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City Public Schools See Marked Progress

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A-Plus Schools has released its seventh annual report on public school progress in Pittsburgh and it appears things are looking up.

"This is the first year we've done this report that we've seen good progress on every single indicator. In the past, you know you have seen, it's a mixed bag. But, here it's been progress on every front, but it's like finally maybe the wind is at our back," A-Plus Schools Executive Director Carey Harris said.

In an era of budget cutbacks and layoffs, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers said Monday's announcement is welcome news.

"You know, they are working so hard. When you walk into a school, you feel the energy. You feel the work. This substantiates that," Nina Esposito-Visgitis said.

Their data suggests an increase in student achievement as well as a narrowing in the so-called *achievement gap* between the percentages of African-American and white students who were proficient or above on the PSSA tests.

Numbers were also better for reading and math.

"We know that our literacy has a lot to do with our gains in math, so it's safe to say that we are really being aggressive in tackling our literacy problems and that we will see some results in improvements in mathematics," Dr. Jeannie French said.

Despite the gains, Harris said there is still much to do, especially with 11th grade math scores.

Yet increased graduation rates, higher SAT participation and more kids qualifying for the Pittsburgh Promise are other signs of movement in the right direction.

"We need to say and we're not going to let up until you do. We know that as parents we have to stick behind kids and just don't lower expectations even though they might not want to work," Harris said.


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