Sunday, October 30, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXX (May 2009)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 30, May 2009

May 27, 2009: The Board approves a $132,000 contract “with Focus on Results to coordinate the training and development of the Superintendent's Cabinet on building a high performance culture to support the realization of the District's goals. This work is part of a District-wide plan to develop Human Capital at all levels. The Superintendent's Cabinet engages in training, receives critical feedback and engages in activities to increase team work performance. In
addition to this work, FOR works with the administrative team providing coaching, conducting school visits, increasing the inter-rater reliability of the principal evaluation process, facilitating the retreat goal setting for the year and following up with the staff on progress toward goal attainment and the relationship with school achievement results.”

Nobody seems to notice that the scope of work frankly is exactly the task of a commissioned officer per the PA school code (superintendents, assistant superintendents).

The Board approves a contract with Mary Ann Brown "To do an audit of the District web site conducted by the design firm of Mizrahi Design Associates, Inc. earlier this year, who recommended significant changes to the site in order to support audience needs and make the site easier to use....Services to be provided by Ms. Brown include, but are not limited to, developing copy for additional pages required by the new site structure and editing existing pages to conform to site standards.”

Good heavens, consultants auditing the work of consultants.

The Board authorizes “(1) student tutor, Franco Colaizzi to work with children during the nineteen (19) days of summer school at Pittsburgh Phillips K-5. The student tutors will support struggling students in reading and math instruction during the three (3) hour morning session and will support the work done in partnership with CitiParks, Mercy Behavioral Health, The Brashear Association, R.I.F. Pittsburgh and Riverset Credit Union during the three (3) hour afternoon session.”

Enough said.

Central Office explansion continues as the Board hires Lauren Meehan as “Program Coordinator, Stimulus Funds Utilization, Office of Strategic Initiatives.” Anita Ravi, fresh off of her connections with the Institute for Learning, is hired as the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator.

This really is a trademark of the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss administration, with every new task not replacing some other, less important task for an existing employee, rather creating an opportunity to hire another Central Office true believer.

The financial statements again warn that “Significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs.” Mr. Brentley again seems to get it, noting that “I'm concerned about the administration's spending.”

Randall Taylor objects to the continuation of the Focus on Results contract: “The other one I wanted to ask about is No. 27, Focus on Results....Didn't we have a similar's difficult for me, and I hope that, Mr. Roosevelt, you know what contract I'm referring to that we did have someone who was supposed to come in and they are supposed to look at various departments. I mean, did we not have some group that was also playing a similar role as far as...”

At which point, Mark Roosevelt, either oblivious that FOR was doing work that is his or truly showing that he didn't care, cuts Taylor off: “This is the group that has been operating in this capacity for represents a continuation of that work, so I'm sorry. I don't know exactly what you're referring to, but I think you're referring to Focus on Results who have been playing this role with us for a number of years now.” "

Pittsburgh would be affected if voucher bill passes

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Notice that Pittsburgh is among the six “worst-performing schools districts” in the state who will be eligible for vouchers under the new bill.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — "The state Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a bill that is designed to meet Gov. Tom Corbett's desire to overhaul Pennsylvania's public schools by helping thousands more of those students afford private and parochial school tuition with taxpayer help and making it easier to open charter schools."

“Under the new bill, vouchers would be limited to children in the worst-performing school districts, but income limits would be higher. “

“The bill likely would make thousands of public school children, primarily from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Reading, Chester and Allentown, eligible for a taxpayer-paid voucher that would help them pay for the tuition to a private or parochial school that chooses to participate in the program.”

Read more: Pa. Senate could vote tomorrow on education plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Superintendent refuses pay raise

From the Tribune:

Tribune article on school board candidates

Friday, October 28, 2011

Special ed student to teacher ratio

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Can you please start this as a new topic?
Can someone please explain the districts plan to change the special education teacher to student ratio? From what I understand the district wants the union to open there contract and increase their caseload to 25, if they refuse the district will make the ratio 50:1."

Board meeting not broadcast this week

The weeks when the Board meeting are not broadcast are often the meetings people may be most interested in seeing. For example, Wednesday's meeting came right after a heavily attended public hearing, and included the vote for a raise for the superintendent.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clayton student arrested for stabbing teacher

PPS enrollment total and by school

Link to PG chart:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Action United alert on vouchers

From Action United:




A fast committee vote this morning has sent SB 1 to the whole Senate for a vote. It could come as early as today or tomorrow.

This bill is a bait and switch for poor people.

Sure, it SOUNDS good, but it WONT give most of us real school choice, it will just take money out of our schools without any promise of a better education for our kids.

Time is tight! CALL IMMEDIATELY!

Call your Senator and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 1.


If it passes the Senate it will go to the House. Find your State Representative here and give them a call too.

Vouchers are a budget, education, accountability and constitutional issue.

As PA School funding is slashed, how can we take even more money from public schools least able to afford it and give it to private schools?
And, with the state budget in such dire condition, how can we justify transferring state revenues from public into private entities?
Any voucher bill will cost taxpayers and school districts millions in funding that neither have available, while, at the same time, districts across the state, especially those with students who will be eligible to receive vouchers, are making deep cuts into instructional programs for students.

Since only a small percentage of eligible students would use the vouchers to attend a private school, what happens to the overwhelming majority of students who continue to attend underfunded, under performing schools?
These bills do nothing to improve educational opportunities for the students who remain in these schools. In fact, these bills harm their educational opportunities because the schools will have fewer resources with which to provide educational services to the students.

How will private schools be held accountable for use of public funds?
Will these schools be required to administer the state assessments?
Since schools accepting voucher students would not have to administer the same assessments as administered in public schools, parents would not be able to compare the performance of their public school to that of the private school.
To make well informed decisions, parents need comparable data. Private schools accepting voucher students should be required to administer the same state assessments as administered to public schools.

Will the money provided through vouchers be audited? Taxpayer dollars should be spent transparently and those spending that money should be held accountable. No Voucher bill so far has required any independent annual audit of how private schools spend public money.

The Pennsylvania Constitution is clear that funds appropriated for use by public schools shall NOT be used for the support of any sectarian school, even if funds appropriated from the Commonwealth’s General Fund budget and provided to parents in the form of a voucher were based on the amount that the student’s resident school district would have received from the Commonwealth had the student continued to attend public school. While some may argue that PHEAA provides funds to students to attend a sectarian college or university, the Constitutional provision addresses public schools (K-12), not colleges and universities.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School district in Oregon turns down grant for performance pay experiment

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"A school district with integrity:

Oregon City School District walks away from $2.54 million grant for performance pay"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Single gender education recent research

On another post Anonymous wrote:

“Single-sex education fails to produce academic benefits and inflates gender stereotyping.”

Room for Debate- A Runni#46A0CF
Single-Sex Schools: Separate but Equal

“Additionally, based on voluminous research of the negative effects of separating people into groups, we warned that single-sex classrooms would likely generate and exacerbate stereotyping and sexist attitudes. Rather than promoting gender segregation, public schools should be striving to teach a diverse body of students to work together and to respect each other.”

“For nearly a decade, proponents of single-sex schooling have argued that boys and girls differ so fundamentally in brain functioning, sensory abilities, interests, stress responsiveness and more that they cannot be taught effectively in the same classrooms. However, scientific data do not support these claims, and, indeed, many single-sex advocates have recently backed away from them. Nonetheless, such advocates have already trained hundreds of teachers (often at taxpayer expense) in mythic “gender-specific learning styles” that make a mockery of Title IX’s requirement to eliminate sex discrimination in schools.”

60+ expected to speak at public hearing tomorrow

At least 60 people are expected to speak at tomorrow's public hearing at 6:00 tomorrow, Monday, 341 Bellefied.

Topics to be addressed include:

- The proposed merger of Perry and Oliver
- The name to be selected for Westinghouse High School
- The proposed sale of district property including Schenley and Reizenstein

To sign up to speak, call PPS at 412 622-3600 BEFORE 12:00 NOON ON MONDAY.

If all of those who have signed up attend the hearing may last several hours, but those with later numbers just need to arrive by the time their number is called (so if you are number 60, you do not need to be on the premises at 6:00). Also, if a speaker is not present when his/her number is called, it is the usually practice for those people to be called again at the end of the list.

How we got where we are Part XXIX (April 2009)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 29, April 2009

April 29, 2009: PPS takes important steps toward becoming the unsustainable morass of programming that now finds Dr. Lane throwing bucket after bucket of water out of the boat to keep it floating.

The Board accepts “the submission of an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for $16,269,290...for the Title I funding portion of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act....provides supplemental funds to support District and School activities for improving student achievement, increasing parent involvement and providing professional development to administrators and teachers....In order to address an area of need, stimulus funding will be focused around a literacy summer program for middle school grades.”

Just to be perfectly clear, almost to a person anyone internal with any academic or business management credentials objects to Mr. Roosevelt's plan to use the one-time stimulus funds for summer camps.

The Board enters into “a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to support the development of a Proposal that could ultimately form the basis for a multi-year investment and extensive partnership between the Foundation and the District.”

If someone offers you $40 million in seed money to finance programs that ultimately will require ongoing, annual investment of more than $20 million that you do not have – and in the face of a 10 year forecast you were shown in dramatic fashion (PSERS, health care, et al) - maybe this isn't such a bargain?

Short-term thinking from Bellefield's 1st floor is sharply contrasted with that of its Finance team, who have the Board “authorize to arrange for prepayment of principal on the 2001 variable rate bond issue, total amount of prepayment not to exceed $650,000.” In other words, if short-term investment rates are less than the all-in interest rate on the variable debt, pay it early and capture the difference as savings.

The Board amends the Acceptable Use of Technology policy. To this day, key provisions of the policy are routinely ignored by Chief Technology Officer Mark Campbell, who has been exposed on this blog for repeatedly committing acts of plagiarism, but hey, he has a Boston connection, so why enforce the policy? “Illegal use of the network; intentional deletion/manipulation or damage to files or data belonging to others; copyright violations or theft of services and/or identity will be reported to the appropriate legal authorities for possible prosecution.”

The Easter season would not be complete without a basket of goods from the Office of the Chief of Staff. The Board authorizes “its proper officers to enter into a contract with The Karol produce Pathways to Promise collateral that will be made available to parents as a part of the Welcome Back-to-School materials....The Karol Company will do the following: (1) interview 10 to 12 key staff to gain a clear understanding of each key milestone (2) develop copy describing Pathways to Promise (3) develop copy for inserts in the Welcome Back-to-School materials including the District-wide calendar.” All yours for “$250,000 from the Fund for Excellence to implement our Pathways to the Promise Communications support key materials that must be written, designed, printed and delivered to various stakeholder groups.”

The general contract for work at Reizenstein to split the school into two so that the last two classes of Schenley could graduation as a distinct school is awarded for $1.149 million.

A project coordinator (Broad connection) and three project managers are hired for the Office of Strategic Initiatives. The Board also approves an Achievement Bonus system “for Assistant Superintendents, Deputy Superintendent, and Chief of Research, Assessment and Accountability.” The bar is not set high.

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs.” "

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why do they talk around the specifics at a public meeting

The agenda review now being broadcast contains a discussion about a contract the district will be awarding for yet another consultant, this time on the budget. The superintendent in discussing this recommendation takes pains to talk around and avoid mentioning the name of the consultant and the amount or other specifics of the contract. Further, nothing is said about accountability on the part of the consultant for performance, and again the Board raises no concerns about accountability.

Budget cuts expected to affect PPS class sizes and offerings

From the PG, in addition to school closings and changes in feeder patterns

"... a school that offers two geometry classes of 14 students would offer a single class of 28 students. The plan would also combine various levels of similar class electives, consolidate levels of core classes in high schools and offer semester-long -- instead of yearlong -- electives, if enough students express interest."

Read more:

This article about serious cuts in the budget and courses is vaguely headed "School board mulls tips to revamp education."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Competing reform agendas

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Check out the compelling Commentary in Education Week (Oct 19, 2011) back page:

“Two Education Reform Agendas: One Leads to Success Across the Globe, the other to the U.S. System” by Marc Tucker (President at NCEE).

Quotes from the article:

“We cannot fire our way to a world-class teaching force.”

“Our organization, the National Center on Education and the Economy has researched the education systems of the top-performing nations for more than 20 years to find out how they do it. It turns out the explanation is pretty straightforward."

"First, most of these top-10 nations put more money behind their hardest-to-educate students than those who are easier to educate. Second, most have developed world-class academic standards for their students, a curriculum to match the standards, and high-quality examinations (not multiple choice tests) and instructional materials based on that curriculum. And teachers are prepared to teach the required curriculum, though they are treated like professionals and therefore often have considerable discretion in their practice.”

“And while we (U.S.) have a teacher quality agenda, it is pointed in a direction and based on a set of principles that are nearly antithetical to those pursued by our competitors.” "

PPS to address underenrollment

From the PG:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PSSA school level results

Results for schools, broken down by grade level for math, reading, etc. and then by subgroups (male/ female, etc) are available from the State at:

Go to the Allegheny County section, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, then the relevant school.

Hand picked committees

Those who followed the facilties study, the IB site selection committee, the Westinghouse naming committee and the East End panel will be familiar with a defensive process on by the district where committees are handpicked and formed without any sort of advance notice. By the time the committee is announced, membership is closed. Almost invariably the committees reach the result the district had decided on in advance (due to a strong alumni association, Westinghouse was an exception).

In the case of the Schenley sale, a hastily formed handpicked committee will not be sufficient. Requests for the committee were made for more than three years. The committee was to consider re-use broadly, not a particular sales proposal, and a couple of weeks would not be adequate for the process of gathering information, deliberating, and reaching a reasoned decision.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXVIII (March 2009)

On another post Anonymous wrote:


How we got where we are, part 28, March 2009

March 25, 2009: The America's Choice contract for Accelerated Learning Academies is extended by seven months at a cost of $614,000.

Randall Taylor objects to the continuation of the ALA model: “We received information that the Administration has wanted us to receive, but we have yet to be able to receive the questions that this particular Board member and I think members of the public have continued to ask and not receive answers to.”

The Board approves a $202,993 contract “with Blanc Printing Company for printing, assembly, design, editing and pre-production and mailing services for the 2009-10 welcome back-to-school materials.” Amendments are made to the code of student conduct, with Deputy Superintendent Lane urging approval so they could make the print production.

Contracts for plumbing ($218,000), mechanical ($182,540) and electrical work ($298,000) are awarded for Pittsburgh Schenley at Reizenstein. The $1,166,000 lowest bid for the general work is rejected, because it exceeds the district's variable cap for compliance with the eligible business enterprise policy.

Bids are awarded for “General, Asbestos Abatement, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical Work” at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in the amount of $10,399,470.

Multiple contracts for the Institute for Learning start bearing fruit as the Board approves “a travel waiver for Dr. Linda Lane, Deputy Superintendent, to travel for Professional Development to Chantilly,VA April 30 - May 2, 2009, for the Institute for Learning Retreat. This trip will result in 2 professional development days. The purpose of this trip is as a follow up to the February 2009 Superintendents and Intermediaries meeting and will focus on what it takes to make ALL students, college and workforce ready. The retreat includes Deputy Superintendents, Superintendents and Executive Directors from districts across the county working with IFL. This is an annual trip and expenses included as part of our contract with IFL cover mileage, accommodations, selected meals, and
registration only.”

A similar waiver is also granted for Dr. Jerri Lippert, Chief Academic Officer, “because of the importance of the ongoing partnership with the IFL.” Indeed.

The Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss administration continues central office expansion with the opening of a Project Coordinator and three Project Managers to plan for spending Stimulus Funding.

The financial statements remind the Board and administration that “Significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, “further efforts at efficiency and effectiveness are needed”, and “extreme diligence remains necessary throughout the 10-year projection, escalated further by projected PSERS employer contribution rate increases.”

Mark Brentley gets the message, stating that “I am one Board member who believes we should not immediately begin to spend, spend, spend.”

Taylor's comments about the agenda are again prophetic: “I don't have a lot of confidence in this Board sometimes to hear very common sense things.”

Despite the stern fiscal warnings, “the Board of Directors of the School District of
Pittsburgh authorize the proper officers of the Board to bring forward recommendations to enter into contracts for the grant writing required for a proposal to be submitted to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, not to exceed $75,000 and for the proposals for grants from stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), not to exceed $175,000.”

Fast forward to 2011 and the seeds of the local match necessary to support arguably unsustainable partnerships are beginning to blossom, all called for in the July 2009 Empowering Effective Teachers plan, including “building consolidation”, “teacher distribution” (increased student teacher ratios), and “operating efficiencies” (layoffs). See also pages 53-54 of the original PPS grant submission to the Gates Foundation."

Link to Reizenstein bid

Link to Schenley bid

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Schenley/ so much for committees

When the Board voted to close Schenley in June 2008, it was on the condition that a community committee be formed to advise on reuse of the building. Over the next three years repeated requests were made to form the committee but all were ignored.

Now we are told that a sale is suddenly on the fast track, no community input needed. The Board (all but one of them) went along. Tribune article on this topic:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Upcoming school board elections

From the "Start a new post":

"Elections Matter has left a new comment on your post "Start a new post/ search PURE Reform's blog":

This site has been very useful in identifying the many problems facing the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

But identifying the problem is just the first step. The second step, obviously, is to ACT to solve the problem.

On November 8, 2011 there will be elections in four PPS school districts.

The incumbents are marked with an (I).

District 2

Regina B. Holley, Democrat
Dara Ware Allen, Republican (I)

District 4

Bill Isler, Republican, Democrat(I)
no opposition

District 6

Sherry Hazuda, Democrat (I)
Lisa Jones, Republican

District 8

Mark A. Brentley, Sr., Republican, Democratic (I)
Rosemary Moriarty, Moriarty-Independent

If you are satisfied with the direction the district is taking, vote for the incumbents.

But if you are serious about wanting change, please contact Ms. Holley and Ms. Jones and offer to help!

These two ladies need help; people to help get the word out and to man the polling places on election day.

Even though Mr. Brentley is an incumbent, he is a true outsider with the same reform views as Ms. Holley and Ms. Jones.

As the old saying goes, talk is cheap. Please do more than just talk about PPS problems!

Please consider contacting Ms. Holley, Ms. Jones, and Mr. Brentley. Offer to help! That's the only way things will change.

Moderator: I am a district employee and not affiliated with any of these candidates. Please make this a new post."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Report about limits of education reform

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Nice editiorial in the Chicago Tribune taking some of the glitter off of Arne Duncan's Chicago "reforms."

I wonder how long it will take the Post-Gazette to wake up from their slumber to begin to question the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss administration. Perhaps they are waiting for enrollment to dip all the way down to or past the "unmanaged outcome" McKinsey project pre-Promise (good luck finding the original reports on line - the closer reality gets to the "unmanaged outcome" the more the source documents are disappearing).

Happy reading:

Chicago Tribune: Report Shows Limits Of Education Reform.
A Chicago Tribune (10/10) editorial headlined "No Miracles" describes the "cutting-edge school reform" efforts that Chicago has seen in recent decades, noting that "Paul Vallas ended social promotion and championed high-stakes standardized tests to hold schools accountable. His successor, Arne Duncan, shuttered failing schools and boldly vowed to create 100 new schools in a decade." The piece asks whether such reforms have borne fruit, and cites the recent University of Chicago report on the city's education progress to argue that the reforms have not worked "as smashingly as you might think." The Tribune suggests that the lesson from the report is that there are no cure-all policies for the city's schools, and concludes that instead of "miracles," the city's students need "talented teachers, talented leaders, and a sense of urgency from everyone who is charged with the noble job of educating them." "

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ailing infrastructure

From the PG:

The article explains that the federal government will not solve our serious infrastructure problems and that the state will not solve them.

If a nonprofit is making a contribution in lieu of taxes, infrastructure may well be a better and fairer investment than something like a scholarship program.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


On a "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

It has been mentioned that at the end of September, families could opt out of Westinghouse and that admin intended to make it such a positive experience that this wouldnt happen.
Also the end of September was traditionally in PPS a time when staff adjustments were made. Sometimes new classes had to open- a bulge in enrollment at a grade level etc vs very small classes at some schools at individual grade levels.
No enrollments are on-line. Not the old or the new for Sept."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Loaded gun found at Clayton

From WPXI:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Montessori/ Fort Pitt

From another post:

"They also proposed moving Montessori out of Friendship and into Fort Pitt which was said to be larger and more able to serve the waiting list at Montessori currently.

October 5, 2011 12:11 PM

Questioner said...
Continued obliviousness to the importance of location, neighborhoods, connections... it cannot be assumed that the young families in a reviving neighborhood drawn to a school they can walk to will be just as happy to go to Fort Pitt. Way to quash the comeback!

October 5, 2011 1:08 PM

Anonymous said...
Fort Pitt had substantial improvement in PSSA, much greater than in most other schools. The teason given for "closing" Fort Pitt was that there were only about 150 students there. Clearly the drop in enrollment over the past few years was due to the demolition of the Garfield Hgts Projects. That area and beyond has been newly developed with literally hundreds of new homes with more in the development process. These hundreds of homes (with children) are being quickly inhabited. The closing of Fort Pitt means that Garfield children will be sent to Arsenal as the feeder school. Arsenal is much too long and hazardous walk for K-5 children. Will they be bussed?

Will all of the children in the new Garfield Heights Common homes be bussed when Fort Pitt is just within several hundred yards of where they live?

Since Fort Pitt is designated as "closed" and children have been assigned elsewhere WHY did the conversation by Cate Reed & Company SUDDENLY turn to moving Montessori from Friendship to Fort Pitt at last night's meeting (10/4/11)? Just asking???

October 5, 2011 1:25 PM"

Close both Oliver and Perry?

On a "Start a new post" Mark Rauterkus said:

"Radio news on KDKA on WED says one PPS consideration is to close both Perry and Oliver on the North Side and build a new school.

Say what?"

How we got where we are Part XXVII (February 2009)

On a "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 27, February 2009

February 24, 2009: What says love more than another contract for the Institute for Learning?

The Board accepts “a grant award from The Fund for Excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools in the amount of $511,000...Funds will support the following costs for a contract with the Institute for Learning to complete current curriculum work:

1. Math 6-12 Intended curriculum revisions and 60% on-site support: $156,000
2. English Language Arts Continued revisions to core curricula: $100,000
3. Science: Development of K-5 curriculum and revisions to 6-12: $55,000
4. Disciplinary Literacy Course: Copyright cost and district curriculum writer training: $200,000.”

I hate to point out the obvious, but if the reform agenda was really about empowering effective teachers, why not deploy the PFT's finest to accomplish the task?

Central office expansion continues through a series of three grants totaling $336,000 from the Fund for Excellence to support “three curriculum specialists - 1 Mathematics, 1 English/Language Arts, 1 Social Studies.”

Other Fund for Excellence grants would pay the first year costs of an additional curriculum coach for ALAs and another curriculum coordinator for CTE.

Dr. Paula Bevan also celebrated Valentine's Day 2009, thanks to “a grant award from The Fund for Excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools in the amount of $112,700. Funds are awarded to support the design, training, and implementation of a new system of teacher evaluation supporting professional growth-a system consisting of an improved process and tools for evaluation (including observing and conferring), and the necessary professional development and support for the new system's implementation. This work is aligned with Excellence for All's emphasis on accountability for results.”

The district's fascination with Courageous Conversations would start with a “grant award from Fund for Excellence in the amount of $150,000. Funds are requested to support the costs of consultants and training from The Consortium on Racial Equity in K-12 Education, a partnership between Pacific Educational Group, Inc., and West Wind Education Policy, Inc.”

I guess if PPS were serious about Courageous Conversations around race, maybe a good starting point would be listening to and understanding the community frustration and anger evident in the repeated questions and commentaries from Board Member Mark Brentley.

For that matter (and fast forward to 2011), if PPS were really serious about Courageous Conversations around race, it might actually ask the President of the Westinghouse Alumni Association to sit on the committee charged with formulating a naming recommendation for the new combined Westinghouse?

The Board approves the recommendations of the Commonwealth's Common Cents study, a key piece of which was for PPS to serve as a regional bidding hub for copiers (about as far away as you can get philosophically from current good old boy approach of spending 3X more through a negotiated process).

Letters of intent and due diligence periods for the sale of Connelley and Washington are approved.

Bids for Concord totaling $14.7 million are awarded, as are contracts equaling $8.2 million for Milliones.

Broad Residents are transferred to the Office of Strategic Initiatives as Project Managers.

The academic leadership team (six individuals reporting to Deputy Superintendent Lane) is reclassified from Executive Directors to Assistant Superintendents and/or Chief Academic Officer, which grants them specific rights under the Public School Code, along with a personal services contract.

Along with the Chief of Research, Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent, the newly titled Assistant Superintendents/Chief Academic Officer all become eligible for bonuses."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Support Westinghouse's history and name tomorrow 10/5 at 4:00

Wednesday October 5 4:00 Westinghouse room 121

Under consideration by PPS administration is a name change for Westinghouse High School. The Westinghouse Alumni Association encourages those interested in retaining the Westinghouse name to attend.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Langley players attack coach

Langley Football Coach attacked by a Langly player, then jumped by several other players after loss to Perry Friday night. The game was attended by Dr Lane & her husband. This was not reported by the media. This happens WPIAL

October 1, 2011 7:02 PM

Anonymous said...
Does anyone have video posted on youtube?

October 1, 2011 8:57 PM

October 2, 2011 7:13 AM

Anonymous said...
Gee, beat up the coach cause the team loses-- sounds alot like-- booing teachers cause the scores are down-- is this the culture WE are creating-- cant blame the parents this time -- this is OUR school climate-- I'm just sayin'

October 2, 2011 9:08 AM

Anonymous said...
I'm just sayin',

I hope that you are not blaming teachers for the "blame everyone else for my failures" climate!? It was administration, not the teachers, that asked the students to 'boo' the teachers who 'failed them.' Administration and Union Leadership have created this negative, blame everyone else climate. Now, the anger is escalating to violence. Shame on Lane for allowing this to happen. I hope that she takes steps to truly discipline the players involved in the act of beating up the coach. If not, we need to demand that she step down!!!

We need leadership that teaches those who fail to look inward and reflect upon their behavior and actions to make changes to succeed. The administration, board, and students need to be RISEN. LOL!

October 2, 2011 10:11 AM

Anonymous said...
The players are off the team and suspended. They should be expelled for this type of behavior, I hope that coach files charges.

This incident should have it own post, this happened

October 2, 2011 11:06 AM

Roosevelt at Antioch

From the PG:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Other school districts cutting back on costly PR

On a "Start a new post" South Hills Stan wrote:

South Hills Stan has left a new comment on your post "On the September "Start a new post" SolutionsRUs w...":

Did anyone see this editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Friday, September 30, 2011:

"A silver lining in the belt-tightening forced upon public schools by budget realities is reduction or elimination of public relations specialists, whose self-serving spinning of districts' images is an obscene use of taxpayer dollars.

School districts -- and boroughs and townships, for that matter -- are government entities, accountable to those whose tax dollars fund them. Their results -- and their officials -- should speak for themselves. Yet they pay in-house spinmeisters and gatekeepers to filter the truth and insulate them from the public.

Let's call it what it is -- government propaganda. You're paying to be spun.

In fact, the more that local-level officials rely on such "flacks," the more reason the public has to suspect that those officials have something to hide.

That holds true regardless of what a particular school district, borough or township pays a particular PR person -- though the higher the salary, the greater the misuse of taxpayer money is. Every dollar that a school district or municipality spends on PR, after all, is a dollar not spent on the core functions it exists to perform.

Especially at the local level where school districts and municipalities operate, the fewer layers of bureaucracy -- and obfuscators of fact -- there are between the public and public servants, the better.

Read more: Government spinning ... With your money - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review"