• Community Feedback

    At each State of the District engagement session, participants were placed in groups of 5 to 10 people and received a handout with a draft abstract of each of the five areas: Early Childhood Education, Gifted Education, Aligned Instructional Systems, New Teacher Induction, Job-Embedded Professional Development. The draft abstract statements were read out loud and each participant had the opportunity to provide their feedback for each of the five areas by answering three questions.     

    • What resonated with you? 
    • What wonderings do you have?  
    • What is missing?  

    The summary included below reflects the feedback of the SOD presentations* on October 10th, 11th, 12th, 23rd and November 1st. The page is organized by topic with the feedback received from the various stakeholders pertaining to each question. The numbers in parenthesis reflect the number of times the same type of feedback was received. The feedback received will support the development of action plans to enhance existing efforts or create new initiatives in each of the five areas listed below.     

    For best viewing results, we recommend screens larger than 720px (iPad, tablets, laptops, desktops). 

Early Childhood Education: What Resonated With You?

To best capture how much a word or phrase resonated with each audience, the words have been enlarged to show a greater number of people resonated with the word or phrase. In addition, for items that resonated but not as much, the words or phrases are in a different color. Hover over the larger words to view additional comments.

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) is committed to providing students
birth through 8 yearsWhat resonated with you:
"Length of EC (Birth through 9)" (12)
"Firm foundation from birth to 8; long time to lay a strong foundation."
"Starting at birth for EC."
"I'm excited about the birth through 8 idea... normally outside of scope of what we offer."
"District does not have a history with students from 0 to 3."
"District is mindful that schools is not compulsory until 8."
"Dramatic change in structure."
"Going to age 8. Think of EC as Pre-K."
"A lot to take on in terms of birth through 8."
"Kids are pretty impressionable when they are young. We want to make sure they get to Kindergarten ready."
"Engaging with parents and partners when they are young is a critical part of it."
"The school district is making themselves available.”
"Such a large developmentally diverse time frame."
"Academic foundation as a first step resonated with me."
"District recognizing the need of starting at birth."
"Great vision, but have not seen any tangible evidence. Talks around the city for so long. Need meeting of the minds to make this work."
"The importance of early education."
of age with the social-emotional and academic foundational skills that are necessary for success throughout their educational career and life. We recognize that
we can't do this work aloneWhat resonated with you:
"I like that this is a collaboration of community partners coming together."
"It is not all on PPS."
"It is a collaboration of helping our youth birth-8 years."
"I also liked the need for committed community partners."
and will need committed community partners that can actively support our birth to age 8 efforts and support families within the school and broader Pittsburgh community.

For PPS to succeed, we will:

  • Intentionally design learning experiences to ensure that all children are educated to high level academic and social emotional standards within a
    joyful, warm and nurturing environment.What resonated with you:
    "Intentionally design learning experiences." (3)
    "...joyful, warm and nurturing environment." (3)
    "Important and lofty goal."
    "The word safe needs to be included in the kind of environments."
  • Ensure
    social-emotionalWhat resonated with you:
    "Whoa! Slow down! A lot for the age range."
    "Social-emotional learning is vital."
    "To ensure SE skills and awareness."
    "Focus on the social emotional for kids."
    "Important to look at non-academic barriers."
    "Help children overcome trauma."
    "The skills and developmental play are critical for practice, coordination and that is appreciated."
    "Self-awareness, self-management, the earlier the better."
    skills development includes: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills and social awareness.
  • Ensure
    academic skillsWhat resonated with you:
    "Ensure academic skills" (3)
    "Goes with self-awareness and getting them through foundational skills."
    "Exposure to field trips and opportunities."
    "Physical and arts."
    "Seems to be well rounded."
    "Critical thinkings skills brought out."
    include: literacy skills, math skills, scientific thinking, social studies, physical development and the arts.
  • Embrace developmentally appropriate practices,
    play-based learning,What resonated with you:
    "Play based practices / learning." (7)
    "Embrace developmentally appropriate practices."
    "A lot warmth, intention, action and attention to needs for development."
    "Gives opportunity for kids to learn in a group."
    and standards-aligned curricula that encourages each child's natural eagerness to learn.
  • Adopt teaching practices that are
    grounded in researchWhat resonated with you:
    "Adopt teaching practices that are grounded in research on how children develop and learn." (4)
    "Healthy Start Initiative."
    "Neurological development starts in the womb."
    on how children develop and learn, and what is known about effective early childhood education.
  • Expect positive, responsive teacher-child relationships in which
    each child'sWhat resonated with you:
    "Unique style of living and learning." (3)
    "Celebrates every child is important but their situations may be different."
    Expect positive teach child relations."
    "Each child's unique style learning." (2)
    "Learning is respected and fostered."
    unique style of living and learning is respected and fostered.
  • Train teachers to
    meet children where they are,What resonated with you:
    "Train teachers to meet children where they are." (9)
    "Determine when and where to engage."
    "Relating to students."
    "Not just individually but collectively."
    "Social issues must be addressed."
    "Cultural relevance... have to accept where people are and not where we want them to be."
    "Why [adapt] instead of continuing professional development to support where teachers come from."
    both as individuals and as part of a group.
  • Help each child meet
    challenging and achievable learning goals.What resonated with you:
    "Goals or action plans are SMART."
  • Partner with parentsWhat resonated with you:
    "Making what parents can expect for Pre-K education, and making the options, clear for parents new to the district."
    "Parent involvement / engagement of parents." (3)
    "There is a need to help parents to help their children."
    "Engaging in a non-judgmental way. Need to have parents supported."
    in support of their child's health, development and education.
  • Engage
    community organizationsWhat resonated with you:
    "Partnerships... community and parent."
    "The little things students do to make the impact outside of the school."
    whom are aligned to our beliefs and ensure we have strong partnership to support schools and families.

Early Childhood Education: What Wonderings Do You Have?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"Birth to 8; how do you support birth? Do we meet them at Magee?"
"How do you engage an infant?"
"Working with WIC, etc.?"
"Why through 8 years for early childhood?"
"Has the range for early childhood always been birth - 8?"
"Are we moving students that are emotionally ready?"
"Not all children in age range are in PPS. Should the district partner with other organizations or provide alignment for support."
"What programs are there for young mothers? You are preparing the mothers."
"Where is the data that connects EC to other PPS schools?"
"… grounded in research. What are the research strategies?"
"Is it going to Childcare verse daycare?"
"Would the research-based teacher look the same across the board or vary on community partners, skill levels, etc.?"
"Why can’t all schools be community schools?"
"Is it (EC) an intention or reality?"
"Teacher child ratio?"
"I am wondering if there are opportunities to explore social and emotional skills to interact with one another even when they are learning?"
"How will teachers implement?"
"Meet students where they are… But what does this look like? Birth you are not in the schools so who do you reach the kids?"
"What do the academic skills look like?"
"Ensure socio-emotional skills… But how for socioemotional? (based on understanding or data) for the age group in question."
"SEL… I know some adults who struggle in these areas. How do we make sure that we are working to develop these skills in children?"
"How will we be ensuring academic skills at EC centers that are not PPS?"
"How do students and parent fit into the process of EC?"
"Is this limited to certain income levels?"
"When Pre-K was not income based, families who might not have traditionally selected PPS stayed with PPS."
"Is universal Pre-K in the strategic plan?"
"Is this going to happen in the community centers and PPS?"
"What is the next step?"
"How do you get more kids in the Pre-K programs?"
"On the importance of childhood education… How will the district address these needs prior to the students entering K?"
"Pre-K automatically feeding into the school?"
"What are we doing to create a through line?"
"Why are we displacing things like "rest times" and replacing them with academic requirements? Cognitively and developmentally inappropriate to discuss academics with early learners."
"What kinds of play spaces do we have (both indoor and outdoor)? These are needed!"

Developmental Stages / Curriculum
"District does not have history of 0-3."
"Wide variance of child development years."
"How much research already exists?"
"Research on play-based learning; How is it done year-round?"
"How do we speak to the ages appropriately?"
"Standards aligned curriculum doesn't really apply to 0-3, 0-5."
"The birth - 8 years, early head start seems to be such a small part. Brain development is 0-3, not seeing PPS students until 3. What does the 0-2 space look like at PPS?"
"Standard aligned, being explicit to the early learning standards. Can we call them out?"
"Curriculum supports… how will we teach them?"
"Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)… play based learning… some think it should go beyond EC… but it seems we are heading towards academic performance and assessment. How do we shift from play based to academic?  One mode of learning to another?"
"Play based learning and what that will look like for older students?"
"How do you transfer students from Play-Based curriculum to a rigorous curriculum?"
"Emphasis on technology --even at a young age is concerning to me; shouldn't replace gross motor activity; should it even be there at all?"
"How do we transform the K-3 curriculum, so it looks more like EC?"

Parent Engagement / Promotion / Recruitment
"How are parents and community engaged?"
"Does PPS reach out to families?"
"What is the marketing campaign to raise awareness for parents?"
"What support is being provided to parents and families to identify EC centers / schools?"
"Culturally, how do we engage the families?"
"Is the reach out to families a formal process?"
"Is there a process for parents to engage in a network for Pre-K?"
"What ways can PPS engage parents who are stay at home parents into PPS early?"
"How do you get buy-in from the families for birth thru 8?"
"How do you address the barriers?"
"Accessibility of EC for parents and families?"
"Do we know how to provide additional supports to adults/parents?"
"Why wasn’t parent engagement higher on the list?"
"Why is that so far down - what does it mean?"
"Where is parental involvement?"
"Why does it decrease as children progress?"
"Whole family curriculum… How do you engage? Technology wireless?"
"Partner with parents… many times parents are resistant; how do you facilitate that trust with parents?"
"… social-emotional skills for parents? What is the plan?"
"How do we get more parents involved with EC?"
"How to get parent to value EC?"

Community Engagement / Partners
"I am wondering if there will be training for committed community partners?"
"How can we partner with communities with the research-based practices for alignment, coherence, standardization and ultimately support for all centers that are providing learning, as well as resources?"
"How do we best utilize OST partners?"
"Engaging community organizations?"Who are they and how do we engage them effectively?"
“Outside groups see something different in students.”
“OST might worry about behavior that teachers see every day.”
“OST might have a different belief in what students can achieve.”
"Partnership is the new leadership; I am wondering (if) it is a trusting relationship? (i.e. Meet the client where they are and not where they should be.)"

Student Engagement
"How are we addressing students who may be experiencing trauma? And honestly meet students' where they are with the heart and understanding of what the child is experiencing?"

Teacher Engagement
"What are we doing about teachers who do not believe that all students can learn?"
"How do we support the teacher to support all kids?"
"How do we love every child?"

Teacher Training / Support
"Training of teachers to meet students where they are… what does this training consist of? What is the training model?"
"What does the EC teacher training look like? Does it develop high levels of teaching?"

Teacher-Child Relationships
"Is conflict resolution included in the learnings? It should be intentional."
"How are these [relationships] formed?"
"Very important… not just on the student and teacher."

"In all of the other areas, CRP was called out; why isn't it explicit in this section?"
"How will research be used to close the gap early?"
“Not all of our teachers think that black and brown students can learn… How is that being addressed through professional development?"
"How are we looking at African Americans in early childhood?"
"How are we effectively working with our ESL populations early on? Should be embedded early on."
"What about helping students with language barriers? Parent engagement of ESL families? Home visits - ex. DC pilot program?"

"What are the resources needed to make this effort work?"
"How will we fund this in order to provide services?"
"How can we compensate them (EC teachers) the same as an early elementary teacher?"

"This is awesome and ambitious, what is the cost for this?"
"This is an aggressive plan. It is important. How do we get the funds to do this?"
"How will the EC be paid for?"

"Where are the EC schools located?"
"Who is coordinating services for families before they enter Pre-K?"

"For schools that are short-staffed how do you expect teachers to complete all, or even some, of the bulleted items?"

Assessment / Metrics
"How do you ensure you check through the continuous improvement cycle for the joyful, warm and nurturing?"
"How are we measuring and how will we determine how successful we will be?"

"I am wondering about safe environments?"

Community Schools
"How does the community school model affect early childhood?"

"We use the term support families, what does that look like?"
"A definition for support?"

Early Childhood Education: What is Missing?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"Road map; way to see where you anticipate students being at different stages; reading, writing and math levels - this would help students and parents."
"Not really breaking down the ages according to development."
"How early childhood connects to the larger district and supports?"
"Connection to EC and other PPS schools…"
"STEM should be STEAM"
"EC should allow children to learn hands on, not homework."
"Developing the level of learning, from Pre-K to kindergarten - hating school because it is no longer FUN"
"Facilities to accommodate EC"
"Clarity on what Districts response is to children new to the country… new to Pittsburgh… i.e., Somalia, etc."
"Measurables to determine progress and success. Reinforcement is needed."
"Nutrition and exercise. Health plays a part in the learning process."
"Technology is not called out."
"Making students comfortable with technology in the classroom."
"The entire component of child engagement."
"Expectation of special needs teacher."
"IEP data - this is a good call out."
"Creative exploration with the arts."
"How are we educating mothers?"
"Special education children will benefit."
"Meditation; promotes joyful nurturing environment."
"Teachings of conflict resolution start in EC."
"Helping students learn to set goals."

Parent / Family Engagement
"Parental involvement- addressing parents"
"Parents encouraging children to read."
"Having teachers to reach-out to parent and families."
"Before and after care for students and families available for all students."
"Access to services for families."
"We always put parents at the bottom of the list--they need to be at the top! They understand their students best; you can better understand how to educate every child."
"Address mindsets; there has to be a basic level of respect for children and family."
"I'd like a place to call and be able to provide feedback around which teachers will need these supports."
"Engaging schools that are not PPS schools."
"More alignment among schools."
"Something at the school to connect with the parents (hour or two)."
"Supporting parent and families on school choice process."
"Understanding data at each school."
"Provide parents and families organizational chart for EC."

Community Engagement / Partnerships
"Connection of communities and schools."
"Organizations already identified to help parents."
"Connecting with other organization that are experts in early childhood."
"It says community partners that can actively support… you could say what that looks like from the school side to actual partners, churches, etc."

"Critical thinking is missing from kids’ skills."
"Teaching decision making."
"No spiritual format included in EC curriculum."

Equity / Promotion
"Equitable access to Pre-K education regardless of income levels."
"Students with Exceptionalities are not in the summary."
"Universal access and how we provide more opportunities for early intervention while students are toddlers."
"Technology equality."

"Inclusion of non-traditional families."

Cultural Awareness / Responsiveness
"Provide cultural competence training while we wait to get a more diverse staff."
"Learn their (students) background."

Play Based Learning
"Play based learning is missing in the K-3 classrooms. Even beyond 3rd grade."
"Older children are often sitting too long. No breaks/ play. Too structured."

Life Ready
"Resilience …around not succeeding right away.”
"Life skills outside of academics."
“…more to life than the bullet points.”

Career Ready
"Exposure to different careers… never too early."

Teacher Support / Training
"Communication aspect - only one teacher conference; the need to help the teacher."

Teacher Diversity
"Are there culturally diverse teachers and staff in the building."
"Children respond to staff who look like them."

"Transportation for students."

Gifted Education: What Resonated With You?

To best capture how much a word or phrase resonated with each audience, the words have been enlarged to show a greater number of people resonated with the word or phrase. In addition, for items that resonated but not as much, the words or phrases are in a different color. Hover over the larger words to view additional comments.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is committed to providing
all studentsWhat resonated with you:
"All student focus."
"Providing all students the opportunity enriched and accelerated learning."
"Enrichment is something every child deserves and should have."
the opportunity to demonstrate their gifts and talents through enriched and accelerated learning. We will ensure that high-quality
culturally responsiveWhat resonated with you:
"The high quality culturally responsive instruction." (4)
"Embedding the gifted and talented program into the school."
instruction is embedded in our core curriculum. We will
equip teachersWhat resonated with you:
"We will equip teachers with the necessary tools..."
"Providing teachers tools and accessibility."
"Need the right tools."
"Equipping the teachers with the tools."
"I like equipping the teachers with necessary tools to identify all learners."
with the necessary tools to identify all learners' gifts and talents and ensure they can effectively
identify gifted and talented learners.What resonated with you:
"Effectively identify G&F learners." (3)
"Process to understand who is gifted."
We expect all teachers to develop
high yield instructional strategiesWhat resonated with you:
"Expect all teachers to develop high-yield instructional strategies..."(2)
to meet the learning needs of students identified as gifted and talented. We will ensure this level of instruction is present
every day,What resonated with you:
"Every day and every school."
"Excited for the idea that this should be every single day."
in every school, to offer a wide range of ways a child can develop personally. Students, staff, and parents will
understand the processWhat resonated with you:
"Making sure that everyone is aware of the process for identification for gifted and talented."
"Want parents to understand the process."
of gifted and talented identification. 
We expect
gifted and talented students to:What resonated with you:
"Change to all students."
"Feel as though should extend to all students."
  • Develop academically, socially, and emotionally.
  • Recognize the role they play in contributing to their school, community, and
    global society.What resonated with you:
    "Recognize the role they play."
    "Focusing on preparing students for global society."
    "Global society is really important."
    "When we have opportunities to understand what is happening successfully outside our communities, we can make well informed decisions and contribute."

Gifted Education: What Wonderings Do You Have?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"How do we improve Student, Staff and parent understanding?"
"The process of the gifted program seems to be a mystery."
"How is it aligned with instruction and other systems, initiatives in PPS?"
"Pace is cut throat… does this drive kids crazy instead of developing them?"
"Gifted kids could be considered an at-risk population. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is essential."
"Why are we pushing students out once a week?"
"Do students have to be separated?"
"Would students be better served NOT going to Greenway?"
"For some kids, the gifted curriculum helps… a place carved out that teachers recognize that students don't always think linear.  They can adapt to students.”
"Where is the place for bright students who are not gifted?"
"Is there a reason for mixed grouping?"
"How will this be delivered?"
"Is PPS going to close the gifted center and push into the schools?"
"How will Gifted be integrated into PPS schools?"
"Different phases of programming at high schools like Allderdice."
"How do you budget for Gifted programs within the schools?"
"Is project-based learning going to replace Gifted Center?"
"What happens when they transition from middle to HS?"
"How can the teacher accommodate every student without making it a pull out?"
“Building an extra continuum for the students for gifted as well as those left behind.”
"What is going to be the structure to ensure that students are divided?"
"Is this gifted education happening during the class or in a separate class?"
"Is universal screening a standardized test?"
"Are the students who are identified as higher achievement still making a year's worth of progress?"
"Why don't we have differentiated instruction for all areas and students across the spectrum?"
"PPS approach is one size fits all… we need to address this."
"How are teachers developing the gifted instruction to be supported?"
"How are teachers taught to work with students who are socially and emotionally immature but may also be gifted?"
"Will these students be pulled out because they are not acting "gifted?""
"How we separate behavior from giftedness, as it is not easily done?"
"Is having all teachers develop high-yield instructional strategies to meet the learning need of all learners an achievable goal?"
"How do you excel academically, socially, and emotionally all at one time?"
"How do you move the gifted students academic performance?"
"How do we cultivate a culture of dual enrollment?"
"How can we expand dual enrollment or create different and unique opportunities that can be showcased?"
"Is there a tracking system?"
"How do you provide AP offerings at each school so magnet is not the plan?"

Program Goals / Purpose
"What is the purpose of the gifted program?"
"Is the identification for industrial purposes?"
"Are they being taught to be gifted for themselves?"
"They are mining the mind."
"What happens after they graduate?"
"What are they being groomed for?"

"How is curriculum being culturally responsive and what (does) that even mean?"
"How and what procedures are in place to ensure cultural responsiveness?"
"Current curriculum not culturally [responsive].”
"Who will develop and identify curriculum?"
"How is social-emotional learning being addressed?"

"How are teachers equipped to identify this?"
"Teachers and the identification process… they should recommend to parents as early as possible.
“Not realistic that teachers can meet the needs of identifying gifted students.”
"How is PPS identifying more gifted students?"
"PPS implementing new screening… this will help."
"How will they be tested?"
"What assessments are used to determine 'gifted'?"
"What's the measurement?"
"When do students get identified as Gifted?"
"What grade is gifted identified?"
"Individuals identifying the students who are gifted/talented, especially in our African American community, is there another tool aside from teacher’s assessment to identify who is gifted/talented?"
"After they are identified, then what?"
"Are students being identified as gifted in the Arts?"
"How do we remove bias in gifted identification?"
"Are we only testing IQ or aptitude?"
"Testing in every domain is important as every child is different.
"Are we considering alternative testing as well? Not intelligence."

Student Engagement
"What are the rewards for students who are labeled as gifted?"
"What is the benefit of being “smart”?"
“We are living in a community where we believe we will make it out of our predicament based off of sports (&) entertainment. If you want education to be elevated, what are the benefits of those meeting the marks?”
"How are they giving back to the community?"
"What is the student engagement in the broader community? Service learning opportunities?"
"How do you integrate students into the school?"
"Leadership opportunities?"

Student Support / Exposure
"How do students develop an understanding of their gifts and talents?"
"How are we encouraging them to use their gifts?"
"How can a school meet the needs of the students?"
"Where is the emotional support? "
"Gifted students might act out or fail on purpose."
"How can we make sure our students are immersed in the global society?"
"What opportunities are there to immerse them in other countries and cultures."
"Travel is so important to enriching life. To get a perspective and a better understand. It reads a level of empathy if you have a better understanding of what is happening and if you are immersed in it."
"I am curious how they are going to implement into a global society and are resources provided to advance the global work force?"
"How do provide support with the expected growth of the region?"
“Providing students opportunities to engage in real-world experiences that is tangible and accessible to the community.”

"How are we ensuring that all students have equitable access and all students are being identified that need to be?"
"Parents believe if students are not in the highest-level courses, then there are not the same level of opportunities."
"How do you assess to ensure NOT missing students who deserve to be in these classes? Essential to test EVERY child."
"Why are students not given the opportunity to show strengths in a different way?"
"How do you make it accessible to all students?"
"Can the name of the program change?"
"If teacher's or school districts are explaining to children whom are not in the gifted program are not treated differently?"
“Normal students are treated differently than a gifted student?”
"How do we move kids into gifted education while stopping the stereotype?"
"How do we have enrichment for every child?"
"What opportunities are available for (students NOT in G&T) so they are not bored, and the gap does not continue widen?Are there things happening in the schools?"

"How can we better engage these students if they are the only black?"
"Only young woman?"
"How many teachers in the gifted program are of color?"
"How do we show how people from diverse backgrounds working together?"

Community Engagement
"Are there opportunities to engage with the community to give students meaningful learning experiences or some form of civic engagement to empower all students, including those that may need SEL?"

Parent Engagement
"How do we help parents understand the process?"

Budget / Resources
"What areas of gifted are they able to fulfill with the budget cuts?"
"How will we provide the necessary materials and equipment to provide higher level, enriched curriculum for all students?"
"Do we currently have in place the equipment and smart technology, robotics, etc. to fulfill this venture?"
"How do we make sure that it is consistent and equitable in all schools?"

"How do you define being gifted?" (2)
"Needs to be a name change from gifted to accelerated learner."
"Thought that gifted meant special education."
"What does “develop… socially and emotionally” mean?"
"Does this turn learning from passion to a burden?"
"What is socially? By whose standards are we using to measure children?"
"What is a high yield instructional strategy?"

Program Assessment
"Does PPS know the outcome of students leaving?"

"Is gifted school based?"

Home School Balance
"What capacity are G&T students utilized in the school? Are they just greeters?"
"Are students removed from regular classes for G&T activities?"

Teacher Engagement
"Do we have a core group of teachers who are ready to teach and engage our gifted children?"

Teacher Support
"Where is the support for teachers for high-quality instruction?"

Abstract Overall:
“That there is information that was gathered to make things seem better on paper verses the reality of actually working with children and physically seeing and doing these (goals) themselves.”
“That these goals are put at higher expectation than actually accomplishing.”
“A better diagram or better/more realistic goal set by year or within a five-year timeline verses just writing things on paper to look good.”

Gifted Education: What is Missing?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"Progress. So nothing has changed… I was a student in PPS; and the pull-out program was in place then."
"I was a part of the original task force…it is distressing to see that none of this work is being implemented. Most of the work we've done has only been partially implemented."
"I'm concerned that what we know about gifted education is still not being implemented."
"The pull-out model is a racist construct."
"It's a structurally racist system."
"I'm disturbed that it still exists."
"It is horrible for the students who are left behind."
"Context. We are developing, but how are we fostering innovation and providing the opportunities to engage?”
"Misses the mark to speak about gifted education and not address exceptional learners and different learning styles."
"Some of the items called out in early childhood can be included here."
"Finding models that work/best practices for differentiated instruction."
"It does need to be customized to the learner. Just because you are gifted does not mean you are gifted in everything."
"In my previous district there were two levels of gifted."
“I wonder if that is something we should look at here?”
"Teach students how to fail forward, you are not going to excel at everything."
"Gifted designation process regarding students being able to test into gifted on an ongoing basis."
"Time for build relationship building."
"GEIP in middle schools and high schools need strengthening."
"Multi-learning classrooms so older kids can teach younger kids - this would help kids stay."
"Something to help children identify what they are gifted at - bring back the trades."
"Arts integrated learning."
"More community-based learning so they are not separated."
"Additional teachers will be needed for gifted and talented education."

Opportunity / Equity
"All children should have access to the gifted program."
"Nephew is in CAS, and he comes back excited. This should be how every student is taught and how they feel."
"Embedding DI (differentiated instruction) in the classroom."
"Serving every classroom."
“The gift of learning and developing in a fun way, is an opportunity for every student.”
"That all children should be, and will be, treated as gifted, whether better at reading, writing, hands on… etc."
"Every child is gifted in their own way.”
"The expectation for all students."
“Expectations should not be solely for gifted students.”
"What is expected of gifted students should be expected of all students.”
"Testing… they only take a percentage of children."
"Should test all children."
"Universal screening / Universal assessment."
"Not all students get tested."
"The opportunity to address the barriers that are created and the divide between students who get to leave vs. the students who stay behind."
"Separating children for gifted programs can create silos."
"The component to eliminate systematic barriers."
"School based gifted education."
"How do we establish an equal level of what the schools have to offer?"
"Teachers making sure they are intentional about making kids interested."
"Network inequality among students."
"Connect students with mentors and other relationship."
"Special education is not included in the summary."
"Addressing special education in regard to Gifted education."
"IEP students - they are disturbed, but they are intelligent."
"Mental Health components in schools."
"VA has day treatment methods where counselors sit with students one on one."

"Call out for AA, minorities and females; how to cast the net out far enough to reach those underrepresented? How do we improve engagement here?"
"Cultural context of students who are minorities."
"Recognition of diversity in cultures."
"Recognition of diversity in 'gifted'."
"Looking at alternative ways of giftedness- not just academic, can be vocational or through the arts."
Why don't we have more evaluators that are of color…"
"Can we have a black and white evaluators and counselors work together… see two races working together."
"Need more teachers of color."
"Want inclusion…"

Parent Engagement / Communication
"Timely Information to parents / recruitment."
"Help teacher and families identify when students are Gifted."
"Provide families information on gifted identification process."
"Develop curriculum road maps that are available to students and families."
"Parent advocacy."
"What can be filled in to support all parents to advocate for their child."
"Effort to help parents to get their students identified."
"People do not know the process and teachers/schools avoid the process."

Student Engagement / Motivation
"Nothing is said about current gifted students… what are they doing? Celebrate them. Are they performing better?"

Student Support
"Additional support for kids that need additional support."
"Building relationships in order to bring gifts and talents to the surface among students."
“Every student doesn’t have positive people in their lives. Learn more about their dreams.”

Program Purpose
"Not enough emphasis on what makes gifted children different."
"Not enough recognition on how different they are in seeing the world."

"Peer focused learning."
"Project-Base Learning."
"Customization of learning."

Cultural Awareness / Responsiveness
"Must look at the cultural relevance of the people."
“Social conditions forcing students to stay down.”
"Learn about each student's individual background."

Budget / Resources
"Knowing that it will cost money, how will we financially support it."

Abstract Overall
"Did not explain the perspective of what gifted education is and how it is different from regular education."

Aligned Instructional System: What Resonated With You?

To best capture how much a word or phrase resonated with each audience, the words have been enlarged to show a greater number of people resonated with the word or phrase. In addition, for items that resonated but not as much, the words or phrases are in a different color. Hover over the larger words to view additional comments.

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) is committed to ensuring that all students entering and exiting any PPS school will leave with the
same quality education regardless of zip code. What resonated with you:
"That all students will enter school and leave with the same education."
"Same quality of education regardless of zip code." (13)
“SO important… educational success should NOT be limited to geography”
"Every zip code offers great schools."
“This HAS to be a priority.”
"Needs are not the same at every facility."
"Technology is not the same either."
"We need to have 21st century tools at the fingertips of all students."
"Geography not hindering a student's opportunity."
"This should be a part of the mission statement… should be broad across the District.”
"I just want to see it happen."
"Not all students are receiving the same education."
"Kids say "I'm here because I couldn't get into..."
"Every student should have the same quality education regardless of where they live”
"We are putting the students before the zip code, powerful."
"Even in the political era, the central focus is on students, not economics or politics. It is student centered."
Equitable learningWhat resonated with you:
"I think equitable learning is important across the system."
"Equity across the district.”
“Not dropping the ceiling but meeting students where they are."
for all students will occur and serve as the foundation for classroom instruction, occur with the implementation of
culturally responsive curriculum, What resonated with you:
"It needs to be required for all students."
"Wants real history not just black or white history."
"Culturally responsive teacher strategies."
instructional frameworks,What resonated with you:
"This needs to be done for everything else to fall into place."
"New instructional framework and curriculum."
and assessments that articulate a sequence of learning aligned to grade-level expectations developed by district staff and teachers. 

PPS will provide curricular resources and support for all staff to foster a mindset of continuous learning and high expectations. We will ensure a
variety of ongoing assessmentsWhat resonated with you:
"Ensure a variety of ongoing assessments." (2)
"To inform daily instructional decisions."
to inform daily instructional decisions that appropriately stretch students beyond their current level of performance. Students in PreK-12 will engage in learning experiences that reflect high expectations, and enable them to transfer knowledge and skills to new situations, both locally and globally. Students will learn how to apply
academic gritWhat resonated with you:
"Student will learn how to apply academic grit." (8)
"Resilient students... but not in regard to academic grit."
"Academic grit is the product of an oppressive system."
"Application of academic grit to transcend external issues."
"Getting good grade will no solve external issues."
to transcend internal and external obstacles in order to reach their highest potential. Clear gateways will be established to ensure students are aware of their academic options and can embody the academic and socio-emotional intelligence to
become college, career and life-ready. What resonated with you:
"Make sure students are aware of their educational options" (2)
"… to become college, career and life-ready." (2)
"Suggestion to change the language to “life ready,” then “college (post-secondary education) ‘OR’ career (ready).”
"Career and life ready… how can we mesh those two.
“We shouldn't make this a stigma”
“With the size of our city this goal is not out of reach "

Aligned Instructional System: What Wonderings Do You Have?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"What will the gateways look like and involve?"
"Gateways - guided pathways and how soon do you begin that process (career and academics)?"
"How do you establish clear gateways when careers and college expectations are constantly changing?"
"Will they stay within the system or involve community partners, outside agencies, etc."
"How will it be operationalized?"
"Are social emotional barriers being addressed by PPS?"
"Same quality of education of all zip codes: When will this happen? What is preventing this from happening currently? How to get equity across the budgets?"
"How do we ensure quality of education?"
"Are best practices available?"
"How do we aligned curriculum if students are being educated in separate buildings?"
"Academic grit to transcend internal and external obstacles."
"How are we going to do this?" (2)
"Where is the accountability?"
"What internal and external obstacles exist?"
"When do you identify external obstacles?"
"Who’s going to teach them to overcome external obstacles?"
"Are teachers aware of grade level expectations and if we are reaching those, what are these grade level expectations explicitly?"
"Where is the vocational piece? Shouldn't have to wait until high to get practical hands-on experience."
"Was it intentional that they didn't call out alignment to state standards?"
"Pitt is not teaching to a test; so what standards are we testing to?"
"What are we trying to align it to? State? District?"
"What are the Districts plan for students who stay below basic? Kids don't have time for a marathon."
"Grade level expectations: Will progress be dismissed if they haven’t met grade level?"
"How will the new [system] align between academics and activities?"
"How are we going to address the gap without boring student at one level?"
"Where is the emphasis of clubs or extracurricular activities to advance learning?"
"Where is the space for life readiness? So, all of these things do not apply to the Life Skills. My child just left the program and he can't even count money.  These kids are being left out.  Once they leave high school, they are not being equipped to function in the real world and it's supporting the school to prison pipeline.”
"Are they in all schools?"

"Is technology going to be its own goal?"
"Or will it be integrated with the rest of the goals?"
"What option do students and families have if they change their minds about the magnet school they choose?"
"How do we encourage co-teaching?"

"Ensure a variety of ongoing assessments… Can we flush this out? How will this be done?"
"What are we really measuring? Sometimes the class learning doesn't reflect the test… and the learning and test don't align with what the students want. Studying for the test, but learning for something else.”
"Why is it assessment and not opportunity?"
"Want greater educational opportunities or experiences, learning. How will this be captured?"
"Not everyone is going to college, how will we serve students with other trajectories?"
"How are teachers being held accountable?"
"If the person who is rating you is not familiar with the curriculum themselves, then how can they rate you equitably?"
"What are the ongoing assessments?"
"How much time is allotted?"
“Introducing the belief (AIS) and rolling it out, it is a good lead. How will that be measured?"

Curriculum / Culturally Responsive
"How staff is trained on aligned curriculum?"
"To what extent do teachers have flexibility in the curriculum to engage what works for students?"
"To what extent do principals have flexibility to support teachers to be flexible in the curriculum?"
"How does PPS plan to make curriculum culturally responsive? [Certain popular district schools] could use more culturally responsive curriculum."
"How do we share this around the District?"
"If kid hates math, is there a way math is infused into something the student likes? Cooking, sports, etc."
"How do we help colleges help students understand the urban classrooms?"

"What the District is going to do to ensure [same] education for [all] students?"
"Trial run for this?"
"Are gender biases addressed? Perceived notions."
"How do ESL students fit into this when they are still learning the language?"
"How can we make sure adults understand the feelings students have about receiving a "less than" education?"
"How do we expand all student horizons of other cultures?"
"The high-tech equipment, do we do that for all not only gifted?”

College / Career / Life Ready
"How much is being done to support Career and Life options?"
"How are we preparing students to compete? Technical skills get you the job; soft skills get you fired."
"How are we preparing students for the world of work?"
"[Are there] opportunities for exposure to individuals in the profession that is of interest?"
"Are there any connections to real life experiences… since we want them to be life ready?"
"Is there an opportunity for project-based learning or outside entities to influence life beyond high school?"

Community Engagement
"Where is the space for the community?"

"What does “aligned instructional system” mean?" (2)
"This idea of alignment is more like a factory model that is aligned to the same thing. All teachers teach the same thing across all schools."
"So, if I leave Perry and go to Allderdice, I will get the same instruction and will not be missing anything…why is this not happening already?"
"Academic grit… what does this mean?"
"Did you learn, or did you just memorize to pass the test?"
"Clear gateways will be established… What are clear gateways?" (2)
"Definition of gateway… what points in academic journey?"
"Is that measurements?"
"What does alignment mean?"
"What does career and life-ready look like?"
"What does the instructional design for the school look like?"

Student Engagement / Support
"Do students know what it means in terms of their academic options?"
"How will…students be made aware of their academic options?"
"How do we ensure student take advantage of offerings?"
"Do we provide for training for students who do not want to go to college or possibly go into a vocational or other track?"

Parent Engagement
"How to get parents to understand alignment?"
"Do we still do parent teacher conferences, and do they involve discussions of alignment with support in the home?"
"Is the school high quality because of parent engagement?"
"Will PPS ask more of parents because of it?"

Teacher Engagement
"How to get the teachers on the same page?"
"How we can unify teachers that connect with the students? Rotating Teachers?"

Teacher Placement
"Are teachers being assigned base on needs?"
"Putting teachers where they are needed instead of where they want to be."
“Regardless of zip code goes into where you are placing your teachers."

"What does grit look like?"
"How can we apply life resiliency into classroom resiliency? Knowledge and evaluation of this?"

"How do you hold the data team accountable team accountable for turning district level data around?"
"How do you get the teachers to look at the data the right way, so it is not a check box or waste of time for the students?"

"Will there be enough time for teachers to master the curriculum? Frequency of curriculum change."

Aligned Instructional System: What is Missing?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"Connection to early childhood and gifted education."
"The connection between schools within the system."
"One school supporting the other."
"Economic structure."
"Measurable outcomes."
"Cross disciplinary instruction among teachers and course."
"More specificity around the accountability - very vague…"
"Social-emotional learning being a pre-requisite for academics."
"To make sure that the support groups understand, are consistent and understand the aligned instructional system."
"Aligned curriculum means scripted curriculum."
“There is a culture of pushing students through the program…How are we ensuring ongoing assessments?"
"Teachers are expected to stay in this box, but students are not."
"Teachers are being penalized for not being "on-page;" worrying about the efforts to homogenize the system."

College / Career / Life Ready
"Academic skills: Note taking, study skills, speaking, writing, etc."
"Teaching students how to learn."
"Clear gateway for students to become College, Career, and Life Ready."
“We need to include children that are not graduating in a traditional way. So, the language should be “Pre-K to Diploma.” (instead of PreK-12)

Curriculum / Differentiated Instruction
"Schools have different needs."
"They need customized approaches."
"There is no acknowledgement that students learn at different paces."
"Linking instructional alignment with career goals."
"Instructional guidance systems, that guide what is taught."
"What's missing here is following the IEP…how are we including them?”

"Equity - distribution of resources."
"Quality schools in every community. The how? It’s such a big and lofty abstract."
"Implicit bias training."
"A set of values to guide teacher's instruction."
"The lack of many teachers not believing black students can learn."
"There's a huge population of students that are not included in this aligned instructional system."
"Students need to learn how to learn [grit]"
“Schools in poverty areas do not have high-quality teachers…”

Budget / Resource Allocation
"Building quality."
"Modernized buildings, technology, smartboards, - 21st century learning - Aesthetics matter when it comes to learning."
"Lots of windows, glass, conducive for learning."
"Making sure the same resources are available at every school."
"Plan for ensuring funding is available for low resourced areas."

Parent Engagement
"Parent involvement."
"Missing parent support."
"Allowing parent to be involved with scheduling courses."
"Shared leadership."

Student Support
"Structured classroom for students who have behavioral problems."
"Courses should… align with career goals."
"Data chats-conversations between teachers and students regarding their learning and growth."
“If kids don't have confidence, they won't, or they are afraid, to try.”
"Students end up wanting teachers or OST to do the work first."
"Students being aware of out of school time offerings."

Community Engagement / Partnerships
"Relationship building."
"Currently a lack of committed to building real relationships."
"Way of connecting PPS and OST partners."
"Notes for OST partners on where children are."
"More information given to community."
"OST partners have to spend time figuring out what kids did for the day."
"As an org that comes in as OST and purpose is enrichment, many children need remedial assistance."

Cultural Awareness
"Real history of students and their culture."
"Never seen a culturally responsive curriculum."
"No AA lessons."“History books do not reflect history of all students."
"Kids have so many external obstacles - It’s hard to focus on going to school."

"State things clearly so that everyone understands- understanding the PPS language."

Teacher Engagement
"Removing negative teachers."

Teacher Diversity
"How do we do recruit and attract students of color to be teachers?"

Teacher Training
"Need teacher training on this… academic grit vs. life grit."

"Timeline of how it will get done."

Mental Health
"Mental health is not mentioned anywhere in the document."

Abstract Overall
"Without the bullets, you are missing the how."

New Teacher Induction: What Resonated With You?

To best capture how much a word or phrase resonated with each audience, the words have been enlarged to show a greater number of people resonated with the word or phrase. In addition, for items that resonated but not as much, the words or phrases are in a different color. Hover over the larger words to view additional comments.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is committed to ensuring all incoming teachers receive
effective mentoring,What resonated with you:
"Mentoring of teachers." (2)
"Mentoring and guidance."
"I like the effective mentoring.
"NTI is extremely needed!"
"New teacher induction is very important."
"Better onboarding of new teachers."
"An opportunity."
guidance, and support through a comprehensive New Teacher Induction (NTI) process. NTI will establish a foundation for new teachers to benefit from and contribute to a culture of
continuous improvement.What resonated with you:
"Will establish a foundation for new teachers to benefit from and contribute to a culture."
"Culture of continuous improvement."
"Continuous improvement."
NTI will consist of both individualized and
collaborativeWhat resonated with you:
"Individualized and collaborative learning."
"Diverse academic and social needs."
"Teachers not being able to relate to the students."
"Collaborative culture."
learning experiences for teachers, preparing them to best meet the diverse academic and social-emotional needs of their students. The NTI process will support the District in developing and retaining teachers who are committed to ongoing growth, research, and development to ensure that every student in every school experiences high quality instruction every day.

We expect new teachers to:
  • Believe that students of
    every race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and abilityWhat resonated with you:
    "Believe that every student can succeed."
    can excel and make continuous academic progress.
  • Understand and implement research-based and
    culturally-responsiveWhat resonated with you:
    "Culturally responsive."
    "The best teachers are those who come from the neighborhood and understand the students they teach."
    "Implementation of CR practices."
    "Positive feedback about the current cultural and diversity training in the district."
    instructional practices so that all students can learn. 
  • Have a dedicated, well-prepared, and
    qualified mentor.What resonated with you:
    "Dedicated qualified mentor."
    "Mentor is good."
    "Mentorship; especially a mentor who wants to mentor new teachers."
    "Essential to keeping good talent."
  • Have a shared responsibility in their professional
    learning.What resonated with you:
    "Teachers need to be learners too."
  • Experiences professional learning that models effective learning experiences for students.
  • Engage in
    data-driven and data-informedWhat resonated with you:
    "Data driven and data informed."
    "Data can take the focus off the teacher from the student to the data."
    professional learning experiences.
  • Have site-based and district-based supports that complement one another.
  • Receive the
    resources to be successfulWhat resonated with you:
    "Receive resources to be successful in their roles."
    "Students need a lot."
    "One teacher in a classroom is not enough."
    in their roles.
  • Become experienced and effective
    teachers in Pittsburgh Public Schools.What resonated with you:
    "The entire subject."
    "Happy to see teachers as a focus area."
    "There is nothing but goodness in this."
    "Very thought out and concise."
    "Love it all."
    "I like the focus on supporting, encouraging and uplifting new teachers."
    "I think its good to recognize the specific things that are part of teacher induction."

New Teacher Induction: What Wonderings Do You Have?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"Is it New Teacher Induction(NTI) based on a similar model?"
"How long is the NTI process?" (2)
"Is it different for every teacher? One time? Several months? Customized to teacher progress?"
"What are the phases of the program - year 1 - year 2-year 3? Train the new teachers to become mentors down the line. Build a pipeline of mentors."
"How is this aligned with PFT onboarding / induction?"
"When will this happen / what time of year or outside of the typical school day?"
"How long does this mentoring and induction program go on?"
"Is this a district led effort?"
"Why just incoming teachers?"
"Is this a requirement of new teachers?"
"Where are other role groups? Not just new teacher induction, new staff induction."
"How does tenure affect training? Does it stop? Is training ongoing?"
"Do newly tenured teachers become mentors and coaches?"
"This will help acclimate new teachers into school, school culture and neighborhood culture."
"What the priorities are for the district should also be the priorities for the new teacher."
"I am wondering what the mentoring looks like? Does it include shadowing, crisis intervention, bullying training, etc."
"If you graduate from program, are you automatically a mentor?"
"How is training different by subject and grade level?"
"How is it operationalized?"
"Is there a cohort of mentoring model option for schools?"
"Can teachers have more than one mentor?"
"Within the buildings of the district, can you experience other buildings with different elements to see how things are going?"
"How do teachers new to the District, but who do not need Induction, become acclimated to the District? Do I still get a mentor? How do I get support in the specific area of need?"
"How much opportunity is there outside of the district to participate within local professional development?"
"How is the district connecting with institutions? NTI could go a LOT deeper… partner with teacher training programs. "
"Is there a role for student teachers in the induction process?"
"How does Professional Learning Communities (PLC) connect with this effort?"
"How does it align with a residency model with some of the universities?"
"Is it just a program for PPS or will it be implemented into universities and have the universities pay for that training?"
"Who are the stakeholders and align them to the needs? The target. There are goals. The how to get there."
"Are you trying to develop a plan from day 1 of their professional career to high school? It seems like you are putting the cart before the horse."

Teacher Support / Training
"Are there refresher courses for tenured professors?"
"How can you determine how a teacher feels?"
"How do you measure it?"
"Where is the teacher training model that existed at Schenley High School?"
"Will substitute teachers be utilized to support this effort?"
"Is it a rapid response to support and retain teachers and is the mentor involved?"
"Is it safe for me, as a new teacher, to be vulnerable or risk consequence of dismissal?"
"How are teachers trained to deal with students from broken homes and dealing with trauma?"
"How do you ensure the teachers have support from high-quality teachers?"
"Where is the support to get them to highly qualified?"
"How are you supporting teachers to go through this, [securing subs] to ensure the goals are accomplished?"
“If teachers are expected to be ‘cookie cutter,’ then new teachers need to be trained in this model.”
"How are we leveraging experienced teachers to serve as models to new teachers giving them experience to observe in the moment?"
"How do you build a network of new teachers to have a support network across the district for the first couple of years?"
"How do we differentiate professional development to not only meet the needs of students, but to maximize the level of intensity and frequency of specific learning strategies provided by teachers?"
"Each new teacher should have a co-teacher mentor.”
"More seasoned teachers? How are they utilized?"

Teacher Recruitment / Retention
"What's our recruitment strategy?"
"We need to recruit quality teachers."
"How can PPS become more competitive to attract new teachers?"
"What partnerships are being established with the universities?"
"Induction begins with the hiring process. How does this extend to the hiring process?"
"What ever happened to teacher retention?"
"How is teacher burnout being addressed?"
"How do you maintain new teachers for the current year without losing them in the first couple months? A lot of uncertainty of placement for new teachers. New teachers are put in the toughest classes; but that should be reversed. Some behaviors can make teachers want to walk away from the profession. That goes back to building teacher leaders within the buildings to support the new teachers. There have to be teachers who are well-equipped to do so.”
"How do we attract, retain and love new teachers?"
"How do we recognize and support them and not hold them totally accountable at first?"

Cultural Awareness / Responsiveness
"Are up and coming teachers exposed to real PPS classes?"
"How do you teach (teachers) to understand the cultures of their black and brown students especially if they come from white suburban districts?"
"What can we do with the current system to address the mindsets of new teachers around their students?"
"What does CRP look like in framework of do, assess, repeat."
"What does culturally responsive look like in practice?"
"How will we measure culturally responsive practices in teaching?"

Teacher Engagement
"How will we get all teachers to understand that all students can learn?"
"How do you get teacher buy-in?"
"How do you get rid of teacher who do not buy-in?"

Teacher Diversity
"How to diversify teachers?"
"What is the effort to recruit from HBCUs?"

"What does “Believe” mean, in regard to the first bullet?"
“Have a dedicated, well-prepared, and qualified mentor. Want to unpack what we mean by qualified mentors."
"Is a qualified mentor someone that really wants to do it?"
"Who is the learning for? Students or teachers?"
"'New Teacher Induction' - is that a technical term? Is it set in stone?"
"Definition of 'new teachers' - what does that mean? Could mean different things in different places."
"What does it mean to receive the resources to be successful in their roles?"
"Does it mean learning how to receive feedback?"
"What does “continuous improvement” mean?"
"'Support' is a broad term. What does it mean?"
"Expand on what is meant by 'culturally responsive practices.'"

Mentor Selection
"Who is the mentor?"
"No co-teaching experience mentioned."
"How will mentors be selected and matched? Nothing worse than being mentored by someone who is not a good mentor.”
“Mentor MUST be willing and wanting to mentor.”
"I am wondering if effective teachers are used to do the induction and mentoring or someone that has been out of the classroom for quite some time?"

Program Assessment
"Where is the assessment that this program is effective?"
"How do measure/determine the plan is effective?"
"What constitutes effective mentoring guidance and support for NTI process?"

Teacher Assessment
"Is there way to track individual teacher performance?"
"What are the specific rules of evaluation to ensure safety?"

"What is the goal?"

"How can teachers collaborate given time restraints?"

"Is there a curriculum for this or guidelines to follow?"

New Teacher Induction: What is Missing?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Teacher Support / Training
"First and second year teachers need training."
"District Culture: Need to partner with veteran teacher to learn how to work in the District.”
"Community Culture: Help a teacher understand the community in which the school resides."
"School Culture: Having a network of people to help the new teacher navigate the building."
"Someone to teach an experienced teacher how to navigate the culture of the school."
"Training for teachers to work with students from other cultures."
“Teachers should be trained up before they start teaching.”
"Ongoing teacher training."
"Training for teachers on how to assist students with behavioral challenges -- all teachers should have skills to work with special ed students."
"Training for teachers to de-escalate students."
"Real world mentorships in the proper fields."
"Teacher self-care: universal health care."
"Mental Health resources for teachers."
"Social-emotional support for teachers."
"Address secondary trauma among teachers. Teacher burnout. Compassion fatigue."
"Trauma informed schools. PD on trauma should be given to all teachers. For the teacher’s health and wellness, not just to deal with the kids. Teachers may have students who are traumatized and have no idea how to handle them. Share success stories to see if they (teachers) really want to be in the district."
"Is it one person supporting a teaching or is coaching teams."
"Identifying of resources; What are they?"
"Substitute teacher support: permanent substitutes and how do we support them?"
"How to make substitutes more a part of the school community?"
"How do we incentive substitutes?"
"Need professional development for substitutes."
"Making sure substitutes are promoted from within."
"Rotating Teachers."
"More support and promotion of the Teacher Learning Academy at Brashear."

Program Structure
"Classroom Management: The college prep programs are not preparing for classroom management, it doesn't seem that this is a priority for new teachers in the college prep program. Is that something that PPS can add to the induction program?"
"Concept of timeline for the process."
"Timeline; continuous coaching."
"Intensity of the process."
"Assessment: Are teachers a part of their own learning?"
"Collaboration from institutions of higher education in which they were prepared."
"Co-Teaching programs with undergraduate students at universities."
"Collaboration with community partners."
"Resources (funding)."
"I don't disagree, but more emphasis could be on the "how" and procedures."
"Pre-employment tours and observations as part of the induction process."
"Master teachers coming in."
"Bring back older teachers."
"Patience and understanding."
"Training individuals who already work in PPS to be teachers."
"The sequencing of the program."
"Induction program for other departments."

Teacher Recruitment / Selection
"Develop new teachers from our current HS students: Start this in middle school. Teacher shadowing. Briggs Meyers on all 9th graders; embed in core curriculum. Kids don't know who they are yet."
“Should be something on here that ensures that every teacher loves kids."
"In the interview process screen on how applicants feel about children."

Community Engagement / Partnerships
"Getting to know the communities in which they teach."
"Consider placements of student teachers and why they are placed there."
"Partnership with universities to teach students how to teach in urban settings."
"Quality of teaching in Pittsburgh universities is not as high quality."

Equity / Diversity
"Missing all identities (religion, etc.)."
"Making sure that teachers can speak the language (acronyms and LGBTQIA+)."
"In-house PD that focuses on culturally responsive teaching."
"83% white female teaching population at PPS. This needs to change."

"A dedicated mentor."
"Interdisciplinary mentors."
"Cohort mentoring teaching model; Development of cohort leaders."
"Teacher mentor stipend."

Teacher Input
"Assessment of the teacher's perspective. Do they feel supported?"
“Teachers are ignored in general.”

Parent Engagement
"Importance of establishing relationships with students and families."
"Terminology for parents to understand to support their students and get involved."

Teacher Student Relationship
"Building relationship and rapport."

Student Support
"Identifying student issues."

Job Embedded PD: What Resonated With You?

To best capture how much a word or phrase resonated with each audience, the words have been enlarged to show a greater number of people resonated with the word or phrase. In addition, for items that resonated but not as much, the words or phrases are in a different color. Hover over the larger words to view additional comments.

In Pittsburgh Public Schools, job-embedded professional development will be an
individual and collaborativeWhat resonated with you:
"Individualized PD."
"More people inclined to do it if it helped the person grow professionally (i.e. CTEs)."
"Collaborative learning communities."
"Continuous learning."
continuous learning process of inquiry, reflection, and action that occurs
during the work dayWhat resonated with you:
"Occurs during the work day." (3)
"Making PD a part of the work day."
"PD not just for teachers but all staff."
with the goal of staff improving student outcomes. Job-embedded professional development will equip staff with data analysis, academic content, teaching and learning theory, social/emotional development, research and evidenced based teaching, learning theory, and cultural competency skills to ensure students are
college, career and life ready.What resonated with you:
"Ensure students are college, career and life ready." (3)
"Comprehensive list of skills."
"Wholistic approach to the students... life-ready."
"If we are talking about the professional development of the staff, adds more quality."

We expect teachers to:

  • Understand that professional learning is a professional responsibility.
  • Feel
    empoweredWhat resonated with you:
    "Teachers being empowered."
    "Teachers feel empowered."
    "Feel empowered to improve their professional practice."
    "Striving for professional excellence."
    to improve their professional practice.
  • Be engaged in job-embedded professional learning
    daily.What resonated with you:
    "Providing PD during the school day and daily."
    "Teachers consistently working on skills."
    "Teachers should learn every day."
  • Engage in data informed decision making.
  • Have a
    deep knowledge of the contentWhat resonated with you:
    "Have a deep knowledge of the content... teaching to a range of students."
    they teach and how to teach that content to a range of students.
  • Work
    collaborativelyWhat resonated with you:
    "Working collaboratively to develop and implement."
    to develop and implement lessons that are responsive to the educational needs of their students.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the practice of all members of the school community.
  • Be researchers.
  • Experience high-quality coaching and mentoring.
  • Build their leadership capacityWhat resonated with you:
    "I like the building leadership capacity."
    "Building leadership skills for teachers and students."
    "Expectations are high."
    "Like all the bullets."
    through the coaching and mentoring of other teachers.

Job Embedded PD: What Wonderings Do You Have?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

Program Structure
"How can this happen daily?"
"Daily LEARNING happens, but is learning considered PD?"
"I'm curious about how these are implemented?"
"Are teachers forced to participate or not?"
"Why does the district mandate the time and the PD topic? Change the culture of PD."
"Will it be systematic change in regard to PD?"
"What evidence does PPS have that resonates in PD that other teachers will do?"
"How do we differentiate PD for teachers due to teachers being at all different development levels? Different levels of PD for different levels of teachers.”
"Does that tie in to classroom or paired subjects?"
"Cross content integration and collaboration?"
"How much space and time teachers feel like they have?"
"Are we in conflict with professional development being a professional responsibility?"
"With structured curriculum, can teachers bring a part of themselves?"
"Can OST have this also?"
"Where do principals come into play and how information being passed on and from who?"
"How are we exploiting things we are doing well and looking at best practices / proof on concept?"
"What, if anything extrinsic, is provided to teachers for participating in these opportunities?"
"Will there be pay for this?"
"How do we incentivize it for overachievers?"
"Do the people who get put up in front of people as an example receive acknowledgement for engaging in professional learning that is above and beyond. Is this an afterthought? What gets rewarded gets done.”
"What does this look like and how can it support post graduate teachers?"
"How do we get all stakeholders involved in the success of professional development?"
"How are title I parents involved in professional development… who are clients? Students, parents, taxpayers??"
"Can we cross teach across professions?"
"Does this take into account the mentors of teacher in the new teacher induction program?"

Teacher Support
"Are we giving these teachers opportunities to share what they have learned with others, and a capacity to develop other teachers based on research and new-found evidence-based practice with others?" (2)
"Is there a way to bring back the teacher center that use to be at Schenley?"
"What about sending teachers to more conferences (Title 1, PBIS, etc.)?"
"How do support teachers at hard to staff schools and help the teachers work together to develop a positive environment?"
"Part of being empowered is the ability to make individual decisions. When will be teachers be empowered to make curricular decisions?"
"How do we all come together as a collaborative learning community?"
"Can we bring in other professionals to support teachers and help students learn?"
"Can teachers be creative in teaching? (flexibility) Standards serve the corporations?"
"What is the District doing to ensure teachers have support to make this actually happen? "
"Are there incentives? Can't expect teachers to do all this work forever without incentives.”
"How are incentive being offered to teacher for PD?"
"How teachers be compensated for their PD?"
"What is going to be provided to the teacher as it relates to student data?"

Teacher Engagement / Assessment
"How do we get teachers to self-identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to direct their learning?"
"How do you teach teachers to be researchers?"
"Can I opt out of this as a teacher?"
"What do we do as a District about the teachers that do not want PD? Teachers that have lost interest?"
"Teachers that have burned out?"
"Are teachers current on managing classroom?"
"Do they even care anymore?"
"Are we inspiring "bad" teachers?"

Parent Engagement
"How do we get more parent engagement?"
"How do we meet parents where they are?"
"Is there a role for parents in understanding what this means? Get parents to understand how teacher PD affects the learning of their children."
"Do parents know/care about the development of the teachers?"
"Sharing data and the PPS website is better, but how can we help teachers communicate with families more?"

Teacher Parent Relationships
"How can teachers connect and learn with parents?"
"How do we get teachers to include parents?"
"How do we train teachers on parent engagement strategies?"

"Selection: What does this look like? Who are the mentors? Internal? External?"
"How did the mentors get to where they are?"

Community Engagement
"Does the community know about teacher development?"
"Who is involved in that community and having opportunities for parents and providers to be a part of this?"
"How do you engage corporations?"

Program Assessment
"How is data being used, turnaround time, and expectations? You need to inspect what you expect."
"Is there an evaluation to decide whether I (teacher) received what I need?"
"Is it a part of evaluation or is there a pop quiz?"
“Focus on the effectiveness of PD, as opposed to focusing on the time. How do you monitor this?"

"How will the data be used?"
"Were students with disability included in the data?"
"How can we break the data down to show growth?"
"How can we use the data to evaluate where students are in order to know where to begin and how do we use it as we go to inform teaching, thinking, and engagement for all?"

"Is there a set definition for PD?"
"What's the definition of job-embedded? Is this experiential learning?" (2)
"Research and evaluation-based practices: what are they and how do we identify them?"

Teacher Retention
"How do we support positive work environment so we do not lose teachers to other districts?"

Student Support
"Is there information for students who don't want to go to college?"

"Where is equity within this?"

"Is this going to overwhelm as it is added to the workload and not necessarily appealing?"


Job Embedded PD: What is Missing?

Please see below for a full list of comments each audience noted. Similar topics are grouped together in bolded categories.

 Program Structure
"No consistency with PD's across the district."
"Addressing the perception toward professional development.
"Cross content integration and collaboration."
"Freedom to integrate PBL components."
"Equity built into the PD to ensure teachers in communities are experiencing the same thing."
"Assessment: How are we assessing that this is working?"
"Rotating teachers."
"Incorporating project-based learning to keep teachers excited and reduce burnout."
"PLCs are not mentioned."
"Your fellow co-workers training you in the school."
"Opportunities for mobility for those who take advantage of these sessions."
"Does not address non-teaching staff."
"More of a life ready focus."
"The turnaround. Training done, now how does it transfer to school and colleagues?"
"People don't like their time wasted. Meaningful PD."
"Trauma informed practices in schools."
"Establishing a learning community."
"Brainstorming and troubleshooting along with the professional learning, and extending beyond the individual classroom."
"Incorporating a collaborative environment with college students who are expecting to be teachers."
"More focus on students and teachers."
“Substitute teaching… wasted day or period now. No respect. Instead of substitute teachers… partner organizations can come in and do something totally different… instead of teacher notes, students get professional development. Could be PD for subs.”

Teacher Support
"Time." (2)
"Not enough time to sit down and understand the resources we have, because too many mandated protocols."
“(Teachers) are tired. You want to be able to prepare for your class and you don't want to stay after.  You need to have someone covering for you so you can attend.”
“Teachers are so overloaded that they can't find time to work with others who can support them best.”
"Feedback loop from teachers to principals to admin."
"Age appropriate embedded career PD."
"Opportunities for teachers to have flexibility with curriculum."
"Experimentation. Students are looking for the ‘right’ answer because of testing--teaching creatively--where is the space for that?”
"Permission to fail."
“We need to have teachers and students who think outside the box.”
"Resources and Materials."
"Support teams for teachers."
"If you want them to be researchers bring in researchers.”
"There need to be resources available if teachers want to attend PD."
“Teachers are only receiving the curriculum right before school starts and we don't have the opportunity to be creative unless we learn how to do that on our own time.”
"Inclusion. How would teachers know that the PD is a part of the bigger PPS plan?"
"Providing childcare for PD."
"Best practices."

Teacher Training / PD Options
"Flexibility in professional development." (2)
"Professional development on community development and engagement."
"Allows teachers to use different tools to teach."
"Teacher having autonomy to determine his/her professional learning needs."
"More choices. It should have to do with whatever that teacher is teaching. It needs to be meaningful. It shouldn't just be about the new buzz in education in the time."
"Training for teachers to adjust teaching methods for college and non-college bound students. Do ALL teachers understand the goals of students?"
"PD for classroom management."
"Training on teaching students in trauma."
“Not all of the professional learning is meaningful--even the stuff that is happening in PLCs. (example being…) Some of the new curriculum the district has purchased, then teachers are penalized.”
"Teachers learning what the IEP process is. (Special Education)"
"Perhaps PD in the summer."
"PD during peak times."
"Teacher led PD."
"Student led PD."
"Having student/teacher PD to foster strong relationships."
"Sitting with colleagues as PD."

"Strategic corporate partners can bolster program."
"Partnerships with workforce investment board would strengthen this."
"Including professionals from the community in the professional learning for teachers and staff."

Teacher Engagement
“Teachers have to want to get better.”
"Making it a vocation instead of a profession."

Teacher Student Relationship
"They need to know what kind of learner a student is before teachers can get to bullet five (i.e., how to teach... content to a range of students) - even learning second language."

Parent Engagement
"Let parents know what teachers are learning in PD."
"More education around Title I and how to use the funding and what it can be used for."
"More transparent…"

Community Engagement
"Community piece is missing."
"Allow students to learn where they are."

Cultural Awareness
"All teachers are not equipped with the right kind of language for the classroom."
"Most teachers don’t know how to deal with African American students."

Curriculum / Differentiated Instruction
"Arts integrated learning, particularly when dealing with the African American community."

"Sometimes teachers don’t effectively communicate."

  • *State of the District presentation dates included are: 10/10/18 – Children’s Museum (North Side)  10/11/18 – Center of Life (Hazelwood)  10/12/18 – Clergy (Greenway PD Center)  10/23/18 – University Partners (Chatham University)  11/01/18 – Parent Advisory Council Meeting (Sci-Tech)