Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb meeting at Bloomfield-Garfield Corp with four members of the school board

The Bloomfield-Garfield Corp has been holding meeings about the pending fate of Peabody High School and overall high school reform. Last week's meeting included four of the nine school board members.

Some comments about I.B. surfaced.

This is nice and a bit of self-interest as my kids are a part of this option. Both have been in a language magnet since grade K.

The root of the problem is that the hard questions are being ignored. This exchange points out the frustration and the level of skepticism.

Meanwhile, Mark Roosevelt was on the radio today as a guest of show host, James Roddey. I'll quote from that show in another posting. However, it was so sad to hear the softball questions that Mr. Roddey offered to Mr. Roosevelt. Yawn.

The fact are clear. We know nothing. But, the reality is that the writing is on the wall. Kids in 8th grade should not sign-up to attend Peabody in the fall of 2009. The rumors are sustained and are killing the school. Those there now get to hunker down.

The decision can't wait for years down the road as board member Thomas Sumpter says. The ultimate board vote is not necessary as they can pull administrative strings. The vote to close the school is not even necessary as the school building won't 'close.' Rather, it will be replaced with a different set of teachers, students, goals and opportunities. That isn't a vote to close -- unless you want common sense awareness.

Includes personal experience of being in a blended school from a young adult who attended East Hills and Schenley and took IB. Question about the master plan. Question about the movement away from neighborhood schools to city-wide magnets. Question from NAACP about equity and getting clout for certain committees and how to get picked for committees. Some back and forth while answers getting unanswered and questions mount. The roboitcs program and who's decision it really is, really?

Hear from Randall Taylor:

Thomas Sumpter (19 minutes) talks about his points for the district and his bio.

It was reported that things stayed pretty heated at the meeting. They didn't get too much into the CTE (Vo Tech) possibility. Mostly, the talk was just setting the stage as to what the citizens concerns were, including concerns about CTE, Westinghouse, etc. Hope was that the next step would have been a meeting by the working group . No date was set. Further, they were hoping to obtain more information from Dr. Martin on CTE. His suggestions had been made internally to the PPS administrators and board for the past years.

Seems that the outrage from the community driven meetings has caused the administrators at the Pittsburgh Public Schools to "think again." They are meeting internally now and are expected to come out with a new, different, better and more thoughtful community process. It is messy. Elections are simple, but politics and community engagement is messy, as it should be.

So for now, Rick F., BGC, has not scheduled another meeting. In a way, it is time for a punt. The ball goes back to PPS. We'll see what they do with it next.

Updated from Feb 9, and Feb 10.

The 80+ page PDF of info with articles, board reports and such.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Called Thomas Sumpter and sent him and email this week and he did not get back to me yet.

Anonymous said...

Good evening Pittsburgh Peabody Stakeholder Committee Members,

My name is Cecily D. Randolph. I am a intern at Bloomfield Garfield Corporation from the University of Pittsburgh Master of Social Work program and a resident of Morningside. For your review, I have enclosed the following information as a update since last Pittsburgh Peabody Stakeholder meeting.

First, we would like to Thank You for your participation in one or more of the Pittsburgh Peabody Stakeholder meetings.

As of today, Nancy Kodman, Director of Strategic Initiatives, has shared PPS’s design of a new regional planning process. Once the plans have been received, it will need to be evaluated to determine if it is inclusive and meets the needs of all students.

On Wednesday, January 28, 2009, members of the International Baccalaureate Site Selection Committee and Ms. Kodman presented information on the IB Committee process and Pittsburgh Peabody data, attached is a scanned copy of that presentation.

Bloomfield Garfield Corporation has invited a representative from Senator Arlen Specter’s office to speak the first week of March. The presentation will review the federal stimulus package budget as it relates to the community improvement initiatives with special emphasis on educational support program funding and funding constraints. The presentation date and time will be announced.

You can reach Richard Flanagan, Youth Development Director or myself at (412) 441-9833 or by e-mail at or We look forward to seeing at the next meeting.

Cecily D. Randolph