Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Courier article about school closings, etc.

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Another NEW POST:

Also please check today’s Pittsburgh Courier . . Board closes 7 schools

"On Nov. 22, the Pittsburgh Public School District Board of Directors approved a slew of plans aimed at reducing the district’s projected 2012 budget deficit of $21.7 million. Among them were the elimination of single-gendered classes at the Academy at Westinghouse and the sale of two school buil..."

“The ACLU wasn’t worried about Homewood until we put single gendered classes there. They were fine with letting those kids suffer for years and years and years,” Shealey said. “I actually heard that since the change in administration people are more confident with the school.”

Editorial about Westinghouse

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Please check out today’s PG Editorial Page:
Beyond sugar and spice: Real school reform doesn’t rest on gender stereotypes by Susan Frietsche and Sara Rose.
From the eid

"Westinghouse needs to change, and innovation and improvement can't stop just because this one aspect of the reform program at Westinghouse has failed the test.

The children have had enough false promises. Fortunately, the focus can now return to real reform ---"

Concerning the actions of PPS, not only does the whole scenario at Westinghouse get curiouser and curiouser, but more and more disingenuous, egregious, and unconscionable as it pertains to the education of Westinghouse students.

Perhaps WAA can find out what the PPS agenda really is at Westinghouse. What are the plans? Is PPS turning it over to the Homewood Children's Village?

Dear Heaven, help us find a viable solution for these students, poste haste!!! (PPS and HCV do not have the where-with-all to provide a solution.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

NY principals revolt

On another post West End Mom wrote:

Looks elsewhere some educators are standing tall, dare I say "rising":

"Angry" New York Principals Protesting RTTT Teacher Evaluations.
Characterizing principal "revolts" as exceedingly rare, the New York Times (11/28, Winerip, Subscription Publication) reports that "President Obama and his signature education program, Race to the Top, along with John B. King Jr., the New York State commissioner of education, deserve credit for spurring what is believed to be the first principals' revolt in history. As of last night, 658 principals around the state had signed a letter - 488 of them from Long Island, where the insurrection began - protesting the use of students' test scores to evaluate teachers' and principals' performance." The Times describes the principals' opposition to the concept and implementation of the evaluations, adding, "It is hard to overstate how angry the principals who signed are."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Citations as way to maintain order

This week's televised public hearing included an attempt by Mark Brentley to discuss citations being issued at one of the district schools. He held up a stack of citations from the local magistrate issued to students for disorderly conduct. Even though he was not mentioning any student names the discussion was quickly squelched and his microphone cut off. The question is, are citations an acceptable way to deal with discipline problems? Are they an effective way to deal with discipline problems? If PPS is paying for CEP, why are students being cited rather than referred to CEP?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Westinghouse article in City Paper


Superintendent's performance priorities

From the PG:

"the board Tuesday night adopted the "performance priorities" of Superintendent Linda Lane, which include the "restart" of Pittsburgh Westinghouse in Homewood in 2012-13. Westinghouse reopened this fall as a 6-12 school offering single-gender classes, but, after a disorganized start and threatened legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union, the board Wednesday agreed to discontinue the single-gender classes by February.

Ms. Lane also is charged with developing a plan by April to decrease racial disparities in the district....

Ms. Lane's performance goals also include improving support for principals, ensuring the budget that provides enough money for a reserve, continuing programs aimed at improving teacher quality, showing progress on state tests, working on high school reform and re-evaluating and refining the career and technology education plan."

Read more:

Board votes as expected

From the Tribune:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Site based budgeting

On another post Anonymous wrote:

address anon 3:18 and all
About budget cuts- maybe new topic-
Since we have had "site based" management by principals, they have the ability to decide which subjects your children have- particularly in the elementary schools. I have never been seen as a defender of this board BUT- 9 schools had NO librarians. For some areas- Lincoln/ Lemington comes to mind-- that means that a student will not SEE a librarian until they start high school. Sure one day a week is wrong- but so is no access in 9 schools to library resources guided by a librarian. Other districts do not decide that some schools get this, and some dont. Another inequity-- book budgets- site based brought us principals deciding how much money goeds to new books in the library. Some got thousands a year; some as low as 25.00. Schools are different, and they have different numbers of students, staff etc. But, there should be a base throughout the district, both as far as staff and a basic book collection. Principals shouldnt be able to decide that wow, scores are low- no art or music for here. It is just equity that is necessary for a public school system.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feeder pattern changes

On another post Anonymous wrote:

School feeder changes create complications
Monday, November 21, 2011 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Read more:

Comment by Cate Reed:
"Ultimately, the two schools are a lot closer together than ideally we would like them to be. We can't move a building."


I wonder how many parents are aware of the changes; or will the realization dawn only when children are again switched to other schools.

Too late! The time to coalesce, to testify, to voice your opinions is now, today at the public hearing.

Read more:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Football championship

On another post Mark Rauterkus wrote:

"New post....

Saturday, 1 pm, football championship game. South Side Cupples Stadium

Allderdice vs USO (UPrep, SciTech, Obama)

Plenty of good seats still available at the gate.
City League Championship Football Game, Allderdice vs. USO.

Saturday's PPS / City League Championship football game, 1 pm at Cupples on South Side, has a special pre game tailgate for All the grads and alumni of Uprep, SciTech and Pgh Obama. Every one of them already have advanced tickets. It was nice of the Dice coaches to chip in and cover the cost of beverages for the tailgate for these grads. It is a closed party, but look for them on the bridge and behind their parked flying carpets.

Schenley and Allderdice grads, do not go to the above mentioned party. Yinz do get to go to the game, of course. Be there. Cheer."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 PPS Budget has large operating deficit

From the PG, a $21.7M operating deficit is to cme out of the fund balance:

The PPS fund balance will then be at $42M according to the article. That would be enough to cover a $21M deficit for each of the 2 years remaining on the superintendent's contract, but would leave major problems for the next superintendent. It will be interesting to see if our school board raises any concerns about a budget with such a large deficit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Plus Schools Report to the Community


Former Westinghouse coach under investigation

From WPXI:

"Weiss said days after receiving the complaints he forwarded them to the school police, but never heard back from them on the outcome of the investigation.

Jennings reported that sources inside of the school district said police were ordered by then superintendent Mark Roosevelt to turn the investigation over to the district's human relations department."

- Huh?

Superintendent/ health condition

Tribune is reporting that Dr. Lane has a "manageable health condition" not affecting her ability to lead the district:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cuts at CAPA proposed

From the PG:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Graduate Pittsburgh" initiative

On another thread Mark Rauterkus wrote:

Today's (Thur) event at Hozana House @ dropouts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brentley requests Superintendent's resignation

From the New Courier:

Approach college carefully

Courier article about advice from the former director of NEED:

“Only about 28 percent of the African-American males who enter college are college ready... I really support college, if you know the career you’re going into and that a job is going to be there"


"more students should be looking into the benefits of career and technical education as a means of finding employment more quickly and without the burden of college loan debt."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXXI (June 2009)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 31, June 2009

June 24, 2009: With enrollment continuing to decline, the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss administration was determined to not let something as simple as supply and demand for school administrators stand in the way of the venture philanthropist agenda for the PELA pipeline.

The Board enters “into a contract with the Coro Center for Civic Leadership as part of year 3 of Pittsburgh's Emerging Leadership Academy...Coro is dedicated to providing unique, experience-based programming to cohort 3 in order to enhance the PELA residents' team building and facilitating capabilities, as well as to further develop their role as cultural builders and community leaders (collective results).”

Who can stop at just one PELA contract?

The Board also enters into a contract with Dr. Judy Johnston “as part of year 3 of Pittsburgh's Emerging Leadership provide up to 50 days of training for Pittsburgh's
Emerging Leadership Academy Cohort 3 2009-2010. Dr. Johnston will provide no less than 50 days of onsite supervision, evaluation and training to the PELA residents from July 2009 through June 2010. Dr. Johnston will work with PELA residents on program competencies at their assigned school specifically around effective teacher observation and conferring skills, learning walk protocol, and effective and coherent professional development. Dr. Johnson will confer monthly with Dr. Jerri Lynn Lippert and the Lead Principal, Kellie Abbott on PELA resident needs to inform the professional development training component of the program. Dr. Johnston will be supervised by PELA program director Dr. Jerri Lynn Lippert. Dr. Johnston has been selected as a trainer due to her expertise in learning theory and curriculum, successful national urban principal training through the Institute for Learning, and demonstrated expertise in training Pittsburgh principals through the Leadership Academy. Through Year 1 and 2 PELA program evaluations, Dr. Johnston's work is invaluable to the development of instructional leadership.”

But why stop there?

The Board enters “into a contract with International Center for Leadership in Education as part of year 3 of Pittsburgh's Emerging Leadership provide training to the emerging leaders in Cohort 3 2009-2010 of Pittsburgh's Emerging Leadership Academy....Managing change at the building level is one of the most crucial, and challenging, aspects of school administration. Building administrators must be prepared to serve as instructional leaders while creating a culture focused on preparing students for the world in which they will live and work.”

Clearly sensing an urgent need to create more school administrators at the same time the Facilities study's demographic data was making clear that we would have fewer children to educate in fewer schools, Mr. Roosevelt also recommends a $165,540 contract for PELA with the Duquesne University School of Education, with the agenda item proclaiming that “The partnership between DU and PELA will yield a true academy for aspiring school leaders driven by research on real problems in urban schools and developing urban school leaders who are research practitioners.”

And yet with large, no-bid professional services contracts to be handed out, what month would be complete without the Institute for Learning? For $541,000, the Board authorizes “a contract with Institute for support a fourth and final year of support to complete the development of a rigorous core curriculum.”

Pay for Performance takes a step forward with the Board approving the School Administrator Evaluation Rubric and corresponding Achievement Bonus Formula.

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

Both Mr. Brentley and Mr. Taylor take note, voicing strong concerns over the PELA program, given the array of already available, experienced and certificated professionals in the district."

Congratulations Regina, Congratulations Mark

Strong effort by Lisa with many important points raised.

Conflict at U Prep

From a reliable source there was a large fight at U Prep last week involving girls from the Hill v. girls from E Liberty. Is enough being done to adress neighborhood conflicts?

Up to 300 teacher positions may be cut

From the PG:

District committee recommends rejecting Schenley bid; makes recommendations on other bids

From the PG:

The article refers to a "district committee" and an "evaluation team". Is this the committee that Ira Weiss's office asked some individuals to join in late September? Was the formation of this committee ever announced and if not, why not?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eliminating single gender

Word is that single gender will be eliminated at Westinghouse in February. Legal action by the ACLU and Women's Law Project is part of the reason. Also contributing most likely was that the arrangement was not very popular and was not working out as hoped. Probably also made scheduling more difficult.

Principal bonuses

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"The Sky Is falling! Bonuses anyone? Over 1/3 million forked over last week alone. This is how PPS rolls...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

High portion of students lacking basic skills

On another post Anonymous wrote:

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>

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Westinghouse a study in disorganization"

From the PG:

Parent engagement positions

Word is that PPS will close parent engagement positions and give a teacher a stipend to work 44 minutes per week to hold PSCC meetings.

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."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Letter to editor re: Mark Brentley often challenging admin

From the PG "Be thankful for Brentley":

What's up with Sci Tech enrollment?

As of October 1 enrollment in Sci Tech grade 11 (so far the school has grades 6-11) was 71 students. This is significantly below the 100 student enrollment for this grade when Sci Tech opened. Since new students are not accepted beyond grade 10, and some students will most likely move or change schools, the number graduating will most likely be lower than 71.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Board president Hazuda/ taxes

On another post Cindy wrote:


Board Pres. Hazuda defends her evasion of school tax payments and destruction of the school district by accusing city teacher Lisa Jones of being a "disgruntled employee" because of "drastic changes". WOW.

Hazuda also complains yet again about her income. Hazuda would not have her cushy job at Biotronics if she wasn't the puppet she has become.

Isn't it odd that Hazuda got a job with UPMC as soon as she was elected to the school board. Then she voted to protect UPMC from potential future taxes. Hazuda now works for Biotronics which seems to almost exclusively contract with UPMC. She is a "contract specialist". (and still can't pay her taxes in a timely manner.)"

Westinghouse administration

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new post please--- Wstinghouse change of admin? Any comments or info?"