Features & Special Reports http://wesa.fm en Could 'Community Schools' Work in Pittsburgh? http://wesa.fm/post/could-community-schools-work-pittsburgh <p>Educators, administrators and parents from across the country are gathering in Cincinnati for the next three days to discover how to best coordinate support services for students and parents beyond the classroom.</p><p>About 30 Pittsburghers, including Board of Education members Carolyn Klug and Sylvia Wilson, the city’s chief education officer Curtiss Porter, teachers and representatives of Great Public Schools Pittsburgh are attending the Coalition for Community Schools' annual forum&nbsp;to “learn how they help the children succeed” according to Klug.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 27219 at http://wesa.fm How The Homewood Children's Village Is 'Re-Weaving the Fabric of the Community' http://wesa.fm/post/how-homewood-childrens-village-re-weaving-fabric-community <p>In the 19th century, wealthy white Pittsburghers, including&nbsp;George Westinghouse and Andrew Carnegie, created estates in Homewood, which was a pastoral and welcome respite from the foul air generated by the industry.&nbsp;</p><p>By 1940, the population was diverse, middle class and about five times larger than it is now.</p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:10:04 +0000 Charlee Song 25978 at http://wesa.fm Life of Learning Forum: Investment in Pre-K Critical to Future Educational Success http://wesa.fm/post/life-learning-forum-investment-pre-k-critical-future-educational-success <p></p><p>Last week, a panel of experts gathered at the Community Broadcast Center to discuss what the future of the learning/education system should look like to be as effective as possible for the region’s children. The public forum tackled a range of questions from the audience, including the state of early childhood education.</p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 00:55:52 +0000 Deanna Garcia 26261 at http://wesa.fm Life of Learning Forum: Investment in Pre-K Critical to Future Educational Success Five Years After A Major Change, How Open Is Pennsylvania's Open Records Law? http://wesa.fm/post/five-years-after-major-change-how-open-pennsylvanias-open-records-law <p>Five years ago, Pennsylvania’s open records law was changed with the promise of ensuring more information would be more easily available to the public.</p><p>Records requests have gone up, and the new law is seen, overall, as a positive for the commonwealth, but open records officials and some people who use the law see room for improvement.&nbsp;</p><p>Before the change in the open records law, all records were presumed closed unless the requester could prove why they should be open. Now, with the new law, all records are presumed open unless the requestee can prove otherwise. This has resulted in a spike in requests from across the commonwealth.</p><p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Deanna Garcia 25755 at http://wesa.fm Five Years After A Major Change, How Open Is Pennsylvania's Open Records Law? Mount Washington Developer Aims to Preserve a Slice of Civil War History http://wesa.fm/post/mount-washington-developer-aims-preserve-slice-civil-war-history <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On Mount Washington, in the woods between </span>Fingal<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and </span>Greenleaf<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> streets, there’s a mound of dirt that’s been getting a lot of </span><a href="http://www.popcitymedia.com/devnews/bradleyredoubt020514.aspx" style="line-height: 1.5;">attention</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/02/03/Project-preserves-Mount-Washington-war-remains/stories/201402030060" style="line-height: 1.5;">lately</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>It’s about a hundred feet across and was created during the summer of 1863, as Confederate troops were heading to Gettysburg.</p><p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 12:56:30 +0000 Liz Reid 25290 at http://wesa.fm Mount Washington Developer Aims to Preserve a Slice of Civil War History Meet Caroline Combemale: Cyber Student, Teen Teacher and Lead Guitarist http://wesa.fm/post/meet-caroline-combemale-cyber-student-teen-teacher-and-lead-guitarist <p></p><p></p><p>Caroline Combemale moves to her own rhythm. She has been shaped by a loving family, a tenacious personality and a hunger for new experiences. But her life has also been shaped by hardship.</p><p>The 15-year-old grew up in Belgium and often lapses into hushed French when she talks to her mother Laura. When they moved to Pittsburgh, where Laura is originally from, Combemale (pronounced Coom-beh-mel) was in grade school. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 25067 at http://wesa.fm Meet Caroline Combemale: Cyber Student, Teen Teacher and Lead Guitarist Fate of August Wilson Center An Open Question http://wesa.fm/post/fate-august-wilson-center-open-question <p>In 2009, a gleaming performing arts space opened to great fanfare in downtown Pittsburgh.</p><p>Named after renowned playwright and native son August Wilson, it was meant to be a hub for African-American theater, art and education.</p><p>Today, the August Wilson Center is for sale, unable to pay its bills. But many wonder why it was allowed to get to this point.</p><p>August Wilson grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in the 1940s and '50s. He met Sala Udin in parochial school.</p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:29:07 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 24718 at http://wesa.fm Black Community Leaders Come Out in Support of Pittsburgh's Teacher Evaluation System http://wesa.fm/post/black-community-leaders-come-out-support-pittsburghs-teacher-evaluation-system <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A coalition of parents, civil rights advocates and clergy stood huddled together in the cold outside Pittsburgh King </span>PreK-8<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> School on the North Side Monday morning to announce their support for the school district’s teacher evaluation system.</span></p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 01:21:56 +0000 Liz Reid 24554 at http://wesa.fm Black Community Leaders Come Out in Support of Pittsburgh's Teacher Evaluation System Translating Trauma: The Challenge of Treating Refugees With PTSD http://wesa.fm/post/translating-trauma-challenge-treating-refugees-ptsd <p>As a child in war-torn Somalia, Aweys Mwaliya&nbsp;saw friends and family killed in massacres. Fleeing the country, &nbsp;his family spent weeks walking to Kenya. The trip was so grueling, that along the way, his youngest sister died. The family couldn’t give her a proper burial.</p><p>"The feeling I have about those terrible things are very, very bad, and I’m still wondering why things like that happen, why people do things to other people,"&nbsp;Mwaliya, now 30 and living in Pittsburgh said.&nbsp;</p><p>In Kenya, his family spent a decade living in refugee camps.</p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 03:31:51 +0000 Erika Beras 23299 at http://wesa.fm Translating Trauma: The Challenge of Treating Refugees With PTSD Bhutanese Refugees Face a High Suicide Rate http://wesa.fm/post/bhutanese-refugees-face-high-suicide-rate <p>At a conference held in Pittsburgh last fall, several dozen men from around the United States discussed a disturbing trend in their community: the high suicide rate and prevalence of depression among Bhutanese-Nepali refugees.</p><p>"People are looking for resources where they can go to curb this mental health issue," said&nbsp;Buddha Mani Dhakal, editor of the Bhutan News Service.</p> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 08:00:00 +0000 Erika Beras 23133 at http://wesa.fm In Seeking Health Care, Many Refugees Have Only A Small Window of Opportunity http://wesa.fm/post/seeking-health-care-many-refugees-have-only-small-window-opportunity <p></p><p>On a blustery January morning, Leslie Bachurski is at Northern Area Multi Service’s offices in Sharpsburg. Bachurski, a health care navigator, is at the resettlement agency to help non-English speaking refugees enroll in health insurance plans.</p><p>Her first client of the day is Birkha Tamang, a 42-year-old Bhutanese refugee who has been in the United States for 16 months with his wife and kids. He’s the only one in his family with a job — and the only one without health care coverage. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:34:30 +0000 Erika Beras 23088 at http://wesa.fm In Seeking Health Care, Many Refugees Have Only A Small Window of Opportunity The Failure to Educate Many African American Males http://wesa.fm/post/failure-educate-many-african-american-males <p>The graduation rate for African American males in Pennsylvania is 57 percent compared to 85 percent for white males--a 28 percentage point gap, according to the latest data from the Schott Foundation for Public Education.&nbsp; Reasons for the discrepancy are complex.</p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 13:48:08 +0000 Charlee Song 23003 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh Joins Statewide Effort to Make Quality Pre-K Available to All Families http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-joins-statewide-effort-make-quality-pre-k-available-all-families <p>Quality pre-K programs can help kids later in school, both academically and socially. But many families can’t afford to send their children to pre-school, and government funding for early childhood programs has decreased in recent years.</p><p>A statewide effort was launched Thursday to ensure all three- and four-year-olds have access to quality pre-K programs. Michelle Figlar is executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, or PAEYC. She said research has shown children who have access to strong pre-K programs do better overall in school.</p> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 21:26:14 +0000 Deanna Garcia 23246 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh Joins Statewide Effort to Make Quality Pre-K Available to All Families Once a Promising Political Novice, Mayor Ravenstahl Leaves Office ... And Politics? http://wesa.fm/post/once-promising-political-novice-mayor-ravenstahl-leaves-office-and-politics <p></p><p></p><p>When Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was quietly sworn into office following the 2006 death of Mayor Bob O’Connor, the 26-year-old City Council president became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city.&nbsp;</p><p>Headlines around the time included the following: “Hope surrounds new Pittsburgh mayor, 26” and he made several national television appearances, including a spot on "The Late Show with David Letterman." But as he heads out of office, the last months of his tenure included headlines such as “Luke Ravenstahl Maintains Low Profile Amid Federal Probe.”</p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Deanna Garcia 22242 at http://wesa.fm Once a Promising Political Novice, Mayor Ravenstahl Leaves Office ... And Politics? New GED Exam Puts Students and Educators to the Test http://wesa.fm/post/new-ged-exam-puts-students-and-educators-test <p>The stereotypes about adults seeking GED certification can be ugly and simplistic. But the reality is that many lack a high school diploma for reasons largely outside their control: health problems, family issues and immigration status, just to name a few.</p><p>Some, like Rebekah&nbsp;Petrakovits, were home-schooled without proper oversight from school officials who were supposed to monitor their progress.</p> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:03:49 +0000 Josh Raulerson 21493 at http://wesa.fm New GED Exam Puts Students and Educators to the Test From Homewood to Harrisburg, Childcare Providers Seek Resources http://wesa.fm/post/homewood-harrisburg-childcare-providers-seek-resources <p>Three-year-old Aubreaune stands behind an easel showing off her painting of a T-Rex.<br /><br />“It’s green and purple," she says. "It eats people. Roar!”<br /><br />She’s among a group of preschool-aged kids and childcare providers who gathered at the Homewood Early Learning Hub for play time on a recent Tuesday. Besides activities for the kids, providers and families use the center to find resources, and share best practices.</p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 01:47:15 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 21197 at http://wesa.fm From Homewood to Harrisburg, Childcare Providers Seek Resources With Santa Costumes and Drag Queens, This Isn't Your Grandma's Bingo http://wesa.fm/post/santa-costumes-and-drag-queens-isnt-your-grandmas-bingo <p>Bingo has been a popular past time in the U.S. for decades. It may conjure images of playing with Grandma in a church hall or rows of intense players, daubers in hand, good luck trinkets in front of them, eagerly awaiting the next call.</p><p>In Pittsburgh, players can experience a slightly different bingo game – one that has been held monthly since the late 1990s – OUTrageous Bingo.</p><p>It takes place at an unlikely venue, Rodef Shalom in Oakland, and each month the place gets packed.</p> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Deanna Garcia 21150 at http://wesa.fm With Santa Costumes and Drag Queens, This Isn't Your Grandma's Bingo For Victims of Violence, Memorials Built to Last http://wesa.fm/post/victims-violence-memorials-built-last <p><em><strong>How We Grieve:</strong> This the first in an occasional series exploring the ways people express their feelings in the aftermath of a death. </em></p><p>Some memorials to homicide victims are made of flowers, candles and photographs. Others are built to last.</p><p>Memorials to victims in the Pittsburgh region often hide in plain sight, but their message is far from veiled. Those behind the memorials say they're an attempt to turn despair into something positive.</p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 20825 at http://wesa.fm For Victims of Violence, Memorials Built to Last After Three Decades of the Dirty Dozen, Competition Is Tougher Than Ever http://wesa.fm/post/after-three-decades-dirty-dozen-competition-tougher-ever <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>When Danny Chew does something, he does it all the way. The cyclist's goal is to ride a million miles over the course of his lifetime.</p><p>The 51-year-old Pittsburgh native has won the Race Across America twice, riding 3,000 miles in eight days on three hours of sleep each night. So it’s only natural he’s the guy responsible for what many consider&nbsp;to be the most grueling bike race in Pittsburgh: the <a href="http://www.dannychew.com/dd.html">Dirty Dozen.</a></p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:00:00 +0000 Liz Reid 20655 at http://wesa.fm After Three Decades of the Dirty Dozen, Competition Is Tougher Than Ever The Challenges Of Suburban Homelessness and Education http://wesa.fm/post/challenges-suburban-homelessness-and-education <blockquote><p>Guests include: <strong>Elizabeth Kneebone</strong>, Fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of Confronting Suburban Poverty, <strong>Chuck Keenan</strong>, administrator in Allegheny County's Bureau of Homeless Services, <strong>Kyoko Henson</strong>, a home and school visitor for the Penn Hills School District, <strong>Joe Lagana</strong>, founder and CEO of the Homeless Children's Education Fund, and homeless student <strong>Kevin Lee</strong>, winner of a national scholarship, with his mother <strong>Tamara Williams</strong></p></blockquote><p>There are nearly 20,000 homeless school age children in Pennsylvania and that’s a small portion of the 1.2 million across the country.</p><p>Local and national experts gathered in Pittsburgh on Friday for the fourth annual Homeless Education Network Summit to discuss an issue of rising concern: suburban poverty, homelessness and the challenge of education.</p><p>Since 2000, the number of poor people living in the suburbs grew by 64 percent. And today, about 16.4 million poor people are living in suburbs, compared to 13.4 million in the cities.</p><p>Allegheny County is no different.</p><p>In the Pittsburgh region alone, the suburban poverty rate increased 15.7 percent between 2000 and 2011; while the city saw a 6.3 percent increase. Thu, 21 Nov 2013 19:22:11 +0000 Michael Lynch 20003 at http://wesa.fm The Challenges Of Suburban Homelessness and Education Tech Conference Aims to Improve Traditional Education, But Connectivity Still an Issue http://wesa.fm/post/tech-conference-aims-improve-traditional-education-connectivity-still-issue <p></p><p>It’s no question that technology has changed the world over the last few decades, from how we shop to how we share our lives. In the U.S., many public school districts are in the process of making major changes thanks to technology. Leaders in education and technology are hoping schools get it right because a lot is at stake.</p><p>In the not-so-distant past it was pretty commonplace to be taught solely out of a text book and worksheets in the classroom – maybe you’d get a video on a sub day. Today, there are many more options thanks to computers, tablets and other smart devices.</p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 21:09:51 +0000 Deanna Garcia 20147 at http://wesa.fm 'Stars' Film Makes Stars, And Friends, Out of Young Cancer Patients http://wesa.fm/post/stars-film-makes-stars-and-friends-out-young-cancer-patients <p>"The Fault in Our Stars," a movie adaptation of a critically and commercially popular young adult novel, has just finished filming in Pittsburgh and in the Netherlands.</p><p>The book and movie center around two teenagers who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group. Many of the extras in the movie are young people with cancer.</p><p>There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the movie adaptation of the beloved novel. Book author John Green says the story goes against the typical trope popular media brings us about the ailing.</p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:03:27 +0000 Erika Beras 19772 at http://wesa.fm Parents, Teachers, Administrators Address Achievement Gap in Pittsburgh http://wesa.fm/post/parents-teachers-administrators-address-achievement-gap-pittsburgh <p>“Where’s the moral outrage over the lack of equity in education,” asked Duquesne University Dean of Education Olga Welch who attended a recent community forum on the achievement gap held by 90.5 WESA.</p><p>“Where is it,” replied forum panel member Jeremy Resnick, a founder of Propel Charter Schools, “it’s missing.”</p><p>Dozens of parents, teachers and administrators crowded the Community Broadcast Center recently for a public forum as part of WESA’s <a href="http://wesa.fm/term/life-learning">Life of Learning</a> initiative.</p> Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:37:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 19146 at http://wesa.fm Parents, Teachers, Administrators Address Achievement Gap in Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Students Travel the World, Share Experiences with Family and Classmates http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-students-travel-world-share-experiences-family-and-classmates <p></p><p>You’ll pardon Jordan Tyler, Chelsea&nbsp;Geruschadt,&nbsp;Raina&nbsp;Bradley and Katelyn Ripple if their thoughts occasionally drift from social studies, algebra 2 and physics back to what they absorbed this summer in Italy, Argentina, Spain and Costa Rica respectively.</p><p>Jordan: "My experience could be described as amazing, fun, life-changing, unforgettable."</p><p>Chelsea: "My experience was once in a lifetime."</p><p>Raina: "My trip to Spain was extremely memorable."</p><p>Katelyn: "I experienced more in a month than I thought I would experience in a lifetime."</p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 18535 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh Students Travel the World, Share Experiences with Family and Classmates Connecting the Dots Between Play and Learning in the Classroom http://wesa.fm/post/connecting-dots-between-play-and-learning-classroom <p>It's a typical day at the Children’s School at Carnegie Mellon University, and as director Sharon Carver walks from room to room, children ages 3 to 5 are bursting with activity.</p><p>In one space a little boy digs in a sandbox, in another corner children try to match recycling materials to the correct bins, and at another table children are navigating the serious task of sharing and shaping Play-Doh.</p><p>After taking stock of the activities Carver asks a reporter, “Which things were play and which things are not play?”</p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:50:59 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 18469 at http://wesa.fm Connecting the Dots Between Play and Learning in the Classroom