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Pittsburgh Schools Deal With Discipline

Pittsburgh Schools are still fully embroiled in the high school reforms enacted in 2006. A task force, with goals are similar to those of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, is currently leading the reforms. Pittsburgh Schools evaluate the reforms in accordance with the Excellence for All Plan, an initiative that seeks to develop all Pittsburgh Schools academically. The Task Force leading the Pittsburgh Public Schools High School Reform has just recently announced their specific Plan for High School Excellence. And they let parents and students know that the improvements will take many years. The root causes of the issues in Pittsburgh Schools are tied to discipline and curriculum problems.

In the past, Pittsburgh Schools experienced low test scores and high dropout rates. The Plan for High School Excellence has been created in response to declining enrollment in public schools. Many of the students leaving the public sector of Pittsburgh Schools are lured by private schools that boost higher academic success. Teachers will receive more intensive training and stronger support in enforcing discipline codes. Discipline and student behavior have plagued the Pittsburgh Schools for years. In this area, there have been some detention guidelines established and a center for long-term problem students has also been arranged. In addition, there is an entirely separate school being built for consistently defiant students.

The stress created by tension and violence in the Pittsburgh Schools led to the creation of the detention center. By separating the students prone to troublemaking from their peers, the other students in Pittsburgh Schools are given a better chance to focus on their studies. All who enroll in the school for disruptive students will be given 180 days of education and discipline before they have the opportunity to return to Pittsburgh Schools. In order to be sent to these schools, students must have been suspended for 4 to 10 days; at home suspensions are being rejected by Pittsburgh Schools as they do not provide constructive punishment.

These new resources and plans are targeted at incoming ninth graders in the hopes that they can be the beginning of change in the Pittsburgh Schools. Part of the program involves providing mentors to these incoming freshmen. Community involvement will be stressed. The introduction of civics to the curriculum of Pittsburgh Schools is hoped to help with character development and behavior. Also, the lesson plans in Pittsburgh Schools will look different next year. Faculty members are involved with a program to streamline and unify their plans. By making the classes and teaching methods more uniform and cohesive the teachers in Pittsburgh Schools hope reach more students more effectively. Will this five-year plan, with its ambitious steps, be able to improve the unruly environment and classrooms in the Pittsburgh Schools? Administrators are counting on it.

Submitted by:

Patricia Hawke

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit http://www.schoolsk-12.com/Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh/index.html


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