Thursday, December 27, 2012

Get involved

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New Post?

The holidays are almost over and now might be the time for parents to start paying attention. Oh, I know there is a lot to absorb and picking and choosing areas of pps that deserve your focus alone sounds like a big job. If in fact your taxes go up to support the district might that be an incentive to sit up and take notice of all that is happening? Starting small could work, go to a PTO meeting with just one question about a program. Go to a PSCC meeting and ask if the same discipline standards apply at all high schools? Take your A+ Report to the Community and pick one topic for deeper discussion. If there was a teacher or staff member who made a difference for your kid in the first half of the school year, tell the principal now either in an email or in a note. Don't stand at the bus stop with the other parents complaining when they can't do anything about it. Take your issues to those who can. Contact your board member or the board office (be sure to track response time). If your on-line staff list for your school hasn't been updated in 5 years and you do not know who your FACE person is, call the office. Make 2013 better than 2012.


Anonymous said...

Just curious. Has anyone ever received a response from a Board member? What works best? An email?
A letter? A phone call? To home or to Board office?

If you asked a Board member a question personally, did the answer or get back to you?

Who responds? Who does not?

Same questions for principals?

Anonymous said...

About 6-8 years ago I left a message for my representative with the board office. I waited 18 months and gave up on ever getting a return phone call. About 5 years ago I left a message with the board office requesting a copy of a person's testimony at a public hearing and never got a response. I have always gotten responses from principals in anywhere from same day up to 4 days from the date of my inquiry.
Don't know what works best.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what works best: organizing to VOTE THEM OUT.

It was quite sad to Lisa Jones wage her lonely fight against incumbent board member Sherry Hazuda. Jones was a real reformer, and would have made a big difference. But she got almost no help from anyone, including all the complainers here and elsewhere.

That really shouldn't happen again.

We need a city-wide school reform movement, where reformers in each district band together to support each other.

Questioner said...

Who are the complainers- is anyone who notes or discusses a problem a complainer? And unless you are Lisa you probably don't know who helped or offered to help her. There was also some controversy over issues the campaign raised about her opponent.

anon 12:18 said...

' anyone who notes or discusses a problem a complainer?"

Please don't get so defensive! My point was that many people here in the city know what the problems are, but don't make any extra effort to change things.

And that's not so unusual. I suppose it's human nature. We saw the same thing with the last PFT union election.

Most Pittsburgh teachers know what the problems are, and they are quick to compain about them. And Mark Sammartino was an excellent reform candidate. But 1000 PFT members did not even bother to vote!

No, I'm not Lisa, and I'm not Mark. But I was in the trenches and I'm very disappointed - disgusted actually - at the lack of support those two got.

Questioner said...

No defensiveness. Please recognize that often people are reluctant to speak up for fear of being labeled complainers or troublemakers. MR had a label for everyone who disagreed with him.

anon 12:18 said...

"Please recognize that often people are reluctant to speak up for fear of being labeled complainers or troublemakers."

There we most certainly agree!

Any disagreement with the powers that be is viewed as incompetence, or treason, or both.

I will end this discussion on an upbeat note: Three cheers for Mark Brentley!

Questioner said...

Mark Brentley will always return your calls, despite working full time having children at home and having other community commitments.

Anonymous said...

No one is safe. If caught disagreeing in the slightest degree you are put on the chopping block.

This administration can make life very uncomfortable (at best) if a person dares to voice an opinion, or post accurate facts, or suggest a better way of doing anything, or step up on behalf of children in PPS.

That means all PPS forces (and money) are brought to bear in efforts to dismiss, defame, or marginalize them, whoever they might be.

Bravo Mark Brentley who has survived such forces and gone on to be the most informed, astute, sincere, committed to kids (and his constituency), and among the most professional leaders in the community. Brentley's endurance is inspirational!

Anonymous said...

This is a very small town. I can barely walk down the main street in my community without bumping into someone who became a para when their kids were in elementary school. Many of our fire and police force have spouses working in buildings. It is very hard to speak out publicly without fear of repercussion of some sort. This makes this blog very valuable.

Anonymous said...

The few central office people that expressed concerns, opinions and solutions were quietly removed or bought out. Roosevelt did not like his reality bothered by facts or logic.

Try contacting a board member (with a few exceptions). It is a joke. They don't have their private school board email addresses published. All emails go to one address and someone sorts through them and passes them on. Not very effective.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Now for sports .....

So, a $5 Million quitting fee gets paid to the Big East Conference from Boise State, a university that has never had any of its teams play in the Big East. See, quitters never win. Not showing up has never been more expensive.

It was my idea to get high schools from outside the city to join the city league, I.e. Wilkinsburg, Sto Rox, Riverview, Avenworth, Brentwood, Cornell, etc. Now I am going to send bills to schools from Indiana, Illinois and Iowa to see if they'll quit the city league and pay us a handsome exit fee.

Anonymous said...

Let us be serious here. Sarcasm is never attractive nor effective.

Questioner said...

Jonathan swift? Yes mark is not a famous writer but why can't the technique work for him too?

Anonymous said...

Well, if parody of that type works for him, so be it. Any path to a goal is questionable for some.

Mark Rauterkus said...

To be serious is not always the goal. To share in community is a higher priority.

Silence is the worst kind of seriousness. Cheer against that.

To be serious yourself, focus on the message and not the method nor the messenger. I know you didn't attack me personally (yet), but attractiveness (plus handsome exits) was put up for question.

Good thing I'm not looking for a date with Anonymous nor anyone else here on the forum. Whew.

How are those New Year's Resolutions coming out for ya?

Anonymous said...

The cheer against silence is what they call robust, so go for it!

New Years Resolutions? Going for it!

Anonymous said...

back to the topic, there is an EFA meeting tonight at Sci Tech, isn't there? how would active parents say this year's engagement is going? it would be most interesting to have a sampling of actions at the school level, particularly in light of teacher evaluations and the new model for engagement, CCSS, etc.

Did A+ make changes to board members without a press release? It would be interesting to hear more from them about their day-to-day work and not just their big projects and events.

Anonymous said...

The A+ Board Reports are online.

So are the Board members online. New people are on board and others have left.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 1:55, most of us knew that but I wondered why previous turnover to board members warranted a story in the paper but not this one.