Education

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.

Sarah Schneider

Tuesday night’s election results mean that the Pittsburgh Public Schools District will have three new directors on the nine member board who will face some crucial tests in the coming months, including the budget and fate of its senior leadership.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A school district outside Pittsburgh says it's investigating a racist Facebook post that appeared to have been published on a school board member's personal page.

Penn Trafford School District Webstie/PennTrafford.org

A Pennsylvania school district is defending itself after video surfaced of a safety drill that had a teacher posing as a shooter and donning what appeared to be a Middle Eastern headdress.

The video appears to show the actor wearing a kaffiyeh. The Penn-Trafford School District said Wednesday that organizers didn't intend to portray the shooter as Arab or Muslim at the January training.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Jeremy Resnick co-founded Propel Charter Schools in the basement of a Homestead hospital more than 16 years ago, and helmed the organization as it's expanded to 4,000 students in 13 distinct schools.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Candidates running for a seat on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board have spent the last few months knocking on doors, handing out signs and seeking endorsements. The nine candidates have significant questions to answer about their leadership styles and policies ahead of the May 21 primary.

The solicitor for the Pittsburgh Public Schools district is investigating claims made in a KDKA news story that implies district administrators took an all-expenses paid trip to Cuba last month without the board’s approval and in violation of its gifts policy.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's State Board of Education is giving its support to proposals by Gov. Tom Wolf to require students start schooling by age 6 and continue until they're at least 18.

Google Maps

A 91-year-old World War II veteran has finally received his high school diploma, eight decades after leaving school to support his family.

Pete Sabedra walked across the stage at Derry Area Middle School, about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, on Wednesday to accept his degree at a special awards ceremony.

Alongside Sabedra was his grandson, Kace, who will graduate from the district's high school on May 31.

Courtesy of Allegheny College

Educator Hilary Link will soon trade the Eternal City for Allegheny College in Meadville where she says she's excited to help foster student growth year-over-year. 

Aaron Sprecher / AP

A Pennsylvania school principal will no longer say "God bless America" after leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Peter Brigg's practice at Sabold Elementary School in Springfield led at least one parent to complain to the Freedom for Religion Foundation, whose attorney contacted the district. The group claimed it violated the U.S. Constitution's prohibition of government sponsoring religious messages.

Pennsylvania Grants $40M In Competitive School Safety Grants

May 6, 2019
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

The state has approved $40 million in grants for school districts to improve safety.

AP Photo

The only two fraternities at Swarthmore College have opted to disband amid outrage over years-old documents containing derogatory comments about women and the LGBTQ community and jokes about sexual assault.

Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi announced their decisions in separate Facebook posts Tuesday night.

"We cannot in good conscience be members of an organization with such a painful history," Phi Psi said in its statement.

Abby Cartus / Submitted

It is unclear if University of Pittsburgh graduate student workers will be able to unionize. The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board tallied votes Friday, but the board was unable to make a determination because of a number of contested ballots.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Candidates vying for three seats on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board largely agree when it comes to identifying the most pressing issues facing the state’s second largest public school district. 

Ashley Constantine / Fox Chapel Area School District

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to be immersed in it. Starting this fall, 25 kindergartners in Fox Chapel Area School District will be doing just that.

Welcome To Turkeyfoot, PA — Home Of The State's Lowest Paid Teachers

Apr 22, 2019
Dani Fresh / Keystone Crossroads

Visit Somerset County in mid-March and you’ll hear it everywhere — you’ve got to see it in the summer.

Meet The 'Crazy' Moms Saying One Of PA's Top-Rated School Districts Can't Teach Reading

Apr 18, 2019
Emma Lee / WHYY

The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Sixteen-year-old Isabelle Walker sits at a black lab table wearing a lab coat. She stares down at a petri dish.

“We’re trying to see how different bacterial colonies grow in different conditions,” she said. 

Abby Cartus / Submitted

University of Pittsburgh graduate students begin voting Monday to determine whether the nearly 2,000 student workers will be represented by the United Steelworkers Union.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Nine candidates vying for four seats on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board mostly agree on what the biggest issues are facing the state's second largest school district. The biggest differences are in how they might go about addressing them.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate is advancing legislation to help Pennsylvania school districts pay for accommodations for students who are homebound due to a serious injury or illness, such as cancer.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Franklin Regional School District's Gennaro Piraino says he's using his platform as Pennsylvania's 2019 Superintendent of The Year to elevate discussion about school security in Pennsylvania. Tuesday marks five years since a sophomore student used knives to injure 20 other students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School. 

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

Lowered expectations, implicit bias and socioeconomics can all contribute to disparities in academic performance, which the state department of education shows is happening in more than half of all Allegheny County schools. 

Michael Rubinkam / AP

A new policy will give Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities more of a say in what their students will pay in tuition.

New Study Pushes PA To Embrace Trauma-Informed Education

Apr 2, 2019
Emma Lee / WHYY

Research suggests that about half of the county’s children experience at least one traumatic event before the age of 17.

Democratic State Senators Propose Student Loan Debt Relief

Mar 26, 2019
Chris Knight / AP

Three Pennsylvania state senate Democrats are launching a plan to help people with student loan debt. 

Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

Former school superintendent Joe Lagana was walking out of a homeless shelter 20 years ago when he saw a young man writing on the hood of his car. He thought the vehicle was being vandalized, until he spotted the boy's alarmed expression and scribbled paper—he'd been doing his homework. 

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh has not been named as part of the nation-wide admissions cheating scandal under federal investigation, but that hasn't precluded the school from taking a look at its own admissions policies. Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher called the scandal a teachable moment on Tuesday's episode of The Confluence

'Hard' And 'Soft' School Safety Solutions On Display At Western PA Conference

Mar 18, 2019
Danny Johnston / AP

Before he began his presentation, Pennsylvania state trooper Clifford Greenfield gave a disclaimer: "Please note that the information contained herein is not designed to scare, produce unforeseen paranoia or cause undue worry." 

Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Kathy Wells started her career early. She didn’t get a chance to go to college after graduating from high school in rural, Northwestern Pennsylvania.

In her words, she grew up in a “large family, small area.”  

“Basically, you work,” Wells laughed. “You don’t go to school.”

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