Friday, March 22, 2013

New PPS website

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Requesting a new thread for the new PPS website launch!


Questioner said...

Does the new website include all the information that was on the old website?

Anonymous said...

Given the "state of the district" can we trust any information provided on this site?

Anonymous said...

It doesnt look like the data on the state of the school section in discover is inaccurate - a lot of the data is not flattering

Anonymous said...

3:21 "a lot of the data is not flattering"

I noticed that too. I wonder if the PPS will eventually scrub the data.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Your tax dollars at work....for more propaganda. This district is a train wreck. It has lost all academic integrity. Its lynchpin is the Promise for students, and it uses this as its trump card in all matters. And yet, it continues to fail students beyond belief.
No website is going to change that.
Ask any recent PPS grad who has gone on to college about the differences between PPS-forced curriculum, which is pair and group work ad infinitum---and college classes.
The answers will astound you.
This superintendent and her assistants know how to do one thing: target veteran teachers to dump salary.

Dr.Lane, you should be ashamed of yourself. You have failed the students, families and dedicated teachers of Pittsburgh. Please place that on your website.

Anonymous said...

Even scholars from Allderdice are telling how unprepared they are for college. Former A students at the once flagship school Allderdice are getting a substandard education and are struggling in good colleges.

Does anyone track the Promise and/or other great PPS students?

Anonymous said...

Well Anon 7:18 people posting to this blog have said for sometime now that the best place to go for insights into fixing pps and better preparing kids for the rigors of college would be the kids who have graduated within the past 5 years.

Anonymous said...

But anon at 7:37, we're NOT hearing from them, unless we relate their thoughts here. The Promise isn't going to provide info, that's for sure.
Look, I think The Promise is a wonderful thing, but it's not enough to level the disservice being done to our students via a horrible, outrageous curriculum that is provided via Pitt's IFL. Let's tell it like it is.
The idea is to blind the media and city residents with a pot of gold. Never mind the incredible lack of discipline. Never mind the loss of academic integrity through a small minded 50% grading policy. Never mind the aforementioned curricula, which essentially says that urban kids can't learn in a standard method---they have to learn from each other.
The problem with that incredibly misguided thinking is that colleges don't agree. They don't do pair share, triad work and 4-square without end. They don't worry about being politically correct.
THIS is PPS. Why not put THAT on the website?
We'd rather bow to the lowest achieving than prepare those who truly want to excel in college. Hell, it's good PR to have everyone on the pathway to the Promise, even if they don't belong there.
And to ensure everyone gets there, let's soften grading. Let's water down curriculum.
Is this education???
No, it's administrative apologists run amok.

Anonymous said...

8:13, I was at a meeting of chemistry teachers many, many years ago.

And we were discussing various learning methods. One of the older chemistry teachers said this: "through memorization comes understanding."

That's VERY much a no-no in Pittsburgh's hip new world of education. But he was right!

Just go to any college. Or to any highly-rated high school. The instructor will tell the students WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW.

And that's one of the problems with recent PPS graduates. They really aren't told much - it's against the curriculum rules to do so.

So the students really don't know much. So they really don't understand much.

Sad. An entire Pittsburgh generation betrayed.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, 8:13, most PPS students could and should be on the pathway to the promise, and would be there if curricula and teachers put them there. Kids rise to the best that adults can provide as opposed to bowing, softening, watering down, and running amok . . .

Anonymous said...

I’ve read a number of comments here about the use of pair and partner work in classes hurting students. I do feel that these methods have been over used. My experience has been that when a certain instructional method is being pushed in the district it’s overdone; as if it were the only instructional method worth employing. Overusing any one method is not good teaching. But that doesn’t mean that there is not a time and place for pair and group work. It can be a very helpful and engaging strategy to be used in conjunction with (and after) input from an expert (i.e. teacher). Different strategies are also more relevant in different content. While I agree that many college courses rely heavily on lectures for learning and that our students need to be much better prepared for this (note taking and study skills are sorely lacking); many courses include partner and group work on a regular basis. Even lecture courses include smaller sessions with TAs for group discussion. At the graduate level different disciplines employ different instructional strategies. Again, the issue is more complex. There is not just one method that our students should have experience with and become adept at. In my opinion the danger is in pushing too far in one direction because then depth of learning and experience is sacrificed. Currently pair and group work are over used without the necessary focus on using them correctly, at the right time, with the proper instruction first. But we should not push back to an over reliance on lecture and memorization either. We should push to the acknowledgement that teaching and learning is dynamic and complex; that students need a wide variety of experience; that various content lend themselves to various strategies and there is no one size fits all. These decisions about instruction need to rely primarily on teacher decisions about their content and their students. Trying to script education strips it of depth and individualization and will always sell our students short, regardless of what instructional strategies are used. One of the main problems I see is that in this district, and nationally, is teachers are not valued or respected as professionals. Reform, curriculum and testing are being driven by non-experts and teachers have been left out. Our students are being sold out in the process. Not only are struggling students continuing to struggle (frequently more) but students and schools that were successful are being hurt.

Questioner said...

Well stated! A question is, why is there this sudden emphasis on pairs and partners? Is it another attempt at a silver bullet? It just seems strange.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, let me begin by saying that you have my thanks for running this site. Sometimes, it appears however that either you wish to stimulate more conversation by asking a question or somehow are in disbelief of what has been said repeatedly.

Why, you ask?

Because the Gates people have sent tens of millions of dollars here with an agenda: Teachers are the problem.
Is there some part of this statement that you don't quite understand or believe?
This district has sold its integrity for the "right" to say it is a Gates district with Gates money. It has allowed someone with millions to influence policy and then called it philanthropy.
This was not a donation.
You have heard repeatedly that this money has corrupted the academic process, so much so that veteran teachers are now being targeted because they simply make too much.

Is there some part of this that you or other parents just don't believe.

Walk a mile in our shoes. Read the personnel section of board minutes. Why so many "resignations" and "terminations?"

The previous poster is generally correct: there is a place for small group work here and there, with teacher direction and stimulation. The problem is, the district wants some form of it every day, with teachers acting as facilitators, and nothing more.

I have heard repeatedly from building administrators who are being told to target veteran teachers and ITL 2's who can't believe the level of disdain that central admin has for teachers, in general.

And you have to a sky 'why'?

Questioner said...

Well, yes, it would be good to understand exactly why broad gates are so intent on this particular approach, when there are so many other approaches that could be taken.

Anonymous said...

I re-read my post and want to apologize. It sounded somewhat harsh and was not intended to be that way. I am actually grateful for your thoughts and actions, as well as the posting and reading public here.

We find ourselves in a unique situation. Media portrays the district in an 'all is well' mode, with so many students doing so incredibly well thanks to the direction of a visionary leader, replete with $40 K awaiting them for college, and yet, the simple truth is exact opposite.

Achievement is dropping.
Teachers are being fired simply because they make too much.
Administrators are being added, not dropped.
Our kids are not being prepared for college.

I know that the first rule of the Roosevelt playbook was to control public thought through a strong PR presence, but my God, at what point do the questions start to be asked? At what point does the media begin to wonder why?

And at what point do ethics enter into the equation? when does Mark Brentley or Regina Holley begin to gain traction with their thoughts? When do even they wonder how a 25 year teacher suddenly has forgotten how to reach kids, or how a celebrated, award-wnning 22 year vet is being forced to resign?

At some point, someone has to have ethics, integrity and morals. But where are those people? How long can this propaganda be allowed to obfuscate the truth?

Anonymous said...

8:26 - The same question often asked has also been often answered. Those currently running, driving, managing, mandating and controlling the PPS system are NOT teachers by nature, by training, by experience, by profession, by expertise, or even simple common sense. Therefore they do NOT KNOW or UNDERSTAND the system that they control and for which they are responsible.

Desperation sends them looking for consultants, incontrovertible evidence that they are lost in their futile efforts to lead a school system.

Questioner said...

It will last until we get some new board members in there to help Mark and Regina. Hold on!

Anonymous said...

The most to-the-point summary yet posted:

"How long can propaganda be allowed to obfuscate the truth?"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ericka Fearby Jones who appears to be an honest, straight-forward person can stop and/or reverse the run-away propaganda train.

Let's support and encourage an effort to do just that!

Questioner said...

Ok fine so they go to consultants. Why then is the advice given and accepted to take this particular approach? Why is it something the consultants would recommend over alternatives?

Questioner said...

Is Erika jones a Pps employee?

Anonymous said...

None of us can change this alone. Regina Holly and Mark Brently can’t do it alone, teachers can’t do it alone and parents can’t do it alone. As long as we are working separately we are easier to ignore and defeat. We need to make sure that the people elected to the board see the problems and are willing to address them. We need to come together and speak with one voice and not allow the current propaganda machine to drown it out. The conversation about public education has been co-opted by the Broad Gates agenda but public education is not the domain of billionaires and business men and we need to take back the conversation loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

Please, it was not meant to be considered that in any way consultants are the solution; rather, the desperation of central office looks for solutions anywhere but here within our district. If the solutions are here we do not need central office, so CO must find help elsewhere. For the most part, consultants are one-size-fits-all, for-profit businesses not capable of diagnosing, an internal situation, in any district or city school. They do not and cannot have solutions for systems (as large as PPS, particularly). It takes the internal knowledge of experienced, knowledgeable educators who live the day-to-day in our schools to apply what they KNOW about our Pittsburgh children within the entire teaching and learning process AND within our varied schools and communities.

Good leadership, good teachers and a good measure of autonomy will solve PPS problems overnight!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ms Fearby-Jones the replacement for Lisa Fischetti?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Frearby-Jones was in the office of teacher effectiveness and the administration's leader of the Excellence for All Parent Steering Committee. The title is now different but she is something like special assistant to Dr. Lane, not technically Ms. Fischetti's replacement.

Parents do seem to hold her in high regard.

Anonymous said...

A significant amount of content is gone. The new website is 404 error heaven.

PPS Webmaster said...

Anon 1:51,

Thanks for visiting our new site. It is correct that we do have 404 errors when visiting our site through search engines. Our new site was an entire rebuild as well as a redesign, so the information was not moved but rather recreated. For this reason, it may take google and other search engines some time to crawl our sites for information.

We have also added a feature for easy submission of feedback or problems in the bottom right corner of all of our sites. If you are looking for something specific that you aren't finding or find broken links within the site, please reach out using this service.

Thanks so much!

PPS Webmaster

Anonymous said...

Co-operation from PPS is rare, but ALWAYS appreciated. PPS Webmaster your post is a first! Please continue to respond to the public. And truth and honesty about every PPS situation, positive or otherwise is always appreciated greatly by the community! THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Since last years scores on the website are really outdated, when will know the results of the ongoing PA assessments such as the CDTs and the 'repeated' Keystone Exams?

Anonymous said...

The CDTs and first Keystone Exams in some PPS high schools were much, much worse than anyone could ever imagine.

I wonder why? What is going on in PPS?

Anonymous said...

If we cant match up a curriculum with the CBA's-- when admin has both the test and curriculum in their hands-- how do we expect that the Keystones - that are from the state andf dont give a rat's --- about the scripted curriculum to match up AT ALL? Letting the script rule is almost aas criminal as getting rid of our experienced teachers who userd to take a concept and TEACH IT!

Anonymous said...

9:47 just made the irony crystal clear:

"If you mandate that ALL teachers instruct from the same, scripted curriculum...and Keystone/PSSA scores still are in the toilet....HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU BLAME TEACHERS?"

Uh, hello?

How do you blame teachers?

It's completely shocking that no one in media and from what I can tell, no parent has ever had the gumption to ask the school board and administration about this. No one.

Between the lack of courage of teachers and parents, and the vested interests of school board members and administrators, the district is doomed.

Anonymous said...


This is the school year that Mainstream and PSP classes were combined. More chaos in the classroom to effect more children's education. This year has been complete chaos in many High School Buildings. School Board seen the shadow of Mark Roosevelt and extended Lane's contract. How many more years of this so called Broad/Gates reform before this district cease to exist as we know it?

Danny Green

Anonymous said...

The PPS District has already ceased to exist as we knew it.

Students were achieving in previous administrations at a pace that exceeded the State Standards.

Anonymous said...

The Broad/Gates takeover is so firmly in place that I can't see a way of escaping it. Pittsburgh has been the perfect breeding ground for them. Look at TN/Memphis, same deal.

Pittsburgh rolled out the red carpet for them and met virtually no reistance. They paid to "train" the school board and all but a few vote they way they were trained.

Pittsburgh is reactive and not proactive. Actually as far as PPS goes the citizens of Pittsburgh don't even seem reactive to issues at hand.

Not my school, not my problem seems to be the attitude.