Friday, September 30, 2011

On the September "Start a new post" SolutionsRUs wrote:

"I did some rough calculations from the "How We got there" series. Had to do some rough estimates because actual dollar figures were missing from several items (whoever posted the series, is it possible to get the actual costs for all of the items in the series?).

So, from July 2005 to January 2009, PPS spent the following:

Consultants: $20.8M
Communications and Marketing: $3.1M
Increase in Central Admin: $6.1M
PELA program: $2.6M
Robotics move: $3M
Construction change orders: $5.9M
CEP: $12.5M

For a total of $54M

And that does not include the construction costs for Reizenstein, Sci Tech and Milliones...anyone have those numbers?

This is a travesty. Not one cent of this money was seen in the classroom. "

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Start a new post/ search PURE Reform's blog

To start a new post, reply to this post with your question, comment or suggestion for a new topic. The adminstrator will then start a new post with your topic as a title.You can post anonymously if you prefer. Click on "post a comment". Type in the word you see for word verification. Choose how you would like to be identified in the post click "publish your comment".

PSSA results released

From another post "Dr. Marge McMackin has left a new comment":

"TODAY the Pennsylvania Department of Education released the OFFICIAL AYP/PSSA results for 2011. Listed here for public access are the PDE websites for information relevant to this region.

You will see ALL of the Allegheny County School Districts that made AYP outright. PPS did NOT.
PPS is in "Making Progress -Corrective Action II"

http://paayp.emetric.net/County/DistrictList/c2

ALL Allegheny County Districts “Made AYP” outright EXCEPT the following five Districts: (Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg are in “Making Progress”)

1. Wilkinsburg “Making Progress-School
Improvement II”

2. Pittsburgh Public “Making Progress: in Corrective
Action II”

3. Sto-Rox –“District Improvement I”

4. McKeesport - “Corrective Action II 1st Year”

5. Woodland Hills - “Corrective Action II 3rd Year”

PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS AYP/PSSA Results:
http://paayp.emetric.net/District/SchoolList/c2/102027451

PPS DISTRICT GRADE LEVEL DATA:
http://paayp.emetric.net/District/DataTable/c2/102027451

CHARTER SCHOOLS:
http://paayp.emetric.net/District/SchoolList/c2/4"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Langley as a city wide public safety magnet?

From Mark Rauterkus's blog:

http://rauterkus.blogspot.com/2011/09/cant-langley-be-turned-into-city-wide.html

"College graduation rates stagnant even as enrollment rises"

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11271/1178096-298.stm

Monday, September 26, 2011

PPS officials seek remedies for violence in schools

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_758705.html

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How we got where we are part XXVI January 2009

On another post Anonymous wrote:

How we got where we are, part 26, January 2009

January 21, 2009: The Board approves “an agreement with DeJong/Kimball Partnership to prepare long-term facilities' needs and utilization strategy. This study is required as part of the District's strategic planning for the future. Normally, these studies are done every 10 years. The last facilities study for Pittsburgh was done 12 years ago. The plan shall evaluate all the District's facilities' suitability, functional adequacy, technology readiness, code compliance, required capital upgrades, equitable distribution of resources and a plan for its future needs over the next ten years. This study shall result in a "Plan for the District's Future" that can be implemented.”

With so much at stake, the leadership team of Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss would no doubt attend every meeting of the cross-functional team, wouldn't they? Yeah right; don't look for this crew when the sun goes down if the camera is not rolling.

The Board also authorizes a $53,714 contract “with Grant Communications Consulting Group who worked with the Division of Communications and Marketing to produce the first two issues of The Pittsburgh Educator which were published in May and October 2008. Services provided included writing, photography and design; coordination of printing and mailing. Approval of this contract will authorize Grant Communications Consulting Group to continue working with Communications and Marketing to produce two additional issues scheduled for publication in the Spring and Fall of 2009."

The Board approves a $50,000 increase for the contract with the Law Offices of Ira Weiss “for professional services related to Real Estate Tax Matters, Bankruptcy Cases and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) matters” for the year ended December 31, 2008. “The need for an amendment is driven by the significant amount of base year appeals filed by Allegheny County.” This contract, which carries a base year amount of $215,000, is over and above the monthly retainer for Solicitor services.

Fast forward to 2011. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable that it was a lawsuit filed by the Law Offices of Ira Weiss that started us down the path of another Countywide reassessment for values that will be used starting in January 2012?

With some estimates of the number of appeals reaching 100,000 in Allegheny County, the big winner of the reassessment is not school districts or municipalities – by law they are prohibited from receiving a windfall – the big winner is those law firms that stand to generate a significant amount of business by filing and defending against appeals. Brilliant strategy Counselor, no wonder you are too busy in Pittsburgh to represent the Montour School District any longer.

Paul Gill, Chief Operations Officer and Broad Superintendent's Academy graduate, resigns his position after less than one year on the job. He retains the moving expenses the district reimbursed. In less than three years he has been to two different California school districts.

Mark Brentley proposes a policy that would have required the administration to respond to public speakers with 48 hours.

Brentley explains: “If you talk to some parents, they say that when they come up with real important issues, the first thing they say is you're pointed to the Parent Hotline. The Parent Hotline gives them a voice mail. The Parent Hotline will give someone who will take a note and it then starts right back into that vicious circle. Parents, taxpayers have got to be brought into the loop in this Administration....We're left to react after the Administration has already made the move....Here is an opportunity of saying to the public we're not perfect, but we can simply listen to your response, and we're going to work on it and try to get back to you in a timely fashion.”

The resolution is defeated by a vote of 2-7, with only Mr. Taylor supporting it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Educational forum

On another post Anonymous wrote:

The remarks by Dr. Steve Perry, today at the Educational Forum at the August Wilson Center, were strong and 'dead on.'

"Dr. Perry courageously stepped forward in outright opposition to Dr. Lane and Esther Bush who continue to blame poverty and other 'conditions' for not being able to educate all children to high
levels. (Although it appears the the Urban League has proficiency in the 90th %ile.)

Dr. Perry advocated for the closing of all "failing schools."

Sala Udin stood and advocated for transforming all "failing" schools into schools that educated all children successfully.

We CAN make that happen if the Community is UNITED, and PPS changes its current philosophy."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Single gender education misguided according to new Science mag report

From the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/education/23single.html

Current plans

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"I don't understand why Peabody's location and condition will attract more familes to send ther children there.

I honestly believe this part of a 10 year "failure plan". Spend, disrupt, anger the community & city to the point of convincing everyone that teachers are the problem, public schools suck & everyone throws their hands up and caves in and we become pro charter school & vouchers.

Remember Broad & Gates are into "Venture philanthropy" this is not charity, they expect a return. Privatization of public services is the goal."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXV December 2008

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"NEW POST

How we got where we are, part 25, December 2008

For the silver edition of the series, we pause for a moment of deep reflection....

December 17, 2008: Central Office expansion continues with the promotion of a Principal on Special Assignment Nancy Kodman to Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. Holland O'Donnell is hired as Manager of Afterschool Programs.

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”

The minutes reveal a pretty fascinating discussion around a fairly small dollar contract. An intern is hired to work with one of the Board residents on the issue of enrollment decline. “That the Board authorize, this year, the District to began efforts to research the reasons for declining enrollment in the district and to develop a 3 year plan to address declining enrollment....Marni Pastor, a Broad Resident working in the Office of the Superintendent, is leading plan development.”

Mark Brentley notes that “If you talk to some parents openly and honestly, some will share their concern that most of the initiatives in this city, over the last two and a half years, has either been Broad endorsed or initiated somehow, some way, by those individuals with Broad certification.”

We start to witness Superintendent Roosevelt backpedal from one of the initial goals of the Pittsburgh Promise. “But the point here is to identify that percentage of folks whose decision making we can effect....a majority of people, and our initial data leads us to conclude that, are leaving for reasons beyond our control.”

Let us not forget as we watch this unfold that in 2007 McKinsey projected that an “unmanaged outcome” would result in the school district having an enrollment of just 22,000 by 2014. It will be interesting to see just how much better the Broad/Gates driven outcome is three years from now.

Fast forward from 2008 for a moment to 2011. It has become clear that while Pittsburgh's schools under the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss regime have continued enrollment decline, while charter school enrollment has grown quite aggressively (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “More parents picking charter schools for their kids” August 28, 2011).

Seeing our charter school enrollment increase while Pittsburgh's student count declines should be a wake up call to action for the community and for those of us who care so deeply that we will continue to relentlessly fight and advocate for quality schools in the city.

The market is speaking and quite frankly it should be telling us that the experimentation with school configurations (we have them all, including a fixation with 6-12), deep partnerships with national foundations, managed curriculum and oversold professional development that hamstrings the creativity of our staff, PELA principals, and relentless public relations machine are not meeting the demands of Pittsburgh families.

In this sense, the “How we got where we are” series is in part designed as a road map to re-engineer our school system or perhaps shed it of expensive and corrupting influences. We lost 1,616 students from the beginning of the 2007-08 school year to the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. This should have been a signal that something was wrong, very wrong.

We might do well to apply Occam's razor or at least the wisdom of French novelist Honore de Balzac: “During the great storms of our lives we imitate those captains who jettison their weightiest cargo.” "

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A+ statement on budget

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"A+ Schools
Statement on Pittsburgh Public Schools Budget Challenges.

http://www.aplusschools.org/pdf/find/StatementonBudget%20IssuesFINAL.pdf

A+ Schools Releases Statement on School Closings, Budget Cuts

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=ri78lwcab&v=001rBBS2uM5H3-5Vj149b0DTyCfe1P6ao97VZ-Ke4Wt-5FisLOuVF_KGIcdpSMU5dCOAGq_TrlWIDu5Mc_u8_4hlsS5CpDTXq9Yj1-t7oVDqLzSEADwV-XItkDM-26QYR7vwf5t3uJIjbMqBGNutiLNaYZ667K9VSq977KF9CPOJEHVoH-jkYhUzuBZLwhk1bqck2vamq5LfiIoC6QUIFtUJL185xxjuf3Fjq8WQiwaMBzpgF5S2Z-c-niy6JVwUpJj--qDyZtatgESjdLcuOy9zcc0_Cgoc4FS3T38e_r0lu3UjmR6ktEBxw%3D%3D"

Monday, September 19, 2011

PPS safety chief on paid administrative leave

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11262/1175954-100.stm

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXIV (November 2008)

On another post Anonyous wrote:

"November 25, 2008: Deputy Director of Education for the Gates Foundation, John Deasy, is hired to be the keynote speaker at the January 27. 2009 district wide inservice at the Convention Center. Deasy's task is to “speak to PPS teachers and administrators about the work that we are doing in PPS and the importance of staying our course with reform efforts in PPS.”

The Board approves submission of a required, six-year Strategic Plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (POE) for the period of 2008-2014. The resolution caveats that “it includes initiatives that are already underway, as well as initiatives that the District will need to plan, design, and begin to implement in the coming six years.”

It was the season to give thanks, especially if you are friends with the Chief of Staff.

The Board approves a contract with “contract with Meade Johnson, a marketing and communications consultant, to build upon the work completed this year in developing the Welcome Back to School materials to inform PreK-12 parents. Services will be to support and assess any adjustments that need to be made in the process of compiling school-based materials and District information, the creation of updated materials and distribution of materials for the Welcome Back to School binder and District-wide calendar for all PPS families.”

Also ratified is a contract for $422,000 with graphic design firm Dennis Moran Design to provide "on-call" graphic design services for the Communications and Marketing Department, schools and other District departments. Services may also include photography, writing print, broadcast, web production services specialized printing/promotional services, research, placement of media space and direct mail services.”

Also finding a seat at the Chief of Staff's Thanksgiving table was graphic design firm Kolbrener USA for $270,000 to “provide "on-call" graphic design services for the Communications and Marketing Department, schools and other District departments. Services may also include photography, writing print, broadcast, web production services, specialized printing/promotional services, research, placement of media space and direct mail services.”

And just when you thought you ate enough turkey, the Board approves a $370,000 engagement with graphic design firm CPI Creative to “provide "on-call" graphic design services for the Communications and Marketing Department, schools and other District departments. Services may also include photography, writing print, broadcast, web production services, specialized printing, promotional services, research, placement of media space and direct mail services.”

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”

Mark Brentley questions Mark Roosevelt's 2008-09 goals: “Anywhere else, any other corporate world, where a director requested information, that employee would have some major, major problems, with not providing information. But under this present atmosphere of this leadership, it goes on. He can do whatever he wants. And so when you do something like that, I am asking, what is our role here, why don't we just all go home and just say, "This is Mark Roosevelt, go do what you want, make the mistakes that you want, we will blame it on somebody else," because there is no accountability here, and so where do you go when you want to at least ask a question, without getting beat up.”

Randall Taylor adds that “I think that we have come up woefully short on our Superintendent evaluations for the last three years.” Taylor makes a motion “that the Board begin a process, within contractual obligations, to create a more public and inclusive Superintendent evaluation process, with the first report by March 2009.” The motion fails with only Brentley and Taylor voting yes."

How we got where we are Part XXIII (October 2008)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 23, October 2008:

October 22, 2008: We start this edition with a $32,000 amendment to the Campos Research marketing contract to “to expand the services provided through the original contract to include the addition of two statistically valid representative telephone survey projects among parents/caregivers that will inform the assessment process for the District's ALA schools as well as the assessment process being done to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons why parents may be choosing other educational options or leaving the City."

Miller and Vann are reconfigured to send all grade 6-8 students to University Prep.

Board authority is granted to “make the necessary arrangements with the David Lawrence Convention Center (1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15222) in order to accommodate approximately 3,000 PPS employees for a common half day professional development session on January 27, 2009 for a total cost not to exceed $89,000.00. Having all District professional staff together at one time will build coherency and continuity around the district-wide academic initiatives as we support and commit to ensuring that students will be Promise-Ready.”

Old friends from Boston paid us a visit, with the Board voting to “enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with High School Futures, Inc. for the purpose of developing leadership teams in our high schools consisting of principals and teachers. Services will consist of developing a curriculum for leadership training and data-analysis training to provide over a period of 15 days of professional development.”

Mr. McCrea points out that High School Futures is “it is a new program, it has no history at all.”

Feeling short-handed in the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Board approves “a contract with four (4) Journalism and Communication Interns from local colleges and universities to provide assistance to Communications and Marketing staff in gathering and preparing information for publication of good news stories about District and school activities and events. Stories will be submitted for publication in community newspapers, Pittsburgh Educator and the District website. Additionally, interns will take video and digital photos to accompany news stories.”

Not satisfied yet, the Board also hires another secretary for the Office of the Chief of Staff.

The District enters into an agreement with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh to assist with the marketing and sale of closed school buildings.

A $294,000 bid is awarded for masonry restoration at Fort Pitt.

Roughly a month before Broad Superintendent's Academy graduate Paul Gill, Chief Operations Officer, announces the end to his less than one year tenure at Pittsburgh, the Board rushes to approve a reorganization of the Facilities and Plant Operations divisions.

Derrick Lopez is name Acting Executive Director of Secondary Schools, but keeps a monthly stipend as Chief of High School Reform.

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs” and urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses.”

Mark Brentley speaks against the continued shuffle of Hill District students: “it would really be helpful if -- at some point, if it is the leadership of this Board, or if it is through the Broad Foundation, or wherever it is from, that they tell us early on what is the plan for the poor black children in this District, and just tell us straight up. Because to continue to move, and move, and then change, has negative impact on those students....it is unspeakable, it is outrageous, it is terrible, and it definitely does not fit under the slogan that is thrown around here, the Excellence for All.”

Mrs. Colaizzi cheerleads for the Board majority: “U Prep is an unbelievable educational opportunity, we should be very proud of it, we should be looking at it as a future opportunity for our children that otherwise maybe they would never have received.”"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sheraden residents plead to keep Langley

From the Tribune:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_756663.html

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXII September 2008

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 22, September 2008

September 24, 2008: The Board establishes Uprep “as a magnet program beginning with the 2009-10 school year."

Central office bloat continues with the opening of not one but two project manager positions for University Prep.

The Chief of Staff submits another contract with Dennis Moran Design to work with the Marketing and Communication team. “The firm will create secondary graphics including: (1) color palette, (2) fonts, and (3) imagery. They will deliver marketing materials including: (1) a capabilities brochure, (2) a multipurpose pocket folder, (3) website graphics, (4) insert sheets, (5) presentation materials and (7) additional materials as needed. Responsibilities of the contractor include print production coordination and management, layout, image creation including illustration or photography, and delivering these complete materials on time and in accordance with the marketing and communications plan.”

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”

Randall Taylor, on changes in the magnet policy, raises “issues about maintaining the diversity, the gender and racial diversity that we have in our magnet admissions and our magnet schools, and so my sincere hope as we go along is that, one, that we will have the involvement of groups like the NAACP of Pittsburgh, the Advocates for African-American Students and other groups who may want to be a part of creating a process that at the end of the day that we maintain the gender and racial diversity that we've enjoyed in this district for over 30 years.”

Mark Brentley, knowing that Uprep had only 138 students, questions the need to two project managers: “Can you tell me what is the -- what is a project manager for the University Prep?”

In a tag line more worthy of Cosmo (“50 is the new 20!”), Mark Roosevelt explains the grading of all E's as 50%: “I, myself, am not a statistician, but to those who are, there is a great body of evidence to show that if an E is treated as anything less than that, it is over represented in a student's grade accumulation and, therefore, is unfair to the student....let me just make it clear. If a student takes an exam or takes a test or hands in an assignment on which they earn a 20, when they're handed that back, they are given a 20, and that is how it's described and that is how it's presented to them. It is only when the grade point average is compiled for that course that it would be represented as a 50.”

Mark Brentley counters that “it would be very, very hard for me to believe that seasoned, established educators would support this....a false hope that he or she is really progressing when they're really not...the biggest and most important thing here is that it never accurately measures that student's achievement, and when you're playing those kinds of shell games, it's unfair to the students....when you really, really look at it, it simply makes no sense. These kids are shortchanged if this process is being used, and somewhere, somehow somebody's got to give some of these students some tough love....it is not only our job, it is our duty to make sure that we're open and honest and fair with all students.”

In a real gem that we will revisit later, Bill Isler states emphatically that “I can tell you this: Mr. Roosevelt has no authority to sign any contract or negotiate any contract without board approval. This board approves every single contract. That's part of the school code.”

Brentley discusses Roosevelt's whereabouts: “Mark, we are going through some trying times here. We've closed so many schools. We have so many new that you would need all hands on deck at all times, and it was just stunning to see that on the very first day of school you were teaching and not within our district.”"

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Westinghouse enrollment

Enrollment numbers are normally updated on the first of every month. Westinghouse started school early, in August, but there is no information on enrollment:

http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/15212011160423557/site/default.asp

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tribune article on achievement disparities

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_755254.html

Monday, September 5, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXI (August 2008)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 21, August 2008

Happy Labor Day to all of my brothers and sisters in the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and Pittsburgh Building Trades. In your honor and in thanks to all that you do for our students, we present “How we got where we are, part 21, August 2008.”

August 27, 2008: Dr. Judy Johnston is hired at the rate of $1,500 per day “to provide support and consultation and recommendations for executive directors and principals in support of the PULSE program, specifically principal evaluations.”

Like the Focus on Results contract the month before, this contract begs the question, if we have executive directors, why are we paying consultants to do their work?

But the duplication of services was only getting warmed up.

The Board also approved a contract with Dr. Paula Bevan at the rate of $1,800 per day “to provide consultative support on the development of a comprehensive document describing the performance improvement process for school leaders...Dr. Bevan will also work with executive directors and principals to identify appropriate evidence which principals may provide to demonstrate proficiency on standards and components.”

With consultants to be hired, the Communications & Marketing team would not be left behind. The Board approves a contract “Valerie Becker to provide support to the web development team during the redesign and launch of school websites.”

Who can stop at just one more Marketing contract for the Chief of Staff? The Board also authorized “its proper officers to retain a graphic design firm to rework the magnet booklet and provide final production artwork for the 2008-09 magnet program and school options guide, which consists of approximately 64 pages with 4-color cover pages and 2-color on inside pages.”

The Chief of Staff also receives approval to purchase 260 retractable banner stands, including single-sided, double-sided, plus applicable banner stand graphics.

Have you ever wondered how many retractable banner stands are on display in Mt. Lebanon or Upper St. Clair?

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”

Only Randall Taylor and Mark Brentley seem to heed the warning, with Taylor stating that “I continue to grow very concerned about the level of spending in this District, and the amount of money that continues to be spent, and the amount of resources, particularly in buildings that continue to be wasted.”

Mr. Taylor also comments on the raise proposed for Superintendent Mark Roosevelt: “One of the main reasons I cannot support this is I do believe that the PSSA state scores should be incorporated into any evaluation. Right now, that is not allowed in this Board, though I requested to receive PSSA information prior to us having to submit our evaluation, that was not possible, and I think it's important to the public to know that this Board did an evaluation with access, full access to PSSA scores.”

Mr. Brentley notes that “We owe it to the taxpayers, and we owe it to those parents, especially to those students that we are placing in experimental programs, that we just put together, not sure of its outcome, but we are hoping its going to work out, “But don't worry, because we will have a great press conference there, we will take great pictures, we will get good press, but we don't know what the outcome will possibly be for your children.” That is almost borderline criminal in terms of what we are doing to this District's neediest student body.”

Similar problems in K-12 and university management

It is interesting to see that many of the problems we are noticing in PPS (bloated administration, vague and wordy strategic plans, administrators who lack teaching experience) appeared first at the university level.

See this review of "Fall of the Faculty" from the WSJ:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903461304576526353648342500.html

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How we got where we are Part XX July 2008

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 20, July 2008

July 23, 2008: The Board approves yet another contract with Focus on Results, this time for $2,400 per day to provide “training and consulting to 18 K-5 principals and their leadership teams around The Seven Areas of Focus - A Strategic Framework for Whole School Improvement. Through this initiative, principals and their teams will develop and refine the skills and strategies they need to lead effective, results-driven efforts at whole school reform. Three consultants will meet monthly for 8 months with principals and their leadership teams. These meetings will consist of professional development training in content and process so that the school based teams can return to their schools better equipped to engage in whole school reform. The consultants will also make school visits to provide additional support as the teams work with classroom teachers on the school's area of focus. The consultants will also plan and debrief with the K-5 executive director. In between visits, the consultants will provide distance coaching, planning, preparation, coordination and collaboration with principals.”

This contract of course begs the question, if we have Focus on Results for $268,650, exactly what are we paying the Executive Director for Elementary Education to do?

The Communications and Marketing team was back at the table, this time recommending a another contract with Dennis Moran Design to “create secondary graphics including: (1) color palette, (2) fonts, and (3) imagery. They will deliver marketing materials including: (1) a capabilities brochure, (2) audience inserts, (3) school summary, (4) letterhead and envelopes, (5) presentation and display boards and (6) electronic mechanical art, and (7) additional materials as needed. Responsibilities of the contractor include print production coordination and management, layout, image creation including illustration or photography, and delivering these complete materials on time and in accordance with the
marketing and communications plan.” All yours for the special price of $150 per hour!

The Fund for Excellence provides $614,000 to pay for an additional half year of cost for the America's Choice model for Accelerated Learning Academies (ALAs) and yet another $612,411to fund the Office of High School Reform (Derrick Lopez) for another school year. Memo to Fund for Excellence: how are you feeling about both of those investments today? Total busts.

The Board hires an Executive Director for Marketing and Communications. Patricia Kennedy would last less than one year working with Chief of Staff Lisa Fischetti. In a move that defies logic, the starting salary of this position is close to $30,000 more than Kennedy was paid for similar work at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

Although Pittsburgh had an Office of High School Reform staffed by a highly compensated Chief of High School Reform, duplication of services was the theme of the day, as the Board approves a contract with an Acting Executive Director of High Schools. How is that for organization chart design – the Chief of High School Reform reports to the Superintendent, the Executive Director of High Schools reports to the Deputy Superintendent. Makes perfect sense.

The financial statements again note that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and asks the Board to make the sale of closed school buildings a “priority.”

Mr. Brentley votes no on the entire Committee on Education report, explaining that “my vote represents zero confidence in the leadership of this Board, as well as this administration.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teachers' bonus

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers up for bonus

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_754646.html"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

PPS announces AYP

From the PG:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11244/1171469-100.stm

- It would be interesting to see copies of the appeals PPS submitted in connection with the AYP calculation.

"Decelerating learning academies"

From the City Paper:

http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A99767