PPS Points of Pride: A few reasons why you can Expect Great Things at PPS!
National Council on Teacher Quality Names
Pittsburgh Public Schools Great District for Great Teachers
The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) named Pittsburgh Public Schools a winner in its first-ever Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative. NCTQ chose PPS after a rigorous 18-month evaluation of data, policies and teacher input, which included surveys and focus groups with over 300 PPS teachers, proving the District is a national leader in developing and caring for great teachers, so that they, in turn, can deliver great instruction to their students.
The Pittsburgh Promise Scholarships!
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.
Our CTE programs have expanded.
A $300,000 grant from the American Federation of Teachers to the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers is supporting a teachers’ union-school-district-city partnership to train students for careers as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The City of Pittsburgh donated a “retired” fire truck and ambulance to support the new Emergency Response Technology CTE program. The program launched at Pittsburgh Westinghouse for the start of the 2016–17 school year. In total, 16 CTE programs across the District give students a head start on careers.
The Summer Dreamers Academy receives national recognition.
The District’s Summer Dreamers Academy has been recognized with a 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, and Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy was one of them.
Free SAT Exams for Juniors.
Approximately 1,600 11th graders take the SAT exam for free, right in their own classroom.
All students receive healthy meals free of charge.
All Pittsburgh Public Schools students, regardless of family income, receive a healthy and well-balanced breakfast and lunch free of charge, ensuring all students are properly nourished and ready for class.
Pittsburgh Schiller 6–8 was named a National Title I Distinguished School.
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 were recognized for exceptional student achievement in 2015.
Google Funds Pilot Dynamic Learning Project in Three District Schools.
Driven by Google’s $7 million investment in technology education, the Dynamic Learning Project provides coaching and technology to teachers at 50 underserved middle schools across the country, three of which are in the Pittsburgh Public Schools – Pittsburgh King PreK-8, Pittsburgh Langley K-8, and Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8. The project funds a full-time instructional technology coach and enough devices and access to guarantee that teachers can take full advantage of the coaching.
Teachers receive National Board Certification.
More than 100 PPS teachers have received National Board Certification. National Board certification is the highest earned credential in the teaching profession.
The Arts are alive and well in PPS.
For five years in a row District schools have taken the Best Musical Budget Level I prize at the Kelly Awards.
2017 - Pittsburgh Obama “Sister Act”
2016 - Pittsburgh CAPA “West Side Story”
2015 - Pittsburgh Obama “SHOUT! The Mod Musical”
2014 - Pittsburgh Obama “The Wiz.”
2013 - Pittsburgh CAPA “In the Heights”
More Job-embedded Professional Development Available to Teachers.
Eight student half-days, teacher-led Professional Learning Communities, and the addition of Academic Coaches in Literacy and Mathematics increase opportunities for job-embedded, content-specific training and collaboration for our teachers.
TEALS Brings Real World into the Classroom.
The expansion of TEALS (Technology, Education & Literacy in Schools) increases access to AP Computer Science at eight schools, leaning on the expertise of volunteers from high-tech companies, students gain real insight into the fast-paced world of technology.
New Curriculum Aligns to PA Core Standards.
The adoption of new PreK-5 English Language Arts curriculum, supplemental Science resources, and supporting technology progress our work to align curriculum to the PA Core.
Implementation of PBIS at All Schools.
The school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program includes everyone, students and staff. PBIS emphasizes teaching expectations and positive reinforcement because we know that students will succeed when offered informative corrective feedback and pro-social skills. The implementation of PBIS helps to decrease disruptions, increase instructional time, and improve student social behavior and academic outcomes.
Five Schools Designated Community Schools.
Five schools - Pittsburgh Westinghouse, Pittsburgh Faison, Pittsburgh Lincoln, Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8 and Pittsburgh Langley K-8 – were designated community schools for the 2017-18 school year in round one of the phased program.
Expansion of Restorative Practices to All Schools.
The extension of restorative practices to all schools and center programs is a key strategy within Theme 1 ‘create a positive and supportive school culture’ of the District’s five-year strategic plan Expect Great Things. Thanks to a 2014 Comprehensive School Safety Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, 22 schools across the District are currently using restorative practices. Ten more schools began restorative practices training in Fall 2017, with 10 additional schools added in Spring 2018, and all schools completed Fall 2018.
Student Voice Takes Shape in PPS.
The creation of a new District-wide Student Advisory Council ensures that student voice is always at the table.
Grants Spur K-12 STEAM Pathway in PPS.
Grants, totaling nearly $900,000 from The Grable Foundation and the Fund for Excellence, supported 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 of the 2015-16 school year. STEAM programs at Pittsburgh Perry and Pittsburgh Brashear high schools began with the start of the 2016-17 school year.
PPS Goes “All In” with College Board.
To build the confidence of our students and increase their success on the SATs, we have partnered with the College Board for their "All in" campaign challenge, using Khan Academy to personalize learning for students. This resource will be especially valuable for District 11th Graders who will take the SATs, with funding of all exams by the school district, and administration of the exams during school hours to increase student access.
Mentors Build Positive Relationships.
What happens when young men of color are paired with successful members of the community? They learn how to reach their full potential, both in and out of the classroom. Through the We Promise program, African-American high school males are overcoming challenges that might interfere with their education and their success in life. Expect them to be more confident in their abilities, more responsible, and more likely to be eligible for The Pittsburgh Promise.
Earning College Credit in High Schools.
Students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades get a head start on their life’s work through our Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. A partnership with Community College of Allegheny County allows them to earn college credits in the fields of Health Careers Technology, Culinary Arts, or RHVAC – at no additional cost. Or they can select from 12 trade and technical programs that give them hands-on training in jobs that are known to be in high demand. Expect these students to be well prepared for college, career, and life.
More Professional Development Opportunities Available to Teachers.
The addition eight half days, new Academic Coaches in Literacy and Mathematics, and Professional Learning Communities in all schools increase opportunities for content-specific, job-embedded professional development training for our teachers.
Learning more at a faster rate.
Making learning fun is serious business in our Early Childhood program. By using iPads and developmentally appropriate apps, students enjoy working with numbers, shapes, letters, and letter sounds. Technology not only engages our youngest students, it also helps families stay involved in the education process. Expect children who attend PPS Pre-K to be well prepared for Kindergarten and a lifetime of learning.
District Adopts College and Career Readiness Platform Naviance
PPS is making college and career planning accessible for all its middle and high school students by implementing Hobsons’ Naviance, the leading solution that helps students prepare for life after high school whether they pursue college, a career, or the military. Naviance will help PPS increase graduation and financial aid application rates, as well as accurately track college applications, acceptances, and scholarships. The District also will be better equipped to guide students through the process of identifying their strengths and interests and exploring careers and colleges to create personalized plans for life beyond high school. Implementation of Naviance will begin with District 8th and 11th graders in February 2018.
Solving Problem through creative thinking.
In STEAM labs all across the District, students collaborate with each other and solve real-world problems by thinking about things in new and different ways. Thanks to this hands-on approach that incorporates science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math, you expect students to be excited about facing new challenges.