to schedule during a specific week, except at Fulton.

Mr. Bivins, the principal at Fulton French Magnet School was at the Bryant Street Festival. I asked, “When could I schedule to see the school?” His response? “You can’t. I want you to come in whenever you want. I want parents to see my school at any time”.

Helena’s kindergarten experience exceeded our expectations. Since Mr. Bivins has taken over as principal the reading and math scores have improved dramatically. He has made tough choices to resolve the previous 5th grade gap in reading performance. For the first time in 20 years Fulton has a waiting list for kindergarten. Attendance is up at all grade levels. As Fulton French Magnet School continues to improve it is also growing as an asset to our community.

The Highland Park community attracts young families for the same reasons we chose this wonderful neighborhood. Having not one, but two high quality schools in the neighborhood is a definite draw. As homeowners, we have watched our property values rise steadily as the entire neighborhood has been revitalized.

The recommendation to close the school is largely based on two significant and expensive maintenance issues. First is the addition of an elevator to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Second, the DeJong report claims a total replacement of the slate roof is required. According to the report the Fulton repairs would total an estimated $10.9 million.

If Fulton were to close, the current students would be forced to go to Fort Pitt ALA, K-5 in Garfield Heights. In comparison, the required repairs the DeJong report recommends for Fort Pitt are estimated to total $14 million.

To help insure that this report does not spell the end of the Fulton French Magnet Elementary school in our community, please take 5 minutes and make the following phone calls.

call Mark Roosevelt, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent at 412-622-3600
call Dara Ware-Allen, our School Board Representative at 412-622-3500

Efforts to keep Fulton French Magnet Elementary open are being spearheaded by Tiffany Best. For more information and other ways you can help call Tiffany at 412-726-9300 or e-mail TBBest@hotmail.com

We wish to thank to the Highland Park Community Club for their time and support with this issue of critical importance to our entire neighborhood.

For more information about this story please feel free to contact us:
Michelle Boyle boylemmh@yahoo.com
Ray Roberts l.ray.roberts@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Look at what is happening at high schools elsewhere, that go beyond test preparation and offer things like video production (it's worth watching the creative and entertaining videos mentioned in this link):


Anonymous said...

A preview of coming attractions: Teachers received a letter dated 12/21 from the BOE and the PFT. The letter asks people who intend to retire by the close of this school year or during the summer, to sign a "Separation Notice" by January 29th. This will be an official (can't change your mind) notification to PPS and names will appear in the February Board minutes. The PFT is "seeking Board authority to purchase gift cards in the amount of $250" as a thank you for this early notification. You won't receive your gift card until after the effective date of your retirement.

A $250 gift card? How generous of them and by the way, don't let the door hit you on your way out. What a slap in the face to all the long time, hard working teachers. Let's hurry up and start cleaning house for the Gates' money. This is just the start of what is coming. What employee would sign now before the new contract is put out for review? You would have to be crazy. The letter concludes with,"We appreciate your years of dedicated service to our students." Yeah right.

Here is an interesting idea. Since the superintendent is not an educator, why don't we get rid of our so-called "former educators" who run the PFT? They are so far removed from education that they no longer have a clue. They are content to cozy up to Bellefield and collect their checks. Who needs educators running the show? We don't have any now.

I feel for the majority of our teachers. They are at the mercy of the BOE and have no support. This new contract should prove to be very interesting.