Monday, December 27, 2010

Difficulties measuring value added by individual teachers

On the December "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

"Article on problems with latest approach to evaluating teachers

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/nyregion/27teachers.html?ref=education

This article points out some of the problems with this recent way of evaluating teachers. I've always thought this evaluative approach is silly. A good principal is one who is regularly present, regularly visiting classrooms, regularly discussing with teachers what they're doing in the classrooms. Instead we want this impersonal, statistical tool that -- what? allows principals to not get their hands so dirty? I know, it's an old school, unfashionable approach, and one that takes time and training on the part of the principal. But I think it's also a more common sense solution than the silliness described in this article."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Continued city infrastructure problems

Two water main breaks in Oakland:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/26265424/detail.html

Pittsburgh's infrastructure is very old and in many instances falling apart. At some point it will become necessary to ask whether we can afford to allow large institutions to remain fully tax exempt in exchange for contributing to scholarships.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tonight's meeting

On another post Anonymous wrote:

D"id anyone attend tonights meeting? It was not streamed on PPS. It was a continuation of last weeks legislative meeting.

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/pps/icalsw/
eventDetail.asp?DID=42369"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Be bold"

On the December "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10355/1112243-109.stm

Today's P-G, "Be Bold Dr. Lane" by Jeremy Resnick

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advisability of a national search for superintendent

See the first letter to the editor, PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10353/1111600-110.stm

Article on new Board president

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10353/1111721-298.stm

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Booing incident said to have taken place at U Prep

Keeping this issue current:

http://purereform.blogspot.com/2010/12/incident-said-to-have-taken-place-at-u.html

An insider's look at testing

http://www.monthlyreview.org/101201dimaggio.php

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Former school employees tackle Westinghouse reform issues"

There is an article on this topic in the current issue of the New Pittsburgh Courier. However, the link to the paper and the article is not working at this time.

It's official

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_713648.html

Monday, December 13, 2010

Search PURE Reform's blog/ start a new post

To start a new post, reply to this post with your question, comment or suggestion for a new topic. The adminstrator will then start a new post with your topic as a title.You can post anonymously if you prefer. Click on "post a comment". Type in the word you see for word verification. Choose how you would like to be identified in the post click "publish your comment".

Adults blame parents for education problems

Results of an AP- Stanford U poll:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131988387

Adults blame parents for education problems more than "teachers, school administrators, the government or teachers unions".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tribune interviwe w/ LLane/ reactions to appointment

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_713377.html

The article mentions the candidate's view that getting out into schools is important. Over the past few years many have advocated greater visbility in the schools for the superintendent.

Roosevelt exit interview

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10346/1109989-298.stm

- He's still trying (unsuccessfully) to justify Schenley.

Once again, tell us why Schenley had to shut down immediately with $8M interim costs thrown away at Reizenstein, when McKelvey/Miller in the Hill District with almost identical asbestos plaster conditions remains open and in use...

Why the $30 - $50M proposal by a committee of building professionals was not seriously considered....

Why the district can propose to spend $30M on 458 students at Arlington but Schenley, in a prime location and a true flagship school, is too expensive to renovate for 1300 students.

And in answer to the question of why he would choose to go through this- it is because at the time he was eager to launch smaller schools and new signature projects like sci tech and U Prep.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It cost $45 million to find this out?

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/education/11education.html?_r=1

- Teachers who students say maintain order in the classroom, focus their instruction and help students to learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers who with good results on value added standardized test measures.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Incident said to have taken place at U Prep

From another post:

Anonymous said...

Here is something interesting I have heard from many others in the district.

Monday or Tuesday
The Principal at U-Prep asked the promise ready students at a school wide assembly, to stand up and give themselves, applause. They complied. Then he asked the non-promise ready students to stand up. Then he told them to (Boo) their teachers. They excitedly complied.

If this would happened to me, I would have been fired, maybe even arrested.

Talk about a hostile work enviroment for teachers. What an out right disrespect for the teaching profession. He is labeled the Rising Star of the PELA program by many.

He should be fired, of course the union is mute


Questioner said...
What a bizarre exercise- especially since the same teachers presumably taught the promise ready and non-promise ready students. No credit for the successes but blame for those who did not succeed? And when are the principal and administration held accountable?

Anonymous said...
Even beyond teacher and administrative accountability is STUDENT accountability. How absurd: pat yourself on the back for what you earned, point fingers at others for what you failed to achieve. What message are we sending students when we do silly stunts like this?

Can anyone verify that this happened firsthand? This sounds so outlandish that I hesitate to believe it --- except that so many unbelievable things have happened over the past 5 years that I simply can't dismiss it!


alldone said...
We do need firsthand confirmation on this alleged incident at UPrep. If it is an accurate account of what happened and there is no fallout, public apology, probationary period for the individual, etc. our problems are bigger than currently known. If this does not come up on a talk show today it will be a surprise. The parent hotine number is 622-7920. Just what the heck are the principals doing in professional development? If somebody is paid to train on effective motivational methods a refund is deserved.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New superintendent no surprise

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10343/1109425-53.stm

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facilities issues/ 6-12

Tonight there was a dance performance at CAPA, for all grades 6-12. The kids were wonderful but the auditorium is small and there was not enough space for the families and friends that came to see them perform. People were turned away or had to stand at the edges. So add performance space to the list of strained facilities in 6-12 schools that includes lunch rooms and athletic spaces. A 6-12 configuration may seem like a clever way to save money, but the price we pay is overcrowding.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Athletic committee feedback

Here is the link to feedback from community meetings- look toward the bottom of the page:

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/143110127102347580/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=63958&143110127102347580Nav=|&NodeID=5867

Rhee's new advocacy group

NYT article on Rhee's "rhee-emergence":

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/us/07rhee.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=michelle%20a%20rhee&st=cse

"Top test scores from Shanghai stun educators"

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/education/07education.html?_r=1&hp

Monday, December 6, 2010

SHazuda elected president of school board

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/1108755-100.stm

Public hearing tonight on 4 new proposed charter schools

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/education/s_712402.html

Who should receive education rewards?

See the first letter to the editor, today's PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/1108540-110.stm

PVAAS results for Pittsburgh

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/1108560-53.stm

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Evaluating teaching based on videotapes

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/education/04teacher.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a23

"Schoolwork requires effort"

From the 8th letter to the editor, PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10329/1105962-110.stm

Friday, December 3, 2010

Superintendent's last day at work

On another post, Anonymous wrote:

"Today, December 3, 2010 was Superintendent Mark Roosevelt’s last day at the Pittsburgh Board of Education-this came from a parent that works for the Board of Education.

He is finished-and I guess he will be using his days till the end-uncertain if he cleaned out his desk.

Above should be a seperate blog entry.

Sorry to place this under this heading-but Mr. Taylor your summation again retiterates my concerns of the lack of consistent data analysis."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tonight- "African American Educators Address PPS Eastend HS Reform Plan"

Tonight, Wednesday December 1, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at the Kingsley Association (6435 Frankstown Ave), First Floor Conference Room.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Community meeting about PPS athletics 11/30

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 from 6:00-8:00 PM
Reizenstein Facility in East Liberty
129 Denniston Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

PG article on the Pittsburgh Promise

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10333/1106850-53.stm

The article seems to say that only about a quarter of the students graduating in 2008 and eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise actually used it, since some students go to school out of state and some do not go on to school at all. There doesn't seem to be any information on whether a higher percentage of students from the class of 2008 went on to school compared to previous graduating classes.

There is also a split concept mentioned, which seems to be new. Students who cannot meet the increased GPA requirements receive the amount of Promise money that was available under the old GPA requirements. Previously, the idea seemed to be that all Promise money would be subject to the new GPA requirements.

A's for good behavior

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/weekinreview/28tyre.html?_r=1

Quote from a superintendent: "We need to stop overlooking kids who can do the work and falsely inflat[ing] grades of kids who can't but look good."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PPS Budget

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/archive/s_710680.html

Per the article, the capital budget includes $427 for new projects.

Health violations at schools including some PPS

On another post Anonymous noted this link:

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2010/11/22/health-code-violations-found-at-school-cafeterias/

More open search for superintendent is urged

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_710591.html

Shots fired at a school bus yesterday

From WPXI:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/25882052/detail.html

Monday, November 22, 2010

PURE Reform public hearing testimony

PPS Public Hearing Testimony
November 22, 2010
Kathy Fine

Good evening. I would like to start my testimony by once again thanking everyone in this room for their time dedicated to bettering the educational lives of the students in the PPS. I know that even though we might not agree on everything, we all do agree that a world-class education for all of our children is our common goal.

This evening, I’d like to discuss the support staff in our schools. Let me start by saying that I was not able to get staffing numbers on about 36% of our schools as they were not available on the PPS website, so I will just present the numbers for the schools for which I was able to get data.

We all know that many students have multiple and varied challenges facing them every day that hinder their “school readiness”. Whether it is suffering the effects of living in poverty, the divorce of their parents, being the object of bullying, or dealing with the effects of a learning disorder, many students need support in dealing with everyday struggles. Yet a cursory look at the staffing in our schools reveals that the PPS is woefully unprepared for assisting our children. Of the schools that listed staffing, I found the following:

• The ratio of nurse to student is 555 to 1
• The ratio of counselor to student is 450 to 1
• The ration of social worker to student is 1189 to 1
• The ratio of psychologist to student is 1280 to 1

In addition 45% of schools have no assistant principal, 83% have no parent engagement specialist and only 2 schools have a mentoring program.

We cannot hold teachers accountable when they do not have the support staff in their buildings and their students are not coming to class ready to learn. We cannot seriously address the underachievement of our students without understanding that learning is not only about math and reading. Many students, rich and poor and anywhere in between, come to school with heavy burdens that keep them from learning. When my son was having difficulty concentrating in school and organizing his time, my husband and I were fortunate enough to have the resources to get the counseling we needed to help us keep him on the correct educational path. Many in our public schools are not as fortunate and do not have the resources to gain this type of help.

I am asking, once again, that the policies of this board start to redirect the reform of our schools from the current top down method and make sure that resources are spent at the grassroots level, on our students and on services that directly benefit them. Only then will we help them to realize their potential and truly set them on the Pathway to the Promise.

___

PPS Public Hearing Testimony
November 22, 2010
Annette Werner

Good evening. For my testimony I will read a letter I wrote to the Broad Foundation.


November 4, 2010


The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation - Education
10900 Wilshire Boulevard
Twelfth Floor
Los Angeles, California 90024

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Broad:

I am writing from Pittsburgh, where we have had a Broad superintendent for over 5 years.

As shown on the attached charts, the overall improvement in academic performance of the Pittsburgh Public School District during the past 5 years has if anything been less than the improvement in academic performance statewide. Year to year ups and downs at particular grade levels in Pittsburgh closely track year to year ups and downs in Pennsylvania as a whole, raising the question of whether changes in performance are the result of adjustments to the level of difficulty of the tests. This result comes despite an emphasis on testing like we have never seen before, at the expense of other areas such as sports, extracurricular activities and the arts.

I know that accountability is an important part of the Broad approach, so can you tell me: Are these results consistent with expectations for a Broad superintendent? Is there something that needs to be added to the training of these future superintendents? And can you tell us why, in selecting a new superintendent, we should again consider a Broad candidate?

Thank you,

Annette Werner

New featured topic posted

PPS/ State of PA PSSA 2010 Comparison is posted at

http://purereform.com/featured.html

The green lines show EFA goals. Not all charts include EFA goals because EFA goals were not set for all grades and tests.

4 new charter schools applying to open in Pittsburgh

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10326/1105146-53.stm

Principal bonuses awarded

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10326/1105240-53.stm

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Returns on Pittsburgh Promise investment

An editorial from the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10325/1104642-192.stm

Some of the figures quoted are confusing. Is the source of the editorial information available- such as in the form of a report from the Pittsburgh Promise? The "research" section of the Promise just seems to have information from when the program first began, such as information about Kalamazoo's program.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Single gender academies at Westinghouse to be all choice

At the Board's recent meeting, it was clarified that the single academies at Westinghouse will be "all choice"- ie, they will not be the default assignment for any students, whether they live East of Negley or West of Negley. The default for families that make no choice is University Prep in the Hill District.

New program to certify nontraditional teachers

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10323/1104524-298.stm

One candidate interviewed for superintendent position

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_710065.html

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Board statement on replacement of superintendent

From the PG:

"The executive committee stated: "We recognize the need to act thoughtfully and with urgency before year-end to ensure that the district has strong leadership in place to continue our commitment to advancing education reform initiatives, student achievement and teacher effectiveness efforts already underway."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10321/1104049-100.stm

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The New Teachers Project

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"What is known about The New Teacher's Project (TNTP)?

Has this TNTP begun yet in Pittsburgh?

Who is managing and organizing the project?

What is the cost and estimated time period?

Where has it been effective? How? Why? But what measure/"

Monday, November 15, 2010

"City schools get mixed grades in annual report"

PG article about this year's A+ Schools report:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10319/1103525-100.stm

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Wish list" for new superintendent from the A+ meeting

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_708996.html

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dropout prevention at Clayton features a SHORTER school day

From the New Pittsburgh Courier:

http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3358:dropout-prevention-program-gives-sstudents-second-chance&catid=38:metro&Itemid=27

- No mention of Community Education Partners (CEP); it is not clear from the article if CEP is still at the Clayton building.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More changes to proposed plan for the East End

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_708590.html

- A change to make the Westinghouse single gender academies seems like a wise move. At the time of the original proposal, PURE and many others recommended that if single gender academies had to be put in place over other options like a top notch CTE academy, they should be all-city magnets. Probably a practical move, too- most likely the admin realizes they need to attract more students to avoid underenrollment. It is not clear if Westinghouse will be a feeder school for any students.

- Moving up the move of IB to Peabody to Fall 2011- not a wise move. Families of current 11th grade students were promised that because those students already had to switch buildings after 9th grade, they would stay at Reizenstein through graduation. Also not wise because it does not allow for much needed renovations. The IB Committee conditioned its recommendation on the addition of natural light to the building.

Makeup class being offered to keep failing grades off records

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10314/1102032-298.stm

From the article:

"At five Pittsburgh high schools next semester, students who are failing a core course will have a new way to catch up: two-hour, after-school classes, twice a week.... Students may enroll in one or two classes, Mondays and Wednesdays for one class and Tuesdays and Thursdays for the other."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Proficiency gap greater than expected

From the NYT, the proficency gap between black and white students is greater than expected:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/education/09gap.html?_r=1&ref=trip_gabriel

The article discusses a new report to be released by the Council of the Great City Schools showing that black males not eligible for free/reduced lunch "are doing no better than white males who are poor."

The article notes that the report discusses the importance of early childhood parenting practices but not reforms such as "closing failing schools, offering charter schools as alternatives and raising the quality of teachers." The executive director of the council explains that there is "not a lot of research indicating that these [reform] strategies produce better results."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reminder- Baptist ministers' discussion today

The topic: Are Pittsburgh Public School Students getting the best education possible?

From the Tribune:

"The Baptist Ministers Conference of Pittsburgh on Monday will host a community meeting to discuss public education in Pittsburgh.

The meeting will start at 6:15 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District. Speakers will be limited to three minutes and are asked to bring a copy of their testimony.

The hearing is meant to gather feedback about whether Pittsburgh Public Schools students are getting the best education possible.

To sign up, call 412-731-6242."

$14M green renovation planned for Northview

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10312/1101565-298.stm

"Beyond the energy savings, Chris Berdnik, chief financial/chief operations officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools, said green buildings have the potential to increase academic performance.

"There's a significant amount of research that kids learn best when there's good natural classroom light and excellent indoor air quality," said Mr. Berdnik."

- So what are the plans for the other schools that don't have natural light?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Op ed piece about behaviorally challenged students

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10297/1097349-109.stm

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tracking and cluster grouping

From another post:

Anonymous said...
Hello
Tracking and cluster group discussion participants, I have a question based on my own limited experience with a recent middle schooler (now in high school). I remember the groupings came about in middle grades when intervention time was rolled out to improve literacy. Are cluster groups operating across more subject areas and beyond what I am familiar with at the middle grade level? That would give a lot of parents of special education students something to investigate.

November 6, 2010 3:17 PM
Questioner said...
It would be nice if the school district would promptly answer this type of request for information.

Can someone try emailing to the parent hotline parenthotline@pghboe.net?

November 6, 2010 3:57 PM
Anonymous said...
Regarding "CLUSTER GROUPING" - As reported previously on this blog, “The Total School Cluster Grouping Model” (TSCG) was presented to the Board at the 9/27/10 Education Meeting by Cate Reed and Allison McCarthy.

The stated reason for the presentation was “*Board Authorization Sought”

The “Cluster Grouping” model was compared to the “Traditional Model”

Following are QUOTATIONS taken directly from the “GIFTED and TALENTED PILOT UPDATE” power point presentation:

“Whole school approach to student placement”

“Students are “cluster grouped” by achievement level”

“The majority of students remained in the same Achievement Category”

“Minimizes the range of abilities in each class so teachers are better able to differentiate, but does not result in one achievement group per class.”

“Allows more students to shine among their peers.”

PILOT SCHOOLS listed were Colfax ALA, Northview ALA, Fort Pitt ALA, Dilworth K-5, Grandview K-5

P.S. This should be another BLOG and this MODEL should be fodder for the "tracking" and "ability grouping" debate

November 6, 2010 6:03 PM
Anonymous said...
Since the Achievement Gap between Black and White students at two of the"CLUSTER GROUPING" PILOT schools are as follows, it takes us back the Red Bird and Blue Birds “ability groupings” within every classroom.

Achievement Gap at Colfax in Reading is 41% and at Grandview the GAP is 27%: thus, the racial segregation in these classroom would be egregiously obvious to ALL.

What happened to the POLICY against this type of "ability grouping"?

Please read Jeanne Oakes on Tracking: How Schools Structure inequality”

November 6, 2010 6:40 PM

Baptist minsters sponsor community meeting for Monday

The topic: Are Pittsburgh Public School Students getting the best education possible?

From the Tribune:

"The Baptist Ministers Conference of Pittsburgh on Monday will host a community meeting to discuss public education in Pittsburgh.

The meeting will start at 6:15 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District. Speakers will be limited to three minutes and are asked to bring a copy of their testimony.

The hearing is meant to gather feedback about whether Pittsburgh Public Schools students are getting the best education possible.

To sign up, call 412-731-6242."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Opportunity for input on PPS sports programs

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10309/1100993-100.stm

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Proclamation

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10308/1100723-100.stm

All very nice, but has it had any impact on student achievement or enrollment?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bans on profanity

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_707038.html

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Traditional v. non-traditional

Is it time for a traditional superintendent to follow the non-traditional superintendent- kind of like Republican and Democratic administrations tend to take turns and (hopefully) balance eachother out?

Mark Roosevelt's report card

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Roosevelt's report card


http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws//gyrobase/Content?oid=87238

Someone posted numbers here that were not quite as rosy as this report card states. Where are they getting the achievement gap data?

They didn't give him a glowing review, but I thought it was generous in many areas.

There is an comment board with the article. I don't have the knowledge of the numbers to reply."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

North Side redistricting

On the October Start a new post, Anonymous wrote:

"Pittsburgh Public Schools seeking input on North Side assignments
While the idea is not yet ready for a school board vote, school officials are circulating the proposal in North Side neighborhoods.


www.allvoices.com/.../7144759-pittsburgh-public-schools-see...



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10300/1098251-53.stm#ixzz13ZVfRts9"

Not waiting for superman

But maybe waiting for the next superprogram?

See the last letter to the editor, "Pittsburgh hasn't waited for the arrival of superman," by Board president Theresa Colaizzi:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10300/1098228-110.stm

Boys' charter school proposal

From the Tribune, there is a proposal for a boys' science and math charter school to be located in Wilkinsburg for students from the Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills district. The school would start w/ jr hs and expand to include hs:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_706263.html

The Wilkinsburg superintendent is quoted as objecting that the charter would rob the district of its brightest students.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Public Hearing October 25, 2010

Speaking were a former PPS coach, about a publication he wrote;

Dr. Johnson Martin, noting that the district does not need new ideas and urging the Board to select a superintendent that will continue existing initiatives (but also suggesting that the Board select an individual who has successfully designed and implemented a significant program);

Kathy Fine (discussing the widening of the gap between PPS and PA test scores over the past 5 years);

Annette Werner (dscussing the enrollment decline over the past 5 years);

Gayle Moss and Dr. Marilyn Barnett (NAACP), who were accompanied by a number of parents concerned about reports that East Hill students would be assigned to Westinghouse rather than Allderdice. Concern was also expressed about the planned merger of high school students from different schools, and about the new 6:00 public hearing time which is difficult for many working parents.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Accountability contract

Here from 5 years ago is Patrick Dowd's explanation of how the superintendent's accountability contract was supposed to work.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05240/560900.stm

Has it worked as intended? Should the new superintendent have an accountability contract and if so, how can it be improved in the light of our experience over the past 5 years?

PPS enrollment drops 3.1%

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10298/1097823-53.stm

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bill Gates discusses teaching

On the October "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

http://www.parade.com/news/2010/10/24-bill-gates-what-ive-learned-about-great-teachers.html

Friday, October 22, 2010

Recruit Rhee?

On another post, Anonymous wrote:

Yikes!!!!

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10295/1097083-110.stm

[Text of letters to the editor deleted.]

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10295/1097083-110.stm#ixzz135Q2v68E

Open forums

On the October "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Search PURE Reform's blog/ start a new post":

I simply do not understand why Pittsburgh residents have no say or power while watching this ridiculous waste of money, time & resources is ignored. PPS deflects instead of admitting shortcomings.

Most cities would be so angry and try and hold the board and superintendent accountable.

I try and explain the situation to my family. Most are employed in education and all out of state. When I explain what is going on here; I get the following responses. "You're kidding right?" , " That does not make sense", "You must have misunderstood", followed by my favorite: "No teacher would have signed that contract.

We have zero open forums that allow discussion. This needs to change, and it is ridiculous that this is the status quo.

I want to know why and if anything can be done about it.

Why don't we even have easy access to our school board members? They don't publish their PPS emails on PPS site.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Playing to remember Schenley

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10294/1096654-362.stm

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Peabody on lockdown

http://kdka.com/local/East.liberty.shooting.2.1972671.html

According to this report the gunman fled toward the school.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Skill set for school board

Given that the PPS budget is now half a billion dollars a year- could the board perhaps benefit from a few members with some additional skills? For example- wouldn't the district benefit from an accountant, construction manager, or ethicist on the board?

Good-bye for sure

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote,

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Search PURE Reform's blog/ start a new post":

IT IS OFFICIAL. Roosevelt is gone.

Antioch College Names Mark Roosevelt Its New President Antioch College

YELLOW SPRINGS Ohio – October 17 2010 – Mark Roosevelt superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools system is the new president of Antioch College ...
antiochcollege.org/news/archive/1696.html

CAN WE FIND A CONSTANT GARDENER?"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"School documentary (Superman) merits a failing grade"

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10288/1095262-153.stm

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Incident after leaving school at westinghouse

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10287/1095250-100.stm

Police arriving to break up a large fight had rocks thrown at them. The article reports that the teens involved attend Westinghouse and are from Homewood and Wilkinsburg.

Why would students from Wilkinsburg attend Westinghouse? Is there an arrangement between PPS and Wilkinsburg?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Performance of Harlem Children's Zone schools

From the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/education/13harlem.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Antioch/ Roosevelt/ Broad

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Presidential nominee Mark Roosevelt live video today—Faculty ...
By edmkoz

Presidential nominee today Tune in today at 3:30 pm for live video streaming of Antioch College presidential nominee Mark Roosevelt in an open meeting at.
Antioch College Alumni Association... -

http://chicago.chapters.antiochians.org/"

In reference to PPS, this link is perhaps most interesting because it leads to the following:

http://lists.antiochians.org/pipermail/saveantioch_lists.antiochians.org/2010-October/020042.html

"I have sought to learn about who he is and
what he has done, and what I have found indicates his close affiliation with
the Broad Foundation. This is unsettling news. Broad is not a good fit with
Antioch’s historic values about community governance, participation, and
faculty involvement..."

Rhee to resign

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Rhee, Washington Schools Chancellor, to Resign Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It is Wednesday and another super is resigning!

CHICAGO CEO Ron Huberman

PITTSBURGH ROOSEVELT

TODAY DC- RHEE

SHOULD WE WOO HER? RHEE COMING HER?

The SUPERS AS reformers or gardeners are ditching their gardens for winter-they did not plant perennials. They planted annuals.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10286/1094800-298.stm#ixzz12EOxvi6f "

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Roosevelt departure/ bad seeds?

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Roosevelt's departure: Bad seeds?

Tribune Review

Now that the spinning tops are resting on their sides, some much-needed perspective on the coming departure of Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark ...

Good Read-Hmmm has MS BEEN OUT OF TOWN-"

- The link is: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/s_703810.html

Monday, October 11, 2010

PPS in corrective action II, 3rd year

Many people may not realize that PPS remains in corrective action II for a third year:

http://paayp.emetric.net/County/DistrictList/c2

Can someone please explain why the district is in corrective action despite the AYP year in 2009?

Sci tech 34% female

On another post Mark Rauterkus wrote,

"Noticed this today. Perhaps it is worthy of a posting on the main page:

Sci Tech is now with 34% girls as per the PPS web site.

Does that make sense?"

A must read article about NY's experience w/ standardized testing

From the NYT, "On New York school tests, warning signs ignored":

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/education/11scores.html?_r=1&hp

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Improving the process

On another post Questioner said

"With so much money involved- is there a way to free the process of the effect of favors done for certain people at certain times?"

Anontoo said

"Wow, Questioner. This query should be reposted everyday until an answer is found."

Looking back/ "It's premature..."

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/home/archives/11129-its-premature-to-sign-roosevelt-to-an-extension

That's ironic!

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Antioch College is listed as an asbestos job site

http://www.mesotheliomanews.com/asbestos/job-sites/ohio-asbestos-job-sites/ "

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Who should the next superintendent be?

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10282/1093913-53.stm

Friday, October 8, 2010

Propel Schools awarded $3.4M grant

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10281/1093474-298.stm

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hasta la vista

From wpxi:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/25297652/detail.html

Proprosal for city teams to join WPIAL

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10279/1092898-298.stm

Expansion of summer camp

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"INSTEAD OF DREAMING OF SUGARPLUMS THIS TIME OF THE YEAR-WE ARE OFF AND RUNNING WITH SUMMER DREAMERS--WHAT ANOTHER WASTED DREAM

ONLY PARENTS COMPLAINED-THE TEACHERS LOVED THE MONEY AND GAVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK TO COLLECT PAYCHECKS. NOT ALL TEACHERS-SOME WANT WILSON GONE-AND WONDER WHERE HIS HANDS ARE TIED TO THE THE PERSON'S WITH THE APRON STRINGS TO KEEP HIM ON--HE DOES NOT EVEN DIGNIFY A SECOND CHANCE-I AM A VERY DISGRUNTLED PARENT AND TAXPAYER.

Pittsburgh Public Schools expand summer literacy, activities camp
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
By Karamagi Rujumba, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The Summer Dreamers Academy, a five-week literacy and activities camp the Pittsburgh Public Schools created ...

Pittsburgh Public Schools expand summer literacy activities camp ...
PennsNews provides Pennsylvania news and information and includes features such as important PA links, forum discussions, business listings and classified ...
www.pennsnews.com/index.php?option=com...task...

Another bad survey or interpretative data feedback regarding this well-funded Summer Dreamers Academy.
It appears --- never addressed the issues of the curriculum and the diversification of differentiated instruction for the varied student educational needs/
The civics responsibility as citizenship.
The same leadership Edie Wilson Board -people needed to look at his qualifications and true evaluation of his work from his superiors. He should have been fired for evaluation of his work this past summer.
His chant SHOULD BE THE EXIT SONG AS HE IS KICKED OUT THE DOOR ON HIS DUPA-with the rest of his so-called staff-they performed so bad they should not be given any more chances-let the teachers have chances-change this regime.
THE Kansas City article WITH Roosevelt gave two renowned quotes from an author’s on the spot analysis of this Program from King –two experiences as the article illustrated both were revolting from the filth of a bathroom and students filthy mouth of words given to a teacher in front of an audience.

This was a failure because of the students that quit-more than just that assumption.
This is not about the afternoon activities.
Many of us have sent state legislators regarding the funding of this program. Those were the excuses that the staff gave to keep their jobs for next summer."

Superintendent job status

From the Tribune, "Roosevelt evasive on job status."

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_702949.html

The article reports that he will address the issue today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Televised interview on achievement, cultural relevance, and more

A PCTV21 interview with Board member Mark Brentley and educator Marge McMackin can be seen on Comcast Channel 21 or Verizon Channel 47 at the following days and times, or online at PCTV21.org.


10/7 at 7AM

10/11 @ 8 PM

10/15 @ 7 PM

10/18 @ 8 PM

10/20 @ 2 PM

10/22 @ 7 PM

10/25 @ 10 AM

10/27 @ 2 PM

11/1 @ 10 AM

Search PURE Reform's blog/ start a new post

To start a new post, reply to this post with your question, comment or suggestion for a new topic. The adminstrator will then start a new post with your topic as a title.You can post anonymously if you prefer. Click on "post a comment". Type in the word you see for word verification. Choose how you would like to be identified in the post click "publish your comment".

Surveys about PPS

From another post:

"Anonymous said...
Survey finds city teachers happy with school environment

More than three-fourths of city schools' educators are happy with the learning and working environment at their school, according to an independent survey released today.

Gates-funded survey finds city teachers happy with school environment.

This was found in the Triblive edition.

This blog is very quiet and really too quiet!

Where are my favorites Questioner, Oldtimer and Mark Rauterkus.

I cannot believe all the PPS teachers are this happy as indicated by this April 2010 on line survey.

Being an online survey with PPS computer software programs-would this present an issue of identifying the teacher or professional answering the questions.

This survey could be biased data for conclusions.

I would like the title and information regarding the school now has a teacher who will develop building-specific strategies to improve the teaching and learning environment, including addressing students' behavioral issues.

For this last statement-the title job position for the teacher addressing students' behavioral issues."

and parent1 said...

"I was otherwise occupied but took a call last night from a nice girl named Abby asking me about many things for a survey. What did I know about the Gates Foundation? Do I think PPS is moving in the right direction? Is the federal government moving in the right direction with education? Am I familiar with Empowering Effective Teachers? Am I satisfied with principal...etc...? As usual I came away knowing once again that surverys are useless. We need the opportunity to qualify our answers and explain why an answer to a strategically worded question might contradict a previous answer. I hope Abby got it down each time I asked her to include a footnote.

For a half dozen years I listened as parents discussed the results of the surveys sent out each year for PPS. There is little room for comment after you point out reasons for any STRONGLY DISAGREE answers. I get why phone surveys are needed, I doubt the response rate for the yearly mailed survey is worth writing home about, but can't we have other options. Town hall meetings by grade levels or mini-EFA meetings with a focus, break out sessions. How about a call in-show on cable or radio? The superintendent did live chats not too long ago. We are preoccupied with the big picture and are neglecting the day-to-day stuff. Speaking of which, I need to go help a kid with homework now. "

October 5, 2010 6:13 PM
Post a Comment

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Pgh and Phil cite educational innovations"

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10271/1090965-100.stm

"4100 students prove 'small is better' is wrong

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/education/28school.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

- Large diverse school, strong sports and activities, and an emphasis on reading, writing and reasoning- sounds like what PPS families would request, if they were asked.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Obama discusses education reform and private school for daughters

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/09/27/obama-makes-case-for-education-reform-defends-private-schooling/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%7C173459

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Federal money to match the Gates funds

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10266/1089844-100.stm

AYP results for Allegheny and surrounding counties

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10266/1089453-55.stm

The article includes a specific discussion of AYP results for the "suburban" districts in Allegheny County (ie, not PPS).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gangs/ PPS

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10263/1088914-298.stm

Friday, September 17, 2010

Students turned away from school for lack of logo on shirt

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous said...
Please watch the KDKA report on students being sent home from school because they were not wearing an embroidered badge with the school name, U-Prep.

It would seem to be an imperative for students to be in school if they are to rise above the current 37% in Reading Proficiency and 39% in Math Proficiency on the 2010 PSSA.

Are there legal ramifications for denying students their education for such a flimsy reason?

This kind of "priority" puts students "at risk."


- Questioner wrote:

"There have been some interesting court challenges lately on schools' obligation to provide a "free public education" and what that obligation entails. There is a strong case to be made that the school must supply items that students are required to have in order to attend, including uniforms."

District taking on debt

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Maybe-this should be another blog entry
Taking Care of Business? Alternatively, Show ne the Money?

Parents, educators, and community leaders-please watch this week’s Board Agenda Review meeting-especially the Business Portion.

are at a very tense and interesting juncture-Money, Debt and Construction-is this where we will see Roosevelt sweat –or the superficial tease to have us watch this as a reality TV show for next year’s reelections?

On the other hand, will we see our taxes increase next year because of the lack of money to pay for the facility projects. You know the wrong estimates for change orders on construction projects.

This is real and not something to take lightly.

A lot of talk about money, debt, and bonds.

Collazzi rose from the dead when it came to money-and Go Girl she was sweating from the heat or she is fired up [ ]. She was very demonstrative.

However, she is back to life. Now is this a good thing? I believe the Smartboard will be the issue as the hidden joke of their posturing for debt load.

They need to learn about the latest editions of Smartboards to use for the demonstration of their debt load..

This might be the turning point for Roosevelt- he appeared nervous because the word debt was used as Ms. Fine explained eloquently on this Blog-as a house would need reserve cash flow.

Is the Board spending too much-what is the real amount of reserve money-many parents and educator see and hear enrollment is down in many buildings and will we need to cut teachers now this early in the school year? The numbers are not there in some school buildings to hold the employee base.
Isler took over as usual reiterating, clarifying and elaborating with constant reiteration-as usual it set the stage for the this play to act out.

This is frustrating because other Board members have to listen to his verbiage without talking.
It appears the Cookie jar is empty and we need to regroup. Now-the backroom players who do the talking behind closed doors are speaking and talking again with their voices in the public eye of the camera.

The rest of the Board was silent-somewhat dumbfounded because they have never dealt with this issue of debt.

Ms. Fink definitely knows this topic because she has the experience of her tenure on the Board.

Brentley knows that the debt and construction has been out there for 5 years under Roosevelt. He has complained-and kept it on public record the consturction and money.

This was the Isler show."



Posted by Anonymous to PURE Reform at September 17, 2010 10:16 AM

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Testing, the Chinese way"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Starting another new topic or adding acommentt to the appropriate topic.

Testing, the Chinese Way

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/weekinreview/12rosenthal.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=testing%20in%20chian&st=cse"

PA Board of Ed considers RISE evaluation system

On a "Start a new topic" Anonymous wrote:

"Another new post?

State school board praises city new teacher initiatives

A new teacher evaluation and performance pay system introduced in the Pittsburgh Public Schools this year are the kind of initiatives that districts around ...

postgazette.com/pg/10259/1087895-53.stm "

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Closing middle schools

Recently, the closing of "failing middle schools" has been cited as an accomplishment by the current administration.

But, looking at Milliones then (2004-05) and now (2009-2010), it is not clear what has really been accomplished.

In 2005, 22.7% of 8th grade students at Milliones Middle were "Below Basic" in Math.
In 2010, 59.6% of 8th grade students at Millions 6-12 were "Below Basic" in Math.

Reading scores show some but not a lot of progress:

In 2005, 45.7% of 8th grade students at Milliones Middle were "Below Basic" in Reading.
In 2010, 38.5% of 8th grade students at Milliones 6-12 were "Below Basic" in Reading.

"Obama tells students to dream big"

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10258/1087614-298.stm

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PSSA results for 2010

The link to school results is at:

http://paayp.emetric.net/District/SchoolList/c2/102027451

Monday, September 13, 2010

Superintendent's 5 year performance

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Superintendent Receives Nod for His Year Five Performance (Sep 13, 2010)

This above link was published tday by the Board= under the heading of Good News at PPS site-I was not able to give excerpts of Roosevelt's acheivemnent of hi set standards and his goal accimplishments.

Please purview and review-maybe this should be another blog entry after Blog Adm reads the Good News Artivle and be ready for a nwq blog wnret for comments."

"Test scores not increased solely by spending"

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/regional/s_699214.html

SAT scores flat nationwide

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10256/1087271-84.stm

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fight at football game

A fight broke at at this evening's HS football game and a number of police w/ dogs were called to the scene. Will we see reports on this or public discussion of how to prevent and control problems?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blue Ribbon schools

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10252/1086289-100.stm

- It would be interesting to know what the Cornell elementary school is doing to get results.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lack of black teachers

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_698415.html?_s_icmp=networkbar

In the article a Pitt faculty member states that

"We just know that people learn better from people who are like them and can relate to their experiences."

Is this statement true? If you think back to your own education, did you learn best from people who are most similar to you?

PPS may use $18M in reserve to balance budget

On anoother post Anonymous wrote in reference to a Trib article at http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_698426.html:

"Pittsburgh Public Schools Board may use $18 million in reserve ...
Pittsburgh Public Schools could use nearly $18 million in reserve funds to help balance its 2011 budget, according to preliminary data presented to the ...
www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/.../s_698426.ht...

Oh the money woes.

This desrves a failing Grade?"

On the August "Start a new topic" Anonymous wrote:

Pittsburgh Public Schools Board may use $18 million in reserve funds

To cut costs next year, the district will need to be "more aggressive" with furloughing teachers due to declining enrollment and could replace only half of the retiring teachers, Roosevelt said. An average of 150 teachers have retired in each of the past eight years, he said
This makes no sense at all-he wants to hire new teachers for teacher academy and have more non-teaching positions!
What about Central ADM needs to have cuts in staffing and grant money that flows like a running river goes to needless programs?
Moreover, is this a tax increase-where teacher salaries are paid.
How about pay freezes or wait-a CONSULTANT GROUP TO be hired at a hefty sum to cut the pps board AD? Where is the PFT with this statement?

We only started THIS School year? Take the millions wasted on summer programs and be creative to get the bucks for the regular school year.

Ask Warren Buffett for the money.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_698426.html

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Addendum to post on lunch options

On a "Start a new topic" Annette Werner wrote:

"As a postscript to earlier discussions on healthy lunch options and nutritional education- from KDKA:

"Vegetable-based protein a healthier option"

http://kdka.com/local/vegetable.based.protein.2.1901012.html"

Documentary: Race to nowhere (tickets available)

On a "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Starting new topic":

Documentary Race to nowhere. One day only in this area. 9/30/10 Tickets available on the second link.

http://www.racetonowhere.com/

http://www.racetonowhere.com/screenings/montessori-childrens-community-sewickley-pa

Latest A+ report card on school board

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10250/1085684-100.stm

Friday, September 3, 2010

How are ALA's really doing?

The district's AYP report states that:

"From 2009 to 2010, students in ALAs posted increases in proficient and
advanced 2.1 times greater than the remainder of the District in
Reading and 1.7 times greater in Mathematics."

Does anyone really understand this?

The accompanying chart shows that the "percentage point" increase in reading as 1.6 percentage points in "the rest of the district" and 3.4 percentage points in the ALA's. In msth the increase was 2.7 for "the rest of the district" and 4.5 for ALA's.

These numbers could result for example from the rest of the district proficiency rate in math going from 60% to 62.7% and the ALA's going from 15% to 19.5%. Wouldn't this be pretty much the status quo (nothing to get particularly excited about)?

The "1.7 times greater than" seems to come from dividing the rest of the district percentage of 4.5 by the ALA percentage of 2.7 and rounding the resulting 1.66 up to 1.7. But what if both the rest of the district and the ALA's increased by 3 percentage points? Dividing 3 by 3, would the ALA increase be "one time greater than" the rest of the district increase, and the rest of the district increase be "one time greater than" the ALA increase?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Schools w/ PELA principals

The revised district report includes statements about the performance of schools with PELA principals. It lists the following schools as having PELA principals but didn't other schools such as Peabody and Weil also have PELA's?

"Pittsburgh Emerging Leadership Academy
(PELA), one of the District’s major reform
efforts, continues to show promising results
in the second year of implementation.
Schools with Principals who participated in PELA
Pittsburgh Allderdice 9-12 Pittsburgh Rooney ALA 6-8
Pittsburgh Arsenal K-5 Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8
Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 Pittsburgh West Liberty K-5
Pittsburgh Langley 9-12 Pittsburgh Westinghouse 9-12
Pittsburgh Morrow K-5"

Reporting incidents

On a "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:


"wpxi reported on this armed robbery across the street from reiz

http://www.wpxi.com/news/24853960/detail.htm

still wating for post gazette to mention it."

Rising number of non-teaching employees in PPS

On a "Start a new topic" Anonymous wrote:

"Why So Many Non-Teaching Employees in Pittsburgh Schools?

The Pittsburgh Public schools have alot of employees--but how many of them do something other than teaching? And how has this group changed over time?

This is a very good example of charting last year to this year-this is a first real core data-as parents and edcuators find info regarding PPS present trends.

A new blog entry?


http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/component/content/article/484-why-so-many-non-teaching-employees-in-pittsburgh-schools.html

www.alleghenyinstitute.org/.../484-why-so-many-non-teachin..."

PPS students start a new year

On a "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Superintendent Mark Roosevelt Visits Several Pittsburgh Public ...

Thousands of students who attend Pittsburgh Public Schools are headed back to class today following the summer break.

Again,this fact is it accurate-I need to know if we can secure the correct data.

On the news broadcasr---
THE district has seen improvement as 72 percent of its schools achieved adequate yearly progress.


The schools he is visiting this morning include Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8, Pittsburgh Carrick High School and Pittsburgh Grandview K-5

Any parents have children in the above school?

He is VISIBLE-BUT IS HE ACCESSIBLE?
This should be a new blog entry?

http://kdka.com/school/Pittsburgh.Public.Schools.2.1892807.html"

"Venture philanthropy"

On "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Starting new topic":

Venture philanthropy? Isn't that an oxymoron?


http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/article/viewFile/65/saltman

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Value added method

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Formula to Grade Teachers' Skill Gains in Use, and Critics
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
By SAM DILLON, The New York Times

How good is one teacher compared with another?



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10244/1084144-298.stm#ixzz0yHfFnDEz

or link


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10244/1084144-298.stm"

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teachers/ ills of society

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"I am not sure if this has been posted here before. It is an insightful, witty, sad & honest piece Brock Jones wrote. He is a LA public school teacher.

"Teachers Cannot Cure the Ills Of Society"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brock-cohen/teachers-cannot-cure-the_b_510848.html".

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pittsburgh as a model

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote"


"I had a hard time reading this article from the Kansas City Star.

"Pittsburgh's school system may be the model for the future"

http://www.educause.edu/Professional+Development/JobOpportunities/AssociateViceChancellorofInfor/212404".

- But, this is actually the correct link:

http://saving17000kids.kansascity.com/articles/seeking-formula-fix-urban-education/

Results of application for federal money

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/education/s_696868.html

At educational committee meetings earlier this summer administrators stated that applications meeting specific requirements (turnaround, transform or close schools or replace them w/ charters) were now needed to obtain money that could previously be obtained without these requirements. However, the article indicates that about 85% of the money awarded to the state as a whole is stimulus money.

The article notes that about half the requested amount was received. It is not clear which plans will be scaled back.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Roosevelt lays out long range school plan"

This was in May 2006 and described an agenda for where the district should be 4 years from that point:

http://kdka.com/topstories/school.plan.Mark.2.382926.html

"We are not giving you an agenda today that is compliance driven or that is limited to the standards set forth by 'No Child Left Behind'," said Roosevelt."

How well have we met these goals? Have we nevertheless ended up focused on compliance and achieving adequacy under NCLB?

"Focusing" teachers

From another post:

Anonymous said...
An administrator friend of mine told me this past week that if a principal fails to focus 25% of his teaching staff, then he will be focused.
Being focused means the teacher is suspected of being incompetent, to be blunt.
I'm wondering that if anyone sees that as teachers do--as a witch hunt?
What are the ramifications of such a crusade, and what does it say about PPS administration?

August 29, 2010 10:47 AM
Questioner said...
While there are certainly some teachers who could use extra training, a lot of the problems seem to be beyond teachers' control. Paradoxically, we may lose the teachers who are the best and have other options but don't want to deal with the hassles. Maybe what we really need is a parents' academy. ALL parents can use some help and tips at one time or another. And since the Broad approach is fond of incentives, give parents incentives to attend.

August 29, 2010 11:03 AM
Anonymous said...
Logically then. based on the FORMULA cited (25%) a minimal 25% percent of principals and central office administrators should be focused, if not dismissed given the 50 to 75% lack of student achievement, Five years is more than sufficient time to see improved student results. The focus must be on the Superintendent.

Responsibility rests, ultimately, at the top of the personnel pyramid.


August 29, 2010 11:33 AM
Shocked said...
I too have heard that principals were told to focus more teachers or be focused themselves.

I urge that a new thread be started for this topic specifically.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Delusions of Gender"

Reviews of a new book relevant to the single gender education debate:

http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?id=15543

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/science/24scibks.html?_r=1

Grassroots effort

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Besides this blog site, does PureReform use other media to disseminate their message; like local radio/tv, as well as, national radio/tv. More frequent editorials in local newspapers would capture public attention. Flyers posted in and around neighborhoods would spark interest.

Any plans to hold strategic meetings with members? Strong grassroot organizations need foot soldiers on the ground. A good recruitment tool is to have each member bring a different friend/neighbor with them to every meeting.

There is strength in numbers. I dare any local media to ignore a huge PureReform rally outside while Roosevelt meets with a select group of parents, teachers, a/o community members to discuss PPS concerns. Rally during a board meeting. PureReform has legitimate concerns that demands local and national attention.

Eli Broad, Roosevelt, and the rest of the Broadies will back down and eventually leave if this grassroot effort truly organizes and pushes back. They do not want opposition. They do not want exposure."

Chasers

From the New Pgh Courier, here's how one charter school is tackling the dropout problem:

http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2749:at-pasadena-school-chasers-dog-chronic-dropouts&catid=39:national&Itemid=2

Hard decision

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Has anyone else pulled their kid/kids from PPS and feels guilty about it? I believe high achieving kids can get a good education in PPS, and most public schools.

My kid does not deal with the disruption, yelling and stress well. We decided to put him in a private school, for middle school. We hope to get him enrolled again in high school in PPS.

I have not given up on the schools, but I had to make the choice based on my kid. I feel guilty because I am very pro public schools.

I do know a lot of high performing kids fleeing the district, I never thought we would be one of them.

This was a hard decision for moral and financial reasons.

Can PPS woo us back in a few years?

I am uncertain, only one board member, Mr. Brentely speaks up, and attempts to hold the "employee" Mr. Roosevelt accountable. I commend his efforts even though we do not live in his district.

Btw, we live in one of the most "desirable" feeder patterns in the city, and we are still uncomfortable. This is not based on test scores, it is more of a safety, teacher/principal switching (RISE), lack of stability that pushed us over.

Is anyone else in this situation?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broad accountability

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous said:

"I never thought I would say this, but how about a "Thank you Mark " thread, or at the very least a thread about holding the school "Broad" accountable.

I watched 30 minutes of the meeting tonight, it was a joke. The board is a joke, and our kids our being shuffled around by an administration with ADHD.

I do not get the Roosevelt love."

And then added:

"Oops! "Thank you Mark Brentley thread"

Lack of counselors/ who is minding the store?

We are hearing reports that there is NO guidance counselor at Peabody and Oliver and no social worker at Langley because positions were cut or someone is on leave and has not been replaced. Students at these schools are at risk and need assistance accessing social services. Also, because they have been to many different schools, placements, institutions, it is time consuming to straighten out their schedules, records and transcripts to make them "Promise Ready." A social worker and AT LEAST one counselor are needed. Who on the School Board is watching out for adequate staffing?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

School safety report

WPXI obtained safety reports for Pennsylvania school districts; here is the link to PPS:

https://www.safeschools.state.pa.us/Main.aspx?App=6a935f44-7cbf-45e1-850b-e29b2f1ff17f&Menu=dbd39a1f-3319-4a75-8f69-d1166dba5d70&res

Unfortunately it does not seem to report results by school, which we have been meaning to obtain.

Public hearing August 23, 2010 school reconfiguration

On the August "Start a new post" Annette Werner wrote:

Here is my testimony from today's public hearing.

A school bus was provided to transport folks from Homewood to support the plan (note that buses have never been provided for opponents of administration proposals). Even so only a small handful attended. Two school board members were absent as was the deputy superintendent.

My testimony, which I will look forward to revisiting in several years as we see how things pan out:

PPS Public Hearing
August 23, 2010
Annette Werner PURE Reform

Good evening.

I'm going to talk about the school reconfiguration plan. My overall impression of this plan is that it would not last in the long run because it forces arrangements that are not a good fit.

- 6-12 format- The community dialogues proved 6-12 to be an extremely unpopular grouping. It may be accepted at a school like CAPA with few sports and a select group of students who want to be there no matter what (although CAPA high school students have told me they would much prefer a performing arts high school). Elsewhere the 6-12 format imposes a burden on participation in sports and activities that would never be imposed on Allderdice or schools in the North and South regions and which will have to be fixed by a reconfiguration at a future date.

- Peabody area students to the Hill and Homewood- At risk students need a convenient, easily accessible school. Ongoing incidents in Homewood make the plan to send Peabody students to Westinghouse even more challenging and stressful for these students and their families. Eventually the Peabody community will take back the Peabody building.

- Mandatory CTE- Requiring students to participate in a career program, and a very limited one at that, solely because they live in a particular part of the city will not lead to a strong CTE program, particularly as students move in and out of the feeder pattern.

- Peabody building for IB- The combination of a non-central location, windowless spaces and limited outdoor athletic facilities will not help to attract students who have other options.

- Lack of regard for diversity- When this whole process began the high schools with limited diversity- Peabody, Oliver and Westinghouse- were the most problematic. The district then went ahead and added another school with limited diversity which has not been able to attract and retain students. Feeder patterns may be ever expanded but the more committed and involved parents will continue to seek diverse options for their children, leaving less diverse schools underenrolled and underperforming.

- Failure to align schedules of proposed year round schools with the schedules of younger family members.

Over the past two years I have spoken with all of you on the Board and observed most of your meetings, and I have found that each of you has common sense. Today I urge you to please, use that common sense to vote down this very untenable, ill-advised proposal. I know there are a better alternatives.

Promise ready corps

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

anon212 has left a new comment on your post "Starting new topic":

HS schedules and the welcome letters are out. The packet includes info on PRC with a FAQ sheet.

"Teaming-Teams of six-eight teachers and a counselor/social worker will provide support for 100-120 9th grade students for whom they are collectively responsible."

My first thought is that the numbers should be lower, 2 teachers/25 students plus 1 counselor/50 students. If I am a student needing an ear in a hurry to help me how do I contact a member of my PRC?

"Advisory-In addition, each student will be assigned an advisor who they will meet with regularly to discuss what it means to be Promise-Ready."

Just ignore the agreement issue (each student/they) and concentrate on helping to define "regularly." Once a year? Once a week? AS NEEDED based on standards? The lack of specificity offers a future excuse if PRC is not a stellar success and losses are cut by attempting another effort.

Starting new topic

To make discussions easier to follow, if you are starting a new topic (for example noting and commenting on a new article) please go to the "Start a new post" section rather than piggybacking on an existing topic.

Posts that have been moved from the wrong topic leave behind "removed by administrator" notes.

Also the media prefers links to their articles rather than cut and pastes of the entire article (a small quote from the article is OK).

Students paid to attend summer program

From another post:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Very limited PSSA information released":

Do you feel this worked for the Summer?
Lopes involved and Heinz Endowment paid for it.

Is this real or PR?

This writer from the Trib –the only writer from the Pittsburgh media covering PPS.


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_696044.html


Anonymous said...

From the above article -if this is voted on August 25th for September this year will the students BE PAID $100 a week?

What about the West End, South Hills and the North Side?

THey vote at their whums-yet they can not wait to February tochange the East End and the feeder patterns.

August 23, 2010 1:07 AM

K-8 wins credit

From another post:

Anonymous said...
Explain this to me.

Roosevelt fickle?

Now he wants all 6-12 if his K-8 is working?


K-8 model wins credit for helping Pittsburgh students improve
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
City schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt wouldn't go so far as to say the PSSA results validated the district's decision in 2006 to establish K-8 schools, ...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_696041.html

August 23, 2010 12:55 AM

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Plus Schools "Schoolworks" report

From another post:

Anonymous said...
Enclosed is A+ schools findings released today about the PPS.

Maybe this should be a separate blog listing for commentary.

http://kdka.com/school/watchdog.report.schools.2.1864518.html

August 17, 2010 2:44 PM


Anonymous said...
Group Releases Findings About City Schools

Enclosed is A+ schools findings released today about the PPS.

Maybe this should be a separate blog listing for commentary.

http://kdka.com/school/watchdog.report.schools.2.1864518.html

An independent watchdog group that keeps an eye on Pittsburgh Public Schools released its findings today.

According to A+ Schools, improvements are being seen, but there are still some areas that need to be addressed in the schools.

The watchdog group released is schoolwork findings, which involved collecting data on the workings of the schools in Pittsburgh.

"That the access to our most rigorous courses is uneven and limited across schools and within schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Second, is that there is a lack of behavior management systems in many of our schools. And third, we found that schools were not positioned to address students at risk of disengaging and dropping out in time to get them reengaged," A+ Schools Executive Director Carey Harris said.

Harris said that with these issues being highlighted, immediate action needs to be taken.

After the review of Pittsburgh high schools and middle schools, they learned that 50 percent of black males are not graduating.

"So we're going to be going into schools again this fall, to interview principals and guidance counselors. This time about the extent to which kids have access to rigorous courses and they're equitably accessible. The extent to which we have safe learning environments in every building and the extent to which there's a system to engage," Harris said.

Keenan Johnson is hooping to graduate next year and move on to college. Johnson said that the positive change should begin with students when they begin their schooling.

"Keep them constantly involved in school and make it fun for them so that as they grow up [they will] stick to the habits you develop. So, if you develop the habit of wanting to be in school and wanting to do this, then everyone is going to want to do better," Johnson said.

There were some grades where African-Americans did achieve 100 percent success levels, but the district was unavailable for comment.

August 17, 2010 2:47 PM


Anonymous said...
Another Story for Blog Posting-Recent article just up:

WHAT ABOUT THE K-5 SCHOOLS?
LET'S FOCUS ON THE WHOLE DISTRICT AND EDUCATION.

TONIGHT'S PPS EDUCATION MEETING WILL BE THE PPS BOARD AND PPS ADM
ABOUT THE PSSA SCORES.

PLEASE READ ARTICLE BY PGH POST.
Survey finds inconsistency in city school procedures
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A survey of middle and high school principals in Pittsburgh Public Schools shows inconsistency in how students are selected for tougher courses, disciplined, monitored for dropout prevention and prepared for college and careers.

Those are among the findings of the survey released today by A+ Schools, a local public education advocacy organization, as part of its School Works initiative.
"We want to make sure that school works for all Pittsburgh students, who bring different strengths and needs to the classroom. Equity means all students are given the support and resources needed to succeed -- regardless of their differences," said Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools.

Ms. Harris said some actions by the school district provide reassurance -- including new teacher training and evaluation systems -- and urged the district focus on three priorities: providing every student access to rigorous courses, a safe learning environment with behavioral expectations, and a system to keep tabs on students at risk of dropping out.

In Pittsburgh, some high school students who have tested into the gifted program take courses in the Centers for Advanced Studies. The next level of courses is the Pittsburgh Scholars Program, and the level below that is mainstream. The study found there were no consistent standards for determining which students take scholars courses.
It also found some schools had no systems in place to monitor students who were most likely to disengage, a key step toward reducing the number of dropouts.
Some schools did not teach skills needed for success, such as note taking and time management, while some did not have systems for positive discipline.
The surveys of 23 principals were done by a cadre of volunteers last year.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette or 412-263-1955


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10229/1080662-100.stm#ixzz0wtlHg3eV

August 17, 2010 4:52 PM


justsayin' said...
http://www.aplusschools.org/pdf/0910Findings.pdf

The link will take you to the info on the A+ site.

August 17, 2010 7:46 PM

Very limited PSSA information released

Last year by August 11 complete PSSA results by grade (although not by school) had been released by August 11 (see http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/14311059122535553/lib/14311059122535553/Education%20Committee/2009/ed%20comm%20ayp%20pres%20-%208-11-09.pdf)

This year information was essentially just a report on AYP status (despite statistical adjustment and whatever credit is now being given for students "on track" to proficiency the district reports that it "just missed" making AYP) with a few selected "highlights" about specific schools. From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10228/1080440-100.stm

Apparently the media but not the public received some additional information later in the week; from the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10232/1081360-298.stm

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama Middle School X country info

From Mark Rauterkus:

http://rauterkus.blogspot.com/2010/08/pgh-obama-middle-school-cross-country.html

"Making the grade"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

PLEASE watch "MAKING THE GRADE" NOW (@12:00- 2:00) on MSNBC! FASCINATING STUFF!

Hopefully, PPS administration and Board are watching!"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting involved with PSCC (school parent organizations)

On the August "Start a new post" bystander wrote:


"PTOs and PTAs and PTSOs contribute a great deal to their buildings in the form of activities, fundraising for field trips and outside programs and performances, a ready group of volunteers, etc

Each school has a PSCC (Parent/School/Community Council) with scheduled meetings monthly. You may not find its purpose easily, and I may be simplifying the whole process, but this is the grassroots level of parent engagement. You will find buildings in PPS where fewer than three parents attend a monthly PSCC meeting. You will find buildings where a meeting is held just to SAY a meeting was held. And, you will find buildings where even if the staff attending a meeting outnumber the parents in the room, the purpose of the PSCC is respected. In these cases, in my observation, it happens when the parents make it happen.

Parents need to start thinking differently about parent meetings. Parents need to redirect the agenda to focus on the issues of the day, the ones THEY feel are critical at that moment. For instance, every PSCC meetings should begin with a report from the building Discipline Committee. Nothing sinks a building's reputation more than the perception of disorder. The rumors on the streets should be addressed at a PSCC and not be left to grow OR be swept away and dismissed. If our kids and our staff are not safe, this is where the campaign to fix the situation should begin and where accountability is paramount. A PSCC can be useful to the school community. It is up to parents to restore it to its original purpose and have it move away from being just a way to meet a federal requirement for parent involvement."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Inexperienced schools chase US school funds"

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/education/10schools.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Q&A session on reconfiguration

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10223/1079100-53.stm

A+ questions/ responses

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/14311062191241110/lib/14311062191241110/APlusSchools-Questions-Excel9-12.pdf

There are responses (not necessarily answers) to each A+ Schools question. It will be especially interesting to see how the plan for how schools will look in 2015 compares to how they actually shape up over the next few years.

Dep Super Linda Lane a finalist for position in Iowa

On the August "Start a new post," Anonymous said:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100810/NEWS02/8100364/Education-Department-finalists-include-4-with-Des-Moines-school-ties

Linda Lane too?


Four current or former administrators from the Des Moines public school district and one rural Iowa superintendent are finalists for the job of director of the Iowa Department of Education, Gov. Chet Culver's office said.

Monday, in response to a public-records request, Culver's office released the names of the finalists to replace Judy Jeffrey, who retired in May. They are:

- Todd Abrahamson, superintendent of the Sigourney school district.

- Linda Lane, former deputy superintendent of the Des Moines school district and now deputy superintendent of accountability for the Pittsburgh, school district.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chautauqua speeches

On the August "Start a new post," Anonymous said:

ROOSEVELT’S Wants to Implement Marshall Plan? And/Or feels like Elizabeth Taylor’s Seventh Hubbie

Please read about Mr. Roosevelt as a CONSULTANT/Speaker

Gloomy Side Of Reform

By Andrew Carr acarr@post-journal.com
POSTED: August 7, 2010

CHAUTAUQUA - Speaking about education reform is a hard thing to do without being gloomy, said Mark Roosevelt to a Chautauqua Institution audience.

Roosevelt, in his lecture Friday, managed however, to weave humor and truth together to make a compelling argument in the education reform issue. After hearing many of the speakers this week, he said he would try to not reiterate many of the points they had made.

"I feel like Elizabeth Taylor's seventh husband," he said. "I know exactly what to do, just not how to make it interesting."
The truth of the matter is not pretty, he said.

"My generation is the first generation to be worse off than our parents," he said.
He described the "it takes a village" argument, saying he believes this is true; therefore all the blame cannot be put on teachers, administrators or unions alone.

"We are all responsible for what is happening," he said. "We are not raising our children the way they need to be raised."
Roosevelt shared his experience in the Pittsburgh school system, and how as superintendent he was trying to change that system. Being in Pittsburgh, the school system must tackle many hardships such as economic disparity, he said.

"The things in our culture that can drive children down away from where they need to be are so powerful," he said.

In order to inspire the reform that is needed, the American public must know what is going on and become involved, he said.
"Most of America does not know how big this problem is," he said. "You can't solve a problem if you don't know it exists."
Roosevelt spoke about the achievement gap, and how we focus on this as the main issue. Roosevelt reiterated that this is a very important issue, but is part of a larger problem.

"If we remove the African-American and Latino children from the equation, our highest achieving children are still in the middle of the pack," he said. "And our African-American and Latino children are second to last in the world. It is very important to recognize we have achievement gaps in this country, but we can't let that obscure the fact that most children are not getting the education they need."

In order to change the educational system, we need to recognize academic achievement, and inspire national standards, he said.
"If you want to make change in the educational system, you have to think about 15,274 school board agendas," he said. "We need to work together if we are ever going to make this change. There is truth in a lot of people's views, but there is no simple truth, no simple answer."

Roosevelt said that there are many reasons to be optimistic, however. Some schools have started to become nuclei of innovation, there are signs on non-partisanship on the issue, and the history of our country shows that when we recognize a big problem we can do something about it.

"We need a Marshall Plan for public education in America," he said.

August 8, 2010 11:33 AM
Anonymous said...
PureReformthe enclosed articles need to be posted for comments they are very insightful and very revealing regarding Roosevelt-he gave more out about himself and his agenda in NY-never in PPS

Please post each as a seperate blog entry.

We need to have this as comsuption and the blog can have open discussion.

It would be nice to take key points from each article to-Roosevelt is silent in PPS and PGH-place him in NY and pay him as a xonsultant and or public speaker he even answers questions-both give excellent insight for our future children under his tutelage the next couple years for PPS.


The Chautauquan Daily - Roosevelt to share Pittsburgh successes
Roosevelt to share Pittsburgh successes Mark Roosevelt by Sara Toth Staff writer The Chautauqua audience has heard numerous perspectives on the public ...

www.chqdaily.com/.../roosevelt-to-share-pittsburgh-successes



Gloomy Side Of Reform

Jamestown Post Journal
By Andrew Carr acarr@post-journal.com

CHAUTAUQUA - Speaking about education reform is a hard thing to do without being gloomy, said Mark Roosevelt to a ...


Questioner said...
http://www.chqdaily.com/post/910209039/roosevelt-to-share-pittsburgh-successes

Here is the correct link

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Questions for Tuesday's forum on reconfiguration

As previously noted, PPS will hold a forum East End School Reconfiguration:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
6:00PM - 7:30PM
Westinghouse High School Library

Because the district will present the plan and take only written questions, some have expressed concerns that many questions will be left unanswered.

To help us get a better sense of whether the meeting has in fact addressed community concerns. please email your questions to the district at

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/14311062191241110/site/default.asp

and then POST AS A COMMENT TO THIS ENTRY OR EMAIL THE QUESTION YOU HAVE SUBMITTED TO: purereform@gmail.com

After the meeting we will post a list of which submitted questions have been answered and which still require responses. Accountability is critical.

Note: It would be helpful but it is not required to have your name. If you would like PURE Reform to submit a question for you to maintain anonymity, please email the question to us.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

CP article on concerns about neighborhood rivalries

"An informal City Paper survey of parents at Chadwick Park in the Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar area found most had strong feelings against the [high school reconfiguration] plan, primarily as a result of the mixing of neighborhoods."

http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A83324

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oliver renovation to cost 25M

School reconfiguration materials prepared by the district show that the projected capital cost for Oliver HS is $25M. The district expects an enrollment of 300 - 500 students.

Schenley enrolled about 3 times more students, but renovation costs of 3 x $25M ($75M) were descrbed as too expensive- even though by all the measures the district has at various times used to justify school closings Schenley far outperformed Oliver:

Enrollment (Schenley 100%, Oliver seriously underenrolled)

Achievement (achievement in all subcategories greater at Schenley)

School Performance Index (Schenley a 3, Oliver only a 2 http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/2005/RAND_WR315-1.pdf)

Location (Schenley central while administration acknowledges that it will be difficult to attract students to Oliver)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reconfiguration meeting/ taking questions from audience

From A+ Schools:

PPS East End School Reconfiguration Meeting

Pittsburgh Public Schools will host a forum on the East End School Reconfiguration plan.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
6:00PM - 7:30PM
Westinghouse High School Library
(doors open at 5:30 for submission of questions)

The district will present the plan and written questions will be taken from the audience. Questions can be submitted in advance using the PPS website. Go to Plans & Initiatives and then Facilities Reconfiguration. The link to input questions can be found in the middle of the page.

Direct link for question submission: http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/14311062191241110/site/default.asp

PG article on summer literacy camp

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/1076986-298.stm

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gallup online test for teaching applicants

On the August "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

Teacher hiring criteria intended to get best candidates

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_692945.html

Interesting article for parents and educators. A neighbor on our street applying for a teaching job in the PPS District. After completing the whole application process on line. She had to take the Gallup

TeachertInsight Assessment an online multiple-choice test designed to help select candidates for screening. She has impeccable references, student taught in the PPS and q QPA of 3.9. She completed the Gallup TeachertInsight Assessment and she did not pass the online test and has to wait for a period of a year.

Can a person explain this to a parent-why another test for selection process?

Yet, they are furloughing teachers.

Consultant arrangement

On the August "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

ExpEducator requests that we explore:
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT as defined by Dylan William,
James Popham and Mgt Heritage.

On July 30th, according to Board Minutes, PPS contracted with Dylan William at a cost of $10,000
(Yes, ten thousand ) for one day to provide professional development for "select" PPS educators.
Who and how many attended? What did they learn? And what are the implementation plans for Administrators, Teachers, Students and Communities?

Merit pay for teachers op ed

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New Post- Op-ed
Merit pay for teachers is an idea without merit
Excellent teachers excel anyway and the duds will stay duds, argues English teacher DAVID MORRIS


Read more: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10213/1076465-109.stm#ixzz0vNTaac16

Start a new post/ search PURE Reform's blog

To start a new post, reply to this post with your question, comment or suggestion for a new topic. The adminstrator will then start a new post with your topic as a title.You can post anonymously if you prefer. Click on "post a comment". Type in the word you see for word verification. Choose how you would like to be identified in the post click "publish your comment".

To search PURE Reform's blog, use the "search function on the upper left of the blog.

"Growing up poor can affect brain development"

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10213/1076801-115.stm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Board to discuss HS configuration on Monday

From A+ Schools:

School Board Discussing Excel 9-12 on Monday, August 2nd

The School Board will meet on Monday, August 2, 2010 at approximately 6:15 PM (immediately following a special Legislative Session) to have its second discussion about the high school reconfiguration plan. This plan could come up for a vote as early as August 25th.

The meeting will be held in the Board Committee room on the 2nd floor of 341
S. Bellefield Avenue. Monday's meeting is open to the public. Members of the public can observe (and we encourage you to), but cannot speak before the board. Members of the public can speak before the board at its public hearing on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 6:00 PM.

Check out the A+ Schools website for more information on how to register to speak at the board hearing on August 23rd.

New teacher orientation

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10209/1075735-298.stm

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Disillusionment

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Try to have an intelligent conversation with any pro-public school parents. It is very difficult, I was ultra public school, and I figured anyone that was dissing it was either misinformed or paranoid. I know what is going on now, and I did a 180 in a matter of a few days. You could have not changed my mind, I had to be willing to read and look. I was not before.

I honestly think I have lost a friend once I started putting the pieces of this mess in place. I have very little faith in the long term future with PPS.

This administration is all about self promotion without any personal integrity involved. I

If their aim is to tear apart communities, fire/dismiss people to make room for their own, they have won. The only choice I have is to call them out, but then people will lose their jobs. They are really good at faking and covering up their tracks.

It is lose lose, shut up and play our game.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teachers' Academy FAQ's

On another post Anon wrote:


Given that Summer Dreamers is having mixed success, how will the district do with its Teachers' Academy? See this link for some of the details. Apparently the students at these schools will have numerous teachers in their core subjects.

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/170220210151928197/lib/170220210151928197/Teacher%20Academy%20FAQ%20V.pdf

Program for Black male students only

Htp://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh

On another post Questioner wrote:

Questioner said...
From the article:

"City schools last week began a full-day, month-long summer program in which 32 black male students in 9th and 10th grades receive a $100-per-week stipend for participating. The program, paid for by Heinz Endowments, helps East End students who struggle with math and reading."

-PPS does seem to be focused on gender distinctions these days. Why not a program for girls struggling with math and reading? And why only black students?

And then Anonymous wrote:

You forgot the famed Derrick Lopez quote:

We incentivize them enough so we can (instill) ... that this should be a pattern you follow during the school year," said Derrick Lopez, assistant superintendent of secondary schools.

Just a few points-if one does not read the newspaper-we will never know the latest PPS imitative.

Lopez is a great Hoover sweeper sweeping under the carpet and resurfacing squeaky clean with agenda.

$400 each for 32 students. -we are really gender specific and race specific here in this Summer Program.

Is it a free Program? As they advertise the other Summer Program.

Why not Black girls are we being sexist?

Let us here of the selection process~from the Board? When?

Girls have a right as well all socio-economic background indicators-not just race and gender specific.

What about the Semolinan children or other immigrants. Why were they not given a chance-Do they have a special ESL program there-maybe they should and work with them?

Are the students selected from all around the PPS district or just the East End?

Where is this program located and housed?are the students being transported and fed?

Is it housed at Westinghouse-how In addition, do we see a goodwill tour for gender specific schools?

Hey, where is the lawsuit against this type of specific criteria?

The Wellness Program involved-are they a separate vendor-health counselors-Phys Ed teachers

With the Wellness Program involved-are they implying health issues as another indicator for selecting the 32 black boys? Heaven forbid-they are saying the boys cannot even get their homework done after school and must participate in some form of athletic activity or they have an eating disorder or need to lose weight.

Are we labeling here in this program?

What are the specifics of the curriculum and behavior modifications for alternative classroom behaviors if necessitated?

Just a little bit of criteria-there should be more.

I guess the Heinz Foundation will write a check –for PPS whims.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Release of PSSA scores delayed

PPS has announced that its release of PSSA scores, originally scheduled for July 29, will be delayed.

Stimulus funding and Summer Dreamers

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10204/1074678-53.stm#ixzz0uVmmbOMp

One sectional Quote from article∷ Research shows much of the academic achievement gap between low- and high-income youth is tied to summer learning options, and kids without summer activities can lose up to two months of academic progress before the school year starts. To address that, the city district started an all-day, free camp for middle schoolers this year called the Summer Dreamers Academy, which boosted summer program registration from 800 to 2,300 students.

The camp, which is budgeted to, is scheduled to shut down after next summer when the stimulus funding ends, said Cate Reed, the district's project coordinator for strategic initiatives.

Well, my son is at Camp King, they already had three good physical fights at this site-the Camp Site Director, and his crew cannot manage this site. The money is wasted at the site that could have been put to better use. Site Directors; make $8500 and teachers $6000.

The money for afternoon activities should receive funding-this site is a serious joke-because of the people in charge-they are afraid of the Black students. $4 million to $5 million annually just another waste of money and they never use the current research-just like-Where is the research for the past 5 years on our ALAS. King has been always a disaster for 30 years. And they are furloughing teachers. They take research and good old RAND and what happens 5 years of waste-I wish President Obama could see the waste.

But, they should have had a diversified Site crew to deal with this Section of our city-my son goes to a magnet-the only selection for some North Siders. The kids call the site Director Dork and the Dorkers- and some of the Camp Coordinators just plain nasty the students and the teachers. Only the male Camp Coordinators are braking of the fights. Not the teachers.
However, as a parent even when I pick up my son-you should see the disorganization of the kids and the buses.

Why waste this cost $4 million to $5 million annually so 2011 another cost of $4 million to $5 million.

Mr. Rauterkus you are right-but look what happened this summer with their territorial setup of the Camps. They wasted majority of the 5 million.

Why do you think I send my son to a magnet school-oh my and what about high school? This does not happen at Allegheny Traditional and listen it is a waste-when I will hear wait till next year to work out the quirks!!! When they sre closing schools and cuttin student programs and class size.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Notices of possible furloughs received

Word is that some teachers have received notices that they may be furloughed. It is not clear how many teachers have been sent notices or how likely the furloughs are.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A+ schools questions plans for reconfiguration

A+ Schools Program Info


QUESTIONS ABOUT PLANS FOR HIGH SCHOOL RECONFIGURATION


A+ Schools strongly advocates that the Pittsburgh Public Schools provide more information on the proposed high school reconfiguration plan in the form of at least one community briefing before voting on any part of this plan.

We observed the June 21st Education Committee meeting, reviewed the materials and met informally with administrators and we believe many important questions are still left unanswered. In fact, we submitted a list of questions to the administration and school board to try to gain a better understanding of exactly what is being proposed.

Our questions and concerns fall into the following categories:

(+) Choice: What is the intended model of choice PPS is trying to achieve and by what mechanism will families be asked to chose?

(+) Equity: How do the proposed plans contribute to the district's vision of equity - policies based on the belief that effort creates ability and with the goal of eliminating the achievement gap?

(+) Alignment: How are the CTE, EET, and Excel 9.12 plan aligned operationally to achieve the same goals?

(+) Feeder Patterns: What are the implications for school size based on the proposed changes in the East End feeder patterns?

We would expect that parents and other stakeholders would have equally valuable, important and possibly different questions and concerns. Tell us what questions you have. We urged the district to create time for those questions to be surfaced and addressed and to build public support for whatever changes are pursued.

While high school reform planning has been going on for three years; the specifics of the current plan have only come to the general public's attention in the past few weeks. We commend the district's efforts to engage a group of stakeholders in developing this plan, but more public understanding and comment is essential. Further, the planning group consisted primarily of East End interest and the changes presented impact the entire district.

A plan of this size and scope deserves a thorough public vetting prior to a legislative vote by the school board. We urged the school board to convene at least one, but preferably several community information sessions before voting on any portion of this plan. More information will allow the community to offer meaningful feedback at future public hearings.
A+ Schools
Questions regarding the Excel 9-12 Plan:
What is the intended model of high school choice that PPS is trying to achieve and by what mechanism will families be asked to choose?
• What is the combination of feeder/magnets/CTE/other programs that PPS is trying to achieve?
• What is the final version of high schools that PPS plans to have by 2015? For each secondary school, what is the configuration, academic program, magnet program, CTE program housed in the school?
• What is the mechanism for students to choose magnets other programs? What is the choice mechanism for each CTE regional cluster? How can these be aligned for parents/families to navigate through them easily?
• If a student feeds into a school with a CTE program, is that student automatically enrolled in the CTE program?
• If Robotics is no longer a magnet and it is housed in the IB School, which is a magnet, how will students that are not part of the IB School be able to access Robotics?
• Currently Oliver, University Prep, Langley and Brashear are listed as partial magnets. Will those schools remain that way or will those magnet options be eliminated or replaced?
In what way is the district’s policy regarding equity reflected in the Excel 9-12 plan?
• How does this plan work specifically towards closing the achievement gap?
• If Oliver is the only feeder school in the north side and the only drop-out/ credit recovery school in PPS how will other students in the city be able to opt-in to Oliver? Is there evidence that the feeder pattern for Oliver has the highest concentration of students at risk of dropping out?
• Is it equitable or lawful to make a single-gender school (Westinghouse) the default choice for a select group of students?
• In what way is the CTE programming in each regional cluster easily accessible to ALL students?
• If Westinghouse is a single-gender school with consumer sciences and health CTE programs, how can we ensure gender equity in those CTE programs while not undermining the qualities of a successful single-gender program?
What is the rationale for changing the east end feeder pattern to be Negley Ave?
• How is Milliones considered under-enrolled when it was intentionally created to serve a specific number of students in the district? Were the residency projections wrong or did fewer students choose Milliones than expected? Moving forward, how can we ensure that enrollment projections for new schools are as accurate as possible as to not create under-enrolled schools?
• How do plans for Uprep change with an expanded feeder pattern since it wasn’t intended to have that large of a student population?
• University Prep was planned before there was consideration for students from the Westinghouse or Peabody feeder pattern. It is currently listed as a partial magnet in the district. What work has been done to ensure that University Prep has enough room to accommodate the entire proposed feeder pattern west of the Negley Ave while remaining a partial magnet? If choice is open to students from both the former Peabody and Westinghouse feeder patterns for University Prep, how can we know that all students who choose University Prep will fit?
How is the proposed CTE plan, the EET plan and the Excel 9-12 plan aligned?
• How is the proposed CTE plan, the EET plan elements (including the extra period accounted for in the collective bargaining agreement and career ladder roles) and the Excel 9-12 plan aligned?
• Who is responsible for managing the conjunction of these plans and coordinate their joint implementation?
• How will the proposed “extended day and extended year” at Oliver be addressed in collective bargaining?
• Perry, Langley and Brashear were targeted for transformation and will be implementing RISE, the Promise Readiness Corps and focusing on Teaching and Learning Environment; however Carrick was left off of any list and it is in Corrective Action 2 (while Langley and Brashear are only in Corrective Action 1) and the transformation strategies are part of the EET plan that are supposed to be implemented in every school. Was Carrick left out intentionally or was it an error? The same question applies to Allderdice where the EET plan was also planned to be implemented.
• If Oliver and Westinghouse are targeted for turnaround and half the staff can stay and there must be new leadership in the building, in what way will those teachers be chosen to stay in accordance with the priorities in the EET plan?
• The CTE program proposal in March stated that roughly 10% of students in a district enroll in CTE and that the entire CTE program was intended to serve between 600-800 students. If feeder schools with CTE programs automatically enroll students in CTE, does the CTE program have the capacity to offer programming at that scale? Conversely, if the anticipated enrollment in CTE is 600-800, how can we ensure that we are offering a full complement of programming in each region while making best use of our funds?
• What makes the Health, IT, Business and Finance and Culinary CTE programs at Oliver different that the CTE programs in the east and west/south cluster for Oliver’s programs to be named career academies?