Friday, November 30, 2012

PIIN / A Plus Schools meeting

On "Start a new post" Kathy Fine wrote:

I attended the Town Hall Meeting sponsored by PIIN and A+ Schools at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary last night. Lots of energy, extremely diverse crowd of over 150 people from all over the city, including Michael Lamb (city Controller), who seems to have a genuine concern regarding public school issues.

After opening comments, we broke into groups to discuss critical needs of our schools, barriers to meeting those needs and ways to get around the barriers. I applaud the enthusiasm and earnest passion that the attendees lent to the discussions. However, it was the same format, same discussion and same result that have been repeated over and over at stakeholder meetings.

I think that a better understanding of the workings of the district would guide these meetings toward a more productive result. I would love to have the opportunity to channel the energy from this meeting into recruiting and electing truly qualified school board candidates. School board directors set educational policy and hire and oversee the superintendent, the most critical factors in public school reform.

Thanks to PIIN for organizing the event and let's hope that the passion of the attendees for our public schools stays strong. 


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this meeting was at the same time as the EAP meeting. Really POOR planning as it was impossible to go to both

Questioner said...

Did the meeting focus on equity and closing the achievement gap as announced by the A Plus flyer, or was it just about improving the schools in general?

Anonymous said...

Improving the schools in general, nothing new, not enough time for real discussion or strategizing or next steps. It will chalk up one more claim of "community involvement" for the district and A+ Schools -- one more piece/article aimed at good PR with Lisa Fischetti on the job sitting front and center.

Anonymous said...

What comes from these meetings? Do people leave with assignments? How many meetings are held just to say there was a meeting?

Anonymous said...

Answers to 11:48 questions -

1. Unrealistic hope that you made a difference by attending.
2. No assignments!
3. Way too many! Maybe all of them.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Face it, Pittsburgh Public Schools is a political animal. It should be. It needs to be. It is a fact of American life and Education in our society.

Sadly, too little if any attention is devoted to our political landscape and its development of quality campaigns and candidates, yet alone the discussions that are in those realms.

I agree that some time needs to be devoted to candidate happenings.

Likewise, I attended parts. Likewise, I had a conflict. But I was there to lend a hand prior and saw some of the event.

Breakouts sessions yield a command and control victory for the central planners. Stay on time was the top message to the organizers / facilitators.

It is hard to make the district whole when breakouts are the only avenue. The AA Achievement Gap is nothing except a big hairy break out -- in the wrong way -- of course.

But, then again, A+ can't carry the water for every blasted cause and concern, as they have proven.

My $.02: The breakout that I want to fix goes to the data in the A+ report that says PPS has lost 10,000 students throughout the past 10 years. About 1,000 kids per year depart the district. People are voting, still, with their feet.

IMNSHO, that is fixed by extra-circular activities. Kids that are grounded in their neighborhoods, with their friends and with their teams are not going to move away. They'll have respect for themselves and their school.

The city experience is much unlike that offered in suburban high schools in these matters.

Anonymous said...

"kids are grounded in their neighborhoods" made me think about a girl who opted out of going to a soccer game because it was an away game and she would have had no way home late at night once the kids returned to school. could that be a coach's added responsibility to make sure everyone had transportation home from school after a night game when PAT buses run so infrequently if at all? a friend with a daughter/cheerleader shared a story that about what it was like to be the only parent at a football game played away. crazy.

Anonymous said...

For the record anon 6:13, district administration had nothing to do with this event and seemed to have been purposely left out.

kathy fine said...

Lisa Fischetti was not sitting front and center (from what I could see), but it was made clear that Dr. Lane was invited but could not attend because of scheduling conflicts.

Anonymous said...

LF was sitting at the table next to the microphone at the large group opening session. It seemed like front and center. Sorry, if that is reason for countering the statement made previously.

Anonymous said...

The above link is a list of the Jan/Feb PSCC meetings from the website. How many schools are working to increase PSCC participation? How many people knew such a list existed on any district supported website?

Anonymous said...

Who are the educators at Central Office who have demonstrated success, experience or expertise?

We have psychologists, phys ed teachers, human resource directors, public relations experts, etc., all good at the positions that they formerly held here, there and everywhere. But where are the true educators who have successfully taught and led in urban schools.

It takes years of successfully managing the demands of urban school environments and depth of knowledge about what works, what doesn't and why as well as the ability to creatively solve problems for positive outcomes.

Where can we identify such leadership in our PPS District?