Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Community input on Schenley

Quality, location, history and alumni support- come out and support use of Schenley as a school building!

Important updates- recent reports are that the Schenley plaster has only trace amounts of asbestos.  The athletic facilities have no asbestos plaster and are much needed by East End students.

Link to information about the community meeting as well as some great photos of Schenley:

The second of 3 meetings is tonight, Wed July 11, 7:00 at the United Cerebral Palsy building 4638 Centre Ave (near Neville).


Questioner said...

This building is a public treasure that should not be allowed to slip into private hands. And its best use is as a school, benefiting generations of students to come.

Anonymous said...

Just sell the bld,it's a waste of tax payers money to keep it ,with nothing going on in they're .Who cares about who graduated they're ,let's move on people and hope the board gets some kind of profit from the sale.

Questioner said...

You must not have children at schools in the area. Of course there is nothing going on there, since PPS closed it, but there should be something going on there! In particular, the sports facilities could be used to alleviate the shortage of practice space at the 6-12 schools in the East End. Financially, sale of the building will be a big loss for the district because there will soon be pressure to bring sports facilities at Milliones up to the level enjoyed by other high schools students (price tag $20M plus).

And as for who cares who went there- actually a lot of people! Ask Westinghouse alums about their Wall of Fame, or Allderdice alums about their new event highlighting successful alums. This connection can be quite inspirational to current students. And people are very much interested in seeing where Andy Warhol for example went to HS. This type of history and authenticity is worth a dozen generic school buildings.

Anonymous said...

WHO CARES,and the board doesn't care because most of them didn't go to a pps so if they don't care why should anyone else care,so LET IT GO and move on

Anonymous said...

If you look at the recent past, PPS has been moving students around with little to no thought about how this will benefit students or even what it will cost. Schenley is only one example of this. By closing Schenley the district had to spend a lot of money renovating Reizenstein, Milliones, Frick (for the ninth grade they added for only one year) and now Peabody for those formerly Schenley students. I do not know what all those renovations cost, but I am certain the figure is in the millions. So rather than waste even more taxpayer money with further renovations of Milliones, why not use the building that is already there? Anon. 10:56 may have no sentimental attachment to the building, but surely the further waste of taxpayer money has some meaning.
My own personal point of view is that Milliones is an ugly building and any money put into it is a waste. Schenley is a beautiful building with a distinguished history and deserves to be preserved.

Anonymous said...

I went to a high school that closed and iam not crying about it .Times have changed and so do people .How many people show who up to a class reuion? In the first 10 years.

Questioner said...

Anon 12:59, many or most kids do have that kind of feeling about their high schools, but the thing about Schenley is that it was different. Different enough so that people still do cry about losing it.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, Roosevelt used his tried and true tactics that are still in effect today:

-make the move
-let the public holler for a bit
-hold 'open meetings' that amount to nothing
-move on as planned

What you have reported is no surprise, nor is the fact that the entire board and administration is corrupt. It shows in these types of actions and it shows in how they have dealt with teachers.

I stay grounded with the idea that someday, they will have to answer for their corrupt deeds and how they adversely affected children.

so parent said...

I only know Schenley through the eyes of a spectator, but the spirit was palpable every time I was in the building to see a musical, at every girls' sporting event, to participate in a meeting as a visitor from another school, or when listening to a student speak about the school. I wish I could explain it better to those who are commenting now. Had the school been allowed to live, especially after the adversity and controversy, I can't imagine what might have become of it. You know what I mean? The opportunity to prove something would have been an overwhelming incentive, one that could have closed gaps and much more.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, and also applicable to boys events.
That stately building sitting there gathering moss in Oakland is truly an insult.
Schenley should have been allowed to be Schenley, with IB/Obama thrown in.
Blame the Fink-Colaizzi rubber stampers.
They really represent their constituents well, don't they.

Stephanie Tecza said...

PLEASE, lets not forget Heather Arnet in this mess.

Anonymous said...

Schenley was closed not because of asbestos but because it was a high performing high school. To do high school reform, and to quote Lynn Spampinato, "We have to create the crisis." That was done by giving Title I funds to high schools, which then caused those schools to fall under NCLB restrictions and to offer choice. In order to force choice and to force wide movement of kids across schools, particularly impoverished schools on the east end, Schenley had to close. This is why the outcry about asbestos came out of nowhere. Never before has the district immediately closed schools. If asbestos and falling plaster is an issue, well then nearly very school building should be closed. This had nothing to do with the facility and everything to do with disrupting a large and stable population of students that would not fall into the "high schools in appalling crisis" model the admin wanted to create to launch their reforms WHICH they copied word for word from people like Allen Bersin, Rudy Crew, Paul Vallas, etc. not a single original thought based on what was good about PPS. Amazing. The District served consistently as a national model site for internationally regarded researchers like Lauren Resnickand Howard Gardener amd Sam Meisels just to name a few to develop, with our teachers, models that transformed reaching and learning. Yet, all that work, all our curriculum written by teachers with Ph.D.s in curriculum writing, all our relationships with research institutions, all the success of our students, was buried und this cloud pf public opinion created by MR that made us look like we were a one room schoolhouse on a prairie somewhere while in the meantime the new administration was COPYING someone else's work because they themselves were too incompetent and unknowledeable and terrified to handle things. This was the equivalent to someone having given a scalpel to a 10year old that just happened to wander into an operating room one day after watching Grey'sAnatomy. So this is why Schenley closed with no warning.

ASW said...

Heather Arnet has forgotten us- not a peep since she left. And So Parent, you are So Correct. Parents, community and alums would have pitched in to approach 100% proficiency. At the time I proposed a program where parents of recent grads could mentor families new to the school or programs like IB, but proposals like this were not pursued by the administration.

Anonymous said...

8:45 Exactly!

Step one:
How to tell if your School District is Infected by the Broad Virus

Schools in your district are suddenly closed.

Even top-performing schools, alternative schools, schools for the gifted, are inexplicably and suddenly targeted for closure or mergers.

Anonymous said...

Heather has not forgotten. Heather was so appalled at the immoral and unethical behavior within the leadership once she got there that she did the only thing she could do when faced with such overwhelming negativity. She saved her family by moving out of the city and resigning. At least that is how I see it. Good for her that she was able to do that and has the corage to do so. Not so good for others who are less fortunate. Good news is we can all vote with more than just our feet. But will we?

kathy Fine said...

As the campaign manager that worked to elect Heather Arnet to the school board, I could not disagree more with anonymous 6:42.

We campaigned to support the administration's reform efforts (at the early stages of the Roosevelt administration, we were all still hopeful for meaningful change) but to hold the administration accountable and ask the tough questions. I am not sure what powers of persuasion Mr. Roosevelt possessed, but Ms. Arnet soon abandoned the coalition that elected her and bought into, hook, line and sinker, the Roosevelt agenda, including closing Schenley High School.

Ms. Arnet was aware of the dysfunction of the school board when she agreed to run. Contrary to showing courage by resigning, I believe that she showed tremendous cowardice, skulking away mid term, without even a word to the coalition that worked tirelessly to get her elected. In addition, she waited to leave so that the rules for replacing her allowed for mayoral appointment, which resulted in the appointment of Dara Ware Allen, a good person and advocate for youth, but a rubber stamp for the administration nonetheless (if she had left earlier, we could have had a special election to replace her).

I am proud to say that after diligently working for three candidates for school board, I have finally helped to elect a school board director, Dr. Regina Holley, whose concern is solely for the welfare of the children of our public schools as opposed to furthering their public image and political careers, as was the case for the previous two candidates for whom I worked. Thank you Dr. Holley and thank you to all who helped elect her.

Questioner said...

Anyone who saw Heather walk in with Roosevelt to the special meeting held shortly before the Schenley vote, smiling and joking, would find it very difficult to believe that she was appalled in any way. People, not just Heather, WANTED to believe and willingly suspended logic and disbelief. Did she become appalled over the following year that ended with her resignation? Maybe, but she said nothing.

Questioner said...

Also note that not only was Heather's resignation carefully timed (announced well after her house was already on the market, etc.) but the whole Schenley crisis (a two foot patch of plaster fell!) was carefully timed to occur AFTER Heather was chosen as the school board nominee. About 6 weeks afterwards, what a coincidence! Think of how different things would have been if we had Stephanie as the nominee.

Stephanie Tecza said...

I am honored for your comment Questioner; I passionately and with dedication would have stood fast by the residents, parents and students in District 2. Every time I pass Schenley it breaks my heart to see it empty. I am frustrated to read the daily postings and see how this administration is destroying our school district piece by piece. I know I would have been a thorn in the board and districts side and would have frustratingly enjoyed every moment. I am happy that the families and residence in District 2 have
Dr. Holley to fight the fight and ask those questions for us and not be a YES woman.

Just a thought.
There have been some movement in California, Florida and Louisiana around legislation called “Parent Trigger Law” to allow a group of parents to “take over” a low performing school. Perhaps the families in the Pittsburgh Public Schools could look at this and work for change.

Anonymous said...

"There have been some movement in California, Florida and Louisiana around legislation called “Parent Trigger Law” to allow a group of parents to “take over” a low performing school. Perhaps the families in the Pittsburgh Public Schools could look at this and work for change. "

BEWARE! And Be Aware, too!

This has been used by the same "reform forces" that we have seen here. The trigger only gives the "parents" (oftentimes the parent groups are formed by an "astroturf" group who sends in a non-parent community member to get things started) say in closing the school.

Then, a charter is put in charge in most cases and the ability of the parents or anyone else to influence the direction of the school is gone.

Parent trigger laws are basically used as another way to close a school and reopen as a charter.

Anonymous said...

The Parent trigger law/movement is funded by Gates & Broad! Avoid this at all costs.

Stephanie Tecza said...

WOW Amazing!!! I would have never thought that they would "HIDE" in this way. How low.

Anonymous said...

Let's be truthful and say that when it comes to corruption, there is a great deal of pain to go around. Roosevelt and his administration? Sure. Arnet and the rest of her cronies on the school board? Positively. Let's not forget the PFT. Let's not forget John Tarka, the man who sold out many a teacher on his merry road to retirement. To a great degree, we are in the current mess we are in thanks to his selling out.

I will never forget all of these people being kissy faced at Roosevelt's farewell party. They even cancelled teacher profession development for the "honor" of paying $75 to say bon voyage, and all of the above falling all over themselves.

It's been a grotesque 7 years, and only looks to get worse.

Anonymous said...

It was made very clear that if staff members wanted to keep their jobs they should attend Roosevelt's farewell. They could not find enough people to say yes to the invitation to make enough of a crowd otherwise. Most staff had to pay except Broad people and people working on the Gates grant. Yu know, injustice and evil are seductive and gradual. That s why they continue to exist. Like a frog in water that is gradually heated to boiling, it is really easy not to notice what you are doing or what is happening to ypyou or around you. By the time the announcement was made on Schenley, it was already too late. This is not a excuse. This is an observation. Public schools are an afterthought for most people. Once their kids are out of them, the parents don't care. They are just glad they are done. Then the cycle starts again and politicians get to play their games again. I include activist parents and teachers and community members in the term politicians. If we all really wanted to solve this we could. This would require letting go of pure personal opinion and personal positioning and having real conversations. It also requires a commitment to upholding trust. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to do this work. The situation we have now is a result of broken trust. Very sad. Can this trust be rebuilt?

Anonymous said...

I remember Mary van Horn of the PFT announcing the cancellation of a professional development/RISE session because it clashed with the "celebration of Mr.Roosevelt". She was so gushy with the praise that I wanted to puke. I had to think hard to remember that she was a PFT "leader."
I think most of what you report is true about admin types having to pay up to attend the shindig, but there is a group in our midst that is always willing to capitulate to those in charge rather than to fight.
Sorry, but I am from a generation of fighters.
This Schenley story punctuates a simple truth: PPS admin feels it can do as it pleases and conducts itself in a cavalier style.
This was the style in Detroit, too, and the corruption there was unparallelled and now coming to light.
I would love to see deep, investigative pieces on this school board, its affiliations, its decisions, its spending. I would love to see some journalist with the courage of conviction get to the bottom of something we all know has a foul stench and is replete with rumors of grotesque liberties taken in many regards.

It was a 20-something journalist who had the tenacity to keep the pressure on that eventually brought down Sandusky and those who tried to hide his doings. No, this is not a story that approaches the horrors of that one, but it is a story that would take tenacity and the ability to look beyond propaganda.

There is a lot wrong in PPS, done withe taxpayer money and at the expense of our kids and their teachers.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are too far off with the parallels between PSU Sandusky and the PPS system. They have been hiding things for so long...or the admin investigates and says the rapes were consensual, or the bids were at emergency levels so they didn't have to go by the law, grants used for other things other than what they are supposed to...and the list goes on and on. YES they certainly do need a grand jury investigating them.

Anonymous said...

Someone ought to write a note to Eleanor Chute at the PG and ask her why she sold her journalistic integrity to instead largely occupy newspaper space as a copy writer for PPS. I cannot any teacher having the gumption to write because quite truthfully, I would not now or ever trust her or anyone else in media.
Ms.Chute, whom I believe is a graduate of PPS, has never sought to ask questions. She's never sought to ask the tough questions, about expenditures, about school closures, about scripted curriculum, about 50% grading policies, about the failure to fire do-nothing administrators for the sake of good, solid classroom instruction from good, solid teachers.
No, I suspect she never will, as I suspect that the PG is much like local electronic media: either completely mesmerized by the big money foundations in town and their influence on PPS, of the people at the Promise or of the affiliation of a big name player like Bill Gates or somehow in on the duplicitous doings in Oakland.
I'd like to think that the charge of any journalistic entity is to enlighten the people and to make public misdeeds that are at taxpayer/citizenry expense. In this regard, Pittsburgh media has failed miserably.
Electronic outlets would rather give you "breaking news" about a dog being hit by a car in Podunk than how many of our students and families are being short-changed.
Isn't there anyone in local media with a sense of right and wrong and with a natural curiosity about the rumors that come from Bellefield Avenue?