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Pittsburgh Public Schools chief eyes better social services for students, families

The concept of using school buildings to house social services for students and their families, long studied in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, is moving closer to reality.

Superintendent Anthony Hamlet has called implementing “community schools” in the district one of his top priorities, and it’s among the short-term goals the school board set for him.

“I see community schools as, number one, for our children, to make sure they get supports they need,” he said in a recent interview. “But also, if we’re not beginning to support our parents in our community, then we send the kids right back into a possible environment [in which] they can forget some of the things they learned.”

The school board passed a community schools policy in July, and approved the hiring of a full-time community schools coordinator in December. A 26-member committee made up of foundation, government, union and community representatives developed the application for schools, due Friday.

The board will vote to designate certain school buildings as community schools at its March 21 meeting.