On Wednesday, February 27, the Pittsburgh school board will be voting on critical issues related to the future of Schenley, Frick, and Milliones, and the students who will be attending those schools. As I understand it, the 4 issues to be voted on are:Keep Schenley High School open. Put the University Partnership program into Schenley High School too.
1. Move grades 10-12 of Pittsburgh Schenley to Reizenstein for the fall term.
2. Establish the robotics program at Pgh. Peabody.
3. Add 9th grade to Frick ISA.
4. Open Univ Prep at Milliones starting with 9th grade in the fall.
Three committees have been actively working to research our options and develop alternative plans that will maintain the Schenley experience while being mindful of the challenge of increasing student achievement and reasonable use of taxpayer funds. Those of us who have been involved in the discussions of the future of Schenley do not want any decisions to be made before complete information is available and all viable alternatives are considered.
If you are not a member of one of these committees, you can contribute in a very important way: PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER AND EXPRESS YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING VOTE. The board members are voted into office by the residents of the city and should be voting in the best interests of the citizens.
If you have been reading my previous emails and the emails of Jen Lakin, you are aware of my views on the subject but I am going to repeat some of the information/beliefs that I have already stated.
Schenley, the building, is definitely worth saving. The cost to make the building useable is not $64 million. According to Nick Lardas, our committee resident expert, the building is safe for use. If plaster is a problem, it could be safely removed during the summer. (Nick's complete speech to the board is in one of my last emails.) The building committee is actively at work with some very experienced knowledgeable people volunteering their time.
Schenley, the school, is definitely worth saving. The proposed move will eventually divide the current student population into 3 separate schools. The proposed university prep will create a nearly all African-American school which does not seem in the best interests of the students or our city. The school within a school has worked well, benefiting all groups. There are high schools in the city with much lower performance ratings than Schenley; the reform should not begin with a successful school. Spartan Spirit is very real and very much alive. High school is more than academics.
The central location of Schenley is critical to its success. Public transportation is readily available. Rigorous academic programs should be in the vicinity of the universities and the resources of those universities utilized.
Moving the freshman class to Frick for even a year will be a logistical nightmare. Students and teachers will have to travel between the schools for classes and extracurricular activities. Parents have been complaining about the world language teachers (or lack of) at Frick for several years; adding ninth grade will further complicate a bad situation. Students who are unhappy with another year in the middle school building will opt out of international studies to go to a "real" high school.
I know that I have not covered all of the facts or feelings about the Schenley situation but I want to get this sent. I hope that many of you will take the time to call or write your school board member. This vote is critical.
We can't let the city schools make a new high school within an older Middle School Building that is only full of black students.
We don't want to re-open Reisenstein's building for a school. That school building does NOT have any windows. It doesn't have a stage. It was set up as a middle school -- not a high school.
Sell the Reisenstein building.
Sell the Board of Education Building too.
Keep Frick Middle School as it is -- but with better language teachers. We've been upset with the language teaching and learning at Frick for years. The bi-lingual teachers need to be given contracts in March for the next year. And, if they are not top flight, they should NOT have their contracts renewed. Frick is a fine middle school.
Moving all the programs to new locations and the fix up for the different buildings is very expensive.