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?"

193 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Who is finally asking this question and why?

The evidence of problems and poor decisions has been kind of overwhelming for too many years?

What is prompting the question after all this time?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. There are a lot of community people who really care about this school, but end up being manipulated out of the picture. One by one they have dropped off the scene. Why are community people not welcomed into helping? It takes a village!

Anonymous said...

9:31 -
People at my church are looking for different schools for their children and grandchildren who go to U Prep.

Their kids say the "fights are all over the place".

The students say that the "principal needs help bad"!

Anonymous said...

The new Assistant Superintendent at U Prep is Dr. Wayne Walters. He has done such a great job as principal at Obama. He should be able to help U Prep improve the conditions there. Achievement is not good at all. Behavior is not good at all. Teachers keep leaving. Students keep leaving.

How long has the same administration been there?

At Westinghouse the administration has changed six times over the the last few years but there have been no changes at U Prep.

The students in these two schools deserve much much better.

Anonymous said...

U Prep’s favorite consultant gives a lot of bad advice to administration. Central Office should check the results of a consultant’s work BEFORE bringing them to a school. Questions must be asked. Have they ever worked in schools that are similar? What is the background of experience that demonstrates they understand these students and community? Have they ever served as a teacher or principal in similar schools? What research can they provide to demonstrate that their practices and programs work in similar schools? There must be some evidence that supports the choice of any consultant. (Really, there should be STRONG evidence.) Otherwise students are put at risk again and again . Students do not have years to waste while adults experiment at students’ expense. One year wasted is too many!

Anonymous said...

Amen, 8:00. Where does the Hill District Education Council stand on this? Are they still working closely with the schools?

Anonymous said...

People who can talk and who look good don't have to know anything at all. They just talk their way in and out of every situation. The get positions because they can sell themselves. They do not have to prove anything. They just move on from one thing to the next because they can.

PPS administration does not know what to do. So, anyone who talks a good game is in. If it doesn't work out they move on and the next "salesperson" moves in to take their place.

Anonymous said...

The consultant at Milliones for the last few years was once a science teacher. Yet, the new 2014 science scores from the state show 0% proficiency in science.

Did the consultant ever teach reading or math? The Milliones Literature score improved by only 2.8 points and the Algebra dropped by .5 points.

This information was released by Dr. Lane earlier this month.

Milliones is one of the three lowest achieving schools in all of Western Pennsylvania.

Doesn't seem that the administration chose the right consultant, but then what qualifications were they seeking?

Anonymous said...

The consultant that you are talking about was never on staff in any high school as a teacher nor as an administrator so it shouldn't be a surprise that the achievement at U Prep is still so low.

Anonymous said...

Did any of the administrators or administrative assistants at UPrep ever work as teachers at high schools?

Experience with teenagers is important to success at the secondary level?

Administrators need to have been successful for some period of time with high school teachers as well as students before they take over the high school principal's office.

They shouldn't be just tossed into difficult positions for a sink-or-swim, do-or-die experiment.

Students and parents deserve proven competence.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Janard and Mr. Hardy are working hard after hours to get the school together!

Anonymous said...

Wow, anyone that works at UPREP knows that Hardy treats staff like garbage. I do know that him and Ms. Jenard have been putting in extra hours to make changes.

Anonymous said...

The Principal needs help alright. Learning not to belittle his staff!

Anonymous said...

Belittling and putting down staff is NOT leadership. You can work all night long-- it doesn't hold a candle to the class act that former principals were.
Principals ARE teachers-- and what has been taught there is that being a bully is the way schools are run in PPS. The stories get out; the scores tell a tale.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yep its me said...

Pps does not always hire the best qualified , they hire people they can control and manipulate. I know nothing about the admin there but high school teaching experience should be a must

Anonymous said...

From what I hear the school is a disgrace to learning, and that over half of the students there do nothing but fight, curse out teachers, and destroy most of the Pittsburgh Promise students who want to get into college. Subs have told me it is downright ugly, and they will not pick up the phone to go sub there. They'd rather starve. It is a shame for the good students, the teachers, and great parents who cannot get away from that horrible, horrible place. As far as the administration goes, what's up with the rumor that circulated a few years back where Mr. Hardy asked all of the students in the auditorium to boo their teachers? Wasn't there also a rumor about a teacher finding a print-out or something like that had the names of teachers who Hardy was going to fire the following year? That place should be condemned.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Kelly and Mr. Gary are doing a great job with the extracurricular activities!

Anonymous said...

What is prompting the question after all this time?


Bad Administration! Administrators thinking they are Gods!

Anonymous said...

5:49, I agree it is a disgrace and it sounds like an environment that is downright abusive to students and teachers. Where is the union in all of this? Why aren't thy advocating for the teachers and students?
The PFT needs to get back to basics of helping teachers and students!!
Tom Wolf is a lock for governor, so they should quit wasting time campaigning for him, kissing Arne Duncan's backside b/c he wants to let PA "compete" for money that "may or may not" be sustainable, serving on Peduto's farcical task force, etc

The PFT should put EVERYTHING on hold until this CRISIS is addressed! Get the news up there, do whatever it takes, this is unbelievable. They get away with because they can! No one will stop them! There is nothing stop parents & students from contacting local media (don't bother with PG)

Nina should be ashamed that the people paying her salary are working in such conditions! If the union won't step in and help their own members, then we need to stop paying them! That want us to march for UPMC, while our fellow teachers are suffering. It sickening! I work at an elementary school in the Hill District and I will be contacting the PFT to demand they do something to rectify the crisis for my neighborhood teachers and students! I am ready to stop paying my dues over Nina praising Arne Duncan in the PG, now this???
Who is looking out for children and teachers? This school district should be sued for the atrocities chikdren have suffered while they continue to "experiment" and invent high paying, no accountability jobs for themselves.

Anonymous said...

How can the Hill District Education Council allow this to continue? Didn’t Rev. Dr. Monroe call for a change a few years ago? What happened? Why is the principal at this school virtually invulnerable? Why do the children not seem to matter as much as the principal? Who is protecting the children?

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to send this whole blog thread on "u Prep administration" to the whole PPS Board of Directors and all of the superintendents, deputy, assistants, chiefs, etc.

Can Pure Reform do that on behalf of Hill District students?

Questioner said...

Yes, it can be sent.

Anonymous said...

Please let them know that Hardy is abusing the staff and Mrs. Kelly (acting admin) is also abusive. Mr. Hardy harasses the staff and talks to them like garbage! Just send a questionnaire to the staff!Please help us! Please help us! We are sheep in with wolves. We are helpless and can not report the abuse because we are scared.

Anonymous said...

About 15 years ago there was a sub shortage-- and all the admin had to go out and do sub duty. Why can't all Bellefield/consultants who are certified etc. go in and "bomb" the school with admin.-- therefore making VERY small group instruction/counseling until things get balanced.
Also who is paying who for the U in UPREP? At the very least we can advertise online that these folks aren't capable of helping this school. Take the U out-- they don't want to or aren't capable of helping these students. The Milliones neighborhood while having lots of urban issues did have a strong neighborhood component of adults who cared. Throw out the U-- get all admin working for the short term, bring in the neighborhood volunteers again( by now they would only be working with very small groups) and spread the word. Oh and the principal-- I'm sure his tech skills could really help in this transition. Also while we are rebuilding-- let these students be the first to again have the arts at the middle school level to pump up interest.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heaven,
Someone please investigate this school. THIS CANNOT BE IGNORED. There is TOO MUCH IS AT STAKE here! The reports here (on this blog) and elsewhere (in the community) are unbelievable! Truly, help is needed desperately for the human beings in this building (Milliones).

Anonymous said...

Questioner:
Please send this to the Hill District Education Council, also. (Sala Udin and Dr. Campbell (Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist) are the Co-chairmen of the Council). That Council needs to know about this and look into the whole matter.
Thank you for bringing this to attention.

Anonymous said...

Also Celeta Hickman, she is a parent advisor and has provided positive support for students at my school, Miller, she would be a good person to ask for help or forward this thread to. She is a powerful advocate for children of the Hill. Also member of HDEC.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Celeta Hickman a part of the Equity Office at PPS?

Sounds like the Equity Office should know about this.

Who are the people in that office? Can they do something about these conditions?

What is the role and responsibility of the Equity Office?

UPrep is an African American student population that seems to be locked into a very INEQUITABLE situation!

Anonymous said...

Mr Hardy and Ms Jinar spend way too much time working on "changes". Please, who do they think they are kidding!

Questioner said...

Some proposed comments are consisting mainly of personal comments and statements that one person or another is doing a bad job. Comments should focus on job performance/ results and specific information about issues/concerns (the less personal the better); for example, there are only x number of sports offered, or student attendance is only x%, or students were supposed to have use of x equipment but that is not happening, or specified areas of the building are not being cleaned.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this has ever been posted, but there is a lot of objective information in this article

http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/classroom-experiment/Content?oid=1769910

Questioner said...

Yes, that was the subject of a thread when it came out. The article was a good start but there is much more that could be investigated. For example, how many students at each grade level were anticipated, and how many are actually attending in each grade? Since the whole purpose of the 6-12 configuration was continuity, how many students in each grade 8 at U Prep have gone on to grade 9 there? What is the graduation rate? The gym and pool are completely inadequate- what will be done to correct the situation and when?

Anonymous said...

Question:

Did this stream of comments on U Prep go to the PPS Board and Central Office?

If so, what was the response?

Questioner said...

Not yet but it will and any responses will be posted. Anyone else have comments to add ?

Anonymous said...

It's only September 10 for God's sake. Just what the heck is going on up there? The hysterics in these posts are shocking to me. Let's have some cold, hard facts.
Just what isn't the district offering that you think they should? I'm sure that per student the money is "equitable" and maybe even more than other schools in PPS.
This is the breakdown of the family and society in my eyes and I don't think it's fair to blame Linda Lane without telling us exactly what would make it better. The question about community people not being welcomed, what do you expect lay people to do?

Anonymous said...

The facts are too hard and too cold and have been for too long. Visit the school. Talk to the students. Look at the achievement scores in reading, math, science, writing, Algebra, Literature, and Biology. If you have children, 1:28, what would you do facing all of the cold, hard facts, that parents and community face year after year. Linda Lane and Company are probably doing the best they know how but they are way out of their depth at Uprep and need to listen to those who are providing solutions to the problems. Just a little collaboration could go a long way to reversing the rather dire cold, hard facts that exist.

Anonymous said...

"Linda Lane" and her team have to be willing to listen for more than 3 minutes at a public hearing to learn exactly "what to do to make it better" and, in fact, they are not willing to do that. Hours and hours are spent around the same tables with the same people trying to come up with ways to do it better but that group of people (and consultant after consultant) have exhausted a very limit list of suppositions. It will take an "all hands on deck" approach as Donna Micheaux stated. So, please allow, invite, elicit "all hands on deck".

Questioner said...

Re: "Visit the school. Talk to the students."

How feasible is that? You can't just appear at the school and say you would like to observe (never mind talk), but has anyone tried to make an appointment to visit?

Anyone want to get a group together?

Anonymous said...

Poster 1:28 commented that cold, hard facts were needed and if the other comments on this blog are all you have you need to step outside your comfort zone and see and hear the facts in person, since 1:28 does not seem to accept what is being witnessed by bloggers.

But, you are right Questioner, you will not get an appointment to see anything at Uprep!

Anonymous said...

Annon. 9-8, 2:14
As a teacher at Pittsburgh Carrick, I recall Mr. Hardy as an assistant principal. Looked good, sounded good. That's all. He was sometimes confrontational to staff who questioned his authority or lack of. He would often look down on certain teachers (those who questioned him) Mr. Hardy may have had a teaching certificate, but came to us as an assistant principal from Brashear. Prior to that, I believe he was in computer services/repair. Our understanding was he was a PELA. We had several who went from Brashear to Carrick then became principals. Angel Washington is another.

Anonymous said...

The Board members can walk in unannounced. That would be one way to see first hand the school's environment. Spend a day there now and then.

Anonymous said...

How about question the staff by mailing them questions. Ask kids how much they are learning. Send questions home to students parents. The staff is spoken to like children and treated like garbage. Mr. Esoldo lets the kids run the school and Ms. Kelly should not be an acting administrator at all! Mr. Hardy if you are reading this we just want to be talked to in a professional manner and please let our comments be considered. You stress us out to the max and we don't know if your going to be civil or talk to us like children as we are stupid. This is a terrible work environment.

Anonymous said...

Why is Ms Kelly an acting administrator? She was a very poor teacher?

We visited her class only to see her reading to the high school students. She read to them the whole period! Most of the students had their heads down, probably sleeping. The few others were doing other things and did not appear to be paying attention although, admittedly, it is hard to tell if they were listening or not. There was no apparent assignment and there were no questions or discussion. Is this what teacher do when there are visitors in a class? Also, there were no posters, assignments, standards or student work on the walls. The classroom was barren.

If this was an example of teaching and learning by a teacher who is now an acting administrator, it was probably a good decision to replace her in the classroom.

Send in the Board members to check out the entire building 6 to 12.

The survey idea is a good one but who will authorize that to happen?

Anonymous said...

I know previously board members read this list. When they were on board, they were in and around Milliones at all times. They were open to hearing teachers' problems as well as students and parents-- 'cause they are constituents too. Call it micro-managing if you want-- but... it was managing by people who cared, not carpet baggers who soon will leave.
Teachers didnt need to fear being honest then because they knew that teachers, board members and parents were on the "same side"-- the side of making it better for students. Was it perfect? hell no--life isn't. But, schools with mostly AA kids had strong advocates on the board and in the schools. If you have good programs and sincere advocates- people would come. Remember- Milliones was a "tech magnet" middle school-- and yes kids that went on to Allderice, Brashear etc chose to go there-- not just neighborhood- though Schenley was certainly a powerhouse (hint: unit brass sent their kids there) A strong sports program fed into Schenley and other schools- with strong leaders that made sure academics kept their kids eligible. I KNOW all these words are familiar to Pittsburghers. So while we were sleeping, we were infiltrated by strangers with fancy names and degrees instead of a passion for teaching kids-- all kids, all races.

Questioner said...

The question is, do people care enough to elect board members who will put an end to the experiment?

Anonymous said...

9:40
" So while we were sleeping, we were infiltrated by strangers with fancy names and degrees instead of a passion for teaching kids-- all kids, all races."

Your words really struck a chord. I think we are waking up now though. What really gets me is how it is possible in a city like Pittsburgh, a city filled with educated & passionate people, we have allowed OUR CITY'S schools be run into the ground by two inexperienced outsiders (Roosevelt then Lane) Lane will hightail it out of Pittsburgh laughing all the way to the bank just like Roosevelt did. Our schools should be led by residents of our city, experienced educators who earned their experience in our schools. People who are an actual part of the community with family who are affected by the state of the schools, people with an actual investment and stake in the health of our schools, community, and city because they are a part of it!!!

Why would large urban districts hire out of state leaders with little to no teaching experience? I wouldn't expect to be hired as a TEACHER in PPS with Lane's experience. Return our schools to local leaders who will invest in the our city because it's their city too!

If U Prep is at bad as it sounds, and I believe it is, and our superintendent received a bonus for meeting goals including raising test scores and closing the racial achievement gap, then she should be forced to resign and so should the board members who approved her raise. Her taking that money is tantamount to fraud and theft!

Forget forwarding this to the board, this should go to the NAACP!! The sad thing is, many if the other schools aren't much better off. The current administration does not care about students or teachers. They all need to go.
Hill district families of U Prep students should contact the NAACP to investigate the inequities in that building!

The old time PFT leaders (before Tarka & Nina) would be advocating for these children and their teachers. Teachers that speak out will be targeted and 'evaluated' out of their jobs. Lane & her cronies will cover up, lie, do anything to protect their income on the backs of our most vulnerable children. Something drastic must be done to stop Lane and the rest of her crew from essentially stealing money from taxpayers while destroying whole neighborhoods!

Questioner said...

Probably, it is an unforeseen and unintended result of charters and magnets- people who would be protesting the state of the schools put their own children into a few selected magnets and charters, and then reap the benefits of supporting the administration or at least avoid the consequences of protesting against it. Who was smart enough to foresee that? But someone was smart enough to take advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, wasn't that the exact intended effect of the whole Broad/ Gates infestation of our administration? They were smart enough to foresee & execute this plan flawlessly in Pittsburgh and in many other urban districts. Running the school into the ground to create dissatisfaction with the current product is the ONLY way you can have a charter school market. They prey on urban districts and it works like a charm. You don't see surbuban districts losing their kids to charters. Furthermore, there is clearly some symbiotic financial relationship b/t the board and the charters that is lining someone's pockets at the board. If PPS wanted to stop the bleed of our kids to charters, they could make it economically prohibitive for the charters. Instead they sell them our buildings for low, low prices, rent out whole schools for hardly more than my rent, and make it very easy and even more profitable for the charters to continue taking our kids and our money?

Questioner said...

It doesn't seem like Broad/Gates/Roosevelt had a goal of moving to charters. The motivation seemed to be the freedom to reform and experiment with new projects for a good cause while receiving a nice salary and the possibility of springing to bigger and better things. Sci Tech for example was his baby and U Prep was to be a showcase of his work not a charter's. Now once everyone realized it wasn't that easy to successfully reform, goals may have changed.

Anonymous said...

Don't know what Roosevelt's stake was in all of this, but Broad's is pretty clear, and these are the people running PPS right now. Lane has to go, as well as all of the next Broad trained whac-a-mole replacements ready to pop up to take her place.

Wasn't Roosevelt a Broadie too?

"The Broad Mission Statement

The 2008 Mission Statement of the Broad Foundation (Page 4) states its goal is:
“Transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.”

Note the targeting of “urban public education”. Eli Broad considers himself a liberal Democrat (view the slide show), as does Michelle Rhee of Students First, who has been on the Board of the Broad Foundation since at least 2008 (see below); and Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation. They claim their attempt to restructure American education is the next civil rights movement. They target urban school districts with the highest poverty by having Superintendents from their Broad Superintendents Academy appointed who are prepared to starve public schools in order to make charter schools appealing to parents. The hemorrhaging of students from public schools to charters has led to urban school districts closing public schools all over the country due to “under enrollment”.

What is described above sounds a lot like PPS.

Questioner said...

Roosevelt was a Broad, so if the question is what was the goal from the start of the Broad influence it is necessary to look at Roosevelt's tenure.

In terms of "urban education," it must be kept in mind that the big pots of money are in big cities, and big cities are urban, so the big pots of money are in urban districts. There are plenty of underachieving rural students but Broad/Gates rarely mentions them.

Anonymous said...

The first and biggest issue has to be that uprep is not safe for students or staff. Violence feeds itself and we see the issues plaguing the children, families and hill district community playing out in the school. Existing in this environment is traumatizing. And then when the school was permitted to be run by admin who took blaming the teachers to a whole new level the problem was made worse. The entire approach needs to be changed. Community leaders and services need to be involved. The difficulty of the work that t the staff is tasked with needs to be acknowledged. They need to be empowered in a real sense, not the fake enpowering we usually hear about that actually represses. Teachers voices need to be heard and valued in solutions, they need to be protected. The admin needs to change. And let us not forget that these students would have been schenely students. They would have received a much better education and would not be in a segregated school if it weren't for the experiment of pps under mr. Acknowledge the mistake and the failure and do something drastically different.

Questioner said...

That is an excellent explanation about "empowerment" today. But the level of violence- why wasn't that mentioned in the CP article, for example? And what will it take for community leaders to speak out about the school that was taken from them and reversing this failed experiment? Even Roosevelt acknowledged in advance that "it may not work" but no one developed an exit strategy.

Questioner said...

It is important to realize also that many community members and foundation leaders do not want to criticize Linda Lane. And keep in mind that she was left with a mess that she didn't make and most likely was not fully informed about at the time. It's not like she had a blank canvas. So, how can the situation be corrected while allowing foundations, etc. to continue to protect her?

Anonymous said...

Linda Lane, at this point, is probably doing the best she can given 1) her belief system about urban education, 2) the level of experience and expertise in Central Office currently, 3) the quality and content of the Professional Development for teachers in schools (as opposed to district), and 5) the leadership abilities and knowledge foundations of selected principals.

There are identified weaknesses in each of these areas which need immediate adjustments. The weaknesses are not best identified by outside consultants or evaluators but rather by the stakeholders including students, teachers, parents, community and the DATA already analyzed and available.

The solutions will depend on the quality of relationships that Linda Lane builds between and among students, parents, teachers, administrators, central office personnel and concerned community groups.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with the Questioner that Linda Lane has been stuck with the mess started by Roosevelt. She was a big part of that mess and fully committed to what he was doing. She
continued with these plans and the Board just rubber stamped what she said. She has been in charge for years now and has not been held accountable for anything.
Retired Teacher

Questioner said...

She definitely could have done and could still do more to change course.

Anonymous said...

I strongly believe that superintendents prior to Roosevelt years, would have physically gone to:
Westinghouse when it was in chaos
U Prep with the violence reports
Minadeo with the online comments
Perry-- again alot of stories
Brashear with the near- by shooting
They would have been the person in charge, to figure out what staff was needed .at the very least they would have reassured parents that someone was in charge and aware of the situation and that they woulldn't quit working til things were resolved. In all cases above, besides the superintendent, the board member would have made an effort- as best they could given work schedules to actually SEE what is really going on.
Parents do have rights to observe--sign in at the office folks. A+ people--get into schools that sound scary and be useful to your community instead of whining about seniority while people are removing their kids from dangerous situations. Look at how the new code of conduct is working- are principals now able to hide more in the guise of "keeping students in classrooms no matter what" or are thinking working better for students?

Anonymous said...

You are able to go into UPrep and observe what the teaching and learning environment looks like, but Hardy, Esoldo, and Kelly will only take you to the rooms they want you to see and keep hidden what really goes on at UPrep.
They are bullies at the school, and they have pushed out teachers who really love working with the students in the building. Human resources is aware of the problem with the school's administration, but I have yet to see how they will be punished for what they have done to the students and to the teachers.
It saddens me to see what the Hill District students are subjected too!

Questioner said...

Can board members walk in and go to any room they choose?

Even if visitors are taken to selected rooms they should be able to get a sense for the overall safety in the building.

Anonymous said...

It's time to speak truth to power! We must come together before it's too late and demand what our schools, teachers and precious children need.

If you are interested in working with parents, teachers and community members to fight for Education Justice--respond to this post by saying I'M IN!

I'M IN, for our children! I'M IN, for the schools our children deserve! I'M IN and ready to take action!

Anonymous said...

I'm in!

Anonymous said...

12:10,

You are so right! Whenever the last two superintendents visited my high school (Roosevelt, now Lane), they only observed the gifted and honors classes.

And they always came in with a crowd of aides, never alone.

I do remember one time, years ago, when I stepped into the hallway for a moment during a class period.

And there was Dr. Thompson, the superintendent at the time, walking down the hallway. He was all by himself, just taking a look at things.

I was impressed by that.

Anonymous said...

1:22

I'm in!!

PPS teacher

Anonymous said...

No one is safe at UPREP it is dangerous!

Anonymous said...

http://video.discoverpps.org/?q=node/186

hopefully the link above will take you to the education committee meeting where assessment performance is presented. you can also access the video from the district's main page.

you will likely be frustrated after seeing it. talking about "expertise in our schools' to be tapped, almost made me spit. what? who failed to tap it up until now? 10 years ago we parents laughed at the science calendars and yes, we did so in parent meetings and on conference day. in my experience as a parent, speaking only of science teachers beginning in 6th grade, they are tremendously talented. first they LOVE the science and it makes them able to inspire students to appreciate it and learn it. turn them loose. remove the curriculum writers and managers from the mix.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm that a riot broke out today at UPrep? I heard there were some students flying over desks and other students running for their lives. Is this true? If it is, that should be in the news, especially after reading all of these posts. Just as someone said a sign should be placed on the front door of that place, Condemned! Unfit for Human Occupancy!

Anonymous said...

How many black teachers are there????

Anonymous said...

The word on the street is that all of the Black teachers but one asked for transfers out of the building1

Please someone say it isn't so.

If that is true, why?

Anonymous said...

Adults set the tone in any building. Kids act accordingly. The comments here on this blog have described the "tone".

UPrep needs adults that will set a very different tone.

That can't happen with the adults that we are hearing from and about.

The powers that be need to show some leadership today. These kids are at serious risk, not just physically, but emotionally and educationally!

What has to happen for someone to ACTION?

Anonymous said...

8:42

It doesn't matter what color the teachers are, if they are being bullied, undermined, and at best simply not supported by the administration.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to find a way for the Hill District community to see the comments on this blog.

Parents, business, community organizations and political representatives like Jake Wheatley and Daniel Lavelle need to investigate and then go to the Board of Education.

Post this on their Facebook!

Anonymous said...

This retired PPS teacher and administrator has worked through the years from Olson to Lane. I served as an administrator from Brennan to Lane. Since the years of MR, the only successful events is the return of financial support from foundations and the creation of the Promise. Everything else has had an expiring shelf life from ALA's, curriculum that is in a state of constant change, revision after revision of the Code of Conduct, Central Office staff coming and going as soon as a more lucrative position is offered, school personnel that is transferred from school to school leaving no continuity for students and families and most sadly, all of parent-community committees that used to be able to provide valuable insight and action to nothing more than the appearance of a voice in a process designed to exclude and intentionally set the agenda and outcomes even before the first meeting date.

Yes, something is definitely amiss in PPS. Only if a grass roots effort takes hold from the parents, community activists and taxpayers of Pittsburgh will we actually see positive changes in all schools. Until then, we will continue to support a dysfunctional school system with leaders who have been taught and actually teach school based admins to appear concerned but in the end never take responsibility for the learning environment of the school or the poor performance of student outcomes.

If Central Office personnel were truly held accountable for the state of our schools, blogs such as this one would not flood the postings on this forum.

Anonymous said...

I know people have sent this thread to the hill district education council's email. Members of the council include Wheatley & Lavelle. Principal Hardy is a member as well!! PPS is listed as partners. Good luck finding ANYONE who will speak out against PPS. They are like the Mafia, they have either bought off or scared off anyone from taking them to task. Oh, and don't forget they control the media as well.

Anonymous said...

If this blog doesn't incite action from leaders in the Hill District, there are no leaders in the Hill District.

Spending all day, every day, in an place with the "school climate" that is being describe in comment after comment here, would be enough to keep everyone in a state of despair. Adults act out one way and kids in another way, but none of it is healthy!

Please rally the community to end the mess at Milliones.

Questioner said...

Well someone is reading because page views went WAY up yesterday...

Anonymous said...

I am watching this with great interest.
Will anything finally be done about this disgraceful mess at UPREP? Will any of the many Hill District groups
really question the the principal and administration on the lack of progress there? In my experience with this school, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The word is if you question or identify problem (even when you provide a solution) you are "gotten rid of" very quickly.

Strange, but should you welcome questions and solutions.

Only very insecure people deny problems (or cover them up) when others pitch in to help.

The community wants to help. The Superintendent should want that too, even if the principals do not.

The administrative, know-it-all, EGOs need to get out of the way and make this an "ALL IN" team effort.

Aren't these children worth a team approach? Please!


What do they have to lose?

Questioner said...

Well here is a safe way to at least call attention to issues. To help move forward, those with first hand knowledge of conditions can help by providing specific information (to the extent that it would not reveal your identity). Suggested solutions would be good to have as well.

Rebecca Nuttall said...

Here is a story I did on UPrep

http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/classroom-experiment/Content?oid=1769910

Questioner said...

Thanks for the coverage Rebecca. Were you actually able to visit the school yourself?

Anonymous said...

The PPS website has the 2014 PSSA and Keystone scores. It also has the Advanced Placement Results.

For Uprep it shows that 64 students took Advanced Placement exams. The results are 0% of the students qualified. Not one of the Uprep students got credit for those courses. That can't be right.

How is it possible that out of 64 students not even one student qualified?????

Questioner said...

In part it may be that students who are prepared for advanced classes get snapped up by CAPA or sci tech or are offered scholarships to Catholic or private schools.

Anonymous said...

But how can you be in a course for a whole year and not learn anything? Out of 64 students in AP, no one passes? What is going on?

How do you get to take the course if you don't have the pre-requisites?

What are the AP courses at Uprep? Who teaches these? Are they qualified?

Does anyone know the answers?

Anonymous said...

Questioner:

The question is WHY aren't the students prepared for the classes that they are taking?

Questioner said...

It is not that unusual to take an AP class but not pass (ie, on the 5 point scale to earn only a 1 or a 2). A recent English Composition practice booklet, for example, indicates that about 41% of students earn a 1 or a 2. To get any students to a 3 or above, especially if they are not well prepared, would take a fair amount of individual attention and really working with students one on one on their writing, since each exam has an essay. Practice with this particular format would help.

A PPS EFA goal was to increase the number of African American students "taking" AP exams, but if the resources are not there to focus on this exam, or if the students who go to UPrep are not advanced, then it may not make sense to have the AP classes. It would depend on whether the classes themselves offer a particular benefit rather than not being much more than regular classes labeled as AP.

Rebecca Nuttall said...

I visited the school four times during the last school year.

Anonymous said...

I liked the moderators suggestion that we need to know specific information (10:30) I have tried to understand what is going on at UPrep, but for some reason the posters seem to think that we understand what the hell is going on up there.
What does higher learning specialists say in this day and age to help with urban education.
What are the modern methods to teach to this demographic and why so much emphasis on community ?
Just what do the teachers want? What is holding you back from being successful in your classrooms?

Anonymous said...

The Community needs to come in and see why there is no learning going on in some schools. Community should not have to do that and in good schools they don't have to worry. They just sen their children and the teachers and principals take care of educating the children.

When their are 60 to 70 to 80% of the students not being educated, then someone has to find out why?

The reports from Uprep are from teachers and students who are in trouble in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Anthony Esoldo, the "director" at u prep is a Broad School person? I know when Faison had a "director", Jacob House, he was a Broadie. Just something to consider. Is the administration at u prep chosen to subdue, spin, and help cover up?

Off topic, but a bit of comic relief, my ipad keeps autocorrecting 'u prep' to 'unprepared' How fitting! Lol

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that you did not read the prior post 3:40. There is plenty wrong with the school. Administration scare the teachers holding their jobs as collateral when teachers begin to question their motive. The administrators are not there for the children IN THE LEAST BIT. They have made room for their friends to move up although there is evidence that those people should not be in charge. Many children in the school including my own left without the appropriate number of credits. Good teachers either get fed up and choose to leave or they are pushed out through displacement. There are inexcusable cases of abuse on the children. Administration verbally, physically and psychologically abusing the students, the parents and the staff. As for community efforts, communities that are majority African American always lean on each other. This how things get done. I think a community effort is needed to get administration and unnecessary/useless staff out.
Parents need to speak up at school board meetings to discuss their dissatisfaction of their children's education. New administration needs to be established and ineffective staff needs to be replaced!!!

Anonymous said...

In response to September 12, 2014 @ 3:09pm...
What holds teachers back from being successful?
Here are some facts at UPrep:
1.Constant fluctuating class sizes. Sometimes you can receive up to 2 to 3 students within a 2 week period. Some from within the district that are very transient students to families that move from out of state.

2.Constant fluctuating schedule changes that happen weekly or bi-weekly (never knowing from day to day)

3. Constant visiting consultants or supervisors that come in and interrupt the classroom environment by asking students, "How do you like your class?" "What are you learning?" (All valid questions, but in the middle of a class when a teacher is teaching and TRYING to hold their classes attention on the material they have to teach them.) Not helpful to the students that are basic and below basic.

4.Constant meetings and professional developments throughout the day where the teachers preparation period has been taken from them several days during the week.

5.Some teachers take off due to stress or other ailments and the remaining teachers have to cover their classes when substitutes refuse to work at UPrep

6.Not enough materials, or badly used materials are what teachers have to work with

7.Unrealistic demands from school leadership which becomes a backlash to teachers for not delivering and our jobs are held over our heads if we don't do what school leadership demands

...and you ask... what holds a teacher back from being successful?

Questioner said...

A good question and a very informative answer. These are the kind of details that would be useful to community or board members that may be interested in investigating.

Anonymous said...

The curricula and assessments are also a very serious problem that has not been addressed.

To provide detail about that in this forum is prohibitive given the number of grades, the number of subjects and the number of skills to be taught and learned in a given year across grades and content areas.

Yet, it can be stated generally, that the content in every subject area is NOT standards-aligned in ways that thinking skills as well as more concrete skills are consciously and specifically taught and learned in a relevant, culturally-congruent, high-interest, and challenging context.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment must be Standards-Based, Data-Informed, Student-Centered, Culturally-Congruent and Results-Oriented.

This CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED with ONE-SIZE FITS-ALL, SCRIPTED, DISTRICT-WIDE CURRICULA!

This has been presented, minimally speaking, to District Leadership; but, those presenting such solutions are NOT at the table.

We do KNOW enough to reverse achievement and opportunity grants but we do have to be at the PPS decision-making table!

Anonymous said...

Mr Hardy has been made aware of this blog. I wonder how that will impact the teachers now.Please let y
Us know if it improves at all. I'm guessing he will move on to be with his wife in Virginia

Anonymous said...

Sorry!

Error correction: Change grants to GAPS!

"We do KNOW enough to reverse achievement and opportunity GAPS but we do have to be at the PPS decision-making table!"

Anonymous said...

Board members don't truly seem to be interested in investigating anything. They keep up appearances, but would they really stand up to central office? They gave linda lane a BONUS for crying out loud??

How could anyone in CO hear or see even one of the things described on this blog and not drive directly over and confirm what is going on? At the very least!

How can Nina of the pittsburgh federation of I don't know what, because it's sure all hell not teachers, put everything else on hold and get to that building!

Why isn't the HDEC rallying and protesting?

Why will No One in any position of power challenge or hold accountable any member of central office? They are all scratching each other's back somehow or afraid. All while children continue to suffer.

PPS is accountable to NO ONE for anything they do!

This is getting to the point of a civil rights issue. It has reached crisis level at u prep, but I'm sure there are other schools that aren't far behind (Minadeo, brashear, & Westinghouse come to mind)

The media continues to keep the public misled into thinking things are getting better by printing PPS created press releases and cherry picked data, the mayor had his hand in the jar to increase his own fame and recognizability, A+ school is gates mouthpiece and on and on

I wish I had known about this blog when I was in pure hell for 4 years at King when it was ALA. I know their pain, frustration, and fear is real. It is palpable through their words. I have been there too, but at least our principals were not abusive too (pre PELAS) Their cries for help are real. They love their students and want what is best. It is a terrible situation to see children suffer in an emotionally and physically dangerous place. I know those teachers just want to create a safe, secure, and positive environment where our most vulnerable chikdren can grow and thrive. They are not getting the support they need to make that happen. In addition to seeing the children suffer at the hands of CO reform & experimentation, they are bring abused and belttled by their leader, in front of the children?!

The fact that these teachers continue to show up and do right by their students speaks to their character and love for their students. I teach at Miller, where we are working so hard to build a culture of caring, love, respect, and learning in through African centered principles of learning and our babies are thriving! They are starved for knowledge but need a safe, caring environment as well. I am sickened by the thought of them leaving us and going to u prep after 5th grade. Like lambs to a slaughter. I fear their light will be extinguished in this hostile environment.

This is everyone's problem, all teachers need to fight for u prep teachers. We are only as strong as our weakest schools. Any of us could end up in the same situation. A bad leader can come in and ruin a school in record time! Look at Minadeo!

Anonymous said...

It's going to take getting the truth out to the public. Teachers need to come together and report the reality of the situation. Contact the city paper writer, Rebecca Nuttall, tell our stories and our students' stories. Our rights as employees and our students' human right are grossly violated in too many of our schools. There is safety in numbers, if we come together and speak out, the public will listen and support us. They couldn't get away with firing us all! Maybe it is time to seek support outside of our city as well. Groups that are not bought off or bullied into submission by PPS CO. The NAACP and ACLU might be a start.

Also teachers, I think we should reach out to Rebecca Nuttall, the reporter who wrote about u prep in August. You can find her email address on the city paper website (I don't know if I'm allowed to post it here) There is a career making story in all the layers of dysfunction that was started with Roosevelt and continued by Lane. I have been forwarding this thread to anyone who may be able to help or get the message out. Do the same, please! It is time to take back our schools, we can do this! Remember how different you felt about your job pre Roosevelt? I would have counted on John Thompson to walk into u prep and bring the hammer down on that mess himself ( without a driver, security, assistants , and photographer)

Together we can do this! Forward the thread, contact Rebecca Nuttall. It has to start somewhere, if we each just forward the thread, that would be a great start Forward it to any of your students' parents, they will read other threads too, hopefully they will take action too. Call Rebecca! Contact Jake Wheatley!

Anonymous said...

Questioner,
Can you please copy and paste this thread to Hill District Consensus Group Facebook page?
Thanks and a shout out to you for your tireless effort in managing the huge volume of responses and questions so quickly!

Questioner said...

we are now up to 100 comments on this topic so cutting and pasting would not work out too well. And PURE Reform does not have a Facebook page, which would be necessary to post. A Facebook page could be started, but most posting here are not comfortable revealing their names and faces.

Anonymous said...

Send the thread to Jack Wheatley but remember his fiancee is a PPS director so don't just send it to him.

Anonymous said...

Not ONLY Jake Wheatley, this thread MUST go to Daniel Lavelle, Sala Udin, Rev. Dr. Johnnie Monroe, Rev. Dr. Vincent Campbell and especially to Marimba Milliones, President & CEO of the Hill CDC (Community Development Corp). The school was named after Marimba's mothe, Margaret. And, her father, Jake Milliones led the School Board in valiant efforts to ensure quality education for all Hill District children.
And as was previously mentioned, this thread should be sent to the Advocates (Tamanika Howze, Celeta Hickman, and Wanda Henderson) who serve on the Equity Committee with Drs. Tony Mitchell and James Steward.

Anonymous said...

Also, please send this thread to Dr. Marlyn Barnett and the members of the NAACP Education Committee.

Marlyn is leaving Pittsburgh for Atlanta, but she will do what she can to refer this to the "powers that be" in the NAACP.

Anonymous said...

God is good. If we can get "ALL Hands on Deck" we can in FACT be a model for the state of Pennsylvania in demonstrating how to "reverse" achievement and opportunity gaps that the system has created for African American students.

We really do KNOW how to do this!

Anonymous said...

This is starting to send like a PTO meeting where everyone wants someone else to implement their great idea!

Here's the link to this discussion: http://purereform.blogspot.com/2014/09/u-prep-administration.html

Copy that and send it to anyone and everyone you want! Post that link on your FB page and mention that you've found it, read it and think other people should be aware.

Don't expect though, that if *you* can't take the time or effort to do so, that someone else will!

Questioner said...

Here is some information from the PPS presentation on AP exams:

in 2013, there were 11 AP exams taken at Milliones and no passing exams.

In 2014 there were 64 AP exams at Milliones, again with no passing exams.

What was the response after the 2013 results- did anyone stop and say this isn't working?

Questioner said...

Link to presentation:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/09/09/Pittsburgh-schools-to-make-big-cuts-in-testing/stories/201409090234

Questioner said...

The presentation talks about the 41% increase in the number of exams taken by African American students since 2009 (an increase of 76 exams), 51 of those are accounted for by this questionable 51 exam increase at U Prep.

Did anyone have reason to believe that the time, expense and effort for even more AP exams was warranted?

Anonymous said...

The new PDE School Performance Profiles (SPP) gives extra points for AP courses.

The Milliones scenario castes doubt about the advisability of adding such unearned achievement points for offering the AP course and enrolling as many students as possible without students earning points for successful completion at any level.
Below is from PDE "SPP" document:
"Extra Credit for Advanced Achievement
Percent PSSA/Keystone Advanced - Mathematics/Algebra I 4.64
Percent PSSA/Keystone Advanced - Reading/Literature 4.64
Percent PSSA/Keystone Advanced - Science/Biology 0.71
Percent PSSA Advanced - Writing 0.00
Percent Advanced - Industry Standards-Based Competency Assessments
IS
Percent 3 or Higher on an Advanced Placement Exam 2.58"

(It is important to understand the value or lack thereof for using SPPs instead of pure subject scores to evaluate progress of any school.)

More questionable advise from consultants who value the superficial illusion of progress!

Anonymous said...

Additionally, for further evidence, note the PDE Academic Performance Data from last year's SPP page for Milliones "proficiency" scores:

Mathematics/Algebra1 = 31.64
Reading/Literature = 37.55
Science/Biology = 8.57
Writing = 11.11

Yet, the Milliones SPP score = 49.3
while "proficiency" average = 22.22.

Thus, be sure to check this when PDE posts the SPP scores for 2014!

Questioner said...

When did they begin giving extra SPP points for students just taking (rather than passing) exams?

Anonymous said...

Questioner:
Thank you allowing the posting of key information to understanding PDE protocols, old and new. PPS refuses opportunities to provide this and other information yet it is critical to improving achievement for our underserved African-American schools.

This type of information needs to be widely disseminated as opposed to 'cover-up", misleading, and manipulated data that misrepresents the real data. We can understand putting the best face on PPS results and acknowledging true success where it exists (and it does) but it does nothing to provide solutions to the problems that are destroying our youth in underserved schools.

WE MUST PULL OFF THE BLINDERS!

Anonymous said...

Questioner: The points are added to the School Performance Profile (SPP). PDE began last year, 2013, and will continue in 2014 to give "extra points" to the school for offering the course. So, if you can get extra points for your SPP . . . it seems like a 'no brainer' to principals who care more about scores than real learning and achievement for students.

Hopefully, when PDE realizes the abuse of the "extra point" system, they will remedy the problem.

(You would expect educators to understand "honesty is the best policy" but unfortunately some do not.)

Anonymous said...

And let's not misinterpret what is being stated re:AP courses!

AP can and MUST be offered and taught to African-American students, but, only by teachers who KNOW that they can TEACH successfully.

Students, all students, can learn anything a teacher can teach!

Enough said?

Anonymous said...

AP classes were brought up by Mark Brentley a few years ago in regards to equity. If white schools can have them then black schools must also. In theory that sounds good, however UPrep is what we are left with. Offerings that are not a good fit and a misdirected opportunity for resource's of precious time, talent and financial targeting to get the biggest bang for the buck.
What does that mean, "taught only by teachers who know they can teach"? (1:01)
I feel that race is a not so subtle tread here. I'm guessing that the administration at UPrep that you keep mentioning are all AA.
I still see this as a result of the breakdown of the family.

Anonymous said...

NO, it is NOT a breakdown of family! It is a breakdown in "thinking" about the responsibility of teaching all students regardless of family or community or poverty and all of the other excuses offered.
And, NO administration at UPrep is NOT all AA. It would be best if it were strong, caring, competent, committed AA admin and teachers; but such is NOT the case. AND IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

All races, all cultures, all communities, all parents, all students are not the same and cannot be treated or educated in a one-size-fits all modality.

If more is stated here it will not be printed, in fact, this not likely to make to posting on this blog!

We will see what we will see!

Anonymous said...

To Anon 2:39- I am confident all students can learn-- but in ANY endeavor there are prerequisites to accomplishing a goal. You just can't dive in the deep end- gotta learn to float! And not everyone is a swimmer-- some people should be runners-- and taking classes to prep them for the trades instead of AP. Just having more AP classes helps no one. We here need to fight the facade-- and fight for our students to be prepared for THEIR goals-- no a show for admin.

Anonymous said...

3:14 - For the most part, you might have made a case using a good analogy. However, not all circumstances fit the analogy. We need to be a little more open in our thinking about who can learn what, how and when.

The closed-minded approach excludes man exceptions to every rule!

And most certainly, we would agree that AP courses are NOT the be all and end all for anyone! So sorry if it was interpreted in that manner. In fact, the argument from here was about "using" AP courses as a superficial ploy to add points to the new SPP.

Anonymous said...

I hope these comments will be seen by Nina and the PFT. You would think that they already aware of the abusive treatment of teachers at UPREP. But are they ? I'm sure some teachers have told them and asked for help. But they have also been part of this debacle that is called.. UPREP. They signed off on the Roosvelt-Lane plans. It never ceases to amaze me how Nina is head cheerleader for the policies of this administration.

Anonymous said...

4:50, it doesn't matter whether or not Nina and the PFT see these comments. It doesn't matter one bit.

There is no union election coming up soon. So Nina and Co. won't be out to the buildings on any sort of "listening" tour.

Take a look at the PFT website's title statement: "A union of professionals helping our children to learn, grow, and succeed in the Pittsburgh Public Schools."

Doesn't say anything about protecting teachers, does it?

Anonymous said...

6:00, they are certainly not protecting children either. But unlike central office, the PFT can very easily be held accountable for their actions. We pay them to work for us. They are not meeting that expectation. They should not be receiving a paycheck from us. Trust me, they will take that seriously.

Anonymous said...

I see the teacher's problems as dto preparation when all aren't ready for AP. But I have heard from teachers that some of the kids they got who weren't "gifted" but just hard workers have been really good in their AP classes which is great! The problem is in schools that had none or very few get the qualifying scores. A big part of teaching is convincing the kids that they CAN do-- and if that many aren't qualifying- we are hurting their self- worth more. I don't have answers, except that kids I know in the burbs are very aware everyday of how much $$ they are saving themselves or their parents by slogging through AP classes.

Anonymous said...

I took my child out of that place, and who on earth came up with the name. It sure ain't a university, and it sure ain't a prep. I never saw such behavior from students like that, like they went crazy or something, and those people who run the building are downright weird. Praise the Lord I got my child out of there!

Anonymous said...

I will forward this link as well as the posts to the appropriate people. Let's see if anything changes.

Anonymous said...

SURE ITS A UNIVERSITY! MY DAUGHTER CAME HOME FROM SCHOOL LAST WEEK CRYING BEGGING ME TO GET HER OUT OF PREP. SHE SAID SIX GIRLS WERE FIGHTING ON THE FOURTH FLOOR IN THE HALL AND THEY WERE VERY AGGRESSIVE. A HUGE CROWD FORMED AND FRIENDS JUMPED IN! I HAVE TRIED TO REMOVE MY DAUGHTER FROM THIS CRAZY ATMOSPHERE AND HARDY SAID NO!

Questioner said...

How can he stop you?

Anonymous said...

YOU NEED A FORM TO SEND TO ANOTHER SCHOOL AND HE REFUSES TO GRANT THE FORM OR MOVE!

Questioner said...

Magnet and charter applications should not require a form, and there may even be openings for this school year.

Anonymous said...

I'd write to or call Sumpter, the board member for UPrep (which the district calls Milliones again, in a silent acknowledgment of how screwed up it is) and the board member(s) of the school(s) you would consider for your daughter. Report the incident(s) and that the principal refused to sign the form and ask them what they can do for you.

Actually, I'd probably try to get to a board meeting early and see if I could speak to them and/or set up a meeting in person. But, here's the info for contacting them:

"Questions or comments may be directed to the Board Members by sending them to the attention of:

Robin Wenger, Board Executive Assistant
Room 245, Administration Building
341 S. Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-529-3770 | Fax: 412-622-3774 | Email: boardoffice@pghboe.net"

Anonymous said...

Good heavens, is the PS6 form still in use? that is likely what the poster is referring to and they can be tricky to execute with both the sending principal and receiving principal having to sign off on the transfer. maybe a call to the education law center is in order and what about the code of conduct and the plea to go to school in a safe environment. just a bunch of words on paper.

Anonymous said...

Call the parent hotline! They are required to respond and all complaints eventually get to Linda Lane.

Anonymous said...

The Public Hearing in Monday night, the 22nd at 6:00.

Parents need to gather together and everyone cll to get on the agenda to speak to the Board. The schools with parents that fill the room always get what they want.

It will take risking their jobs for teachers to testify; but some are courageous enough to risk figuring tits that or losing their sanity.

Sometimes even students testify; but you wouldn't want to put them in such a vulnerable position. The position they are now in is already too vulnerable.

But lots of parents and strong community leaders can get action immediately.

Anonymous said...

The real question here is are adults committed to the CHILDREN or are they more interested in saving the 'behinds' of adults?

It is the adult behavior in any building that determines the behavior of children.
If the adults are fearful, angry, threatened, unhappy and/or incompetent the kids feel it all day long and respond in kind.

Parents, community and central office people need to step in to turn this around before another day goes by.

Anonymous said...

Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Call or write EACH board member-- even though they aren't yours-- especially the new ones, and of course Mark Brentley. You can get the PS 6 from another school...the hang up is getting the sign off. They SAY they are working hard to get back students who left for other cyber charters than our cyber...but in fact, students are in danger. This is one of those times to rell everyone until someone gets tired and just lets you transfer. And yes, principals faced with lawyers-- legal aid etc. do act differently toward teachers, so it should work for students.

Questioner said...

Re: " The schools with parents that fill the room always get what they want."

- That should be true because results would be better, but Schenley parents filled the room and the basement as well; Westinghouse parents filled the room asking for programs like strong CTE but instead they got single gender. And Oliver and Perry parents and teachers filled the room and it got them nowhere. In each case PPS would have been better off listening to the wisdom of the community.

Questioner said...

Re: "If the adults are fearful, angry, threatened, unhappy and/or incompetent the kids feel it all day long and respond in kind.

Parents, community and central office people need to step in to turn this around before another day goes by."

It all starts at the top.

Anonymous said...

Questioner: If people just give up because someone is telling them it didn't work for Schenley, or Westinghouse, or Oliver, or Perry the kids don't have a chance in the world.

Caring and committed adults will never give up on children!

We MUST "Proceed as if Success was Inevitable".

Questioner said...

No one said to give up- the comment was that filling up the room has not worked yet. So, time and effort spent filling up rooms might be better spent finding other approaches.

Anonymous said...

Far better that you OFFER another approach than discourage people from doing anything!

It is a dfferent set of people, whether Broad on not.

These are a team of African-American men and women in Central Office. It is not Mark Roosevelt and Lisa Fischetti and arrogance personified in positions of power.

Please do not discourage people from taking action. This just might be the moment when we can "proceed as if success were inevitable".

Questioner said...

Again, no one is saying NOT to fill rooms, just that parents will not always get what they want simply by filling rooms. Depending on the issue, time and effort may be better spent in other ways.

Questioner said...

BTW, Broad administrators DO proceed as if success is inevitable, and for that reason tend not to have exit strategies or plan B's or really address legitimate concerns.

Rebecca Nuttall said...

Call me 412-316-3342 ext. 175 or email me rnuttall@pghcitypaper.com

Questioner said...

Rebecca Nuttall is the CP reporter who wrote the recent article on U Prep. Those who feel there is more to be said can contact her at the number/ email provided above.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me if this has already been stated, but the saddest part of this whole situation is that these are the students who would be going to a REAL high school- Schenley High School- which had the highest graduation rate of African-American students than any other high school in the district. They were not sequestered in a substandard building with only students like themselves. There was diversity, room to move and grow, with differences and opportunities there for the taking. It wasn't perfect, it DID NOT have an asbestos problem, it did not serve African-American students poorly.
The Hill District leaders supported the Roosevelt Administration because they were so good at wooing foundations and perpetuating myths, and really acted like they knew what they were doing. The students who went on to other schools were able to survive the devastation, but the students at Milliones were left to fail.

Questioner said...

Roosevelt had a lot of disparaging things to say about Schenley, in the process of selling his plan, but if you talk to real Schenley graduates from the Hill the reports are almost uniformly positive. They will talk about how they could very happily be at the school building from early in the m morning to late at night because there was always something going on and so many sports and activities to join. They compare the experiences of their younger siblings and relatives and feel bad for them.

Anonymous said...

Please let us know if you contact Sumpter about the problems at UPrep or Milliones or whatever it is they want to call it now. Sumpter is not a person to rock the boat in any way. He never question anything except in a superficial way and has backed this administration completely. Yes, please let us know what action he takes to investigate these problems since he does represent this area. I know I will fall off my chair if I hear he pays any attention to any of this.

Anonymous said...

Regarding overall discipline I have a question about A+Schools. Since the organization sponsored the teens who had such a strong presence and great input into the revisions to the Code of Conduct would A+ be in a position to investigate concerns parents have voiced here? They have an open house tonight, I may not make it back to Pgh early enough but will ask the question if I do get there.

Anonymous said...

8:27
I wouldn't count on A+ schools, they don't really do anything that is not board and central office "approved", The board & central office have been actively trying to cover up the situation at u prep. Also A+ schools is notoriously (sometimes very sneakily & subtly) anti teacher. I would expect A+ schools to go in, agree the children are in dire straits, then blame the teachers. A+ schools WILL not speak out against central office or any of their misguided Broad/ Gates reforms. They are funded by Bill Gates.

Anonymous said...

I am a UPrep teacher and first of all, OUR students are fantastic. Yes, OUR school is not perfect. Yes, there may be issues with administration, BUT the education the students are receiving comes from VERY dedicated teachers that need to be empowered (another poster already mentioned this). OUR teachers continue to go above and beyond what is "Required" of them. They love OUR students. The teachers strive and are committed to setting a positive tone in our school and the students are responding well to this. I do know that there are MANY community members and organizations that are in our school daily, and the staff/students are grateful for everything they continue to do for our kids.

This year we have a "trauma" specialist in our school to help students who have chronic trauma in their lives. I am very excited that we are getting some extra support to support our students.

Also, there have been no "riots" and "kids running for their lives" on September 11th.

A survey is completed by the teachers every year. Last years results have not been made public if I understand correctly.

Lastly, teachers are constantly in touch with parents. This is also pushed by administration. I will not speak for every teacher, but personally, making those connections with parents and family members only creates a stronger team.

Questioner said...

From the start it has been apparent that u prep has a lot of very dedicated teachers.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a child at that place, and my son and his friends used the word riot. Are the students you brag about lying? I can tell you my son and his friends do not lie about seeing violence. And you're right, my son just told me that students were not running for their lives. They were running from flying desks.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I'm far more inclined to believe the parent and kid and more in touch with reality teachers I know at the school.

No one is saying that the kids at that school aren't capable of learning or doing well. However, in the current set-up of that school they are being left far, far, far behind and will likely never catch up if things remain in an undisciplined and chaotic state.

If things are so fantastic, why don't the scores reflect it? Why don't the teacher retention rates reflect it? Why are parents being given a hard time if they want their child to go to another school.

Why would parents want to say bad things about their kids' schools? It's a huge hassle to have your kid at a bad school. It's nerve-wracking worrying not only about their education but just about their physical safety.

Teachers (some) and administrators (many) may well have reasons to um, stretch the truth, downplay bad events, and speak "aspirationally."

However, just saying what you want to be true DOES NOT make it so, no matter how much this administration and its apologists try.

Gotta say I believe the kids and parents in this one.

Anonymous said...

I teach at uprep and it is a very bad learning environment there are fights often,teacher are disrespect daily by students.Hardy is rude to the staff and treat us like shit but there are some good teachers who really cares about the kids.

Anonymous said...

UPREP is where you come to watch a circus. Who is talking about who? Who is talking to staff like @@@@? Who dates who next? Who dates a Security Guard when in a professional position? UPREP is a complete circus!

Anonymous said...

I am also a parent of a child who took their child out of that circus. I feel so bad for you the teachers who work at that horrible horrible place. My child went to better school in the past, but because of money I was forced to send him to that horrible horrible place. Now, for the grace of God I was able to get him out of that horrible horrible place and send my baby to a safe place where the teachers can actually hear themselves in a class and the students can learn. Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

September 17, 2014 at 6:17 PM wrote;

U Prep has a trauma specialist? The kids at UPREP are Fantastic!

LMAO, I thought it was not that bad? Wow you need a trauma specialist? Maybe those kids should be in a place that specializes in trauma. The Trauma kids can seriously hurt someone or bring a gun to school!

So UPREP kids are FANTASTIC! Wow, all schools should have six kids breaking each others bones and defiant to staff and creating a crowd. Maybe all the F bombs you hear all day long are from the FANTASTIC STUDENTS! What are the test scores from these little Fantastic Angels????? LMAO!

Anonymous said...

The students at UPrep are fantastic kids. What they need is excellent leadership and teachers at that school. My daughter told me that the best teachers that cared about them were bullied by leadership and the left the school. What they don't need is to be classified as violent or incapable of learning. The line is drawn with the adults in the school, homes, and community. We all need to pull together to make this school a success. It's not about ego, it about helping these students. They deserve the best!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much PARENT at 9:27!!!

Students are as wonderful as we believe them to be! EVERY single one of them will rise to the expectations of the adults that surround them in ANY given school and most certainly at Milliones UPrep!

STUDENTS ALWAYS RESPOND IN KIND TO THOSE WHO LEAD THEM and STUDENTS CAN (and will) LEARN ANYTHING THAT TEACHERS CAN TEACH.

As teachers we should KNOW this to be TRUE!

Questioner said...

But, can a school environment and teaching conditions make it difficult or impossible for teachers to teacher what they otherwise might?

Anonymous said...

Questioner:

What "environment" and what "conditions" are you referencing?

The PEOPLE in the school create the "environment" and the "conditions".

The "people" are, in majority, the teachers, right?

Questioner said...

Maybe, but this is a situation where the majority does not rule. If they did, things might be different.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "rule", questioner?

Questioner said...

In a school setting those who rule would determine for example what the rules will be and whether they will be enforced; what if any discretion teachers have in how they present their material; and whether views can be expressed without risk of jobs being lost.

Anonymous said...

12:40

Actually the PEOPLE in the majority in any school are students. I am a PPS teacher and have not yet encountered a school in our district that is populated by majority of teachers. Typically the ratio is about 1 teacher to around 20 students. So the majority of humans in any school would be students.

You must not be a teacher and perhaps somewhat out of touch with reality regarding the world around you. Schools are a reflection of the community they serve, not a reflection of the teaching staff.

Do you honestly believe the teachers have created a culture where there is no discipline or control? Did they tell the students to fight, swear, throw desks? Did teachers tell men in hoodies to shoot at the child on his way into the building last Friday.

If what you are saying is true, then what do you think would happen if the whole teaching staff at u prep were switched with the teachers at Upper St. Clair or Fox Chapel? If it is these terrible teachers leading otherwise decent, well behaved children to go rogue, then sending the u prep staff to Fox Chapel should cause a similar environment there, right? The Fox Chapel scores would fall to almost lowest in state, kids would fight and riot, swear at teachers, get shot at on the way to school because of the leadership of the teachers? Yeah right! You KNOW that is not true. The kids did not learn it was okay to act this way from their teachers.

And where exactly is this school that has a MAJORITY of teachers, because we can even get subs at my school.

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Questioner said...

Someone is complaining about their comment not being posted. Comments that spit back other posters' comments with quotation marks around key words are not productive. Explain your point. Repetitive comments are not productive.

Anonymous said...

The comments of teachers on this blog tell the story; but it is not the story they believe they are telling.

Teachers like 2:08 need to find work sonewhere else.

They show themselves to be completely unsuited for a position at Milliones. the students in that school do not have a chance of rising to expectations___there are NONE.

It is so, so, so sad. In fact it is outrageous to the point of criminality!

Please, please, Linda Lane, find a way to get the adults described in this blog by themselves, the parents, and the community OUT OD THAT SCHOOL. And that includes any 'educator' consultant or central office 'leaders' who have been in that building for more than a year. They have demonstrated themselves NOT to be effective, competent or resourceful!

Anonymous said...

The Hill District Education Committee has a well-researched, evidence-based plan for advancing the academic achievement of African-American students at least 30 points in one year--so it has been stated.

Why not give them an opportunity, Superintendent Lane? What do YOU and Central Office have to lose?

These are good people--people with education, experience, expertise, commitment and very staunch advocacy for the Hill District children. They have the community behind them. They know the parents. They have resources on board that just waiting to be tapped.

Bring them together with your team Dr. Lane and you will see transformation and a reversal of the huge achievement and opportunity gaps that seem to persist in spite of what has been promised over the past 6 to 8 years! Rally the people who care and you won't be disappointed!

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Hill District Education Council members have put a lot of time, effort and research into their SUCCESS PLAN! It has substance that respects the African American student population!

(Note: Too bad it has “success” in the title. Past programs such as Success for All and Success Schools, etc., have left a very bad taste for the word “success”. Change the title

Anonymous said...

Appealing to Linda Lane is futile. Do honestly think she or any other central office worker is unaware of the issues or the resources available to address the issues?
Here is the deal with Lane and her staff. First, they are Broad School Graduates. That means they are actually ANTI-public education. Their main goal, like Gates & Rooselvelt, is to be a DISRUPTIVE force.
Two issues near and dear to them are creating a charter school market and the elimination of teacher's unions and tenure.

Do you think the serious decline in PPS under Roosevelt & Lane is accidental or an oversight? It would not be paranoid or a stretch to call it a deliberate, calcuated sabotage. It has happened in identical textbook scenarios in other urban districts under Broad/ Gates reform leadership.

Disruption occurred through closings, right sizing, staff & principal changes, curriculum changes etc. This led to breakdowns in structure, discipline, and morale in many of our once strong schools.
This, along with massive closings, created a charter school market. Then PPS sold OUR closed schools to the charters for less than the cost of a new townhouse or condo. Look how many GREAT schools (Schenley) were closed or run into the ground (Milliones, Westinghouse) The charter schools would not have been able to compete with or take kids from the old Milliones school.
The next goal of Lane & the Broad/Gates is elimination of teaher unions & tenure, Rigid and statistically invalid evaluations, selecting principals (ex. Hardy) to create toxic environments that are blamed on teachers, and convincing the state to continue to use a more difficult system for PPS evaluations are a few of their tactics. PELA principals were trained and put in place to ensure a chaotic environment of no discipline and pushing all problems back on teachers.
The environment was orchestrated to make it impossible for even the best teachers to be effective.

Now A+ schools (PPS/Gates) mouthpiece is convincing the politicians to pass a bill to furlough teachers based on these phony performance standards that are impossible to meet in these crazy environments whike using the sub standard curriculum they created for us.
They set us up to fail and didn't care how many children they took down with them. This was done to disrupt unions and tenure and eventually bring in TFA or other temp style workers. The ultimate end goal under a Broad/Gates reform is to destroy public education and replace it with an all charter system.

You can't really believe so many educated, intelligent people don't know what actually needs to be done to help a failing school. Failure was the end goal.

Appealing to Linda Lane for help is truly laughable, except she will be the one laughing, all the way to the bank when she is through destroying our district then returning to her home in Iowa.
She has caused more harm to our district than Roosevelt. Heck, it was probably orchestrated by PPS's savvy PR department to get a black lady with dreadlocks to replace the white man from Boston in order to convince the public to go along with her destructive agenda.

The public has been placated and distracted by the Promise $ and the idea that a black woman would act in the best interest of black children.
It is time to pull the wool from over our eyes. We need to take our schools back! City residents who intend to live, work, and stay here need to be running our schools. People with a true commitment to our city and children because it is also their city and children. There has to be a way to get her and the rest of that crew out! She is a scourge on our district and has done as much harm to the black community as George Bush did with Katrina.

Anonymous said...

I forwarded the thread to this blog to the HDEC, Hill District Education Council, about two weeks ago and have received no response. Also Principal Hardy is a member of HDEC.

Anonymous said...

Well 7:45 would you change your mind about Linda Lane if she got on Board with the Hill District Education Council and supported the PLAn that they have worked so had to put together under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Johnnie Monroe and his co-chair, Sala Udin? You don't really think Linda Lane wants to disappoint the Hill District leaders, do you?
Daniel Lavelle is on the Board and the school is named after the Milliones Family. These are people who have invested their whole lives in standing strong for Hill District children!

Instead of complaining about what think might happen, get on the bandwagon and advocate for community schools in the Hill District. Advocate for schools that will strengthen African American populations. Advocate for a model that ensures success for underserved Black children. Honor their history, their contributions, their culture, their intelligence, their gifts, their innate potential, their prospects for "success"!

Be an ADVOCATE! The children are our future! PROCEED AS IF SUCCESS IS INEVITABLE!

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a child who went to that place last year, and my kid tells me it is worse than ever. Students are running all over the place, and you the person that keep saying to advocate are a liar. Stop with the political talk. The reason those students don't succeed is that administrations like the one at that place make it impossible for anyone to teach and learn. You must be in tight with that administration to even say stuff like that. You are the one who should leave. It is someone like you that knows only how to kiss butt. And you said undeserved. If you mean the students don't deserve that mess over there you are right.

Anonymous said...

8:16
I have spent the past two weeks forwarding this blog thread to anyone who could possibly help. I don't teach at u prep, but I am horrified by the posts I have read.

There is not one thing Linda Lane could do to change my opinion of her. If she got on board with the HDEC at this point, it would only be because she is now backed into a corner because the mess she help to create at u prep is blowing up and going public.

If you know anything about PPS, you know the extraordinary lengths they will go to avoid negative PR. No one from the board has bothered to help the children or teachers at u prep for years, but the situation was covered up. Now that people are forwarding this thread to reporters and community leaders, she will likely have to do some damage control to negate the bad PR.

Do you REALLY think she cares at all about the Hill District students or community leaders? She was FORWARDED the blog thread. How could anyone in her position read these posts and not go directly to the school and see for herself what exactly is going on there? How could she ignore the fact that a student was SHOT at on the way to school last week? I work down the street and we weren't even told about it! All of our children were outside, our schools not locked down, on a day when men SHOT at a child on his way to school.

I am an advocate for children in Pittsburgh and choose to serve children and families of the Hill District. You don't need to tell me to do that. I am a resident of this city and plan on living here for the rest of my life. My investment is in these children and neighborhoods because they are my children and neighborhoods. Trust me, Linda Lane does not care one lick about any of it. She is biding her time to get her money and return to her permanent residence in Iowa.
Anything she does from here on out is for publicity because the situation is going public.

U prep has been in crisis for years. A person who cares about our children would not have allowed our schools to decline to what they are now. Or segregate the children of the Hill into the failed experiment of u prep, robbing them of the opportunity to attend the world class high school that was Schenley. Or at least speak out, along with the new police chief, to promise to put as much effort into finding the men who attempted to murder a student as she did to address phone threats to 3 schools.
At PPS, when a negative situation can no longer be covered up, a farcical plan or partnership will be announced to placate the public and if that doesn't work, they seem to pull some strings at the PG to get a story printed about how bad it is at Wilkinsburg to divert public attention.

Anonymous said...


http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/Page/1305
This is the web page:
Below is Linda Lane’s Education Committee presentation (9/9/14) on Milliones UPREP's
2014, PSSA & Keystone Results

Reading 37% proficient
Math 42% proficient
Science 11% proficient
Writing 12% proficient

All of these files are in PDF format
at http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/Page/1305

How do these results compare with other PPS or PA school results?

Questioner said...

Another news report had the high school keystone science course at 0% proficiency, so one possibility (before looking at the link) is that this report is may be lumping grades 6-12 together. And since tests are given in all 3 middle school grades but only 1 high school grade, that would put much more weight on the 6-8 portion of the school. Results really need to be broken down at least for middle school/ high school to be useful.

Anonymous said...

Four years ago when the NEW school, UPrep at Milliones scores were published, the results were almost the same.

2010 Math was 39% proficient
2014 Math is 42% proficient

2010 Reading was 37% proficient
2014 Reading is 37% proficient

You have to ask WHY? no progress with four years with University involvement? What is the answer?

Who is responsible? Will anyone be held accountable? If so, Who? and How? What? will happen this year to educate these students at high levels?



Anonymous said...

True, that it must be broken down; but if these scores are AVERAGES for the total student population that school is in deep, deep trouble!

What has been going on for the last four years?

Does anyone there know how to educate children?

Questioner said...

Yes the scores are bad but how bad? These are probably NOT averages for the total student population; they are likely averages for grades 6,7,8 and 11.

If HS scores are much worse (as has usually been the case), and scores were available for 9, 10 and 12, the average for the total student population would be considerably worse.

Anonymous said...

Since Milliones became UPREP in 2006 or 2007, it has been a 6-12 school for all of those years, so the scores are still comparing an apple with an apple and not apples with oranges. Right??

We know that when a school changes it organization or emphases, the achievement scores don't count until several years later.

So its really been a long time(7-8 years) as a 6-12 University Prep and there has been so little improvement????????

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The PDE scores were supposed to come out this week online. Has anyone seen them?

(The previous scores are from the PPS report.)

Questioner said...

No it became U Prep in Fall of 2008, six years ago.

And for whatever reason, middle school scores across the board are generally higher than high school scores. It is apparently much more difficult to get high school students to the level considered proficient. So more like apples with oranges.

Anonymous said...

Are these scores (2014) not a combination of PSSA and Keystone, meaning 6-12?

And, won't this be the way the scores will be reported from 2013 into the future?

,

Questioner said...

In an entire HS career students must take a total of 3 Keystone tests while in middle school they would take at least that many tests each year.

So, unless the Keystone tests are weighted x 4 to account for each year of HS, the average will tip much more toward middle school performance.

Anonymous said...

I am a city resident and all I have to say is ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of this administration. You are quite right to say that part of the reason all groups, councils, and other organizations go along with this mess is that Linda Lane and President of School Board are African Americans. If they were white there would have been so much screaming about these results that it would have been on the news. Linda Lane along with many of the people in her administration are NOT from the city and will leave and go somewhere else-just like Roosevelt. Milliones has been a serious problem for a long time and these children have been let down by this district.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 11:42, children in city schools are being MORE than let down. Maybe intentionally, and maybe NOT.
When you examine the credentials of most, if not all, central office people in high positions, you will find that, not only are they not from Pittsburgh, (or urban areas) but, even more importantly, they do NOT have the background or experience (to say nothing of expertise) in the areas where they are the domain executives. The bright, young, articulate, and good looking "executive directors" in Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment have neither the background, experience or credentials to serve in these positions. Someone gave them a job based on 'whatever' (take your pick: WHO the knew, how they looked, or what they so articulately claimed).

Sadly, there are a whole lot of nice young white folks in these positions who do not have a clue, quite literally with no exaggeration. Go on the PPS website videos of meetings/ presentations and witness the misinformation that they present and the non-answers to questions that they give. Now, its probably not their fault that they don't know what they don't know. Someone hired them who didn't know what the requirements must be to function educationally on behalf of urban students in an urban district. Nor are these 'executives' familiar with the PA standards, programs, policies, etc. It is all too apparent when the speak in a supposedly professional capacity.
What do you do in a case like this. Appeal to their sense of responsibility/accountability for thousands of children who are not being educated in PPS and hope they look for work in a field where they can be successful.

Questioner said...

There are people who are not white in positions they do not seem qualified to hold, as well. In general a number of people receiving large salaries that do not seem warranted, especially in a financially struggling school district.

Anonymous said...

it wouldn't matter what they were being paid if they knew what they were doing and got any results that were not taking these children backwards instead of forward.

These children are very intelligent and they demonstrate that intelligence on a daily basis as they out-think, out-wit, and out-perform the adults in every way but academically.

Academic performance depends on whoever (top to bottom) is responsible for the curricula, instructional practice/materials, teaching, learning, assessment (summative and formative), and creating environments that engage students positively and productively.

Questioner said...

Of course it matters what they are being paid , on a district that claims it will be running out of money to pay anyone at all.

Questioner said...

Due to an unwieldy length this thread will end here. New topics that focus separately on some of the many issues raised can be started based on suggested new posts.