A nonprofit that promotes high standards for teachers this month named Pittsburgh Public Schools one of the best U.S. school districts in which to work.
The National Council on Teacher Quality, based in Washington, D.C., named the school system one of eight “Great Districts for Great Teachers.” Pittsburgh joins Boston, New York City, Denver, Washington, D.C., Broward County, Fla., Pinellas County, Fla., and Gwinnett County, Ga., in receiving the nonprofit’s first such designation.
Often “there’s a lot of negative rhetoric when we talk about school districts, so we wanted communities to know their districts are taking good steps and doing good things they should celebrate,” said Kency Nittler, the nonprofit’s manager for teacher trends.
The council, which advocates for change in teacher policies and tries to increase the number of effective teachers, narrowed more than 120 large districts to between 50 and 60 that then were analyzed. A “listening tour” that included interviews with district leaders and teachers followed for 10 to 20 finalists. PPS was the smallest of the eight honored in terms of the number of teachers and students.
Pittsburgh Public has “one of the strongest career and leadership pathways” among the districts the council studied. It specifically praised its career ladder positions, in which teachers earn extra pay for additional time and responsibilities. That structure is distinctive because it “clearly explains what all of the rules are and what the qualifications are … to participate in those roles,” Ms. Nittler said. Teachers also receive feedback and coaching, the council’s review noted.