Monday, February 27, 2012

School Board apologizes for Westinghouse problems

From the PG:


Anonymous said...

I assume Ms. Shealey has been a frequent visitor at Westinghouse these many years, mentoring students and showing that she gave a ding dang?

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha, Shealey was never even heard of before she was elected. In fact people voted for her because they thought she was associated with the Shealey family from Homewood. No one can even recall her ever being in the Westinghouse building until she decided to run for office.

So not she didnt give a ding dang about WHS academy and put her foot in her mouth for talking about no one did anything for WHS all those years.

So we are still waiting to here from the prior principals within the last ten years, Dr. Barnett, and shemeca crenshaw. Also what about Dr. Linda Lane, and Randall Taylor they were in involved with district too. Lets here from them to see if any one cared or tried to help WHS.

Anonymous said...

If they are not going to do right by WHS, shut it down and send the students to Allderdice.

Anonymous said...

"They need the right teachers, right administrators, and right stake holders to come to the table and find out what will make it better. "

There is absolute agreement in the school and in the community that this should be the case! However, all of those above mentioned will be deliberately and purposefully excluded by PPS current Central Office Administration. The established pattern of operation is that only personally, hand-chosen, who have little independent thought will be “at the table” to find out what will make it better and create the plan. Anything initiated or suggested by those not hand-chosen to be at the table will not be considered.
The Superintendent will come to School/Community meetings making an appearance and listening to participants, but this is never the "table" that will make decisions.

Perhaps the Westinghouse advocates from school/community/WAA can find a way to be engaged with Dr. Pedro Noguera when he meets with Central Office (no secret, private sessions permitted) to devise a plan for Westinghouse.

With the right input, right people, right stakeholders it could become a model for African American community schools! (That cannot happen with the one-size-fits all position/approach on curricula, discipline, and organization.)

There is a school community in Southern California that is pushing the limits of the law to take control of their "failing" school. (See next post.)
The Wall Street Journal
Parents Try to Enact Trigger Law
Parents Rebel Against School
Petition Drive Under California Law Could Lead to Mass Firings or Charter Shift

“Fed-up parents of students attending a low-performing school in Southern California aim to use the power given to them by the state to take an unusual step: fire the school.

This power, called a Parent Trigger, was passed into law in California in 2010, but parents are attempting for only the second time to use it at Desert Trails Elementary outside Los Angeles. Their effort to force Adelanto Elementary School District to overhaul the school, or turn it into a charter school run by the parents themselves, is expected to be closely watched across the nation.

Similar legislation passed in Texas and Mississippi last year and is under consideration in Florida, Pennsylvania and Indiana this year. The parents group has gathered the signatures of 70% of the parents at the school and plans to deliver a petition to school district officials on Thursday. Under the law, parents can force a district to close a school, convert it to a charter or replace the principal and the teachers if at least 50% of them sign a petition. Last year, parents in Compton tried to trigger such a change, but their petition has been tied up in a lengthy court battle with the school district.. . . . . . “

Westinghouse ADVOCATES, please think about this. Carpe Diem!

Anonymous said...

What is taking PPS so long to put the latest minutes online? Are they "doctoring" something?

Randall Taylor said...

I have to believe that Ms. Shealey does not truly believe that no one has said or done anything about Westinghouse for ten plus years.
I do not feel the need to defend myself, but I want to thank all those people of the years who have kept the faith that one day Westinghouse, which is the heart of Homewood, will be what we desire and need.

Questioner said...

Two years ago Sharene Shealey was invited to join Randall Taylor, Mark Brentley and (future Board member) Regina Holley on the Open East End Panel to discuss plans for Peabody and Westinghouse. She declined. When asked if she could suggest others as members for the Open Panel, she had no suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Randall, a lot of good people have spent a lot of time and energy at Westinghouse and a lot of good things have happened there. AND, believe it or not, there were CLASSES that were "proficient" on PSSA. (Remember, there are always teacher turnovers (seniority issues) in the District and Westinghouse usually gets what’s leftover. There are FEW who request Westinghouse (although there have been some).

However, since the Roosevelt/Lane/Broad/Gates regime, Westinghouse lost all of its successful teachers and programs: Business & Finance, CAS, Arts, Choral Music, Marching Band, Debate, Championship Football & Basketball Teams, Career & Tech , etc. Equity and Excellence is not even considered for Westinghouse by Central Office. African-centered curricula has been replaced by a “managed core curriculum” that virtually everyone is complaining about. Yes, Central Office is where the critical decisions are made and carried out and there appears to be a sworn oath taken to perpetuate Roosevelt/Broad/Gates.

We know enough to make this school the best of its kind in the country; but Central Office bars every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Ms. Shealey had no idea about Westinghouse-- it has NOT bneen decades of decline-- Mr. Taylor is right-- Is she -- or alot of others commenting on Westinghouse -- are they Pittsburghers or more carpetbaggers? I have known many of the teachers and administrators at Westinghouse-- the decline occured during the Roosevelt years-- it was engineered- just like many other mostly AA schools were allowed to decline.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else bothered by the subheading of the article, "Failure at 6-12 school blamed on teachers and organizational flaws". Nowhere in the article is the failure (or flaws) of the teachers actually mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. That was the first thing I saw and knowing what actually took place at the meeting, I figured maybe there was some behind the scenes info being provided. But in true PG fashion...nothing.

Anonymous said...

If the board's representive had only cared a little more about WHS's situation than getting a board contract for R and S supplies, it might have been ok.

Follow the money trail and see where it leads you. Check out the relationship of R and S supplies and a Board Rep and see if this conflict of interest connection was ever made known. Then check out the dispute between R and S supplies and PPS. This is where the dont care attitude first surfaced. The board Rep thinks it was someone affilated with WHS that exposed this conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Its time to do a formal investigation into what happend at Westinghouse. Since Tom, Sharene, Theresa and Fink can hardly believe what happen at WHS this will help them understand.

Mark since you are the primary board member that took an active interest in Westinghouse and wanted the board and Dr. lane to slow the process down, you should head the committee. Sharene should will be ok with that and would enjoy just reading the report any way.

After the investigation is complete and provides its findings to the board and general public, then this committe can make recommendations to the board. This may lead to changes that will make WHS better, including the replacement of and hiring of new staff.

During the investigation, if you come across questionable decision by certain people, put them on Adm leave. This is what Dr. lane woulld do. Then allow the commitee to bring in certain people that were there and can show us all what really happen with failing to educate those students.

Anonymous said...

Well stated 6:10. Please proceed with this investigation. Accountability for such a "failure" is imperative. Those responsible at the top cannot just go on business as usual after making a simple apology. The consequences for students at Westinghouse are far-reaching and a mere apology is empty.

The Board, as a whole, must find a way to remedy the damage. This will take extraordinary measures. The mandate must be "whatever it takes."

At some point the madness at 341 must be ended or this will happen again and again. Policy and legislation are required here. It is time to take real and productive action!

Anonymous said...

Around our country, African-American and Latino males are the most misunderstood and struggling group of students we are trying to educate. In Pittsburgh, African-American males are last in Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship Awards, highest in drop-out rates, lowest in attendance, lowest in PSSA scores, lowest in grade point average and highest in incarceration rates (as minors and far into adulthood). Here's what the school board and the other people who run the district (Dr. Lippert, Dr. Rudiak, Dr. French, and Lisa Fischetti) should be talking about more often:

Former PPS Administrators who have left for other jobs since 2008:

Davon Burnett-Penn Hills
Dr. Sito Narcisse-Boston
Chris Horne-Penn Hills
Heath Bailey-Sto-Rox
Dr. Ron Jones (*Demoted at Rogers/CAPA)
Howard Bullard-Education Partners
Frank Chester-Chester Engineering
Derrick Lopez-HCV
Shawn McNeil-On leave since Nov 3rd
Alvin Gipson-Aliquippa
Tywayne Weems (Sued PPS)
Henry Stevens-Forced Retirement

Here's who is left in PPS:

Derrcik Hardy-Uprep
Kevin Bivins-Fulton-(Sued PPS)
Wayne Walters-Obama

Yes! That is it! There were 4 Pittsburgh Emerging Leadership Academy classes held to recruit and train administrators. A total of 28 people became PELA Principals in PPS over a four year period. Shawn McNeil and Heath Bailey were the ONLY African-American Males selected to the program.

*If you can read betwen the lines, this data explains why Rhonda Taliaferro was sent packing from CAPA for a teacher (Melissa Pearlman) with no administrative experience. Dr. Jones was demoted during the merger. Two positions were moved to make way for Melissa Pearlman. That's peculiar!

Anonymous said...

On the flip side if Derrick Hardy were not an African American male he surely would have been out of U Prep.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a list of all the PELAs? I've looked on the website but can't seem to find any general listing amongst all the other things that come up.

I know that the answer is always that these things were paid for with grants specifically for the programs. However, in many cases it seems like the district would have been far better off not getting the money and not having the program.

Anonymous said...

The person who posted the comment about Derrick Hardy being African-American and still at Uprep totally missed the point of the blogger!

It is funny how people find ways to look past those names and choose to look elsewhere, instead of seeing that there is a systemic problem. Instead, they choose find one name of a guy who is (currently) fighting to educate students from The Hill, East Liberty and Garfield while keeping the peace amongst them. Derrick Hardy is also dealing with displaced staff members who never wanted to be assigned at Uprep.

Derrick Hardy and ALL of the other names that were mentioned could ONLY get jobs like Uprep inside PPS due to their demographic! Dr. Ron Jones was moved from his principalship at CAPA. He is the ONLY principal to have a job that wasn't with the most challenging students in the lower socioeconmic locations of the city.

PPS profiles its administrators and they will tell you that. Please stop trying to find loopholes in the truth! The numbers don't lie!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how PPS can believe for one minute, that they can educate poor black kids without having black role models in leadership positions. The struggling young boys and grils throughout our city know their place (marginalization). They also know who is being valued and respected and who isn't because they do not see anyone who looks like them around.

Dear PPS,
You can't teach a dog to be a cat. Everyone doesn't see out of your lens. You have a diverse population and your staff doesn't reflect it. There are thousands of role models that you could partner with around the city to help you. If you continue to deny this fact, you will continue to fail an entire population.

Propel, City High, NUP, Urban League Charter, Cyber etc? They will do what you won't do! They are not scared of black men who have a backbone and an opinion. These charters schools are going to ruin your Ponzy Scheme.

Anonymous said...

From experience it often does not help to have role models from the same demographic. You can see that some of the role models are there because of their demographic, and that others have made compromises to get where they are. And once they are in some "role models" prefer to associate with the majority group. Better is someone you share common ground with independent of characteristics like race and gender.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Pearlman's mother is connected to one of the foundations that provides money to PPS. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Melissa Pearlman's mother is connected to one of the foundations that provides money to PPS. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

I was at Westinghouse academy and I can tell you while I was there Ms. Shealey never set foot in WHS. She has a lot of nerve talking about what people have not done for the last 10 years. I and others have worked very hard to attempt to overcome the many issues associated with WHS and the Homewood community.

And no its not a easy task as I learn as a adm. Many mistakes were made with whs in the past and we have not learned from them yet. The biggest of which, many of the sernior teachers were let go to make room for budget changes. These teachers were dedicated to more than just teaching a class and going home. The cuts focused on their teaching loads and forget to recognize the other traits, skills and commitments they brought to WHS. And once they were gone the ADMs lost control of the school and connections to the community and previous student body. What a valuable lesson. And unfortunately the school has not recovered from this mistake and on top of this PPS made it worst.

Sorry Westinghouse, you have been used and abused very bad and the current ADM and Board has not rectified the situation yet. But dont fret, help is on the way. Every community group out there now is aware of your suffering. Therefore out of the rubble one will rise up take up your cause and see to it, WHS will get what it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Do not fall into the Broad/Gates "Parent Trigger" trap. This is funded & supported by them. They push communities to a breaking point and then fund the program to use the parents energy to their advantage. It is twisted genius.

Privatization of public schools is the end game and Parent Trigger is a piece of the puzzle to reach that goal. The Broad Foundation tears apart communities/school districts then funds the same community (Parent Trigger) to put pressure on the school board for more charter schools. Game, set, match,they win. This was discussed recently on another thread (2/27) here.

Anonymous said...

2:51 - Very interested in your connection of the "Parent Trigger Law" to Broad and Gates. Can you direct us to that connection.

Here is an in-depth article from PDK, Phi Delta Kappan, one of the current, highest quality education publications.
"Triggering Reform at Public Schools"
Proponents of parent trigger laws must find ways
to promote stability in the aftermath of a successful
petition if they are to avoid the recurrence of policy
churn, inefficiency, and persistently troubled schools.
By Andrew P. Kelly

An intriguing experiment in direct democracy is afoot in some of the nation’s struggling public schools. Under new “parent trigger” laws passed in California and on the agenda in New York, Ohio,
Colorado, and Chicago, parents of children in
chronically failing schools can petition to unseat the schools’ current leadership and staff. If petitioners obtain signatures from 51% of parents, the school must undergo some kind of major change. The options include replacing the principal or existing faculty, converting to a charter school, or closing the school entirely. California’s first test case —McKinley
Elementary in Compton — provoked considerable controversy, including a successful legal challenge by the district and charges that the school’s current teachers had harassed children whose parents had signed the petition.

The parent trigger gives reformers a new weapon in the battle to improve schooling, and the idea’s growing popularity has excited many across the country. After decades of a focus on parental choice as a way to pressure traditional schools to improve, reformers now have a more direct route to influence individual schools. The trigger gives parents an option other than “exit” through school choice or
“loyalty” to the school. If parents can collect
enough signatures, the school must listen to their collective voice. " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."

Check out this article which makes no reference to Broad or Gates influences. Please help with that connection.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example. Google Broad foundation parent trigger you will get many results.

Anonymous said...

Here is another link to the connection.