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On Halloween, Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, announced that he's attempting again to close Schenley High School and move its students out of Oakland into existing Middle School buildings in East Liberty and the Hill District
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11-05-07 Are 6-12 schools a good idea?

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Joined: 01 Nov 2007
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Location: Schenley Farms Neighborhood

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:12 am    Post subject: 11-05-07 Are 6-12 schools a good idea? Reply with quote

Are 6-12 schools a good idea?
Monday, November 05, 2007

Last week, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt proposed four schools with a 6-12 configuration as a way to improve high schools.

School officials said the 6-12 structure would promote more coherent course scheduling for students, as well as enhance a sense of community in schools. They also claim it has led to higher graduation rates and better skill development among students in cities such as New York City and Houston.

What do you think? We're looking for parent input on whether you think this is a good idea or whether you have concerns about the arrangement.

Please send your comments to [email protected].

I believe the question is, really, good for whom? I am the parent of an International Studies 10th grader at Schenley, who lives in Highland Park. From our family's personal perspective, the Reizenstein building is convenient, and I believe that a totally IB environment could be better for my son than the Schenley experience.

However, I am concerned from a citizen's perspective that the district will be creating schools that are more clearly delineated by race and neighborhood. Is this a good thing? We, as a society, have been working away from racial boundaries for quite a while. Dividing by neighborhood doesn't have to be bad, but it can be.

I also worry about placing the middle school portion of CAPA downtown. While I recognize that they have great facilities, I would want some reassurance that the district has thought through putting sixth- through eighth-graders on public buses to downtown and having them deal with all the issues that downtown has for young children.

I guess, the short answer to your question and mine is that we lack sufficient information. Why is the school district choosing Schenley to be eliminated? They cite the costs of refurbishing the building. Is that the only reason? What effect has the property value of Schenley, in the heart of Oakland, had on their decision? What effect should it have had?

--Amy McCall, Highland Park

Since this configuration requires stronger management, it suggests that the PPS is in interested in moving toward a decentralized, strong management approach. It has worked in other cities (Seattle, Houston, etc.), and I am generally in favor of a reduction in the beauracracy.

-- Sean Fogarty

I think that this is a very bad idea. Children in sixth, seventh and eighth grade have enough problems. I do not think that putting them in with high school-aged students is right. It will cause too many problems.

My daughter is 13 and in eighth grade. I certainly would not want her with 18-year-olds or even 15-year-olds.

Don't ruin things any more than they already are!

Unfortunately the Pittsburgh Public School Board thinks that the general public is not educated. Much was said about the first phase of "improving the education" proved by the system, yet not much was mentioned when there were failures. It was never a good idea to begin with housing K-8 in the same building. Also placing neighborhoods together in the same building that have a history of conflict was not one of their smarter moves. Very little was said about middle school children being moved to Westinghouse when problems arose at Faison Elementary between East Hills students and other neighborhoods. Now Mr. Roosevelt wants to do the same thing at Schenley.

I will say I am a bit biased when it comes to Schenley as I am a graduate of the school. Mr. Roosevelt is trying to find any way he can to close the school. The board never could agree on how much it would cost to repair the building. The argument that the building has asbestos problems is not going to work. What schools in Pittsburgh do not have asbestos in them? The vast majority of these buildings are over 100 years old. As many do not watch school board meetings on the city channel, Mr. Roosevelt has mentioned about the assessed value of the building and has estimated how much the building could be sold to University of Pittsburgh for. This was when they developed the first phase.

What is sad is that they are treating students as if they are pawns in a chess game.

First published on November 5, 2007 at 11:36 am
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