Sunday, August 29, 2010

"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.


Anonymous said...

Please watch Roosevelt on KDKA video from this morning
TV appearance.

Anonymous said...

Why did I watch that again, anon? Just to reassure myself that Mark has all of the answers, at least in the publics' eye?

Anonymous said...

In part 2, Mr.Roosevelt discusses the Promise after Ken Rice talks about a "free college education".

Can someone explain this to me? I've read all of the paperwork. Promise money only comes into play after I have filled out my FAFSA application and have been told I will have X amount of financial aid, along with grants and scholarships.

Financial Aid means I will have to pay it back over 10 years time after college? If I opt to go to Harvard or Ohio State, that's a pretty sizable chunk. Even if I go to Duquesne.

So please tell me----how is that a free education???? I think the Promise is wonderful, but it isn't free.

Questioner said...

If you opt to go to Harvard or Ohio you will receive nothing from the Pittsburgh Promise (Promise money is for schools in PA only).

But it did seem like if after the FAFSA you had a loan, Promise money could be applied to replace that loan. Although to the extent your loan obligation is more than 20k you will still owe that excess amount.

Anonymous said...

What college besides a community college costs 10K a year? Trade schools like culinary and beauty schools are not cheap either.

Isn't the promise money still 5K per year?

Anonymous said...

It is going up to 20k/year- I belive starting w/ the class of 2012.

Anonymous said...

You lost me Questioner and the info you provided is something I did not read.
I don't know what you mean by "But it did seem like if after the FAFSA you had a loan, Promise money could be applied to replace that loan. "
I thought the idea was that Promise money augmented what I get from financial aid, and nothing more.

Additionally, it seems like Promise money is a "free education" if I have a medial job and my kid decides to go to CCAC.
The Promise is a great idea, but I don't think it is free eduation.

Questioner said...

Well it depends on what you mean by "financial aid." Promise money is not intended to replace aid a school gives you outright but should be available to replace financial aid that is in the form of a loan.

Anonymous said...

It will be 10K a year for class of 2012. Not 20K.

It comes after other grants, awards and scholarships, but before loans. You will stay pay the difference between all the grants/awards/scholarships/promise money and the total cost. It has also been used for kids that have a full ride scholarship, but can't afford other things -- like books, say. Those kids have to write up something, special, I believe, but have been awarded promise money.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I read this wrong, it appears."It comes after other grants, awards and scholarships, but before loans. You will stay (sic) pay the difference between all the grants/awards/scholarships/promise money and the total cost.."
Pretty incredible deal.

Disappointed said...

I thought that this thread was about "focusing teachers", not financial aid.


Anonymous said...

Please, leave your thoughts on focusing teachers here and get things back on track!

Or just leave a snark. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

I will risk using a pun. This administration is so myopic any teacher that gets picked for "focusing" has no chance of keeping their job.

It will be about finding faults instead of helping or improving a teachers skill level. They will just go through the motions. It is a recipe for easy, just, unjust and immoral mass firings. If a teacher is picked PPS already made their decision.

It puts the lotion in the basket.

Questioner said...

Hold the snarks, there are too many important questions to discuss. Are there other dstricts using this focusing process? What does Washington DC do? Has it ever been shown to produce results anywhere?

anonalso said...

I have always gotten frustrated with the surveys the district sends out and later reports on at PSCC and other meetings. Very little opportunity is given to express a thought outside the qestions asked. We have to use email and the parent hotline to express satisfaction with a teacher, administrator or process and possibly create a permanent record to be used at a later date. Back to school events offer a chance to critique and notify.

Old Timer said...

anonalso, thanks. The key terminology that is being used this year is "Fidelity to curriculum" which no matter what administration states publicly comes down the following of the scripted curriculum verbatim.
RISE was the subject of this morning's teacher in-services. A huge portion of the evaluation process comes down to sticking to the curriculum and illustrating that kids have a knowledge of both the curriculum and the terminology. In other words, teach what's in the script daily.
That would be ok if it were not for PSSA tests. Simply put, PSSA scores are the barometer being used to show achievement and using a curriculum that fails miserably in this regard will not allow students to make gains. Next year, the percentage that denotes proficiency will be 72. Shortly thereafter it will grow to 81.

I'm at a loss to determine how we will get there, let alone with one hand tied behind our backs.

Anonymous said...

What is the foundation used for the curriculum that must me followed with "fidelity" (which is always problematic)? Is it the IFL model that emphasizes "gist" or is it some other model for curriculum? How does it align with the thinking skills/eligible content required for PSSA and Common Core Standards?

WHO conducts the Professional Development? Outside Consultants or In-house Administrators? Does Jerri Lippert conduct the sessions?

Are 4Sight tests being used this year? At all levels?

Is there acknowledgement of the serious flaws and gaps in 4Sight? How are 4Sight tests used to inform instruction? Do students have an opportunity to see their mistakes and come to understand why they made the mistake and what they need to do differently___on the spot?

Do students understand the goal of each lesson? Are they capable of articulating the purpose of the lesson and whether or not they learned it?

If teachers and students together understand (each day) the expectations for every lesson and the specific steps that will get them to it, they can be successful. Structure every lesson for success, purposefully.

Can teachers form an alliance with students to outwit administrators in PPS who clearly have no clue as to how and what constitutes teaching and learning?

A lot of questions, but can they lead to solutions for stressed-out teachers in PPS?