Tuesday, January 29, 2008

buzz about schools (from Jen and Amy)

Now that a strike has been averted and we assume that attention can and will turn back to Schenley and High School reform.

-- Tonight, Tuesday, January 29, 2008, the Administration is scheduled to give another “workshop” about High School reform (including Schenley) to the School Board. This isn't a public hearing, but the public can go and see the meeting (6 pm at the BOE building). If you have questions you'd like your board member to ask, please contact him or her tomorrow. Here's the generic email address for all board members: boardoffice@pghboe.net. (Though a phone call couldn't hurt, either.)

My concerns focus on postponing all decisions about building closings/openings and hiring of architects and contractors until the board itself feels it has a clear vision of where the district is heading. Most of the plans focus on the East End currently. What are the plans and vision for reforming the other high schools in the district?

Here's hoping this workshop will have more of these sorts of details, rather than more discussion of “excellence” and “rigor” - I think we've all signed on to those ideas!

A group (of which I'm a part) that developed out of interest/concern about the big picture of reform continues to meet. If you'd like a copy of the document that lists our initial and follow-up questions as well as the answers we've received and the questions we still have, let me know and I'll mail it out. One of our main concerns is that committees get formed and plans get made with no parent or community input sought until after the fact. If you're on a committee, let us know, we'd love to hear how that happens!

-- Interesting find on the A+ Schools website - meetings about the new high schools are planned: http://www.aplusschools.org/excel.html.

The IB, University Prep, CAPA, Science and Technology all have meetings listed, as well as two different listings for career/vocational education information sessions. However, the first of the meetings isn't until the end of February and others aren't scheduled until May. While they are described as seeking input, I imagine that most plans for the fall will have already been made.

-- Next public hearing is scheduled for February 18th, at 7 pm. That's the last public hearing before the scheduled vote on closing Schenley on the 27th. Of course, that vote could be tabled by the board or by the superintendent at any point to allow for more information to be presented and planning to take place.

Jen Lakin

One semester down, one to go! Hard to believe that we are at the halfway mark. A few things that I wanted to point out:

Schenley parents who have problems getting information from your son or daughter can check the daily bulletin on the Schenley web site. It looks like they are updating it now. It has information about testing, school visitations, etc.

Athletics: Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge sports fan and the Schenley teams could always use some more support. Apologies to the wrestling team; I think that I missed your season. The swim team is doing very well. They have a home meet against Allderdice this Thursday at 3 pm. Allderdice has DOMINATED city swimming for 30 years but Schenley has some excellent swimmers this year and has a GOOD chance to beat them. It would be fantastic to have the stands filled with Schenley supporters.
Basketball: the boys team deservedly gets a lot of publicity but the girls' team this year also deserves some notice. Wednesday's games are against Oliver (girls at home at 7:30, boys at Oliver at 3). I haven't managed to see any of the boys' games but the 2 girls' games were a lot of fun. The girls dominated their city opponents with some really exciting moves.
Theater: this is slightly off-topic but I wanted to bring it to your attention. Schenley parent, Larry John Myers, is appearing in the Public Theater production of Amadeus. I have been a Public Theater subscriber for more than 20 years and think that this is one of the best plays that I have ever seen them do.

IF you have any news to share concerning Schenley, Frick, elementary language magnets or international studies, send it to me and I will share with the group.

amy moore

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