Thursday, May 26, 2011

P-G: Mellon Middle School students prepared at retreat

Growing up can be hard, and especially difficult is the jump from middle school to high school, said Kara Berman, a counselor at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon.

"Middle school to high school is huge because [students] are really coming into who they are as a person," she said. "They spent all their middle school years figuring it out, and now I think they have a little better grasp on it."

To make the transition easier, Mellon has designed retreats for its male and female students. The programs, now in their fifth and sixth years respectively, are attracting the attention of other school districts.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea....what about Jefferson Middle School...why don't they have a similar program ?

In 1993/94 Mrs. Cashman demanded that Jefferson be treated equally with Mellon with regard to the planned conversion of the *mothballed* Jr. High Schools into Middle Schools, her complaint being that "Jefferson has always been treated like a stepchild". So the District planned and built an oversized Jefferson to make it identical to Mellon, and had to make it equal in enrollment by redistricting Markham, historically a feeder for Mellon, and reassigning 50% of Markham children to go to Jefferson Middle.

To *justify* the entire Middle School flim flam, 6th. grade was taken from all 7 Elementary's and reassigned to the Middle schools because "6th. graders need to be with 7th. & 8th. graders developmentally"....the only problem being that the Middle schools were designed (1) structurally so that the 6th. graders were physically separated from the 7th. & 8th. graders, and (2) isolated academically because no 6th. graders could be included in 7th. or 8th. grade instructional classes.

When I asked then Super Dr. Smartschan how and when under such an intentional design arrangement the 6th. graders could interface, intermingle or otherwise *develop* with 7th. & 8th. graders in/at the Middle Schools, his actual answer to me in a public meeting...and I have living witnesses...was "before and after school" !

Things haven't changed much since then in terms of District credibility.

What has changed is that 3 of the 7 Elementary schools enrollments are now at only 50% of the schools rated capacities....a situation that will worsen between now and 2020 based on PDE enrollment projection declines for MTLSD, particularly in the K-5's. Jefferson Middle current enrollment, even with redistricting, is noticeably less than that of Mellon Middle.

Bill Lewis

May 27, 2011 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth Mazur said...

Actually, as parent of both a girl and a boy, I am relieved that JMS does not offer this program, which seems rather sexist to me. Note that girls are to discuss "image" (its title), skincare (with a sales associate from Clinique cosmetics), and Homecoming dances, among some less sexist topics, while boys focus on team building and getting involved in high school and community activities. Wouldn't girls benefit from those topics as well?

May 27, 2011 10:09 PM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

Elizabeth, girls can sign up for cheerleading at
They can cheer for the boys who will be playing football.
What are we teaching the girls? I think this is another example of sounding sexist.
Elaine Gillen

May 28, 2011 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth: Thanks for raising this. When our daughter was in 8th grade at Mellon (they only had the MAGIC program at that time), we persuaded her to skip MAGIC on those same grounds. Elaine: while girls can sign up to cheer for boys who play football, far more girls at the high school play their own sports.--Neil Berch

May 29, 2011 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Berch, did you visit the link Elaine provided? It was for youth cheerleading.
At the high school level, cheerleading really helps the girls in many ways. I'm not sure cheerleading has the same benefit for girls in grades 1 through 6.
Girls are much better able to decide for themselves about cheerleading in the high school grades. David Huston

May 30, 2011 7:24 AM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

This is an interesting dialog, but I wondered as I read these comments, "How many teenage boys want to date a girl that plays football with the boys and calls herself, 'Butch'"?

Keep the thread going, I need to pre-order my copy of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader calendar; not only because the women are stunning, but because the franchise stands-for what America represents.

- and finally, it's not important THAT a woman wears a dress; what matters is HOW she wears the dress! ;)

May 31, 2011 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so the thread has now degenerated still more with the arrival of Mr. Kendrick. Let's review. Ms. Mazur suggested that it was sexist for the school district to have programs that teach the girls about cosmetics and the boys about leadership opportunities. I seconded her concerns. Ms. Gillen and Mr. Huston then (apparently) raised cheerleading as an alternative for the girls. I guess that's because it has the word "leading" in it. I responded with a reference to the large number of girls who play their own sports (rather than cheering for the football players, or, by the way, the girls' basketball players--cheerleaders don't only attend boys' events in this the 21st century).

Then, we entered silly season as Mr. Kendrick raised the datability of girls who play on the football team (and how many are there?). A return to reality would suggest looking at the blog item on hurdler Anna Simone that appeared just above this entry on the blog. I had the privilege of coaching Ms. Simone in rec league softball when she was in 7th grade, so I guess I may have contributed to her lack of ladylike behavior. True confession (I'm on the board of the Mt. Lebanon Girls' Softball Association--and, no, Mr. Kendrick, that doesn't mean I'm on the hook for half of Mr. Franklin's imaginary debt.--Neil Berch

June 01, 2011 12:29 PM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

Yes, I think that I am getting a picture of what you might like to see Mr Birch. I am visualizing a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader actually playing football with "the guys"?Is that what you'd like to see? Personally, that thought doesn't do anything for me - although the idea of wrestling with one of these exceptional and talented ladies would be a lot of fun for both me and her! ;)

Maybe the fact that there are not any ladies on the field playing football tells you something? Primal instincts and basic facts of life almost always overcome social engineering, but please continue ...

Gentlemen, there is nothing better in this world than a true Texas woman!

June 01, 2011 2:29 PM  

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