Features & Special Reports http://wesa.fm en Parents Say Reading Not a Summer Priority for Children http://wesa.fm/post/parents-say-reading-not-summer-priority-children <p></p><p>Only 17 percent of parents believe reading is a top summer priority for their children.</p><p>That’s according to Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s, which released a survey regarding parents’ attitude’s towards reading Wednesday.</p><p>The survey also showed that children spend almost three times as many hours weekly watching TV or playing video games as they do reading during the summer.</p><p>Kathryn Heffernan, Pittsburgh’s RIF assistant director of communications and development, said accessibility to books is one of the issues.</p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 20:23:36 +0000 Jessica Nath 31153 at http://wesa.fm In Pittsburgh's New Economy, Organized Labor Reorganizes http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburghs-new-economy-organized-labor-reorganizes <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Like any English professor, Clint Benjamin spends a lot of his time grading papers.</span></p><p>“There’s a mountain – a teetering Matterhorn of papers at the end of the weekend, or during the week,” Benjamin said. “You’ve just gotta get through them.”</p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Josh Raulerson 30504 at http://wesa.fm In Pittsburgh's New Economy, Organized Labor Reorganizes Schools and Libraries Confront Summer Learning Loss http://wesa.fm/post/schools-and-libraries-confront-summer-learning-loss <p>As the school year ends, summer learning loss, or "summer slide," might begin.&nbsp; According to the National Summer Learning Association, the loss amounts to about two months in math for all students and two months in reading for low-income students, while unequal access to summer learning opportunities might &nbsp;account for half the achievement gap between low- and high-income students.</p> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Charlee Song 30271 at http://wesa.fm How Neighborhoods Are Using New Tools In The Fight Against Old Blight http://wesa.fm/post/how-neighborhoods-are-using-new-tools-fight-against-old-blight <p>Like many older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50,000 vacant houses in Allegheny County.</p><p>For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue. Today, a new generation of tools is being used in attempts to clean up blighted neighborhoods.</p> Fri, 30 May 2014 10:55:01 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 30057 at http://wesa.fm How Neighborhoods Are Using New Tools In The Fight Against Old Blight Students Learn from Trout in the Classroom, And Outdoors http://wesa.fm/post/students-learn-trout-classroom-and-outdoors <p>A 55-gallon fish tank sits to the side of Frank Todd’s 8th grade classroom at Moon Area Middle School, west of Pittsburgh. The water inside is so cold you can’t even see into the tank because of the water collecting on the outside.<br /><br />Todd’s using the condensation to teach about how gases and liquids behave.&nbsp; It’s 52 degrees in the tank because that’s the temperature needed to sustain Brook trout. The tank is home to about 100 brook trout fingerlings—juvenile fish about the length of a finger.<br /> Fri, 23 May 2014 16:48:23 +0000 Kara Holsopple | The Allegheny Front 29745 at http://wesa.fm Students Learn from Trout in the Classroom, And Outdoors For Pittsburgh and Ecuadorian Students, Food Serves as a Cultural Bridge http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-and-ecuadorian-students-food-serves-cultural-bridge <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Erick Rivas arrived in Pittsburgh last week, he had one thing on his mind: “la comida.”</span></p><p>“I really enjoyed trying different types of food,” he said through a translator. “Being friends with the teens here was a great experience.”</p><p>The 15-year-old is one of six students visiting the U.S. from Quito, Ecuador as part of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s Scaling the Walls/Escalanda Paredas cultural exchange program.</p> Thu, 08 May 2014 13:29:08 +0000 Michael Lynch 28863 at http://wesa.fm For Pittsburgh and Ecuadorian Students, Food Serves as a Cultural Bridge For Those With Traumatic Brain Injuries, Yoga Might Provide Some Benefit http://wesa.fm/post/those-traumatic-brain-injuries-yoga-might-provide-some-benefit <p>On a recent Thursday night, a group of barefoot people are moving through a yoga practice at Bend Yoga’s studio in downtown Pittsburgh.</p><p>It’s a yoga class for people with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder — or both. Among them is Chris Ohleger, who said yoga has benefited him in ways no other treatments or therapies have.</p> Wed, 07 May 2014 11:39:32 +0000 Erika Beras 28775 at http://wesa.fm For Those With Traumatic Brain Injuries, Yoga Might Provide Some Benefit Getting Students to Grow, Eat Local Foods http://wesa.fm/post/getting-students-grow-eat-local-foods <p>Food service directors, district officials and farmers are gathering at a conference in Pittsburgh today to talk about getting more locally grown produce into cafeterias. Schools around the country are now required to offer fruits and vegetables.</p><p>
But it can be a challenge to get kids to actually eat the healthier items. &nbsp;Schools that are having success in the cafeteria say they’re making food part of the regular curriculum.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 02 May 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Julie Grant 28537 at http://wesa.fm How These Pittsburgh-Area Students Are Turning Poetry Into Robotic Theater http://wesa.fm/post/how-these-pittsburgh-area-students-are-turning-poetry-robotic-theater <p>“A diorama on steroids.”</p><p>That's how Susan Mellon describes what she’s doing in her Springdale Junior and Senior High classroom, where students are combining poetry with computer technology and engineering.</p><p>“Kids tend to be a little intimidated by poetry, so I thought this would take something they’re intimidated by and don’t like and make it fun,” said Mellon, a gifted support coordinator at the school.</p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:48:15 +0000 Deanna Garcia 28197 at http://wesa.fm How These Pittsburgh-Area Students Are Turning Poetry Into Robotic Theater For Latino Children With Autism, Additional Barriers Exist http://wesa.fm/post/latino-children-autism-additional-barriers-exist <p>The only thing Kai Arroyo eats is butterscotch pudding. He only drinks milk from a bottle. When he speaks, you get the sort of language that you expect from a kindergartener – not a seventh grader. And he can’t go to the bathroom on his own.&nbsp;</p><p>"He’s still wearing pull-ups at 13," said his mother Astrid Arroyo. "I know! He’s actually a little more vocal about letting us know when he needs to go to the bathroom, but he’s still not fully there, so he’s still dependent on us to remind him and take him to the restroom."</p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Erika Beras 27940 at http://wesa.fm For Latino Children With Autism, Additional Barriers Exist Pittsburgh-Area Students Tackle World Water Crisis http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-area-students-tackle-world-water-crisis <p>According to the United Nations, nearly 800 million people around the world don’t have access to clean water — a daunting challenge for political leaders, humanitarians and scientists, but it hasn’t stopped a group of Pittsburgh area students from working on a solution.&nbsp;</p><p>”We actually didn’t realize how extensive it was until we did all of our research,” said&nbsp;Kambree Love, a junior at South Fayette High School. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 27734 at http://wesa.fm 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?