Saturday, June 11, 2011

How we got where we are Part IV (December 2006)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, 4th installment, December 2006:

1. December 4, 2006: Prophetic comments from Board Member Randall Taylor at the reorganization meeting: “But I really do want to say to my fellow board members, I do believe that the lack of this board of asking questions, which is our basic fundamental responsibility here to ask questions. I feel that this board has failed to do that. And in that failure, they have failed not only this board in your responsibilities. I believe you failed our superintendent, administration. I think you failed our taxpayers and the public. I think most importantly, you failed our students.”

2. December 13, 2006: The District's empowerment plan is approved, including goals to improve academic achievement and specifically reduce the achievement gap.

Nearly five years later, neither our rank among PA school districts in high stakes testing has substantively improved, nor has the achievement gap shrunk.

Dr. Linda Lane is hired as Deputy Superintendent, enhancing the influence of the Board Foundation in the district.

3. December 19, 2006: $152,000 in grant funds are dedicated to Kaplan for professional development.

Essex 3 is hired to tabulate the results of the parent survey approved in November (I imagine contractor Matter and the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff were simply overwhelmed).

Another PR firm is hired to do print and website logos and templates.

Focus on Results receives its first contract from the district “to meet with selected staff to: 1) enhance the urgency and the cross-department processes necessary for accelerating academic performance, and 2) build teamwork and identify tools that will assist with monitoring the timeliness and quality of work for greater accountability and higher levels of customer service”, for $237,000, funded by a grant.

Although the grant would dry up, this FOR would milk the Pittsburgh cow for a few more years.

The Communications team hires Jpapa to “to complete an assessment and develop a comprehensive customer service plan that will increase the District's ability to provide timely and consistent responses to parent/community inquiries, minimize staff duplication, and capture data for analysis of common issues and trends to shape other district initiatives.”

Reductions are taken with the 2006 budget, although almost entirely in the Operations divisions (e.g. maintenance).

Right-Sizing seemed to have no impact on academic administration or the office of the chief of staff, other than to increase central office staffing.

Paulette Poncelet is hired as Chief of Research, although this seems to have no change on the amount of research contracts awarded to RAND and subsequently Mathmatica (once the Broad Academy connection migrated from RAND to Mathmatica).

MORE TO FOLLOW. Enjoy the reading; sorry today's history lesson is comming in pieces, there is a character limit to submissions. Installments 2, 3 and 4 comprise the 1st semester of the 2006-07 school year."


Questioner said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for putting in the time and effort to pull together and analyze this important information. Have you considered a career as a historian? Or political commentator?

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! All this money was wasted. This is a travesty. Someone needs to be held accountable for this mess. And it is still continuing...

Mark Rauterkus said...

Last graduation classes for Peabody and Schenley High Schools -- cross the stage this weekend.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Linda Lane is hired as Deputy Superintendent, enhancing the influence of the Board Foundation in the district"

Is this a typo? Board/Broad?

Questioner said...

Most likely a typo, since LL is a Broad Superintendent Academy grad.

Anonymous said...

Were Kemp, Bergie, Chester, and Poncelete all Broad graduates?

Anonymous said...

WAA has superbly outlined the Roosevelt administration in PPS with unambiguous and substantive research. There was, however, an alternative option for PPS that was ‘clandestinely’ rejected behind closed doors in 2005-06. That preemptively jettisoned alternative, is, herein, very briefly summarized.

In November of 2005 a team (10) of "Distinguished Educators" from the Pennsylvania Department of Education were sent into the Pittsburgh Public Schools, then identified as among the lowest achieving districts in PA, to do a Quality Review that included a comprehensive review/analysis of PPS educational and student data, structures and processes with a substantive, official status report submission, and the subsequent scheduling of a support team (Distinguished Educator Initiative) to PPS for at least two years to assist the District in transformation and/ or turnaround..

The Quality Review Report was completed in December, 2006;however, Mark Roosevelt, the newly appointed PPS Superintendent, was able to refuse entry of the PDE support team that had been designated (at $400 per day paid by the State) to assist the PPS in effective and efficiently improving academic achievement across the District.

Instead, PPS moved forward with the Broad/Gates plan to put in place million dollar initiatives that have profoundly failed to significantly impact academic achievement in PPS.

Questioner said...

Where is WAA's outline of the Roosevelt administration?

Questioner said...

To 3:57 re: Kemp, Bergie, etc.- the Broad Foundation does not seem to train staff at all levels for all jobs. It seems to focus on superintendents, relatively new graduates and school board members. Those individuals are then expected to hire, fire and manage in a way that will implement the Broad approach.

Anonymous said...

They were dispensible?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Are we up to January 2009, yet? Here is what Mark Roosevelt was saying about spending and PPS:

Mark Rauterkus said...

And Randall Taylor was there saying some things about the decision making.

"Stay organized and begin to demand an answer."

Questioner said...

Someday it will be widely realized that Randall Taylor and Mark Brentley, so frequently described as "critics of Mr. Roosevelt," were all too often the only board members asking the questions that needed to be asked.

Mark Rauterkus said...

PPS got here, in part, because of its bigness All the layers of middle management make student decisions and the system interactions too much to deal with Hence, families pull out and un-engage

Just uploaded an more expansive blurb to my blog: