Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pittsburgh Public Schools hears from consultants on buildings in the district

I went to last night's meeting at the Board of Education building. Consultants issued a massive report that included a plan for the various buildings and schools.

The term and standard, "Like New" needs to be fully flushed out. "Like New" is a foundation principle throughout.

We have two cars. One is "like new" and the other is used and older. Both take us where we want to go. One is paid for. The other is not.

I don't think the district needs to have all of its schools in 'like new' condition. That would be great -- if there was some pixie dust somewhere and magic could be deployed. But, getting 'like new' puts the district into a 'dream world.'

We need 'stewardship.'

Now we have something to throw darts at and discuss. Figures the P-G top story headline in today's paper is "15 city schools on chopping block." Thanks for nothing.

The plan calls for the closing of Oliver High School and Peabody High School.

I I was running for mayor, I'd be trying to find North Catholic the land it needs to have a sports fields for its students, locally, so it does NOT move out of the city. What has Luke Revenstahl done to keep North Catholic in the city? Anything? What about Dan Onorato?

Perry High School has been one of the city's best schools in recent times. But, Perry is a city-wide magnet. It is hard to imagine that Perry would be the only public high school on the northern part of the city.

Are downtown charter schools able to service that many kids from the north?

My point isn't to keep Oliver open. But, we do need great other alternatives. Perry, Langley (in the west), other city-wide magnets (I.B., CAPA, engineering at Dice, Robotics at ?, health care at Carrick, auto-body at Brashear) at other PPS schools and North Catholic and charter schools are all options.

Then comes the decisions in the east with Peabody and Reizenstein. This conversation swirls around the votex of Schenley, still closed and still very much at the center of the Muggle solution.

I passed two questions to a board member while last night's meeting was unfolding. I asked him to ask about the thought and weight, be it great, some, or not at all, to the high cost spaces in each building such as auditoriums, gyms, swim pools and grounds that included ball fields. Tennis courts, cafeterias, and places for the band to march are all part of the campus. And these are very importat to me and the health of our students and those schools.

We don't want to grade the building well because its food service area has new freezers, but not enough room to feed the students unless lunches begin to be served at 10 am.

A school with a nice gym can look 'like new' -- except when you figure out that there needs to be six basketball teams (Boys HS Varsity, Boys JV, Boys Jr. High, Girls HS Varsity, Girls JV, Girls Jr. High) and wrestling (matches are held in the gym) with Varsity, JV and Middle School, and open gym for baseball and softball (has to happen in the winter for their pre-season conditioning) and open gym for volleyball (pre-season for boys in the spring). Plus, we've still done nothing for intramural sports nor community sports. Elementrary kids often play in developmental leagues that happen at the high school gyms.

I'm more of a software kinda guy. The hardware isn't as important to me. Bricks and mortar stuff is okay, but I seek to know about the programs that occur there -- coaching, relationships, energy, excitement, teaching, playing, and overall wellness.

The 800 page plan doesn't satisfy what I care to understand about our schools. it isn't a complete picture nor report. Now the heavy lifting has to occur. They did a good job on the easy stuff.

But I worry that there is nobody around who has the muscle to do the next steps. It is hard work to point out what is missing. That's what vision provides.

See the thread at Pure Reform Blog too.

P-G article: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09307/1010355-53.stm


Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear that sports are not valued at the specialty schools. Students are expected to put all their effort into studying. But enough guessing. when does basketball season start? Are there actually varsity and JV teams? When will schedules for using gyms be out?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Winter sports can begin in an official way Nov 20. This is one week later than in the past at all schools, even in WPIAL, because of a decision to extend the length of the football season.

Students can't put kinetic energy into studies.

JV teams should be part of all the sports -- but they are not as universal as they should be.

Schedules for the practices and games -- well -- who knows?