Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Shouts of surprise and joy erupted Friday at noon from graduating students at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

Mike Stewart / AP

The National Rifle Association has awarded more than $237,000 in grants to 25 Pennsylvania schools in recent years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The NRA Foundation grants went to school programs including the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and rifle teams. More than 80 percent of the grants were provided as equipment rather than cash.

Only a fraction of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts received awards between 2010 and 2016.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Evergreens, hemlocks and lush rhododendrons make the grounds around Fallingwater a remarkable setting even in the depths of winter. Located in the Laurel Highlands and suspended over a waterfall, it’s one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most recognizable structures.

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. 

Mike Stewart / AP

The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead catalyzed a series of actions this week as Dick's Sporting Goods, WalMart, L.L. Bean, REI and Kroger joined the growing chorus of companies restricting weapon sales or rescinding NRA member perks and discounts.

Chris Knight / AP

Pennsylvania's treasurer is starting up a program that could eventually provide educational grants for all children born in this state, beginning with $100 to get it started when they are born.

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.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are still in contention this week as GOP leaders file suit to block a map enforced by the state Supreme Court. Three Republican-appointed federal judges on Friday agreed to hear the case.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The 2,400 teachers who work for Pittsburgh Public Schools are one step closer to a strike, but will hold off doing so as the union representing them continues to negotiate with the district. 

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.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new after-school program targeting Pittsburgh’s refugee students aims to bridge the gap of English language learning in schools. The pilot program launches in Crafton Heights this week.

A Library Without Books? Universities Purging Dusty Volumes

Feb 7, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

A library without books? Not quite, but as students abandon the stacks in favor of online reference material, university libraries are unloading millions of unread volumes in a nationwide purge that has some print-loving scholars deeply unsettled.

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.

Black Tech Nation

Kelauni Cook wants to address every inch of the pipeline for black technology professionals.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A statewide audit has found a number of school districts across Pennsylvania have employed bus drivers that should be banned from the job—and still more have drivers that aren’t properly cleared.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the problem may be a communication breakdown between school districts and the bus companies they contract with.

His office’s report found 10 bus drivers whose criminal convictions should have barred them from their jobs. One had a felony assault charge.

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.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has changed his mind regarding a high-profile school funding lawsuit.

More than three years after a coalition of districts and advocates first sued the state, Wolf now says the courts should determine whether the commonwealth’s education funding system violates the state constitution.

And he thinks that decision should come sooner rather than later.

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.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Pittsburgh macroeconomist Marvin Goodfriend is still awaiting official Senate confirmation this week to help lead the nation's central banking system.

Gretchen Ertl / AP

The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's 14-university state higher education system says it's approved six new degree programs to address workforce needs.

The State System of Higher Education said Thursday the new degree programs target fields where there currently aren't enough qualified employees to fill job openings.

The three new bachelor's degrees and three new master's degrees will begin in the fall.

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr

Suburban Pittsburgh high school students will not be getting extra sleep, for now.

The North Allegheny School Board on Wednesday tabled a proposal on whether to change the start of the high school from 7:25 a.m. to 8 a.m. The board says it needs to study the costs associated with bus routes that would be affected by the change.


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.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Now that US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved Pennsylvania’s 13-year education-improvement plan, state officials are working on rolling out some changes.

The updated plan is designed to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the Obama-era Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s the commonwealth’s first comprehensive update since 2002.

One key change? Broadening how school success is measured.

Historic Blacksmith Shop In Johnstown To Reopen As School

Jan 13, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

From the 1860s until the 1990s, the powerful, industrial sound of metal striking metal - minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade - sounded throughout the blacksmith shop by the Conemaugh River in Johnstown.

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.”

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On the last Friday in 2017, about two dozen young children are gathered at the Hatch Art Studio in Point Breeze. School is out for the holidays and 7-year old Rachel Collura is spending the day here at a day camp.

Most Big Public Colleges Don't Track Suicides

Jan 2, 2018
Beth J. Harpaz / AP

Most of the largest U.S. public universities do not track suicides among their students, despite making investments in prevention at a time of surging demand for mental health services.

Tabulating student suicides comes with its own set of challenges and problems. But without that data, prevention advocates say, schools have no way to measure their success and can overlook trends that could offer insight to help them save lives.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It’s been a eventful news year in the Steel City, from hospital booms to repeated flush and boil orders to President Trump's impact on Pennsylvania.

Emma Lee / WHYY

After abandoning plans to end the tax deduction for student loans, Republicans in the U.S. House are moving forward with a highly partisan proposal that would revamp the federal government’s student loan programs.

Dubbed the PROSPER Act, it’s intended to simplify the student loan process by consolidating some confusing government loan programs while also removing some regulations. The bill also calls for doing away with the decade-old Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that wipes out college debt for public servants after they put in 10 years on the job.