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    PITTSBURGH - The teachers at Pittsburgh Langley K-8 say their students look forward to the day they get to give back. The students help out with the Blessings in a Backpack program, part of a series of services Langley offers its students as a designated community school.

    Blessings in a Backpack offers a weekend worth of food to 120 students in need. Fellow students pack up the bags each week full of nutritious meals. Channel 11 asked teachers why the program is so important, and they said it comes down to taking care of the whole student, not just their mind.

    "If they are coming in hungry, they're never going to accept the math I'm trying to teach them," said Kathy Monti-Trievel, a math teacher in the school.

    Langley was one of the first five designated community schools in the Pittsburgh district. Now, that number is up to eight. Community schools recognize the needs of students extend beyond basic education and provide extra efforts to help students succeed.

    Langley has a community clothing closet, and helps students with hygiene products, vision and dental appointments and enrichment services.

    "If we can offer as many services in the building as possible, that provides stability, that supports our families, it helps with classroom disruption," said Langley's community school site manager Lingaire Njie.

    The teachers at Langley helped stock the clothing closet and have pushed to expand their schools' services even farther.

    "I really do feel that we need to do a lot more for our community," said Monti-Trievel. "If we don't as the school, where do our kids go from here?"

    The blessings program helps 120 students right now and the teachers involved are already planning more.

    "We just want what's best for the children at this school," said special education teacher and blessings organizer Ariel Greer. "So we will always be doing more for them."

    If you want to learn more about how you can help Langley, you can reach out to the community school site manager Lingaire Njie at (412) 529-5363.


     

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