PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The hallways of the predominantly African American University Prep are lined with pennants and banners of colleges and universities — but the promise of a college education has gone mostly unfulfilled.
Students at the 6-12 public school in the Hill District have struggled academically, with less than 17% of its middle schoolers achieving proficiency in reading and none in math.
On top of that, the school has been the site of several melees that have required a police response. In fact, the school’s principal is currently on medical leave after being injured trying to break up one such fight.
“We have not been successful in turning this school around,” said school board member Sala Udin. “The administration has not been successful.”
Distressed over the performance of U Prep, the school board is set to vote Wednesday evening on a proposal to move the middle school students to Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville.
But Udin argues that the administration of Superintendent Anthony Hamlet must fix the school rather than close a large section of it.
“You need to do your job. Come up with a formula that works and make this school work,” Udin said.
“That’s what you promised to do and that’s what you ought to do.”
Coincidentally, the board is also set to vote Wednesday night on whether to retain Hamlet’s right-hand assistant, Deputy Superintendent Anthony Anderson.
He’s one of a half dozen Floridians Hamlet hired to key administrative posts after coming to Pittsburgh from Palm Beach County.
As head of school support and accountability, Anderson — who makes $159,00 a year — is largely responsible for U Prep’s performance and has proposed the move to Arsenal.
But sources say his job and proposal are both in serious jeopardy.
If Anderson’s contract is not renewed and the middle school move is rejected, it would be two strikes against Superintendent Hamlet, whose leadership of the district remains a source of controversy.
Stay with KDKA for Andy Sheehan’s full report on this developing story.