Eleven of us met at Panera yesterday to discuss high school reform, focussing on Schenley/Frick. The group represented input from Schenley, Frick, Linden, Colfax, Liberty, former East Hills, and Westinghouse. Sorry if I missed anyone.
As usually happens when we get together, we talked about our frustrations with the admin/board who seemingly refuse to listen to our legitimate concerns. Nick, our engineering expert, repeated again that in his educated and experienced opinion, there is no danger for students to remain at Schenley for another year while better plans are made.
ACTION PLAN: The next board hearing is next Monday, May 12, so sign-ups to speak begin today. If you can take a few hours time, please sign up to speak at the hearing. We need to get the message through to this board that they should not make any more decisions concerning our children using our tax money until a master plan is complete. The rapidly declining numbers of the Pittsburgh Public Schools show an increasing distrust of this system.
Contact your board member by phone, by letter, and or by email, letting him/her know that no actions should be taken at this time that commits more money to a failing reform that does not have the support of its constituents. Individual board members might agree to listen to us. If meetings can be arranged, I am sure that a small group of us would be willing to meeting individually or in pairs with board members, especially Mark Brently, Randall Taylor, Thomas Sumter, Sherry Hazuda, and Heather Arnet, the board members who have demonstrated their willingness in the past to be open to us. (sorry for the run-on sentence).
I am very afraid that many parents have given up the fight and are willing to go along with the stated plans. After talking and listening to various groups, including the Westinghouse parents, I am sorry to say that I do not trust these plans, and I think that we need to stay vigilant to react when the promises are delayed and/or broken. Cate Reed has repeatedly stated that all of our concerns will be answered but it is May and there are still too many unanswered questions. What will happen in September if (when) they realize that we were correct and the sign-up lists didn't mean a thing. If only 50 kids show up at Frick for a program that is geared for 150, what happens to the program and the teachers of that program? Frick is having problems with language teachers now, how is that going to be solved by adding another grade with a need for 4 different language teachers?
TUESDAY MEETING: I will try to be at Panera by 8 pm on Tuesday but I am coming from church in Edgewood, so give me a few minutes leeway. Maybe we aren't accomplishing anything with these meetings but at least we know that there are others that are as concerned as we are. It helps me to know that I am not alone.
I have added a few new names to my list. If you do not want to be on the list because you are already on someone else's, just let me know and I will remove. I do not share my list and only send blind copies.
(phone #s nuked from this blog)