On another post Anonymous wrote:
NEW POST: How we got where we are, Part X, October to November 14, 2007
On November 14, 2007 components of Roosevelt's high school reform agenda were written right into a state-mandated Improvement plan, really with shockingly little opportunity for public input into the process.
Inept concepts, such as re-creating a robotics lab at Peabody for the formerly Schenley students to use (why not just use the labs at Allderdice instead of spending $3 million on labs that would hardly ever be used?) and keeping Schenley (without IB) intact no matter how few students would graduate from Reizenstein (how mortifying were the paltry class offerings for the remaining Spartans?) were born from the plans initiated and/or approved in the window of time.
Keep in mind that by the fall of 2007, the Broad Foundation had not yet called off its grand plans around small high schools being the end all and be all, so PPS' Roosevelt/Fischetti/Lane/Lopez team could not develop such concepts and spend enough capital dollars on them quickly enough. All at the same time that our enrollment numbers were continuing to plummet.
So much else has been written here that I do not need to repeat, just mention in passing: do you really think the students at Milliones/UPrep are any better off than they would have been as Schenley Spartans? Could we have saved Schenley if not for the millions spent creating lots of little high schools when we had plenty of pretty empty high schools already? Is it any wonder that these smalls schools have left our comprehensive high schools devastated?
October 4, 2007: Focus on Results receives a $198,000 increase covering about five months of work: “Approval for Focus on Results current contract to be extended through March 14, 2008, with an additional cost not to exceed $198,000 for a total contract not to exceed $551,500. The purpose of the contract is also extended to include Executive Coaching for Executive Directors, Mentor Principals working with Principals in Training, and the Deputy Superintendent in order to support full implementation of the Principals Performance Evaluation Metric and the PULSE system.”
Keep in mind that for roughly $40,000 a month PPS was receiving only part time support from three consultants, not really even one FTE. It would not be until a new Squirrel Hill company was formed nearly four years later - on the very day that it was starting work for Pittsburgh Public Schools - that we would see a richer contract on an FTE basis (Two Bell LLC at roughly $50,000 per month).
November 14, 2007: The district buys additional space for CAPA for $2.2 million and hires no less than eight architectural firms for work related to High School Reform.
Also approved that evening is the District Improvement Plan which was required to be filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Roosevelt and Lane spend significant time at the meeting deflecting the connection Brentley and Taylor draw between the numerous high school reform actions listed in the improvement plan and what Roosevelt refers to as “the Schenley matter.”
Brentley summarized: “it is a little misleading to the public to include that in any document, that we are voting on, that is going to govern this board or to be used to govern this board in its improvement, when a lot of these issues are still unanswered? It clearly gives the indication that there is an attempt to backdoor this whole high school reform.”
The juxtaposition of the “delamination” crisis and the announcement of whole host of 6-12 programs in the district is nothing short of remarkable. Roosevelt explains: “There is a significant body of research we believe supports the creation of 6-12 learning communities.”
The commentary at the table is quite rich. As it relates to Sci Tech going into Frick, Taylor argues: “So I ask the question, why would you spend 15 million dollars to create space, when you can easily accommodate a science and technology at Westinghouse high school?”