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Pittsburgh Public Schools students head back to class

Class in session for Pittsburgh Public Schools students
Class in session for Pittsburgh Public Schools students 02:11

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Students are back in class and learning about the new changes in Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Monday was the first day of school for all students, except kindergarten students. 

The excitement was in the air as students walked through the doors at Pittsburgh Allderdice Monday morning.

"Super excited just to see the students and to meet all our new freshmen and any new students so it's always an exciting time of year and I'm just glad to have the kids back," said Dr. James McCoy, the principal of Pittsburgh Allderdice.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Walters greeted the high school students along with McCoy and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. Walters visited a few other PPS schools as well.

Walters is thrilled about changes in the district this school year.

High school students now start class at 7:40 a.m., instead of 7:15 a.m. Walters said they looked at research about later start times and they also wanted to address transportation challenges.

"We were able to get it in four tiers and we're hoping to have a better system this year and that students can be picked up on time and we ask for some grace on the first day because we know that we have some challenges on the first day of school," Walters said.

Safety is top of mind for students, teachers and other staff.

Before opening their books, students walk through metal detectors. Walters said that's just part of their efforts to keep kids safe in and out of the classroom.

"Safety is everyone's business whether you're in the community, in school, whether you're a teacher or whether you're a school safety official. We're also working with programming to do some intervention programming, peer mediation programming and really working directly with the students to change the narrative around safety and violence prevention and using students to change that story," Walters said.

The district also added a new "science of reading" curriculum for K-5 students, a required personal finance course for high schoolers and free tutoring is available online 24/7 on

"A lot of things are going on in Pittsburgh Public Schools and that's just a small snippet, but Pittsburgh Public Schools is an exciting place and we're moving there," Walters said.

"Just making sure the kids feel safe and welcomed and ready to learn each day," McCoy said.

Walters said staffing is better this year, but they still have openings, and he encourages people to apply.

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