Imagine PPS Design Teams
The Imagine PPS process will build off of the efforts of the working group and center around the formation of 12 design teams – led by the District, in partnership with an external community champion and informed by a mix of PPS staff and community members. Design teams will develop recommendations for 12 focus areas within four categories: Student Pathways, School Design, Areas of Interest and School Improvement of Underperforming High Schools. Drawing on the expertise of local team members and best practices from across the country, design teams will develop action plans.
Each design team will seek input from student groups, teachers, principals, parents, community leaders and partners. While engagement will take place throughout the planning, targeted dates for engagement will occur in two phases – January 2020 and April 2020 based on proposal timelines. Simultaneously, the Superintendent, his Executive Cabinet and District staff will collect data and analyze the District’s facilities needs to develop strategies for system and structural improvements in four areas: Education Delivery Model, Feeder Patterns, Magnet Pathways and Technology Enhancements.
A description of each design team may be found below.
PPS Team Lead (s)
Graduate Student Profile
National Institute for School Leadership (NISL)
Minika Jenkins, Chief Academic Officer
Pupil Progression Plan
Areas of Interest
Mental Health/Trauma-Informed Care
UPMC Children’s Hospital
Dr. Alicia Johnson, Director, Student Support Services - Social Work
Dr. Kymberly Cruz, Senior Program Officer, Arts Education
Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation
Karen Arnold, Director of Athletics
“Homemade” Healthy Food
Food Policy Council
Curtistine Walker, Director of Food Services
Special Education Infrastructure
Ann Herrmann, Executive Director, Program for Students with Exceptionalities
Birth-Age 8 Programing
Housing Authority of Pittsburgh/Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Carol Barone Martin, Executive Director, Early Childhood
Career Exploration Middle School
Angela Mike, Executive Director, Career and Technical Education
Medical Careers High School
Jamie Griffin, Executive Director, Mathematics K-12. Vincent Scotto, Coordinator STEAM
School Improvement of Underperforming High Schools
Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12
Dr. Shemeca Crenshaw, Acting Principal/
Dr. Nina Sacco, Assistant Superintendent
Pittsburgh Perry High School
Darrel Prioleau, Principal/ Dr. Nina Sacco, Assistant Superintendent
Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12
Homewood Children’s Village
Stephan Sereda, Acting Principal /Dr. Rodney Necciai, Assistant Superintendent
- Student Pathways
The Student Pathways design team will be responsible for updating the District’s existing graduate student profile, revising graduation requirements and master schedules and establishing a pupil progression plan.
A graduate student profile is a document used to specify the intellectual, personal, and interpersonal skills that students should have when they graduate. The profile provides a clear visualization of priority goals for teaching and learning that can be easily communicated to students, parents, faculty, and staff to align their collective efforts. Input from the community will help to identify and prioritize these skills/competencies for the school district and create a shared vision of the District’s destination.
Graduation requirements are the credits/classes that students must take in order to be eligible for graduation. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has a minimum graduation requirement threshold, but local districts can establish their own provided they meet the minimum requirements.
Updated graduation requirements will lead to changes to master schedules. Each school must have a master schedule in place to schedule teachers, analyze student course requests, and assign teachers and rooms to classes.
A pupil progression plan is how a student moves from kindergarten to first grade, first grade to second and so on including the move from a student’s senior to post-secondary education or the workforce. It transparently outlines what students need to do to move from one grade to a next for every student and accounts for remediation and acceleration.
Incorporated in the work of school design will be three separate design teams that will focus their efforts in the following areas.
- Birth – Age 8 Programming
The Birth – Age 8 Programming design team will research schools and programs that begin at birth and carry through grade 3. The school model will be student-centered, play-based educational system grounded in standards that will help students from birth to 3rd grade to engage in learning at a higher level.
- Career Middle School
The Career Middle School design team will work to research middle school career schools and design a middle school model that provides students with exposure to a variety of careers. Research has identified middle school as a time when students can benefit the most from career exploration. Through a project-based learning, students will work in teams, learn from real-life scenarios and build self-awareness while they develop a plan for reaching their future goals. The Career Middle school would be closely connected to local and regional corporations, outlining clear pathways to secondary schooling and post-secondary college or job preparatory programming.
- STEM School – Medical Careers
The STEM School – Medical Careers design team will research existing schools focused on preparing students for high-demand medical careers. Students would take college preparatory courses focused on educational experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that increase their ability to gain access to careers in medicine and the sciences.
Areas of Interest
- Mental Health /Trauma Informed Care
The Mental Health/Trauma Informed Care design team will assess the current programming and staff available to address student mental health and trauma and determine what additional resources, programs, and staff are needed to ensure students are having their mental health and trauma care needs met.
The Arts design team will evaluate the District’s current art offerings and determine how arts education can be better integrated into other subject areas and/or if additional arts programming is needed.
- “Homemade” Healthy Food
The “Homemade” Healthy Food design team will study existing models in Boston and Houston and determine how to provide fresh, healthier and more desirable options for meals across all schools with a focus on schools without fully functioning kitchens.
- Program for Students with Exceptionalities (PSE) Infrastructure
The Program for Students with Exceptionalities (PSE) Infrastructure design team will evaluate the current PSE model of regional classrooms and explore ways to restructure and maximize resources to support each student’s individual education plan.
The Athletics design team will evaluate current athletic offerings K-12, and board policies so students at Pittsburgh Public Schools have a competitive advantage as participants in the District’s athletic programs.
School Improvement of Underperforming High Schools
- Pittsburgh Perry High School
The Perry design team will work in tandem with Perry’s leadership team and help to establish ways to strengthen Perry school by ensuring foundational elements are in place and that the school is supported by the community. The design team will build upon the school’s existing school improvement plan, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Community Champion for the Perry design team work will be the Buhl Foundation
- Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12
The Milliones design team will work in tandem with Milliones’s leadership team and help to establish ways to strengthen Milliones school by ensuring foundational elements are in place and that the school is supported by the community. The design team will build upon the school’s existing school improvement plan, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The District is working to enlist a Community Champion for the Milliones Design Team.
- Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12
The Westinghouse design team will work in tandem with Westinghouse’s leadership team and help to establish ways to strengthen Westinghouse school by ensuring foundational elements are in place and that the school is supported by the community. The design team will build upon the school’s existing school improvement plan, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Community Champion of the Westinghouse design team will be Dr. John Wallace, David E. Epperson Endowed Chair and professor, University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, and the Homewood Children’s Village.
In addition to the work of the 12 design teams, the Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet will utilize the feedback received as a part of the design team engagement and research process to make System & Structural Improvements in the following four areas:
- Educational Delivery Model
The Executive Cabinet will review the District’s current Educational Delivery Model, also known as the school funding formula. The work will include evaluating the current model and aligning a future model with the values identified by the staff and stakeholders of the city. An example may be increasing the number of student service supports such as counselors and social workers or ensuring every school has a full-time Assistant Principal.
- School Feeder Patterns
The Executive Cabinet will evaluate the District’s current school feeder patterns to determine where adjustments could be made so that students are more evenly distributed while keeping in mind the needs outlined in the most recent Facilities Master Plan.
- Magnet Pathways
The Executive Cabinet will evaluate the current magnet schools and programs, the current magnet school/program pathways and determine what changes need to be made in terms of school design, program continuity, magnet policy and magnet themes.
- Technology Enhancements
The Executive Cabinet will explore school models in large urban settings that provide a 1:1 model of technology for all students across all grades. The team will also evaluate teacher and staff technology needs and develop a plan of action that also includes updated technology equipment and infrastructure to ensure high-speed intranet and cell service at all school facilities.
- Student Pathways