Steven H. Prigohzy, All-Star and Best-Paid Educator!

We have an all-star athlete class educator advising us, with an all-star athlete salary! Hm, I wonder how much CUEE is paying him?

A Sun Life Financial press release of 26 February 2011, Exceptional Students & Nonprofits, All-Star Team of Pro Athletes, Corporate & Education Leaders Tackle Lagging High School Graduation Rates at Sun Life Rising Star National Summit,

“Steven H. Prigohzy, education advocate and developer of one of the country’s first open magnet schools.”
Well, that sounds like the Steve Prigohzy of CSAS in Chattanooga, whose Public Education Foundation advised the consolidated school system there.

What about this, is this just a coincidence of names? Empire Center for New York State Policy put out a press release of 8 October 2009,

According to the data, the highest paid non-professional school employee (outside New York City) was Steven H. Prigohzy of the New York Institute for Special Education, who was paid $230,000.
It turns out it’s not a coincidence. In a paid death notice in the New York Times, BLOOM, FRANCES R., 18 January 2005,
BLOOM–Frances. The Steering Committee of Cornerstone, a national literacy initiative of the New York Institute for Special Education in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania are profoundly saddened by the loss of Fran Bloom, valued trustee, colleague, mentor and friend. She was foremost a teacher in the very best sense, insatiably curious, thoughtful, patient and kind. She possessed an unwavering belief that children, regardless of their circumstance, share vastly greater similarities than differences. That commitment and her ever present support and encouragement fuel this work. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Barry, other family and her countless friends who like us are so grateful to have had her in our midst. Donna Braton, Chair, Board of Trustees, NY Inst. for Special Ed. John Rhodes, Chair, Cornerstone Steering Comm. Steven Prigohzy, Director, Cornerstone
That says Prigohzy was director of something called Cornerstone, which is an initiative of NYISE.

Devon M. Skerrit wrote for Penn GSE: A review of research, Spring 2005, Vol. 3. No. 1, In Practice: Cornerstone Lays the Foundation for Literacy,

Of the many literacy programs springing up across the country to aid students from underprivileged backgrounds, Cornerstone National Literacy Initiative takes a unique approach. Developed in partnership with the New York Institute for Special Education and Penn GSE, Cornerstone is a school-based initiative that seeks to develop educators’ capacity to effectively teach students to read, write, and think.

Director Steven Prigohzy states, “We are a literacy. initiative but that’s the vehicle for school change.” The changes that Cornerstone hopes to bring about are cultural and systemic, springing from the creation of a professional learning community among the teachers and parents in each school—a community that works together to build expectations for student achievement.

While unique to each environment’s needs and resources, Cornerstone’s literacy model includes four essential components. First, with Cornerstone facilitators assisting in asset mapping and vision creation, schools are asked to evaluate their resources. Second, to move the school toward progress in one year, a newly created leadership team establishes a literacy action plan that focuses on certain areas and skills. Third, a professional learning environment is created, including a summer institute, regional meetings, and teleconferencing among Cornerstone schools and leadership team members. And finally, to enhance performance, schools work closely with Cornerstone to monitor progress and, in the process, gain valuable experience in evaluation to build their own skills in implementing a self-review. Currently, Cornerstone is in its fifth year of operation and serves schools in nine districts from the northeast to the south. In determining which schools to target, the organization does not take applications but uses professional recommendations, demographic information, and school and district leadership evaluations. According to Prigohzy, “We look for superintendents who have a vision for the district, principals who give us a flying chance, and people who are willing to learn.”

There’s more, but that part about results in one year (later it seems to say four years) is interesting, considering that PEF’s results in Hamilton Co., TN are not so rosy after seventeen years.

Also notice two other points:

  • Don’t call them; they’ll call you. So did CUEE approach Prigohzy, or did Prigohzy approach CUEE?
  • The key seems to be to find a superintendent to actually do the job. After the consultants get paid big.

OK, this part sounds pretty good:

A Penn GSE alumna and one of the literacy fellows at Cornerstone, Rahshene Davis describes the end result as a portrait of educators sharing work and engaging in conversation about what works in advancing students’ reading, writing, and thinking skills. “It’s a reflective community,” she says, “self-evaluative, always asking questions to get better and trying to find that way together.”
But that’s not what we saw last Tuesday (or last March). We saw a lot of dodging of questions and inability to answer other basic questions.


By seeking to embed literacy throughout the community, Cornerstone is attempting to introduce school reform that doesn’t lose momentum when the program ends and the experts go home—the kind of reform that the community itself embraces and sustains.
How about start by having CUEE and the Chamber and their invited experts do their homework? If they can’t even tell us straight the results of consolidation in Chattanooga or Troup County (and they couldn’t) and they can’t come up with one single example of educational improvement because of consolidation (and they couldn’t), who are they to teach anyone reflection or self-evaluation or literacy?

And how much is CUEE paying Prigohzy and other consultants?

To be continued….


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