Endorsed by Allegheny County Democratic Committee!
PARTS OF EAST LIBERTY
PARTS OF BLOOMFIELD
Ron Sofo's Misson Statement
Achieve Safe, Caring Schools that Provide Quality Education
As a candidate for Pittsburgh Public School District #2 my mission is to improve the quality of education for all students so they are life and career ready when they graduate.
Q Ron, why vote for you?
I have a proven track record of SUCCESS serving all students, including Black, brown, poor and special needs youth as a public school administrator for over 30 years.
Q Why do you want to be a Pittsburgh Public School Board Member?
I believe I can contribute to creating an improved, results-driven level of education in Pittsburgh for all students. My direct working knowledge of public and charter school boards, state and federal governance and regulations, school finance, professional organizations, and school law qualify me as an exceptional PPS board candidate.
Q What are your top three priorities for improving Pittsburgh Public Schools ?
1. Budget Oversight and Accountability
Achieve better educational returns on the $900 million spent per year on the 19,000 students in Pittsburgh Public schools. PPS is in the state's top 5% districts in spending per pupil, but in the bottom one-third in student achievement. This shows that the district's budget doesn't match our students needs. We have enough money, it's how we spend it.
2. Improved Student Outcomes
Provide supports so that all third graders achieve proficiency in reading and math. Currently, 62%of all PPS Black third graders do not achieve proficiency in reading. Beyond third grade, catching up becomes incredibly harder for students.
3. Data-Driven, Transparent Decisions
Make decisions that are data driven and transparent. By creating a system to measure student and school effectiveness, in collaboration with teachers and principles, information can be regularly reviewed by the Board and Superintendent. This will lay the foundation for monitoring success at each school and making adjustments that will lead to all students becoming life and career ready upon high school graduation.
I look forward to listening to everyone who cares about quality education and will work to earn your vote on May 16th
Putting My Experience
My 32 years in public schools have shaped my thoughts about teaching, learning, and how the public school system can and should help students achieve a solid foundation for the rest of their lives. So I think it's important to share my background with you.
I was honored to serve as CEO/Principal of City Charter High School from July 2012 until my retirement in October 2018. In these years, I was recognized by the PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools as leading one of the most innovative and effective, open enrollment, urban public high schools in the United States. We were so proud of our students, who attained a superior graduation rate of 95.9%, significantly beyond the PPS graduation rate at that time. And we were especially pleased that our Black and special education students, graduation rate was a full 20% higher than their peers at PPS. We, the team of staff, teachers, parents and students, accomplished this valuable goal with a per pupil spending level that was only 80% of what PPS was spending per pupil.
Everyone was digging deep. I wanted to share this real-life example from City High that shows simply throwing money at a problem doesn't always solve it. Sometimes, it's not only what you have, but how you use it.
Before arriving at City High, I was Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Beaver County, PA's Freedom Area School District for 19 years. My colleague, Dr. William Renko, and I believed that public education needed to be reconsidered from the grassroots, classroom level, in a way that would eliminate poorly performing schools. We wrote a book entitled 'No Bad Schools' that caught the attention of the Harvard Educational Review, and I was invited to write an article about our work so these practices could be studied and replicated in other schools.
In 1988, I was hired as assistant to then PPS Superintendent Dr. Richard Wallace, who focused on instruction and student achievement. One of my responsibilities was to develop and manage a $32 million drop-out prevention program.
I also served as Assistant Principal at PPS' Greenway Middle School, and worked directly with students as an addiction prevention counselor in the Mckeesport Area School District.
Throughout my career, I have been driven by the desire to always do better, first, for the students, but also for parents, taxpayers, teachers and staff. Input from all these participants is needed to create an educational system with a culture that brings real value to student's lives. After all, our students are our legacy to our future.
Dr Ron Sofo Ph.D