Sarah Schneider


Sarah Schneider covers education for 90.5 WESA. That means looking at how people learn in Western Pennsylvania. Her reporting examines how local and national decisions impact access to education and policy. She loves being in classrooms talking to students and teachers.

She is also a local fill-in host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Previously, Sarah was a reporting fellow at WESA for two years by way of an Americorps affiliated program, Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE). She has interned with newspapers in Illinois, Idaho and Pennsylvania. 

Story ideas are always welcome at

Screenshot/Google Maps

Teachers in the South Butler County School District will not be in their classrooms Friday, according to union spokesperson Brooke Witt.

Duolingo / Provided Photo

One of the world’s most uncommonly mastered languages can now be introduced to learners in five minute daily increments.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Standing on a platform in front of hundreds of her peers who attend Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill, freshman Sophia Levin said she didn’t want to be the next victim of gun violence.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Meals in schools changed about five years ago when the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued standards that said schools had to reduce sodium, saturated fat, and trans fats from meals in order to be reimbursed through the National School Lunch program.

Carnegie Mellon University / Provided Photo

Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to name Farnam Jahanian as the school's 10th president.

Jahanian, a nationally recognized computer scientist, was named interim president in June after the sudden resignation of former president Subra Suresh. Suresh led CMU for four years and is now the new president of Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Another hospital expansion in the Pittsburgh region was announced Wednesday.

Allegheny Health Network will construct an $80 million, 90,000-square-foot cancer institute and academic center adjacent to the North Side Allegheny General Hospital. It is part of the $225 million investment the network has made in regional cancer centers.

“We have 15 major construction projects happening today simultaneously across the region. Many of those that relate to cancer,” said Highmark Health CEO David Holmberg.

Richard Drew / AP

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday that Amazon leaders had not yet requested a formal visit to the city.

An Amazon spokesperson said Wednesday that the company is working with each of remaining 20 cities to “dive deeper on their proposals and share additional information about the company’s plans.”

The spokesperson confirmed that Amazon would visit each location.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers and support staff are reviewing a summary of proposed changes to their collective bargaining contract including pay raises, new health care benefits, changes to teacher scheduling and sick leave. 

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

A strike by Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers has been averted just days before members of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers had planned to walk out.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The union representing 2,400 Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers announced Monday morning that it plans to go on strike Friday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Two main issues are keeping the Pittsburgh Public Schools district from settling a contract dispute with the union representing its teachers, according to PPS administrators. 

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers / submitted

The vast majority of members of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers who voted Monday authorized the union to call a strike.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before school starts at 7:30 a.m., Daunteeka Smith drops her daughter off at the Early Head Start Center on the first floor of Westinghouse High School.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh education advocacy group is coordinating organizations that could care for children in the event of a teacher strike.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers sent ballots to its 3,000 members Monday asking teachers, paraprofessionals and clerical workers for authorization to call a strike.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Quaker Valley School police officer Aaron Vanatta walks through the hallways of the middle school in Sewickley pointing out measures he has taken to secure the building.

A group of officers from around the country trail behind him. He's sharing anecdotes that demonstrate what he’s learned, such as the importance of the cork boards above the tiled walls cluttered with posters of the school motto and student artwork. 

“So you’ll see in the whole school, they let the kids put stuff up, so they’ve taken ownership in the building and they aren’t going to damage it,” he said.


A policy proposal from the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center aims to cover tuition and fees for eligible recent high school graduates who attend community college or a state university.

Google Maps

Since September, seven boys attending Woodland Hills School District schools have been shot; five of those students died. Earlier this month, the junior-senior high school was on lockdown after a teenager was shot in East Pittsburgh.

Tiffini Simoneaux / City of Pittsburgh

More than a fifth of Pittsburgh’s three- and four-year-olds are not in high quality preschool programs.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

This year, Avonworth High School students arrived at their first period, for the most part, after sunrise.

The district recently shifted its first period start time from 7:15 to 8 a.m., and Superintendent Thomas Ralston said his students now pass what he calls "the eye test."

“You can see that kids are coming to school, and they’re awake. They’re coming in when it’s light outside,” he said. “Our faculty have reported that kids are more attentive in class … and faculty feel more prepared.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Once a month, kids pull up chairs in front of a wall full of cats in kennels who are waiting to be adopted. The children introduce themselves, and they begin to read.

They read stories about zoo animals and tales of heroes on long journeys in far off places. Some older kids catch the cats up on novels they’ve been reading before they launch into the book.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Beginning in the 2018 school year, students below the third grade in Pittsburgh Public Schools will not be suspended for nonviolent offenses.

Board members and advocacy groups have pushed for the policy change for several months. According to the local advocacy group, the Education Rights Network, students below third grade missed nearly 800 days of school last year due to suspensions. A disproportionate number of those students were black. The group received that information from a Right To Know request.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

With the help of a grant from Google, Obama Academy in East Liberty opened a maker space for students Thursday. It’s an amenity more commonly found in schools in wealthier districts.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Jayda Rogers is a three-sport athlete who earns As and Bs in her classes at Shroder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. The senior wants to go to college to study public affairs and eventually start her own nonprofit organization.

Beth Shaaban / provided

University of Pittsburgh organizer Beth Shaaban said unionizing graduate students is more important now than ever in light of the proposed tax bill in Congress.  

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh will soon offer child care for city employees on days when Pittsburgh Public Schools are closed but city offices remain open.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Community College of Allegheny County is one local organization that plans to apply for a new state grant to fund apprenticeship programs.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About two dozen graduate students chanted "kill the bill" outside the Cathedral of Learning on Wednesday. Many teach undergraduate classes or assist with research in exchange for waived tuition or a stipend. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A dozen captivated kids surrounded Akasha Lestat Van-Cartier, whose blue ball gown sparkled as she read: “I am thankful for my hair, because it makes me unique. I am thankful for my ears, because they let me hear words like, ‘I love you.’”

This is the fourth month Van-Cartier has spent time at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s North Side branch reading kids books about respect, self-confidence and being the person you want to be.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Parents, side by side, held signs calling for Superintendent Toni Shute to resign.

“Give Shute the boot,” they chanted outside of a packed Oct. 9 Brooke County School District board meeting in Wellsburg, W.Va.