Monday, February 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Promise award level not tied to PSSA scores

An automated call went out from PPS today stating that contrary to a letter sent last week about the PSSA's, PSSA scores are not tied to the Pittsburgh Promise.

Last year an announcement was made that only those students scoring advanced on PSSA's or 600 plus on each SAT section would be eligible for the full 10k/year scholarship award.

School Board apologizes for Westinghouse problems

From the PG:

Dr. Lane/ reflections on first year as superintendent

From the PG:

Current and former Board members discuss budget on TV this morning

Mark Brentley and Randall Taylor on at 10:00, PCNC (on Fios that is channel 9).

Friday, February 24, 2012

City championships

On another post Mark Rauterkus wrote:

M"iddle school sports!
New posting perhaps?

In other news, on SATURDAY, in one day, at noon at Peabody HS Gym is the City Championship Basketball game for the boys and at 1:30 pm at the same venue is the game for the girls.

Boys game, noon, is Pgh Obama vs. Allderdice.

Girls game, 1:30 pm, is Westinghouse vs. Allderdice.

Go if you can and cheer for our kids.

Next Saturday, at 10 am, at Pitt's swim pool, Trees Hall, is the City Swim Championships with all the teams."

PPS plans more cuts

From the PG:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

STAR awards

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Please Purview and Post

Will be starry-eyed with extra cash up to $6000-Will this work-and where is the money coming from-a falling star to place in pockets as incentives during layoffs and school closures?

Read enclosed link at end of post-here are just a few Gist excerpts from article.

When will schools receive information on STAR status?
STAR launches at the start of the 2011‐12 school year. STAR status will be based on the results on statewide assessments which are administered in the Spring of each school year. Therefore, STAR status will be determined in the Fall of the following school year. STAR results will be included on School value added
reports starting in 2012‐13.
6. Who can earn the STAR award? How much do they earn?
If the school’s student growth places it in the top 15% of schools in the state,every PFT‐represented staff member earns a STAR award.

Full‐time professionals will receive up to $6,000 per person, and paraprofessionals and
technical clerical staff will receive up to $2,000. Part‐time staff will receive aprorated award based on the number of days they are assigned to a particular
STAR applies to all teachers – regardless of grade or subject area. This includes special education teachers and early childhood program teachers.

How many schools can earn an award?

There is no limit to the number of PPS schools that could earn a STAR award.
Since PPS schools are compared to schools across the state, every school in PPS could be a winner if their student growth places them in the top 15% of
schools in the state.

Also, it is the intention of the STAR Schools plan to reward and recognize at least eight schools a year. Accordingly, if there are fewer than eight PPS schools in the top 15% of state‐wide growth then PPS school(s) "

Student reports assault at U Prep

From WPXI:

Heinz grant $1 million

From the PG:

Clayton Academy conract extended

From the Tribune:

PPS Board offers apology to Westinghouse community

From the PG:

Monday, February 20, 2012

A+ report on financial stability for PPS

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"For a new post.. . .

Group urges Pittsburgh schools to
look harder at cutting ...
Tribune Review
A+ Schools released a report today urging Pittsburgh Public Schools to take a number of steps, including freezing the wages of non-union employees, to reach financial stability. The school district recently approved a budget that pared a projected ...

Report: Freeze wages for school workers not covered by contract
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette After studying Pittsburgh Public Schools finances, A+ Schools has concluded that the district has responded to "pressing financial challenges quickly and decisively" but recommended additional actions, ...
This is a little late-there should be a reopening of all school employees and Union contracted for pay cuts or freezes-instead of just headhunting teachers, etc. And rid all employees of bonuses. CRIs getting extra pay. Principal bonuses. The famed $1000 payment for top of the pay scale people making district AYP.

This call by A Plus is a little late –comparing Union contracts with other school districts-it is not the method. The Union will win. Where was A+ Schools when the contracts were up."

Clayton Academy article

From the PG:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Third party observers for teacher evaluations

On another post Anonymous wrote:

“In New York, 2,118 of the city's 75,000 teachers were deemed unsatisfactory last year under the current two-tier evaluation system, in which the only other option is satisfactory. But officials said they expected the number of poor ratings to substantially increase under the new system.”

Read more:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Principal test

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New topic please-- rumors of a " principals test" going around-- two parts -- if the dont pass the first they cant take the second?-- We went through the inane teacher tests aboutvten years ago-- I 'm not a fan of many principals of today -- but no test measures the essence of what they do."

Meeting at Westinghouse

From the PG:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"What went wrong at Westinghouse"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"What went wrong at Westinghouse?

By Emily DeMarco | PublicSource | Feb. 16, 2012

The Pittsburgh Public School District embarked last fall on an expansive plan to change historic Westinghouse High School, one of the city’s lowest performing schools, into a prestigious single-gender academy.

The reconfiguration of the school included student uniforms, a new trimester schedule, expanding the high school to include middle-school and developing leadership skills in students. The question many are still asking is 'Why did it fail so quickly?'"

- A timely piece given today's 6:00 pm meeting with Dr. Lane at Westinghouse.

Fadzen testimony continues

From the Tribune:

PPS pays lobbyists

A lot of people are asking for a new post on this topic.

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:
"Struggling Pittsburgh Public Schools pay lobbyists $400,000"

Thursday, February 16, 2012 "

Anonymous wrote:

"Another very expensive school improvement network?

Struggling Pittsburgh Public Schools pay lobbyists $400000 ...
Pittsburgh Public Schools closed schools, cut programs and increased class sizes to curb budget deficits but allocated nearly $400000 during the past four ... "

"Born abroad, using public schools"

NYT article about families from other countries, now living in US urban areas, preferring public schools:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"School improvement network"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:
School Improvement Network Interviews Dr. Linda S. Lane, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Who Discusses Classroom and School Management Strategies That Brought Her District Unprecedented Success"

KDKA Antioch report

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post:

KDKA tonight did a story about Antioch College. Mark Roosevelt spoke. The most interesting thing was Jon Delano interviewed freshman student from Shadyside- Maryann Otuwa! What a surprise - I wonder if anymore of the very few students are children of PPS bigwigs?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Charter schools increasing share of enrollment in DC

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post:

This is what venture philanthropy is all about:

DC Schools Enrollment Declines As Charter Population Rises.
The Washington Times (2/14, Howell) reports that though the population of Washington, DC, grew by some 16,000 residents between April 2010 and June 2011, the public school system's enrollment declined by 439. "By contrast, enrollment in public charter schools increased by 8 percent. The popularity of charter schools, particularly among parents sending their children to pre-kindergarten classes, is part of a 2 percent increase in overall enrollment in all public schools," according to a city audit.
The AP (2/14) reports that the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education released the data Monday, noting that it indicates that "there are now more than 31,000 students in the district's charter schools. That's 41 percent of the district's total public school enrollment. More than 45,000 students attend traditional public schools. Mayor Vincent Gray says the enrollment figures 'clearly show that parents have confidence in District schools.'" The Washington Post (2/14) also covers this story in its "DC Schools"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

EET program report

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"It would be interesting and informative if teachers responded to the following report which was presented by Marni Pastor, a former Broad Foundation Resident/Director, on Tuesday evening February 7th at the BOARD'S Education Meeting.

Empowering Effective Teachers
Project Report:
Rewards & Recognition
Education Committee Meeting
February 7, 2012 "

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Education gap grows between rich and poor

From the NYT:

According to the author of a new study, "“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race".

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New school lunch regulations

Tested out by the Environmental Charter School:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


From Education Week:

Maybe it's time to retire the word "dramatic" used in connection with school reform.

Perry/Oliver merger

More correspondence going around:


Due to the history of unsuccessful merging of schools, I am demanding that any merge from this point on undergo ample planning which includes both community and board member participation. Planning must be complete before any merge takes place. Planning must include transition strategies of actions to get parents, faculty and students aware and comfortable with one another from both populations. Also, to ensure, as much as possible, that the receiving population is inviting and receptive to the feeder population. The safety and security configuration must also be included in planning so that the probability of incident is diminished. And finally, the configuration of programs must be greatly considered so that both programs are merged, by definition, giving our students the greatest number of options currently available including JROTC magnet, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Law Magnet, Science and Math Magnet, Early Head Start Child Care, College Prep, and a successful Athletic division.

I am also demanding a formal letter via postal mail, from superintendent Lane, in regards to the Perry/Oliver merger. This letter must state in explicit detail why it was decided to merge into the smaller building, opposed to the larger, more accommodating, accessible and fiscally sensible building. I am demanding that this information, as well as planning participation information be delivered via postal mail no later than January 30th, 2012. If my simple demands are not met by the Board and Superintendent Lane within the requested amount of time, I will continue to take action to ensure prosperity.


Dear Ms. Williams:

Thank you for coming to speak at the Board Public Hearing on January 23, 2012. I have to be clear with you that I respond to community members because it is the right thing to do, and an important part of my work; threats and deadlines are not necessary.

You questioned why the school would be located in the Perry facility rather than the Oliver facility. You are right; Oliver is bigger, and has more accessible athletic facilities. Oliver also has great spaces for two of our CTE programs. Perry as a building has a better set up for the spring musical and had work done inside just this year, it was painted and had new lighting installed. We had the community walk through both schools. Needless to say, the Oliver community wanted Oliver, the Perry community wanted Perry. I too went on a walk-through of both schools. I could see both sides of the issue, but had to make a call one way or the other.

Our practice has been to move to the school that showed greater academic success whenever possible. Perry is that school. After the two communities become one, there may be a day when they decide they demand to utilize the other facility, this may be years away. More space may be needed (a wonderful problem to have) or there may be other rationale for utilizing Oliver. I also am of the belief that a successful merger is the more important issue than which facility the school would be housed in.

We want to work with the community to facilitate a successful joining of two school cultures and students and welcome your support of that effort. Again, thank you for coming and participating and please know I appreciate your support of the students of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.


Linda Lane

Advice from "Parenting" on how to raise gifted children,3

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Letter from "Your Future PPS Educators"

Letter making the rounds, addressed to Lane et al:

"During these dire times in education across the nation, but especially in the Pittsburgh Public School District, we- the newly hired- are in great despair about the future of our careers. We understand the painful need to downsize while we are constantly being reminded of "equity" in the Pittsburgh Public School system.

To that end, we are also prepared to collectively take to task LEGALLY any favoritism,(be it racially motivated or politically driven), or nepotism in jobs or positions that are kept or created for staff, academic coaches, teachers or administrators while dismissing others with the same years of service or educational background.

Please be assured of our continued committment and respect for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, but that we expect the same in return.

Equity for all!

Your Future PPS Educators"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dr. Lane to meet with Westinghouse community


Engagement Opportunity

Principal Crenshaw & Superintendent Linda Lane
invite you to attend a Pittsburgh Westinghouse
Parent School Community Council (PSCC) Meeting

Thursday, February 16, 2011
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse Cafeteria
1101 N. Murtland Street - 15208

Superintendent Linda Lane will provide introductory remarks regarding the District’s commitment to Pittsburgh Westinghouse and the school’s progress.

For more information, please call
Pittsburgh Westinghouse at 412-665-3940

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Westinghouse regroups

From the PG:

Isn't it more like Westinghouse goes back to how it was before the reform? Why was Dr. Crenshaw transferred in the first place?

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Pittsburgh Courier article on Propel

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oliver and Perry merger "worries everyone but the district"

On another post (actually a post relevant to the topic) Anonymous wrote:


On North Side, a proposed high school merger worries everyone except the school district

" while Lane admits "I am not pleased or proud of the Westinghouse transition," she adds "there is also a record of being able to do [school transitions] well."
Yes, but that record wasnt YOURS! It was during a time when the meetings of faculties of the two schools met and discussed STUDENTS and FAMILIES and how to best bring people together- none of this happened during "right-sizing" (one transitional night wasnt exactly enough! and we all know it didnt happen for Westinghouse. This district spent time getting people together for these transitions. But, oh , yes, you dont want to hear about what worked."