Friday, November 19, 2010

Single gender academies at Westinghouse to be all choice

At the Board's recent meeting, it was clarified that the single academies at Westinghouse will be "all choice"- ie, they will not be the default assignment for any students, whether they live East of Negley or West of Negley. The default for families that make no choice is University Prep in the Hill District.


Questioner said...

A Board member asked if there might not be problems getting 500 - 700 families to affirmatively choose the single gender academies. Another Board member noted that there are concerns in the Hill about students from Garfield being assigned to U Prep.

Question: Shouldn't the legal considerations as to single gender assignments, and the concerns expressed above, have been hashed out BEFORE the Board approved the academies? A survey could at least have been done to gauge the level of interest in a single gender option.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lopez almost had me convinced during the meeting when talking about the meetings and outreach being done to prepare all for feeder pattern changes. It seems a lot is being done, kids visiting single gender schools and seeing the concept work. I will buy it more if the students taking the lead are representative of the population in the buildings.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, some of the ambassadors have said they are not going to Westinghouse. Mixing metaphors, take the picture painted with a grain of salt. No, a cup of salt.

Questioner said...

Please. If there were plenty of kids excited and signing up for Westinghouse, the district would not be going to the expense of transporting a handful of kids from distant parts of the city to Westinghouse.

The Open East End Panel recommended a top notch CTE Academy for Westinghouse. Other popular choices might be the all-AP high school (no more 6-12's!) suggested by Dr. Johnson Martin. Or, even divide up the city and assign students to comprehensive schools so that each school reflects the demographics of the district as a whole. Within the schools could be "houses" for a more personal environment. If all of these options came up for a vote along with single gender academies, probably single gender would be at the bottom- but that's what we're getting.

Questioner said...

Does this East End high school feeder pattern make sense:

Squirrel Hill, Greenfield, Regent Square and Point Breeze: Allderdice

Hill, East Liberty, Homewood, Bloomfield, Garfield, Lincoln Lemington, Friendship, Highland Park, Shadyside, Oakland, East Hills:
U Prep

Anonymous said...

37. I may not have been listening intently enough to have all the numbers, but 37 caught my ear. It is the number mentioned during the board meeting discussion between Mr. Lopez and Ms. Shealey of the kids who, based on the feeder pattern of today, would go to Allderdice and who based on the new maps will go to UPrep if they don't opt into single gender. I don't have a kid who will be affected, but is everything being done now to inform those affected?

Questioner said...

This is apparently the number of kids scheduled to be at Faison 6-8 next year. The idea is that they will instead be at the middle school portion of a 6-12 program next year (U Prep or single gender) and so they should continue on in the 6-12 program rather than switching to Allderdice for high school. If you counted in the kids who will be in K-5 next year and in future years, who would have gone to Allderdice, there will of course be many more who will now go to U Prep or Westinghouse instead.

But, the default for huge numbers of kids is U Prep, and Allderdice still has quite a bit of unused capacity. And there are probably kids who would welcome a change after 6-8 in a single gender school or at U Prep, and who would prefer the opportunity to go to a more diverse, 9-12 school which will also be closer than U Prep. Why not give them the Allderdice option?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Allderdice is an option for anyone in the city if they choose to go into ENGINEERING or want to study CHINEESE. Right?

I'm happy that the single-gender school(s) will be city wide magnets. I think a city-wide magnet is a better way to say it rather than "all choice."

It still is strange to have 6, 7 and 8th grade put into a school that should only have 9, 10, 11 and 12, IMHO.

It is really strange to have a single gender academy along with the other gender with the same roof. I would really like to see a single-gender campus.

Perhaps the new superintendent can see it that way too.

Anonymous said...

And will you send your son there? I think not.

Questioner said...

At the last Board meeting a group of East Hills parents were very concerned that their area would be rezoned from Allderdice to Westinghouse. It is unlikely that a reminder that their kids could still go to Allderdice if they got into the engineering magnet (or possibly, Chinese) would have been very reassuring.

Questioner said...

Re: the single gender academies under the same roof- the concept is further weakened because word is that the science and math academy at Westinghouse, which tends to enroll the strongest students at the school, will be mixed gender- along with CTE classes. In contrast, the Chicago and NYC schools the students are visiting do not seem to place the stronger students in mixed classrooms.

Questioner said...

From the PG:

"In making Westinghouse a magnet program, the board opened the single-gender academies in the Homewood school -- to start next fall for grades 6-12 -- to students from throughout the city, with preference going to those in the current Pittsburgh Faison, Lincoln and Westinghouse feeder patterns.

The students in those three schools will be able to choose Westinghouse or Pittsburgh Milliones University Preparatory School 6-12.

Some of the students in the feeder pattern for Pittsburgh Peabody High School -- which will close at the end of this school year -- will have a choice to go to Westinghouse or Pittsburgh Milliones."

Read more:

- That seems strange- the article seems to say that students in the Westinghouse feeder may choose Westinghouse or U Prep, but that only some of the students in the Peabody feeder will have a choice.

Maybe what is meant is that if Westnghouse fills up, some Peabody students will not be able to choose it b/c they do not have a preference.