PPS Points of Pride
A sampling of why we proudly say We Are PPS!
- In 2007, the District announced a $100 million commitment by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to fund The Pittsburgh Promise. The Promise is a community gift to help families plan, prepare and pay for education after high school. Graduates of the Pittsburgh Public Schools may be eligible to earn up to $30,000 over four years for post-secondary education.
- PPS solicited and won more than $80 million in private and public grants to support its Empowering Effective Teachers work to ensure that there is
a highly-effective teacher in every classroom, every day.
- Approximately 115 PPS teachers have received National Board Certification. National Board certification is the highest earned credential in the teaching profession.
- Entire schools are being celebrated for making extraordinary gains in student achievement through the Students and Teachers Achieving Results (STAR) program. PPS schools earn STAR status by being within the top 15% (or in some cases 25%) of Pennsylvania schools for student growth. District special schools may also receive recognition if they meet STAR student outcomes criteria based on each school's student population.
- In 2013, PPS was awarded a grant of $930,367 from The Heinz Endowments to launch the National Math and Science Initiative’s (NMSI) comprehensive Advanced Placement Program to Pittsburgh Brashear High School and Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy. You can read more about this work in the New York Times piece Spreading the A.P. Gospel to Nurture Scientists and Engineer Out of 289 Pennsylvania high schools, Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy had the largest percentage increase in passing scores for AP courses in math and science in 2014. Pittsburgh Brashear had the second greatest. Read more in the New York Times follow up piece Incentives Aid A.P. Science and Math Scores. For the start of the 2015-16 school year the NMSI program was additionally implemented at Pittsburgh Allderdice, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 and Pittsburgh Carrick High School.
- All Pittsburgh Public Schools students, regardless of family income, receive a healthy and well balanced breakfast and lunch free of charge. In 2016, the District received recognition in the Breakfast Basics: A Comprehensive Look at School Breakfast in Allegheny County, a report released by Allies for Children and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank during National School Breakfast Week. The report noted that "for the past three years, the District has been in the Top 10 Allegheny County school districts serving the highest percentage of students breakfast at school."
- July 2014, The District announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) granted a three year approval of its teacher growth and evaluation system, affirming Pittsburgh Public Schools’ (PPS) approach to teacher evaluation. This approval provided the stability the district needed to continue its efforts to provide teachers information about their practice and ensure all students experience the high-quality instruction they deserve. The District previously received a one-year approval for the system, developed locally through extensive research and collaboration.
- Graduation rates reached 77.4% in 2014, with the largest gains driven by African-American students. The 4-year- cohort graduation rate is based on the number of students within a group who graduate within four years. Graduation rates are reported a year later to account for credit recovery programs. From 2011 to 2013, the district rate for all students increased 8.9 percentage points from 68.5 percent to 77.4 percent. Additionally students of both genders and all racial groups saw increases in graduation rates.
- Attendance at the District’s Annual Take a Father to School Day continues to grow. In 2014, more than 6,000 fathers, uncles, big brothers, significant male role models packed District schools and early childhood centers to spend a day with their with a special child in their life. In 2012, Take a Father to School Day received the Magna Award from the American School Board Journal, the National School Boards Association and Sodexo.
- In 2014, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 and Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 ranked 16th and 46th by U.S. News and World Reports Best Schools for the state of Pennsylvania, putting two District schools the top 10% of schools in state!
- Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 ranked #7 on the 2014 Shell Oil Company and Children at Risk Pennsylvania's top STEM schools. Pittsburgh Science and Technology 6-12, ranked #30, and won the 2014 PA Gold Ribbon for their STEM work with economically disadvantaged students. Pittsburgh Allderdice High School also made the list, ranking at #85.
- The Arts are alive in well in PPS. For three years in a row District schools have taken the Best Musical Budget Level I prize at Kelly Awards. In
2015, Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 won Best Musical Budget Level 1 for its production of “SHOUT! The Mod Musical” and cast member Marnie Quick won best actress for her portrayal of Orange Girl. That same year Pittsburgh Allderdice’s Larry McKay took the Lead Actor award for his portrayal of J. Pierpont Finch in the school’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
In 2014, Pittsburgh Obama won Best Musical Budget Level I for its production of The Wiz. Cast member Marnie Quick once again won Best
Actress. This time for her portrayal of “Tin Man.”
In 2013, Pittsburgh CAPA took home 7 awards for its production of “In the Heights, including Best Musical Budget Level I and Best Actor.
- On April 8, 2015 District leadership, staff, students and community partners came together to launch STEAM in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Grants, totaling nearly $900,000 from The Grable Foundation and the Fund for Excellence, are supporting the District’s plan to develop a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) K-12 pathway. Three STEAM programs at Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5, Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 and Pittsburgh Woolslair PreK-5 launched with the start off the 2015-16 school year. STEAM programs are set to launch at Pittsburgh Perry and Pittsburgh Brashear high schools with the start of the 2016-17 school year.
- Students at Pittsburgh Brashear made history by participating in the Inaugural Unified Track and Field Championships during the 2015 Pennsylvania State Interscholastic Track and Field Invitational and bringing home the gold medal. As a Unified Sports Team, students with disabilities and their peers partners compete as meaningful members of the same team.
- In June 2015, the American Federation of Teachers announced a grant of up to $300,000 to the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers to support a teachers union-school district- city partnership to open a program to train students for careers as police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians. The union will also train guidance counselors on the benefits of Career and Technical Education.
- July 2, 2015 marked the second year in a row, roughly 97 percent of District teachers demonstrated effective performance according to cumulative results from the 2014-15 Educator Effectiveness Reports. The results additional revealed that a growing number of teachers performed at the highest level, with 49 percent demonstrating Distinguished performance. This marked the third year District teachers have received the reports, which, starting in 2014, were used for end-of-year teacher ratings under state law Act 82 of 2012.
- On September 3, 2015 the District announced that Certified Public Accountants Maher Duessel has issued an unmodified opinion of its audit of Pittsburgh Public Schools December 31, 2014 financial statements. The group also reported no findings related to the District’s internal controls.
- In October 2015 the District’s Summer Dreamers Academy won a 2015 New York Life Excellence in Summer Learning Award! The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and the New York Life Foundation honored four high-quality programs nationwide. And, Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy was one of them.
- October 2015, We Promise Program Manager Jason Rivers was recognized locally and nationally for his community engagement efforts. On October 15, 2105, he was awarded the Pacific Education Group’s Family Engagement and Community Empowerment for Racial Equity Award at the 2015 National Summit for Courageous Conversations. On October 19, 2015, Mr. Rivers was presented locally with the Jeron X. Grayson Community MVP award.
- On November 12, 2105, Mayor William Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety joined the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) to announce a special partnership designed to expose local students to careers in the public safety sector. The City of Pittsburgh has donated a “retired” fire truck to support the District’s new Emergency Response Technology CTE program. Supported by a grant of up to $300,000 from the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund, the new program is set to launch at Pittsburgh Westinghouse for the start of the 2016-17 school year.
- On December 16, 2015, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released results from a recent audit report on the School District of Pittsburgh that found the District’s “actual financial results consistently outperformed budget expectations.”
- According to the report, the District’s efforts to turn around its finances have placed it on sound financial ground, resulting in a general fund balance of $129.2 million in 2014. The audit further found that “not only did the actual financial results outperform budgets, there were operating surpluses from 2011 through the end of 2014.”
- Operating surpluses over the past four years were driven by:
- Lowering debt service by reducing debt by $142 million, or 29 percent,
- Reducing staffing levels to align with declining enrollment, and;
- Selling used buildings that generated $13 million in revenue
- On January 4, 2016 The National Title I Association announced that Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 was named a National Title I Distinguished School by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 is one of up to 100 schools throughout the country, and one of two in Pennsylvania, that is being recognized for exception student achievement in 2015.