Monday, March 29, 2010

East end planning

On another post, the following Tribune article was pasted:

Since the newspapers prefer to have links rather than articles posted (due to copyright issues), we will remove the article from the other post and rely on this link.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

South area regional meeting

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


During the new business portion of the regular monthly legislative meeting of the Board Mrs. Hazuda noted she and Mrs. Fink will be featured at

South Region Public Input Meeting

Brookline Area Community Council will host as part of their monthly meeting at:

St Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church
933 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh PA 15226
March 29, 2010
7:00 PM "

Lack of Promise readiness

A document being circulated shows Promise readiness levels.

At Oliver only 22% of 9th grade students have the 2.5 GPA and 90% attendance levels necessary for the Pgh Promise, but this school is planned to be the site of an "early college" program.

At Carrick 26% of 9th graders meet the requirements, about the same as at Peabody (24%). Westinghouse is at the bottom with 13% but many Peabody students will be folded into Westinghouse (albeit a "new" Westinghouse). Even at Allderdice only 53% meet the requirements. Brashear is at 49%, Perry is at 37% and Langley is at 34%.

These students have been reminded about the Promise repeatedly since 7th grade. It would be interesting to see if the percentage of 9th grade students with a 2.5 or higher GPA and 90% attendance has changed since the Promise was put into place (keeping in mind that the new 50% rule is making it easier to reach a 2.5 GPA).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vann and Rooney to close

From the Tribune Review:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What are they doing right?

Propel McKeesport Charter won an award based on student achievement:

This school really does seem to show "significant gains" and "dramatic" results: 100% of 5th and 6th graders proficient or advanced in math ("more than 85 percent of its 385 students in grades K-8 are eligible for federal free or reduced lunches, 73 percent are minorities and 13 percent are in special education").

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One year planning period

We are told that at last night's Public Hearing there was unified, articulate, often impassioned testimony from about 15 people for the purpose of WAITING ONE YEAR before closing ROONEY and moving forward with reorganization of North Side Schools. There were also a few requests for rethinking Hill District decisions particularly the closing of VANN.

Two common themes in the testimony before the Board and Administration dealt with the following:

1) Improving education and creating quality schools in PPS as the way to stop flight from Pittsburgh Public Schools to other regions, charters, parochial, and private schools;

2) Soliciting input and listening to parent and community perspectives/solutions PRIOR to making decisions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Compare Parkway West career center

From the PG:

"Parkway West provides vocational training for 12 school districts in the western, southern and northern suburbs" and "teaches everything from hairdressing to computer graphics to auto mechanics. It is a $5.7 million item..."

Read more:

It would be interesting to compare offerings, logistics, and the price per student for Parkway West to the proposed $38M plan for PPS.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Effective teacher plan

PG article about the effective teacher plan; the superintendent states that Pittsburgh's plan "is designed to change the profession of teaching."

Monday, March 8, 2010

What's up at Allderdice?

From a "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

"Seeking Allderdice updates: We got a robocall last week about a suspicious package being found, sitaution handled by police, no danger to students; Allderdice's new principal is out on maternity leave; my 9th grade son says he got a contact high in a first floor bathroom.

What's up at Allderdice these days?"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Building a better teacher"

From today's NYT magazine:

This is a fascinating article that describes several researchers' work in breaking down the specific steps that make a teacher more or less successful. One of the researchers has compiled his findings in a 357 page document know as "Lemov's Taxonomy" which is to be released next month under the title "Teach like a champion: The 49 techniques that put students on the path to college." The work has also already been circulated unofficially.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Report on special ed placement

From the PG:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Later start times/ higher SAT scores

From an editorial in the PG:

"When Edina, Minn., changed its high school start from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., math/verbal SAT scores rose substantially."

Read more:

- It's probably worth a try! But not district wide- start with a school or two. So often relatively untested programs and ideas are put into place on a large scale even though many mistakes can be avoided by learning from a small pilot program.

Title IX audit

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

"For several months, I periodically asked the Parent Hotline if the Title IX audit of girls sports had been received.

I learned today that the district finally received the report on February 2, 2010, fourteen months after the report was ordered and twice as many months as the report originally was to take to prepare.

And- it is not available to read. To do that, it is necessary to submit a Right to Know Request. Typically it takes at least 30 days for documents requested under RTKL to be produced. Is there any reason why the district should not promptly post audit reports for public review?"

Leading scholar does a U turn

From the NYT:

Now believes that "testing [has] become not just a way to measure student learning, but an end in itself."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One year planning period

Reportedly, 50+ people were at a PPS meeting on the North Side last evening to discuss proposed school closings. Many of the attendees called for a one year public planning period before additional schools are closed. A planning period and complete information would also be a good idea before the district commits to major capital and programmatic expenditures.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plan for career and technical education

From the PG:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Evaluating charter schools

Blog post looking more closely at performance statistics from Harlem Village Academy. The issues raised are relevant to charter performance, magnet performance, basically any situation where schools do not have to keep students who fall short or attendance, behavior or homework standards.