Saturday, November 29, 2014

Passport Academy Charter School

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post?

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

PPS spends to sponsor holiday parade

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post "

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Superintendent calls for changes in funding formula

From the PG:

Sale of Rogers building

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Today's Public Hearing speakers (November 2014)

NOVEMBER 24, 2014
6:00 P.M.

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

2.Allyson Delnore - Parent
Fulton Magnet Status

3.John Harris - Individual
Rogers School

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

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

6.Jean Schulte - Parent
Class Sizes at Minadeo

7.Laura McCarthy - Parent
Class Sizes at Minadeo

8.Dr. Johnson Martin - Individual
Data Input

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

10.Sarah Woodley - Parent
Discipline in Schools

11.Anna Scheid - Parent
Violent Classroom Disruptions

12.Molly May - Parent
School Culture

13.Marce Nixon - Student
How Pittsburgh GLO Raises Awareness

14.Kayla Humphries - Student
The Structure of GLO

15.Rachael Bethel - Student
Bullying and Pittsburgh GLO

16.Pamela Harbin - Parent
Community Schools

17.Harrison Smith - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
Service Learning

18.Thaddeus Pellegrini - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
School Libraries

19.Jahnik Kurukulasuriya - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

20.Dighan Kelly - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

21.Nolan Dickey - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

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

23.Adam Barsouk - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice

24.David Frisch - Student
Pittsburgh Allderdice
Service Learning

25.Shoshanna Shear - Parent
Declining Enrollment

26.Debra Srogi - Parent
Community Schools

27.Chandra Stewart - Parent
Parent Concerns at CAPA

28.Christina Russell - Parent
Pep Rally Parents

29.Jovohna Cosby - Individual

30.David Breingan - Individual
Parent Mentor Program

31.Suzanne South - Parent

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

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

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

Search AD90C18Fd01_0 to find the full report.

Wilkinsburg "Taking control of our schools"

From the PG:

Taking control of our Schools:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How independent is A Plus Schools?

From the PG editorial board:

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

- Is A+ Schools really independent?  Thoughts?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Does PPS get bad press/ Month 2

From the October 22, 2014 post:

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

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

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

12/3, positive.

A new monthly count and a running total starts today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Discipline at U Prep/ Milliones

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Blog

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

Education task force to become City of Pittsburgh commission

From the PG:

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Conversations/ training about race

From the PG:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wheatley letter

On another post Anonymous said:

"New post please

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Renovating schools is expensive

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

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

School on lockdown

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"*** NEW POST ***

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

No info on this incident anywhere in the news!

Please help spread the word."

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

From the City Paper:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Westinghouse students apparently shot on way home from school

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

Problems at Perry?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

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

Perhaps a new thread?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"The Public Hearing Show" / October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check back next week for a You Tube link.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

U Prep/ Milliones physical condition

Anonymous wrote:

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Op ed praises sci tech

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