Annette Werner said...
I knew little about University Prep except that the University of Pittsburgh is somehow involved, and so I visited the school's open house yesterday. It seems likely that this school will be very successful.
The school features the following:
A dedicated counselor is scheduled to meet with each student at least once a year to discuss college plans (so for example students will receive guidance in 9th grade or earlier).
A one million dollar grant will allow students to start visiting colleges as early as 9th grade, and families can become involved in the process through a special family education plan.
Another grant will allow each student to receive a laptop computer.
The University of Pittsburgh in not only sending professors to teach some classes, but is also working on professional development.
The school offers French currently, will soon offer Spanish, and hopes to become the first PPS to offer Latin.
Students reading below grade level are enrolled in special "Read 180" programming to bring them up to grade level.
An emphasis on goal setting, achievement, critical thinking and teamwork is apparent.
The principal seems to be enthusiastic, thoughtful and innovative and students and teachers seem to be happy and involved.
Since PURE promises not to gloss over the hard questions, we do need to ask whether it will be possible to provide this level of resources and attention across the board so that the school can truly be a model for other Pittsburgh public schools. And, while entry in 6th grade rather than 9th grade is said to be a major benefit of 6-12 schools, only half the students will enter at the 6th grade level.
November 22, 2008 1:43 AM