University of Pittsburgh Project

Since the formation of the Extra Mile Education Foundation in 1989, there have been repeated evaluation studies conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education. In 5-year cycles, such evaluations have primarily addressed 1) curriculum alignment across the grade levels K-8 and in the major subjects of Mathematics, English & Reading/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies; 2) teacher effectiveness as measured against student outcomes; 3) student performance in the major subjects in such areas as national, state, and local achievement tests, daily grades and teacher-made tests, and average daily attendance; and 4) School Climate as defined as the quality and character of school life, anchored by a positive school climate that impacts all facets of the educational process—its norms, values, goals, interpersonal relationships in teaching and learning.

A recent University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Tri-State Area School Study Council Schools Evaluation Study was conducted during the 2018-19 school year at the three Extra Mile Education Foundation Schools—Northside Catholic Assumption Academy (NCAA), Saint Benedict the Moor School, and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy (STBCA). In April of 2019, the results of the Evaluation Study were presented to the Board of Directors. These data and results were then used to develop a multi-year plan to address the weaknesses and to continuously improve the strengths in all four areas that were studied.

The plan extending from 2018-19 through 2024-25 addresses “WHERE WE WERE” in 2019 in the four areas of study—Curriculum Alignment; Teacher Effectiveness; Student Performance; and School Climate. The plan then addresses “WHAT WE DID” in each of these four areas in the time span from 2019 through 2025, including the Covid years from about 2020 through 2023.

As the evaluation study progressed, the study focused on ‘WHERE WE ARE NOW” AND “WHERE WE NEED TO GO”. This information with its commendations and recommendations will form the new baseline whereby future decisions can be made to ensure that the schools continuously improve in all facets of those variables that will continue to make them truly outstanding-- that are faith-based, academically strong, safe environments for children and adults, and affordable and accessible to the community-at-large.

The Consultants from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Tri-State Area School Study Council—Dr. Diane Kirk, Dr Nickola Bayat, and Dr Mary Anne Battaglia are grateful for the support and leadership provided by the Extra Mile Education Foundation Executive Director Suzanne Vertosick; Director of Education, Dr. Robert Paserba; the Board of Directors; and especially the school administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and children, along with the Diocese of Pittsburgh and its supportive team of clergy and school educators.
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