One Foot Expansion Update: ECS Q&A
We hope you enjoyed the sneak peek at the Middle School Cafe space. Excitement continues to grow as we reach the last phase of our process, and we are taking time to share each of the spaces and details for next year’s transition to three campuses.

This week, we take a closer look at the start times, schedules, transportation questions, and moving logistics.  We cover this through a Q&A format for ease!
What time will school start?
  • ECS Intermediate 3-5 (Milton) drop off begins at 7:50 (start of day, 8:20)end at 3:50
  • ECS Primary K-2 (Park Place) drop off begins at 8:00 (start of day, 8:30) and end at 4:00
  • ECS Middle School (Rogers) drop off begins at 8:10 (start of day, 8:40) and end at 4:10
Details and directions for drop off/pick up information for cars, bikers, and walkers will be provided later this summer. 

What about busing? Will students all be on the same buses?
Middle School students will be on separate buses next year. Primary and Intermediate students will continue to be on the same bus route. Look for additional information from your district of residence in August for neighborhood pick up and drop off times for students.

When is the first day of school? What does the calendar look like for next year?
The first day of school for 1st -8th grade will be August 21, 2019 and for Kindergarten August 23, 2019. You can find the school calendar on our website .

What about the move? How are things moving from one building to another?
Our facilities team and building teams are working to orchestrate the move of teaching supplies, equipment, and furniture throughout the summer. Our team of 12 month employees will be working in the background to ensure materials are carefully ordered and placed, spaces are cleaned, and resources/supplies are readily available for teachers and students return in August.

What about program changes? How will grades K-2 and 3-5 differ from the 2018-2019 school model? What will change in the middle school model?
Most of our programming and routines remain in place and will not change. There are some highlights and additions to program- enhancing our offerings and utilizing newly available spaces in our three campuses.
  • Spanish is a special for grades K-8
  • Reading/English Language Arts class added for grades 6-8
  • Edible School Yard moves to a program serving grades 2-5
  • Discovery Block is a special for grades K-1
  • Kindergarten moves to self-contained model with play-based curriculum

Specials at the K-5 level are: Spanish, Discovery/Edible School Yard, Physical Education, Music, Thinking Lab (5 day rotation).

Specials at the Middle School will be a semester. Students are either enrolled in Spanish and Health (2 day rotation) or Thinking Lab, Music, and Physical Education (3 day rotation). If a student has Spanish and Health the first semester they will have Thinking Lab, Music, and Physical Education second semester. If a student has Thinking Lab, Music, and Physical Education first semester they will have Spanish and Health second semester.

Is there a gym at the new middle school?
No, there is not a gym, but we will have a fitness studio outfitted with circuit training equipment, space for aerobics and yoga instruction, and we will continue to prioritize outdoor fitness opportunities such as biking, racquet sports, and team sports.

What are the teaching teams for next year?
Grade level teams in grades 1-8 move from three home bases to four and kindergarten moves from 2 home bases to 3. Kindergarten and fifth grade become stand alone years, and looping shifts to First/Second and Third/Fourth. Middle School continues to loop Sixth/Seventh/Eighth.

Earlier this year, all teachers and instructional staff ranked their top 3 choices for placement, and principals tentatively assigned roles based on choice, experience, expertise, and, in some cases, an interview. Take a look at the teaching teams for 2019-2020 here: Tentative Staffing . This list is not comprehensive, but provides a tentative look into the instructional staff and teams for next year. Look for a more formal introduction from your building leader and teaching team later this summer.

What does the educator-student ratio look like? How will special education work? Is it changing?
We have a long-term commitment to the two educator model in our classrooms, and have every intention of maintaining that commitment. As we continue to serve more students with individualized education plans, our special education department recognizes the need to be as flexible as possible in order to provide a continuum of high quality services to students. To adapt to student need, special education teachers’ schedules will be more flexible, including more one-on-one and small group student time as well as continuing some co-teaching. We have also added two special education teacher positions dedicated to address the needs of our students requiring Emotional and Autistic support. Our special educators will ​absolutely still be present in our classrooms and on grade level teams,​​ and able work in a more dynamic way based on student need on a personalized and responsive basis. Inclusion very much remains at the heart of what we do , and our maximum caseload per special education teacher will be 12-15 (which remains below the PPS average of 20 and far below the state maximum of 50.)

Are there additional adults to support students?
Given a more dynamic special education team approach, it is important we bring ​an additional layer to the teaching teams​, which is why we are adding assistant teachers in each grade K-5, and paraeducators at each grade level (2 per grade K-2 and 1 per grade 3-8). Assistant teachers and paraeducators are professionals that will work directly with all students, and take instructional direction and expertise from the lead teacher in the classroom. 

Additionally, there will be building-based paraeducators that will be able to be flexible and will have schedules that meet the needs of students, and recess coordinators to support consistent coverage of students during free play. The effect will be an overall increase in the adult presence in more of our classrooms and spaces .

What will inclusion look like for kids with IEPs?
Inclusion is the practice in which all students are accepted and valued for their unique abilities and included as integral members of the school community. ECS’s inclusive practices value the diversity of our students, enabling their participation in the general education classroom and in extracurricular activities, where all students are given the appropriate supports to grow and thrive. In an inclusive setting, students will have access to special educators, assistant teachers and/or paraeducators in the general education classroom. If students receive supports outside of the general education classroom, those will remain in place as decided by each individual IEP team. 

When will you be offering tours to the new school?
We will providing a sneak peek at the inside of the school through a virtual reality experience at Earth Nite, May 3rd. Stop by the ECS booth to see samples of furniture, talk to the architects, and wear the VR goggles to get a feel for classrooms and spaces. ECS hopes to have an informal open house at the Middle School in late June, with some spaces open, and a full open house in August before the first day of school.

Additional questions about next year?
Reach out to your building leader: Jaleah Robinson , Middle School Principal; Laura Williams , Intermediate School (3-5); Ashley Bergman , Primary School (K-2).
Next week is Spring Break! Enjoy your time off. We look forward to bringing more information your way throughout the spring.
Support Us As We Grow!
ECS grows citizens. And we are expanding our campuses to support additional students at every grade level and to continue our mission-based program through the high school years. Growth in space allows us to developmentally right-size our schools, support the demand for our program, and expand opportunities for students. 
Will you help us as we grow?
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Our Contact Information
ECS Lower School
309 South Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15221
ECS Upper School
829 Milton Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15218
ECS Administrative Office at Shady Lane
100 North Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15221

412.247.7970 connects to all three locations!
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