City schools increase training for substitutes

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The city school board last night voted to ramp up training for substitute teachers -- a job one administrator called one of the most difficult in the teaching profession.

The board voted to pay Utah State University's Substitute Teaching Division $12,000 to provide professional development on classroom management, instructional strategies, professionalism and legal issues, among other topics.

It also voted to pay the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Research $44,000 to provide substitutes with additional training on classroom management and small-group and individual instruction.

Both contracts run from Tuesday through June 30.

Linda Lane, deputy superintendent for instruction, assessment and accountability, said the contracts represent enhanced training for substitutes.

"I really think it's one of the most difficult jobs in teaching -- to step in and make sense of someone else's [lesson] plan and make a meaningful day for students," she said.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl kicked off the meeting by swearing in the new District 2 board member, Dara Ware Allen.

Mr. Ravenstahl on Monday appointed Dr. Allen to succeed Heather Arnet, who resigned June 30. The appointment of Dr. Allen, executive director of the Downtown nonprofit YouthWorks, has drawn praise from community groups.

"The mayor has made an inspired decision in appointing Dr. Allen, whose broad experience with at-risk youth will ensure their voices and others in the community are heard in board policy making," Heinz Endowments President Robert Vagt said in a statement yesterday. "Mayor Ravenstahl recognizes that Dr. Allen will be a powerful advocate for students and families at the center of the education reform effort that has been staunchly supported by the foundation community."

The board voted to spend $11,315 on terrorism insurance for about 15 buildings with the highest replacement costs. The insurance is protection for the G-20 summit Sept. 24 and 25.

The district will spend an additional $1,500 to lower the property deductible on one building from $2.5 million to $50,000 during the summit. That building is Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, the arts magnet located in the heart of the summit zone Downtown.

The board also recognized three employees of Pittsburgh Brashear High School in Beechview -- physical education teacher Michael Bosco, nurse Kathleen Crisanti and nurse practitioner Sister Christiana Danko -- for administering CPR to a 15-year-old student who collapsed during gym class last June. The student was revived by the time city medics arrived.

Joe Smydo can be reached at or 412-263-1548.


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