Thursday, December 25, 2014

PPS investigation?

Anonymous wrote:

"New Blog

Their is a teacher at UPREP right now that is under investigation for having an affair with two students. The district of course is keeping is hush hush!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Video of brawl

 Anonymous wrote:

"More than 6000 views of the fight at Dice."

Cost per student information posted

On another post Anonymous wrote:


From the article:

“When all costs are considered, the average per-student cost districtwide in Pittsburgh Public Schools is about $20,000.”

What do you think parents, community and others committed to the education of their children could accomplish with $20,000 per child?"

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lowest performing schools/ districts in our area

On another post Anonymous wrote:


The PG just reported the highest and lowest-performing school DISTRICTS in the state.

The list shows Duquesne, Wilkinsburg, Sto-Rox, and Clairton as the lowest. These DISTRICTS have only ONE High School.

In PPS, Westinghouse, Perry and Milliones have even LOWER scores than Duquesne Wilkinsburg, Sto-Rox and Clairton.

PPS as a DISTRICT has a higher average because it has many high school with higher scores like CAPA, Sci-Tech and Allderdice.

So many Pittsburgh kids are in worse schools with worse scores than Duquesne, Wilkinsburg, Clairton, etc."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PPS summer learning programs may have a "statistically significant" effect on math performance

 From the PG:

Some Board members retiring

From the PG:

New board members coming as some current members not running for another term. Will this make any difference in how PPS operates?

Monday, December 15, 2014

New clearance requirements

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post please.

This is in today's Post.

School volunteers must now pass criminal background test. Passed October, this will take effect on December 31st.
There are plenty of times where individuals have access to students. A few are; college/tech school reps. Military recruiters and guest instructors.
I am afraid the real threat will be that access to schools will become more difficult. If a parent wants to visit, the principal can deny access using the background check as an excuse to deny. A visitor can always have a chance encounter with a child. Now, if you don't have clearance, I can see principals not letting you past the main office. You will not be able to see into a classroom."

Monday, December 8, 2014

PPS school decorated with Christmas lights and a wreath

Word is that a PPS 6-12 school has Christmas lights and a wreath over its entrance.

Has anyone seen this happen before?  Separation of church and state?  True, it is not a cross or nativity scene, but the association is with one particular religion.

Grievances at Perry; substitute qualifications

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"I worked at Perry for a few years and have witnessed first had the wrath of Chakey, but let's not forget about [PERSONAL INFORMATION DELETED.] The way s/he talks to students and staff is unacceptable. Linda Lane has to have heard about what's going on in that building, and she has done nothing. i have decided to leave the district all together. Thus far since the short time the new admin. has been in the building numerous grievances have been filed, and still nothing is being done. Also I have heard that it's not what you know it's who you know. they have a substitute there who does not even have a college degree. Again, when your [relative]  is part of the good old boys club, I guess you can come to work in ratty old Perry sweatshirt and pretend to answer the phones and never cover a class. That's our tax dollars at work. Shame on you Linda Lane for this allowing this to happen."

Friday, December 5, 2014

(Lack of) publicity for Woolslair STEAM magnet

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please:

Has anyone received any information about the new STEAM magnet school at Woolslair? How in the world do they expect families to know that Woolslair will have this great program next year when it's not even on the PPS website? "

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

PPS school visits

Anonymous wrote:

New topic please!

What are the rules (and rights) regarding PPS school visits?

Do parents have the right to visit a school, and just observe?

What about a media reporter? It would be great if that City News reporter could visit UPrep, and just walk around a bit.

I know there are often various clearances involved, but can UPrep, or any other public school, ban outside visits?

And couldn't a reporter just stand on the sidewalk outside of the school, and interview students coming out?"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Passport Academy Charter School

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post?

Not sure where to put this? I'm confused after reading this article. Does "chartered by PPS" mean that PPS owns this school? So they get the money from the students who attend from other districts? Does anyone know anything about this school? This is the first I've heard of it,

PPS spends to sponsor holiday parade

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post "

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Superintendent calls for changes in funding formula

From the PG:

Sale of Rogers building

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please

PPS just sold Rogers for peanuts! They could have used that building to create a magnet to compete with these charters! Something like CAPA or a Sci Tech for Elementary students! Or an environmental academy. At least they could have sold it for more than the price of an average rowhouse in the neighborhood! They can't actually be this clueless, their ultimate goal has to be privatization by way of destroying the district."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Today's Public Hearing speakers (November 2014)

NOVEMBER 24, 2014
6:00 P.M.

1.Bonnie Spoales - Individual
Continuing Vandalism from Fulton School Students

2.Allyson Delnore - Parent
Fulton Magnet Status

3.John Harris - Individual
Rogers School

4.Rahzyaunna Jordan - Student
Pittsburgh Obama
My Personal Experience as a Reading Warrior

5.Mandy Simons - Parent
Leveling and Class Size at Minadeo and Districtwide

6.Jean Schulte - Parent
Class Sizes at Minadeo

7.Laura McCarthy - Parent
Class Sizes at Minadeo

8.Dr. Johnson Martin - Individual
Data Input

9.Andrea Erven-Victoria - Parent
School and Family Relationships

10.Sarah Woodley - Parent
Discipline in Schools

11.Anna Scheid - Parent
Violent Classroom Disruptions

12.Molly May - Parent
School Culture

13.Marce Nixon - Student
How Pittsburgh GLO Raises Awareness

14.Kayla Humphries - Student
The Structure of GLO

15.Rachael Bethel - Student
Bullying and Pittsburgh GLO

16.Pamela Harbin - Parent
Community Schools

17.Harrison Smith - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
Service Learning

18.Thaddeus Pellegrini - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
School Libraries

19.Jahnik Kurukulasuriya - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

20.Dighan Kelly - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

21.Nolan Dickey - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

22.Jordan Abbott - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
Budget Appropriation of the School District

23.Adam Barsouk - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

24.David Frisch - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
Service Learning

25.Shoshanna Shear - Parent
Declining Enrollment

26.Debra Srogi - Parent
Community Schools

27.Chandra Stewart - Parent
Parent Concerns at CAPA

28.Christina Russell - Parent
Pep Rally Parents

29.Jovohna Cosby - Individual

30.David Breingan - Individual
Parent Mentor Program

31.Suzanne South - Parent

Use of free/reduced lunch status as a measure of poverty

The recent A+ Schools report uses the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch as a measure of poverty.  From the a report by the American Educational Research Association:

"Most education studies use the simplest and most convenient measure of poverty: the percentage of a school’s students who are eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. Although this measure provides a picture of the proportion of children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it also has some problems. First, it does not necessarily capture all relevant dimensions of poverty, such as the effects of concentrated poverty in a school’s neighborhood and the neighborhood effects (Aaronson, 1997; Furstenberg & Hughes, 1997). Second, the accuracy of this measure has been questioned because many eligible families do not apply, and some schools give free lunch to all students, regardless of their status. In addition, because children from families that are below 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, the actual median family incomes for two schools, both having 100% student eligibility, can be vastly different."

Search AD90C18Fd01_0 to find the full report.

Wilkinsburg "Taking control of our schools"

From the PG:

Taking control of our Schools:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How independent is A Plus Schools?

From the PG editorial board:

"One good thing about the Pittsburgh Public Schools is that it has an independent group that monitors education quality, performance and accountability. A+ Schools is both an advocate and a watchdog whose leaders come from foundations, corporations, universities, civic groups, government and school families."

- Is A+ Schools really independent?  Thoughts?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Does PPS get bad press/ Month 2

From the October 22, 2014 post:

"At the Mayor's task force meeting yesterday, the Superintendent claimed that the media is quick to write about problems, noting that if there's a fight it will be in the paper, but not so quick to write about the good things about our schools.

It doesn't SEEM that way but maybe it's a matter of perception- let's keep a count, good articles v. bad articles in the PG.  Of course that doesn't tell us if the paper is missing more of the "good" stories than the "bad" stories, but it will at least tell us if there really are more "bad" reports."

The count for Month 1 October 22-November 21, 2014 was:

12/3, positive.

A new monthly count and a running total starts today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Discipline at U Prep/ Milliones

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Blog

Once again u prep has our children in danger. Today a middle school teacher was punched multiple times and two other students were jumped by multiple students. Is this a school??? "

Education task force to become City of Pittsburgh commission

From the PG:

CP coverage of A+ report: U Prep and Westinghouse lag

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Conversations/ training about race

From the PG:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wheatley letter

On another post Anonymous said:

"New post please

Jake Wheatley, U Prep is one of your schools and the clearest example of the inequity you speak of. What are you doing to directly address that issue? This letter is vague and pointless talk that also appears to promote charter schools. I guess you are part of the PPS PR department too. Anyone in any position of power (especially a black man) who allows U Prep to continue as is, should be charged with civil rights violations and possibly child abuse at this point. "

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Renovating schools is expensive

But necessary, unless everyone is going to attend cyber schools.

Mt Lebanon HS renovation at $109 million for about 1250 students:

School on lockdown

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"*** NEW POST ***

I am a parent of a Montessori student and just received an auto phone call that the school is on lockdown! Police say students are not at risk but will be dismissed when police give the all clear.

No info on this incident anywhere in the news!

Please help spread the word."

Can the mayor's task force make a difference...?

From the City Paper:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Westinghouse students apparently shot on way home from school

PG article about the shooting shortly after 3:00 pm on Friday in Homewood leaving two teens critically injured:

The location is near Westinghouse HS and word is that the shooting victims, who are brothers, are Westinghouse students.  It seems likely that the students were walking home from Westinghouse.

Security in the vicinity of schools needs attention since students can easily be targeted on their way to/from school.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Problems at Perry?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "School performance profiles for 2013-14":

Perhaps a new thread?

I am compelled to write this evening in response to some troubling allegations about what's going on at Perry. Some I know first hand through subbing (which will never happen again by the way) and some is from the mouths teachers, some from the mouths of babes. All is disturbing.

First, there is ONE co-ed bathroom available for over SIXTY faculty members--on the first floor. Teachers, veterans and subs alike, line up during the four minutes between classes and pray that their students aren't destroying their classrooms while they wait to use the facilities. As a parent myself, if my daughter went to Perry I would be terrified that my child was left with thirty to forty other students in a classroom without supervision because the administration won't give faculty members access to restrooms just outside their classrooms! And it's not just faculty. Students have VERY limited access to restrooms as well as administration keeps them locked. Where is the ACLU?

This new administration is ruling through fear and intimidation. The male assistant principal appears to remain bitter after being demoted back to assistant status and refuses to speak to most of the faculty (he has shared with several faculty members that is has been forbidden to speak on a personal level with any adult in the building other than administration); the female assistant principal terrorizes students and teachers alike, shrieking and bellowing through the halls like a possessed Tasmanian devil; and the principal himself holds court behind closed doors in an office that is off limits to any faculty unless they are being disciplined for various and petty infractions. Late back to your class because you had to urinate? Written up! Students have phones because the administration refused to continue the phone collection policy? Written up! Student walks out of class? THE TEACHER is written up! While curriculum provided calls for a "messy" yet effective instructional approach (group work, student discussion and encourage discovery learning) any classroom found to be in any way "noisy" is written up. The principal holds disciplinary meetings without following contractual guidelines and dares teachers to cross him. Subs are used as indentured servants, given no support, and we can't rely on security to even show up when anything goes awry.

If harassing the teachers isn't enough, students are being caught in the same net of intimidation. Perry, like Oliver under Chakey's reign, leads the District in suspensions and has the lowest student and teacher attendance compared to each of the other high schools. Fights are common place. The number of students on the school rolls is the lowest in the history of Perry.

At Oliver, Chakey made it impossible to teach unless you were one of a chosen few. As a result, there was a mass exodus of faculty. When even subs stopped accepting assignments there, students were made to sit through periods of "covered" classes where the adult in charge ended up babysitting instead of teaching. Now that those few (four) teachers are at Perry, Chakey is once again running out everyone else. Teachers are retiring, taking sick leave and just plain quitting. Teachers who at one time stepped up and ran various activities, clubs and teams have stopped. No field trips, even if funded, are permitted. Morale is at an all time low. Students are the ones, again, who are suffering. If they haven't been suspended, they are sitting in classes with subs who have no lessons left for them and struggle to simply maintain control. Where is the equity? Why shouldn't students at Perry be getting the same education as those at CAPA, Carrick or Brashear? Again, as a parent it breaks my heart.

I guess what surprises me is the lack of any outcry from the community. I see posts about Uprep, but trust me when I tell you that things inside the walls of Perry are far, far worse. Can't we fix this?"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"The Public Hearing Show" / October 2014

Air dates on PCTV 21 or 47, this month with a discussion following the speakers:

Monday 11/10/2014, 7:00 AM, Channel PCTV

Tuesday 11/11/2014, 3:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Wednesday 11/12/2014, 5:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Thursday 11/13/2014, 7:00 AM, Channel PCTV

Thursday 11/13/2014, 12:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Friday 11/14/2014, 3:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Monday 11/17/2014, 8:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Tuesday 11/18/2014, 7:00 AM, Channel PCTV

Check back next week for a You Tube link.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

U Prep/ Milliones physical condition

Anonymous wrote:

"When was the last time they painted uprep?  Obviously not this summer. Every hallway and stairwell has streaks of chipped paint.  I saw holes in some walls.  All 3 bathroom stalls by the cafeteria did not close completely let alone lock.  The cafeteria looks and feels like a pod at the Allegheny County jail.  The library area above cafeteria has no books.  Its the worse school I've been in and I was shocked it was a PPS building.   It looks and feels like I imagine a scary school in the Bronx." 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Op ed praises sci tech

It is interesting how many of the things sci tech is praised for were also true for Schenley and Frick; it is just that far fewer students get to enjoy them now.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Resignation of LA reformer (last week)

Broad Gates background:

How serious are conditions at U Prep?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Westinghouse was never totally out of control with fights and fear the dominating climate.

Teaching and learning are serious problems at both schools for whatever reasons, but the total chaos described at UPrep is downright dangerous."

- If that is the case, it seems that people just do not understand.  At the task force meeting there was a passionate description of students crying out for help, but there was no real reaction and speakers turned to other issues.  Most, probably all, of those at the table are or were "involved parents" and likely assume that if conditions were really that bad parents would be out in force.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Building social capital in schools

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Interesting article from two University of Pittsburgh professors.

"Building social capital in schools is not easy or costless. It requires time and, typically, the infusion of additional teaching staff into the school. It requires a reorientation away from a “Teacher of the Year” model and toward a system that rewards mentoring and collaboration among teachers. It also asks school principals and district administrators to spend less time monitoring teachers and more time encouraging a climate of trust and information sharing among them. The benefits of social capital are unequivocal, and unlike many other policy efforts, initiatives that foster it offer far more promise in terms of measurable gains for students."

The opposite has been going on in this district for some time now!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Does PPS get bad press?

Let's keep a count.

At the Mayor's task force meeting yesterday, the Superintendent claimed that the media is quick to write about problems, noting that if there's a fight it will be in the paper, but not so quick to write about the good things about our schools.

It doesn't SEEM that way but maybe it's a matter of perception- let's keep a count, good articles v. bad articles in the PG.  Of course that doesn't tell us if the paper is missing more of the "good" stories than the "bad" stories, but it will at least tell us if there really are more "bad" reports.

Starting score, good/ bad, is 0/0.

Former Westinghouse principal resigns from new position

An article from the Trib cites problems similar to those that plagued Westinghouse- discipline and scheduling.  The printed Trib headline refers to the resignation as "abrupt."

The Trib article mentions the failed experiment in single gender schooling but does not clarify that this experiment was the administration's idea, not the principal's.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mayor's education task force

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new post

mayor education task force meets tonight and is open to public 4:30 to 7:30. let him know what is going on at u prep, print out u prep thread and show it to him. "

Monday, October 20, 2014

Teen arrested for bomb threats

On another post Anonymous wrote:

** new post please**

So the PPS student calling in the bomb threats has been arrested and charged. Of course this came from the Tribune as The Post Gazette only prints positive PPS press releases.

Poor terrorist probably had ineffective teachers, lol : )"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enrollment statistics October 2014

From the PG, one statistic is that kindergarten enrollment declined by 11.5%.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Additional incident(s) at U Prep

The PG reports that a 19 year old has been taken into custody.

"Smith was charged by school police with aggravated assault and criminal trespass for an incident at an undisclosed date at University Prep High School in the Hill District."

Perry/ Westinghouse fight

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Perry High School and Westinghouse Fight!
Last night the two teams fist fought in the middle of the South Stadium field. Pittsburgh Public School Police Officers and Security Officers had to get the situation under control. Many Officers were hit and without them it would had been students severely hurt! No City of Pittsburgh Officers were called or present. The fight was down right ugly! Many parents have it on film. Good Job Pittsburgh Public School Public Safety! Good Job!"

Friday, October 10, 2014

PPS to spend $8 million to improve learning environment

From the PG:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New academy at Holy Family

This looks like a good model for a magnet for PPS- it is impressive, and most likely was developed with few or any consultant dollars or huge grants, despite a fair amount of coordination and individualized programming:

Student shot and killed on the way to school

Updated PG coverage; looks like they are not allowing comments on this article:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grant to investigate school safety and suspensions

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post Please
As if we don't have enough already. Now the government is involved. 3 Million to look into school safety, suspensions... This in todays Post Gazette.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Public Hearing Show"

A new program on PCTV features the presentations by speakers at the monthly Pittsburgh Public Schools public hearing.  Future shows will add a discussion about the presentations and interviews relevant to the topics discussed.  The intent is for these presentations to reach a wider audience than those who are able to actually attend the hearings in person, and so encourage more people to come out and speak.

Air dates for  "The Public Hearing Show," which presents speakers at the September 22, 2014 hearing, are as follows on PCTV (Comcast Channel 21 and Verizon Channel 47).  The show will also be available on You Tube at a later time.


Monday 10/13/2014, 7:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Tuesday 10/14/2014, 7:00 AM, Channel PCTV

Wednesday 10/15/2014, 8:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Thursday 10/16/2014, 10:00 AM, Channel PCTV

Friday 10/17/2014, 5:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Monday 10/20/2014, 7:00 PM, Channel PCTV

Transportation problems at magnet high schools

On another post Mark Rauterkus wrote:

New topic.

Repost entire article please. All city magnet located outside of Oakland and Downtown have an extra burden."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lack of consistent policy on lockdowns and evacuations

On another post Anonymous wrote:

new again topic-- unequal treatment
Threat at Sheridan school called a "hoax"
So we evacuate three schools a week ago but for this school we do a LOCKDOWN???
Sorry but even the scenic suburbs evacuate for bomb threats-- even hoaxes-- how does a LOCKDOWN help in a bomb threat???"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Response to U Prep administration thread

On the U Prep administration thread that is closed due to length, Anonymous wrote:

"Anonymous said...
I would like to know if anyone connected to this site has heard anything from any community groups or the Administration or even ONE board member???? What does that tell you????"

Mayor's task force on school system

From the PG:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

"What can actually be done?"

On the previous thread, Anonymous wrote:

"3:03 & 11:42
Very true. So how do we get them out.? As taxpayers, city residents, teachers, parents, etc., how do we get them out and replaced? What is the procedure or precedent to replace a superintendent? Can they be sued? Honestly it is almost fraudulent what they are doing. How can the board approve her performance rating when her goals are student achievement and AA gap?

What steps can we actually take to replace Lane? Demand for her resignation? How can we make the information about excessive and redundant CO jobs and the exorbitant salaries for unqualified people public knowledge? There has to be some accountability. The PFT could be putting the info out there, especially knowing PPS will claim to be broke in he upcoming contract negotiations.

What can actually be done? I'm talking immediate next steps. We have talked this to death. Lane and company are going to continue to fatten their own bank accounts at the expense of our children as long as we let them. They will continue to get rid of any teachers willing to speak up and fight until all of your children are taught by temps with no school or neighborhood investment. Does anyone know what we can really do? I am a teacher who willing to take on the risk to save our district and I'm sure there are others as well as parents and city residents.

The union as failed us, they won't speak out against Lane or the Board. Too many community groups and foundations are in cahoots ($$) or afraid to speak out against PPS and the local media is their personal PR. There is no help there.

But teachers, parents, students, alumni, city residents are a powerful group if we organize and actually do something. I just truly don't know what the next step is. I just know PPS has to be taken back from these unqualified outsiders and returned to Pittsburghers.

We are a highly educated and passionate group of people with a wealth of experience. We love our children and have their interest at heart. We should be running our district. If there is anyone who has an idea about what to do and feels the same way, I am ready.
Questioner, do you have any ideas? "

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shots fired at U Prep student

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"* new post**

Maybe this should be new post. Things are looking worse for u prep. Apparently shots were fired at a student on way to school today

Very alarming news"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teacher seniority and the African American community

On another post Anonymous wrote:

new topic please-- Seniority and the AA community

Please do not be fooled by the Gates funded A+ schools. Since 2006 this administration has done nothing to help the schools-- but it has especially hurt our African American community.
In destroying seniority you will leave administrators and principals (PELA principals!!!!) choosing the cheapest, least educated teachers they can get. These teachers will have no commitment (past the two years as in TFA to move to a better job) Read through this blog and realize that the like of D. Hardy and the PELAs will be choosing your teachers. Half the reason that there is no other is that the highest seniority teachers got chucked out. The other half of the mess is that the principals are t old to dump back on the new rookie teachers- so indeed, new science teachers quit.
Show me what A+ has done for the AA community. Most members of that community are the first to say-- things were better before Roosevelt-- not perfect-- but better than today."

Evacuation of three schools

On another post, Anonymous wrote about evacuations reported for schools in Brookline:

"ew post?

I am aware that the district is dealing with a serious situation with three schools evacuated today, but at some point can we hold a debriefing here on the blog? no criticisms, just observations and suggestions for what might be improved in the next occurrence. there are likely logical explanations for every step taken today but from an outsider's position we won't know unless we discuss it. it is true that the district could hold a press conference or parent gathering to answer questions but frankly, this blog is more real-time and therefore more accurate."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

PPS presentation on some AP and IB results

 Presentation to the Board:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Class sizes

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Hey! I don't want to post on this topic. Can we have a new topic of Class sizes? There are huge discrepancies at Whittier Elementary. 68 students in two classes of kindergarten. Yet in third grade there are two classrooms with a total of 22 in the grade level and in fifth grade there are two classrooms with 26 total in the grade level. These teachers refuse to combine and change grade levels and the principal is not doing anything about it. So you have two wonderful kindergarten teacher working them selves crazy and they are not receiving any help or support."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

U Prep administration

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post

Are the Administrators at U PREP good for the school or not? Why or why not?"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Assistant superintendent

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"* new post please*

Does anyone know anything about Dr. Allison Huguley? She has been around my building stopping in classrooms and introduced as Assistant Superintendent. I looked back at the info that was posted and released in PG about staffing changes and saw her name for a position of chief academic officer or something like that. No where was any info naming her as Assistant Superintendent. I thought Micheaux was Deputy Super? How is Assistant Super different and not redundant??!! I checked in my staff handbook and Dr. Huguley is listed as Assistant Super. So does anyone know when this came about or any info about this person? All I can find is that she is a recent grad and doesn't appear to be from Broad's academy, which is shocking. Anyone know anything?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Questions for the school board?

On another post Anonymous wrote:


Who has questions for the School Board?"

Additional evidence in favor of later start times for HS

From the PG, similar to many previous threads:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hires from out of state

On another post Anonymous wrote

"*new post*

What's up with all the new Elementary hires? At my building I have so far met 2 teachers, new to the district, from other states!
There were more today from other schools at our trainings.
I thought we furloughed elementary teachers. Even if we didn't, we have an extensive eligibility list that include subs and PPS grads, etc, who would have priority over new out of state hires.
Are they TFA or some kind of Gates/ Broads temp workers? Has anyone else noticed this? What is the unions role in investigating this?
It just gives me a bad feeling, like it's the next step in replacing us all with out of state temp workers, TFA style. "

Latest PPS test scores

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:

Read more:

The PSSA and Keystone Achievement Results for 2014 presented by the Superintendent at the August 20th Agenda Review reveals the following:

In both Reading and Math, PPS 2014 increased by 2 points from 2013. However, in both Reading and Math, scores have decreased by 7 points from 2011. So, in the final analysis PPS ACHIEVEMENT is DECREASING over time INSTEAD of INCREASING "

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Arne Duncan visiting Pittsburgh

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"** new post**

I was never drinking the Peduto Kool aid. I think he is a snake oil salesman on par with Roosevelt. His obsession with PPS & his task force worry me and now this??!!!
He is definitely evil! Meeting with Arne Duncan!??

PG/ Investigative reporting

PG reporters are quite capable of investigative reporting:  see the articles looking into the ongoing salary of former Secretary of Education Tomalis:

Wouldn't it be great to see this level of investigation when there are questions about education locally (consultants, contracts, raises and bonuses,  Schenley, Westinghouse, performance, etc).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

District SPP scores

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Possibly a new post:

Today the Post Gazette released (front page) the PA District SPP scores for 2012-13 (not to be confused with School SPP scores for 2012-13)

It is interesting to note that the SPP for U-Prep for 2012-13 was 48. The SPP score for Wilkinsburg was 45 and the SPP for Duquesne was 49.

Note: Neither the School nor District SPP scores for this past year, 2013-14, have yet been made public."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Extension for Mayor's task force

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"The Mayor's Education task force gets 3 additional months to conclude its work.

There is a paid mediator also."

PPS allowed to continue its own evaluation system

On another post Anonymous wrote:

** New Post**

State granted PPS 3 year waiver to continue use of the evaluation system that is more rigorous than the state evaluation system. The contract is almost up. The time to strike is now.

The PFT is a laughingstock to the Board. Linda Lane believes she can do whatever she wants, BECAUSE SHE CAN!!! Who is going to stop these charlatans from getting rid of experienced teachers and principals while central office laughs all the way to the bank.

They are not accountable to the children or parents. You are a joke to them, the teachers are a joke to them, the taxpayers are a joke. But we all let them get away with whatever they want while they keep cashing in.

How can Linda Lane NOT be on an improvement plan?? Where is the EVIDENCE she met any of her performance goals!? District of first choice? The district is a laughingstock."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Security guards lack of raise

On another post Anonymous wrote:


Will the Security ever get a raise?
Security work so hard. Security are hands on in the schools and make so much less than School Police. School Security make a huge difference in these schools and are not noticed. If their are lazy guards fire them. For the ones that put their life in danger daily(good job)and you should be making more money for the stress,counseling students,bruises,injuries,calming the staff down, breaking up fights with multiple students at one time, controlling irate parents, danger they are in, drugs you find, guns that you stop from getting into the schools and so much more. If their were no guards the police would have to handle the job. By the time the police get their the kids are calm and separated in rooms. We respect the Officers because by law they do have arresting powers. Security are never noticed or rewarded in any way. They keep the schools safe and deserve to feel appreciated and that they are not looked at as a dumb security guard."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Proposed revision in Code of Student Conduct

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new topic please--revision in Code of Student Conduct:

So an ASSAULT isnt criminal and we will allow "discretion"? Read back through this blog-- this is how we got to the place where "good" elementary schools-Minadeo- are written up as "out-of-control" and children in fear. The problem is that there are NO consequences for actions of young children that would BE criminal out in the street. Do you all trust the PELAs and the various consultants when your child is injured in school?
Obviously alot of people don't and they are expressing this by leaving schools perceived as dangerous. The biggest thing ALL parents want is safe students-- we are united in this. So now nothing is concrete. Look at what has happened with this thinking- without the change in the code.
These principals will do anything-- as the article implies-- to KEEP students in the classroom-- no matter what has happened. And yet, YES great teachers deal with it and well-- but how much time is your student observing these behaviors around them--disruptive or not-- instead of learning skills. When middle school teachers tell you the kids are coming with less skills-- look how long these students watched various performances, interventions, etc."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pressure to cheat

On another post Anonymous wrote:

This article in the current New Yorker shows where high stakes testing can take you. I do NOT condone cheating, but can understand why these teachers felt they had to.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Furloughs? (new topic)
Does anyone have details about the upcoming furloughs? Is it by hiring date--or specific category-- i.e. language teachers? Does this seem -out-of-the blue?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hand picked teachers but nothing changes

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post

When is someone going to ask questions about our Gates-funded initiative that put our district's "most highly effective teachers" at Brashear and King and nothing happened to test scores? And I don't use those quotation marks sarcastically. I know many of the CRIs that moved into these positions and they truly are really good teachers. But NOTHING positive happened with their test scores. I think they worked their butts off -- as did the colleagues who were hand-picked to work in those schools -- but nothing changed. Isn't it time we ask what this means?? "

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Faced with the Gates of Hell"

On another post Anonymous wrote:


"Facing the GATES of Hell"

Gates Foundation Protest in Seattle

"Teaching in the shadow of the Gates Foundation is an ominous and treacherous endeavor. Everywhere you turn there is another so-called “expert”, funded by the Gates foundation–with very little, if any classroom experience—who believes that their dollars have given them sense.

Gates believes in the right of the rich to control the schools and even the very idea of what knowledge is. We believe that education and knowledge should be democratic pursuits and that only through collaboration—not market competition—can we fully become complete human beings.

Gates believes the intellectual and social-emotional processes can and should be reduced to a test score. We believe standardized testing can’t begin to quantify the things that matter most in education: imagination, collaboration, civic courage, empathy, and creativity.

The problem for us is that Gates has a few more dollars than we have . . ."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Insiders" needed

Anonymous asked for the following link to be posted:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Agenda review June 25

On another post Anonymous wrote:

new topic please- June 25th Board Meeting- thoughts?
There didn't seem to be as much chatter of bad things coming out of Westinghouse this year-- much more about Perry--so where will the 3 year contracted Westinghouse principal go now?
So ECS gets Letsche (not ours anymore) Propel gets Columbus and Burgwin
The "scoundrel" Aquino gets to talk to the new Asst. Supers and principals 4 times this year-not on our dime, but not helping either
Lost head of technology-again keeping us way behind other districts without a unified plan-- try taking any course this summer that involves technology and you will see we are back at the 10 years behind
Anything else happen that doesnt help the students of Pittsburgh at all? 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Timeline for releasing PSSA scores

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:

Schools have received each PPS STUDENTS' scores/results on the 2013-14 PSSA and Keystone assessments. Have parents received the letters informing them of each STUDENT's scores?

These individual STUDENT RESULTS are always SENT to PARENTS in June. School districts now have these scores which are to be sent out to parents by the District.

The results for SCHOOLS will be published online at PDE School Performance Profiles in late September.

(Schools, typically, receive SCHOOL DATA in JULY. They have an opportunity to challenge for cause. This delays the publication as the challenges must be checked by PDE.)"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jamie Aquino / new teachers center

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new topic please-- Jaime Aquino and New Teacher's Center
"While Los Angeles' corporate media bemoans scoundrel Jaime Aquino's resignation, replete with descriptions of tears from fellow Broadyte John Deasy, "
Wow-- SCOUNDREL! Some one has been paying attention to robust vocabulary

Monday, June 16, 2014

When teachers could actually teach

On another post Anonymous wrote:


This interview in today's P-G is with Allderdice grad Sharon Epperson. She gives credit to former Allderdice teacher Marsha Tharp (English/journalism). Sharon attended back in the day when teachers could actually teach and not "teach" to a script. Sharon attended Harvard and Columbia and is currently senior energy and personal finance correspondent for CNBC."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pittsburgh teachers receive high ratings

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"** New Post**

New PG article. They won't let you post in comments section. Comments go to "waiting moderation" then never get posted. I guess they don't want to hear the public comments about how they wasted our money on this farcical evaluation process only to find the same number of "ineffective" teachers as the old system.

The PG moderator won't let me post my comment as follows:

The old system rated 3% of teachers unsatisfactory and the new system rated 1.5% as needs improvement and 1.6% as failing, which amounts to a total of 3.1% teachers performing at an unsatisfactory level. So this new system, that cost millions of dollars, requires principals to spend most of their time observing or writing feedback of observations, required the hiring of countless high paid consultants to improve teacher effectiveness, had teachers being pulled out of class for RISE training, spurred the departure of great teachers who were fed up with the farcical evaluation process, and the administration of excessive tests & surveys to our students only provided a 0.1% difference in the ability to identify ineffective teachers than the old system. All this for a 0.1% difference?Millions of dollars and putting ourselves & our children at the mercy of whims of a billionaire "philanthropist" to find a 0.1% difference in the ability to identify an ineffective teacher! Pittsburgh parents and residents should be outraged at this waste of money and resources. Teachers and principals who devoted hundreds of hours to this evaluation process instead of teaching should be sickened by this. Unbelievable!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A+ Schools survey

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post

So, got a robo survey call from A+ Schools asking 5 questions. Three possible answers; yes, no, unsure. One question asked whether or not I agree that teachers should be evaluated. I now have to wait for the survey results to be posted and reported to see if interpretations of the final answers will mislead readers. If many answered yes to the evaluation question will the reporting say something like "XX% of respondents support RISE"? Surveys like this are designed with a purpose in mind."

Monday, June 2, 2014

PPS foreign language options shrinking

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"nonymous has left a new comment on your post "Domestic partner benefits":

OMG! This article tells a sad, sad story; but SPINS it as an “expansion” . . .

Foreign language clubs expand students' horizons during lunch BUT, PPS is ELIMINATING Foreign Languages across schools and grades . . .

"Like most elementary schools in the city, Pittsburgh Concord K-5 in Carrick doesn't have time or money for world language instruction.
It uses ingenuity to help children learn a language.

Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, said research shows an early start on language learning is valuable.
She said learning a second language "is actually working a different part of the brain than the native language. When the brain gets that kind of a workout, it develops a lot more flexibility and ability to function in a better way."
She said learning another language can boost reading and math scores, enhance students' openness to other cultures; and develop skills necessary for an international economy. However, she said some districts across the nation are cutting language programs in elementary schools as they face difficult budgets and staffing.
"We're going to be left behind if we don't start raising our children to be ready for this global environment in which they're going to live and work," she said. . . .
As Pittsburgh Public Schools has expanded time spent on English language arts, math and other core subjects, opportunities for students to learn a world language have shrunk.
Marsha Plotkin, curriculum supervisor for world languages, said more cuts are expected this fall.
Pittsburgh Sterrett 6-8 in Point Breeze won't offer any world languages although, as a classical academy, it used to offer a Latin-based course as well as French and Spanish.
Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 in Downtown plans to eliminate Spanish in grades 6-8, the only world language offered this year in those grades at that school.
Pittsburgh South Brook 6-8 in Brookline plans to discontinue its Spanish classes this fall.
This school year, most K-8 and 6-8 schools in Pittsburgh Public Schools do NOT offer a world language. Only Colfax K-8 in Squirrel Hill offers it in the elementary grades, with Spanish beginning in grade 3.
Among K-5 schools, only five have a world language class. Four of them are world language magnet schools; the fifth, Allegheny K-5 on the North Side, a traditional academy magnet, started Spanish this school year and plans to continue it in the fall.
Not counting the upcoming reductions, in recent years, 17 schools -- K-5, K-8 and 6-8 -- have ELIMINATED world languages, the result of tight schedules, reduced budgets and limited supply for world language teachers for part-time positions

Read more:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Domestic partner benefits

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post on Expenditures please

Now that DOMA is behind us in PA, is it now the time to get rid of domestic partner benefits for pps employees? Since same sex couples can now get married in PA, let em. Why should taxpayers be paying for benefits for unmarried couples. (This includes opposite sex couples too) While I hate to be the one to endorse anyone loosing coverage, we must consider the taxpayers wallets.
And while we are cutting costs. (Just dreaming) The board needs to dissolve the relationship with the PFT as it is now. All officers should go back to the classroom and represent the membership as time allows before or after work hours. If the Clerical-Technical, Custodial, and maintenance units can do it, so can the teachers. PFT has already proved officers do not need to be in the office. Look for Dale Moss' office or Ed McManus' office. They have none. Nina decided they were not needed as full time staff. How much money would be saved here?
This would also lead to a stronger union. If nina had to put up with a bad principal or teaching environment, action would happen. Put them back where they belong! The board should be voting on this continued memorandum of misunderstanding."

New Deputy Superintendent appointed

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post please:
New Deputy Superintendent (Dr. French's old position) approved by the board tonight--a Broad graduate, no surprise there. We are doomed!

Here are a few other interesting articles:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Teacher attendance called 'startling'"

From the PG:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Problems at a young age

On another post Anonymous said:

"New Topic

4th grader smoking marijuana at Roosevelt school.

My nephew came home today with a note that said a youngster was caught smoking pot in the bathroom. He/she said it came from home. Student was sent to hospital."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Report on teacher hiring and evaluation

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new topic please:
another report

So hiring from the top 10% is WRONG?? And by having an eligibility list, it doesn't give "flexibility" in hiring? Flexibility to WHAT?? hire your unemployed brother-in-law??
And A+ schools praising this is disgusting! One reason I camr to the city was that in smaller communities you WERE hired by "who you knew" Why would ANY sane person want this? Help me understand how this flexibility is good??? "

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Debate over "Whole child whole community"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post

take the time to read this very thoughtful article"

Lippert leaving for W Allegheny

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"By Michael Hasch

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 8:24 p.m.
Updated less than a minute ago

Jerri Lynn Lippert, the chief academic officer of Pittsburgh Public Schools, will become the new superintendent of the West Allegheny School District.

The West Allegheny School Board voted Wednesday to approve her appointment, effective July 1, according to a statement released by Pittsburgh Public Schools announcing that Lippert has accepted the position. The city school board is scheduled to vote to accept her resignation next week.

“This is a well-deserved opportunity for Dr. Lippert,” Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lanes said. “Dr. Lippert will truly be missed, and we know she will be a great leader for the students and families of the West Allegheny School District.”

Lippert joined Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2002, serving one year as assistant principal at the former Oliver High School, two years as assistant principal at Pittsburgh Allegheny 6-8 and a year as principal there. She was promoted to executive director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development in 2006 and chief academic officer in 2009."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lellock case on film?

On another post Anonymous wrote:


The saga of "Rosie" and "Lee Lee" is about to go national. A Los Angeles based production company has been in contact with current and ex-employees of the PPS schools who were involved in the Lellock case. A Pittsburgh private detective is also conducting interviews but I don't know yet if the two are related.
I'm curious to see how they address the relationship between Lellock and the former superintendent and also why the District Attorney and Attorney General have failed to go after all involved in the coverup.
It's a shame there wasn't a public protest like in Steubenville to try to get justice for the 20 plus children. I guess Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the State of PA place a low value on poor kids from the inner city. "