The Trib says that the community has a long list of qualifications and qualities -- but really -- I think that there was more of a large interest and not so much a long list. The list that got promoted on the screen was long and it was pre-made from A+ Schools. And, the one speaker had a theme that was about 'going deep' in a few areas and NOT trying to go to many points but in a more shallow way.
The little voting was hardly about building 'consensus.' It was a fun treat, but to really build a consensus, there would need to be much more voting and re-voting and re-asking of ballot questions. We don't get too far when the first questions are -- what is your skin color -- and there are less than 10 questions to vote upon throughout the entire night. People in the room could see who was in the room without the need of a clicker response on skin color.
It was an interesting night among community, no doubt. But it wasn't about consensus.
I did enjoy seeing many of my top replies get warm reactions among the others in the room. I want an "open source mentality" from the next superintendent. That means collaboration is important. I want an emphasis on sports reform to continue in planning and become a reality if the plans make sense. I want that because I feel that our schools are with lower spirit and missing out on valued community interactions. Bingo! Many people expressed a desire for the next superintendent to build student and neighborhood morale by bringing all sectors of the community -- like parents, colleges, businesses and service groups -- together for the benefit of students.
Long wish list for Pittsburgh Public Schools chief made - Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewFrankly, I don't have much faith that Pittsburgh's school board and the diverse community will have great clarity in our wants. We all agree that we need a person to take the job and do well.
Community leaders and parents have a long wish list when it comes to the qualifications and qualities of the next city schools superintendent.
They want someone with experience in the classroom and in an urban school district who is fiscally responsible and will listen to the community and reduce the racial academic achievement gap.
"We need someone who knows how to manage change," said James Stewart, who serves on an advisory board working to reduce the achievement gap in the district.
Stewart was among about 90 people who attended an A+ Schools meeting Thursday night at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Hill District to share their ideas about what qualifications and qualities are important in the next Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent and what the priorities should be. The information gathered will be shared with the school board members.
The Black Political Empowerment Project and the Urban League of Pittsburgh co-sponsored the meeting.
A+ Schools used an electronic polling system so everyone could see the consensus around the room after smaller group discussions. The options used were gathered from an online survey A+ Schools conducted about the superintendent search.
Superintendent Mark Roosevelt is leaving at the end of the year to become president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Many people expressed a desire for the next superintendent to build student and neighborhood morale by bringing all sectors of the community -- like parents, colleges, businesses and service groups -- together for the benefit of students.
However, they believe the superintendent's top priorities should be continuing efforts to promote teacher excellence, reduce the racial achievement gap and provide support and instruction based on students' needs.
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based advocate for urban school districts, spoke before the discussion. He said the meeting is a good start.
"The secret to (successful) searches is the community and the board to be clear about what they want, the direction they want to go in, the process they want to follow and then following that process and being transparent about it," Casserly said.
The P-G article also talked about "morale" -- more school spirit, IMHO. Trust and morals play into the quality as well.
Being able to listen is a HUGE character trait that comes with leadership.
Sports and the arts also got a mention in one of the long lists -- and got the top support of 23% of the voters. That's a nice win too.
City schools: Same or new direction?
Citizens tell 6 school board members they want good listener, morale builder as superintendent
Friday, November 12, 2010
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
What should the Pittsburgh Public Schools board consider when looking for a replacement for superintendent Mark Roosevelt?
About 85 community members gave their opinions at a community forum Thursday night.
The top vote-getter for the most important qualification -- 23 percent -- was experience in the classroom or administration. The second highest, 20 percent, was evidence of being able to reach consensus and work collectively.
For the top quality, two characteristics tied, with 58 percent of the vote combined: being willing to listen and having the ability to build morale and inspire confidence.
The group also picked a top priority, with 28 percent naming addressing racial disparities in access and outcome and 26 percent choosing ensuring that teachers are effective, supported and trained. Only 6 percent voted for continuing the work already begun as a priority.
The forum at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Hill District was organized by A+ Schools, a public education advocacy organization, and co-sponsored by the Black Political Empowerment Project and the Urban League of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Roosevelt announced that he was resigning at the end of December to become president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The board has not yet named a temporary or permanent replacement.
Six of the city school board members attended the forum: Dara Ware Allen, Mark Brentley Sr., Bill Isler, Thomas Sumpter, Sherry Hazuda and Sharene Shealey.
At the forum, participants met in small groups and then recorded their answers on an electronic device.
An electronic tally divided participants into five regions, but the largest number -- 46 percent -- were from the East End. About 55 percent were black, and about 39 percent were white.
The largest groups were concerned citizens, 33 percent; educators, 30 percent; and parents, 24 percent.
The meeting included some expert advice from Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, and Thomas Payzant, former superintendent of Boston, San Diego and several other districts.
Dr. Casserly said some boards make the mistake of first thinking about whether they want someone with experience, certain degrees, an urban background or other traits.
But he said the first thing that must be considered is what kind of a school district the board envisions. He said board members must think about whether they want to continue in the same direction or make some changes.
He said it would take a different type of leader to build on what's existing than to start over.
Dr. Payzant said the board needs to reach an agreement on both how to sustain what's working and how to change. He recommended the board set three to five key goals.