Equity recognizes students’ experiences are different and require diverse supports, resources, and funding to ensure that all students experience successful academic growth and achievement. To ensure that Pittsburgh Public Schools students, staff and school communities share, understand and practice common vocabulary to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations, the Office of Equity has created the Equity Glossary of Terms. The carefully researched list, while not exhaustive, was formed by the Office of Equity to help individuals engage in meaningful conversations and actions towards and equitable education for all.
In Spring 2023, Pittsburgh Public Schools launched its first-ever independent equity audit of the district’s system of education for its African American students. An equity audit is a study of the fairness of an institution’s policies, programs, and practices. Our Racial Equity Audit will critically examine our policies, programs, and practices that directly and indirectly impact our students relative to their race. The equity audit will provide a starting point in evaluating our District’s current state concerning equity. After the data collection and analysis, we will release The Current State of Racial Equity at Pittsburgh Public Schools final report early Winter 2023 with a comprehensive list of recommendations for prioritization of actions.
On November 9, 2019, Pittsburgh Public Schools announced the next phase in its ongoing efforts to bridge racial equity gaps in the city’s public schools. On Track to Equity: Integrating Equity Throughout PPS is a comprehensive implementation plan that seeks to reduce racial disparities throughout the District and elevate the achievement levels of African American students. The 97-page plan details 27 key action steps the District is taking toward this goal, each grouped under one of seven focus areas outlined in the MOU between PPS and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Courageous Conversations About RaceCourageous Conversations About Race is a protocol for effectively engaging, sustaining and deepening interracial dialogue. Using the Framework for Systemic Racial Equity Transformation, our staff can begin to address persistent racial disparities intentionally, explicitly, and comprehensively.
Beyond Diversity Seminar
Beyond Diversity Seminar aligns with Courageous Conversations About Race. District staff participate in two-day seminar designed to help participants understand the impact of race on student learning and investigate the role racism plays in institutionalizing academic achievement disparities. Through Beyond Diversity participants gain a foundational understanding of the impact of race on students of color and a common language, to engage, sustain and deepen Courageous Conversations about Race.
Culturally Responsive PedagogyCulturally Responsive Pedagogy professional learning equips educators with the knowledge skills, and dispositions to meet the diverse learning needs of all students and create the conditions necessary for closing the achievement gap and improving the achievement of all students through a leveled continuum of professional learning experiences. These experiences are designed to move adult learners from foundational understandings of CRP (Culturally Relevant Pedagogy) to eventual multidisciplinary connections and community building, creating a clear through line that will build individual and collective teacher efficacy in their ability to provide all students with high quality opportunities for learning. Five levels of intellectual engagement for CRP learning have been identified for organization and delivery.
Implicit Bias is attitudes, stereotypes, and beliefs that can affect how we treat others based on race, ability, gender, culture, or language. Implicit Bias training for central and school administrators, Board members, social workers, guidance counselors, school police and school security guards would ultimately lead to a decrease in the incidence of racial disproportionality in behavioral referrals, suspensions and arrests and an increase in culturally responsive interventions and supports. This professional learning is aligned to the Equity in Discipline Action Step.
Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)
Our partnership with ABPsi engaged the Office of Equity, school-based mental health practitioners, and Learning Environment Specialists in professional development that increased capacity to implement research-based culturally responsive, trauma-informed practices in their everyday responsibilities and interactions with students. Staff are equipped with positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and a set of appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.