We cover how our residents are growing and learning, starting from pre-K, through higher education, and beyond, into adulthood. 

Coverage of education in western Pennsylvania on 90.5 WESA is supported by a generous grant from
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Should students in elementary schools be permitted to distribute fliers to their classmates inviting them to a Christmas party at a church?  That question was up for debate in federal court in Pittsburgh today. 

Education Expert Gives Advice on Teaching Teachers

Oct 18, 2012

Dr. Sonia Nieto, professor of language, literacy, and culture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said teachers need to be more aware of their students’ communities.

Nieto is the author of four books used to prepare teachers for the classroom. She was at Duquesne University today to speak with School of Education faculty and students on how to tackle teaching challenges and best teach the next generation of educators.

Afterschool Programs Celebrated

Oct 18, 2012

A nationwide effort to leave the “Lights on Afterschool” is finding a home today in southwestern Pennsylvania.   The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network is working with 200 programs across the state to sponsor rallies that will include an estimated 15,000 participants.

The goal of the day is not only  to offer some special activities for students participating in afterschool programing, but also to bring more attention to the programs themselves and the impact they have on the community.

More than 1,000 people are expected to gather this evening in Pittsburgh to call on elected officials to publicly commit to policy goals and outcomes.  Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Networks (PIIN) will address topics ranging from funding for education to next month's election during its annual "public action" event "Fire of Faith: Rekindling Democracy and Community."

Jonathan Mayo, Vice President of PIIN, said although the group is asking for support from elected officials, it will have to be a community effort to accomplish certain goals.

State System Rejects Arbitration; Is a Faculty Strike Next?

Oct 17, 2012

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has rejected a call for binding arbitration from the union representing 5,500 faculty members at the 14 state-owned universities.

"We have been able to achieve through normal negotiations over the last 15 months contracts with virtually all of our other unions," said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall.  "We believe this can be resolved at the bargaining table, and we believe that's where it should be resolved."

Teaching the Mathematics Behind Elections

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Teachers looking for supplements to their election lessons don’t have to look far. A Pittsburgh-based company, Carnegie Learning, created a program called “Election Math” featured on NBC Learn’s website.  Election Math was made for an 8th grade learning level, but is designed to benefit all ages, individuals or classrooms.

Touting it as the first academic community in the world built from the ground up for sustainable development, living, and learning, Chatham University started phase one of a years-long plan to build the Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township.

“This total first phase project is $40 million creating the first residential campus on the first completely green campus in America,” said Chatham President Esther Barazzone.

When completed, the Eden Hall Campus will serve more than 1,000 students in a carbon and water resources-neutral setting.

“There will be nearly 1,500 delegates here in Pittsburgh that will represent 190 countries," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of the One Young World Summit coming to the city next week. Pittsburgh is the first U.S. city to host the event, which is the largest representation of countries outside the Olympics and the United Nations. The previous two were held in Zurich and London.

Career Planning Key to High School Success

Oct 11, 2012

Eight southwestern Pennsylvania school districts have joined forces with the Pittsburgh-based Consortium for Public Education to launch a new effort aimed at personalizing middle and high school education.  The focal point is an on-line tool that helps students imagine their future and identify a career path.

United Way Wants You to be One in a Million

Oct 9, 2012

The United Way of Allegheny County is intensifying its search for individuals who can mentor the region’s youth by guiding them on anything from career advice to dealing with having a parent in prison.  The organization is in the second year of its three year commitment to the Be One in a Million Program. 

The nationwide program is looking to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors, and mentors to support youth from pre-school through college graduation. Locally, the United Way of Allegheny County has a goal of recruiting 4,000 volunteers. 

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) wants to make sure any future owner of the Schenley High School building in Oakland keeps the structure mostly intact rather than razing the historic building to make way for future development.

Working through Fourth River Development, the school board issued a request for proposals Monday, seeking at least $4 million in net profit for the structure.

Fourth River sales agent Pat Morosetti said he's hoping for some creative proposals as to a new usage for the school, which closed in 2008.

The YMCA in Plum broke ground today for an $11 million dollar expansion that when complete will create the new 52,000 square-foot Sampson Family Y. The new facility at the East Suburban YMCA will include a warm water therapy pool and indoor lap pool.

“Right now we teach 400 kids a year to swim with our outdoor complex, now we’ll be able to teach 2,000 kids a year to be able to be safe by water, to be able to teach families with the teaching kitchen how to prepare meals for their families on a tight schedule,” said Larry Stormer East Suburban YMCA executive director.

A new report from the Highmark Foundation argues for the worth of the group's bullying prevention program in Pennsylvania schools by outlining the initiative's estimated cost-savings in terms of health care and education.

Monessen Football Players Face Drugs, Weapons Charges

Oct 6, 2012

Three teammates of the Monessen High School football team have been placed in a juvenile detention center after drugs and guns were found in their team lockers.  Monessen police are not identifying the players because they're charged as juveniles.

Police say a 15-year-old has been charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a 16-year-old with illegal weapons possession, and a 17-year-old with possession with intent to deliver heroin, and weapons charges.

As the natural gas boom continues in Pennsylvania, a new website aims to take the multiple economic impact review analyses and reduce the confusion and bias among them. Creator of the website, Matthew Rousu, said economic impact reports vary widely in quality depending upon who commissioned them.

A federally funded program to provide low-cost job retraining at all of the state’s 14 community colleges is up and running, after a year of prep work.

Workers who have lost jobs due to companies moving overseas will be eligible for retraining in three industries expected to grow in the commonwealth: advanced manufacturing, energy, and health care information technology.

CCAC Receives $1.59 Million Federal Grant

Oct 4, 2012

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been selected, along with 13 other colleges and universities across the nation, to receive a $1.59 million grant aimed at ensuring students successfully make it through their chosen program. Nationwide, $5.4 million of the US Department of Education's money will go to the effort.

So what exactly will the Title III grant be doing? Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

State Senator Jim Brewster (D-McKeesport) is a former mayor with a teaching degree, so he thinks his prior experience provides an interesting take on the expansion of standardized testing in Pennsylvania schools.

From a former mayor’s point of view, he says the tests go beyond evaluating student and teacher proficiency.

Pittsburgh is #5 College Town

Oct 1, 2012

Academics are a key factor, but others like quality of life and professional opportunities are also taken into consideration in the American Institute for Economic Research's (AIER) College Destinations Index.  Pittsburgh ranks as the 5th best mid-size college town out of 20 in the nation.

Steven Cunningham, Director of Research and Education for AIER said Pittsburgh is a “good solid area” for college students.

Chatham University Adds New Sustainability Track

Oct 1, 2012

Chatham University is offering a new program that it believes will push the school to the forefront of new business ideology.

The sustainable business track, which will complement programming within the School of Sustainability and the Environment, will attempt to expand students’ business knowledge.

Bruce Rosenthal, Director of the Department of Business and Entrepreneurship at Chatham, said it used to be that businesses only looked at profit margins, but now they look at the three P’s: people, planet, and profit.

Does Your Historical Site Have a Marker?

Sep 30, 2012

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is once again asking people, cities, and historical societies to nominate their historical sites for a marker.

Since 1914, PHMC made more than 2,600 of the familiar blue and gold markers designating historical events, people, and dates.

PHMC spokesman Howard Pollman said the markers help communities recognize and preserve their local history.

The Pittsburgh Promise has issued its annual report, and overall it's doing well. The first goal, to transform the quality of public education in the state, is on the right track, according to Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril.

“In the last six years high school completion rates in Pittsburgh went from about 62 percent, 63 percent to 71 percent, so we’re delighted by that growth,” he said, “having said that, it’s not where we want to be, we want to be at at least 85 percent.”

African American Women in Culture and History is the theme for this year's convention of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Pittsburgh. 

The organization, which created Black History Month, will hold its 97th annual convention at the Westin Convention Center Hotel downtown from Wednesday through Sunday, September 26-30.

Sylvia Cyrus, ASALH Executive Director, says the conference will honor the impact of African American women on the black community and the nation as a whole.

Food safety regulations can determine which countries trade corn with one another. That’s according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh that used social network modeling to determine global trade patterns. Lead Author and Pitt Associate Professor Felicia Wu said it began with looking at the way countries regulate the contaminate aflatoxin, which grows on corn.

Colleges and universities in Pittsburgh will cooperate with schools in Ireland on education, innovation, research and training.  The 10 members of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE)  will work with the 13 members of Ireland's Institutes of Technology which according to PCHE executive director Kenneth Service have a reputation for supporting business development.

Service says the partnership will initially be student exchange between Ireland and Pittsburgh, but then will expand into other ventures.

Nearly 15,000 students from approximately 700 schools representing all 67 counties are expected to participate in this year’s Pennsylvania Envirothon. The long-standing environmental competition for high school students has received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Curriculums Could Include Child Abuse in K-8 Classrooms

Sep 24, 2012

Pennsylvania schools could see an addition to their health class curriculum to address child abuse and exploitation.

A bipartisan state House proposal would allow public school districts to teach children, from kindergarten to eighth grade, about child sexual abuse and how to identify the common behaviors of abusers.  School districts could use that, or create their own lesson plans. But, parents would be able to review the abuse awareness curriculum, and even pull their kids out of class if they don’t approve of the material.

Concussion Rules Take Effect with New School Year

Sep 7, 2012

A law intended to reduce head injuries among student athletes in Pennsylvania is now being fully implemented as the fall sports seasons are underway.  In preparation for the start of the new athletic seasons, Pennsylvania’'s coaches had to take a class this summer on recognizing concussions.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s South Side branch is one of the oldest. It recently underwent renovations and for the first time in its 103 year history it will have air conditioning. Several other branches have been renovated in the last decade, but none have included the geothermal technology that will be in use on the South Side.

“We’ve just worked out that we were able to incorporate the geothermal technology in this renovation because we had enough space to dig the wells and the land around to do it,” said Mary Monaghan, assistant director for neighborhood libraries.

After nine months of collaboration by board, staff, and community members, the final draft of Carnegie Library’s next five-year strategic plan is ready to be shown to the public.

On Saturday, September 15 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in East Liberty, the Library will hold an interactive workshop on the plan.

Library spokesperson Suzanne Thinnes said the workshop will be interactive and will utilize ideas presented by the public in further sessions.