Allegheny Intermediate Unit

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The difference between a worker who has a high school diploma and one who doesn’t may have a larger impact on the economy than some may realize. 

Each year, Pennsylvanians without a high school diploma or GED cost taxpayers an average of $683 each, according to Jamie Baxter, director of legislative policy and advocacy at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU).

But getting them a high school diploma, according to the AIU, could mean the state getting up to $6,000 per year in taxes from each worker. 

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The Allegheny Intermediate Unit hosted 10 educators from Northern Ireland on Monday to discuss best practices for special education.

Administrators with the AIU, a service provider for 42 Allegheny County school districts, met with principals, speech therapists and teachers from the Belfast area. The educators have been hosts to students in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Study Abroad in Ireland program.

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The Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Latino Family Center is in a new Hazelwood space this month, their third since the unit first opened in 2009.

“It’s affordable to live here, and they have services like the Latino Family Center that can at least give them a sense of community and they know they have advocates in us and even if they’re trying to access something and can’t,” site director Rosamaria Cristello said. “They’ll come to us. They have that support.”

School districts in seven western Pennsylvania counties are getting a share of $530,000 in Allegheny Intermediate Unit grants for programs that blend science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM.

How to use air quality assessors to measure pollution, robots to teach coding skills and conductive sewing to create bike vests that illuminate at night: These are just a few of the things educators are learning at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s transformED classroom.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the Citrone Fund have given a $40,000 grant to the AIU to update transformED and to create a lending library of its innovative resources.

Area educators gathered Monday to discuss best practices in promoting student achievement in public education at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s first Learning Together conference.

The day-long conference featured 50 round-table discussions and sessions showcasing what regional educators do to increase achievement in schools.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit is one of 29 units in Pennsylvania. It provides specialized education services to the 42 suburban Allegheny county school districts.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne Place, a subsidized housing complex in Duquesne, has had some rough years.

In January 2012 a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed, and a 14-year-old was injured. The previous year, a 17-year-old boy was shot there. Overall, there was a high level of crime.

Over the past year the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has been working with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) and the Duquesne City School District to boost education opportunities and build a stronger community at the complex.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Women’s Law Project have filed a lawsuit against the Allegheny Intermediate Unit on behalf of Bradley Ankney, a math teacher for the AIU.

The suit was filed after the AIU rejected Ankney’s attempt to add his partner to his health insurance policy.

Sarah Rose, staff attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said the AIU does provide benefits to the spouses of employees.

Twenty-five school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania are receiving grants of $20,000 apiece to create digital learning spaces for students of all ages. 

“My heart was filled with joy,” said Rosanne Javorsky, assistant executive director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, reacting to the 80 proposals for grants to create innovative spaces to engage students in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

The AIU’s Center for Creativity is distributing the grants, which are funded by the Benedum and Grable Foundations.