Pittsburgh Public Schools Students Return To Class Amid New Changes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Summer is officially over for 25,000 students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools District. Today marks the first day of class, but there are several changes that have been made.

It’s time for students to restart the learning process. Honor roll student Taja Vincent was excited and nervous.

“I’m excited because this is my first day at a new school and that’s the same reason why I’m nervous,” Vincent said.

The first day of school also helps parents break up the summer routine.

“Yeah, she’s out of my house, but the best part is she’s excited, I’m excited,” Janine Jones said.

“I just want them to be really excited to be there to learn and engage with their community,” Sharon Fennimore said.

It was a busy morning for new superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlett as he visited schools to encourage students, parents and staff.

“My goals and aspirations is to make sure the students have a well-rounded robust curriculum in front of them, but also again to make sure teachers have resources and tools they need to do the job in the classroom,” Dr. Hamlet said.

Dr. Hamlett said he is still in the process of seeking community input to help the district go in the right direction.

“We’re going to reach out and get their big ideas, but also were having a second round of forums as well to go back to the community to make sure these are the things you wanted,” Dr. Hamlet said.

There are some new changes in effect for the upcoming school year, too.

Students passed through a gauntlet of encouragement and support before starting the first day of classes at Westinghouse High School. The Wilkinsburg District approved a six year plan with Pittsburgh schools to transfer high school students to Westinghouse at a cost of over $8,000 per student.

People in the neighborhood are praying for success.

“I want them to learn, I want them to grow up and be somebody, be productive kids,” said parent Margaret Wilson.

200 students from Wilkinsburg are starting their first full year in Pittsburgh Public Schools. They received special greetings from the mad dads community organization and others.

Additionally, the school board has changed the code of student conduct, which now includes three levels of misconduct instead of two.

It also uses restorative justice, which is an approach that allows students to make good while staying in school.

Principals can no longer use informal suspensions, such as sending a child home early.

Other changes include keeping the opioid drug overdose antidote naloxone in all 6-12 and 9-12 schools.

Additionally, there is a new transgender bathroom policy.

Also, parents of returning students now have a user name and password to log onto the registration gateway to update their child’s information. They can also check on their child’s grades, attendance and discipline record.

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