Pittsburgh Public Designates 5 Schools As ‘Community Schools’

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — By all appearances Pittsburgh Langley K-8 in the west end looks like any other public elementary school, but it’s about to be transformed into something else: a community school.

“I define a community school as a full-service opportunity for children and their families,” Langley K-8 Principal Rodney Necciai said.

For many years public schools and teachers have lamented that they can’t do it alone, that many of their students come to class along with problems from home.

“We can keep our children from early morning breakfast to late at night with after-school programming but if we’re sending them home to in some cases dysfunctional household then we are not helping our children,” Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said.

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A community school aims to help the entire family. Langley and others will have a community coordinator who will provide one-stop shopping — connecting at-risk children and their families with various social-services aimed at addressing those underlying problems.

In addition, the schools aim to become a welcoming hub, a building open nights and weekends, offering it’s gyms and pools as community recreation centers. In the future, perhaps, providing health and counseling services on-site for families.

Along with Langley, the district today designated Pittsburgh Westinghouse, Pittsburgh Faison, Pittsburgh Lincoln and Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8 as community schools in round one of the phased program. They will be funded by a combination of district money and private contributions.

The district says community schools are redefining just what a school is. Not just a building but a community hub, addressing sudden and family needs inside and outside the classroom.

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