Saturday, November 5, 2011

High number of adminstrators in PPS

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post:
The Trib. has an article today about declining enrollment and the glut of administrators in PPS.
The two Westinghouse principals put on PAID leave are PELA grads."


Questioner said...

Here's the link:

Questioner said...

On another post "A word from Bellefield" wrote:

"A word from Bellefield has left a new comment on your post "Westinghouse administration":

My former boss used to go at Roosevelt hard on the issue of PELAs.

PPS never needed a "pipeline" for new principals; it needed a backflow preventer.

Since the very first PELA class the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss administration has had to create jobs to place PELAs in.

Now, with 20 principals who were PELAs and still more placed as "directors" or "coordinators" Pps finally getting the backflow prevention model.

Shame on the Pps spokesperson for lying: PELA program is exactly why there is a glut of school administrators."

Anonymous said...

Yup -- it was ridiculous to think that a district would need that many more principals. The goal, I'm sure, was to start pushing older principals out -- earlier retirements or using "PULSE" to prove them incompetent.

Unfortunately for them, it turns out that the PELA program wasn't churning out just fabulous people. It was turning out "Yes, administration, what else can I do for you, administration?" people rather than people who were skilled at managing other adults in schools.

They also seemed to teach them that just being friends to the students was the same as doing the right thing for students.

Questioner said...

Something really striking has been the Broad/Gates assumption that they can sweep in and almost overnight replace systems that took decades to develop with something better. They may have had something to offer in terms of money and brainpower, but it is arrogant to discount experience and wipe EVERYTHING off the table. The better way would be to go in, really listen, keep what works and only fix what needs to be fixed- and do it in a logical, evidence-based manner starting on a small scale and again continuing and expanding only what is working. Big picture managers will never want to get into the details of the work of school nurses, social workers, schedulers, etc. but all these people need to be on board for schools to work.

I am a sheep said...

Ashamed to say I was a parent who sat through a meeting where PELA and PULSE was explained and sold to us. Came away thinking that PPS could be a factory for the rest of the country and churn out highly effective administrators capable of amazing things. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dear sheep-- dont beat yourself up-- they have paud PR/advertising people to make evey step of this sound oh-so-grand. It is hard to believe that anyone who has ever parented a child or taught children at all, would attempt to run a school on the PELA principles. That is what stands out-- you would not permit children to act out again and again, injure others etc in your home. Most parents figure out that being students buddies doesnt work.
If you listen hard to our students, they will wisely tell you what principals should do.

Anonymous said...

"too many schools with too few students..." caused the glut? Too funny. Won't closing schools create more glut? The thinking from PPS presented in the article is upside down. How can they say PELA did not create the oversupply? Didn't Ms. Abbottt come from another school district where she was very successful? It seems possible that many residents saw PELA as a way to find more prominence in education on a stage bigger than Pittsburgh. It is possible that PELA and PULSE and even the the teacher evaluation efforts would catapult Pittsburgh to national prominence.

Anonymous said...

Professional agendas EVERYWHERE and NOT a STUDENT to be found anywhere on those agendas, that is PPS.

Questioner said...

This whole obsession with national recognition came with Mark Roosevelt. It would be nice to be a role model, but making national recognition a primary goal can lead to decisions that are not best for the students we have right here, right now in Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt has grander political aspirations than to be President of a College/University. That is why there needs to be national attention brought to Pittsburgh, and that is why PPS will not allow it to fail.

It would not surprise me if test cheating took place so that PPS could tout making AYP in 2 out of 3 years.

Anonymous said...


"Making Progress in Corrective Action II" is the PA/PDE official status for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

PPS is NOT in the "Made AYP" category.


PPS is one of six Districts out of the 43 Allegheny County Districts that, according to the rules, is NOT in the “Made AYP” category.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:20

I understand the difference, but the general public does not. That is why PPS and the Board President keeps touting the 'making AYP 2 years in 3 years.'

Anonymous said...

I understand the issue as well, but it's stupid! The state says both things -- that the first year you make AYP after not having made it, you are in the making progress category.

It's both, not either or. Even in the link the person gives as proof, there is a green check for Pittsburgh (made AYP) and a yellow shield (making progress -- meaning that if they make AYP again next year it will be a green shield and if they don't they drop another level.)

Not sure why it's such a big deal -- the posters are NOT lies, though they do mislead the uninformed. Those uninformed get their information from the PG and the press releases anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps instead of SEEKING recognition for your hidden agendas, PPS could look at when we had a world-class district under Dr. Wallace, who DID train administrators to run school districts-
The problem with talking about "too many admin" is that it is translated by the general public as principals= admin-- NO Folks-- it is all the project leaders/ directors/ supervisors/ consultants/ even coaches who never ever SEE a real live student.
if everyone employed by PPS had to teach someone SOMETHING- even to read 10 sight words-- this would be a different district

Anonymous said...

It real issue around AYP is the whole designation as it relates to PPS. PPS is among the 25 lowest achieving district in the state of PA. That means that there are 475 districts that are achieving at higher standards, scores and ratings.

So, what is the purpose of touting "making AYP"??

There are only two schools in PPS where African American students reached the minimum target for Reading "Proficiency."

That means that on the average in the grade levels tested (3,4,5,6,7,8,11) PPS has NOT been capable of teaching Reading to more than 6, 500 Black students!!

So, what on earth is the significance of proclaiming "AYP"???????

Questioner said...

PPS's response has been that AYP is signficant because it shows that even if students are not proficient, they are making adequate progress toward becoming proficient. PPS notes that because many students start out below grade level it is necessary to consider not just whether they are proficient but also the progress made.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's just throw another factor into the mix. How does PPS explain the use of the GM Growth Model as the way thay calculate "progress."

As put forth here previously: The BM Growth Model is a "PROJECTED" level of "proficiency." It reflects a "proficiency" calculation for sometime in the FUTURE meaning the district, the school, the students have NOT yet arrived at that "proficiency" level but are counted as progressing with the use of a formula not the current reality.

It's all a facade and the debate is filled with anything but facts. But keep on arguing for PPS. Certainly, the money PPS spends on PR is doing the job for those who choose to disregard facts.

Real research on PPS results reveals reasons for total OUTRAGE in the Pittsburgh community. But then PPS does not teach competence in research or we wouldn't be in this state. Right?

Anonymous said...

12:47 - Sorry for the errors in some of these posts. ( I don't have my glasses.)

However, let us continue to examine the FACTS. PPS students and schools were much closer to the State minimum target 10 years ago when PSSA began. As the targets rose, PPS fell shorter and shorter, so, in fact, they have NOT progress as other districts AND have fallen farther and farther behind using every excuse and formula available to disguise or manipulate the data year after year.

We have not progressed terms of our standing over the past ten years--- a year here, a year there you might find minimal progress but overall PPS is falling and failing miserably. Check the data. Do the research.

Anonymous said...

To continue: Yes, we must always look at the progress of individual students, classes, schools based on the starting point. But, with lack of progress over ten years instead of forward progress tells the story.

Also, using the Growth Model is, as stated by AYP, the last resort:

"The Growth Model will be applied to an AYP Performance Indicator only if the indicator cohort has not met AYP performance by any of the existing goals or targets."

As long as this approach is not challenged, PPS will continue on this path of excuses and deception.

Anonymous said...

Here is the site:

What is the Growth Model?
"The Growth Model recognizes the efforts of schools whose students have not achieved proficiency but are on trajectories towards proficiency on future PSSA exams. The Growth Model will be calculated for Performance Indicators (i.e., the all student group and up to nine subgroups). Projected scores are calculated for all students - including students who are proficient. If a projected score cannot be calculated for a particular student, the student’s actual score is used. The Growth Model will be applied to an AYP Performance Indicator only if the indicator cohort has not met AYP performance by any of the existing goals or targets. Actual, not projected, PASA scores, PSSA-M scores, 3rd grade scores, and 11th grade scores are always used, as well as the scores for any students with insufficient data points to make a projection."

Questioner said...

Re: "How does PPS explain the use of the GM Growth Model as the way thay calculate "progress."

- The GM Growth Model is apparently accepted and approved by the state so the PPS view would be that's good enough for PPS.

Anonymous said...

Growth Model - Accepted and approved??? Check the PDE statemens!

"The Growth Model will be applied to an AYP Performance Indicator only if the indicator cohort has not met AYP performance by any of the existing goals or targets."


Hardly, "accepted and approved by the state"" wouldn't you agree??

(Just politics and PR 'cop-outs' as usual.)

Anonymous said...

Let’s cite additional evidence (a PSSA skill). Today’s PG under”Business” not “Education.” Let’s hope Eleanor Chute and ‘others’ here take note. Please read the entire article. This is only an excerpt to make the point:

“Unfortunately, a high school diploma in the Pittsburgh region doesn't necessarily mean that a student has the basic skills employers expect from a high school education. Pennsylvania State System of School Assessment test scores for 2011 show that more than 37 percent of our 11th-graders can't do math properly, and 26 percent can't read adequately. That means that southwestern Pennsylvania schools are sending more than 9,000 young people into the workforce every year without the minimum skills they need to get a job, much less go to college.
It's not just the high schools that are failing. The problem starts all the way back in elementary school. Nearly 30 percent of the fifth-graders in the region can't read at grade level, and more than 20 percent aren't proficient in math.
No business could survive if one-third of its products were defective, and our region can't be competitive in the global marketplace if one-third of our workforce lacks basic skills.
If you think the state tests may be too tough, think again. The National Assessment of Education Progress has found that Pennsylvania's standard for "proficiency" is only equivalent to what NAEP calls "basic" skills. Under the NAEP standard for proficiency, fewer than 50 percent of the elementary school students in our region would be considered proficient in either reading or math.
You might think that your own local school district is doing well because it proudly told the community it is meeting state standards for "adequate yearly progress," or "AYP." But a school can be classified as making "adequate yearly progress" even if one-third of its students are not proficient in math and one-fourth are not proficient in reading.”

Read more:

Perhaps this is worthy of a new POST>

Anonymous said...

Huh? Are you attempting to say that PPS is the only district that ever uses a growth model and that it isn't "approved" by the state to use a growth model? I'm not sure why this drives you so crazy! If you don't like how the state does it, try to get the state to change. If there's one area where the PPS isn't outright lying it's this one!

People that don't know about how this scoring and labeling is all done (BY THE STATE) need to hear that we haven't caught up to the state, that we haven't improved any faster than any other district that didn't have Roosevelt/Broad/Gates/consultants on top of consultants, that we've spent all that money and destroyed what used to be an okay district which was on the path to improvement.

People in Pittsburgh need to hear that the money spent has been a WASTE and that any further cuts must come from all the people that are not dealing directly with children. They really don't need a war of words about something they don't understand to begin with!

Anonymous said...

2:39 - The growth model is not a generic term (as you have used it). It is defined very specifically and with a purpose which should not be easily dismissed. It is "GM" Growth Model, as defined. It must also be clearly differentiated from PPS's VAM and PVAAS. These are VERY different terms with very different usage. You mix and match them at great risk to our students.

Anonymous said...

5:25 --
Laughing is the only way I can get through your postings!

I am well aware of the meaning of the Growth Model. You were, in fact, the person who was implying that it was something made up by the PPS to cover their lack of progress. Oddly, though, you did this by quoting the state's website. (see your 12:57, 1:10 and 1:12 posts)

I know that you do know that this is DEFINED by the state and CALCULATED by the state and not something specific to the PPS, yet you post misleadingly that PPS has somehow invented the GM.

I can only conclude that it makes you feel smart to try and tell other people that they have no reading comprehension? You are more misleading in your postings than the PPS is in saying that they made AYP (something that they are entitled to do by the state definitions).

No one here is arguing that the PPS are currently doing a good job. EVERYONE gets that. Being near the bottom of a list of 500 is pretty clear to everyone.