On another thread Anonymous wrote:
How we got where we are, part 13, January and February 2008:
January 23, 2008: The first action of the new year is approval to submit a grant to the Heinz Foundation for $50,000 to hire a consultant to “assist District staff in creating a communications plan seated around the key transition points in a child's Pre K-12 education.”
The Board approves the purchase of 50,000 custom lapel pins to be used in Communications and Marketing.
Chief Operations Officer Richard Fellers is forced to announce his retirement, effective November 2008.
January 25, 2008: The Board approves a three year contract with the PFT (July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010).
This is a more traditional contract and contract negotiation, with some salary increases, reductions to post-retirement health benefits and a 10 minute extension of the work day.
February 27, 2008: Communications' leads off the Board agenda with “Submission of an application for $101,475 from the Fund for Excellence for the Pittsburgh Public Schools over 12 months for costs associated with Communications and marketing materials for implementation of Excel 9-12. Specific Excel 9-12 programs benefiting from this support include IB World, University Prep, Science and Technology, Academy, Robotics, 9th Grade Nation, and Pittsburgh Promise. Funds will support various brochures, fliers, mailing costs, banners and stands, ESL translation services, and refreshments/supplies for family and community meetings. The funding period shall run from March 1, 2008
to June 30,2009.”
The Board enter into an agreement “with Focus on Results to coordinate the training and development of central and building administrators on building a high performance culture to support the realization of the District's goals. The contract amount will be paid across a negotiated schedule developed by the Consultant and the District. The total contract price
reflects 18 months of professional development for staff...from March I, 2008 to April 30, 2009. Payment shall be at the rate per schedule, total cost shall not exceed $532,220.” The Board tab brags that “the services will be provided at a deep discount from Focus on Results regular rate.”
The Board approves a contract with a graphic designer “who will revise existing artwork in order to update the Welcome Back-to-School Program materials for the 08/09 school year.”
Another consultant is hired to generate “a communications plan that will create awareness and understanding of the District's "Pathways to the Promise," which focuses on key
milestones within the PreK to grade 12 continuum of education so students are "Promise-ready" and avail themselves of The Pittsburgh Promise scholarships. Communications plan will include development of a written concept supported by key messages that will serve as the common language so that all stakeholders can be on the same page. The plan will include tactical recommendations regarding outreach to key stakeholders, including a high level time line and budget. Implementation of the tactical plan, including writing and design of any materials, is not included within this project scope. Consultant will conduct interviews and participate in meetings with staff to obtain input/feedback to
develop written concept and messages. Message testing with parents is part of the process.”
Fallout from “the Schenley matter” continues. For the fall 2008, the Board approves moving the robotics program from Schenley to Peabody and adds a 9th grade to Frick. Schenley's 10, 11 and 12th graders will move to Reizenstein. Uprep is scheduled to open with only a 9th grade.
An Executive Director of Communications position is opened.
After an exhaustive search lasting about two minutes, Broad Superintendent's Academy graduate Paul Gill (yes, father of the principal researcher from RAND and Mathmatica) is hired as Chief Operations Officer. The Board approves reimbursement of $12,500 in relocation expenses for Gill. He would stay less than one year."