Pittsburgh Public Schools unveils ‘fresh start’ initiative to reinvigorate students, staff after rocky first semester
The interim superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools on Tuesday announced the launch of an initiative that he hopes will utilize culture, systems and instruction to invigorate teaching, learning and leadership across the district.
“A Fresh Start for the Head and Heart” coincides with the beginning of the second semester for the city schools on Wednesday.
Interim Superintendent Wayne Walters said the idea for the initiative began in November when he met with district staff members and the student advisory council and identified the need to allow schools to implement positive school culture ideas and practices that elevate teaching and learning.
“Continuing with the status quo can no longer be an option for PPS,” Mr. Walters told school staff Tuesday during a district-wide development session. “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day in PPS. We are in a space and time where this fresh start opportunity is paramount for our district.”
The district explained that there are two separate components to the initiative.
The “fresh start,” the district said, will let schools reflect and select core activities to restart the school year at the second semester with a focus on positive school culture, systems that create better organization, cohesion and guidance to elevate instruction.
“Head and heart,” the district continued, allows schools to create non-traditional processes of academic support and acceleration as well as schoolwide spaces for wellness and emotional support designed for students and staff.
The district said it would hold special activities over the next two weeks to mark the beginning of the second semester. That includes visits by Mr. Walters at several schools Wednesday, including an appearance with Mayor Ed Gainey at Miller PreK-5 in the Hill DIstrict.
The fresh start initiative comes after what was a challenging first half of the academic year for the Pittsburgh Public Schools.