Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Promise update

From the PG:

The article mentions that 700 Promise recipients have graduated from 2 or 4 year programs since the Promise began in 2008.  In terms of measuring the program's impact, it would be good to know how many from Pittsburgh public schools graduated from a 2 or 4 year program in PA during the 5 years before the Promise was available. 

And, because the Promise may make it more likely for students to stay in PA for college, information on the total number and percentage of students graduating from 2 and 4 year programs pre- and post- Promise would also be relevant.

This type of information would provide real support for the headline announcing success.

Schenley documentary to air on WQED October 5

The documentary video "Enter to Learn, For Forth to Serve" on Schenley High School will air on WQED: 

Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 10:00pm
Filmmakers Corner: Enter to Learn, Go Forth To Serve
The decision to close Schenley, one of the City’s most respected and beloved high schools after the 2008 school year, was one met with anger and sadness by quite a few Pittsburghers. But Schenley was more than just another controversial school closing. The documentary discusses Schenley’s legacy with former students, faculty and community leaders. They recall the school’s glory days and its last impact on the city. Host Minette Seate will be joined by Michelle Jackson, Community Affairs Officer for the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and Lacal Turner who was part of the film’s production team. Ms. Jackson talks about the HACP’s Creative Arts Corner, the program that helps residents become media literate. For more information on “Enter To Learn, Go Forth to Serve” and the HACP programs, viewers can call them at 412-395-3950 or visit on line

Schenley now has a MacArthur Fellow (genius grant)

From the PG:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Diane Ravitch in Pgh September 16

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post :
Massive state budget cuts; school closures; larger class sizes; fewer teachers; a dramatic increase in high-stakes-testing; historic cuts to arts education, tutoring, and other student programs. Our children can't take any more! De-funding and privatization are damaging our public schools and hurting our poorest students and communities of color the most.

If you do just one thing this month for education justice, please come be a part of the conversation with national leader Diane Ravitch. She is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, an education historian, best-selling author, and named a "Whistle-blower extraordinaire" by the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Ravitch will be in Pittsburgh on September 16th for the national launch of her new book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools".

She is being hosted by a new grassroots coalition called Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh, which consists of Action United, One Pittsburgh, PA Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, SEIU, and Yinzercation. The event is co-sponsored by Carlow Univ. School of Education, Chatham Univ. Department of Education, Duquesne Univ. School of Education, First Unitarian Church Social Justice Endowment, PA State Education Association, Robert Morris Univ. School of Education & Social Sciences, Slippery Rock Univ. College of Education, Temple Sinai, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Education, and Westminster College Education Department.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill (5505 Forbes Ave / 15217) at 6PM. Doors open at 5PM and seating is on a first-come basis. We are expecting an audience of 1,000 people, including many of our local and state policy makers. Come early to enjoy incredible student performances during the 5 o'clock hour. Children's activities will be provided by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the HearMe Project at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mystery Lovers Bookshop will also be on hand with copies of Dr. Ravitch's book. This is actually the evening before Dr. Ravitch's book is officially released and we here in Pittsburgh will be the first in the nation to see it!

We are urging everyone who cares about public schools to come be a part of this event.

Be sure to let people know about the Facebook event page -- and RSVP there yourself, if you haven't already. Please also invite *your* friends to join on Facebook.

I hope you can come!  "

Waiting for PSSA scores

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post -

When will Pittsburgh Public School Board Members demand to know whether or not PPS students improved or failed on this years PSSA?

The accountability will no longer be in place (no more AYP), so schools now can stretch out plans for improvement over the next six years and only improve by 50% to make AMO; but why did the past ten years not produce any improvement?

Will our kids ever learn in most PPS schools? This is a serious question.

If 10 years of highly, highly, highly paid consultants couldn't get improvement who and what will?

(PPS has the scores. They received them in June, three months ago. Why haven't they released them?)

Why can't PPS teach kids how to read and do math?"

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Pittsburgh's Little Brooklyn (aka Lawrenceville) is attracting many new young families (new businesses on Butler include one that offers classes for expectant parents and a toddler clothing boutique).  Wouldn't it be great if there was a mechanism in place for PPS to note areas with the potential for attracting new families to the city and provide them with a solid plan for a public education through high school (including good options for students not enrolling in a magnet like CAPA or sci tech) that will maximize this potential?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Suspension rates

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Today's PG presents the reports (facts?) on PPS suspensions. Please note that 81% of the students who are suspended in PPS are Black students (who represent only 55% of the PPS total population).

Does this suggest that if these students "Be there" they are quickly 'sent out of there,' by way of suspension? Hmmmm? Perhaps the United Way campaign should be find a way to "keep students there" (in schools).
“More than half of the suspensions in Allegheny County are in Pittsburgh Public Schools.”

“The PA state Safe Schools report shows Pittsburgh Public Schools issued 15,522 suspensions -- including 10,266 for conduct in 2011-12.”

“The suspensions covered every grade level in K-12, including 233 in kindergarten, growing to 1,383 in ninth grade and falling to 776 in 12th grade. The largest numbers were in grades 7, 8, 9 and 10.
While there are still thousands of suspensions, Pittsburgh Public Schools reduced the number by about 30 percent from 2011-12 to 2012-13.”

“Pittsburgh provided data showing that in 2012-13 there were 10,695 suspensions given to 5,015 students. That's not only fewer suspensions but fewer students – more than 1,000 – than the previous year.”

“While black students account for 55 percent of the enrollment, they made up about 81 percent of suspensions in the state Safe Schools report in 2011-12.”

Read more:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Be There" campaign

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"The "BE THERE" campaign with community partners and the involvement of all staff is probably the most important launch of any initiative in several years. If every family would take just the two-sided page "Pay Attention to Attendance" and "If You Are Absent From School" and hang it on the refrigerator that alone might be the daily reminder needed in some homes.

Thanks goes out to the agencies and organizations that participated in the campaign.

Teachers will say in many instances showing up is half the battle. Get to school and they will teach you. Let's hope this is the best program of any ever tried before."