Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Q&A session on reconfiguration

From the PG:


Questioner said...

From the article:

"At the African-American Male Promise Preparation Project, 28 young men were enthusiastically tearing through assigned literature as a part of a program that teaches them "how to do school."

"In a co-ed class, they would be called a nerd," Mr. Lopez said."

- So are we to understand that at Milliones, a university preparatory school, male students enthusiastic about a literature assignment are called nerds? Will this be a problem at Oliver?

A parent noted that it is necessary for students in the Project to read the book per week or else they get demerits and will not receive the $100/week for attending the program.

Mark Rauterkus said...

It was an interesting meeting, sorta. Mark Rauterkus and Running Mates blog entry on this unfolding topic I did get some video for those who didn't attend, but it was hit and miss and might take a while to post online.

I do like the community elements that Mr. Lopez talks about. That is a vital key to the success of schools. But, I wish that was more of a tried and true approach that is proving itself throughout the district for all these years that this administration has been around.

Collaboration is something that I want to support.

Old Timer said...

It's interesting to note that once again, "experts" are going to be brought in to train teachers about how to instruct in single gender schools. Just where does it end with this district? How much money can continually be thrown at consultants before someone in the public expresses outrage?
What a great job administrators like Lopez have. No oversight. Unlimited funding. No worries about the public. Sheesh.

Questioner said...

One question was, are there any public non charter single gender schools.

The response was yes: Philadelphia High School for Girls and a school in Baltimore, apparently Western High School. What was not mentioned is that both of these are city wide magnet programs with applications and entrance requirements.

Then once again the Young Women's Leadership Academy in Philadelphia was mentioned, even though this is a charter school which describes its admissions as "competitive." All of the Young Women's Leadership schools enroll only students with a strong desire to pursue a 4 year college education.

Why not just admit that there are not currently single gender, non charter, non magnet public schools but the district wishes to experiment with this arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Questioner said...@ August 11, 2010 8:46 AM

Why not just admit that there are not currently single gender, non charter, non magnet public schools but the district wishes to experiment with this arrangement.

Derrick Lopez’s job function is that he created the so-called confounded High school Reorganization Plan.

People of your expertise and knowledge base are not of your caliber in his position and ARE NOT in PPS ADM and ARE NOT Board Members

Lopez has some real issues with his dynamite ideas.

He is a walking robot-talk excessively and fast and is programmed to speak the PPS talk without deferring from his mental manuscript.

I truly believe he can hear words-but does not listen to other individuals’ words.

HE is a smooth operator.

Old Timer said...

Anon, I forgot more about education and students in our district than Mr.Lopez will ever learn. In fact, I would bet many experienced educators would say the same.

Questioner said...

There is a lot of jargon in the PPS discussions- "scaffolding," "robust programming around [fill in a topic]," "meeting students/parents where they are," references to "cohorts," etc. that impedes real communication.

And how are Peabody students being met where they are anyway? They will be where (with limited choice) the district places them, separated out by race, income and to the extent possible gender.

Anonymous said...

Why would an African American male be called a "nerd" if he was doing well in a mix gender class, vs a single gender class? I would have guessed the opposite. Did Lopez have data to back up his statement?

Anonymous said...

I think Mr.Lopez is a good man and on a personal level, I think most administrators, from Mr.Roosevelt right down the line are good people. I'm not sure I'd call any administrator a "smooth operator" because it all comes down to perceptions. At this point in time, administration simply has a different perception as to how urban education needs to evolve. Most classroom teachers simply see those comments as being out of touch with reality.
That said, it's the policies that bother most of us and then the refusal to budge on those proposals. From curriculum to evaluations to the idea that more consultants are going to be hired...administrative policies are what is troublesome---and not the character or personalities of administrators themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:33, AMEN! If we could all concentrate on the policies and implementation of programs and less on name calling and personal attacks, this forum would ROCK!

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Questioner said...

What bothers most of us is not an honest difference on policies or even the refusal to budge, but rather the spin and secrecy surrounding decisions and results.

It's the handpicked committees; closed meetings; referral of even basic questions to the right to know office; "answers" that dodge the question being asked; months of delays in releasing PSSA scores and reports such as the Title IX audit; insistence that anecdotes from other parts of the country constitute real evidence; and ostensible rather than actual explanations offered for decisions and results. Add to that a complete lack of humility in the face of limited results achieved to date.

voice of experience said...

Were any of you folks around when Dale Frederick or John Thompson were supt? This air of secrecy has been entrenched for ages. An administration 's main function is to sustain itself. This Board and Mr Roosevelt are as transparent as it can be while still chugging along in its self sustaining manner.
They know we parents will bang on the glass and carry on for a while, but then we go away when our kids move on, or we move away from PPS. Teachers act the same way...they know how to get parents to set up a protest on an issue, because its mainly those whose jobs are affected who have the biggest stakes to lose.

I fought for k-8 schools when the middle schools stunk. I fought for information on feeder pattern changes and Plancon building issues. Teachers were our big source of info on where to go and who to see. I joined with lots of others who wore our schools t shirt to board meetings and pleaded for change. All of us except a handful are gone from the system now and the process continues with varying issues every year. Keep up the fight, folks. Someone has to.

Questioner said...

It seems like tactics have been taken to new levels. Newspaper reporters and organizations for example comment that they never had the kind of difficulty they now face obtaining information.

Anonymous said...

Remember, Mark Roosevelt and Derrick Lopez were both "trained" to become lawyers not educators. The tactics needed for the legal profession are quite different from those needed to become good educators.

Questioner said...

And of course until recently federal and large foundations were not directing the kind of extra funding to public education that we are seeing now. The money, the consultants, the possibility of consulting- all of this has an impact.

voice of experience said...

Gotta change your tactics too. Dig harder, dig smarter.

Blogs and other social media are great ways to network. Get folks who care from all parts of the city, not just the East.
Work thru the established political system....get your ward chairman, committee people, and other elected officials involved. Give them face time in the media and every one who is running for office will be racing to "help"

Get some valid candidates to run for school board. There needs to be more attention focused on this office. Folks who run unopposed dont get media coverage.

Lots of voters dont know or care who their school board member is. Many voters dont even cast a vote for school board...look at the returns sometime vs total number of people voting.

Sitting in on all these board meetings is a good way to get familiar with the know who the players are, and more importantly, they know you. Take notes and share with others.

Questioner said...

The sad thing is that for many people it is easier to just find something else that works for their family and walk away. Then when enrollment drops we are shown charts of the population drop in the region (although if you look closely many of these charts begin with 1970, and population in recent years is fairly level).

Anonymous said...

It seems that the Education Agenda is no longer about advancing students in knowledge and skill; instead, it is about advancing adults in personal, professional and most importantly PROFITABLE ventures.

A business for profit ideology has usurped the rights of our children to be educated with excellence and equity.

voice of experience said...

That is the reason behind all these charter/ cyber schools. People wanted better public school options and saw that they had to make them happen for themselves.

If my children were starting school now, I would go for a cyber/charter.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @.August 12, 2010 6:33 AM and August 12, 2010 8:10 AM

Excuse me for the use of smooth operator.

It is the way they are operating our schools, the meetings the agendas.

It is not a perception-it is a FACT.

The people we are discussing utilize their expertise in implementing their policies.

I was at the meeting on Tuesday and felt the constraints of their programmatic agenda.

I am not interested in liking or disliking the people this is common ground about our children and their future. In addition, the future of PPS.

Education is now a business-do not take it personal.

It's business-not personal-our children's education.

Were you there at the meeting?

There is an adage that you are trying to infer?

“Be clear that the job is not you.”

“You are a person with a job.”

However, is it working here in the PPS District?

Anonymous said...

6:33 anon.

We are not all teachers, and some of us can see PPS PR (BS) via Public relation planted posts.

It would be great if we were all on the same page, but it is impossible when the book is closed.

Old Timer said...

I think anon's reasoning is that this all transcends personalities and to a great degree, I understand that. I can't say what kind of people the individuals behind administrative decisions are and truly, it doesn't matter to me. It's the mindsets behind the actions and initiatives that are bothersome to me. It's the view of urban education that comes from outside of the classroom that is troubling to me. Simply put, I place great stock in the comments and ideas that comes from classroom teachers. I find great value in innovative techniques and academic theories that come from people who work with urban kids on a daily basis. And conversely, I have some problems with evaluative strategies aimed at those same teachers that come from people not in the classroom. I have great trouble in coming to grips with curriculum that does not address what I see my kids as being in need of and that comes from people not in the classroom. I find great trouble in the formulation of grading strategies that may enable students to partake in Promise money but will actually harm them in SAT testing and college coursework by giving them an inflated sense of academic accomplishment.

But as anon has said, my problems are with a mindset and not with individuals. It's kind of like being at a Steelers game where Ravens fans are in attendance. I hate the Ravens and hate the fact that people actually cheer for them but that's where it stops. Going beyond that and making it personal denotes--to me, anyway--some psychological condition.

I simply have a different view of things.

Anonymous said...

I found this on the PPS web site under athletics. Are they considering the effect of the reconfiguration of schools on athletics?

Athletic Program Task Force
The District formed and Athletic Program Task Force following the Title IX audit to study equity in athletics in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Michael Gavlik – Athletics
Derrick Lopez – Asst. Superintendent of High Schools
John Vater- Principal, Pittsburgh Brashear
Sarah Sumpter – Principal, Pittsburgh Sterrett
Chief Fadzen – School Safety
Ted Vasser or designee - Transportation
Facilities designee
John Tokarski - Parent
Sue Lynn Schiller - Parent
Mark Rauterkus - Parent
Rich O’Brien – Faculty Manager - Pittsburgh Brashear
Phyllis Jones – Coach, Pittsburgh Westinghouse
Walt Milinski – Coach, Pittsburgh Carrick
Sophia Facaros – Principal, Pittsburgh Schenley
Tim Keefer – Coach, Pittsburgh Oliver
Ken Saybel – Faculty Manager, Pittsburgh Schenley
Christine Wolski – Coach, Brashear
Amy Malen – Central Office, Pathways to the Promise
Vern Phillips – Retired Director of Athletics
Aaron Mickens - Referee
Mark Brentley – School Board Representative for Athletics
George Gensure – Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers