Thursday, August 31, 2017

Superintendent found to be "proficient"

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post
Hamlet's "achievable stretch" constitutes "proficiency".
http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/08/25/Anthony-Hamlet-Pittsburgh-Public-Schools-job-evaluation-proficient/stories/201708250217

Ha. Has PPS become a yoga class? If so I'm all for 'downward-facing dog'. It's rejuvenating and there's no hiding in how to achieve the pose."

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Less time to be spent taking PSSA's

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post: Complete Education - critical thinking skills - PSSA Testing.
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/08/14/Wolf-announces-reduction-in-classroom-time-for-taking-PSSA-tests/stories/201708140091

In reducing the amount of classroom time students spend taking standardized exams are we in fact reducing the amount of "critical thinking" skills that we deem important?

An anonymous op-ed in defense of these PSSA Exams ( length and merits ) would be timely here as the changes go into effect next spring. "

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

HR reports missing from Board meeting

Anonymous wrote:

"NEW PLEASE: Human Resources? Anyone know why last night's board meeting didnt include HR reports? Traditionally this has been a big HR board meeting "

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Suspension policy for elementary students

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post
Watched the June legislative meeting to hear about the suspension policy for elementary education and the plans for the future. Somebody please tell me I misunderstand, have kids been suspended for not being in uniform? That just can't be!! Unfair on so many fronts not the least of which is that not all buildings are uniform-wearing schools. Any numbers are not legitimate and should never be the basis for any comparisons. "

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bonuses

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post: How can the Union allow the district to give out bonuses up to $6,000 to teachers for scores that can't go anywhere but up, yet ironically, some of these teachers receive bonuses and their scores went down. The district pays 30% of the tab, which equates to nearly $300,000. If you taught in one of these elementary schools, you would know why scores go up from 4th to 5th and from 5th to 6th. Because that the teachers' skill levels are so low from K-4 in ELA and Math, any teacher in middle school teaching fifth or sixth grade has to improve scores. In my case, I previously taught in high school. So, when I went to middle school, my scores doubled and tripled. I also had six students who were advanced out of 18, and four of them never saw advanced before in their lives. In fact, if it weren't for me, the school would have been about 10% in ELA in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, or even worse, 1% like they were in Math. Where's my money? Where's my bonus? Guess what, don't answer. I don't want the money. The day I take $6,000 for scores that are only 60% to 70% proficient/advanced in my class is the day I say Esposito deserves a bonus."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

District communications

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post: Hamlet's congratulatory letter to distinguished teachers contains one of the most egregious errors in English: the dangling participle. The first sentence in paragraph two is the culprit. However, despite a district laden with distinguished teachers, the odds are 99-1 that anyone will find it. I'm the one, so don't bother looking. The scarier issue is that Hamlet has to have editors. Do I need to say anything else? I will anyway. This sums up the district:lazy, incompetent, and insincere. "

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Scripted lessons

Anonymous wrote:

"start nww post please--
Scripting, Innovation- where we are now
We've alluded to the end-of-the year scripting of professional administrators- with watchdogs (because they cant trust principals to convey their message- even with glossy flyers). This appears to be a direct outcome of the scripting that started in elemntary schools, where again seasoned professionals couldnt be trusted to teach the prescribed curriculum. Not all high school professionals where aware of concepts such as "text talk" where elementary cohlleagues- many reading specialists were told when reading a book-- exactly what questions to ask.
"They say they have dialed back on the scripting-- but this final indoctrination says not
yet. 
Please notice we've lost alot through this totalitarian teaching- and gained little. Schools were not thrilled to send intern teachers to PPS-- a source of innovation in the past. We lost U Prep support as it had to be done the central officee way. And allthough we all know that charter schools do divert funds-looking back- we were to gain results of innovation from them, but this never occured because innovation, ideas, are frowned upon.
Many teachers are concerned that with the scripting of admin- nothing has changed. This is attitude from the top-- to those readers of the blog that arent familiar with what has gone before-- Your teachers no longer meet to solve problems-- they are indoctrinated. "

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nina's notes

Anonymous wrote:

New Post: Ninas notes. Has anyone read the new email that normally and automatically goes right to spam infamously titled "Nina's Notes"? Allow me to save you the pain: Esposito congratulates her brotherhood in Philadelphia for settling on a contract at the beginning of her email(that is after her obsequious salutation). After that, she praises them and then posts the details for immediate view. Why does she do this? Easy: Esposito wants to read what teachers are not getting in the contract in Philadelphia to use as a tool of intimidation just as Tarka did before her so teachers will not strike. Why? Easy: so that she keeps her job until she retires. Where do Esposito'schildren go or have gone to school? Answer: North Hills School District. The naivety of Esposito to post that contract and then to posrpt WAY DOWN THE PAGE- "Unfortunately I can see no path of settling our negotiations prior to June 30th". Shouldn't that have been posted first? We PAY HER SALARY! No, rather, she uses the contract not to praise Philadelphia, but to make teachers, counsellors, paras, and security guards of the Pittsburgh Public Schools think, "OOH, WE ARE SO LUCKY. SEE WHAT THEY GET IN PHILLY!" Esposito knows that we are not getting anything, such as step increases, and she knows that our medical coverages will be a disaster, and she knows she does not care about anything except about her pay and job security. What is scarier is, is if she she negotiates salary step increases. Can you imagine how she will have sold us out so she can retire in a few years and not feel the horrifying afterm

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Step increases

Anonymous wrote:

"New post: Step increases will be halted. Did anyone read the email from Nina Esposito saying that she "just emailed" Hamlet about whether or not step increases will occur? Did you read her latest ingratiating email proclaiming" You did it"? Did you read in the latter email where she states that the "district can freeze people at their step placements"? Is she that inept and desperate to write something like that regarding our lives? Of course Hamlet is freezing step placements. Where do you think he's getting the money to hire all of these new positions for his flunkies? This is just the beginning my friends. This is what those who voted her in deserve: nothing but the worst. Esposito claims that healthcare will remain the same in status quo, but before that bold print of hers, she states that she along with entourage will be discussing healthcare next week with Hamlet. When are we going to protest this union, strike, and get our union leaders(sad)-who everyone knows work for the district- and get them back into the classroom to experience the walk-throughs, the data, the van, the meetings, the behaved students, the parents of these students, the circles, and the tripod? "

Monday, June 12, 2017

Live interview w/ Superintendent Hamlet today/ opportunity for questions


Public Source is interviewing the superintendent today:


At 2:15 p.m. today, join in on our in-depth interview with Superintendent Anthony Hamlet.


For students of the Pittsburgh Public Schools district, today is the last day of school.

Our reporter Mary Niederberger will interview Dr. Hamlet about his first year as superintendent. Please join us today at 2:15 p.m. as we stream the interview LIVE here.

If you have a question you'd like to ask Dr. Hamlet, please submit it in the comments on Facebook.

The recorded interview will be available after at publicsource.org

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Handling of complaints/ confidentiality

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please:
Something troublesome occurred in my building last week, and it has left me real upset. Our building has smokers. A lot of smokers. I will hesitantly admit that I am one of them. We have become lazy about where we smoke and we have been taking quick puff breaks outside the back door of our building. Wrong?Yes. So another employee in our building who has an office in the basement complained about the smoke getting in through the ventilation and working its way into her office. She wrote a long letter to Dr. Walters, our principal and an assistant superintendent. She asked that he please do something to get us all to move. That not the problem I have. She had every right to write the letter. I wish she had come to us first, but again I get it. What happened next is what angered me. Dr. Walters forwarded her letter to every one in our building, with the woman's name, office number and cell phone number still on the letter. The note was also taped to the back door where we smoke. 

Is this what we can expect in our district when we make a complaint? I have an issue with schedules but I'm now afraid to speak up for fear of being made a public scapegoat. I feel bad for this woman. I don't know her but I've been tempted to call her just to say how bad alot of us feel about what he did. After that stunt, it looks like he was promoted? Who are we working for? Vindictive mafia-types who expect silence and want us seen and not heard?

I just wanted to put this out there so everyone with kids know just what kind of people are running the ship." 

Friday, June 9, 2017

PNC paycards for union dues

Anonymous wrote:

"

The union invited the district to steal money from its employees. Our own union, headed by Nina Esposito, invited the district to the union four years ago to a Saturday union representative meeting to introduce the way the district would be paying our union members instead of paper checks: either through direct deposit or the District's mandated PNC Paycard. The latter(PNC PAYCARD) is the most egregious, unethical, and illegal way to pay its employees. The card has no routing or checking account numbers. If the card is lost or stolen, it costs $10 for a new card and $15 to expedite the card. In the meantime, since there are no account numbers associated with the card, there is no way to go into a PNC and withdraw your earnings. Moreover, the terms state that the first PNC ATM withdraw and first PNC teller withdraw of the month are free. However, after that, PNC charges $2 per ATM withdraw-at a PNC ATM mind you- and $5 per withdraw from a PNC teller inside the bank. If this sounds unscrupulous, it is, but not as much as this. It costs $2.50 to speak to a representative(and the rep is not an employee of PNC), and on the weekends, there are no representatives at all. In addition, The card was and still is charging $2 per ATM withdraw without giving one free, and it was charging $2.50 to just hear your balance without talking to a representative on the phone. I spoke to a rep(again, not a PNC employee) and the rep said that 25 people from our district call every payday to complain. Moreover, the card was assessing $5 teller fees without giving a free one. I have had the card for a total of two and a half years and found $275 worth of these breach of terms fees. These are not courtesy refunds. I caught their graft, yet it is still going on now. What if no one finds these errors? Nothing happens, except employees having money stolen from them WITHOUT EVER KNOWING. The district is taking advantage of those who have no checking accounts, and our own union not only accepted it, our union literally invited it. Remember, we are paid twice a month, so either way, anyone who has this card will have to pay a minimum of $7 a month to get money. Unless you take all of it out at once( which is desperate) you can double, triple, and quadruple the $7 a month fees, not to mention the breach of term fees. It is beyond a class action suit. Nina Esposito should be fired immediately for allowing this to happen, and to introduce this card to 20 union representatives on a Saturday morning rather than informing every school in a formal meeting, shows Esposito's deliberate intent to hide this, and it shows that she works for the district. I know there are many who have this card. Ask around and tell them to tell their story on here. I will be posting a phone number on here to contact me. I have spoken to others. This story will be on the news soon."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Proposal re: coaches for City League teams

Anonymous wrote:

"A proposal to allow city employees to coach City League teams -

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/06/07/Pittsburgh-City-Council-proposal-allow-city-employees-coaching-work-Rudiak/stories/201706070192

It's interesting because the article mentions a shortage of coaches in the City League. The PFT contract calls for teachers first (regardless of being less qualified than an "outsider") . For years, successful retiring teachers/coaches were denied retaining their coaching position so a teacher could have the position even if they were less qualified for the position. PPS and the PFT were behind the times as the suburban/WPIAL schools have been hiring the most qualified coaches regardless of employment for some time."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New PPS positions posted

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post - Now Hiring!

Interested in supporting transformational change within the PPS? Know somebody who would be great at it? Tons of exciting new positions now posted for certified and non-certified staff, including subject-matter curriculum coordinators, assistant superintendent roles - school transformation & professional development, a director of strategic initiatives, a director of charter schools, and a chief of communications, among others. 

https://ats4.searchsoft.net/ats/job_board?APPLICANT_TYPE_ID=00000001&COMPANY_ID=00014077

https://ats4.searchsoft.net/ats/job_board?APPLICANT_TYPE_ID=00000002&COMPANY_ID=00014077 "

Thursday, April 27, 2017

5-year strategic plan

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post - Expect Great Things!

The 5 year strategic plan has launched. 

http://www.ppsstrategicplan.org/strategic-plan

Among the hilights - creating an office of school transformation, lots of bright pictures and celebration, and a variety of phased initiatives which are linked to the council of great city schools recommendations. Also metrics for tracking progress.

Is this the answer to improvement within the PPS? "

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Westinghouse/Wilkinsburg partnership

Anonymous wrote:

"First semester results are in, and Wilkinsburg students made the honor roll and even high honors..." A different kind of "Renaissance" being built at PPS/Wilkinsburg.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2017/04/26/The-partnership-of-Wilkinsburg-and-Pittsburgh-Public-Schools-is-working/stories/201704260046 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Remove the teachers' union?

Anonymous wrote:

"I am a teacher and former union REP. Would any teacher be interested in filing a mass class action suit against our own Union and/or signing a petition to get them out, or better yet, back into the classrooms? They are the culprit, the weak, and the circle of traitors. "

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Changes in leadership at Westinghouse

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:Lack of leadership is disheartening at Westinghouse.
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/04/09/Wilkinsburg-Westinghouse-merger-started-with-frenetic-pace-but-has-come-together-over-time/stories/201704070172

Superintendents Hamlet and Iverson are without comment and Bernard Taylor is the third principal in one year assigned to a school lacking in experienced teachers. 

Concerning."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A+ involvement in school board election

Anonymous wrote:

"From tribune article 

A+ Schools is already trying to influence school board election. Watch out... this is the beginning of their attempt to overthrow the school board. 

http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/12043127-74/focus-on-pps-board-races "

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Disruptive students

Anonymous wrote:

"Nina Esposito just sent out another disgusting "bide my time" email regarding the lack of options when dealing with disruptive students and claiming in the same email that teachers don't want students suspended necessarily. She's right. We want them thrown out. Nina, what's Clayton? Isn't that an option? To her,no. Her option is to send out a survey so she can read the findings three months later when school is over. How many students are enrolled in Clayton, Nina? Is it filled to capacity as it should be? Answer: not even close. Nina, you are weaker than the Student Code of Conduct handbook. "

Friday, March 10, 2017

Four school board seats are contested

Anonymous wrote:

"School Board seats - let the games begin...
I see Cate Reed has a candidate in the race. Alternative fact, the $250 filing fee is a "loan."

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/03/10/Pittsburgh-school-board-four-of-five-seats-are-contested/stories/201703080178  "

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What's going on recently

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please

Keeping tabs on what's going on

Thoughts on the strategic plan? (second link)
http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/Page/1305

Guesses on which schools will become community schools? (Last two links)

Also info about the changing coach positions. "

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dashed hopes?

Anonymous wrote:

"**New post please
I was hopeful that a new superintendent would bring about good changes but it appears to be 'same old, same old'. With all the central office appointments Hamlet has made they also cut over 100 teaching positions just in the last month. 2 programs that schools relied on were the Wilson itinerants and the Early Literacy Specialists. Pittsburgh as we know, is facing academic and racial achievement gaps. These gaps are apparent at the beginning of kindergarten and begin to widen in 1st in second grade. Research has proven that students who cannot read on grade level by the end of second grade will never 'catch up' Linda Lane's initiative to close these gaps by creating a program where reading specialists, and highly qualified teachers were placed in the building working directly with these students has been stomped on! Both programs have proven to be effective and have shown through data that students who were well below grade level in reading were beginning to read. Instead we are going to squash what was working and put all of our chips in one basket. The so called Reading and Math coaches are going to be able to turn around schools and close the gaps. These coaches in part will be rated on the schools scores which means teachers will not want to work with them because they will not be supportive they will be demanding since their rating will be reflected by that teacher. We've already done this in Pittsburgh Public schools and it wasn't effective. Instead of coming around to the building and having real conversations with principals and teachers to see what is needed they are spending their time like all other central administrators posting their pictures with our kids on Facebook showing how involved they are. The ITL2 taught classes now they are getting rid of them and hiring a close number of reading and math coaches who will NOT teach at all. This means we will need to pay more teachers to fill the positions that were being taught. This is like every other administration who came through. They are more worried about getting their own people in and getting rid of the old without ever looking at what IS working. This is why we continue to fail our students."

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

US Secretary of Education nomination

Anonymous passed on this message:

"Pennsylvania friends: HIGH ALERT: Word is Senator Toomey (R-PA) might vote no on DeVos. Call first thing. People are getting through to his Allentown office 610-434-1444. Also try his Philadelphia office 215-241-1090. 
#resist"

Monday, January 16, 2017

PG editorial about PPS (minimal progress over the past 10 years)

Anonymous wrote:

"Here we go again with the P-G editorial board with a negative editorial about PPS.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2017/01/15/A-bad-report-card-Reforms-galore-but-little-progress-in-city-schools/stories/201701310028

What exactly do they mean when they say, "If enrollment continues to fall - that is, if more families flee the district - the schools will only get worse."? By get worse, do they mean only students without parents or support systems to foster them will be left behind? 

The P-G praised Roosevelt and Lane, the Broad Foundation, and the Gates Foundation. In my opinion, these were all smoke and mirrors and contributed to getting PPS in a mess. Roosevelt got out while the getting was good. "

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Change of principals at Westinghouse (again)

Anonymous wrote:

"New post

I want to know why the former principal was on leave for a few months, then moved to an elementary school. I don't buy that it is because she was a spanish teacher. What is the real story?

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/01/10/Pittsburgh-Westinghouse-gets-new-principal/stories/201701100089 "

Friday, January 6, 2017

T. Sumpter not seeking reelection to School Board

Anonymous wrote:

"New post

This was already shared in the comments of an earlier post, but deserves its own thread

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/01/05/Sumpter-will-not-seek-re-election-for-Pittsburgh-Public-Schools-board/stories/201701050167

Tl;dr Sumpter will not run for reelection. Sala Udin may be considering it

Who would yinz like to see in the seat? "

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A+ hiring of Republican political consulting firm

Anonymous wrote:

"Forgive me in advance if I sound rambling but I thought the topic important enough to risk being late for work to post this and ask for your opinions. The PG carried the article: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-local/2016/12/16/Pittsburgh-based-Republican-political-consulting-firm-grows-outside-the-Beltway/stories/201612120044 on December 16, 2016.

To me the most pertinent line in the article was: “Cold Spark also has made inroads with non-political clients, including work for local school reform advocacy group A+ Schools and a Pittsburgh Diocese campaign to attract more candidates to the priesthood.”

Cold Spark is described as a GOP Political Consulting Firm. Was A+ unable to find a consulting firm not affiliated with any one political party in this town? I can’t be the only person bothered by this connection, can I? The director of A+ was a guest on the show Chris Moore does on PCNC and presented much of what we have heard in the past in terms of school performance. I suppose it is time to go back and read the organization’s mission statement and try to watch the episode again. I will also have my radar up to see if any candidate references A+ while giving a speech or answering a question. This just does not feel right to me. "