Friday, September 18, 2015

Proposed Westiinghouse/ Wilkinsburg merger

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post 

I just listened to the presentation of the pps/wilkinsburg working group report from the agenda review meeting. is it just me or is this being handled with tremendous care and thought? perhaps the involvement of PDE was useful. I do wonder about the 7 CTE programs at Westinghouse, in particular HVAC, Carpentry and Culinary Arts, each of which create a definite career path. The Pittsburgh Promise provides stories of success by focusing on students who took full advantage the scholarship, but where do we go to hear about kids who capitalized on CTE offerings, especially those that are vocational based? "


Questioner said...

Today's PG quoted A Plus Schools as having definite concerns about the plan, and A+ almost never seriously questions administration plans.

While the idea of helping Wilkinsburg students sounds good, a major motivation is probably that taking in those students provides justification for keeping open a school that is way, way underenrolled, when the administration in the past justified closing schools with low enrollment on the grounds that they could not offer adequate electives and activities.

Anonymous said...

Good, thoughtful and bright people in the Wilkinsburg School District are and have been working tirelessly on the many challenges that plague the district. What a difference re-framing the issue as a Partnership has had on making a solution viable and filled with potential for these kids.

This IS being handled with tremendous care and thought and professionalism.
As it should be.

Questioner said...

In many ways the situation is similar to the Oliver-Perry combination, where students from underenrolled Oliver were sent to Perry. An honest evaluation of how that has worked out, and what went well and what did not go well, could be very helpful. One thing that is clear is that combined enrollment is not as high as expected.

Anonymous said...

The "major motivation" in this financial for both parties (Pittsburgh & Wilkinsburg). The evidence, if you check, is abundant.

The most recent Wilkinsburg Board members and others with influence in that Borough are driven by 'money' and keeping it for the elite in Wilkinsburg. The education of Wilkinsburg children is irrelevant to those in power. (Their children are not in Wilkinsburg schools.)

Check our the FACTS merely alluded to here. You will find that, as one former Wilkinsburg principal bluntly stated, those referenced herein have "raped Wilkinsburg Schools" and are now continuing in that vein with this latest proposal.

This probably won't be posted unless you eliminate the "r" word, but so be it.

Anonymous said...

Mark Brentley's comments/advice at the meeting must be taken seriously. The children/students must be the focus; but as is typical, ITS ALL ABOUT ADULTS and adult agendas. If we care about Wilkinsburg students then PPS must open all options within our PPS District to Wilkinsburg students.

Who besides Mr. Brentley will take the "musts" to heart?

In Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg, it is ONLY about ADULT AGENDAS; and so, so, so sadly the education (in real terms) of our most underserved and underrepresented children does not make it to whatever PLAN in substantive ways.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg positions of Power are held largely by African Americans.

Wilkinsburg School Board has 6 black members to 3 white. Until recently, Wilkinsburg's Superintendents have been Black.

If, as 1:39 and 12:59 suggest, the education of our " most underserved and underrepresented children" is not at the heart of their focus____ then the Black community needs take a hard look at themselves.

Anonymous said...

3:38 - Those being referenced as "influential" in Wilkinsburg are WHITE. Note that "positions of Power" was NOT the term used by the posters.)The people who are leading the politics in Wilkinsburg, as well as Pittsburgh, are White "Power" to reflect your terminology! Check it out! The research on this is VERY easy to do!

Questioner said...

Do the unnamed White powers control the majority Black Wilkinsburg school board?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, and Wilkinsburg is a small borough, so few are anonymous, even when unnamed! Didn't think you'd post the previous response!

Anonymous said...

Simple majority rules.

Anonymous said...

5:53 -

True, perhaps; BUT "rules" on what? Therein lies the deception!

"Simple" becomes complex under manipulated postures, programs, processes and premises---that are not at all what they appear to be!!!

Most of us know who and what "rules"----it is sad to say.

Anonymous said...

In today's PG article "Best Option?" Carey Harris states there is a new principal at Westinghouse. What happened to the principal who was appointed there last year? Did she leave after one year at the helm?

Anonymous said...

No new principal at Westinghouse.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Are Lizard People ruling Wilkinsburg?

Sorry, I can't find my decoder ring.

Anonymous said...

Indeed 5:37 - and now we all know the name( "because Wilkinsburg is a small borough, so few are anonymous, even when unnamed! ")of the former Wilkinsburg principal referenced who bluntly stated that which you thought would not be posted because of the "r" word.

Anonymous said...

To be clear - 8:12's "indeed" is not referencing 5:37's "absolutely" but all that follows.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the name of the Wilkinsburg principal? There have been 5 or 6 over the last decade or so!

By the way, check the finance/business reports and you will know the truth of the "r" word statement!

Will you print this as well? We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Several questions come to mind here. How much will Pittsburgh charge Wilkinsburg for the tuition? Will it be the cost per student as it is for PPS students now? How does that cost per student compare to Wilkinsburg? If Wilkinsburg cost is less, then how is this a benefit?
Will any teachers be absorbed into PPS from Wilkinsburg? If we have enough teachers, if we charge them tuition, we don't need their staff. PPS and Wilkinsburg test scores remain separate. Isn't this in a way segregating them from our kids? How would you feel if your child was not really included (completely)

No doubt Wilkinsburg needs help badly. Just not sure PPS is equipped to do the job. Heck, their own kids are not performing well! Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Good questions, but what is already a 'given' is that it is LESS cost for Wilkinsburg and MORE income for Pittsburgh?

Again, in what way(s), if any, will academic achievement improve for students in these two schools that are among the LOWEST 5% in the state of Pennsylvania? If neither of this schools can now educate its students, WHAT, please inform us, will change by combining them (and separating the results) REALLY?!?!

Is there anyone in these two schools (or Districts) who CAN EDUCATE students???????

Anonymous said...

The big emphasis seems to be on opportunity for both groups of students. One reality is that
the "small warm we are family" mentalityt of schools cannot offer the range of subjects necessary for today's world-- even at the elementary level- let alone high school. You need enough students to support a full name it art, music, A.P. C.T.E. etc. One of the downfalls of the "Broad/Gates?Roosevelt era was that principals kept pumping reading and math-- for scores-- so that some kids schedules were English, another English to make up from Last year, a couple Maths and maybe PE. Most of you reading this would literally be climbing the walls if this was your schedule. Remember the long list of subjects that are no more- esp. at the middle school level--band, cooking, art, languages--etc.
Think of the activities that middle schools used to have-- Reizenstein has musicals -- the same as hs have--ask Billy Porter!
Increasing the number of students will provide opportunities that the Wilkinsburg students have not had and some of our students have not had. Compare the numbers of A.P. classes that each hs has-- and what they are.
No one has come up with another way to make middle and high school the interesting, dynamic place that exists in the rest of the state.

Anonymous said...

7;11 states: "The big emphasis seems to be on opportunity for both groups of students. "

Please elaborate with the "opportunities" for both groups of students. How will the same educators do a better job at educating then is currently being done with just the basics: English, Algebra, Biology, Writing?

Be specific about the AP classes, Art, Band, Chorus, Drama, School Newspaper, CTE courses by name, Technology, Athletics (full array) for Girls as well as Boys.

What specifically will better EDUCATE the students . . . Pittsburgh uses more than $20,000 to educate students.

And contrary to the last statement, many, many, many . . . .schools have created "interesting" and "dynamic" places for 6-12 students. Will the Pittsburgh/Wilkinsburg Team HIRE MORE CONSULTANTS to do that for them?

Anonymous said...

Who is to say as to the what, where, when,and why's of this Partnership. Really.

It may be that it's success or lack thereof lies in the spirit of these kids. It may be that a few anecdotal stories may surprise. Unintended consequences may forever change the life of one child. Who really knows with specificity anything for certain.

Maybe Westinghouse and Wilkinsburg kids will lean into each other and by doing so will partner together. Just maybe the kids will surprise us.

They are smart enough.

Anonymous said...

So true, 9:27, let's hope the "kids will surprise us" and overthrow the system that oppresses them with more than a few anecdotal stories. Let's cheer them on!

Anonymous said...

Partnerships can be entered into. Partnerships can part ways.
This is not a merger as the headline to this post suggests and

"Changing the life of one child changes the world"
There is nothing oppressive about this. It is empowering.

One teacher at a time. One child at a time.

Anonymous said...

Okay; just one example of the one child changed so that these two Districts can forget about their responsibility to change to lives of the other 651 in this particular "failed schools industry" (Westinghouse & Wilkinsburg). . . Are you serious????

Then apply that to the "failed" 7,000 African American children in PPS and claim that there is nothing oppressive about that?!

Really? You call that empowering? Hmmmmmmmmmm. These Districts are not Charities or Do-Good Volunteer organizations you know. People are being paid "big bucks" to empower more than ONE child at a time!

Anonymous said...

And yes PPS had more than 7,000 African American students in 2014-15 that were NOT proficient in Reading and Math!

"One child at a time" is not the mission, purpose, goal, job description, or outcome that we are paying million upon million to accomplish.

What other "industry" would stay in business with this kind of outcome?

Anonymous said...

Exhale and teach a child today.
I can do that.

Anonymous said...


Perfectly serious. It even works one block at a time:

Anonymous said...

Wilkinsburg Community Conversation:The ABC's to Wilkinsburg Youth Educational Opportunities.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
6:30 - 8:30PM

Speakers Include:

Christy Wauzinnski,Pricipal-Pittsburgh Urban Christian School
Ed Donovan, Wilkinsburg School Board President
Jamillia Kamara, Founder, Smart Is Cool
Janie Robertson, Development Director-Pittsburgh Urban Christian School
Jess Burns, Director of Wilkinsburg Youth Project
Dr. Joseph Petrella, Superintendent, Wilkinsburg School District
Dr. Kathi Elliot, Executive Director, Gwen's Girls
Michael Johnson, Wilkinsburg School Board Director

Join the Conversation

Turner Elementary
School Gymnasium
1833 Laketon Road
Pittsburgh, Pa 15221

Anonymous said...

so, how did the meeting go? did anyone attend? how many citizens? how many with children in the schools?

or was it just white people with money that they want to keep? (as opposed spending it on black children?)

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

"An emotion like anger has it's place - - but it can easily be overdone.

If you thunder everyday, you will rain on your own arguments"

Anonymous said...


3:56 PM's posting is happening this evening.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:26 I was asked this question by a former superintendent-- my answer was that if it was MY industry or any in the history of Pittsburgh, we would go all the way back to the raw materials and work through the process

Anonymous said...

Starting from scratch is not an option for our children.

And any 'industry' looking for result oriented outcomes will look forward for solutions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 8:58! You are 'dead on' and the solutions are accessible for those educators who are serious about educating ALL of Wilkinsburg and Westinghouse students!

Anonymous said...

Solutions begin with a national search for a CEO who has led and guided a school system into a culture of success for its educators and students.

This is what successful "industries" do.

Anonymous said...

12:03 - Frankly, concrete SOLUTIONS are not quite that nebulous---they are ever-ready, ever-present, available and accessible for the asking---more often than those outside of the profession would ever assume. In the instance of PA educational venue/district, rather than a "national search" a search that locates a knowledgeable, competent, credential, Pennsylvania EDUCATOR should be the preference. Surely, there are qualified educators in PA that are experts with PDE's SAS system and adaptations for success in urban African-American student populations. PA's SAS is unique to PA and going national would mean a steep learning curve would be required for success in PA.

Questioner said...

Maybe the SAS (School Assessment System?) is less important now that PA is adopting the common core?

Anonymous said...

The SAS IS the COMMON CORE. PA has NOT "adopted" the Common Core as in CCSS. PA CORE has been approved by USDOE!

PA's Core Standards were used to create the Common Core and and have for the last 15 years most PA districts have been implementing 87% of what is now Common Core. PA have added only 13% of NEW skills/standards to be approved as Common Core State. PA has their OWN system (SAS) Standards and their own Assessments. (PA does not use CCSS, PARRC or any other external product a fact that is not widely known, it seems. That is surprising, if not shocking that "professional" educators, including PPS, seem so confused about this critical information.

The SAS is absolutely essential to success for students in Pennsylvania. The lack of knowledge and understanding if SAS by some districts is why there is NO PROGRESS. (And that could be proven in a court of law!)

Questioner said...

The Common Core, or at least the standard required to attain proficiency, must be different from the Core PA has had, because PSSA scores went down dramatically across the state with the adoption of the Common Core this year.

Anonymous said...


The COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS were NOT ADOPTED THIS YEAR (2015) by 45 other states. They have been in place for THREE YEARS, since 2011. The PA CORE STANDARDS were created by PA in 2011 and were approved by USDOE as were the COMMON CORE. They are NOT the same! Pennsylvania creates its own assessments the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessments) and the KEYSTONE (PA) Exams. NO OTHER STATE uses the PSSA or Keystone because they do not use PA Core Standadards.. Other states use Smarter Balance or PAARC as exams for the CCSS!!

Anonymous said...

The previously mentioned assessment for the Common Core State Standards is the PARCC. PARCC is used by many States, but NOT Pennsylvania.

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and is one of the two national tests used by some states to assess CCSS. (The other is Smarter Balance.)

PA uses their own PSSA & Keystone, NOT PARCC!

Anonymous said...

3:35 - Sorry this answer is late. SAS stands for "Standards Aligned Systems". PA has an SAS website that's depth, breadth, detail and lessons on each individual PA Core Standard ('Standard's are SKILLS) cannot be matched as an open-online-free RESOURCE to all PA residents.

PPS has chosen since Mark Roosevelt to by-pass SAS and all other resources provided free-of-charge by the PA Dept. of Educ. From 2005 to 2015 PPS has chosen not to avail itself fully of the resources provided by PDE the entity to which they are ACCOUNTABLE! (Does that make any sense at all?) That is the question that must be pursued by "grassroots", or "revolutionaries", taxpayers, parents, just interested community folk!

Why? Who knows? But, our schools/students are paying a very heavy price as PPS continues to be among the 30 lowest-achieving districts of PA's 500 districts. That not good and when we drop from low to lower this year, will our students have any chance of success in college or careers?

Anonymous said...

SAS, Common Core, CCSS, Pa. Core, USDOE, PARCC, Keystone and progress and, wait.... it can be proven in a court of law.

Anonymous said...

10:00 - When you choose to opt out of all of the above --- there will never be progress---and it needs to go to a court of law since its been in the State Human Relations Commission for more than 20 YEARS . . . and nothing changes!!!!

Hope readers are not just skipping over the details in the previous posts . . . any lawyers out there who care to take this on . . .not likely . . . or PPS would not be in this state of "opting out" year after year!

Anonymous said...

I will say that this community needs to get and stay involved. There are people on the WSD board who are not here for the kids at all and there to do damage. And no one calls them out. Wilkinsburg better start paying attention