Monday, April 21, 2014

April 2014 Agenda Review

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"This month's agenda review materials is online now. SESI's Clayton contract is back on the agenda. The cost is 2.8 million for 1 year @ $11,200 each for 250 students. Wow! Couldn't the Student Achievement Center do the job for less?"


Anonymous said...

The Regional School Rankings was published in early April by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The standings/rankings of Pittsburgh Public Schools is SHOCKING!.

The schools that are currently using SESI protocols are at the very bottom of the rankings which are based on three years of DATA.

The bottom three lowest-achieving schools at grades 6, 7, 8 and 11 always include MILLIONES UNIVERSITY PREP!

WHATEVER and WHOEVER they are using to improve conditions and achievement IS NOT WORKING! SESI is being used at this school along with questionable consultants whose credentials are not as claimed.

FAISON is also using SESI and Faison is also among the bottom two schools in grades 3-5.

How does this keep happening? Why is PPS consistently, in recent years, among the LOWEST-ACHIEVING in the state of 494 districts and in this region of 103 districts?


Anonymous said...

When I was a teacher at Milliones we were told it was our fault that the scores were low. Then the school was closed and all staff were sent somewhere else. It reopened as UNIVERSITY PREP.
it has never improved and has always been low achieving every year in spite of the fact that lots of money has been spent on it. The board STILL goes along with everything this administration says and does. How sad!

Anonymous said...

How many teachers are employed at Clayton for the 250 students - how is the $2.8 million budgeted? How many "directors" are there and how much are they paid? How many of these students "transition" back into their home schools and in what period of time? If PPS is just looking for a temporary "dumping" ground for disruptive students, (at a huge expense) then we are doing these students a disservice.

Anonymous said...

I think this district is crying out for some way to deal with seriously disruptive students at the elementary level. Apparently SESI doesn't work within a school.
But either does the 3 day suspension, the "talk to student" and send back to class, the "call the parent"(who don't have solutions at the moment-which is why student is acting out)Instead of having teachers "gather evidence", and principals strolling with ipads-- maybe looking at WHAT WORKS-- at any school, and piloting that in other schools--hmm--sounds kinda pre-2006.That was when walk-thrus were to see what works and go back to your school and try it -- oh yeah no big $$ corporation is profiting from that.

Anonymous said...

Clayton is not listed by that name as a pps school on the pps website. It has never been listed in any version of the site. The likely explanation is that the student population is included in the enrollment numbers for each home school. For any analysis this is problematic. If anyone is more familiar with the pps site and can point to reporting of the Clayton performance, please share.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that after several years (how many?) of removing "disruptive" students to Clayton and other places, the achievement levels in all of the regular comprehensive high schools keeps falling? Achievement in Pittsburgh's 'regular' schools is at an all time low?

Perhaps, if you reversed the purpose of PPS regular high schools and sent the students who are not giving teachers and administrators any independent behavior to the alternative schools you would improve achievement in two more schools (the alternative schools). Then turn all of the regular high schools over to Propel or some other Charter so that the mass majority of PPS secondary students would have some chance of
being educated. What do you think?

Questioner said...

Clayton seems to be viewed as more like a charter school in terms of the website, which also does not include charters. It is not clear if students are counted in the enrollment and test score statistics for their home schools- interesting question.

Anonymous said...

Central Office claims that the achievement scores for students at Clayton are included in the data for the school from which they were sent to Clayton.

Attendance is another question, a good question.

It is, however, very unwise to depend on the 'accuracy' of reports given verbally by PPS Central Office. Responses are generally prefaced by a qualifying phrase that leaves any substantive verification in question.

It is always difficult to determine whether they just "don't know" or they are avoiding truth and fact. It appears that "training" has been put in place and the skills are honed, purposefully.

Anonymous said...

I'm still wondering about the breakdown of the 2.8 million for 250 students. How many students are enrolled at the Student Achievement Center and what is the cost of that school?

Anonymous said...

If you go to SESI's website and click on the alternative education link, under results they list:
an average savings to the school district of 4k-5k per student per year (I wonder how they arrived at that figure?)
50% return rate to sending school
PSSA 19% increase of math scores, and 16% increase in reading scores

If you click around their site, you will see that they have schools all over the country. They have their hands in a lot of pies so to speak. What I couldn't find on their website was who exactly "owns" this business.

Also, if you look at their curriculum, they go on field trips, have classes that PPS has eliminated, activities, etc. that PPS can't afford. Maybe that is where part of OUR 2.8 million is going?

Anonymous said...

When many talk about an increase in achievement they use % as the term to describe the improvement.

Note that points is NOT used. Therefore the reference to an increase of 16% or19% could mean only 2 or 3 or 4 points of improvement overall. It would depend the previously document score. If the original score was, say, 20% or less "proficiency" in Reading which is the average typically true of students in alternative placements, then improvement of 16% would take them to a "proficiency" rate of 19% which is barely an improvement. It leaves 80% below "proficiency".

Who would consider that an accomplishment? Really?

Anonymous said...

9:49 - If these students (SESI) are provided with field trips, the arts, and other electives or extracurricular activities, then by all means, go for it. It pays to be disruptive!

Something else to consider. The "extras" that have been stripped from regular students in regular high schools are one the causes of the decline in achievement. That alone could be the reason for a 2 or 3 POINT (16-19%) increase in achievement! Would that ALL PPS students were provided with well-rounded curricula and opportunities!

Anonymous said...

PPS doesn't care about the regular students, the achievers. Teachers are told not to worry about the students who are there to learn. You don't need to call on them. They will learn anyway. When admin. comes to observe they only want to see you calling and encouraging minorities, specifically african american males. I thought we were supposed to teach ALL students.

Anonymous said...

Apparently "equity" is at all costs. Visit Brashear- posters are using a slang word "nephs" as if this is acceptable. The term is akin to "homies" but even worse. Is this what we want students to say? Nephs I'm getting the Promise! Unbelievable! What are they thinking? If this is culturally responsive education I'm taking my kids to the nearest Charter!

Anonymous said...

I had to look it up. I agree it is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

At first you may want to hear someone explain the use of uncommon slang in promotional posters, but would it make any difference? Who approves these posters? Mr. Ghubril? Dr. Lane?

You have got to listen/watch agenda review and committee meetings. Info slips out when you don't expect it.

Anonymous said...

This slang is embraced by PPS. It's past of the "courageous conversations" that teachers are supposed to embrace. The last few years we have had many professional developments on this topic. The reason why our african american students fail is we don't understand the african american culture. Our whiteness gets in the way. We are told the discipline problems occur because we read behaviors as negative, when in fact they should be accepted as part of the culture.

Anonymous said...

If my tax dollars are supporting this type of nonsense, then it's time for me to take my middle class income dollars and taxes out to the suburbs. This would never be tolerated in the school districts where student proficiency rates are 80% and better! Just look at the latest high school data, CAPA came in 16th place, Obama 46th and every other PPS high school = LOSERS! Maybe the courageous conversations need to take place between those at the top and the parents. Better yet, bring Bill Cosby to PPS and talk to the parents about blackness. Oh yeah, that's right he already tried to address Black America a while back and was shot down for his courageous conversation of why black youth are getting left behind.

Anonymous said...

Exactly look at the data. What other district gets away with implementation of failing programs. Since the Roosevelt regime took over PPS has shown NO improvement. That's a decade of students who were guinea pigs of Gates. It's not over yet, as long as the people at Bellefield can protect their jobs and spew propaganda this district will continue to sacrifice student achievement.

Anonymous said...

There is an EFA meeting at Sci-Tech on May 1st. Too bad the readership of this blog is not greater among parents and non-staff so that topics discussed here can be talked about in public.

Anonymous said...

I think this decline in PPS is not so much relate to Roosevelt and Gates but more with the decline of our society. All urban schools have been affected. The racial gap is a national problem. Why continue to lay this at the feet of Roosevelt? He has been long gone and we've had time to see something improve but they have continued to decline. The politically correct crowd does not seem to have the stomach to address urban youth in regards to education. They wish to believe that if we just had more money...
With 2 tax increases in 2 years and the cost per student so high, I'm not sure this country will ever get it.
I paid for private education for my family because I will not sacrifice the lives of my children to this nuttiness called
PPS. Alas, my tax dollar will be used to support this failed venture.

PPSparent said...

"Why continue to lay this at the feet of Roosevelt? He has been long gone and we've had time to see something improve but they have continued to decline. "

Roosevelt was the public face of reform in Pittsburgh. In NYC, it was Klein (with mayoral backing from Bloomberg), in other cities, it was other names.

They are all implementing the same programs and plans. Closing "failing" schools and moving kids to create more failing schools. Creating VAM type assessments for teachers, without research backing. Increasing testing. Developing churn in teaching staff, getting rid of higher paid (and often more likely to speak out) experienced teachers and replacing them with minimally prepared new teachers (who very often leave quickly, providing more spots for new teachers). Developing scripted curricula and enforcing it to the minute. Giving up on discipline.

When Roosevelt left, he made his comment about having "planted the garden" already and that all it needed was tending. That's what Lane has been doing, watching as these changes continue to weaken the PPS.

There has been no improvement in scores and there has been a huge amount of loss in the PPS over the last 8 years -- loss of schools, programs, electives, classes at different levels, reasonable class sizes, classrooms with behavior conducive to learning.

You'd think that at some point there'd be some accountability. I'd be happy with a public recognition of the failures, along with a plan for changes to undo the failures.

There are many people who can't make the choices you made, but those children are going to still be in the world with your kids. They're going to be their employees, they're going to be the people who take care of you when you're sick or old. Try to see it as not just about your kids, but about the society they will live in.

Anonymous said...

We are blaming Roosevelt cause a "broad person" is still at the helm.
And PELAS and BRoads still have a script that says-- leave all problems on the classroom teacher--
I am in the suburbs-- and you have some of the BEST teachers in the city-- but you have gotten rid of so many COMPETENT admin-- that no one runs a school. Read this blog-- and think about all the PPS principals you once knew-- they would faint if half the stuff here was said about their schools. You had NO question of who was in charge then. and Yes this was a PLAN from Broad-- since 2006-- hire consultants, have complicated programs-- and never help a student with behavior issues. Blame teachers when a mentally ill/ often abused child urinates or defecates in an inappropriate place-- yes THAT is what teachers are dealing with-- along with collecting their evidence!

Anonymous said...

At SESI, “Behavior Modification” is the embedded system used to train and treat children as Pavlov’s dogs or Skinner’s rats. The behavior of children is manipulated by techniques and patterns that have been researched and widely disregarded since these have been deemed wholly inappropriate for improving the behavior of children sent to Clayton or other PPS schools using the SESI model.

This is NOT the modus operandi at the Student Achievement Center as it has been for Success Schools or SESI.

Should Pittsburgh support the SESI model of “behavior modification”? The negative impact of this model should be researched and evaluated before another child is subjected to this treatment and training.

Anonymous said...

May's agenda review has revisions to the Board Policy Manual regarding employees.

Sec. 300 deals with conflict of interest/nepotism. Among the list of potential conflicts is when someone doing the evaluation is involved in an "intimate" relationship - "paramour" - with the person being evaluated.

Let's say the principal (who is married) is having an affair with a teacher. Central admin. may not have knowledge of this fact. Does this mean then that another staff member must "snitch" and face being targeted? It is easy to not place a relative in a situation where a relative would be evaluating him/her. But having so called "paramours" in this situation is a different ballgame. When the person being evaluated gets a higher rating (undeserving) than his/her fellow department members, we have a major conflict of interest.