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Tag Archive: Carey Harris

  1. Thank you! Changemakers 2016 Honors Dr. Linda Lane

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    A huge thank you goes to all of the parents, donors, students, and participants at this year’s Changemakers Celebration! Thanks to your contributions, we were able to raise $50,000 to support our programs. A special thanks to our sponsors:

    Hosts The Pittsburgh Promise Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC Law Offices of
    Wayne D. Gerhold
    Rita M. McGinley Foundation The David S. and Karen A. Shapira
    Super Bakery University of Pittsburgh Alan Lesgold
    Allies for Children
    Poise Foundation
    Propel Foundation
    Valedictorian Letterman The Birmingham Foundation Susan and David Brownlee
    Blue Cross
    Blue Shield
    KPMG, LLC Campaign for Quality Schools Pittsburgh United Way of Southwestern PA
    Honor Roll McAuley Ministries Foundation The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development
    BNY Mellon The Grable Foundation Howard Hanna Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

    Your support allows A+ Schools to recognize the tireless efforts of educators, parents, students, and community volunteers working to make our public schools great.    We had an amazing celebration of Dr. Lane with over 200 advocates for high quality public education in attendance. With your help, we will continue the important work to ensure high quality public education for each and every one of the City’s 25,000 public school students.

    2016 Changemaker Honorees

    Superintendent Leadership Award

    Dr. Linda Lane

    TeenBloc Graduates

    Giordan Dixon – Pittsburgh Westinghouse (attending CCAC)
    Indyha Fielder – City Charter High School (attending Penn State University)
    Alleah Rose – Pittsburgh Obama (attending Point Park University)
    Shania Brimage – City Charter High School (attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

    Ella Baker Leadership Awards

    Sacoyia Reed
    Cynthia-Grace Devine-Kepner

    Educational Leadership Awards (nominated by TeenBloc)

    Ms. Sharon Brentley – Pittsburgh Perry
    Ms. Stephanie Byars – Pittsburgh Perry
    Mr. Douglas Mavracic – Pittsburgh Perry
    Mr. Sean Means – Pittsburgh Westinghouse
    Ms. Alexa Tokarski – Pittsburgh Brashear

    Outstanding Volunteer Awards

    Patricia Seligman – Board Watch
    Erin Stiling Sloan – Outstanding New Volunteer

    Thank you all!

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  2. “A+ Schools is both an advocate and a watchdog”

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    “Thanks to the independent work and data of A+ Schools, the district is better able to identify its challenges and develop action plans in response.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 22, 2014

    This Thanksgiving we’re grateful for the friends and supporters who stand with us as we push to change a status quo that is not working for too many of our students. We’re grateful for students who are pushing for changes that will lead to better character development and safer schools. We’re grateful for parents who are volunteering at high needs schools to support the staff and students to help create better outcomes for children. We’re grateful for teachers who are holding high expectations for students and closing gaps in schools across the District. And we’re grateful to you, our community, who believe that poverty is not destiny and that education is the key to unlocking a better future for all of our students.

    In order to make the change we seek, we believe you have to start with knowing what is going on. Our 10th Anniversary Edition of the Report to Community on Public School Progress provides more information than ever before. We hope it sparks conversation, spurs advocacy, and inspires you to ask good questions of your school board member and administration. Below are a variety of additional resources to help you understand what’s in the Report.


    Request a Presentation

    We’ll come to you with a tailored presentation of the information for your school or community group. Click here to make a request.

    A/V Resources

    Video: Overview of the Report to the Community and Key Findings (November 17, 2014 Press Conference)

    Audio: Telephone Town Hall with Carey and Dr. Lane

    Web: Compare school data online.  NEW!!!!

    News Roundup

    New learning gap: The performance between city schools is troubling

    Report highlights wide gaps among Pittsburgh schools

    Pittsburgh Public Schools improving

    A+ Schools Releases Annual Report on Pittsburgh Public Schools

    PPS Shows Progress, But Not Equally Among Schools

    Annual schools report shows academic achievement down locally, across state

    A+ Schools Report: UPrep Westinghouse Lag Behind


  3. 2014 Report to the Community: Graduation Rate Up, School Data Varies

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    We’re proud to release our 10th Anniversary Edition of the Report to the Community on Public School Progress todayPress release below.

    Graduation rate improves substantially, variation in performance among schools

    PITTSBURGH, PA – Nov. 17, 2014 – A+ Schools, Pittsburgh’s community advocate for educational equity and excellence, today released its 10th Anniversary Edition of the Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh. This year’s report provides a richer and more detailed view of the progress at each public school in Pittsburgh.

    Carey at Press Conference.

    Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools, said after ten years of looking at school district trends, there has been modest progress overall on a variety of indicators and a substantial increase in graduation rates. “We celebrate these improvements and acknowledge the hard work of students, teachers, and staff to make them happen.”

    The report shows wide variation in student learning across schools. Harris noted, “We see a growing number of schools pursuing excellence for students – they are closing the achievement gap, increasing participation in advanced courses, and increasing graduation rates. Unfortunately, we have far too many schools where student achievement is abysmally low.”

    Nina at Press Conference

    Nina Esposito-Visgitis, President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, praises the hard work of all staff over the past year.

    This year, the revised report includes a focus on key academic milestones that research shows are building blocks of future success. “We want the community to focus on what we know matters for students to participate in a more demanding global economy. Are children reading by third grade so that they can read to learn going forward? Are they taking algebra and doing well in it by 8th grade so that they can take advanced math in high school? Are they taking advanced courses in high school that prepare them for college or career training? These are the questions we are asking, and we hope readers will focus on these milestones to support student success in schools,” said Harris.

    A focus on these indicators uncovers wide variations in school success. The report reveals schools with high percentages of students, black, white, and poor, reading at grade level by third grade and schools where very few are. There are also schools with high percentages of students taking and successfully learning algebra by eighth grade and schools where no eighth graders are enrolled in the course. At the high school level, the report shows there are schools where almost all eleventh grade students passed the Literature Keystone exam, and schools where only eight percent did. “Our vision is a district where excellence is pursued in every school, for every child. Our collective future depends on making sure that every student attends a school that works,” Harris concluded.

    Dr. Lane at Press Conference

    Dr. Lane has high expectations for ALL PPS students.

    Other findings in the report show:

    • The district graduation rate increased by eight percentage points to 77% overall.
    • Districtwide, 41% of students enrolled in one or more AP courses, 26 percentage points higher than in 2012. This percentage increase includes both black and white students.
    • The vast majority (96%) of teachers performed at the proficient or distinguished level last year. Distinguished teachers can be found across Pittsburgh Public Schools.
    • Chronic absenteeism and suspensions are problems in many schools.

    Harris urged the Pittsburgh community to review the report as a tool for asking questions and seeking information about the quality of city schools. A+ Schools provides a number of opportunities for parent and community involvement in working toward great public schools. Harris noted this year’s inclusion of more equity indicators and focus on milestones creates opportunities for further research. “In the coming months we will be releasing brief white papers about correlations we find in the data, to better understand what’s working in schools, and what can be improved.”

    A+ Schools will mail the report directly to twenty thousand city households with children enrolled in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and children under age five. In addition, the report will be available in local libraries, city schools and at elected officials’ offices, or by calling A+ Schools at 412-697-1298. The full report — and information on A+ Schools and its programs for parents, students and community members — can be accessed online at

    Opportunities to Learn More

    A+ Schools is offering tailored presentations to school and community groups interested in learning more about the report and how to use it. To arrange a presentation, contact A+ Schools at 412-697-1298, or visit the A+ Schools website at

    A+ Schools is the community advocate and leader for educational equity and excellence in Pittsburgh’s Public Schools. It serves as a community force advancing the highest educational achievement and character development for every public school student. Its core purpose and focus of work is to increase educational equity in Pittsburgh schools. For more information, contact A+ Schools at 412-697-1298 or visit

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