Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Link to Rand report on summer learning

The report can be read online for free:



Questioner said...

From the summary:

"Interviewees from the National Summer Learning Association indicated that, given
the costs, districts are uncertain of the value they would get from a summer learning
program. Furthermore, some of our interviewees who are currently offering summer
learning programs questioned the extent to which the benefits of the program outweigh
the costs. In fact, the recent economic downturn has created such severe shortfalls
in state education budgets that many districts across the country have cut what
little summer school programming they have offered. However, district leaders who are
committed to such programs have found creative ways to fund them."

Anonymous said...

My kids hated that program, they are not going this summer.

Anonymous said...

Important new thread:

PPS agenda review material

Has anyone else noticed the vast array of technology equipment moving on PEPPM contracts instead of local bids?

PEPPM has always been a good price for a single item, not for bulk.

Here's a real gem from the June agenda: a 5 year contract at almost $2 million a year with Xerox to "consolidate" copiers. The contract is charged to "various" accounts and is supposed to save a million a year.

Well, if you look at the PPS budget, the entire cost for copiers is less than $1 million today!!!!!!!! And that includes the cost of two staff positions to run the central print shop.

Is every board member asleep? Ask for the account lines, all of them and with it a five year detailed report in those accounts of the copier transactions.

Also tucked away in the report is a "donation" of time from Microsoft K12 to study the district's processes. This isn't a donation, this is a sales call for a new human resources and financial system.

Start looking backwards at the conferences CIO Mark Campbell has attended; something here really stinks.

anon2 said...

Ordinary people sitting at home for a few minutes on the computer after sending the kids to school and before heading to work are dumbstruck by posts like the previous one from anonymous 6:27. Perhaps it is time for A+ Schools to stop watching the board and direct some energy and time to delving into the area of fiscal responsibility at the district.

Anonymous said...

The PG reports today that the city and county will see severe cuts to the summer jobs programs for kids. Tell me, before stimulus money, how were these programs funded? It almost seems that we can suddenly point to the lack stimulus dollars as the excuse du jour for program cuts, even if the programs existed long before ARRA.

Questioner said...

Anon 5:04, can you tell us what your kids didn't like?

Did anyone from the program ask for feedback so they could try to correct problems?

Mark Rauterkus said...

The Summer Dreamers program with PPS did an extensive evaluation after its first year in summer 2010.

Some serious changes were made for the program in 2011.

For example, in the middle school grades (only one I really know), Last year the kids were in academic classroom settings all mornings. They had lunch. Then they had afternoon activities.

This year, there will be a 90-minute period with activities in the morning. Then there is another, different activity period in the afternoons.

The feeling of being trapped in the mornings at school is going to change.

Furthermore, the afternoon period of activites, where the most fun resided, (IMHO), got an HOUR longer. Rather than the kids getting onto the bus at 3 pm, they get to stay to 4 pm. That's a huge upgrade.

Questioner said...

Is the evaluation available to read online or elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

My kids did not like the behavior of the other campers. Constant chaos, many kids did not listen or respect adults. My kids are going to anouther program. My kids said the material was to easy and boring. They said the teacher read from a big binder. Does the YMCA have any day programs in the city?

Mark Rauterkus said...


Poll results of a different kind.

Student did a long term project on opinions of those at Pgh Obama.

Anonymous said...

69% feel positive or neutral about the school. I would like to know just the % positive.

Anonymous said...

My child did not hate it, but she did say that it was pretty boring. I did get a survey, but the survey was written in such a way that it was almost impossible to answer in any way but positive. I don't remember any questions specifically, but I do remember that I re-wrote most of the questions so that I could answer in an honest and complete way. I'm guessing my survey did not get counted since I altered it in this way. I had friends whose children were in different dreamers locations and they didn't get a survey at all...so 69% saying positive or neutral....out of how many surveys? If 2K kids were in the program and only 100 people completed the survey...well, then 69 families out of the 100 is 69% but that isn't 69% of the 2K.... Once again, the district can do whatever they need to to make numbers seem positive.

Questioner said...

We have 2 different topics mixed up on this thread- the main topic is Summer Dreamers but the 69% is on a post about the survey about a particular school (not Summer Dreamers at all).

Questioner said...

That said, "surveys" that seemed less about obtaining information and more about convincing the survey takers to form a certain opinion (early survey about a "college scholarship program"), or toward justifying decisions already made (facilities), were a hallmark of the previous administration.

Anonymous said...

Also, it does mean that there must be survey results out there from last year's Summer Dreamer's...would be interesting to see that summary.

Anonymous said...

How did they measure how much learning was taking place?