The Justice Scholars Institute (JSI) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education provides a rigorous college preparation experience for high school students who otherwise may not receive opportunities for college exposure. JSI prepares them for college success by offering courses for college credit, college readiness opportunities, campus visits, and research and service-learning projects focused on social problems. The theme of educational equity and social justice is embedded across all aspects of the program. Through a mixture of classwork and real-world experiences, youth are encouraged to think in ways that prepare them to be advocates for marginalized voices.
JSI’s Goals Are To:
- Enrich students educational prospects by preparing them for future college success
- Enhance students’ writing skills through a cross-content literacy focus
- Educate students about educational opportunity as a social justice priority
- Equip students with the tools to become change agents within their school, community, and the broader world
The Justice Scholars Institute involves Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) teachers and students in the process of teaching and learning for equity. JSI makes learning relevant and engaging by incorporating students’ feedback into future programs. Students have a say in the selection process of teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to equity and anti-racist education.
“Our kids seemed to be more prepared and excited to go to college. [With the help of this program], some of our students are even a semester ahead of some of their freshman counterparts. We’ve created a program that has had a lot of success and now that has become the expectation and the standard [at our school]. We are creating confidence within our students and we are changing the culture and mindset. There are great things happening.” – Charles Morris, Guidance Counselor at PPS Westinghouse Academy