School district recommendations for opening University Prep School
The Pittsburgh Board of Education has released details of the district's vision for Year Two of Excel.9-12, The Plan for High School Excellence.
Excel.9-12 is a multi-year plan focused on the redesign and restructure of the District's high schools and improvement of student achievement. Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and Chief of High School Reform Derrick Lopez provided an update at a board workshop on the District's Excel.9-12 Year Two recommendations. The district recommended the adjustment of Year Two plans to phase in the creation of the University Prep 6-12 school, beginning with the ninth grade, for the start of the 2008-09 school year. Additionally, it is recommended that Pittsburgh Vann and Pittsburgh Miller remain K-8 schools for the 2008-09 school year.
“Ninth grade is a pivotal year in terms of high school success or failure,” said Superintendent Roosevelt. “Beginning a university partnership school with a 9th Grade Academy will be critical to creating a culture of success and a truly substantive District and university partnership.”
9th Grade Academy - High School Readiness
In September 2007, more than 2,300 of the district's ninth grade students gathered at Heinz Field for a kick off event celebrating the 9th Grade Nation. The Ninth Grade Academy will be used to bridge middle years instruction to the higher level instruction students will face in secondary school. The district plans to institute ninth Grade Academies at all secondary schools.
Pittsburgh First University Prep School
The district is currently formalizing plans with the University of Pittsburgh to create Pittsburgh's First University Prep School 6-12 at the Milliones facility. Upon completion, this school will become a national center for excellence in public education and a model for school district/university partnerships. Additionally, this school will provide an opportunity for the University of Pittsburgh's faculty to have an impact on Pittsburgh Public Schools students.
Upon Board approval, the district recommends opening the school with only the ninth grade non-magnet Schenley feeder students for the start of the 2008-09 school year. For the start of the 2009-10 school year, the school will house grades 6-10 adding the middle years 6-8 and 10th grade. Each year that follows a grade will be added until the first class graduates in 2012.
The following is also recommended:
• Pittsburgh Vann K-8 to remain a K-8 school for the 2008-09 school year.
• Pittsburgh Vann will close at the start of the 2009-10 school year requiring the relocation of Pittsburgh Vann K-5 to either Pittsburgh Weil Pre-K-8 and or to Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5.
• 6-8 students from Pittsburgh Vann will relocate to either Pittsburgh Weil or the new University Prep 6-12 for the start of the 2009-10 school year.
• Pittsburgh Miller PreK-8 will become a PreK-5 school in 2009-10. 6-8 students from Pittsburgh Miller will attend the University Prep School for the start of the 2009-10 school year.
Current Pittsburgh Schenley Students to Move Intact to Reizenstein
Year Two plans for Excel.9-12, The Plan for High School Excellence have been adjusted to phase in the creation of the District's four new 6-12 “learning communities.” New plans include the relocation of current Pittsburgh Schenley High School students intact to the Reizenstein facility, delay the closure of Pittsburgh Frick 6-8 until the start of the 2009-10 school year and phasing in the district's first University Prep school with a ninth grade class. Current Schenley students will graduate with a Pittsburgh Schenley diploma.
In addition to the relocation of the current Schenley students to Reizenstein for the start of the 2008-09 school year, the Year Two plan reassigns incoming ninth grade students scheduled to attend Pittsburgh Schenley to the following locations:
• International Baccalaureate and International Studies program students to attend Pittsburgh Frick.
• Robotics Technology magnet students will attend the Robotics Technology Magnet program at Peabody.
• Non-magnet Schenley feeder students will attend the University Prep School at the Milliones facility.
The approximately 174 students currently enrolled at the Robotics Technology magnet at Pittsburgh Schenley will relocate with their classmates to the Reizenstein Facility and take Robotics Technology magnet courses at Pittsburgh Peabody.
Additionally, the plan calls for:
• The consolidation of Pittsburgh Rogers CAPA 6-8 and Pittsburgh CAPA High School into one 6-12 thematic learning community to create Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 for the start of the 2009-2010 school year.
• The opening of a Science & Technology program for 2009-2010.
Reizenstein to House 6-12 International Baccalaureate Program for the start of the 2009-2010 School Year
The district will open a fully accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) Program in the Reizenstein building to create Pittsburgh IB World 6-12 for the start of the 2009-10 school year. Currently, the district has an IB Diploma Program at Schenley High School for 11th and 12th grade students and is currently in the application process to institute a Middle Years Program (MYP) at Pittsburgh Frick 6-8.
These two programs will merge to create one of the first comprehensive international baccalaureate middle years and diploma programs in a U.S. urban district. Pittsburgh Frick 6-9 students will relocate to Pittsburgh IB 6-12 School beginning in the 2009-10 school year. Additional classes will be added each year as current Schenley students graduate.
Pittsburgh Rogers CAPA 6-8 to Combine With Pittsburgh CAPA High School
Combining the District's total Creative and Performing Arts curricula will optimize the resources currently deployed at Pittsburgh CAPA's downtown location. The board approved the purchase and renovation of three additional floors at the downtown facility to house all of its 6 -12 CAPA students in one location, thus creating a cohesive learning community to be completed for the 2009-10 school year.
Board Votes on Excel.9-12, the Plan for High School Excellence
The Superintendent has also shared with the board anticipated items that will be brought forth for a board vote in February. These items include:
• Movement of Pittsburgh Schenley student grades 10-12 to Reizenstein for start of 2008-2009 school year;
• Opening of Milliones facility to house a 6-12 University Prep School;
• Addition of the ninth grade to Pittsburgh Frick;
• Movement of the robotics program at Pittsburgh Schenley to Pittsburgh Peabody for the 2008-2009 school year.
The board will not be asked to vote on the closing of the Schenley facility at its February legislative meeting as additional time is needed to explore renovation possibilities.
There are several other ways for the community to share their comments regarding the Year Two plan for high school reform:
• Write to the Division of Communications, Pittsburgh Public Schools, 341 S. Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; or,
• Phone or email the Parent Hotline at (412)622-7920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public can also review plans for Year Two of Excel.9-12: The Plan for High School Excellence by visiting the Pittsburgh Public Schools web site at http://www.pps.k12pa.us, visiting the Division of Communications, Room 201, or by requesting a copy by calling the Parent Hotline at 412-622-7920.