Daily Archive: November 16, 2011

Metro

A+Schools: Achievement gap closing

Last year, an annual report produced by A+ Schools, discovered it would take 40 years for the racial achievement gap to be eliminated in the Pittsburgh Public School District. Their latest report, released Nov. 14, shows this number nearly cut in half, with a new estimated timeframe of 24 years, if the district continues to make the same amount of progress each year. “We found more progress last year than we’ve seen in any previous year since we began publishing this report,” said Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools. “We congratulate students, teachers, principals, families and the community in Pittsburgh for the hard work that has produced great results. But, much work remains to be done to make sure school works for every child in every school.”

Metro

CCAC gets grant to train rig workers

After Training Coordinator Francis “Kip” Deleonibus announced Community College of Allegheny County’s first training program for Marcellus Shale roustabouts, he received 130 responses. With his second class slated to start in the spring, he expects a similar response. But this time he has a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay for the program. “We were just named as a training provider Sept. 1 and we’ll be under the direction of the hub at Westmoreland County Community College. This means the training curriculum will be uniform,” he said. “Plus, it’s free. This grant will pay for the entire class. CCAC ate the cost of the first one.”

Metro

Wilkinsburg in midst of $8.6M renovations

With its numerous one-way streets, it is easy for those driving through Wilkinsburg to find themselves in the Hamnett Place neighborhood looking to turn around. Those who did, like Mayor John Thompson, would be struck by the massive and empty Crescent Apartments and adjacent Wilson House—once beautiful buildings seemingly forgotten. They are forgotten no longer. Three years ago, the city with the help of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, PNC Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank began an $8.6 million restoration of the properties. EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW— Representatives from Pittsburgh History and Landmarks, Allegheny County and the city of Wilkinsburg tour the rebuilt Wilson House, which is part of the $8.6 million housing development in the city’s historic Hamnett Place neighborhood. (Photo by J.L. Martello.) The partners, including Thompson, County Executive Dan Onorato, and PHLF President Arthur Ziegler, showed them off at a press conference Nov. 14 at Landmarks’ new Housing Resource Center.

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Metro

Pitt Summit: Perceptions trump reality

Perceptions can often affect expectations and, consequently, how one responds to certain stimulus. This may read like a description of classical conditioning in a basic Introduction to Psychology course. But the impact of continuous exposure to the stimulus will have a long term implications on behavior, according to a daylong Pitt Summit on Black male stereotyping by the media. GEORGE CURRYModerator Closer examination of two media audits of Pittsburgh media reporting of Black men and boys reveals that coincidently or unintentionally, news reporting has been engaging in classical conditioning via pandering to stereotype. What is widely acknowledged within the Black community is now verified and quantified by independent research: the disparity in portrayal of Black men in media is not paranoia; it is fact was the conclusions drawn by the various panels at the summit. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Paula Poindexter termed the findings as “borderline journalism malpractice.”

Generation Y

Pittsburgh Promise Scholars: ‘We weren’t ready’

As the three-day PromiseNet 2001 conference highlighting the success of the Pittsburgh Promise and its counterparts in other cities drew to its close, five college students who had received Promise scholarships took the stage to give their assessments of how well the programs work. All expressed their deep gratitude, saying they would not have had the opportunity to attend college if they had not qualified for the scholarships, but they also said the programs did not adequately prepare them for the level and intensity of college coursework. FIRST PERSON ACCOUNTS—Pittsburgh Superintendent of Schools Linda Lane introduces Promise Scholars Morgan Dorn, Jasmine Granville, Julia Cahill, David Cahill and Vanessa Thompson, who described their experiences during the PromiseNet 2011 final session, Oct. 21. (Photos by Rossano P. Stewart) Jasmine Granville, a Kalamazoo Promise recipient, is now at Kalamazoo Community College after transferring from Western Michigan University. She said she was not ready for college when she graduated. “I had no pressure at home to excel, and very little at school until I was a senior. Only one teacher pushed me, she drove me,” she said. “There are good teachers, but in my opinion, we weren’t prepared at all. College is a whole other leap.”

Metro

Community Calendar

Healthy living seminars NOV. 16—Passavant Hospital Foundation and UPMC Passavant will host its 2011 Healthy Living Seminars at 12:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, Cranberry Township Municipal Building, 2525 Rochester Rd., Suite 400, Cranberry. This is part of the Extending the Care ETC program series and the topic is “Healthy Living with Diabetes.” The guest speaker will be Patrick McCarthy, RN, director of the Healthy Lifestyles Center and diabetic educator for Passavant. The session is free and open to the community. For more information, call Jean Wagner at 412-367-6640.

Generation Y

City High’s big move

by Chauleaqua Washington With City High Charter High School in its 10th year of existence much will be changing this school year, from the location of the school to the senior class curriculum that should better the school overall. City High, located on Liberty Avenue in the Clark building, will be moving January 2012 to its new location at the Verizon building on Stanwix Street. That will not be the only change, however. Healthier lunches and more space will be introduced to students. DRAY COTTINGHAM IN FRONT OF CITY HIGH (Photo by J.L. Martello) “The school is being moved for two reasons,” Mario Zinga, school co-founder, said. “The main reason is the school needs (more) space.” He said, even though the school would have gotten more floors if it had stayed in the old building, they believed that the move was best, because they would have had to split up each grade on separate floors if they had stayed.

Generation Y

Inspired teen doing extraordinary things

by Chauleaqua Washington May 24 was proclaimed “Dray Cottingham Day” by the City of Pittsburgh, because this 16-year-old City High student has been doing extraordinary things. “I’ve been writing forever. My family and others who read my stories were always impressed with the things I would come up with,” said Dray Cottingham. DRAY COTTINGHAM WORKING ON ONE OF HIS PLAYS He produced, directed, wrote and cast his own play entitled “A Teen’s Unspoken Truth,” which earned him recognition by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. An inspired Cottingham wrote about whatever felt right to him, writing about things that seemed too mature for his age and people disapproving of him, yet he didn’t let it stop him.

Generation Y

Cyber Schooling becoming new craze

As technology advances, society changes and the education process is no different. Before, the typical routine for a student was to wake-up early, get dressed and then go off to school, but with the click of a mouse, students can get their full education from the comforts of their own home-it’s called Cyber Charter School or online schooling. Students from kindergarten to college are now completing their education online. According to Timothy Eller, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, of the 1,781,206 students enrolled in public schools, 27,779 students are enrolled in Cyber Charter Schools. There are currently approximately 13 Cyber Charter Schools in Pennsylvania and more and more are popping up every year.

Generation Y

PALO offers new program to excel

Cyber schools, with their virtual educational techniques, continue to make strides in the educational process, but one Pittsburgh based Charter School is putting together programs to help students excel even more. PA Learners Online Regional Charter School, which is operated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit—a nonprofit branch of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the largest of the 29 intermediate units created by the Pennsylvania State General Assembly—will begin accepting students in the Spring of 2012 for their Science Technology Research Engineer Arts and Mathematics (STREAM) Academy. The career based program will not only allow students to attend school online, but will set them up with on-location instruction in the specific career fields they are interested in.