Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Plus sponsoring public meeting on choice of a new superintendent

From the PG:



Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Board will post this information on the PPS web site?

Anonymous said...

Carey Harris should invite teachers who looked upon as leaders in their respective schools. I am NOT talking about union-appointed teachers. Instead, I am talking about successful teachers who know not only their students but the neighborhoods.
Teachers have been disrespected by Roosevelt, Lippert, Lane and the majority of the school board for too long now. They have been given barely a notice from Ms.Harris and her group. Truly, if the district wants to move kids forward--I mean REALLY move kids forward--it needs to have a superintendent who is willing to work hand in hand with teachers. It needs to have a leader who pays little regard to ivory tower thinking which is out of tune with the reality of the classroom. It needs to have leadership that listens to the supervisors of these learning walks but is cognizant of the idea that all too many of them seem to feel empowered to find fault rather than success, to look for "poor teaching" rather than solid, communicative, empathetic instruction. It needs a leader who puts more faith in his teachers rather than administrative types NOT in the classroom who are putting more faith--and taxpayer dollars--into research or the words of myriad consultants.

Ms.Harris, remember who is on the front lines. It's not some stuffed shirt from Harvard. It's not some somebody who is on a council that examines education. If you want to REALLY move kids forward and not just pay lip service to a search, or to pad a reputation for yourself and your group, then do it right.

Anonymous said...

As you will notice another paid and influenced speakers-HARVARD AND Council of the Great City Schools to sway people and again the small group discussions -A CONTROLLED MEETING-ANOTHER POSTURING and contrived PROPAGANDA.

People are afraid to speak out and yes control-they are so civilized and xulture the A Plus schools.

What about speakers from the
University of Pennsylvania? Are they paying the two stooges to attend? Finally, A+ is not a watchdog group-but a foundation arm of propaganda.

They pick a legal holiday for a meeting-let people enjoy their families=people at the Board have this as a day off.

JUST TAKE THEIR SURVEY-another joke for the board members to use their qords as their words.

Anonymous said...

It will be a great day when Roosevelt leaves, but the problem is, it will be far from enough. He has been surrounded by so many anti-teacher types in administrative and supervisory positions that it's incredible.
As stated above, teachers are the front line. Unless you believe that the corporate types can make your children better students and help them to achieve more, teachers are not the people you alienate.
Sure, Obama does it. So does Duncan. So did Rhee and many others. Our district is rife with administration that continues to denigrate teaching staff. It even teaches PELA's to do as much.
We could use a Louise Brennen now, an administrator who remembered what it was like to be in the classroom. One who would be swayed by vindictive types on Bellefield Ave.

Anonymous said...

Pardon my error in that last line....

"One who would NOT be swayed...."

Anonymous said...

Congrats ANON-you are verbally aware=the teachers are robots for the big kahunas-the PPS Adm.

The teachers need to creatively inspire and be participating in another change movement-back to some old-fashion teaching objectives that are not mandated with modernized trends.

Teachers’ fears are adequate-I see this vindictiveness as a parent towards certain teachers and the disrespect to certain parents and other non-hired teachers as visitors in my kids school buildings.

You can see the favoritism –the sub teachers are not given respect as wll as parents- some of the regular teachers are just so rude-while others that are mistreated as teachers--- are real with the children.

Is this PPS Adm Dr. Lippert have social issues that she needs to act like this person as you state?

In addition, the clustering of students with intellectual abilities given to the Principals favorites with no rhyme and reason.

This angry PPS Administration personalities are trickling into the everyday classroom. It is all about test scores teaching to the test and the lack of realness.

Is Tarka the same way a wrong representation of education?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone verify that the POLICY AGAINST TRACKING has been replaced/removed to allow "CLUSTER GROUPING' (another name for "ability grouping") which has administration now grouping students according to perceived "intellectual abilities" as stated by the previous blogger without "rhyme or reason."

There was an Education Committee presentation regarding this, but was the new policy passed at a legislative meeting?

Anonymous said...

I believe that the gifted pilot programs do cluster tracking (though it's a little more nuanced than that and it's based not on perceptions but on test scores and performance) -- that's the only place it's policy. I'm not sure how well each of the pilot schools is following that policy, either.

I do know that some principals have long given in to parental requests for certain teachers, which leads to de facto tracking.

Then again, I'm not all that sure that tracking is such a bad thing. It's bad to assume that what you know about a child now is all that you'll know about that child ever, but is it wrong to meet each child where they are and move them forward from there?

Questioner said...

It has been said but not verified that classes at Colfax are tracked; it sounded like something apart from the gifted program; does anyone have information?

Anonymous said...

That was one of the schools that seemed to have a parents choose/demand sort of policy, before the gifted pilot began. Now they do have the pilot program, though, so it could be more official.

From what I know of the gifted pilot, it attempts to just have two or three levels of students in a classroom, making it easier for the teacher to differentiate and provide appropriate instruction, rather than every room having 5 levels. (I think it's 5 levels that students are broken down into). The research shows that using this sort of clustering actually did help everyone move along faster.

Anonymous said...

It has been said but 75% verified as a fact that classes at Phillips Elementary a Magnet are "CLUSTER GROUPING' (another name
for "ability grouping") and is something very far apart from the gifted program.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:43, this is not about substitute teachers. It's not about parents. You've completely moved away from my original points and re-packaged them. The point is---the front line is the teaching staff. Period. Not the supervisors who do the learning walks. Not administration.Not VPs. Not principals. What part of that is so hard to understand?

A great many of these individuals are hiding behind a poorly written, short-sighted curriculum as means to "get" teachers. It's happening at EVERY school. This is the great get-even moment.

And it's not just bad...working conditions borne out of fear will produce NO GREAT IMPROVEMENT WHERE ACHIEVEMENT IS CONCERNED. Again, you can dress a pig a thousand ways, but it is still a pig. Well, this curriculum is that bad. Having teachers live by it and using that to call them "effective" or "non-effective" is a joke--just like the great majority of supervisors and administrators are.

And dear taxpayer, you are paying their salaries.

The vindictiveness? I can only hope for karma.

Anonymous said...

Questioner 7:39

What is needed to "verify" what has been "said" about tracking at Colfax?

Questioner said...

We would want to know the basis for what has been said- ie, personal knowledge? written statements by the school? information from a teacher at the school? or something someone heard from someone that could have been heard incorrectly or misunderstood?

Questioner said...

We would want to know the basis for what has been said- ie, personal knowledge? written statements by the school? information from a teacher at the school? or something someone heard from someone that could have been heard incorrectly or misunderstood?

Anonymous said...

All of the above, seem to be "said" as well_____with the exception of "written statement from the school."

Does it matter who "said" it? Would the principal count or would he have to write to Pure Reform in a written statement?

Do these rules apply for all statements on this blog or just some?

aparent said...

speaking of meetings...Special Education was the topic for the most recent EFA meeting on 10-28-10
Was an update given on the gifted pilot? That forum could have provided the appropriate participants to fully discuss "cluster grouping" (a new term for me), tracking, differentaited instruction,and parent requests for classroom/teacher assignments.

Anonymous said...

among Incentive Christian Louboutin Pumps | yuzongfei
By yuzongfei
Teacher Incentive Money

The Pittsburgh Public Schools will receive about $37.4 million in a federal government Christian Louboutin Pumps intended to help school districts implement methods of effective teaching, the U.S. Department of Education announced today ...
yuzongfei - http://travelyoyo.com/yuzongfei/

Anonymous said...

I will state do not focus the blog’s interests just about the Gifted Program and Colfax-Cluster Grouping is going on in Phillips Elementary and many other schools across the city.

Yes, it is ability grouping-when you focus on one location we are missing the real action-it is all over the city-in more than one location.

Anonymous said...

Anon AT 8:23

AS FOR THE above poster Anon AT 8:23 was trying to logically rant and rave about teachers----we agree with you but stop being a cement wall---it is the visitors in the building the parents, the non-tenured teachers and other academic visitors that are not fully employed by the Board of ED-we see it all with open eyes-we are taxpayers that pick our kids up daily at the schools-or visit do chores for the teachers.

My neighbor is a sub teacher and sees it all as a retiree-she never minces her words taking her paycheck-but stating the horror of the change-it is not just the answer for teaching. She states the Pre-K early childhood centers are filthy dirty this early in the year. A lot of accountability placed in the wrong areas for the PPS answer for just cause.

Questioner said...

It sounds like we need someone with a lot of experience right now- someone with many years of managing a fairly large school distict well on a day to day basis.

Anonymous said...

Can we add to successful experience, that the PPS superintendency candidate:
1) has competence in relating to urban districts;
2) has working knowledge of PA standards and assessment;
3) communicates to all stakeholders well how he/she WILL RAISE ACHIEVEMENT of ALL STUDENTS

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh needs someone who does not depend on highly-paid outside consultants to do the work of Central Administration____someone who understands what is required and knows how to do it with educators from inside the District on a "day to day basis."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am guessing that A+ goes to a venue "donated" to them or one where they have only a small fee for its use. I like invitations that include the details on parking.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Phillips Elementary a PPS Magnet does some thing that may be called "CLUSTER GROUPING,: But, it isn't really what is understood at first blush by "ability grouping".

For 2 classrooms, the kids are put into 5 groups. The top 2 are NOT in the same room. One group is split. So, in essence, each classroom has some smart kids and some not so smart.

I'm not defending it, but it isn't "TRACKING" as one might think at first blush.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember an A+ meeting a few years back in the Hill District. It was supposed to be for the community to discuss reopening Milliones as a Pitt off shoot. University Prep. Of course, there were only about 4 people there from the neighborhood, if that. Everybody else was the usual suspects--PPS officials, grad students, "educators". They could have held the meeting anywhere, and it didn't appear that much effort was made to engage the parents and kids who would actually be using the facility.

Questioner said...

Too often the decisions seem to have been made before the meetings are held.

Now that U Prep is in its third year a good look should be taken at the school. Its PSSA performance led to a "warning" status. Is anything being done to address problems, other than waiting for the teachers' academy? And what about extracurriculars? Word is that it does not have a marching band, and only 2 students from U Prep participate in the Obama marching band. And that only 2 students from U Prep played baskentball last year, again on another school's team. Did the school put on a play or musical? What is really being offered to these students?

Questioner said...

In addition, it is ridiculous that random parents and community members would even need to prod PPS to look into extracurricular opportunities and participation at U Prep. Amid all the congratulations it is difficult to find any discussion of problems that need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Problems...what problems...there are only opportunities...

While the topic is meetings, there are three scheduled meetings to "learn about working recommendations regarding athletics" All are from 6-8:00 p.m.

Oliver HS
Mon. 11/8/10

Brashear HS
Thur. 11/18/10

Reizenstein Facility
Tues. 11/30/10

Questioner said...

It sounds like the working recommendation is to combine schools- which does not seem to be working very well so far- hopefully the meetings will address specifically why combining has not worked well and what will be done to change that.

Anonymous said...

By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Baptist Ministers Conference of Pittsburgh on Monday will host a community meeting to discuss public education in Pittsburgh.

The meeting will start at 6:15 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District. Speakers will be limited to three minutes and are asked to bring a copy of their testimony.

The hearing is meant to gather feedback about whether Pittsburgh Public Schools students are getting the best education possible.

To sign up, call 412-731-6242

Anonymous said...

Mark Rauterkus said...@ November 4, 2010 10:00 AM

An excellent open discussion and parent definition of the PPS instruction. PPS must be using it throughout the district.

My children are experiencing the same grouping in their classrooms-they are at another magnet.

Apparently, the instructional groups are found beyond magnets. Other parents I have talked with have found it at Beechwood.

Phillips must be an excellent school- they have the capabilities to attempt the instructional groups as many parents like mark described. He must be a great parent rep for any school to have.

Alternatively, the willingness to attempt-maybe certain schools are rolling it out.

As for tracking Colfax ALA, and the Gifted, GIEPS are very different instructional and educational programs. They deserve to each have a separate topic entry for discussion. M

Many parents need clarification.

Any teachers out there in cyber world please give anonymously the use of clustering, tracking in school?

Mark gave a good synopsis-but an educator gives a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

Tracking and cluster group discussion participants, I have a question based on my own limited experience with a recent middle schooler (now in high school). I remember the groupings came about in middle grades when intervention time was rolled out to improve literacy. Are cluster groups operating across more subject areas and beyond what I am familiar with at the middle grade level? That would give a lot of parents of special education students something to investigate.

Questioner said...

It would be nice if the school district would promptly answer this type of request for information.

Can someone try emailing to the parent hotline parenthotline@pghboe.net?

Anonymous said...

Regarding "CLUSTER GROUPING" - As reported previously on this blog, “The Total School Cluster Grouping Model” (TSCG) was presented to the Board at the 9/27/10 Education Meeting by Cate Reed and Allison McCarthy.

The stated reason for the presentation was “*Board Authorization Sought”

The “Cluster Grouping” model was compared to the “Traditional Model”

Following are QUOTATIONS taken directly from the “GIFTED and TALENTED PILOT UPDATE” power point presentation:

“Whole school approach to student placement”

“Students are “cluster grouped” by achievement level”

“The majority of students remained in the same Achievement Category”

“Minimizes the range of abilities in each class so teachers are better able to differentiate, but does not result in one achievement group per class.”

“Allows more students to shine among their peers.”

PILOT SCHOOLS listed were Colfax ALA, Northview ALA, Fort Pitt ALA, Dilworth K-5, Grandview K-5

P.S. This should be another BLOG and this MODEL should be fodder for the "tracking" and "ability grouping" debate

Anonymous said...

Since the Achievement Gap between Black and White students at two of the"CLUSTER GROUPING" PILOT schools are as follows, it takes us back the Red Bird and Blue Birds “ability groupings” within every classroom.

Achievement Gap at Colfax in Reading is 41% and at Grandview the GAP is 27%: thus, the racial segregation in these classroom would be egregiously obvious to ALL.

What happened to the POLICY against this type of "ability grouping"?

Please read Jeanne Oakes on Tracking: How Schools Structure inequality”

Anonymous said...

As a parent, I know the research about "tracking" but I also watch kids come home who are not excited about learning, who resent having to be the person in the group who does all the work, and who end up being used as auxiliary teachers.

It's fine some of the time, but it is NOT fair to students to have them be bored, resentful or taking on responsibilities which shouldn't be theirs for a large part of their day.

Meeting everyone's needs means that some kids will move faster or go more in-depth on some subjects than others. We accept this in sports, extra-curriculars, etc. -- pretty much everywhere except in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the program that the gifted pilots are running:


They have found in schools that implement it the way it's supposed to be done that *all* children do better. Every year the groupings are redone as well, so it's not a grouping that is set forever. It also tries to provide the better parts of traditional gifted education to all students, rather than just those labeled. The "better parts" meaning more projects, enrichment activities and the like.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous. One teacher in our school had the cajones and the trust of the parents and principal to the point he had 28-30 kids in his class.

The other teachers had 16-18. I find it interesting that his class was a mix of smart kids, regular kids, not-so smart kids, mean kids, stable kids and troubled kids. He was gruff, kind, empathetic and blunt.

Everyone wanted their child in his class, some because
they were smart and others because they were bullied. He had a safe 4th grade classroom in a chaotic world.

He retired last year. He will never be replaced by a Bill Gates Robo-teacher.

Our kids will miss out on having teachers like this, we all had at least one we remember for being different. One teacher can change a life. A staggering number of kids don't have an adult that believe in them.

Throwing money at bloated administration is not the answer. I don't know how but as a community this needs to stop now.

Any suggestions?