Carmalt PreK-8 is a Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) magnet school located in Brookline in South Pittsburgh. Applications open November 1.
At Carmalt, science and technology are worked into the whole school day. The school offers its 552 students two science labs and three computer lab classrooms. Laptop travel to classrooms for student use. Science classes are taught by certified science teachers. There’s also an art lab.
The school uniform consist of solid black, navy blue or khaki dress pants, capris, skirts or skorts. A solid white, light blue, navy, black, yellow, khaki or gold collared shirt is worn.
Chorus, student council, Think-A-Thon and academic competitions are available. Students can participate in intramural sports starting in 4th grade. Sports include soccer, softball, flag-football, cross country, and boys and girls basketball.
School children can play in a natural space that has a color garden, a rainbow “forest” with painted wood poles and a section with 8 trees. The space has a lot of shrubs and perennials planted by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s School Grounds Greening Project. The space is supposed to “inspire imaginative play”, according to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Magnet schools have specialized courses that prepare students for higher education and a career. They’re called magnet schools because, similarly to a magnet, students can be drawn to them from all over without regarding to normal school boundaries. Typically there’s a competitive enrollment process.
Magnet schools are not neighborhood specific, so students who reside anywhere in the Pittsburgh Public School District can apply to attend.
Magnet Schools and Programs at the PPS Website
Applications are filled out online for the 2022-2023 school year starting on November 1, 2021. Registration requires the PPS Home Access Center user name and password. The school district uses a weighted lottery to choose magnet school students from among people who applied. If accepted, student transportation is provided.
School children have a better chance of winning the lottery and being enrolled in Carmalt if:
- They attended prekindergarten (for instance, at Pittsburgh Roosevelt PreK-5)
- They went to school for at least 95% of the previous school year
- They didn’t receive any 4 to 10 day suspensions in the last school year
- A sibling attends the magnet school
- They live in the same region as the school’s location
- They’re continuing a program track
- Their family is economically disadvantaged
6 out of 10 students who attend Carmalt are economically disadvantaged.
Almost half the students take Algebra 1, which has a 100% pass rate, according to Great Schools, a national nonprofit organization that provides information about schools and education. Yet students’ English, Math and Science test scores at Carmalt are below average, suggesting that students are not performing at grade level, Great Schools reports. The Great Schools numbers were current in December, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.
PPS magnet schools student bodies are stable – when student enroll, they remain in the program for at least one school year. No one withdraws or transfers out after the first 10 school days. Students who don’t attend at least 90% of the time, fail to keep their grades up or rack up more than 6 days of suspension may be removed from the magnet school at the end of the school year.
Parents can learn more about their children’s school and make their voices be heard through Parent School Community Council meetings and the PTO/PTA.
Carmalt and other Pittsburgh Public Schools are overseen by the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education, which is made up of 9 elected members. Carmalt is in District 6, which includes Brookline, part of Overbrook, Beechview, Banksville, Duquesne Heights, Mt. Washington, Westwood and East Carnegie.
The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers represents teachers, paraprofessionals, technical staff and clerical workers at Pittsburgh Public Schools, including those at Carmalt PreK-8.