Friday, July 23, 2010

Stimulus funding and Summer Dreamers

On another post Anonymous wrote:

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 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.


Questioner said...

The instructions w/ the stimulus funds were specifically that it should not be used for recurring expenses- it was meant for one time projects- but the government didn't enforce that. The superintendent said that if the camps worked well he felt funds would be found to continue them.

Anonymous said...

From what I read from both previous posters-this is another waste of money.

The curriculum is very structured and managed from the teachers at the Brashear site. My daugthers feel it is worse than regular school. They are like robots. The parents-like I have the same sentiment-my daughters are bored and the Site Director at the Brashear site is not even an employee of the PPS Distinct.

Where are the so-called PELA Grads –why are they not being paid-they should work this job of boot camp. And they are furloughing one of my daughters teachers at her Middle school-the teacher was just hired in that subject area last Fall.

I had no idea the Camp salaries were at this high end-they have a large and I mean a large staff at the Brashear Site. This Camp Program has a large budget that is wasted for this year-it is already the end of 10 days and they have some of the worst people associated with the Program.

This week my daughters stated every day less and less students are attending. Still the same staff members are there- when I drop off my kids.

They had no games last week for daily activities, no cameras for a Project. No highlighters, markers, or crayons. And my girls stated no fights to report-but boring teacher-led class lessons.

They had to place in order an inaccuarte version of the Three little Pigs on her first day-to make it the correct version.

I know they need to have curriculum to be a so-called justifiable boot camp- as my girls state-but it is boring.
No Promise Paycheck PaydayRewards last week.

And the man running around called Eddie or Ed is definitely a real trip-we are of mixed race so he did listen to me-but he is not the idea of a leader for this Program. Site Director considers him the boss-the woman from King should have talked to him.

Glad my daughters are not at Camp King.He is a real sad answer to this program-I expected a lot more answers from him and many parents received were excuses when asked questions for the teachers looking for answers some teachers are from the PPS Schools.

They are held hostage to this mess. But, $6000 is a great hush money for teaching 5 weeks. I hate to hear the salary of this Eddie. And who is this Cate Reed? Another new manger or staff at PPS? They do have revolving doors under Roosevelt.

Plus, We had a parent night maybe there were 15 parents there and many staff and some the poeple in charge of the activities for the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Btw Cate Reed is a young Broadie making about 95,000 a year, and will most likely get a promotion after this failure.

Anonymous said...

Eddie and Cate are just two of the MANY, bright, new, young BROAD people hired by Mark Roosevelt ____none of whom have educational backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

I am the poster from Camp Brashear

What is a Broadie?

Please do not give the joke it is Matt Damon’s Brody in Oceans 13.

The adults in our household are huge fans of that series of movies-and please do not degrade me for my selection of movie tastes.

I am a little confused-I know what a PELA is from the school.

Anonymous said...

A Broadie is an individual that goes through the same training as Roosevelt. Non-educational background from the private sector. They usually lack diversity-and come from well-bred backgrounds.

Depending on your generation-preppie-yuppie or whatever.
My kids are at Camp Peabody-another camp with issues-the term boring is a very polite word for what my kids call it-yucky-they are gifted and found the morning time so mundane and yucky.

This Eddie Wilson is a jerk to our parent PTA group because he created the Dreamers chant. At a televised meeting -where many parents watched regarding the potential school reconfiguration for Peabody the guy got on TV via Agenda Review Meeting from a Board member asking him to do the chant. Well this Eddie person done the chant-he belongs in some other time of agenda-like 1910. It should have been a clue to me-another Broadie.

Like back where you came from-very outdated and lacks the urban experience-this site has good activities in the afternoon-but not worth the money when we are closing schools and cutting staff. Without the good afternoon activities as they advertise, as free-taxes are still being spent-nothing is free.

Our PTA wanted answers not chants for our future educational system.

Roosevelt could have used the money to really work on a better transition for middle school-aged students.

The good or bright kids are quitting camp-if their parents have other alternatives for them.
And we all know that this will get rave reviews. They will conjure this up-the Broadies.


Mark Rauterkus said...

I am not going to slam the Summer Dreams camp. But, it is nice to see some discussion unfold about it.

I am helping with Summer Dreamers at Peabody.

It is a big effort. I'll de-brief, perhaps, in due time. We're 2/5th finished now.

The chant is what it is. Mostly, it is 'different' and the charge was to deliver 'different.' I've not heard the whole camp do it -- but -- I've been a part of other camps that have dozens of cheers / chants. Yep, it is 1920 -- and at times 1920 is a good place to be. It is also 1960s and 2010s too.

This video ends in a chant.
Stay cool this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Mark Rauterkus you work for our PPS school district? Now working in the Summer Dreamers Academy??

Sure, you are going to give rave reviews.

It is only human.

You must keep your job.

Are you doing this as charitable time-I hope they are paying you.

Now, I can understand your positivism and your understanding of Roosevelt’s vision in varied blog situational discussions located here at this blog site.-

let's say you have to or must do it or you can lose your future PPS job opportunities.

Please do not take this as slam against you-I would never give even rosy opinions about this Broadie group at the Board or be their PATSY-as the old timers said in 1910.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick reminder that some things are beyond the control of a school district. I attended an EFA meeting where the superintendent was bouncing off his toes with excitement over the possibilities of a camp concept. This was very early in the process. Parents were skeptical but he asked for our ideas. When ARRA funds got redirected the plans had to be reworked and what we have now in Summer Dreamers is what was left. The emphasis had to be on literacy. Pity the poor kid who excels in english and does poorly in math. I have heard some kids who occaisionally are called troublemakers have stopped coming and have made sites more peaceful, but aren't those the kids who most needed to be there dreaming? Perhaps the emphasis should have been more on developing personal responsibility and organizational skills and team building? Mrs. Hazuda was right about one thing when she said ARRA has created jobs. With some supplies not available at the start of camp and the enrollment vs. attendance numbers not known yet we have a lot to learn. Won't it be interesting to see the staff-to-student ratio and compare it to a regular school class size? Yet, a large part of the responsibility belongs outside the school districts for any failure of summer programs.

Honestly though, no matter how you feel about the current administration, Mark Roosevelt would have much rather had kids doing even more interesting afternoon acivities like rock climbing, fly fishing, designing playgrounds, etc. I believe the goal was to make kids like what they were offered and doing then slip the lessons in without kids noticing.

Anonymous said...

About Broad, what does it say that so many fellows are grads in public policy?

Anonymous said...

Yet, a large part of the responsibility belongs outside the school districts for any failure of summer programs.

The administration picked the literacy programs. There ARE interesting literacy programs and activities and teachers know how to make them, if they are allowed.

It's amazing to me that the administration can get this sort of free pass from anyone! Teachers are held accountable for everything, even scripted literacy programs they wouldn't choose themselves, but the poor administration had its hand forced.

The administration was also responsible for portraying this to parents as anything different than it was. It's summer school, plain and simple, aimed at low performing kids. And there's nothing wrong with that or with adding in more exciting camp-like activities in the afternoon.

However, they tried to have it both ways and if parents weren't careful readers, they didn't get that mornings were to be devoted to scripted literacy.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous ...July 24, 2010 9:23 AM

Just a quick reminder that some things are beyond the control of a school district.

That just shows poor leadership from PPS management.

Moreover, all this district wants to do is grab money-read Roosevelt’s finally quote in Nuttrall’s article in Pittsburgh Courier-t gives a quick summation of his regime and depicts his agenda eloquently.

He probably listens and rewinds to the famed scene daily of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise scene “SHOW ME THE MONEY”-that is probably his alarm clock signal-get up.

Oh this ARRA program created jobs for the unemployed or underemployed-heck no- it created PADDED jobs-Excuse me $8500 for Site Director. $6000 for each teacher and $2500 for Camp Coordinators.

Our kids‘ afternoon activities site –gave us the lowdown this past week. That is a whole lot of money going into people’s hands that most likely do not live in the City of Pittsburgh.

The racial imbalance of Broadie employees is astounding.

Many relatives and friends of a certain Board member are working in thus program-that the Board member had to abstain on the whole Addendum.

That made me wonder-and clarifies it at this past Board meeting with Ira Weiss for the record.

Plus, reading Mr. Rauterkus previous post, the gentleman done his part free.

That is a great parent volunteer to help.

When ARRA funds were redirected, the plans had to be reworked and what we have now in Summer Dreamers is what was left. The emphasis had to be on literacy. Pity the poor kid who excels in English and does poorly in math. I have heard some kids who occasionally are called troublemakers have stopped coming and have made sites more peaceful, but aren't those the kids who most needed to be there dreaming?

Dreamers are the Board members and the Broadies-not our kids. It reworked into a morning 3 hours of teacher-based boring literacy activities. With Cate and Eddie running this pony show at high salaries

Literacy is a valuable component-but, which Broadie created this literacy curriculum?

It is so mundane-and structured-my kids and teachers are bored. The morning camp is so structured- thank heavens they have AC-they would be dying in the heat of boredom.

They should have created a more flexible and creative genre of literacy actities that are more applicable for the skills necessitated for our kids to survive with the 21st century skills.
Than the teacher gets blamed is their kids are bored in classand the poor kids that are bored get lamed for being troublemakers.

Another roosevelt move to blame teachers through his Broadies.

Yes, I feel sorry for the kids that had to be kicked out and you are 100% right –it should have been based on responsibility skills, etc.

There are great math literacy books to read ad novels.

Wait I better not give the Broadies ideas-so they can collect paychecks for one more year usinf Obama's stimulus money.

WE call the Eddie person the Cruiser-this chant about Dreamers is a joke-the kids know they have A and B groups. A is the average or above and poor B group-they are labeled as below.

Yes, that is what is very sad. The labeling.

Whatever happened to DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION-it is a camp-but it is a 3 and half hour morning of instruction. Moreover, yes, the A Group kids are bored-B kids are the ones that lost the dream because of behaviors and I will add BOREDOM?

I blame the people in charge of this money-wasted program.

Anonymous said...

I think Cate Reed is a PPS grad and she should have a better grasp of the student needs than others. If she is the Magnet go-to person could she be spread too thin? Plenty of these young people are going to have impressive resumes after designing and working this camp. Really the purpose of the stimulus money should have been about building confidence and improving attitude. Can't wait to see surveys.

Questioner said...

Maybe the kids will like a camp chant more if rather than having it handed to them, they create it themselves (set ground rules first, ie, no profanity, inspirational, etc). Or each site could suggest one and there could be a competition for which one the use.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 24, 0 9:23AM

You sound like you work at the Board.
We are going to blame Obama for the requirement of literacy-
Literacy is about more than reading and writing—it is about How we communicate in society. It is about social practices, about knowledge, language, and culture. Those who use literacy take it for granted—but those who cannot use it are excluded from much communication in today’s world.(UNESCO as cited in Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004)
The above quote s NOT a summation of this disastrous program-how dare they call a kid a troublemaker-those teachers should be fired for labeling a kid-hey they usually target the wrong teachers and pass on their teacher friends to keep their summer jobs.
That could and should have been created and crafted within the curriculum-behavior.
They work this program as it goes along daily with a so-called certifiable curriculum The poor troublemakers (kids) need a chance-this is a camp-not the MARINES. Help the kids get a change that otherwise would be on the streets. With Site Dir $8500 and teachers $6000-they better be doing more than literacy curriculum.
From parents at Brashear and King Sites posting here the heads of those sites and the Broadies should have been gone on Day One. Some Camp Cord. are so rude and lie about the teachers and site directors-and get away with it at Brashear. Hazuda , created expensive high priced Broadie jobs and overpaid PPS employee jobs at the campsites. A great listener –but a Roosevelt doer. Therefore, it goes in one ear and out the other. She always knows how to start out with the negative comment and turn it into a positive analogy for his agenda.
With some supplies not available at the start of camp and the enrollment vs. attendance numbers not known yet we have a lot to learn Etc. .
If I was PPS superintendent Do not dare tell me we have a lot to learn on my watch as the head-running this program as it goes by minute by minute. You would not be employed. I can see the teachers having to improvise minute by minute under the circumstances and having the CCS to control as well as the kids. You would be gone and I would have another person taking your place in ADM.
Again, we are in grave economic times is rapid throughout US school districts.
Please spare me-let us look at the teacher salary ratio and the student ratio and look at the money trail. Per seat. Especially this Dreamers program-they had better start cutting staff this week on Monday!
My word-that is enough to fire any PPS Adm. Roosevelt used that student money ratio as his core fiscal policy closing his schools under his first reorganization plan.
Are you going to blame Obama for writing the stimulus check for PPS -you better not even start there!
Moreover, the outside or afternoon activities are NOT to blame-they are the reason that the kids are going to camp.
I like many of Roosevelt’s ideas in the beginning-he brought our K-5 elementary right on the map of learning-where they were supposed to be and beyond. But, he is getting behind the times-things are moving too fast-our academic standards have changed in PA and nationally.
Rock-climbing everyday -visions of grandor
Roosevelt feels to slip the lessons in-some of the Brashear teachers use targeted if they are not on the same page of lesson. Other teachers feel the raft if they are observed bot covering the daily lesson at Brashear and some are questioned why?
My kids’ teacher felt no qualms in stating hey they will let us go if we miss a beat of this literacy curriculum. Roosevelt, Slip it in?
This is urban , this Cate and Eddie do not go out and dirty their fingernails this is not a camp outside in the wilderness.
Awesome-but again it is our superintendent’s visions t are not in sync-this is his typical PR dancing toes that make him make us lust for his visions in education for our children Let us quit lusting and just do it.

Anonymous said...

Questioner said...July 24, 2010 12:29 PM
Great ideas-but this is about about chants-maybe it was originally on the plate of their stuff. However, they cannot implement as they daily try to do. They keep the best for last so they look good-they were scared the number of kids the first week-now they can do this or that because the numbers are controllable for incompetent ADM leaders as site leaders? What about the kids?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... July 24, 2010 12:24 PM
I do not care if Cate Reed is a PPS Grad -she makes close to a 100 grand. In addition, do not tell me about she has too much to do. She hands off the work to her assistanst and they make more than 50 grand each.
Most of the time, she has trouble even implementing the magnet lottery rules correctly and not even being available to address parents concerns with the magnet process-when they request to speak with her.
Her job can easily be eliminated by having a secretary type in the magnet school application and have software program do the work-I hate to say that. This department needs to be streamlined-because of the handling of parent concerns.
Dreamers is no way under the agenda of a magnet-it is a free summer program.
Where is Chancellor Rhee?
Please the SURVEYS WILL given to a select few-the best and the right parents to fill out.
Half the parents do not care because their children are being feed and taken care of from 8-3 for 5 weeks.
The teachers want the money next year and will rave about it-another $600 grand for next summer.
Camp Eddie Director will rave to keep his job.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous 9:23 and will take the time to clarify (just this one time) for those who want to argue. Debate is a grand thing and we need more.

Please anon 7/24 2:25 know that I NEVER indicated that the "some" I used to describe those who call and label a kid a troublemaker were EVER teachers. They WERE classmates!!!! And you know what? Those same disruptive students who prevent a kid from learning during the regular school year have the potential to do the same during the camp. This is why the time should have been spent on developing character and control during the camp. Teaching kids the habits that will make them successful all year long.

When I say "we" have a lot to learn from the management and experience of this year's camp I mean the PUBLIC.

Make no mistake about it, the state raided the ARRA funds and at least part of the blame for the way the camps operate belongs with the PDE and our legislators.

Based on the vitriol over the topic it will be a long three weeks and it should be. The only way it can be better is if everyone tells the truth about the program. If I had to make one suggestion to camp design and management it would be STOP giving homework!! Even once was too much.

anon923 said...

One more thing, about the salaries of camp personnel, with a lot of government money, it is either "use it or lose it" and at least once in my memory during the Thompson administration, PPS did not spend all we were alloted and we had to return $$$ to D.C. I am not a board employee or a Broadie, just a parent of a former student who thinks public ed still has a chance. I don't like how the ARRA money is being spent but we live within the rules and endure the pain sometimes. I am so sorry that kids are not getting as much out of camp as they should be.

Questioner said...

?Homework?! That doesn't sound like summer camp at all. Is it optional? What if kids don't do it?

anon923 said...

The homework came from the morning side of the day and happened at least one time, although I have not spoken to the kid within the past few days. The kid loves her afternoon activity and seems to be putting up with the early part of the day just to get to it.

Anonymous said...

This article was found in the Trib-it talks about the Summer Dreamers Program. For Public consumption.
My children were to have Promise Paychecks called Promise Payday the first week-it was on the calendar for all five weeks-when I called about it not a person was staffing the school phones-the janitor answered and said his grandson was upset because he was to have his Payday-he said in such a neat way. He felt bad about it-so he was going to take him for a little special activity.A site staffer stated that the First week was not happening- the district did not have money allotted for prizes for weekly Friday Promise Payday.

I wish my children were able to attend the Obama Summer Camp. at

Her is the artivle in the Pgh Trib

Pittsburgh schools offer cash, prizes as motivation
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Smedley, 13, and other Pittsburgh Public Schools middle schoolers attending the summer camp, which combines learning and fun activities, earn the dollars ...

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?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 9:23 from anon 7/24 2:25-I am sorry-it is true my kids and other parents come home with the stories-

To be honest I feel for the kids labeled- as troublemakers-maybe that is the paternal instinct in me. This camp should include the component on character building--responsibility, trustworthniess, reliability, respect etc and much more civic traits. This should have been instituted as part of the curriculum-it builds civic responsibility. Character building is an essential component.

My children go to a magnet-so this is a real revelation in the North Side campsite. My own children feel sorry for the kids that are acting up because they lack the chances or opportunities that they have or others have in regular school during the year or at home as OLD Timer discusses in his numerous posts. This is not about kids that need special education assistance. My kids state they have special education teachers in the building.

In addition, the CC’s-Camp Coordinators and other staff talk down to troublemakers and not with them to be better deal with troublemakers. My kids have watched it in class and in the lunchroom and when go on buses to their afternoon activities.
Teaching kids the habits that will make them successful all year long is exactly what we as parents need in the camp environment, as well as school environment. What is thr true definition of being Promise Ready? Character Building is for all the students to be ready for survival skills in society.
Yes, the ARRA funds-use them or lose them? PPS, PDE, and our legislators- great partners of spending big bucks. Our present superintendent just love the $$$ clicking-cha-ching. My concerns are during the regular school year where classes might be larger and limited with a teacher having 30 students and no assistance because of the financial constraints.

I believe everyone is telling the truth from the students, parents and others. There are no fairy tales here or Once upon a time-I know it is about literacy-pun on words-but people are being honest in all aspects of the public domain regarding this Dreamers or Summer Program. This is like Summer School exactly as one previous poster stated.

My children do not have homework-it is called-Don’t Forget List-it is like our family’s grocery list when we go to the Eagle to shop. We went to the Carnegie Library to take out their novels to read-they are required to read so many chapeters in two novels in 5 weeks. Sometimes the teacher does not even cover the work in class-but we are all doing it at home.
Public education still has a chance-but our children have gone through so much change the past five years with the constant change within public education sector locally and nationally-and more with the current PPS ADM educational policies. This is not annual program where they can spend all $10 million in one year-so are they being fiscal? Our government needs to just give out money annually.

Congratulations to Dr. Thompson he gave the unspent money back. I did not know him-we moved in October 2005 to Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

I hope people know abou this genderspecifc game pln.a

Questioner said...@ July 25, 2010 11:49 AM from Trib 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. It teaches them how to study, do homework, and incorporate health and wellness activities after school.
Questioner said.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?

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.

Questioner said...

Here is a link to an article in Time Magazine about summer programs around the country. All the programs discussed are described as very successful:,8599,2005654,00.html

- The article notes that summer programs are a Gates initiative.

anon said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of creativity at work as described in the Time article. Our teaching staff had the potential to unleash their creativity and give us something great. Perhaps the camp creators did not have enough experience to deliver. The afternoon activities have grabbed the kids, it seems. The government dictated the need for a literacy focus and put the stimulus money up to support the effort. I hope parents post a week 3 play-by-play here.

This is not the improvement I expected under the Obama administration and I do not think history will look at Duncan favorably.

Anonymous said...

Our neighbor went to Obama and quit after 3 days. He said the teachers yelled, the kids were wild, and the afternoons were boring, he was disappointed. He made a deal with his parents and is doing structured homework at home and chores. The school has called a few times and asked him to come back, but he said chores were more fun.

Questioner said...

So still a ways to go before it's a premier summer camp. Hopefully the neighbor will let the camp know what needs to be done to improve.

Anonymous said...

Why would PPS ask anybody anything? They don't even do exit interviews with employees.

The current admin does not care about the kids.

Anonymous said...

Anon @July 26, 2010 4:41 PM

Excellent comment!

And must be instituted

I believe it is necessitated=Mr. Mark Brentley has asked at least the past two Board meeting-it is on the record- ABOUT EXIT INTERVIEWS REGARDING-people that have retired or resigned as an employees from the PPS.

We have had a considerable amount of people resigning this past month’s Board minutes. With exit interviews-the district can make their employee relations and employee practices better.

We know why it is not happening because of fear and fear is the main ingredient that is instilled as PPS Policy for treatment of their employees as discussed by a select few on the Blog.

We parents see and feel it–you can use the phrase you can cut it with a knife it is so thick.
Moreover, one talk about transparency-PPS is like a London Fog-thick, thick.

Anonymous said...

Is mark raukerhaus still posting? He was employed by a contractor via PPS for summer school.

Rumor has it Peabody summer dreamers are snoozing, and a lot of kids have left, and the contractual employees are not needed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I just had a chance to write this in the Blog-it is late-but I found a moment out of my hectic schedule with family and a serious plumbing issue.

This Summers Dreamers Academy site-The Dork and Dorkers Camp Directors running this program-are forever making it more laughable.

Now my children and the neighborhood kids think it is at the worst POINT at the notorious Camp King=instead better it keeps every day getting worse with a new different messed up classroom or special classroom experience.

It is a big joke-now it is the classroom Teachers. At first-you want to feel sorry for them-but not at this site.

For $6000 or less- they can be doing a heck of a better job with this as my kids call it “SUMMER SCHOOL classroom work”.

In fact, this is worse than REAL PPS Summer School for this age group.

Many kids says the individual teaching is a joke of this structured curriculum in their individual classrooms.

One teacher for The Dreamers Arts Program is the only good one kid’s state- she is an experienced teacher.

You do not have to be an experienced teacher-to be a good teacher. They got their buddies to work this and stay in this Program.

The rest of the teachers and Camp Coordinators are dumb and dumber as the neighborhood kids state-where did they get them.

At first, I said come on kids you are a little too much-but as the Camp kept continuing-it is becoming reality TV.Their stories are very real.

Where are the PPS Principals and Vice Principals-why are they not running this Program.

Many kids say many teachers do not even know a thing about teaching reading as a subject matter-are they going to rate the Camp King teachers ?

They should here at this site-many kids are used to magnet teachers or teachers that can relate to the kids.

They say the Head Dork is a Magnet teacher-I am glad my kid is not at HIS Magnet school-he must be a friend of so and so-to keep his job.

The other neighborhood kids dislike all the Science Staff at this site because of all the dishevelment in the Science classroom-they have boring chaos-Games in classroom-teachers cannot control the kids.

The kids have been comparing their teachers.

The teachers at this site need to be targeted the way many educators and parents are talking about it in this blog.

Why are they exempt-A site director that is a Principal
would be more legitimate.

OLD TIMER we need you to check this mess out.

Are the teachers at CAMP KING PROMISE READY???

July 28, 2010 12:58 AM

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The latest is PROMISE PAYDAY-for $250 worth of Promise Money–a kid can buy a Pitt-Penn State or another university tee shirt/sweatshirt-THE PARENTS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD told the kids to save up the money to buy it. For less-you cannot imagine the prizes.

What reward is this?

I think every student at Camp King should receive real money of $100 a week as Promise Paycheck for his or her participation at this Campsite-Camp King is a chaotic mess.

The money should come out of the Camp King teachers and Site Dorks pockets.

Thank heavens for the afternoon activities

Anonymous said...

Can Mr. Raukerhaus be a Camp Coordinator at CAMP King if they are cutting camp activities at Peabody?

This is not an ignorant comment-but he would be an asset to CAMP King as a Camp Coordinator in the classroom-at least he could control the kids in his own way -why he is a parent-the Camp Coordinators at King our just out of High School or PPS Paraprofessionals-some of the worst in the District.

Not all CC are bad-but enough and the teaching staff is so ill prepared whatever happened to the term Processional Development.

If they are cutting Camp King afternoon activities-kiss this goodbye. They should rid the teachers first due to enrollment-start today.

Wait a minute no kids should quit-let the dorks and the teachers earn their paychecks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said @July 28, 2010 12:57AM

Rumor has it Peabody summer dreamers are snoozing, and a lot of kids have left, and the contractual employees are not needed.

If the kids are snoozing-are the teachers, site directors and etc. snoozing and still getting paid?

When are they going to start cutting back if less kids are attending and save teachers and kids from snoozing???

Anonymous said...

I have run into parents at the grocery store and Busy Beaver recently who have kids at Camp South Brook. They admit that the mornings are hard to get through but the afternoon activities make it worth staying in the camp. The kids are female, might that make a difference?

Anonymous said...

Anon at July 28, 2010 6:53 AM

Stated about Camp South Brook: They admit that the mornings are hard to get through but the afternoon activities make it worth staying in the camp at South Brook. The kids are female, might that make a difference?

Spare me the gender game here-Camp South Brook-has to be the epitome of all the camps-They were supposed to have lowest enrollment at the get go.

I tried to get my kids enrolled there, but we had to go to Camp Brashear because-we missed that camp site by living one street too far away for the camp zips.Thus, my kids could not go to Camp South Brook.

Camp South Brook has all the so
called-great kids from the premier Sought Hills communities. No matter if they are female or male-it is a heck better than Camp Brashear-even though my kids tell me they are a about 40% less coming since opening day of Camp Brashear. They see it at lunchtime almost half as crowded at Brashear.

Is this site keeping their low registered enrollment –they were under 200 to start camp with-and many Camp Brashear parents were angling for this site.

Sure all the female and male teachers wanted this site it has to be a heavenly camp-that site Director probably has it so easy- the Site Director thought I died and went to heaven with all the moola for the summer and an easy job.

They even have a former VP of high school teaching at Camp South Brook for the summer. It is great to have that extra experience. Listen-I can still remember my days in school-and we girls can be very though-and when females fight-the fights were definitely memorable.

Let’s not just bring gender here-it is about the communities feeding into this camp site, that makes this site.

Questioner said...

Posters, please refrain from calling names as it undermines the seriousness of our discussion here.

anon653 said...

OK, anonymous 7:50, your experience at a camp and the facts you bring here have more value than me running into folks as I run errands. I apologize. I should have guessed too that as strict as the camp designers were being about kids going to the site for their feeder schools there would be disappointed campers. I was surprised that there were not folks trying to get into the CAPA program and who wouldn't want to kayak? This all needs fixed for next year.

In all this racing for top federal dollars and designing stimulating camps is anyone remembering there are kids involved here?

Questioner said...

Sadly, the kids just seem to be a commodity churned out like any other widget. How else do we explain treatment of students "left over" when their program moves or terminates? Or the negligible amount of time spent by administrators with actual students?

Anonymous said...

One other thought about the exit interview process. I would suggest a small committee or agency or parent panel that is not related to the district do the interviews???

Questioner said...

We know that won't fly- all information is tightly controlled.

bystander said...

We have passed the halfway point in camping. I do not have a child in the program or of an age to participate even next year. As a concerned citizen I would like to see stimulus dollars used responsibly. It would be nice to know there is a debriefing being planned and modifications to be considered for other camps.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think it's funny that you "parents" believe the absurd stories that your children tell you. I work at one of the sites, I am not a teacher in the PPS district either...a lot mentioned on this blog is not true. Second, I can admit that things are not perfect at Summer Dreamers, there are occasional "glitches," however, these things happen every time a new program occurs for the first time. Next year, there will be less problems and it will be less chaotic, because they will have learned from past mistakes. Finally, in regards to complaints about teachers and camp coordinators who treat the kids terribly....maybe it would not be such a problem if you parents actually taught your kids manners, and how to behave. These kids are truly ungrateful for the opportunites given to them, teach them some class!

Anonymous said...

You sound just like the person in charge of the Summer Dreams Program! Remember, the "parents" are your customers, and should be treated as such. This attitude will not get you very far in the public realm.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. Anon 5:07 -- you really need to get your story together! Are there only a few glitches or are most of the kids classless and ungrateful?

Questioner said...

Anon 5:07, everyone seems to agree that things are OK at some of the sites. Isn't it possible that the problems are at a site different from where you are working? Just as some PPS have more problems then others, some camp sites may have more problems than others.

Also if you believe something is not true- please provide as much evidence as possible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:07

I do trust my kids, and thank goodness someone believes them. They are not evil commodities placed in a corporation to screw up a master plan. They are human beings, and 100 percent the reason behind this blog.

The kid (neighbor) I know that was very disappointed went to the camp for all the right reasons, his grades dipped in 6th grade and he and his parents thought this would be a great opportunity. He found camp to be chaotic, loud, verbally abusive and intolerable. Why would he lie? He wanted to go, he was excited to go.

My kids have great manners get outstanding in citizenship marks, yet a teacher has screamed shut the h@ll up at an entire classroom, and has heard teachers tell other kids, (grade 3-5) they are full of sh@t.

I am at a loss for words by your comments, and I think they are terribly insulting.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify. Both "teachers" that cursed were aides, not teachers. I am not implying that is ok, I didn't want to mislead anyone.

Anonymous said...

People are saying that they know kids at Dreamers who don't live in Pittsburgh but who used addresses of relatives to sign up for free camp. They'll be back at their schools outside Pittsburgh in the Fall.

Anonymous said...


“Maybe it would not be such a problem if you parents actually taught your kids manners, and how to behave. These kids are truly ungrateful for the opportunities given to them, teach them some class!”

As a parent, taxpayer, stakeholder and conerned US citizen-I will state:

Anon you need monitoring and adjusting your attitude and professionalism with regard to
working with students.

You sound like and you are an ungrateful paid employee of this year’s Summer Dreamers Program.
Students learn from home, educational staff and the from their varied learning environments.

Maybe you need some Adolescent Psychology classes or become a parent. To learn how to devlop the appropriate skills.

However, you need to quit making yourself a classless example for others to clearly identify as this year’s Dreamers summer employees.
You just illustrated how bad the Dreamers Program is being ran with people like yourself employed taking taxpayer monies.

I bet if Roosevelt knew your name-he would fire you on the spot July 30th for your condmeation of parents and their children using the word classless liberally in your comments.

Anonymous said...

Trust me Roosevelt would never dirty his hands. He does not care.

Mark Rauterkus said...


I was mentioned above for some unknown reason. ?? Folks, I post with my name here. I'm engaged with ideas and more -- but I'm not at ML King's SD Camp. Do try to NOT drag me into things elsewhere. I jump into plenty on my own without much hesitation. Do feel free to ping/email me at

In another matter it was asked: "Who wouldn't want to kayak?" -- ANSWER: Those that sink. If you can't swim, you might have a healthy avoidance of getting into a kayak.

BTW, I'm having fun at in the afternoons at PPS camp (Peabody). But I'm only with a few kids, also excited for the weekend.

BTW2: Next WED, Aug 4, all the Summer Dreamers get to go to the daytime Pirate game vs. the Reds. Wee. I think the Pirates were generous in providing tix. It presents a good opportunity to talk about winning percentages.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how all of the parents respond how I am "classless" whenever I'm just stating the facts. The staff at the sites know how to deal with diverse student populations....your diverse kids just are not behaving!!! I cant get over the tantrums and disrespect they show adults....I don't remember ever witnessing such behavior whenever I was the age of these students. You are taking one example of ONE teacher screaming at kid that you know unprofessionally...and assuming that all teachers and camp coordinators treat students as such. Have you been in the camps and have attended the program? Have you seen how these children behave towards adults and the foul language they dish out before an adult loses their cool? I bet the answer is no, therefore....don't tell me I need to take "Adult Psychology" classes...I've had experiences in many various areas in the state of PA, and have NEVER seen kids as unappreciative and classless as I have seen in Pittsburgh, PA.

Anonymous said...

Heh, everyone chant with me: we're number one! we're number one!

I'm a parent and also a teacher. Yes, there are difficult children here and guess what, at a summer school you're likely to have a higher ratio of those kids, especially when it's a free pass to get the kids out of the house all day.

However, the same group of kids can and will act totally differently for two different people. I'm guessing that you're not one of the people they have come to respect. Sorry for the honesty, but I've been in both positions, not respected and having earned some respect. It's not easy to do so, I agree. But it has as much to do with you as with them.

Anonymous said...

My children attend Camp Brashear and love it. The site principal Ms. Folo (I think) have made Summer Dreamers what it is suppose to be by weeding out the disruptive, disrespectful and dangerous students. And ..yes.. many others quit. Personally, I am ok with that. This Summer Camp was not designed as "free babysitting" but for enrichment, review and fun. Both of my kids are with teacher (yes.. real teachers) who motivate them to love learning. Sure there is classroom style work that is expected by the campers, but today's Olympics and Pj day make it fun. I think this summer camp for middle schoolers needs MORE parent support instead of the endless complaints and insults. I think PPS parents (and YES I am one) need to appreciate the efforts of our District and these professionals to support our students. I want (no...I expect) my kids to earn the Pittsburgh Promise, and I have instilled that into them. Honestly, I don't think some of the former bloggers would EVER be satisfied. And trust me in the last 8 years of experiencing PPS, I have come across alot more great teachers and inadequate ones. Their work is just harder. I think the Summer Dreamers.. the Site Principal and teachers all deserve a big thank you. That's my opinion.

Questioner said...

Great that it's working out for you! Maybe Brashear can be used as a model for other sites where results are not as positive. Costs do still need to be kept in mind though when so many other things are being cut back.

solutionsRus said...

anon 3:25, the Summer's dreamer's camp was conceived,implemented and funded for the"the disruptive, disrespectful and dangerous students" that were "weeded out" from Camp Brashear. The idea of the camp was to provide a bridge between school years for low income families that do not have the means to provide their children with the summer enrichment to which children not living in poverty are exposed.

Children that have wonderful educational advocates in the home, such as you, will thrive. Even without attending a camp, you will make sure that your child reads, plays, eats well, etc.

Yes, there is far too much unproductive complaining throughout this blog, but there is also a lot of valuable questioning of the program and good information sharing (unequal experiences/activities at different sites, outrageous expenditure/student ratio, under enrollment in the program).

I am happy that your child is having a great experience (as I am sure many others are). But providing a summer camp experience for families like yours was NOT the intent of the Summer's Dreamers academy (I was at the EFA meeting discussing this program and heard it right from the horses mouth, Mark Roosevelt).

Please do not lump all blogger's/parents/stakeholders together. Some are just complaining but others are questioning authority, the foundation of our democracy.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your comments and agree. That being said.. I still find it ignorant for so many bloggers to call names, minimize the hard work of the teachers, question the ethics and intent of such a well intended program. And, unfortunately, regardless of how well planned Summer Dreamers Camp was for middle school students- it is very hard to over-ride the years of influence that children raised in less than favorable homes have experienced. Folks should realize that NO 5-week summer program is going to correct this. I see it in my children's school.. it is a cycle of failure. Grandparents raising their children's children. Students with a parent or sibling in jail. How does society blame the educational system for this mess? The only position I agree with regarding the Summer Dreamers Camp is that cost could be and should be cut. There may have been better management decisions to lower the expense. Although, if any of the camps helps even ONE student become motivated or want to stay in school instead of adding to the drop out rate.. then I applaude the idea, effort and dedicatiion of all who are a part of the program. No price can be placed on the life of a child. I do realize that the immature comments and name calling are someone's constitutional right. I wish that blogger got off the computer and actually offered an intelligent solution or idea instead of the endless complaining. Children learn what they live. Wouldn't it be better for our children IF the parents and community supported the efforts of outreach programs like this one? Maybe some people just enjoy hearing themselves complain??

Questioner said...

There would probably be more public buy-in and support if parents and the community were consulted in a meaningful way before $5 million is spent. It's true that it is stimulus money, but it's also true that we'll be paying it back for a very long time and that we need to really optimize one time funds.