Thursday, December 31, 2015

Great Schools calls it an opportunity for parents, students, and teachers in Pittsburgh to speak about PPS Superintendent Search

Unique opportunity to provide input for superintendent search...
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Superintendent Search: Community Forums

5pm - Registration
6pm - Forum Begins

Dates and Locations of Meetings:
- Barack Obama (January 7)
- Oliver High School (January 13)
- Brashear High School (January 19)
- Carrick High School (January 21)
- Board of Education Public Session (January 25)
- Langley School (January 26)
- University Preparatory at Milliones (January 28)

Pittsburgh parents, students, teachers and community members are being presented with a unique opportunity to provide input and contribute to the job description of Pittsburgh's next superintendent. For that reason, it is vital that we commit, to the best of our abilities, to participating in the upcoming community forums and search process.


The Pittsburgh School Board has committed to an open search process with input from the community. In order to gather this input, the School Board will host seven community forums in January. The format will be similar to the School Board Public Hearings with 3 minutes allotted to each registered speaker to talk. Registration to speak will begin at 5 pm the day of each event at each of the seven locations, and the forums will begin at 6 pm sharp. Feedback can also be submitted through a toll-free phone number, 888-839-5445, or emailed to More details are posted at


During the first Community Engagement meeting, hosted by Great Public Schools, on October 22, 2015, input was received from parents, teachers, students and community members on what they were looking for in the next superintendent. This information was compiled and is presented below by category and order of importance (as ranked by participants). Speakers may use any or all of this information when speaking at one of the seven community forums to directly share with the School Board and Perkins Consulting group their priorities for the next superintendent.


Transformative Parent/Guardian & Student Engagement

  • Community Schools with community input
  • Leaning on student strength - empowering students
  • A student union
  • Parents involved in policy/decision making
  • More support for students and families
  • Meetings in different neighborhoods
  • Better communication & PPS website


Healthy Living & Learning Environments

  • More recess and gym
  • Schools open 24/7
  • A Nurse in Every School Every day
  • Many more guidance counselors in every school every day
  • Mental health services
  • Physical activity integrated into everyday learning in every classroom
  • Transportation issues - safety, timing
  • Flexible school day schedules


Equity & Racial Justice

  • Superintendent engaged in city's development. Strategies and awareness of neighborhood makeup and housing diversity - can relate to feeder patterns
  • Poverty needs to be addressed
  • Recruit and retain more teachers of color
  • Support for teachers to learn cultural competency
  • Student and teacher voice captured through exit interviews (moving, graduating, etc).
  • Teach and make opportunities for all kids, not just gifted.
  • Challenge - Magnet schools can drive resources from neighborhood schools


Restorative Justice and Discipline

  • No zero to tolerance
  • Racial injustice lens
  • Teachers cannot do it alone - need other professionals/caring adults to support
  • Superintendent needs to be FULLY invested in restorative justice and restorative practices.
  • Individualized attention to students
  • Relationship building emphasized


Transparency and Accessibility of Administrators

  • More support for principals
  • Budget transparency
  • Accessibility of central office administration (close the fortress mentality)


What's Missing/Miscellaneous (red=more highly selected than any other area)

  • Expand sports programs (builds community)
  • Expand arts and music
  • A teaching philosophy rather than teaching to test
  • Superintendent needs a clear vision (i.e. more project-based learning, universal gifted testing)
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