District 6- Heather Fulton
Q: What role do you believe Pittsburgh Public Schools plays in preparing every child to be successful by the time they arrive at kindergarten? And how will you partner with local government, community organizations, and private childcare centers to ensure more children have access to high-quality Pre-k and child care?
A: PPS has the responsibility in encouraging all families to enroll their child in a pre-k program, teaching the parents how essential early childhood education has become. We would need to partner with agencies to ensure we have the space available to have more classrooms. We would need to have transportation as necessary and find partners to supplement the funding.
Q: Superintendent Dr. Hamlet has started the Student Advisory Council to incorporate student voice into district decision making. How will you promote student voice into the Board’s decision making process?
A: I believe the student's voice is such an important aspect of our district. I will form a sub-committee to develop a program which students have direct access to the board meetings and have a forum to be involved.
Q: What are your top three priorities to improve the district?
A: 1. Work to get more children proficient in math and reading by 3rd grade.
2. More CTE programs and greater access to this programs for all students in the district. 3. Strengthen the working relationship between Pittsburgh Public Schools and key stakeholders.
Getting our children into an early childhood education programs is the best way to have our children succeed. The centers we have now are full and there is a waiting list, we need to create more programs. We need to have more CTE programs and have the unions represented and redesign the locations of the programs into one central area. Students want to join these programs but do not want to leave their home schools. Having a centralized place would increase the programs. Strong schools help make a strong city and we need to have a solid working relationship
Q: What are three things the district is doing well and how will you build on that?
A: 1. Student Advisory Council has been such a great addition to our district.
2. Choices - With the many magnet programs, families have a choice of different schools that will meet their needs
3. Producing quality graduates going to top tier schools
Our students have such a strong and loud voice and need to be heard. The students I have met with have admirable opinions and they need to be heard. In any area of the district there are choices for every grade, the magnet programs are designed to give families the opportunity to enhance their child's education Our high schools have graduates going to IVY league schools and it is underpublicized. We definitely need to increase our graduation rate, but we also need to recognize the great accomplishments that our currents students are achieving.
Q: Teachers are the district’s greatest resource, how will you ensure that teachers and supports are distributed to the students with the most need?
A: A more equitable system needs to be in place to allocate resources to students with the greatest needs.
Q: Teaching in Pittsburgh Public Schools is a great opportunity. As a board member how will you promote teaching in the district so that we attract high quality diverse teachers?
A: Attracting and retaining quality teachers is an issue. Changing the system of when hiring begins is a step in the right direction. PPS offer many opportunities for teachers to obtain personal professional growth. In the past, the hiring for new teachers was done in August, now that it has been moved up in the year we have a better opportunity to attract better qualified teachers. The district has now started a more desirable competitive beginning salary. Giving our teachers the ability to advance professionally is positive. Teachers can become ITL's, coaches and acquire leadership role in their departments which is appealing to all.
Q: School Safety is always a top priority, and part of that is creating a welcoming and safe environment. How will you work to equally advance the psychological and physical safety of students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, immigrants and refugee students?
A: Better educating all students on the differences of their peers is a first step to having our schools welcoming and inviting. More awareness is the key to stop the bullying and all feeling safe. Attracting more diverse teachers and support staff will allow students of color, LGBTQIA, immigrants and refugee to feel more comfortable
Q: What is your vision of a community school? How will you as a board member work to create partnerships to strengthen our schools?
A: The concept of community schools is appealing. Understanding that each community school will have different needs and wants will be challenging but with enough research and resources it will be a great addition to our district. Research in other cities who have already implemented community schools have been proven effective especially in low-achieving and high-poverty areas. Making sure each individual school is what each community needs is important. The same concepts may not be used at all schools.
Q: What resources do you think schools need to better engage with families with limited English proficiency? How will you advocate for those resources?
A: Having more diverse teachers and support staff in each school would help families with limited English. Having translators at all school functions and being able to translate recorded messages into different languages would be beneficial.
Q: What are the most important skills students need to be ready for life/ career? What will you do as a board member to make sure Pittsburgh students get these skills regardless of what school they attend?
A: The most important skill students need is real life exposure to internships, apprentice programs and life skills. We need to give them the correct tools to maintain a productive life after high school. The internships and apprentice programs are an excellent way for students to understand how their careers perform. However, we also need to ensure our students have basic life skills. College study programs teaching our students how to study effectively. Resume writing, interviewing skills, how to do your taxes and balance a checkbook are all skills needed and have not been teaching our students. As a board member I would work hard to make sure all our students are getting not only their academics but life skills as well
District 6 SCHOOLS
Pittsburgh Banksville K-5
Pittsburgh Beechwood PreK-5
Pittsburgh Brashear High School
Pittsburgh Brookline PreK-8
Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8
Pittsburgh South Brook 6-8
Pittsburgh South Hills 6-8
Pittsburgh West Liberty K-5
Pittsburgh Whittier K-5
District 6 Neighborhoods
Parts of Overbrook