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.


Anonymous said...

This furlough statement should be accurate and correct in HR and state laws in PA regarding PPS teacher and job loss. School starts for the ALA students on August 23rd it is within the 30 days necessitated for notifying the teachers that fall under the category of furlough-notifying know they could or would be furloughed.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what time constraints exist for notification to administrators of possible furloughs?

Anonymous said...

Read more:

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 far 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 Coordinato
rs 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.

That is alot of money wated.

Anonymous said...

--------------------News Alert: Washington fires 241 teachers for poor performance11:02 AM EDT Friday, July 23, 2010-------------------- D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has fired 241 city teachers for poor classroom performance. The dismissals are the first under a rigorous new evaluation system launched this year.

For more information, visit

Anonymous said...

Welcome to next year PPS.

Anonymous said...

AFT Convention delegates also heard from Bill Gates, who lauded many of the collaborative reforms involving scores of AFT affiliates.

“There is a new understanding that school reform must include teacher partnership. If reforms aren’t shaped by teachers’ knowledge and experience, they’re not going to succeed,” Gates said.

The AFT has been holding its biennial convention, which ends today, since July 7 in Seattle. Coming together under the theme “Building Futures Together,” more than 3,000 delegates have voted on major union policies that address the need to save and strengthen public education, build common cause with communities, and improve the institutions in which our members work.

I guess all of the PFT Board attended?

This was found on the AFT web site.

Anonymous said...


New Teacher Training in PPS “is such a gargantuan change” predicts Mark Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

Who are these new teachers going to be? If the district is laying off teachers, why are they hiring more teachers?

I understand hiring new teachers in hard to fill areas, like HS math and science. But those hires are because they need those teachers now; they aren't going to this academy, they're going off to teach.

So who are these new teachers who aren't needed for a year? Do we know they will be needed then, especially if enrollment keeps dropping? Or will they have to fire enough teachers in the system to open up spaces?

Anonymous said...

Mark Roosevelt has announced in a public venue that he is seeking/recruiting young people from other fields as future teachers in PPS.

He stated that "Pittsburgh will certify its own teachers."

Anonymous said...

None of that answers how we go from laying off teachers to needing enough teachers to have an "academy."

Also, young people don't generally have a "field" -- they have a college degree and that's about it!

Now if he's trying to do a TFA (Teach for America) model, that's another thing altogether. And why would we be replicating something that's already out there, funded, and ready to go? If that's the model, why not just use the model?

Anonymous said...

It the Gates Teacher Academy-it will be the Gates Teacher Academy-his academy-he wants the power.
He models himself like Broad but on a large scale-The Broad version of taking individuals from the private sector.

MLK-if you can teach there-raise those score to AYP in one year- you can make it anywhere-and go to Washington DC-they have openings. 241 teaching positions.

Ladies and gentleman-we need a name for the new teacher Academies??????

Anonymous said...

This is the article from the Pgh Courier=Ms. Nutrtall is an excellent writer for the paper.

More training proposed for new teachers on how to adjust to urban classroom

WEDNESDAY, 21 JULY 2010 10:20
Like other schools in the Pittsburgh Public School District, achievement at Brashear High School in Beechview has declined significantly over the past two years. Although perhaps not as drastic, the same can be said for the King Accelerated Learning Academy K-8 in the North Side.

But a new set of recommendations by superintendent Mark Roosevelt hopes to turn these numbers around and eventually have a rippling effect on the whole district.
On July 19, Roosevelt presented his proposal for the Teacher Academy to the School Board. The proposal is part of the district’s Empowering Effective Teachers Plan funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Grant.
“It’s been a multiple month process to get to these recommendations. A lot of times districts focus on things that create short-term improvement. This takes time to improve the effectiveness of teachers over time,” said Roosevelt. “When you look at the way the world was before this, it will look ridiculous. This is such a gargantuan change.”
The entire EET plan will cost $80 million with $40 million coming from the Gates grant. The creation of the Teacher Academies will cost $6 million.
The proposed sites for the Teacher academies are Brashear and King. The schools will be infused with a cadre of highly effective teachers and will serve as learning environments for new teachers.
As part of the proposal, new teachers hired by the district will undergo a 10-month residency where they will train under some of the most highly effective teachers also known as clinical resident instructors.
The teachers will receive training specific to urban education and work with different races and cultures. Applicants will go through a screening process to determine whether they will thrive in an urban environment.
“We really want to attract top talent so we really have to make it attractive,” said Jerri Lippert, the district’s chief academic officer. “We’re making an investment in (these teachers.)”
In choosing sites for the Teacher Academy, the district wanted to find schools with academic disparities, an adequate school population and a suitable facility where no other reform model was being planned or implemented. They also had to ensure the sites were eligible for the state School Improvement Grant and Race to the Top funding.
“We wanted it to be a high- needs school. We wanted there to be a clear impact on African-Americans. Brashear’s African-American percentage isn’t as high as other schools, but the number of African-Americans is larger than any school,” Roose¬velt said. “Student achievement in these schools cries out for attention. “
According to preliminary data, the percentage of African-American students at Brashear who were at least proficient in reading and math is under 23 percent. At King the percentages rest under 36 percent.
In order to fund the proposal the district has applied for a number of grants including the Teacher Incentive Fund, School Improvement Grant and Fund for Excellence, which they have already received.
“There’s tons of federal funding opportunities,” said Roosevelt. “We’ve done very well with our financial situation.”

GreatFood For Thought-digest


Anonymous said...

Today, Washington DC schools fired 241 teachers. It warned 700 more. These firings were based upon "poor evaluations", much like we have in Pittsburgh right now.
In listening to DC Chancellor Rhee today, it occurred to me how much she sounds like Roosevelt.
No doubt, this type of action is coming to Pittsburgh via the RISE system.

Old Timer said...

I think what is truly disconcerting about Chancellor Rhee is that while she touts a multi-pronged approach to the evaluations--and uses that rationale to justify the firings--the bottom line comes down to test scores, once again, and the idea of effective teaching is tied directly to "progress." Perhaps it is just my take, but it seems that this is a distinct gray area in the process.
DC schools state they observe teachers five times a year. They state that building administrators, subject area administrators and other professionals in the field come into the classroom. Ms.Rhee talks about the idea of professional development and she discusses the idea of merit pay. Still, a great deal of what a teacher has comes down to what he is dealt in terms of class make-up. Knowing what I do now where PPS is concerned, most schools have principals who are savvy enough to give their "most effective" teachers--the ones who reach kids and have that keen balancing act between knowing the subject, knowing the test and knowing how to impart info to the kids---their most difficult classes every year.
I would love to state that we are all on the same page and that administrators and teachers have locked hands to battle for student improvement and yet, what I her throughout the district, what I see through RISE and what I hear administration saying is more in line with a "feet to the fire" approach. Making examples of teachers seems to be just as fair game as rewarding them with merit pay and in both regards, I have to wonder about the entire judgment process.

This was the contract we all just approved...supposedly. I have the feeling that this process will be yielding the same results here in short order.

Anonymous said...

From The Washington Post:

Chancellor Rhee has been all over TV today and a simple google of this story will get you all the detail that you can stomach

Anonymous said...

Seems like this is the point of a New Teacher's Academy -- provide your own constant stream of new teachers (new teachers are cheap teachers) to fill in as you start firing your old teachers.

Then just keep it going, because as your new teachers stay, they get more expensive. Better to find that they're no longer working out and just fire them after a few years, too. Having moved tenure decisions back a year just makes it even easier to get rid of them -- get three or four hard-working years out of them and then cut them loose.

Old Timer said...

We're at a stage in American education where we have misidentified what counts. Instead of truly endeavoring to understand the amount of knowledge a young mind has embraced, we have decided to measure what we believe should be "standards" that often substitute bona fide ability to use what has been learned in favor of deciphering all-too-vague questions.

There simply has to be a better way.

It's amazing to understand exactly where academia placed so much stock in what the test-writing industry deemed essential. In truthfulness, a great deal of what goes into standardized testing, whether it is SAT or PSSA or other--simply fails to measure what should be paramount:

-what has the child learned?
-where do his strengths lie?
-what needs improvement and to what degree?
-how would we use the data to determine possible post secondary school choices? Career choices?

Gee, it sounds like I am describing German schools.

It seems to me that we have a number of cottage industries within the acadmic establishment right now--
test writers
data crunchers
trend researchers
social researchers
and the list goes on

And you know...they are all full of baloney.

Anonymous said...


July 23, 2010 9:57 PM

Thank you-Thank you for you astue analysis and professionalism-you hit a bull's eye.

Again, Thank you-Thank you

Questioner said...

Ms Rhee would probably have a LOT more credibility with teachers if she took a class for a year and raised test scores appreciably. The best managers are those who have themselves successfully performed the task to be done.

Anonymous said...

Very true, Questioner. The same is true in PPS.
However, everything seems to 'hang' on PR as opposed results for ALL students.

Questioner said...

And how can teachers be held responsible if they are given the exact curriculum to follow?

At the very least the district should be able to show that SOME teachers in the district took a representative class with test scores of x%, followed the curriculum to the T and achieved a gain to y%. Otherwise- how do you know the curriculum works?

Anonymous said...

Right on, questioner! Although, it should be more than one teacher.

Anonymous said...

Questioner July 24, 2010 11:22 AM

Excerpts on Rhee’s background

Ms. Rhee’s commitment to excellence in education began in a Baltimore classroom in 1992, as a Teach-for-America teacher. The lesson she learned at Harlem Park Community School informs her mission today: with the right teacher, students in urban classrooms can meet teachers’ high expectations for achievement, and the driving force behind that achievement is the quality of the Educator who works inside it.

Ms. Rhee’s expertise on education is also informed by a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Personal imterprtation:
For now in our educational policy leaders-Harvard University is the issue-Arne Duncan our Secretary of Education, Mark Roosevelt are graduates of Harvard Law school with no background in education –everyday teaching-not on their agenda.

I like a diversified educational and work background of national and local leaders of educational policy other than Harvard graduates making decisions.

Questioner said...

Do we know how much Ms. Rhee raised her students' standardized test scores at Harlem Park and what curriculum she used to achieve any gains?

Old Timer said...

Questioner, I truly appreciate your comments within this thread and you should know that it is heartening that teachers can see that parents empathize with what is going on. Again, I have no doubts whatsoever that what has transpired in Washington will be coming here shortly, and that officials of the Gates Foundation applaud the firings and warnings as being a necessary ingredient for change. Unfortunately, they have misidentified the problem.
For the record, it's my belief that any inadequate or ineffective teacher should be removed from working with children. In contrast to when I entered the district almost three decades ago, you will pardon me for saying that as the district's population has decreased, so has that number of teachers who simply did not teach. To be sure, the idea of site based management changed the equation more than anything else, as principals had to make budget decisions and took good hard looks at what was going on. Simply put, I don't see many poor teachers today.
My problem with what Ms.Rhee has done and what Mr.Roosevelt will no doubt do has many different facets. I do not have great faith in an evaluation system that has too much gray area. I do not think that test scores denote effectiveness. I do not think test scores denote gains in understanding. I do not place stock in tests that use trickery rather than bona fide inquiry. I do not place great faith in administrators who did not spend time in the classroom and the daily rigors of teaching. I do not place great faith in an administration that at its very core seeks to target teachers as the reason for stagnation in the area of student achievement.
There is still a segment of our population that thinks teachers work 9 months for 6 hours a day. They still feel teachers are overpaid greatly. There is still a segment that thinks students are akin to the kids of their youth, and yet, times have changed.
Truth is, if those who cannot do teach, however...those who can do even less administer those who teach.
For the Roosevelts, the Rhees and the Duncans of the world, the ship has come in. Fame and fortune is now possible in an area that heretofore meant little pay and less notoriety, and it's all being done on the backs of teachers.
In 20 years, when this effort has come and gone, will we then embrace a more student-centered approach to what has been learned, what a given student's abilities are and what he needs refinement in? Will we begin to look at the home and the student as being THE determining factor in just how far he gets in academia?

Questioner said...

The Holy Grail is finding an approach so that the home doesn't matter. But so far, even boarding schools have not been able to do that. So maybe it's time to turn to the other alternative- intensive parent education from the time children are born.

Old Timer said...

Questioner, you're going up the right path now but here's your roadblock: in my experience, any kid is teachable but how high he flies is predicated upon what he does to augment classwork. To that end, most of my kids who do not do well are simply apathetic and when home is notified, it's clear that the "parents" are apathetic, too.
I think the most difficult thing to remember is that most kids at comprehensive high schools--and that's no misprint....most...are average students or lower because they come from homes where education is not prioritized.
How you get parents to care is the pot of gold.
Yet, if Bill Cosby couldn't call parents out and wake them up, I'm not sure who can.
Maybe guaranteeing Gates money to homes whose kids achieve.

anon923 said...

Sounds like we need to redirect efforts away from the kids and to the parent/guardian responsible.

What you say old timer is very accurate. You don't have to look very far to see it. As the cheerleading squad, or soccer or football team has a fundraiser look at the parents present to help. The students are usually successful. The parents are usually the ones who know when the PSSAs are scheduled, when work has to begin to participate in Think-A-Thon, when a science competition is scheduled, etc. They know the school calendar and don't send their kid to the bus stop on a day off. They know when interims get mailed out and the phone number of the school or that is the second half of a teacher's email address. These are all pretty low-level peices of information but they are a start.

Anonymous said...

Teacher might be furloughed- management is still searching legitimately for HR Director-yet they will place a Broadie in the spot already at the Board. But just conduct a search party.

Chief of Talent Management
Pittsburgh Public Schools - Pittsburgh, PA
See original job posting at »
Do you enjoy challenging and meaningful work?
Would you like to be at the forefront of change in public education?
Can you lead a human capital organization to higher levels of performance?

Pittsburgh Public Schools (Pittsburgh, PA) seeks a Chief of Talent Management to lead and execute the districts transformational human capital reform efforts. The District is currently engaged in a multi-year strategic initiative to improve the way teachers are recruited, hired, trained, supported, ...
From - 16 days ago - save job - block
» View or apply to job

Anonymous said...

Furloughing Teachers? Advertising for tachers to fill jobs.

Two weeks ago-many new teachers read the famed quote from previous poster entry under this blog entry-sorry no teaching jobs in the beginning of July

Pittsburgh Public Schools jobs in Oakland, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA meeting these criteria (edit or clear):
• this company: Pittsburgh public schools Sort by: relevance - date

Chief Information Officer
Pittsburgh Public Schools - Oakland, PA
student achievement in an urban public school district. We are a hard working ... challenges, objectives and goals of public education; Knowledge of research in ... the technology vision and goals of the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education.2. Creates etc...

3-6 Teacher
Pittsburgh Public Schools - Pittsburgh, PA
Teacher Pittsburgh Public Schools has an opening etc...

3-6 Montessori Teacher
Pittsburgh Public Schools - Pittsburgh, PA
3-6 Montessori teacher to work at public Montessori school. Applicants should etc...
from - 6 days 16 hours ago - tools

anon923 said...

About the Chief Information Officer---I attended an EFA meeting where the previous CIO and another PPS staffer presented to parents and handled some heavy duty questions with aplomb. I hope internal applicants are being considered, particularly if they have classroom credentials in addition to those in the job description.

Old Timer said...

In her MSNBC interview, Chancellor Rhee stated that "we" knew that there would be layoffs and had been advertising nationwide for teachers.
I guess it's kind of troubling that the firings were a known element even before they happened.
Someone recently told me that over 300,000 teachers had been dismissed on a national level this past year.
I am sure Mr.Roosevelt and his staff know this as well, and I am sure they understand the implications of firing a teacher who is making $82K and hiring someone who will make $40K and be under the gun where the new contract is concerned.
Sorry, it's hard to see RISE as anything more than a process in which to separate the wheat from the chaff, with nothing more than an administrator's perceptions to act as the dividing line between the two.

To anon at 12:28, thanks for this pearl of wisdom:
"Would you like to be at the forefront of change in public education?
Can you lead a human capital organization to higher levels of performance?"
Never have such sniveling people thought so highly of their own efforts.

Anonymous said...

Would have more respect for this if the ones in charge practice what they preach. If results are not good they should step aside.

Old Timer said...

And yet anon at 2:39, think how perfect it all is. If scores go up, administrators get merit pay raises. If they go down, the teacher is likely "RISE-d" out of his job.
What a great gig.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the new teachers' contract put the final nail in the teachers' (and PPS') coffin. Rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Another article on New Teacher Trainigng -did they hire the teachers recently or under 3 yesrd of teavhing experience-clarify-Hello board of ED??


Mr. Martin, who after five years as a counselor for adjudicated youth decided to try a career in teaching, is one of the 80 new and novice teachers undergoing a three-week orientation to prepare them for life in the city schools.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Come One . . . . Come All. . . .

The start of New Teachers Academy!

The first segment of the New Teachers Academy-I would call it Orientation-read the last sentence-was this teacher of just hire out of college for History?
Let’s not state a misquote-.

Teachers get a lesson on life in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Students and parents on Tuesday helped about 80 Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers better understand what students need, as part of the district's inaugural ...

Anonymous said...

The PG carries a similiar article today (Wed). Is part of the orientation lulling the new teachers into a false sense of security by introducing them to CAS students and active and involved parents and community members?