Penn Hills’ Linton Middle School has been adopted.
School directors approved a partnership with Phi Beta Sigma, a historically black international fraternity, to bring its Adopt-a-School program to the district.
The free educational program has been offered through the fraternity’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for at least 20 years.
It includes spelling bees, essay and reading contests, oratory competitions and other interactive activities designed to build academic skills and student literacy through fraternity volunteers at no cost to a school district.
The board voted 7-0-1 at the Sept. 24 meeting to allow the fraternity’s Gamma Lambda Sigma chapter to adopt the fifth- through eighth-grade school at 250 Aster St.
Yusef Thompson Sr., a school board and fraternity member, abstained. School Director Cathy Mowry was absent.
Board President Erin Vecchio said the district always is looking for ways to help improve education.
“They work with us to try to get our kids into college and try to get them better grades,” she said. “We need all the help we can get.”
The fraternity will require office space at the school and work with administrators to identify students to participate in the program.
Thompson said those and other details are still being finalized.
“It’s just time to organize,” he said. “We have everything in place, but we need to make sure that we know which kids we’re going to be handling. We have to make sure we have the proper space. We have to make sure we have the proper timing. We’re not going to impede on any instructional time, and that’s very important.
“Now that we have the OK, we’re hoping to roll out our first event within the next month and a half. We have actual target dates, but we have to make sure that it does not conflict with anything they’re doing here as far as testing and things of that nature.”
Thompson brought the adopt-a-school program to the board’s attention earlier this year.
Daniel Williams, Braddock Hills resident and Sigma’s Pennsylvania vice state director, delivered a presentation at this month’s curriculum committee meeting.
He said Penn Hills would be the first district in the Pittsburgh area to have the program.
“It’s exciting,” Williams said of the opportunity. “We want to find and do programs that actually do impact the kids. We’re excited to find a school district that seems to have an area of need and is excited to have us.”
All volunteers working in the district will have proper clearances.