Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Plus Schools "Schoolworks" report

From another post:

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

Maybe this should be a separate blog listing for commentary.

August 17, 2010 2:44 PM

Anonymous said...
Group Releases Findings About City Schools

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

Maybe this should be a separate blog listing for commentary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2010 2:47 PM

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



Survey finds inconsistency in city school procedures
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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

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

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

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

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

Read more:

August 17, 2010 4:52 PM

justsayin' said...

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

August 17, 2010 7:46 PM


Anonymous said...

How many times are you going to post this? Aren't we all a little sick and tired of Harris trying to play nice with these people? Give a critique and then give them a passing grade? Take teachers to task for using the word "strike"? Applaud a contract that is outrageously bad only because there will be "no disruption"?
I think a great many of us would like Harris to simply pipe down.

Anonymous said...

It kind of gives me a little thrill to think some are left to wonder who got interviewed and who gave what answer.

Mark Rauterkus said...

"Pipe down?" OMG. The last thing we need is for less discussion and less interest.

The volume meter in terms of our capacity as a community to listen and think about schools is about 4%, IMNSHO.

What A+ Schools says and does is but a drop in the bucket to what is needed.

We need to grow in our communications, our outreach, our relationship building, our public pondering.

If you don't like what Harris says, then counter it, leapfrog it, use it as leverage to make other points.

Love and hate are more similar as the evil here is apathy.

Turn up the volume -- everyone.

To pipe down is playing nice with these people, to use your words and lack of logic against the request.