Surburn Public Schools vs. City Public Schools

What type of educational standards does the American society accept and expect for their child? Article will compare and contrast two different types of schools. One school is located in an affluent suburban community and the other school is located in a poor urban area. The suburban school has twice as many students as the urban school. Both schools are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania vicinity. One school is in jeopardy of closing due to poor student achievement and the other school is a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School.

The schools are only five miles apart although they are many miles apart as far as ducational promise. What are the physical, financial, esthetic, and intrinsic values that enable one school community to be more productive than the other? When it comes to education what standards does society accept? Image entering into a cold, brick building that is dark and old. The exterior of the building is covered with graffiti. The football field is nothing but dirt and weeds; the bleachers are made of weather beaten wood. Adjacent to the football field is a concrete basketball court, the rims do not have nets and the metal backboard has not been painted in years.

The interior of the building is not much better. The paint on the walls is a dreary gray and maroon. There are wires hanging from the ceiling. The building smells old and musty. As one walks into the school you are immediately confronted by metal detectors, and a blocked off section for crisis intervention. The building offers three security guards, two school police, and two probation officers. The office is very busy, and chaotic. . The lunch that is being prepared in the cafeteria turns my stomach as I walk past. Can you believe I was describing a school?

I wonder how hildren learn in this depressing environment. “The school is so depressing and old. It makes me not even want to come to school. “The school is so depressing and old. It makes you not want to even come everyday. But I try to make the best out of it. ” Lamar Canty a senior at Peabody. Can you believe that I was describing a school? When I was a student at Peabody it was one of the top schools in the city. It was racially balanced 60 percent black and 40 percent white. Our academic and athletic programs could and did rival any in the tri-state area. The staff was very challenging and supportive.

I am so proud of the accomplishments of my peers who are successful educators, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, athletes, and entertainers. Peabody has such a rich tradition. Peabody has changed tremendously. I hope the school can be revived because, I would hate to see my alma mater close” said, Leslie Robinson alumni 83′. The school is in the city of Pittsburgh called Peabody High School. Peabody is one of 10 schools in the Pittsburgh Public School District. This school has a small enrollment of 708 students which 92. 9% of African American youth are enrolled in this institution of learning.

The class size range from 15. 2 students in a class. The school is located in an urban area of Pittsburgh that allows students from Bloomfield, Friendship, East Liberty, Garfield, Highland Park, Larimer, Lawrenceville, Morningside, Shadyside, Stanton Heights; Highlander Academies include Public Safety Magnet, Health Careers, Culinary Arts and Information Technologies Academy programs open to all residents contingent on available space. Peabody’s curriculum offers a variety of programs for there students and has several special programs and services for the students in the community.

These services are as follows Center for Advanced Studies (CAS); Pittsburgh Scholars Program (PSP); Advanced Placement courses; Public Safety Academy-magnet (training and certification for health related, law enforcement and public safety careers; partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI); Information Technologies Academy-(courses offered in Microsoft applications and operating systems, Cisco Networking systems, and A+ Computer repair; students may earn professional certification in all courses); Health Careers Academy prepares students for careers in direct patient care or health related business; Culinary Arts Academy prepares students for careers in the restaurant industry; Additional academies are planned for 2005 school year; Career Development courses include Business Education, Fashion Clothing, Foods and Nutrition; Peer Mediation Team;

Adolescent Health and Wellness Center of Western Pennsylvania Hospital; Student Assistance Team; Women’s Center and Shelter Outreach Services; St. Francis Adolescent Outreach Program; YWCA and YMCA Outreach Programs; Healthy Start; Teen Parenting Program; Microsoft Certification Test Center; Cisco Systems Local Academy; Educational partnerships with West Penn Hospital, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh Glass Center, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Duquesne University. So what seems to be the probably with this high school? Peabody has low-test scores and that seems to be the area of improvement that most of the Pittsburgh Public Schools are facing. When speaking to Ms. Michele R. Holly the assistant principle she said, ” our AYP scores are low and the government keeps raising the standards. However, it is hard for us (Peabody) to catch up because we do not have the funding and budget to be get the programs we need to get off of this list as a site school. ”

A site based school is school that the students in the area and that are enrolled in the school have a choice to go to a different school. This is a reason that Peabody has such low enrollment. Ms. Holly also said, “If the test scores continue to be low pretty soon Peabody will close. ” In the city of Pittsburgh many of these schools are close to being closed because of the students getting low test scores and not being able to raise there scores.

According to the web site of the PA Department of Education the PSSA test was started in 1999, Pennsylvania adopted academic standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and Mathematics. These standards identify what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade levels. School districts possess the freedom to design curriculum and instruction to ensure that students meet or exceed the standards’ expectations. The annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a standards based criterion-referenced assessment used to measure a student’s attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards. Every Pennsylvania student in 5th, 8th and 11th grade is assessed in reading, math and writing.

Individual student scores, provided only to their respective schools, can be used to assist teachers in identifying students who may be in need of additional educational opportunities, and school scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions and planning. In compliance with 4. 51(b)(4) of the PA School Code the State Board of Education approved, “specific criteria for advanced, proficient, basic and below basic levels of performance. The other major issue in Peabody is the graduation rate. Many of Peabody’s students do not graduate and the graduation rate is 50%. Many of the students do not go to four-year colleges. It was actually shocking to believe that the youth of today is not pursuing high education. The Pittsburgh Public Schools have programs to help students go to a higher education.

Overall, in the Pittsburgh Public Schools 71. 9% of students enroll in higher education. Peabody has a rich tradition that I feel should be renewed. One of the courses of action that Peabody is working on is the Accreditation for Growth. The Accreditation for Growth is a process that uses strategic planning as a vehicle for school improvement and growth in student performance. AFG requires the school to establish objectives for improving student performance based on a vision of a preferred future for the school. Therefore, AFG is a future oriented and visionary process. Hopefully, through this program Peabody will renew the success that it once had obtained.

The other school I went to is a subbrum school district in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pennsylvania Fox Chapel Area School District. Pittsburgh Public Schools and Fox Chapel area schools are two different environments. Pittsburgh Public Schools and Fox Chapel Area schools are two different worlds. As I enter the Fox Chapel Area campus the grounds are nicely manicured. The high school boasts a new turf football field, shiny metal bleachers, a brand new tennis stadium, a lovely volleyball sand pit, a glass enclosed swimming pool and a large parking lot containing fancy cars like Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Jaguars, Jeeps, Saab’s and many other cars. I was told that most of the cars belonged to the students.

As I entered the building I notice all of the natural light. The school walls and ceiling are windows. In the main office, a bubbly secretary, who directed me to the guidance counselor’s wing, greeted me, which I spoke to Mr. Alcorn. I first enter in Fox Chapel High School with a pleasant smell and seemed to be kept up nice. Fox Chapel seemed similar to a small college campus with facility’s any high school would love. I actually could not believe that the counselor center appeared organized and seemed to have it’s own department. Fox Chapel Area high school has a 1,566 total number of students. Fox Chapel has more students then Peabody High School.

However, Fox Chapel Area School District is a nationally recognized, award-winning school district that produces high achievement in students, with a motivated and professional faculty and an involved and caring administration. Fox Chapel is a public school with a private school mentality. When I spoke “There are two different spectrums at Fox Chapel parents who do not really care and parents who are very support some time to much. However, most parents want a better life for there kids then they had,” said Fox Chapel guidance counselor Mr. Robert Alcorn. Fox Chapel was a National Blue Ribbon School in 199-2000 and 1992-1993. Fox Chapel Area High School is 11 miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The district is made up Aspinwall, Blawnox, Fox Chapel, Indiana, O’Hara, and Sharpsburg. Fox Chapel has about 30,000 residents.

Fox Chapel’s program of studies offers a wide range of required and elective courses. Gifted students and students who require educational support are accommodated through the Individual Education Plan (IEP), which invites close parental support. Students are required to complete 26 credits to graduate, along with 6 hours of community service and a pre-approved graduation project during their senior year. Academic offerings include a menu as diverse as its student population. Five levels of French, Spanish, German and Latin are available in the Foreign Language Department. English, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science Departments boast varying levels of rigor for each student.

Additional offerings in business, industrial technology, family ad consumer science, fine arts, media, music and physical education round out the variety of choices. Advanced Placement program are available in English (language and literature), American History, Modern European History, Economics, Government and Political Science, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus AB and BC, Statistics, Music Theory, Biology, Environmental Science, French, Spanish, German and Latin. The curricula for these courses and examinations are prescribed y the Advanced Placement Division of the College Board, and many Fox Chapel students earn college credit by scoring well on the AP tests administered in May.

Vocational Education is offered at Beattie Technical School, a vocational / technical school operated by nine school districts in northern Allegheny Country. Juniors and seniors participate in vocational / technical programs such as Allied Health Technology, Auto Body Repair, Carpentry, Commercial Art, Culinary Arts and HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) to name a few. Students must apply for admission and those who participate spend half of the school day at Beattie Technical School and half at FCAHS. These programs are not very different from Peabody’s programs? So why are the students at Peabody not making the grade. In Fox Chapel must of the students seem to continue their studiers of higher education.

The class of 2004 78% attended a four-year college. 11. 3% attend two-year colleges and 4. 0% go to other types of education. How can the factually and staff at Peabody get these numbers for their students to continue there education are be successful? Fox Chapel’s motto is “commitment to Excellence” and excellence they do receive. The guidance consular gave me a pamphlet with all the statistic of the high school. I actually never saw a school that looked so put together. I also asked Mr. Alcorn about security not believing that the school had any and they did. Fox Chapel has one officer, probation officer, and three security guards. Mr. Alcorn said, “We are trying to be pro-active.

Comparing these two schools I am hoping that change can be made with the youth of the inner city. There is hope and the children that go to city schools do have a bright future even if it does not. Hopefully, the factually and staff will not give up hope and try to stay positive leading the students in the right directions. At the city schools in Pittsburgh they do not seem to promote Historically Black colleges. Many students go to state schools but, I believe that these students will feel a since of community if they are guide to something that is very obtainable a higher education. Peabody should have a guidance consular office just like Fox Chapel because the students also need help.

It seems as if the government has given up on the students that are not making the test scores instead of putting more money into the future. How can two schools that are so close together be so far apart educationally? Are the parental values that far apart? Are Americans becoming polarized again into the haves and have-nots? How can we change the segregated school systems that are cropping up all over the country? Should we start busing again? The schools that I saw are separate and unequal. Many suburbanites travel into the city to work, for cultural or athletic events and they should pay an educational tax for the city schools. Something has to be done!


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