Tuesday, November 20, 2007

School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To Students - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To Students - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To Students
I talked to a person in BBI today about this mess. BBI is Breau of Building Inspection. I think a building inspector or three should be called on the scene. We pay a number of these folks to make sure that the buildings are safe.

Furthermore, I think that the mayor could instruct BBI to check out all the buildings from the same era. What confirmations and studies have been done to prove to us that the other schools in that class are not just like what we face today (lies) are 'isolated.'

What about Oliver, Langley, Milliones, -- for starters.

I've asked Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to assign some of our building experts -- on our payroll -- to enter into the situation, urgently.

Some of the plaster has fallen. Granted. We agree.

The article reports this quote: ... "there's the potential release of asbestos," Roosevelt said. Bull. There is asbestos in the floor tiles and it is impossible to make that material jump out from that embeded state to prove a health hazard.

Roosevelt does not trust the health of the building beyond this school year. I don't trust the stewardship of the administration and the school board. They are pulling a quick one. Rushing. Haste makes waste. The plans need buy-in, input, and must evolve.

The present 8th graders at Frick all HATE the plan, we learned tonight. They were not asked.

Consult with the citizens first.

Additional coverage:
kdka.com - Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt Explains Why Schenley Should Close Another member of the 'Save Schenley' parents, Jet Lafean, says he believes that Roosevelt is getting bad information and that the parents committee will prove that it is more than feasible to keep Schenley open for far less money.

Update from others follows:
Note from amy moore: I know that a good number of people are on both lists but I don't want to take anyone off the IS/IB list which I plan to keep using after this High School (and Frick) Reform mess is over.

Welcome to all the new names I added to my list tonight. This is just an attempt to gather basic information of concern to PPS parents about Schenley and high school reform. If you don't want to be on this list, please let me know and I'll get you removed asap. I plan to only email once a day or every other day. This is only day two -- I'll put day one's missive at the very end of the email for anyone who missed it and can't live without it!

Only one and a half days left to sign up to speak at the special hearing on the 27th! The people answering the phone are friendly, so don't be shy. I signed up today just before 5 pm and am #60. How high can we go? If you don't want to speak, but do want to be heard, you may also submit written testimony to the board until 5 pm on the 27th (publichearing@pghboe.net or fax comments to (412)622-3624).

Letters to the editor can't hurt either.


Derrick Lopez talks in the Post-Gazette today about what High School reform will look like:

Mark Roosevelt has a press conference about the Schenley building this morning, looks like we got some of the documentation we've wanted? Links at the PPS website: http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/pps/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=281011

We look forward to some word on what we've got there from some of our engineer/architect/contractor/generally smart people in Save Schenley.


Looking for a way to take some action? There are petitions available, targeting voters. Basically all this petition says is that we'd like this process to slow down so it can involve the public in a meaningful way before any more money is spent implementing it.

Please consider taking a list of names and spending an hour or two of the long weekend talking about saving Schenley and school reform. It was actually kind of fun and I'm someone who hates knocking on doors and chatting up strangers. If I can do it, you can do it! Contact sjantonucci@gmail.com for more info.


Continued discussion of Save Schenley as the sole name vs. Save Schenley as one (strong and founding) part of a forming alliance that is not only concerned with saving Schenley, but concerned about the way HS reform is being presented *and* how every decision made now may affect not only Schenley's future, but the schools as a whole.

Maybe it would be an umbrella group about informed school reform that included and supported both efforts to save Schenley, but also addressed concerns about school reform, spending, etc. across the district.

Discuss among yourselves. ;-)


Report submitted by Kathy Fine:

The meeting on Saturday (Nov 17th) was a meeting with attendees from across the spectrum of the Save Schenley organization, including the members from 2 of the committees that grew from the 1st "save Schenley" meeting at the CL, Shawn Carter from the "Save Schenley" organizing group, Carey Harris and Celeste Taylor from A+ schools, and parents from Point Breeze, Homewood, Highland Park and other neighborhoods, all with the common goal of distilling the information about the proposed PPS High School Reform and starting a constructive, open dialogue.

Alternative Reform Committee (Committee of Save Schenley)
Summary of 11/17/08 meeting

In attendance: Sue Mietzner, Nick Lardas, Nic Solic, Jet Lafean, Celeste Taylor, Muzz Meyers, Michelle Meyers, Terri Bishop, Jen Lakin, Shawn Carter, Carey Harris, Brenda Smith, Jill Weiss, Mel Hubbard El, Michael Pogue-Guile

Remediation committee is in the process of obtaining reports on Schenley repairs from 2 yrs. ago, report from consultants from this summer and EPA documents. After receiving this info the committee will review documents and request walk through of facility.

We agreed we need more representation from Hill Community/parents.

Preliminarily identified these questions for submission to district, some of them have been addressed but we would like comprehensive plans or details:

a. What is the rational for massive movement of students? Why can’t problems be addressed with students staying where they are (increasing professionals and paraprofessionals in the classrooms, putting reforms in place there)?

b. What is the plan for the rest of the district?

c. What is the research/rationale for 6-12 configuration?

d. What is being done at the pre K-8 levels to address needs of at risk students? How effectively are those needs being addressed?

e. How will the transportation issues of moving students from the Hill to Reizenstein as well as future high school choice be resolved?

f. What will be the mechanism for the High School Choice component of the reforms? Will parents be involved and when?

More to come after committee reviews reform plan.


Ready to learn more about High School reform? Today's link: District Improvement Plan (Final 11/16/07)

For instance, on page 56, the first two points are pretty well defined. However, points 3 through 5 aren't described at all, even though they discuss redesigning the magnet enrollment procedure, the concept of district-wide choice and the planning and designing of improvement strategies for the 8 high schools they don't mention in points 1 and 2.

I confess to not having gotten through all 200 pages yet. If you find anything interesting, let me know and I'll point people toward it.

I'll try to have a different Schenley or reform-related link each day. If you're poking around the PPS site and find anything interesting, please send me the link.


Mark Rauterkus' blog has some Schenley morsels (he's a PPS parent). If you know of any other Pittsburgh blogs/bloggers covering the Schenley issue, let me know!


A meeting will be coordinated for after the 27th -- to look at what we think still needs to be done, get organized in smaller working groups, etc. But first, we must all have a Thanksgiving holiday!

That's all for tonight, since the clock says it's already tomorrow --

Jen Lakin

Yesterday's blast:

Hi all,

This is my first attempt at throwing out some gathered-together information, please send more stuff my way:

--Reminder: Special Hearing about Schenley is Tuesday, November 27th at 6 pm at the Board of Education building. There is confusion (caused by the PPS website) about the sign-up deadline for speaking. To be on the safe side, sign up by noon on this Wednesday, the 20th. Even if you don't want to speak, please support us with your presence and in writing: Persons wishing to submit written testimony in lieu of appearing at the special hearing may send it via e-mail to publichearing@pghboe.net or by faxing comments to (412)622-3624 no later than 5 p.m. on November 27, 2007. (from the PPS website)

--Assuming students can organize and rally again (at 5 pm?), can we organize food/snacks and water to have there? As much as I hate plastic bottles of water, if we brought big blue recycling bags, I guess I could stand it. Or water coolers? Any volunteers to head that up?

--There were at least two smaller group meetings this weekend, I'll send out reports of those meetings as I get them from participants.

--On the Save Schenley website there is now a section where you can post your planned or already given testimony, letters you've sent to the editor, etc. Check it out for ideas or inspiration!

--My email seems to have been mangled and I'm only getting secondhand reports from some email lists. What I can figure out from my end is that there was a question/concern about the Save Schenley name and consideration of either changing or adding a name to describe what we've grown into more fully. I think, don't quote me on that!

There is concern that while other district parents are sympathetic to the Schenley cause, they're not planning on being active (and that the mysterious $64M figure is pretty scary to taxpayers). I think it's a great discussion point -- how do we get the word out about how there are many big district changes slipping by the public, in part hidden by the Schenley discussion and still keep the focus on saving Schenley?

It doesn't seem that the two can be completely disentangled, if only because they are completely enmeshed in the District Improvement Plan voted on last Wednesday. If I've seen anything over the last week, it's that you can't separate politics from this, even though it sure would make it easier! Here's hoping that we get so many people involved that we need lots of group names?!

--If you're not on Facebook, consider signing up (much to your child's horror). There are several Schenley groups out there and it's another place where some information may show up that doesn't show up elsewhere.

Wow, for not having much to put in here, I went on and on. Please send me submissions (links to articles, meeting summaries, ideas), so that *I* won't do that anymore!

As always, please contact me to be taken off the list if you don't want these emails. Please send me emails of people who might like to be included on this list or have them email me at jendo89@aol.com

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