Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My letter to PPS Board Member Hazuda

Updated below:

Hi Board Member Hazuda,

We talked at the A+ Schools Meeting and you seemed to not be able to firmly LOCATE the source of the PROMISE to the students who are presently High School Juniors at Pgh Obama, (first class that isn't Pgh Schenley), Class of 2012.

The promise to those kids was made as that class needed to stay in the basement of Frick, their middle school, in 9th grade -- and NOT have a move to Schenley nor with the others in high school at Reizenstein.

The promise said that they would NOT need to need to MOVE again as a move to Reizenstein was for 3 years, at the shortest.

Well, the best source of this promise has been found -- it is the BOARD OF EDUCATION with Pgh Public Schools. TWICE this YEAR the board voted to move the IB Program, Pgh Obama, into Peabody in the fall of 2012 -- NOT sooner.

The plan, all along, has been made clear that the move to Peabody would NOT in the fall of 2011, but would be in the fall of 2012.

I have this on video tape also from Mr. Lopez.

The board voted. That is the way it should be. The promises were made. To change this now is not welcomed.

We would welcome a solution to the tiny middle school gym problems that have been pressing on the school forever -- with the availability of use of the gyms at Peabody and Reizenstein throughout the 2011-2012 school year. We can't fit all the activities into one middle school facility. There are pressing headaches. These can be resolved in that year while the Peabody school gets its touch ups.

Another promise from the IB Site Selection Committee was to relocate the program to a PERMANENT HOME in the fall of 2012 AFTER some renovations were made.

We now hear that no renovations are going to be made.

That Peabody building is 30 years since an update. Sci-Tech got an update. Westinghouse got an update. Carrick got an update. CAPA and now Rodgers got an update! Peabody is missing two computer labs needed that Reizenstein has. The rooms in Reizenstein, while not perfect, are hooked up with six ports for the internet -- missing in the Peabody classrooms.

Summer Dreamers had a BIG site in 2010 at Peabody -- and that should be able to happen again in 2011 summer. So, it makes sense to do the upgrades of the facilities in the fall and winter of 2011-2012 and get the school in top shape for 2012 fall.

This is an all city magent. Kids from all over town go to this school. Everyone should take some care to see that everyone's academic integrity isn't totally washed down the drain on this shifting target still in the wake of closing Schenley.

Finally, I do greatly welcome the change to the single gender academy at Westinghouse in that they will be "ALL CITY MAGNETS." Great. That is something that I pushed for. It makes sense. Kids from the West End should be able to go to Westinghouse, if they choose to do so. Well done with that move.

a reply:


Thanks for your investigation. Because of questions raised, that information was recently provided to us.
While you are an advocate of holding off the move into the Peabody building, we are also receiving communications from stakeholders in favor of the move. As with most things we do, a variety of folks are looking from a variety of angles and the result is a variety of opinions.

Glad to hear you're in favor of the Westinghouse work. It's important that folks understand the opportunity that is being presented there.

Take care,

Thanks for the reply.

Let's look a bit deeper:

+ The only folks I know that are in favor of the move urgently would be MORE in favor of getting access to BOTH FACILITIES, Reizenstein AND Peabody for after school efforts for the duration of 2011-2012 school year.

We need the gym space. That is pressing. But, give use of the gym space URGENTLY. Allow us to work in some intramurals, space for practices, space for clinics for the entire city even. Give use of both gyms and fields and pools for middle and high school use.

Then the academic move can happen in a smooth transition in the fall of 2012.

Presently the auditorium at Peabody is used by the students at Reizenstein -- for the Schenley musical, for example.

I hope you figured out the half-day ROBOTICs issues and how moving the academic elements of IB won't impact ROBOTICs students.

ALL STAKEHOLDERS of PPS are very interested in PROMISES, be they Pgh Promise or School Board Promise or Administration Promises too. No doubt, this promise and VOTE was made. Getting yanked around and getting skeptical of promises is something that needs the highest level of honesty.


John Tokarski said...

The most important stakeholders in this discussion should be the students who were promised not to have to make another move during the remaining high school years, and the parents who lived by that promise that are tax payers. A small group of citizens, who are involved in this discussion for their own, single vision concern, should not be considering an over-ruling majority in making this decision.

In addition, there were promises made to the current 11th grade class at Obama about renovations, amenities and the like at both the temporary Frick location that they were housed at and at the Reizenstein facility that never happened...just as there isd a need for such renovations to be done at the Peabody structure.

At the very least, I am honestly
hoping that there is some intent to repaint the interior and to remove the facade off of the structures windows at the Peabody location and allow sunlight in to that structure. Attending school there is like living in a closed-in box, and for argument sake on this one, very simple renovation need, that there are studies that have proven the positive effects that that sunlight has on the human attitude and temperament...so without doubt such renovation will only have a similar positive effect on students desire and ability to learn.

Keep the promise ...as you tell the students to do!

Questioner said...

A promise isn't any less a promise just because some stakeholders later say they favor action other than what was promised.

Now if everyone who relied on the promise releases the district from that promise- it's another matter. That would be all the 11th grade students of course, and also 10th grade students who depended on having to spend only one year at Peabody.

Re: removing the facade- PPS staff indicate it is a $10M project. Remove the ceiling plaster at Schenley (for far less than $10M) and you will have a building as safe as McKelvey/ Miller African Centered Academy- windows and all.

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