Movies: The Providence Effect

It's only a little more than a year old but I only heard about this documentary The Providence Effect when I was talking to a school board member in Los Angeles so maybe you missed it, too?

Anyone ever gone to or taught at PSM?  When I was a kid all I knew about Providence St. Mel was that they had a great basketball team.  Later on I heard that my old Francis Parker principal, Dren Geer, had moved over to the school and there were a few Parker kids teaching there, too. The school has a fundraiser on the 21st.


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  • Yes, Alex.

    When I was there, PSM administation cherry picked students for enrollemnt. Thus, they were getting the best of the neighborhood. Most disturbing was PSM luminaries would bragg about their high standards and that only fifty percent of incomming freshman would graduate four years later. Why is it they can laud themselves with a failure rate of fifty percent? If a student did not fit the PSM model, they were quickly dumped on CPS. If a student had any conginitive difficulties, PSM like other private schools, did not have the facilities to help that child.

    The greatest insult was down in the cafeteria were posters that defined success: it was all pictures showing material wealth. Also, when the president or principal spoke to parents, school leaders would tell them they were preparing students to be professionals such as doctors and lawyers, never teachers. In fact, while I was there, the president showed little respect for staff and seldom engaged in warm conversation. It was beneath him.

    While working at PSM, it was a 7 to 4:30 day, everyday if you were lucky. You were required to do cafeteria duty, sub for free and take on other responsibilities outside of the classroom. When I made the jump to CPS, I made 10k a year more and had a shorter day. One of the directors at PSM told me I was not alone because the turnover rate was approximately 50% every two years. Yes, the staff was rather young.

    In sum, PSM is not the school for everyone and because they have selective enrollment their system is not as great as it is reputed. For example, when PSM took Fry money and expanded student poplulation by lowering their requirements for enrollment, the school's problems increased such as higher failure rates. The facade that PSM is an oasis in the desert is a myth. They are a private school that chooses who gets in and if you don't fit there model you are out. The staff and resources are no better, and a lacking in many ways, as compared to any other CPS school.

  • I have had both personal and professional experience with PSM and must say that they are truly a diamond in the rough. Those who are not familiar with the inner city streets would not understand or support the PSM motto or mission. Yes, there is selective enrollment, but what about Whitney Young which was once predominately black and has now been bombarded by Asian and White students who don't even live in the area. I think it's wonderful that PSM is taking the best of the best. Leave the other crap to CPS since they are so good at handing it out. If I was paying tuition at a school such as PSM, I wouldn't want it any other way. PSM just like ALL Catholic Schools are not required to accept students who do not fit the school's model. Sad.....but true. Hooray for PSM. And for the record, the previous writer has out dated information. The retention rate of teachers as of 2010 is 8 years.

  • It shameful and wrong that you refer to students with congnitive disabilities as "crap."

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