Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kelly Awards

Just one PPS represented, but it is very well represented:

2010 Gene Kelly Awards
Sets: Baldwin-Whitehall
Costumes: Pine-Richland
Lighting: Pine-Richland
All-Student Orchestra: Plum
Supporting Actor: Spencer Whale, North Hills (Lumiere, "Beauty and the Beast")
Supporting Actress: Maddie Georgi, Hampton (Miss Adelaide, "Guys and Dolls")
Ensemble: Pittsburgh Schenley
Crew/Technical Execution: Woodland Hills
Choreography: Pittsburgh Schenley
Direction: Pine-Richland
Actor: Alex Field, Central Catholic (Tin Man, "The Wiz")
Actress: Andrea Weinzierl, Avonworth (Mame, "Mame")

Best Musical
Level I: Pittsburgh Schenley, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
Level II: Central Catholic, "The Wiz"
Level III: Pine-Richland, "Children of Eden"

Additional awards
Kelly Critic Award: Shannon Hussey (Baldwin-Whitehall)
Judges' Award: 10 year-old William Davis (Avonworth's "Mame")

Read more:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CTE Academy option

On the May "Start a new post" Annette Werner wrote:

An alternative to the "cluster plan" for CTE discussed on another post is a CTE academy (or a CTE academy for each half of the city). Here are some benefits of a CTE academy that have been raised by various people, including members of the Open East End panel:

A CTE academy (or a "CTE East" and "CTE West" academy) was the top choice at the community dialogues and for members of the Open East End Panel.

A CTE academy would avoid problematic shuttles.

A CTE academy would enable students to change career concentrations without changing schools.

A CTE academy would bring together students with a common interest in career training.

A CTE academy would allow the kind of collaboration necessary in light of the growing confluence of different career disciplines (such as information technology and health sciences) that was noted by the TRWIB speaker at the CTE workshop.

A CTE academy would allow efficient delivery of programming relevant to all CTE students. For example, many career trainees will eventually be owners of small businesses (or should become owners of small businesses to maximize earnings). Classes in entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, and strategies for choosing the right mix of services to hedge against economic downturns could be offered far more easily in one location than in seven.

A CTE academy could efficiently offer mini-courses or information on emerging careers, subsidiary careers, or alternate careers than cannot be offered as a full concentration but which could be excellent career choices. And, just as important, it could educate students on how to navigate inevitable changes in market demand for particular skills.

A CTE academy could most easily bring individuals successful in their careers to speak to students and share their experiences.

A CTE academy would be the ideal site for career exploration programs to inspire and motivate middle school students.

Finally, a CTE academy would demonstrate and demand a real dedication to career training on the part of the district.

While costs must be considered, no information has been provided on the cost of using a building that already has substantial CTE space (such as Westinghouse or Peabody), or even Oliver which is slated to be renovated anyway.

Many coaching positions posted, not much time to apply

On the May "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

"This is from the PPS web site. It is a list of all high school and middle school positions available for the 2010-2011 school year.

There are 42 high school coaching positions open and 22 middle school positions. So much for continuity in PPS. Where have all these coaches gone?"

Also, Anonymous wrote"

"The coaching posting date is May 26th, and the close date is June 2nd. With the holiday weekend and no school on Monday, that doesn't give people much notice/time to apply. Plus, factor in that there will most likely be teacher movements from one building to another next year. What is the rush all of a sudden? Something doesn't seem right"

New blood at PFT

On the May "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

It is my understanding that the PFT had a recent election and a new slate - "Teachers for Change", won 2 key positions. George Gensure and Sylvia Wilson both lost. The current PFT slate has ordered a recount.

If the results stand, it will be very interesting to see how some "new blood" affects what is going on with all the PPS changes coming soon. Many teachers do not like all the new reforms that PPS/PFT are forcing down their throats. Maybe a "fox in the hen house" might be good for the system.

Monday, May 24, 2010

CTE "cluster" plan

On another post, Anonymous wrote:

"Keep an eye on the CTE plan currently in development. The plan could have a big impact in the number of kids participating in sports due to timing and transportaion issues. If a student takes CTE classes at a cluster site in the afternoon he will need to take PAT transport back to his home school to make a practice. On an afternoon game day will that student get an early dismissal from his CTE class to get to his home school to make a game or bus?"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Athletic committee

On the May "Start a new post," Anonymous wrote:

Question for Mark - Did the new athletic committee have the May meeting yet? If so, are things moving in a positive direction? If there hasn't been a May meeting, why not?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Black city students urged to learn Russian"

From the PG:

"Plan B: Skip college"

From the NYT:

"The idea that four years of higher education will translate into a better job, higher earnings and a happier life — a refrain sure to be repeated this month at graduation ceremonies across the country — has been pounded into the heads of schoolchildren, parents and educators. But there’s an underside to that conventional wisdom."

The article goes on to give statistics on the (low) percentages of students who finish 4 year degrees in even 6 years. Students who were in the bottom quarter of their high school classes have particularly low odds.

If that were the only issue we might focus on better preparing students for college and supporting them once they are there, but the article raises another issue: relatively few jobs, especially the fastest growing jobs, require college degrees. Many of these jobs do require skills- but they are skills that may be better taught in vocational and apprentice programs rather than a college setting. In addition to technical skills, a need for "workplace" skills (ie, how to communicate and behave on a job) is noted. The article acknowledges the personal and instrinsic value of a college education, but makes a strong case for looking at the alternatives as well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two teachers per classroom

On another post Foreveryoung wrote:

"As everyone knows attendance at parent meetings dwindles as we close in on the end of the school year. Activity on education related blogs dwindles too apparently if the action on this one is any indication.

There have been discussions recently on talk shows and reports in the paper about how successful some charter schools have been. I recently heard a Dad of two charter school students give full credit to teachers his kids had. He must have said a dozen times "it's the teachers, it's the teachers." When he explained further he spoke about no more than 20 kids in a class and all classes having a teacher and an aide in this Propel school. Wouldn't that alone make one say "it's the administration, it's the administration?" A teacher does not decide on class size or what subjects or behavior warrant two adults to a class. The last PPS newspaper spotlighted a co-teaching classroom. That seems a very empowering situation. Some parents seem to recognize the value to such a strategy to improve student performance. At the EFA meeting where parents presented on RISE the primary presenter mentioned in his comments that he and another parent on the general committee were educated outside Pittsburgh. He said they each were taught in classrooms by two teachers/adults working as a team. This would seem to be one action to ensure the success of differentiated instruction."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Aligning jobs and education

From a letter in today's PG:

"Of all the jobs available in this region, 70 percent require only a high school diploma or on-the-job training. Of the remaining 30 percent, 15 percent of jobs require a bachelor's degree; 2 percent require a master's degree; and a mere 1.5 percent require a doctorate degree."

Read more:

The writer, from the TRWIB, concludes that we need to attract more higher level jobs to utilize Pittsburgh's educated workforce.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Start a new post/ search PURE Reform's blog

To start a new post, reply to this post with your question, comment or suggestion for a new topic. The adminstrator will then start a new post with your topic as a title.You can post anonymously if you prefer. Click on "post a comment". Type in the word you see for word verification. Choose how you would like to be identified in the post click "publish your comment".

To search PURE Reform's blog, use the "search function on the upper left of the blog.

School rally on Saturday

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Event sponsored by the Anthony Williams for Governor Campaign:












Saturday, May 1, 2010

School librarians losing jobs

From the PG: