We cover how our residents are growing and learning, starting from pre-K, through higher education, and beyond, into adulthood. 

Coverage of education in western Pennsylvania on 90.5 WESA is supported by a generous grant from
The Grable Foundation.

Duquesne City Schools gets Recovery Officer

Nov 16, 2012

The Duquesne City School District has been placed into Financial Recovery and a Chief Recovery Officer has been chosen.  Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today appointed Paul B. Long to the post.

The  63 year old Long is a native of McKees Rocks and graduated from Shaler High School.

“I am pleased to appoint an individual who has the experience and proven track record of stellar financial management,” Tomalis said. “I am confident that Paul will be successful at devising a plan to stabilize the district’s finances.”

Penn St. Trustees Set to Search For New President

Nov 16, 2012

Penn State trustees are set to formally begin the search for a new president against the backdrop of renewed scrutiny of university governance in light of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

Trustees are scheduled Friday to wrap up two days of regularly-scheduled meetings with a full assembly of the board. A vote to officially approve the search for President Rodney Erickson's replacement is on the agenda.

Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Linda Lane will discuss the district’s progress and future direction during her state of the district address Thursday evening. She said five key areas will be the focus: finance and enrollment, achievement, effectiveness, equity, and satisfaction. The district faces several challenges including declining enrollment and budget deficit, but Lane said rather than looking at the challenges, she is looking at opportunities for growth.

Higher Education Commission Issues 19 Proposals

Nov 15, 2012

A state-appointed commission on higher education has made its recommendations as to how Pennsylvania could improve the quality of colleges, universities, and trade schools while reducing student costs.

The Advisory Commission on Post-Secondary Education was created by Governor Tom Corbett in February, and submitted its final recommendations Wednesday, one day before the deadline. The panel was made up of 31 commissioners, including university presidents, education experts and business leaders.

Penn State Post-Sandusky Has Not Changed, Says Auditor General

Nov 14, 2012

The Pennsylvania Auditor General is calling on the governor and the General Assembly to push for changes in the leadership structure at Penn State.  Auditor Jack Wagner released a report Wednesday with additional recommendations, including creating uniform term limits for all board members and preventing staff members from becoming trustees and vice versa with ease.

He says half of his recomendations require legislation, and the others would require action from the Penn State Board of Trustees. 

Gloomy Results for Pittsburgh Public Schools

Nov 12, 2012
90.5 WESA

Education Watch Dog Group, A+ Schools’ 8th annual report to the community looks good in some areas, but less than promising in others.  One area in need of improvement according the group’s executive director, Carey Harris, is closing the achievement gap.  She said closing the gap is urgent, because at this rate, it will take 40 years to be eliminated.

Hazelwood “Y” Gets New Executive Director

Nov 8, 2012

The elections are over, and politicians both new and old have positions. But politicians weren’t the only ones getting new job titles Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh announced Leah Hardaway would be the new executive director of the Hazelwood Y.

Hardaway began as the interim executive director on September 1, 2012, but Wednesday marked the begining of a more permanent role.

Hardaway said one of her biggest priorities so far has been learning about the community.

Robert Morris President Gets another 5 Years

Nov 5, 2012

The Robert Morris University (RMU) Board of Trustees approved a new five-year contract with President Gregory Dell’Omo Thursday.

Taking over as President in 2005,  Dell’Omo oversaw the university’s transformation as its campus and academic programs grew.

Dell’Omo said his predecessor began the process of moving RMU away from primarily being a business school towards a more comprehensive university.

Pittsburgh Cares is calling for volunteers to speak about societal issues with ninth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public School District (PPS).

The fifth annual "9th Grade Nation In-School Roundtable Discussions" will take place in high schools across the city this winter, with adult volunteers moderating discussions amongst freshmen.

Pittsburgh Cares Youth Programs Manager Nina Zappa said the discussion topics vary.

Penn State to Host Conference on Child Sex Abuse

Oct 27, 2012

After having its reputation tarnished by a child sexual abuse scandal, Penn State wants to become a national leader in researching and preventing such abuse and sees a conference it's hosting this weekend as a major step toward that goal.

Organizers of the three-day gathering called "Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention and Intervention," hope the event sheds more light on a problem that gained national attention after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges last November. fliers wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

Should students in elementary schools be permitted to distribute fliers to their classmates inviting them to a Christmas party at a church?  That question was up for debate in federal court in Pittsburgh today. 

Education Expert Gives Advice on Teaching Teachers

Oct 18, 2012

Dr. Sonia Nieto, professor of language, literacy, and culture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said teachers need to be more aware of their students’ communities.

Nieto is the author of four books used to prepare teachers for the classroom. She was at Duquesne University today to speak with School of Education faculty and students on how to tackle teaching challenges and best teach the next generation of educators.

Afterschool Programs Celebrated

Oct 18, 2012

A nationwide effort to leave the “Lights on Afterschool” is finding a home today in southwestern Pennsylvania.   The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network is working with 200 programs across the state to sponsor rallies that will include an estimated 15,000 participants.

The goal of the day is not only  to offer some special activities for students participating in afterschool programing, but also to bring more attention to the programs themselves and the impact they have on the community.

More than 1,000 people are expected to gather this evening in Pittsburgh to call on elected officials to publicly commit to policy goals and outcomes.  Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Networks (PIIN) will address topics ranging from funding for education to next month's election during its annual "public action" event "Fire of Faith: Rekindling Democracy and Community."

Jonathan Mayo, Vice President of PIIN, said although the group is asking for support from elected officials, it will have to be a community effort to accomplish certain goals.

State System Rejects Arbitration; Is a Faculty Strike Next?

Oct 17, 2012

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has rejected a call for binding arbitration from the union representing 5,500 faculty members at the 14 state-owned universities.

"We have been able to achieve through normal negotiations over the last 15 months contracts with virtually all of our other unions," said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall.  "We believe this can be resolved at the bargaining table, and we believe that's where it should be resolved."

Teaching the Mathematics Behind Elections

Oct 15, 2012 Math Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

Teachers looking for supplements to their election lessons don’t have to look far. A Pittsburgh-based company, Carnegie Learning, created a program called “Election Math” featured on NBC Learn’s website.  Election Math was made for an 8th grade learning level, but is designed to benefit all ages, individuals or classrooms.

Touting it as the first academic community in the world built from the ground up for sustainable development, living, and learning, Chatham University started phase one of a years-long plan to build the Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township.

“This total first phase project is $40 million creating the first residential campus on the first completely green campus in America,” said Chatham President Esther Barazzone.

When completed, the Eden Hall Campus will serve more than 1,000 students in a carbon and water resources-neutral setting.

“There will be nearly 1,500 delegates here in Pittsburgh that will represent 190 countries," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of the One Young World Summit coming to the city next week. Pittsburgh is the first U.S. city to host the event, which is the largest representation of countries outside the Olympics and the United Nations. The previous two were held in Zurich and London.

Career Planning Key to High School Success

Oct 11, 2012

Eight southwestern Pennsylvania school districts have joined forces with the Pittsburgh-based Consortium for Public Education to launch a new effort aimed at personalizing middle and high school education.  The focal point is an on-line tool that helps students imagine their future and identify a career path.

United Way Wants You to be One in a Million

Oct 9, 2012

The United Way of Allegheny County is intensifying its search for individuals who can mentor the region’s youth by guiding them on anything from career advice to dealing with having a parent in prison.  The organization is in the second year of its three year commitment to the Be One in a Million Program. 

The nationwide program is looking to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors, and mentors to support youth from pre-school through college graduation. Locally, the United Way of Allegheny County has a goal of recruiting 4,000 volunteers. 

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) wants to make sure any future owner of the Schenley High School building in Oakland keeps the structure mostly intact rather than razing the historic building to make way for future development.

Working through Fourth River Development, the school board issued a request for proposals Monday, seeking at least $4 million in net profit for the structure.

Fourth River sales agent Pat Morosetti said he's hoping for some creative proposals as to a new usage for the school, which closed in 2008.

The YMCA in Plum broke ground today for an $11 million dollar expansion that when complete will create the new 52,000 square-foot Sampson Family Y. The new facility at the East Suburban YMCA will include a warm water therapy pool and indoor lap pool.

“Right now we teach 400 kids a year to swim with our outdoor complex, now we’ll be able to teach 2,000 kids a year to be able to be safe by water, to be able to teach families with the teaching kitchen how to prepare meals for their families on a tight schedule,” said Larry Stormer East Suburban YMCA executive director.

A new report from the Highmark Foundation argues for the worth of the group's bullying prevention program in Pennsylvania schools by outlining the initiative's estimated cost-savings in terms of health care and education.

Monessen Football Players Face Drugs, Weapons Charges

Oct 6, 2012

Three teammates of the Monessen High School football team have been placed in a juvenile detention center after drugs and guns were found in their team lockers.  Monessen police are not identifying the players because they're charged as juveniles.

Police say a 15-year-old has been charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a 16-year-old with illegal weapons possession, and a 17-year-old with possession with intent to deliver heroin, and weapons charges.

As the natural gas boom continues in Pennsylvania, a new website aims to take the multiple economic impact review analyses and reduce the confusion and bias among them. Creator of the website, Matthew Rousu, said economic impact reports vary widely in quality depending upon who commissioned them.

A federally funded program to provide low-cost job retraining at all of the state’s 14 community colleges is up and running, after a year of prep work.

Workers who have lost jobs due to companies moving overseas will be eligible for retraining in three industries expected to grow in the commonwealth: advanced manufacturing, energy, and health care information technology.

CCAC Receives $1.59 Million Federal Grant

Oct 4, 2012

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been selected, along with 13 other colleges and universities across the nation, to receive a $1.59 million grant aimed at ensuring students successfully make it through their chosen program. Nationwide, $5.4 million of the US Department of Education's money will go to the effort.

So what exactly will the Title III grant be doing? Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

State Senator Jim Brewster (D-McKeesport) is a former mayor with a teaching degree, so he thinks his prior experience provides an interesting take on the expansion of standardized testing in Pennsylvania schools.

From a former mayor’s point of view, he says the tests go beyond evaluating student and teacher proficiency.

Pittsburgh is #5 College Town

Oct 1, 2012

Academics are a key factor, but others like quality of life and professional opportunities are also taken into consideration in the American Institute for Economic Research's (AIER) College Destinations Index.  Pittsburgh ranks as the 5th best mid-size college town out of 20 in the nation.

Steven Cunningham, Director of Research and Education for AIER said Pittsburgh is a “good solid area” for college students.

Chatham University Adds New Sustainability Track

Oct 1, 2012

Chatham University is offering a new program that it believes will push the school to the forefront of new business ideology.

The sustainable business track, which will complement programming within the School of Sustainability and the Environment, will attempt to expand students’ business knowledge.

Bruce Rosenthal, Director of the Department of Business and Entrepreneurship at Chatham, said it used to be that businesses only looked at profit margins, but now they look at the three P’s: people, planet, and profit.