Monday, January 26, 2009

I.B. High should have a 13th year component. New Prep School options for PPS could do wonders.

A 2008 Schenley grad is now in North Carolina in prep school. (Deandre Kane, Schenley 08, Patterson School in 08-09). He plays basketball. He wants to get a full-scholarship. He wanted to do better in the classroom and in the sports arena. He is taking 13th grade.

Many of the kids who go to West Point and the other military academies also go to a prep school.

The new I.B. High (whatever its name) could provide a 'prep school experience' -- as in 13th grade -- for all the kids who graduate in good standing from any Pittsburgh Public School.

This 13th grade option would help with students who want to get the full IB Diploma, but need more than 2 years to do the work, pass the tests, etc.

The 13th grade option could be for kids who graduate from Westinghouse, Langley, Carrick, Perry, etc, -- who do not want to go straight into college. Perhaps, they didn't get the college of their choice. Rather, these students can take I.B. classes at IB High, save money, yet still get college credit (often) and mature in their book strength and test scores.

The leader of the Pgh Foundation, (Grant O) spoke at a public meeting last year (to Wireless Neighborhoods Annual Meeting) and he said that only 20% of the kids who graduate from college in PPS are able to graduate from college. The greater majority of the few that we do send to college don't succeed there.

I.B. High could strengthen its numbers by offering 13th grade. Kids from suburban schools might choose to go here too. Tuition can be charged to those outside the district, of course.

The PREP experience is NOT like CCAC. Kids who go to CCAC begin the four-year eligibility clock in terms of NCAA sports participation. So, CCAC as a viable option is a problem for a kid who is working to get a sports scholarship. With CCAC classes, those students won't get the sport-scholarship aid nor even be recruited.

The 13th year option would have a wonderful impact with the FOUNDATION COMMUNITY and the Pittsburgh Promise. (It should, in my not so humble opinion.) It is not prudent to send kids to college and have them rack up costly tuition bills only flunk out. That would drain the hope and the limited funds associated with the Pittsburgh Promise. It would be better to pay for the Pittsburgh Public Schools to handle the delivery of 13th grade for some who really want to work at the rigor of the I.B. classes and exams -- and then go to college the following year. Pittsburgh Promise funds could be invested into Pgh Public Schools for this 13th year option as a prep year before college.

We should investigate and discuss and perhaps INSIST that the new I.B.School have a 13th year program.

For the sake of clarity, do not confuse U-Prep with a Prep Year. Pittsburgh Public Schools is opening a University Prep School in The Hill District. It will be a 6-12 school. It has nothing to do with this concept of a prep year at the I.B. High.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Plus, this role, as principal/coordinator of the prep mission within IB High, might be a perfect place for the existing Schenley Principal, Ms. Facaros.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The Community Committee that was assigned to look at a long term home for I.B. High picked Peabody as its location.

Folks from the community are gathering w the Bloomfield Garfield Crop to talk about those ramifications.

Peabody's building is big. It can host the 6-12 with I.B. without a problem.

Peabody's building could also accept the 13th year as well.

The PREP year option might be a good selling point for PEABODY's community / Bloomfield Garfield Corp meetings. Sure, the loss of a 9-12 comprehensive school isn't great, but getting the kids who choose it an extra year, 13th grade, and dove-tails w Pgh Promise, and have that there at Peabody would be a plus.

Dave Podnar said...

Regarding the size of the schools. Most of the schools are large enough they could host additional uses. I went to Greenway in 83. A school that size could be used for many community uses or even retrofitted for apartments. If the neighborhood wasn't so dangerous.
They have done it factories after all.