Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Fwd: Wishing you all Happy Holidays!

--- Forwarded message ---------
From: John H

As we head into the new year it is time for those of us hoping and working for meaningful changes to the neoliberal system of oppression now swarming over the world in a desperate attempt to save itself from its own internal contradictions, we must refocus on those issues which can be resolved and, for the most part this work must be done locally.  One of the not too surprising results of neoliberal generated inequality and effective disenfranchisement of majority populations is the ominous rise of right-wing populism in this country and throughout the world.  As this is happening the neoliberal mainstream media is attempting to liken right-wing populism with the rising populism of the left in an ongoing effort to discredit left activism.  This is a danger which we must confront vigorously and the first two attachments delve into this issue. 

The first excellent piece by Jim Kavanagh, The Polemicist, focuses on the populist rise of the 'Yellow Vests' in France and other European nations that are increasingly being strangled by European Union neoliberal economic and political policies.  The second article, by Paul Street, distinguishes between the two populisms and why it is important to continue to make this distinction clear in every venue possible.  The third piece, by Michael D. Yates, discusses why all elements of oppression engendered by neoliberal capitalism must be attacked firmly and uniformly in order to insure that those in opposition will not be divided and destroyed by differences of interests and perspectives.  These are all important issues to be considered and I urge you to begin the New Year by reading all of them.

With that, I wish you all the merriest of holidays and a fruitful new year!


Friday, December 21, 2018

Fwd: Superintendent Hamlet's Year in Review

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: Pittsburgh Public Schools <superintendentsoffice@pghschools.org>
Subject: Superintendent Hamlet's Year in Review

Season's greetings to you and yours!
As the calendar year closes and the academic calendar nears its midpoint, I'd like to share with you some reflections on some of the milestones Pittsburgh Public Schools achieved in 2018. 

We are now in Phase Two of our Strategic Plan, "Expect Great Things." We continue our quest for transformational improvement through several key initiatives:
Innovation in Early Childhood: Thanks to a partnership with the Carnegie Science Center and the support of the Heinz Foundation, we expanded STEM opportunities for students with the opening of the first early childhood classroom located in a science center. Additionally, all early childhood classrooms in the district use technology. 
Achievement gaps: We have made progress in the achievement gap for African-American students, more of whom are graduating from high school (77.4 percent up from 64.3 percent). More third-grade students (45.5 percent) are reading at grade level today compared to three years ago.  
Improved access: We have implemented a pilot program at six schools to screen all second-grade students for eligibility in gifted programming, and all 11th graders will take the SAT for free on March 6. All sophomores and juniors took the PSAT for free on Oct. 10.  
New Corporate Partners: Corporate donations have enhanced educational opportunities for PPS students, such as an $11,000 donation of bicycle desks to elementary-age children at Pittsburgh Weil by United Healthcare in October and Sprint's 1Million Project, which gave 630 high school students a free mobile device and free WiFi service. 
Reduction in Suspensions: With the introduction of PBIS, restorative practices, and second grade suspension ban, suspension rates are down 35 percent compared to three years ago. 
Greater transparency: The State of the District report marks the first time PPS has shared a report that not only includes district-level results, but also graduation rates, detailed suspension information, and budget information. New District Data Dashboards with School-level results can be viewed at www.pghschools.org/dashboards.  
In addition to publishing the State of the District report online, I also shared this presentation around the city with many of you. My hope was to share some of our milestones while also soliciting your input on how to best enhance our efforts.
Over a six-month period, we convened a working group that included District staff, representatives from the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, The Heinz Endowments, and the Grable Foundation. In partnership with the National Institute of School Leadership, members of this working group studied high-performing educational systems in the United States and abroad. The group then learned the nine building blocks for a world class education system.

We've used the knowledge and skills of the working group to conduct research and planning to explore five key areas. Three of the areas are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education's District Improvement Planning process, these include: 
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Gifted Education
  • Aligned Instructional Systems
  • New Teacher Induction and 
  • Job-Embedded Professional Development.
It is important to acknowledge that 2018 also brought its share of challenges to our District, particularly the tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue in October. We felt these losses keenly and continue to work in support of one another as we seek to heal and find a path forward, both for our District and our city. 

As we close the book on this year, we embrace the promise of what lies ahead: a strong foundation for the future of our District and our students; a contract with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers that allows us to partner together in forging meaningful change; and ultimately, better outcomes for all our students and a brighter future for our city.

On behalf of Pittsburgh Public Schools, I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Dr. Anthony Hamlet 

Pittsburgh Public Schools
341 S. Bellefield Ave. | Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 529- HELP
Pittsburgh Public Schools | 341 South Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

12 days of Christmas

Written for a middle school girls team. 

Twelve Days of Christmas, traditional style where every preceding LINE gets repeated with each new verse added to total. 

    - First Day of Christmas, 1 no breath flip turn
    - Second, 2 two hand touches
    - Third, 3 fist pumps of emotion
    - Fourth, 4 poolside press ups
    - Fifth, 5 seconds rest
    - Sixth, six various stroke drills *
    - Seventh, 7 strokes of partner pulling (or kicking)
    - Eighth, 8 descending 25s
    - 9th, 9 underwater fly kicks after a dive
    - Tenth, 10 med ball trunk twists
    - Eleventh, 11 lengths of backstroke
    - Twelfth, 12 (x-yard) Individual Medleys

if x-yard = 100-yard, then 12 x 100 IM = 1,200 yards
(Could be 200 IMs, or even 50-yard or 25-yard IMs.)
550 backstroke
30 med ball truck twists
4 x 9 dives with underwater fly kicking (Bob Gillett style)
5 sets of 8 x 25 descending = 1,000 yards
36 press ups
12 flip turns without breathing
* Tips for the SIX stroke drills wild-card is going to take a blog posting. Stay tuned.


Mark Rauterkus       Mark@Rauterkus.com 
Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a 501(c)(3)
The Pittsburgh Project - swim coach and head lifeguard
Middle School Swim Coach at The Ellis School
Former Varsity Boys Swim Coach, Pittsburgh Obama Academy
Sabbatical for 2018: PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim & Water Polo 
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team


412 298 3432 = cell

Friday, December 14, 2018

Fwd: It's probably worse than you think!

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: John H

Most of us understand that climate destabilization is a critical problem for humankind and other creatures of this planet, but things may be far more serious than most of us realize.  The first attached article discusses an issue which is even more critical in a much shorter time frame – that of biological annihilation which has been both preceding and following along with climate changes.  It now appears that we may well be fairly far along in the route of the 'sixth extinction' of life on earth and this is no simple problem for us to address.  The second attachment discusses the need for labor to both demand and to participate in a Green New Deal pointing out the many ways in which such a movement can and will benefit labor if it is willing to jump on board.


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Fwd: Deadline extended for the Education Public Policy and Leadership Certificate Program: Apply by Dec. 14!

---- Forwarded message -------

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Interested in education public policy? Want to be a leader and advocate for your profession? This graduate-level 12-month online certificate program is for you!

Ohio University's Patton College of Education and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs have partnered to offer the Education Public Policy and Leadership Certificate (EPPLC) program, an engaging yearlong online program that begins January 2019. The EPPLC was created to facilitate greater understanding of educational public policymaking and provide professionals experience in real-world theory and practice. The program will also foster leadership and advocacy in the education public policy arena. To accomplish this, your online coursework will culminate in a three-day networking and capstone experience in Washington, D.C.

Students in the program will represent various vocations, such as K-12 school districts, national and international government agencies, legislative offices, professional associations, civic and private organizations, non-governmental organizations, foundations, organizations that interface with educational entities, philanthropic organizations, and embassies. This will result in a thorough exploration of the topic from different vantage points and experience, leaving you with a strong command of education public policy development, analysis, implementation, evaluation, and advocacy.  

The EPPLC program is a dynamic 12-month experience that will forever connect you with a network of peers and increase your employability in the education public policy arena.

Click here for further information, or contact Dr. Dwan V. Robinson at robinsd3@ohio.edu.

The application deadline has been extended to Dec. 14, 2018!

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