New Pittsburgh Schools Are on the Horizon

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Americans these days love everything “new”. Some people buy a new car every year, update their entire wardrobes each season, and many will just about buy anything if they have a coupon for it or if it’s on sale or the clearance rack. We love things to be fresh, updated, and, well, new. Not everything is best new, however. Architecture of decades past, for one, commands a lot of respect for its creativity. And no one would really want to drink wine that’s only a few months old. The older the better, in that case. So what about new schools? Are they better or is remodeling or refurbishing old schools a better choice? Leaders of Pittsburgh schools think they have the answer.
The Superintendent of the Pittsburgh public schools wants to open 4 new schools in the city, along with closing some. This move is not necessarily because of increased enrollment; it is inspired more by the desire to optimize the education that the district of Pittsburgh schools is providing the Pittsburgh schools students.
In a radical move, the Pittsburgh schools’ Superintendent is seeking support to expand the educational opportunities to students that are not currently available. He is planning to create several 6-12 schools where students who are enrolled in the same magnet program, IB (international baccalaureate) for example, can enjoy efficient continuity as they progress from one grade to the next.
This is a good call on the part of the Superintendent of Pittsburgh schools. All kids benefit from consistency and knowing what is to come. They lack the skills, as children, to fully anticipate what is in the future, simply by virtue of being young. They do not have the life experience, as yet, to draw conclusions about their lives. This is why they value consistency, whether they know it or not!
Another good reason to combine the middle and high school grades is that it will give both the low and high-achieving students of Pittsburgh schools the opportunities to get the most out of their educations. This concept, known as the “open” approach, allows students to attend classes on their ability level. Students of Pittsburgh schools who are academically talented or gifted would have the possibility to attend classes that would challenge them and optimize their education in the Pittsburgh schools. Those kids who are struggling in school with, say, reading skills could literally attend classes with those who are working on those same skills.
In order for something like this to work most efficiently we need to have mixed-grade classes in these Pittsburgh schools. All students in grades 6-12 change classes according to subject. If they are accustomed to attending classes which are based on their developmental levels rather than their age, it is entirely possible that said students attending Pittsburgh schools would get a better education. Merging schools throughout the district serving Pittsburgh schools is a good plan that will bring efficiency and a better education to all students.