Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Plus strategic plan

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Scholarships for students in low performing feeder...": 


Please check out Judy Johnston’s A+ Schools Strategic Plan 2012-2015.

The MISSING PIECES in this Strategic Plan are the keys to advancing academic achievement for African American students. 

The “keys” are critical to progress and imperative to any and all strategic educational plans. 
Respectfully, read, analyze and identify the missing pieces. 


Anonymous said...

The bottom of page 8 says it all...
"With a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.."

Not that there has ever been anything substantial from this group, but now the "watchdog" has definitely become the "lapdog" of PPS.

Anonymous said...

'Effective teaching is the most significant school based factor contributing to student learning yet we know that
students of color are less likely to experience effective teaching."

What a slap in the face to those teachers who show up every day in these schools. Yeah only white suburbs get effective teachers. They come from the same Pitt/IUP/Chathm programs as the rest of us but some they're magically more effective.
Let this do-nothing group come in and see how it is.

"Community demand and support for school and teacher improvement in low-income communities is minimal
and not strongly organized."

Ok, you come and protest for better teachers and the teachers will come to your neighborhood and protest for better parents.

More soap boxes for people to stand on so they don't have to look down and see what's really happening.
I am so encouraged to start this new school year! I feel so valued as a teacher!!! I can't believe how lucky Pittsburgh is to have these folks.

Can anyone point to any tangible thing this group has done aside from putting big sentences together with buzz words?

Questioner said...

It sounds like A Plus is defining its role as speaking up on behalf of certain communities. But, what community does A Plus believe is showing minimal demand and support for school improvement?

At the last public hearing there were plenty of representatives of the Hill community discussing what would be required for stronger schools, and lots of people from the community show up at Westinghouse meetings as well (although failed attempts at improvement may lead to fatigue and families simply pulling out of the public schools).

Anonymous said...

When Dr. Johnston was a principal she rarely if ever visited classrooms. If she did, then how could all of those satisfactory ratings been submitted by her? Just check her many Unsat's did she document? how about ZERO!

Teachers with 25+ years in the classroom with satisfactory ratings all along from retired principals like Johnston are why we are in the circumstances of today. She observed teachers from her office instead of from a classroom and now she's teaching PELA's how to measure quality teaching.

When Dr. Johnston was a principal, she rarely visited classrooms. If she did, then how could all of those satisfactory ratings been submitted by her? Just check her many Unsat's did she document? How about ZERO!

Teachers with 25+ years in the classroom with satisfactory ratings all along from retired principals like Johnston are why we are in the circumstances of today. She observed teachers from her office instead of from a classroom, signed off on satisfactory ratings and now she's a paid consultant for PPS teaching PELA's how to measure quality teaching.

Guess she learned how to do her job more effectively when she retired. It's easy to tell someone how to do it when you in fact never did it yourself. Guess that's what it is all about today under the Broad and Gates mentality. We hire folks with no practical or proven experience in education to teach those of us who lived it for a lifetime.

Yes, she's padding a comfortable pension but those of us who taught under her know the real deal, don't we?

Anonymous said...

There is a lot more in the report other than Judy Johnston---and all of it much more important.

Why is type of venom given so much space here?

Did IFL write the PPS curriculum?

If so, who at IFL?

The curricula or whatever is being taught is the basis for what and how well students are prepared to be successful?

What are the measures of success?

How closely do those measures compare or align or fulfill the expected outcomes? Has the PPS curricula been validated or been found to curricula deliver the skills needed for academic success? Where is the research that supports the use of PPS curricula?

Where are the references to curricula in the report?

Anonymous said...

Venom? Sorry, I don't see it.I don't know Ms.Johnston personally--she is likely a wonderful person. I am no fan of the PELA program and teacher crack-downs, however, nor am I a fan of heavy handedness that comes from administrators who don't walk in the shoes of teachers.
I'm also not a fan of the idea of consultants at this point in time--a period of hardship.
I don't see the venom in any of that--just the feeling that teachers are scapegoats and PELA will only continue to push that envelope.
It's not venomous to say that this is all an outrage and those in charge of such tactics continue to cause many fine teachers many sleepless nights over what amounts to baloney.

Anonymous said...

JJ is just one of the herd of consultants. The real issue is that the "so-called watchdog" is a sell out- along with PFT, school board etc. They cant find any other part this district to sell! We went from a board that micromanaged- aaah, the good old days-- to a board that doesnt want to run this district. We worried about "state taje-over" if our scores were least the state has SOME accountability-- private money can but who they want.

Anonymous said...

Politics, a dirty word, and in PPS it all politics. It's who you know, who has the money, the power, the prestige, but no kids in PPS's failing schools.

Politics, power, money, elitism create a CAPA, Sci-Tech, Obama for certain children. The rest are literally robbed of an education in this city. Such arrogance, wealth, power, and elitism are blind to what will happen to a city that does not care for, protect and educate the whole of its population.

The 'watch dog" group lost its way when it put on board, the elitist, the political, the arrogant, the ignorant, the limited know-it-alls, and the funders.

Anonymous said...

Still blaming it all on teachers, n today’s PG Letters to the Editor, the "watch-dog" group's leader, Judy A. Johnston states:

“Teacher expertise accounts for up to 50 percent of student achievement.”

“Which brings me to my work as chair of A+ Schools' board of directors. As a board, we ask that the district and the teachers union continue the collaborative work they began when they developed the rubric now used to assess and improve teachers' practices.”

Only one question to be answered: How can the blame be placed on teachers when they have no capacity to step beyond the District's one-size-fits-all, scripted and "managed core curriculum"???

I wonder what would happen if PPS hired teachers who could teach and then let them do it?

Read more:

Bill said...

One question about the "elitist" lament...

Why are SciTech and Obama "elitist"??? Because you have to get off of the couch and actually go apply? Please explain, as your logic is flawed. Is it elitist because you may actually have to go to one of the two schools and meet with a representative?

Sounds like hogwash to me. If you truly want the best for your kid, then do the legwork and make the sacrifices of your own time and comfort.

Sheesh. What lunacy.

Anonymous said...

Judy Johnston has a letter to the editor in today's P-G on page B-2 regarding teacher evaluation.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was previously posted with the link.

Anonymous said...

Sorry,I didn't see it. I am not Promise Ready...

Anonymous said...

Sorry,I didn't see it. I am not Promise Ready...

Anonymous said...

Why do people think Obama is such a great school? I know so many unhappy parents that have removed their kids. The kids report everyday fights, straight A's for just being a good kid and not a great learning environment. A lot of (us) parents also think things will get worse at the Peabody lication. I am not trying to argue, I am a Mom with a middle school kid and I really don't get the Obama (school) love.

Anonymous said...

Scitech is not elitist. My child and at least 8 other gifted kids from his elementary school did not get in, including a kid from a central office employee. (with clout) Not one gifted kid from our school got in. Some really nice kids did, it was the "luck" of the draw. PPS decided to make it based on demographics rather than ability, therefore it is not elite.

Anonymous said...

Every day fights? Perhaps in the middle school but not in the high school. Ever.
A's for being a nice kid?
Again, not in the high school.
This is a funny posting. You use the term "most parents" and I wonder who you are referring to? Again, Obama is one of the best and only alternatives in this district.
Perhaps your kid--or the kids he/she goes to school with---need to grow up.
I'm also a little confused. The school is one of the few to make AYP and you're ragging on it here. Is someone forcing you to send your kid there?

Bill said...

Here's a sad truth: i had a letter to the editor all written and ready to go. It sounded a lot like what you read here. Some of my colleagues read and appreciated the thoughts. It was quite long and detailed.

And I ripped it up and threw it out.

I'm not the kind that keeps my mouth closed. I'm not the kind who sits idly by as misdeeds keep occurring and charlatans like Judy Johnston continue perpetuate a culture of fear.

But I am reminded of the board minutes and all of the forced resignations or terminations. I am reminded that I have no union to back me up.
I am reminded that putting my name to something will place me firmly under the microscope and bring myriad observations. Since I still have kids and college to pay for, it's not worth the price.

This is America. This is supposed to be the land of free speech and where education is concerned, a place where we can all realize our potential and get ahead in life. But in PPS, we have a totalitarian regime in charge that seeks to squash dissent.

And more pointedly, we have a curriculum that is failing our kids miserably. The test scorers show that socially correct brainwashing doesn't equate to academic success.

I never liked Judy Johnston as a principal, and I amazed that she and others like her have been empowered in this time period.

There should be no place for her --or her insane thinking---in our schools.

Anonymous said...

I didn't use the term "most parents". I was talking about the parents I know who have removed their kids from Obama, people I know sending their kids to Obama and parents (like me) who are reluctant to send their kids to Obama. I only know what I hear and there is no need to be snotty about it. I can't afford private school and college, so I am trying to navigate this constantly shifting PPS agenda. It is really confusing.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately, Judy J. is laughing all the way to the bank. She has her pension, position at Pitt's learning Institute, and PPS consulting fees. She's making a mint. She has certainly "empowered" herself. And with all her ties to PPS, the fact that she is on the board of the so-called watchdog group A+ schools, is like having the fox guard the hen house. A+ is just another PPS mouthpiece. Does anyone think JJ will bite the PPS hand that feeds her?

Questioner said...

Didn't just the HS (11th grade) part of Obama make AYP?

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic. "The Reformer's Game Plan". It is on Diane Ravitch's blog.

First paragraph: This reader offers a succinct summary of the reformers’ game plan. He might have added additional elements: a) budget cuts to disable public schools; and b) laws that remove accountability and transparency with privately managed charters; c) evaluating teachers on a bell curve, so that half will always be “below average,” thus creating a “crisis”; d) demanding 100% perfection, 100% proficiency and saying that anything less proves failure.