30 September 2010

High School Ratings & NCLB

I plan on writing much more about the school system over the next year. My thoughts lately have been on the degree to which the elementary classroom is better suited to girls than boys, at least boys like my son. But while I ponder these issues in a stew in my brain, take a gander at some other school info that has been sitting in my inbox:

Here is a guy, who for fun, ranks Ohio public schools. For what its' worth:
(Click for larger view)
From the above graph, here are his numbers for CPS High Schools:
Walnut Hills: 114.8
Clark Montes: 105.9
SCPA : 100.8
RA Taft Tech: 99.0
West Side Mon: 97.7
Dater HS: 97.6
Schroeder Pad: 97.6
Withrow: 95.0
Western Hills: 90.2

Ohio Largest Districts Compared

Here is a PDF of the full report.

Also, here is an article from a few months ago about the possible changing of "No Child Left Behind":

...the past eight years should leave us wary of relying solely on isolated test results for high-stakes decision-making. She isn't against tests per se—or even tests being used as one element in a more comprehensive evaluation system. Schools have to have some way of judging performance...

...an astonishing 83 percent of charter schools were either no better or actually worse than traditional public schools serving similar populations. Indeed, the authors concluded that bad charter schools outnumber good ones by a ratio of roughly 2 to 1.

...The dirty dark secret of NCLB is that we may know how to identify the worst performing schools, but no one (yet) knows how to turn them around in any consistent and reliable way. And I mean no one. Not the Gates Foundation to date. Not most charter programs. No one.

... "The only guaranteed strategy [for improving schools] is to change the student population, replacing low-performing students with higher-performing students." And this is, in fact, what the rare success stories—like KIPP—typically do: skim off the best and most motivated students from disadvantaged neighborhoods....

...In the 1950s, smart women, except for truly determined trailblazers, had few professional options beyond teaching. Ditto for blacks and other minorities. If you had a particularly smart and ambitious daughter, people would say, "I bet she grows up to be a teacher!" While many things have happened to public schools over the last 50 years, one of the most important is that this low-cost captive labor pool of extremely talented men and women has evaporated completely—and along with it the respect that was once automatically accorded to those who entered the profession...

...trying to evaluate teachers solely on the basis of crude standardized tests is too reductive and will likely only alienate the kind of creative, dynamic people the profession hopes to attract in greater numbers. But the question remains: How do we lure more, talented people to the profession and give them—and the many superb teachers who already exist—the support and respect they deserve? For all its faults, if NCLB has done nothing else, it's helped to clarify this challenge.

29 September 2010

Betts House Family Fun Saturday

This sounds like a lot of fun:
The Betts House will have a Family Fun Saturday on October 16 (12:30-5 pm). Blacksmith Marsha Meadows Nelson will be on hand demonstrating her trade and helping visitors make their own piece of metalwork to take home....

[Where: 416 Clark Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203]

28 September 2010

Best Tin Ceiling in OTR

During the tour of homes a week ago, we got a peek into the first floor storefront of a building on Vine Street, just north of 14th which has a fantastic metal ceiling:

Here is a picture from last year of the outside. When it was the Red Horse Saloon in the 80s, it had a flat drop ceiling covering the tin:
Because of the layout, this building will not have apartments or condos, but will be a fantastic, 3-story commercial retail space.

[Where: 1411 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

27 September 2010

St Peters Before and After

McMicken and Main, Old St Peter's:

St Peters:

25 September 2010

Finally Some Calm


As they say on the web: OMG! this weekend has been absolutely beautiful. The sky is that deep blue and the sun is still strong and warm, but the air just began turning slightly cool. In another month it will get all cold gray and rainy, but today...today everyone is out on the sidewalks, in the parks and just enjoying life. I love the way the light pours into our rooms on an evening like this.

Every window in our house is open and as the breeze passes through, it brings in all kinds of beautiful voices. Earlier, no one was playing a radio, so the only sounds are natural voices mixed with far-off sounds of trains and cars. The kids had an exhausting round of soccer today and are playing nicely with silly bandz and such, so their voices are blending in with those from outside.

Unfortunately now a preacher has shown up in Washington Park. He comes almost every Saturday. He is playing some crappy country Jesus music. Strange how he thinks that all the poor people need is some Jesus music and somehow they won't be poor or drunk anymore.

(The picture above is of the Northside Tavern from the courtyard of the Picnic and Pantry. We had a sandwich there between soccer games, and also stopped in on the Raymond Thunder Sky Carnival, which was very cool.)

24 September 2010

Little Prince Graphic Novel

Coming to a bookstore near you, The Little Prince as a graphic novel!
....drawings by acclaimed French cartoonist Joann Sfar. HMH will release an initial printing of 50,000 copies of the English-language edition on October 18,

...The idea for the project originated with the Saint-ExupĂ©ry estate, which reached out to Sfar. In an e-mail interview, the artist explained that he initially thought it was “a bad idea because there are already drawings in the original text.” However, Sfar became inspired by the idea of illustrating the narrator, who never appears in the original illustrations...

Sfar also said that the project “would be a great way to demonstrate that a graphic novel is not an illustrated book. I feel there is a specificity in comic book storytelling which allows a different path than illustration.”...

Cincy Ethnicity Map

A guy named Bill Rankin produced a series of interesting maps of various American cities using demographic data from the 2000 census. Cincinnati's map is pretty simple, but some of the bigger cities like San Francisco and New York have more colors and more striking settlement patterns. Each dot represents 25 people:

23 September 2010

Borg Christian

Green Trends Reach OTR

I'm pretty skeptical of buildings that claim to be green, especially when they require demolition or are located in former farm fields. However, it is a growing trend and there are architects out there getting rehabs in OTR certified by LEED as green. Here is the score for the Belmain (where Kaldi's was and the new location of Park + Vine):
Posted by Picasa

top green building trends to watch:

"Green building has been a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster year, and Northwest design and building communities have been at the forefront." ...green homes are generally secure from price erosion.

The smart grid and connected home... Energy labeling ...Lenders and insurers are realizing green home and building owners are more responsible, place higher value on maintenance and lower operating costs, and are less likely to default..."Rightsizing" of homes....Eco-districts...Water conservation...Carbon Calculation...Net Zero Buildings ... Sustainable building education...

22 September 2010

SF Eliminates Dept of Parking and Traffic

This news is a few months old, but interesting.

... "The demise of the parking and traffic division is good news for those of us who think that streets are about more than just parking and traffic, auto traffic,"

"The real question is has the thinking changed."...
BTW, on a follow up to the Enquirer's strange headline a few weeks ago that generated tons of mis-information, about the streetcar eliminating parking spaces, Tom Vanderbilt has a great piece in Slate on the high cost of free parking:

Minimum parking requirements are based on a form of “circular logic,” in which planners estimate parking need by looking at the highest levels of parking demand at suburban locations with free parking and no transit options. As a result, the space devoted to cars often exceeds the space devoted to humans (one study found mall parking lots were 20 percent bigger than the buildings they serviced), and the country is awash in a surplus of parking supply....

... the most invidious cost of parking lots is also the most difficult to measure: the way that they kill any attempt at decent architecture, both on the level of individual buildings and on the level of city development more broadly. Your favorite buildings, your favorite cities, and your favorite vacation destinations all have one thing in common: a distinct absence of massive parking lots. So why are these things mandated by zoning regulations across the U.S.? It makes precious little sense, and it’s high time that minimum parking requirements died a long-overdue death...

21 September 2010

Strange Tree at Vine and Liberty

According to our tree identification book, this is a Chinese Scholar Tree.

Millcreek Jungle

One thing I like about the Midwest is that the vegetation just seems to take over forgotten places like a jungle. Despite being lined with concrete and fenced-off from pedestrians, the historically polluted Millcreek River is surrounded by a growing jungle of weeds and sometimes wildlife. If you can ever get close enough, you will see that despite being relegated to a flood control device by the Army Corps of Engineers and despite being surrounded by freeways and industry turtles, birds and fish are common here:

Obama Bucks

The kids loved finding this million dollar bill:

20 September 2010

Huntsville Alabama News Video

How about a break from regular Citykin subject matter:

18 September 2010

Random OTR Building

I think it is interesting how our abstract modern mind will see something like this composition as art.

I like this too but not as a composition, but as a historic relic. Notice the door on the upper right has a timber and a pulley for lifting things up to the second floor: 

[where: Clymer Alley, Cincinnati, OH 45202] (I think)just south of Findlay Market.

Goetz Alley Peach Tree

Its a tiny thing. I wonder who planted it? 
Posted by Picasa

17 September 2010

Sure Sign of Fall

Only a few days left until Putz's Creamy Whip closes for the season!

15 September 2010

Betts House and Music Hall Engraving

The Betts House just announced their next exhibit, and the flyer had this wonderful print on the front.

1880 Democratic National Convention in Music Hall:
I'm not sure which wing the convention took place. I know that there was both a north wing called Machinery Hall and a south wing called the Art Hall. The south wing is now the ballroom, and the north wing is now filled with offices and backstage operations.

Several people have told me that they used to attend boxing matches in the north wing. In this Enquirer piece, they do confirm that the north wing did indeed hold athletic events:
In 1927 North and south wings are expanded, including the new Topper Club Ballroom (called Graystone Ballroom for African-Americans). The north wing is made into one of America's finest athletic arenas, seating 6,000 for boxing, tennis and basketball

1946: Wrestling, boxing and the U.C. Bearcats basketball team are among the sports attractions in the north wing...
Anyway, I am not sure who has been running the Betts House lately, but they always seem to have great exhibits. Here is the description of this one:
FROM QUEEN CITY TO PORKOPOLIS: Prints of Cincinnati, 1860-1890

On display October 2 through November 18, 2010, this new exhibit offers views of Cincinnati during its 19th century “heyday” from notable national publications, including Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and Harper’s Weekly. The exhibit features historic prints on loan from the Mary Baskett Collection and an anonymous lender.

Opening reception: October 2nd, 5 – 8 pm

[where: 416 Clark Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203]

Cars Kill Daily

Car kills boy walking home from school
Funeral services have been scheduled Sept. 11 for Devar Johnson, 8, who died after being hit while walking home from school Sept. 3 in East Price Hill.

The accident, which occurred near the busy intersection of Glenway and Grand avenues, remains under investigation. Neighbors said the driver, Yolanda Washington, 24, said her brakes failed.

Metro bus rolls and kills nurse
A worker helping a disabled student from an ambulance into Woodward High School was killed Monday morning when a parked Metro bus rolled 30 feet down a driveway in the parking lot and struck her.

Skateboarder killed by car
MIAMI TOWNSHIP -- A Loveland teenager skateboarding on Paxton Road was struck and killed just before midnight Friday, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Woman charged for hit and run:
A woman has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident that killed a 3-year-old boy in Logan Township in southeast Indiana.

The Dearborn County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday that Christie Shackleford Grammer, 31, has been charged with felony failure to stop after an accident resulting in death.

The boy, Jack Carpenter, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which happened around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on North Dearborn Road between Henderson and Dearborn roads.

Americans Want Transit Options

Americans want more mobility options - biking, walking, and transit should be in the mix

...Four out of five voters--82%--support the idea of an expanded U.S. transportation system. The kind of system that allows people to use their cars if they want to, but also allows easier use of other ways to get from place to place.

The poll results indicate that a majority of voters would like to spend less time in their cars, but 73% said they had no other choice but to drive.

..."In small towns and big cities alike, Americans are saying loudly and clearly that their lives would be better, and their nation stronger, if we had world-class public transportation and more options for walking and bicycling."...

14 September 2010

Roadside Haiku

I love these:

"BUILD PERSONAL WEALTH...In the Comfort of Your Home ... Read to Your Children.

13 September 2010

Railing Around Tyler Davidson Fountain


The design is fine, but did we really need this?

A Typical Weekend

Not to be exhibitionist, but rather for those who wonder what a weekend in downtown/OTR is like for us, here you go:

Friday after work and school, we walked over to the new Joe's Diner at Sycamore and 12th. The food was average and affordable, meaning we'll probably return soon.

Afterward we walked up to Ziegler Park playground and the kids met new friends and swung on the swings. It was dusk as we left the park, and I had the kids smell their way to the rear of Shadeau Breads. We noticed a very small tree planted next to the parking lot there. It had dozens of peaches laying on the ground!! We collected quite a few and when at home, I cleaned them, and the kids had them for dessert.

The next morning I was up early cooking breakfast, and ran to Rohs Hardware store for home-improvement supplies. Rohs is a great local resource, but seems they are on hard times as the neighborhood has changed around them. They used to be open early and late making keys, cutting glass and selling fishing licenses and roach powder. Now they have minimal hours and fewer services, but they are still sticking it out. Support them if you need paint, screws or repair supplies.

Later, while getting ready for our first soccer game of the season we watched a Stealth Bomber roar over our heads. I have never seen one before that I can remember. Apparently this was a fly-over for the Bearcat opener. My son's game was very exciting, he played excellent defense. My wife is coaching our daughter's team, so son and I assisted her setting up the cones and collectng the balls etc.. Since the second game was by Spring Grove Cemetery, we met up with some friends at a Northside Park then walked to their house for a lovely evening on their porch while the kids played.

Jergens Park, Northside:
Saturday night, my wife worked an overnight shift, so the next morning while she slept we walked to church with our neighbors. On the walk back we said hi to acquaintances and stopped by the garden and picked a few tomatoes.

Daughter had another soccer game at noon. Afterward, looking for a cheap lunch, we stopped in at the new bakery at Findlay Market, Skirtz and Johnstone. Since the weather was gorgeous, we ate outside in the beer garden. Skirtz and Johnstone is excellent and highly recommended.

On the way home, we happened upon the OTR tour of living, and we walked through several new condo and apartment rehabs. I really liked the apartments around Parvis Alley. We kept running into this mean looking dude in the different buildings:
I'll post photos from the new rehabs later this week.

We ended up on Main Street, where the Second Sunday on Main was in full swing, and a bunch of bikers were collecting themselves to ride the streetcar route. The Mayor was there, and my daughter was very interested in the one guy riding his bike with a bird on his shoulder. My son really, really, really wanted to get his bike, so my wife ran home with him and they had a great time riding the streetcar route together in a big group of fun people:
After that, I went with my son to meet with a friend who is rehabbing a little building on Republic Street. My son loved going in this vacant building with us as we talked about the future rehab. My son also found a Pluto Water bottle the rubble, which he took home and cleaned.

Thirteenth Street in Sunlight, taken on walk home:

We also notice that a new bar opened in this building at Vine and 13th:

Inside of Lackman bar:

Vine Street, looking north from 13th:

Soon we were home when we heard a commotion and cheering near Washington Park. I remembered that Bill Clinton was supposed to appear, so my son and I walked over and wormed our way into the crowd so he could see Clinton, but my son liked Mark Mallory better because he wore dark sunglasses and "yelled real loud".
Then we walked home and had a nice quiet dinner. Both kids finished up some homework, then son finished the last few chapters of "George's Marvelous Medicine" before climbing into bed exhausted.

And some people say you can't raise kids in the city.

Tilt Shift Vine

This was just a regular photo I took today, but it turned out looking like a tilt-shift photo or a painting.  

Sorry for the lack of posting the past week or two. I have a ton of posts half-way done, so stay tuned...

09 September 2010

A Very Large Cow


08 September 2010

Corner of Freeport and Campbell

This is the corner of two alleys. The wider alley (to the left), Campbell, is actually a twenty-foot wide back street. The other alley is just a one-block long alley named Freeport. I suspect Freeport will disappear someday soon. There once stood on this small block, 16 buildings that included a significant church, maybe a hundred residences and a dozen businesses. Gayle Smith now owns it. He demolished several buildings, and now Findlay Market is doing some raised bed gardening here. This property is on a very visible corner (Elm and Liberty), it will be on the streetcar line and I suppose it could be a major redevelopment spot.

The auditor's map of the area:

1703 Elm, last year, now gone and planted with okra:

In this 1996 aerial you can see 7 buildings that are now gone:

03 September 2010

02 September 2010

Is Cursive Writing an Essential Skill?

I think it is time to abandon teaching this antiquated and seldom used method of writing.

What would signatures look like if/when this happens? I'm thinking they will not just be block letters, but maybe each person kinda develop their own custom method of signing documents and letters.

Your thoughts?

Globe Worn

They still have this giant globe at the Downtown Library. I can remember the worn spot where Cincinnati should be from visiting as a kid: