Educational Institutions

A+ Schools Pittsburgh's Community Alliance For Public Education

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • www.aplusschools.org

Mission Statement

A+ Schools is an independent community advocate for equity and excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools. We envision a public education system in Pittsburgh where: Overall student achievement continues to rise, with 100% of students graduating, and 80% finishing a training program, 2 year or 4 year university program, and Race is not a factor in determining which students: are in the highest and lowest achievement categories, graduate from high school or matriculate in training programs or colleges and universities. A+ Schools' purpose is to be a community force advancing the highest educational achievement and character development for every public school student. We choose to specifically focus on issues of educational equity because significant barriers exist that directly and indirectly deny groups of students a high quality education. To achieve educational equity in Pittsburgh Public Schools, we must deliver policies and practices that specifically increase opportunities and resources for African American students. Our work focuses community attention on the specific issues at hand through research and policy analysis; explicitly engages and elevates community voices from the communities most at risk; creates opportunities at multiple levels of engagement for citizens to get involved in removing barriers to student success; and seeks to build broad community will to advance change in the public education system.

Main Programs

  1. Board Watch
  2. Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh
  3. School Works
  4. Teen Bloc
  5. Parent Nation
Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

ruling year

2004

Principal Officer since 2007

Self-reported

Ms. Carey Ann Harris

Keywords

Self-reported

A Plus Schools, Board Watch, Public Education

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Register now

EIN

30-0254325

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Empowered student voices: Our TeenBloc youth leadership program rallied 1,700 students in all PPS high schools to support a Student Bill of Rights. Students spent a year working to determine ways that the Pittsburgh Public Schools' Student Code of Conduct could be revamped with the input of student leaders. The Student Bill of Rights has garnered the support of some school board members and a vote is expected on it before the end of this school year. Learn more about TeenBloc here. Advocated for Great Teaching: Over the past year, we continued to focus and advocate for policies and practices that ensure every child experiences great teaching. We developed a workshop for parents and community members to better understand what the research says is excellent teaching, and we published a review of PPS' system of teacher evaluation with recommendations for improving its implementation and use. Most recently,we partnered with Civil Rights leaders to advocate for a robust evaluation tool and performance standards for teachers. Learn more about our teaching work here. Organized parents to make a difference at the school and district level - Parent Nation, a new organizing effort to engage parents in our most vulnerable schools, began to have some of its first successes this year. Parent led teams now exist in 7 of our most vulnerable schools, monthly meetings are held to share ideas across schools and neighborhoods, and parents helped overhaul PPS' Parent Involvement policy to make schools more welcoming. Community volunteers power research - Over 100 volunteers interviewed 26 PPS principals, counselors and teacher leaders about what they have and need for student success as part of our School Works action research. Over 600 students were also interviewed as part of this process and the results from adult and student surveys will be shared with the public the evening of April 29 at a community forum at the Children's Museum. Learn more about School Works.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Board Watch

A+ Schools believes that in order to achieve a strong public school system we must have effective leaders who are fully accountable, fiscally responsible and strategically focused on moving the district forward. A district governed by a focused school board that functions with purpose, transparency, respect, responsibility and competency will allow students to achieve their maximum potential. Board Watch is a grassroots effort established by A+ Schools that is meant to ensure effective school board governance. It involves volunteers who are trained to observe Pittsburgh Public School Board meetings as independent, informed, nonpartisan citizen evaluators of the School Board's governance.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$112,224.00

Program 2

Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh

Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh: Consistent and accurate information is necessary to engage the public in discussions about equity, school quality and reform progress. A+ Schools has issued Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh every year since 2005. The report provides information about student achievement and other school performance indicators by school and level. The report includes an executive summary analysis of district trends. This year will be the 10th anniversary edition of the Report following a one-year hiatus. We hope to include more information than ever before and provide a review of progress made over the last decade in Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$138,839.00

Program 3

School Works

School Works: An A+ Schools Opportunity Program: We know that when the learning conditions in a school are ideal for students, school works. When children are given access to the education resources they need and caring, quality educators, school works. When expectations are high and students are challenged and supported without excuses, school works. Our aspiration for public schools is that they be places where all children can be educated to reach their full potential without being held back by factors that are out of their control like race, poverty, ethnicity, religion or gender. School Works is community action research, through which members of the public are invited to serve as volunteers to interview high school and middle school principals using a research instrument developed by A+ Schools and its partners. The volunteers are trained to be neutral interviewers that collect specific information regarding the learning conditions and opportunities that exist for the students in each school; the things that make them work. The information gathered is reported as a description of the conditions in high schools and middle schools. Findings from the interviews are used as a basis for community deliberations pertaining to the issues of equity and opportunity and provide data to schools and other organizations to use as fuel for change.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$173,623.00

Program 4

Teen Bloc

Teen Bloc: Students Engaged in Leadership educates and empowers Pittsburgh Public High School students as participants in school reform, rather than just as reactors to it. It is our belief that the students are a vital part of the community that, when seen as partners, have the potential to be a force that pushes the improvement of schools to a level unachieved by other urban school districts. Students are supported by staff from A+ Schools and MGR Youth Empowerment.By engaging students in leadership and organizing, we seek to support them to develop their voice as informed citizens and empower them to seek to find the most effective ways to create positive change in their communities. Over time, the result will be generations of adults who seek to make informed decisions to lead future Pittsburgh.

Category

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$108,149.00

Program 5

Parent Nation

Parent Nation is a network of parents and community members working to teaching and learning environments, champion equity and excellence in our schools, and grow the voice and involvement of families. Parent leaders with the will and capacity to enlist others to enact change in their neighborhood schools are needed. In schools where parents play a role in decision making and problem-solving stronger relationships are formed and students are better served. Parents and community leaders will take part in trainings to learn about issues facing students, how to grow power, and what their rights and responsibilities are. We are looking for parents and leaders who will champion policies and practices that will ensure all children, especially our most vulnerable, are given the resources and opportunities they need and deserve.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

26,000

Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Funding Needs

An equitable and excellent public school system will take nothing less than a mobilized community. Please join us in this important work: Board Watch Volunteers - Volunteers are needed to observe school board meetings and evaluate school board governance using A+ Schools rubric. Volunteers must be City of Pittsburgh residents, attend a training session, and be available for one evening school board meeting per month. Parent Nation Team Members - Parent Nation is looking for parent and community leaders to join teams at some of our most vulnerable schools to help address issues of equity and excellence facing students. We provide training and organizational support to help volunteer leaders become a powerful voice for change in their schools and district wide. Believers - If you share our commitment to an equitable and excellent public school system, demonstrate your commitment by standing with us: join us mailing list, receive our email newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

photos


External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

The review section is powered by Great Nonprofits

Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

A SCHOOLS PITTSBURGH'S COMMUNITY ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone and website
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Get all this now for free
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

A+ Schools Pittsburgh's Community Alliance For Public Education

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone and website
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Ms. Carey Ann Harris

BIO

Carey Harris joined A+ Schools in October 2003 part-time as the Interim Co Director and then Deputy Director. Ms. Harris was appointed Executive Director in May 2007. Prior to joining A+ Schools in 2003, Ms. Harris was the Executive Director of South Side Local Development Company - a nationally recognized community development organization that develops residential and commercial real estate, develops and manages community plans, and engages in a variety of programs to build and support human and physical development in South Pittsburgh. Before joining the South Side LDC, Harris worked at the Mon Valley Initiative - a coalition of community development organizations- as a community organizer and lead organizer. Harris is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Certified Economic Development Professional and a graduate of EPLC's Education and Policy Fellowship. Harris serves on the Board of the Birmingham Foundation and resides on the South Side with her husband John Werling and their three children all of whom are Pittsburgh Public School students.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Carey Harris, Executive DirectorA+ Schools is where the public engages with public education in Pittsburgh. We make complex educational information understandable and actionable because we know that when good information and action meet change can occur. Our small, diverse and mighty staff of twelve shares an audacious and fervent commitment to social justice, the prosperity of the City of Pittsburgh and the bright and productive futures of every child in Pittsburgh. We approach our work with conviction and humility and in the words of President Barack Obama, ""Seize gladly our challenges firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task."" Please join us in this important work. Thank you for your consideration."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Judy Johnston

retired

Term: Jan 2012 - Dec 2013

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?