Monday, November 19, 2012

Some teachers receive bonuses

On another post anonymous wrote:

A mustread for a new blog entry-Is this a "Shooting STAR" or a "falling STAR-a real waste of money? 

en schools get awards that include bonuses for teachers

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

For the first time, Pittsburgh Public Schools is awarding about $2.1 million in bonuses to teachers and other union workers at 10 schools as well as one closed school that are showing so much growth in student achievement that they are among the best ... 


Anonymous said...

It has been a long time since I paid much attention to schools of the grade levels receivings awards.
Of the few on the list I am familiar with i noticed some have been high achieving since my oldest was in elementary (Dilworth, Fulton, Whittier). For more than a dozen years those schools outperformed others. It is possible that more from the list have been strong performers for a long time. I am not trying to say the current staff in each building is not working hard to maintain the high expectations, but each school may have had a stronger foundation to begin with.

Anonymous said...

That is true, but pay attention to how very much better some of these schools are and also how the principals ofter work their own magic independent of central office. They have more freedom and autonomy to take the steps they deem necessary to deepen and broaden the educational environment with enriching experiences for the children who attend these schools. The professionals in these schools are not running scared (to do what is necessary and deviate from the rules and regs at CO).

Other principals are told outright that they must follow to the letter the central office protocols until they raise achievement, yet achievement will never improve until they are free of the central office protocols. There is no way out of the failure.

CONGRATULATIONS to principals, faculty, and students in schools that are able to take giant steps (outside the box) to success!

anon 858 said...

Anon 9:30, as an outsider with little knowledge of the schools being rewarded beyond my distant memory, I have a hard time accepting that these schools are operating with any autonomy but I will concede the point. Should we assume that because they are performing at a higher level than their peer schools they are left alone more/have less CO oversight?

Anonymous said...

Central office has stated, quite frankly, that (some) schools are left alone because they are succeeding and that those who are not succeeding must follow "faithfully" the protocols set forth by central office.

So no one is guessing about what's happening, instead, it is a fact stated by central office.

By the way, the successful principals are now identified "leaders" for other principals. So, it will be interesting to see if the other principals will be permitted to do what the lead principals have done to get success.

(It probably depends on who is their Assistant Superintendent.)

Anonymous said...


Sorry for the misquote.

"Faithfully" should read "with fidelity" which is the term used by central office.

Anonymous said...

it is reasonable that CO has stated some schools are left alone because they are succeeding but it would be helpful to know if this was done in a public forum and perhaps at a legislative meeting. This would allow us to cite it as evidence of pps practices.

Anonymous said...

And in the final analysis the penalties hurt children/students since they are the bottom line and when support is cut off to a school from central office its the students that suffer.

Anonymous said...

I see this a PPS PR joke. Please read the bottom excerpts fprm the paper. Is this a Fabricated measure
measure to give money for GILL"S FORMULA TO BE A STAR??


After reading the article enclosed at the bottom, I took excerpts that this a PPS gimmick and not reallly related to the PA state of education as a STAR.

Another Brian Gill justification to use data.

This is fabrication of data.

And adding Oliver City and Conroy in the mix-I seriously quation this let's become a Star PPS program.

I have had visited Dilworth for observations. And the kids were loud, bad and noisy. Very rude ART teacher with a stiff atitude of goddess. It made me as a parent fel like a minority of niceness.

They have an attitude in the atmospher. he only nice person
was the School Secretary. I had seen subtle to large episodes of bullying in the halls, lunch. I was very very impressed with the Intermediate rading teacher. She
was great in her teaching methods.

I ended up sending my children to Phillips Elem-a better school and staff.


The state also has a growth measure known as the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System, but that uses a different baseline and doesn't consider as many student traits as Mathematica's model does.

Mr. Gill declined to release a statewide list of results of the Mathematica model.

Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said the state only ranks the bottom 15 percent, not the top.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Just read the funniest words on another blog, "un-empowering teachers" is toooooo funny. Happy thanksgiving to the people who give us hope for the future, everyday. Teachers.

Thanks to the purereform volunteers who keep the site going.
Thanks to the principals who have pressures nobody else knows about. Some realize you want teachers as part as the team but are at the mercy of others.
Thanks to the kids who try hard everyday and the parents who support them and other kids who have little support. Look hard and you will see someone behind you, cheering you on. Happy Thanksgiving, to all.

Anonymous said...

Once again, your comment about principals concerns an ever-shrinking number. Few principals have the appreciation of teachers you write of but rather, drink the kool aid from pseudo-intellectuals like Lane, French and Lippert and see teachers as the problem.

It's a shame that we don't have the gumption of Tacoma teachers. For that matter, it's a shame that we don't have the backbone of Bethel Park teachers. We have a union that is led by a coward, who refuses to stand up for the rank and file and actually signed off on the RISE outrage.

A mass walk out should be the strategy. Strikes should be the strategy. Fact flyers to families and media should be the strategy. But instead, union leadership sits in cozy offices on the South Side, publicly protesting movies. Good God, it's like a bad dream.

PPS central administration is totalitarian in nature, from its manner of treating teachers to its implementation of horrid curriculum and yet, we have ourselves to blame. We continue to sign off on horrible contracts. We continue to elect cowards to union leadership positions.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, which schools have old school principals and which schools have PELA principals? it looks like many on the Star rewards list have older principals.

Anonymous said...

Again, this is a fable for the misuse of the data to rewaed staff. I read the article and again it is a Gill move to fabricate a data formula for certain schools. Dilworth is not a fine example or Fort Pitt.

It is just a PR proproganda as a former poster gave as a true assesssment.

I can see some other schools-were they in the mix-no!!!

This is a game of cards with sharks.

Anonymous said...

As for old school principals as a parent this is a joke for teacher cash and the old school prinicpals is a bad analaogy.

The Dilworth Principal is no prize package-but for the others-
Conroy and the special schools should not be in this loop as the state articulated-this is a PPS made-up reward.

Anonymous said...

And if a school with a PELA is on a school-wide improvement plan-- could that be a sign that it isnt working? Particularly if the school was high-achieving just one quick principal ago?

Anonymous said...

While I agree that this is a PR stunt, I have to disagree with your assessment of Dilworth.

It is truly one of the few schools left in the PPS that is actually trying (and succeeding) at giving kids a full education. There is art all over the school, kids play the music for the daily all-school assembly, their racial achievement gap has been small for years (and many years within the range that qualifies as not having a gap).

They have "talent and enrichment" classes twice each 6-day cycle. These are classes or activities run by teachers that are just as they say. They run the gamut from band or chorus to photography, book clubs, etc. It grew out of the days when kids went off to gifted (it's now in-school) -- and they wanted a more equitable experience for the kids "left behind."

Is every teacher there a paragon of personality? No. But, there are very, very few homeroom (math, reading) teachers who are not above average. When getting an average teacher is rare, a school is succeeding.

The school is at the district's free/reduced lunch percentage as well. It's not that they're not serving a representative population.

Do they have to use the curriculum? Yes. And the truth is that the curriculum is awful. It doesn't work well. But they tweak and they work extra hard and they add on and they use(d) their paras to work with kids, not just as crowd control.

So, while no school is perfect, I honestly don't believe anyone who is looking objectively at district schools wouldn't put Dilworth at or very near the top.

Anonymous said...

Who will pay for the other 80% of the bonuses when the federal funds run out?

Anonymous said...

Is Brian Gill related to Paul Gill, former Chief Operations Officer?

Anonymous said...

So then here's the big question. Why aren't ALL schools doing the same thing that the successful schools are? We run around like fools trying to recreate the wheel while others are smoothly rolling on. It's absurd.

Anonymous said...

As has been said here many times, one size does not fit all. What is important about Dilworth (and other successful schools) is that they have created an environment that provides what is needed for the student population in that school and community. That is the responsibility of leadership in a building. Good leaders are able to assess the needs and put in place options identified to educate their students optimally. (A managed program from central office denies that opportunity to principals.)
Principals should be selected because they are known to be capable of leading the school. It can be that simple!

Anonymous said...

Ok, great. Well, I hate to break it to everyone, but they're not. new principals are not leaders. They simply do what they're told and everyone hopes it works out. If this is what we have to work with then at least get some programming that's effective. Sometimes a good idea does fit everyone.

Anonymous said...

So maybe the one GOOD IDEA that will fit everyone is select a principal that has the experience and the expertise to lead a school creatively based on the needs and goals of the population it serves--rather than a new principal trained in PELA.

Questioner said...

Could be, but 8:46 seems to be referring to a good curriculum idea that can work even with less experienced or talented principals.

Anonymous said...

Do we know anywhere good curriculum is working? Any school district of our size that is doing well? Can good curriculum go stale and become less effective suddenly?

Anonymous said...

A single, "managed" curriculum will never work for all students. There must be flexibility. It is learning the SKILLS that is important, more important that content.

The basic skills needed to become educated are thinking skills that can be applied to learn any content.

Content can and should vary depending on varied goals, interests, cultures, contexts and commitments.

Creativity and problem solving should be at the heart of every teaching and learning situation.

Those who seek one concept or curriculum that will be success for diverse populations will never find it.

Questioner said...

Probably no PPS principal no matter how experienced has created a school that works for all students (100% proficiency).

Anonymous said...

There is much, much more to being a good principal than finding "good" curricula.

A good principal must be creative and a problem solver who is willing to deviate from the "formula" put forth by the district.

Reaching back in experience and insights gained, as well as being "flexible" as opposed to "fidelity" to a mandated formula is more often than not the key to success.

Anonymous said...

I don't for one second believe that Mathematica was able to utilize their "measurement" to fairly compare all schools across the state. Not sure how they would have access to all student information, transfers, amount of time in schools, etc for all 2133 schools in the state. I do believe they ran their formula for PPS schools, however if they utilized this formula and compared PPS schools measurement to the standard PVAAS measurements, that would be comparing apples to oranges. If one looks at the public PVAAS rankings and numbers, it paints a completely different picture of which PPS schools (few) are in the top fifteen percent. Maybe someone should request the mathematica calculations and information utilizing the PA right to know law...