A+ Schools 2018 Report to the Community: Public Schools Progress in Pittsburgh
A+ Schools released their 2018 Report to the Community on Public Schools Progress in Pittsburgh. The 120-page report includes data for each Pittsburgh public school as well as the charter schools within the city. The report focuses on teaching, student academic growth, school climate, and readiness for college and careers.
The report’s Executive Summary highlights the following key takeaways:
- Enrollment rose slightly last year
- Overall, more 3rd graders are reading at grade level compared to 3 years ago
- Graduation rates continue to improve, especially for African American students
- Student suspensions are down 35% over past three years
- Too few students are doing math at grade level
- Black students’ success varies widely by school with gaps in a variety of outcomes
While the data shows some improvements in our public schools, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that every student in Pittsburgh can succeed – and, crucially, that every student can succeed regardless of their race. During the press conference on the report, James Fogarty, executive director of A+ Schools, emphasized the significant racial gaps across multiple indicators of success, including suspension rates, which disproportionately impact Black students. Though 53% of students identify as Black, they represented 76% of the district’s suspended students last year.
Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Anthony Hamlet attended the press conference and noted that the district is dedicated to continuous improvement. His goal is to provide high quality education at all schools in every zip code. PublicSource reported that Superintendent Hamlet acknowledged that there is still much work to be done and “that the race to success in the district is ‘not a sprint, but a marathon.'”
Fogarty reminded everyone in attendance of the importance of collaboration to achieve educational equity. “We recognize that our vision of a school system where 100% of students graduate college and career ready, and at least 80% go on to complete college or trade school, is not a reality…We also know that achieving this vision is not something that we at A+ Schools can do alone.” He thanked PPS staff for collecting and sharing more data about student outcomes than in prior years, noting that the Office of Research and Evaluation has drastically improved under Dr. Hamlet’s leadership.
A+ Schools has made the report widely available, mailing it directly to 15,000 households with children enrolled in Pittsburgh Public Schools and making it available in local libraries, city schools, and at elected officials’ offices. It can also be accessed online.
A+ Schools is also offering presentations of the report to school and community groups upon request (details here).