Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is a learning specialist?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

What is a learning environment specialist? Trib:

Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers' task: Make schools safer



Questioner said...

From the article, it seems like a more fitting name would be "safety specialist." At the high school level they seem to be placed at schools that will be going through mergers (Langley/Brashear, Oliver/Perry, Westinghouse).

Anonymous said...

The Black Political Empowerment Project is a partner of the A+ Schools. It looks like they are scratching eachothers and PPS backs.

Anonymous said...

There was a teaser played on KDKA radio last night for the Marry Griffin show. Is this what it is about?

Seen it All said...

"What is a learning environment/safety specialist?"

Permit me to explain.

It is yet another expensive, PR-driven fantasy position dreamed up by the PPS leadership.

Here we will see bullies and other extreme troublemakers being mentored, coddled, and fussed over.

It would be one thing if it worked. But it doesn't.

How do I know? Because I have seen programs like this come and go for over 20 years.

The troublemakers love the attention. It actually validates their behavior.

Meanwhile, the victims just sit and suffer and hope that some day the troublemakers will be removed from their presence.

Of course, that won't happen.

So the victims, if they can, will vote with their feet and transfer to a charter school, etc.

Otherwise, they'll just have to endure a miserable high school experience.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, as a teacher who taught in Homewood, the Hill, and even Letsche, you will get total disagreement from this source regarding all of the statements posted by 11:14.

Teachers who believe that some kids can't learn or can't be taught by such teachers are CORRECT. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy as they say.

Those who believe that they and any kid can be successful WILL BE SUCCESSFUL! They make it happen! I know it because I've seen it!

Anonymous said...

So your classes were 100% proficient?

Seen it All said...

Anon 1:01

Please be aware that not only am I an urban teacher, I am a multiple award-winning urban teacher. I am no slacker when it comes to trying to motivate students. And I stand by my comments absolutely.

I do admire your enthusiasm, Anon 1:01, I really do.

And please undderstand that I do not mean this reply to be any sort of personal attack. We are all in the same business of trying to help students.

But I take strong exception to your subtle blame-the-teacher mentality. You seem to be saying that if a student fails, the failure is always due to some sort of self-fulfilling failure prophesy set up by the teacher.

That's true in some cases, but it's false in the great majority of cases.

Sure, a teacher's attitude plays a part, and exception teachers add real value to the classroom. But studies have shown that other factors (home life, etc.) dwarf a teacher's input.

Is it the fault of the teacher if a student misses a hundred days a year?

Is it the fault of the teacher if the student cannot stay out of hallway fights?

Is it the fault of the teacher if a student enjoys bullying others?

If you say yes, it is the teacher's fault because the teacher is not doing something magical to prevent these problems, then you are inadvertently enabling the bad student behavior and there is really nothing more that I can say.

Anonymous said...

100% is not the standard until 2014. However, the classes met the standard for that year, whatever the year. Certainly, the PA requirements have changed since the initial assessments. Actually, they have never yet been at 100%, regardless of the assessment used.

You should know that if you are a teacher, 3:07. If not, well . . . .

Anonymous said...

A parent a child is with year after year, day after day is going to have a much more profound influence on the attitude of the child than a teacher who spends a limited part of the day with the child for 9 months. Particularly up to age 18, think back to how your attitudes about school, religion, the world were influenced by your parents.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I have to agree with 11:14-- saw it day after day last year-- sure my classes were fine etc- but, I saw the victims--in a "good" elementary school-- and yes they are leaving because newsflash to super teachers and administrators-- you can "love and support away mental problems" - not in large group settings where children sit and wait everyday to learn... while these sad needy students perform. Even the teachers who are great-- and many are-- cant monitor every hallway, every bus, every bathroom- and as long as the performers are rewarded-- ask your kids- yes they are...people will be walking away.

Anonymous said...

-- Those who believe that they and any kid can be successful WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!

--So your classes were 100% proficient?

--Actually, they have never yet been at 100%, regardless of the assessment used.

Ohhh, so successful really means you got some of the kids to proficient. Most good enough teachers can do that. They don't have to be great.

So your self-fulfilling prophecy wasn't actually that all your students would succeed, it was that a certain percentage would?

Anonymous said...

Some one drank the kool aide

Anonymous said...

Success, currently, is 72% in Reading and 63% in Math. "Success" will be at 100% in 2014.

Hope that all teachers are meeting with "success."

Anonymous said...

What we need is some real people for their own neighborhoods to help us out. Even if we have to send them to school while they are helping PPS, or we need to find some out there who already have their education completed that are from the neighborhood where the schools are located.

These kids are of a different generations and they need people that can handle them and they respect. I would be the first to admitt that I could not do it. But there must be others that can and who care. We need to pay them, and allow them to help PPS get order to our Schools. We should work with our local employers and governments to ask them to lend them to us for a season or two and lets rotate them in and out of our schools.

Anonymous said...

Im sure there are plenty people that would be willing to teach or run a program in there old neighborhood schools, even if it was for a short time. I know there are plenty of people who are police officers, governments workers, medical people, business people and various professional that would help in their old school. I know plently of northsiders that would go back to help Perry and oliver in a heartbeat.

lets use them, instead of hiring all these out of towners until we get things fixed first. Lets restore order with people who care and know the kids and neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

"Success, currently, is 72% in Reading and 63% in Math. "Success" will be at 100% in 2014.

Hope that all teachers are meeting with "success." "

Okay, if you're teaching both reading and math, you're in elementary, I assume, in 3rd to 5th grade.

That means your students came to school and have been there since the newer curriculums and changes were made.
Why aren't they at 100%?
What's going to be so special about the kids two years from now?
What have they gotten that wasn't given to the kids you had last year?

If you had a classroom of 25, that means 7 of your children weren't proficient in reading and 9 weren't proficient in math (estimates, obviously, based on that 25).

How did you fail those 7 kids and 9 kids? Did you not believe in them enough? Did you think they weren't capable and your thoughts somehow infected them? Was it just earlier teachers not thinking hard enough?

I really wish you'd explain what's going to be so different in 2014 and why it can't be done this year (or last spring).

Anonymous said...

9:06 - Monday evening I had the opportunity to meet and hear the young African American males who are now at Westinghouse as Heinz fellows. They are being paid to interact with the young men at Westinghouse and they are quite impressive. Hopefully, this will be successful and lead to some of these young men becoming teachers.

Anonymous said...

Places like Harlem Children's Zone truly believe but faithful teachers are not enough. My child had an HCZ roommate this summer and told about all sorts of extra hours and attention, early morning summer tutoring, sponsors for special summer classes. All of this is necessary for results that are just "okay." There is a lot to make up for.

Anonymous said...

"I really wish you'd explain what's going to be so different in 2014 and why it can't be done this year (or last spring)."

Learning is incremental, most of us require some repetition, some practice, and deeper understanding to "own" new ways of "thinking." Most educators know this and build skills in a cumulative manner with students giving them time to fully grasp and apply new learning.

That's why schools have had since 2003 to move incrementally toward the goal of 100% by 2014.

Anonymous said...

So, it's okay with you that those kids didn't succeed? It was just too bad for them that they weren't born two years later?

What sort of incremental changes in YOU will have happened in two years that you will fail no child? You can't speed that up even the tiniest bit?

Next year you'll write off a couple fewer and then finally in 2014 (and every year after that), you'll reach every child?

Sounds sort of...magical.

Old Timer said...

Anyone who has to come onto a message board to trumpet themselves as being "super teacher" while castigating others is representative of PPS administration dogma at its best. I guess you must feel "empowered" these days.
While I won't even try to discuss your drinking of the kool aid that flows from Bellefield Avenue these days, let me just say that while I can appreciate your efforts, your ignorance is beyond amazing.
Unless you walk a mile in the shoes of teachers who toil in incredibly horrid conditions, you cannot begin to understand their situation, nor have the ability to throw stones.
I have to wonder if you are some disciple of those making RISE videos these days.
Good teachers ARE important in the process. At the high school level, that influence has been lessened via a curriculum that is amazingly horrible and bland, and seeks to have students teach themselves via continuous group activities.
Good parenting is important, as well.
There are myriad parts that make up success for a student.
Giving us the Arne Duncan/Bill Gates propaganda and then calling yourself award-winning, well...it seems to me that the ivory tower mentality to divide and destroy is working quite well with you.

haveaniceday said...

The program bringing in the Heinz fellows to Westinghouse is just the beginning of what is needed to support the efforts of teachsers in classrooms. Anon 9:45 I too hope some become teachers, but in the lopsided world we live in it would not be a surprise if the aspiration is to become an administrator. It seems so many have deluded themselves into believing administrators save students. It is the only explanation I, a lay person, can come up with to explain why the district is so doggone top heavy.

Anonymous said...

Why must PPS pay government people to come in to take over the mess made by the administrators of the Broad foundation. Sounds like a comment that City Council Teresa Smith would say. She is just dying to take over PPS property and take more power. She even manages to speak at PPS functions like the Union Township School Bell ceremony at Banksville Elementary. There is a reason that City governance is separated from School governance.

What makes City Council believe that they could do a better job at managing the Schools than who we have in there now? They are having enough trouble managing the City. Isn't the City almost bankrupted too? Besides, Ravenstahl and his cronies have been in cahoots with Roosevelt at the start!