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 $20,000 over four years for post-secondary education.
Our CTE programs have expanded.
Through a partnership with the District’s Early Childhood Program, students in the new CTE Early Childhood Education Program will receive hands-on practical experience in the childcare center located on the Pittsburgh Milliones campus. The CTE Early Childhood Education program includes instruction in growth and development, nutrition, program planning and management, safety, play activities, child abuse and neglect, parent-child personal relationships, and laws, regulations and policies related to childcare services. Students will be prepared to earn two credentials: Child Development Associate Preschool and Child Development Associate Infant-Toddler. In total, 17 CTE programs across the District give students a head start on careers.
The Summer Dreamers Academy Celebrates 10 Years.
Since 2009, the Summer Dreamers Academy has been a premier summer camp in Pittsburgh, combating summer learning loss and preparing students for the next school year. Summer 2019 marked ten years for the program, which has served more than 20,000 students. Mixing rigorous academics with fun activities is the formula to the Summer Dreamers Academy’s success. In 2015, SDA earned the 2015 New York Life Excellence in Summer Learning Award, and in 2019 Summer Dreamers was honored by HundrED.
Free SAT Exams for Juniors.
Approximately 1,600 11th graders take the SAT exam for free, right in their classroom.
All students receive healthy meals free of charge.
All Pittsburgh Public Schools students, regardless of family income, receive free breakfast and lunch, ensuring all students are properly nourished and ready for class.
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”
In 2018, Pittsburgh CAPA took Best Musical Budget Level 2 prize for its production of Les Miserables.
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.
Eight Schools Designated Community Schools.
Eight schools - Pittsburgh Arlington PreK-8, Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8, Pittsburgh Faison K-5, Pittsburgh King PreK-8, Pittsburgh Langley K-8, Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5, Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12, and Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 – are Designated Community Schools.
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 launched restorative practices in PPS. By the Fall of 2018, all District schools were using Restorative Practices to build healthy relationships.
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. This new initiative is a leadership opportunity for elected students to share the interests and concerns of students at their schools with PPS administration and provide input on school and District initiatives.
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.
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, but 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.
Solving Problems through Creative Thinking.
In STEAM labs all across the District, students collaborate 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.