Launched in 2009, School Works is a community action research program sponsored by A+ Schools that uses teams of trained volunteers to interview school staff and collect data
on staffing, training, coursework, support services, resources and learning
opportunities for Pittsburgh students.
School Works is modeled after the successful Ready Schools Project conducted
by D.C. Voice in Washington, D.C.
School Works volunteers this year interviewed 49 PPS principals and 14 principals from suburban school districts. While we found that some progress had been made with regards to improving children’s access to opportunities across the district, we found that staff instability was high and that student conduct standards were varied with higher numbers of suspensions and referrals at our most vulnerable schools.
A huge debt of thanks is owed to our volunteers, parents and community leaders who attended our briefing sessions on May 29 and June 4, 2013. Special thanks to Michelle Williams, Mollie Pollack and to Amy Scott for pulling together these findings and analyzing the results.
Volunteers are independent and neutral citizens who are recruited, trained and sent in teams to conduct private interviews with school staff. A+ Schools invites participation by all citizens who share our commitment to student achievement. Volunteers attend a training session led by A+ Schools that covers their responsibilities, instruction on how to use the survey, and an overview of what the collected data reveals about opportunities and resources for students. Volunteers are then assigned in teams to conduct a very specific one-hour interview with school staff.