Superintendent's Parent and Family Update
Keeping PPS Families Engaged and Informed
Saturday, May 15, 2021
A Message from Superintendent Hamlet
Dear PPS Families,

It is hard to believe that we are less than one month away from the last day of school. As we prepare to close out the 4th marking period of this extremely challenging school year, our number one priority remains student and staff safety and ensuring student academic success and well-being.  
While being focused on finishing this school year, we are also looking forward and making plans for the fall. In addition to Governor Wolf’s announcement earlier this month to lift many of the state’s mitigation orders on Memorial day, Monday, May 31, yesterday the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks. While this is great progress and we are grateful for a return to normalcy, the District will not make adjustments to our classrooms, schools, or COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures this school year.  
Since not all students are eligible for the vaccine and we do not require students or employees to become vaccinated, we are not making policy or procedure changes based on those who are and are not vaccinated at this time. We will finish the school year in hybrid learning, maintain social distancing guidance and require all students and staff to remain masked.  
I am, however, very optimistic that classrooms and school schedules will look a lot more like what our students and families are used to beginning this fall. We fully anticipate that students will be in school 5-days a week for the 2021-2022 school year and are working to support our bus companies with bus driver recruitment to ensure normal transportation operations. As we plan for a return to 5-days next year, we will continue to consider the guidance of the CDC, state, and local health departments and be prepared to pivot and adapt as needed. More information about the 2021-2022 school year will be shared over the summer.
I am very appreciative of our students, families, educators, and staff for their extraordinary efforts this entire school year. The last month has clearly shown us that there is no substitute for in-person learning. We’ve seen that for most students, face-to-face time spent with teachers, peers, and school-support staff results in a more engaging, successful learning experience.

Yours in education,

Anthony D. Hamlet, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund III
Beginning in June 2021, the District will launch an extensive community process to ensure all voices within the PPS community have the opportunity to weigh in on the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) III funding priorities. Approximately $100 million has been earmarked for PPS through ESSER III funds. Future investment opportunities could include instructional materials, teacher and staff professional development, and external partnerships supporting families and providing wrap-around services to schools, including trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning.
It is anticipated that a proposal will be presented to the Board this August for submission to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in September for approval. On Tuesday, May 11, I, along with my leadership team outlined priorities for the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, ESSER, dispensed through the American Rescue Plan and two earlier COVID-19 related relief bills to the Board. Watch the Board's Business and Finance meeting to view the full presentation.
PPS Technology
Student Devices
Our Office of Technology is working closely with school principals to develop student device collection plans. Additional details will be shared over the next few weeks from the District and schools.  
Student Vaccination Clinics
This week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a statement recommending that everyone 12 years of age and older get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to help protect them against COVID-19. To learn more about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination information for children and teens, please visit the CDC’s website. The District is working with Giant Eagle, and UMPC to schedule student vaccination clinics and will promote the dates, times, and locations via robocalls, Peachjar, social media, our website, and school-based communications. 
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Pittsburgh Public Schools is highlighting #Tools2Thrive - what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery. 

The District will be holding two events and has launched a resources website.
Take a Father to School Day 2021
Calling All Fathers and Father Figures
Friday, May 21st will mark the 23rd anniversary of the nationally recognized Take a Father to School Day (TAFTSD) event. TAFTSD 2021 will occur virtually across all schools. The theme this year is “Resilience Through Reading.” To support the “Resilience Through Reading” theme, schools are coordinating virtual activities. A list of activities by each school is available on the District website. For Take A Father To School Day, “a father" is defined as any positive male role model in a child's life: a grandfather, cousin, uncle, older sibling, community leader, mentor, minister, etc. The goal of Take A Father To School Day is inclusion; to increase the active participation of Fathers, Father figures, and positive male role models; and explore opportunities for volunteering and becoming more involved in the educational journey. 
PPS Good News
Congratulations, Food Services Director Curtistine Walker!
The School Nutrition Association has named Director of Food Services Curtistine Walker the Northeast regional Director of the Year! The award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of school nutrition directors who manage effective school meal programs providing healthy, appetizing meals to students. A little more than a year since COVID-19 created new logistical challenges for school nutrition directors, SNA continues to applaud the dedication, ingenuity and compassion shown by its members who have excelled in keeping students fed during the pandemic.
For more information about reopening schools, please visit: