A+ Schools releases 17th "Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh"
Last updated 12/6/2022 at 12:03pm
"If there is one thing we can say with certainty, it's that in this work, we know the success of all of our children takes more than just one family, one school, one organization, one neighborhood. It takes all of us," said James Fogarty.
The focus of the 17th publication of the annual Report to the Community, A+ Schools is to understand whether each child is given what they need to reach and exceed a shared standard of success. It provides an analysis across multiple dimensions of equity to understand how the current system (both school and community) works to create the outcomes for our children.
The equity analysis includes the following:
• Enrollment equity-Compared to the overall demographics of the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools has more students of color and students experiencing poverty. Both groups are segregated in PPS to a significant degree. 65% of Black students attend schools where the concentrations of poverty are 70% or higher compared to 33% of White students.
• Funding equity- Per-pupil funding and school resources can differ based on the size and makeup of a school. While some schools with high concentrations of low-income students get more resources, others do not.
• Teaching equity- A diverse teaching force benefits all children, with Black students benefiting the most. In Pittsburgh, 16% of teachers are Black or Brown. While the teaching force is much more diverse than the state average, many students do not have Black or Brown teachers.
• Discipline equity-Over the past five years, suspensions have declined from a rate of 13% to 11% this past year, which represents 2,467 students who were suspended at least once. Suspensions are highly disproportionate by race and economic disadvantage. Black students represented 75% of all the students suspended, and economically disadvantaged students represented 86%.
• Opportunity equity- Economic advantages that students are born into become educational advantages within the school system. School buildings with concentrations of low-income students are among the schools with the lowest number of students with a "Gifted" Individual Education Plan. Black students are under-represented in AP courses at 28% of AP course takers compared to White students at 56%.
In the 'Rising Up' section of the book, there are stories exploring how Pittsburgh Public Schools and the community are supporting students' needs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stories in this section include the district's core support processes, social-emotional learning, and how the Student Assistance Program addresses students' well-being. This section also includes a feature on how the wider community has created tutoring opportunities in response to the crisis of missed learning time and a section that provides resources for families who may be searching for help for their students.
At the Report to the Community press conference, A+ Schools focused on four areas where the community can work with schools to support student success:
1. Helping all students get to school every day
2. Helping children learn to read
3. Creating a vision for a school system that is diverse by design
4. Supporting the District in its journey to continuous improvement
The complete 2022 Report to the Community will be mailed to approximately 15,000 households in Pittsburgh and distributed to all libraries, local legislators and magistrates, and schools, and an expanded version will be available for download at http://www.ourschoolspittsburgh.org.