Daily Archive: November 17, 2011


Hill District Education Council empowers parents

For most of the women at this year’s annual education conference, sponsored by the Hill District Education Council, raising their African-American male children can be a full time job filled with uncertainty. During a breakout session on this topic, the handful of mothers in the room shared stories of their struggle, revealing both the caring nature of their sons and their personal disillusionment with the education system. EMPOWERING PARENTS—Tamanika Howze facilitates a breakout session on raising an African-American male. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “You have to celebrate yourselves because you have to first believe in yourself,” said Tamanika Howze, the session’s facilitator and director of the Kingsley-Lincoln Freedom School. “Through education, I set the tone in my household. My children always saw me reading; I always took them to cultural events. We have to start very young. If you have more CDs than books, it says you don’t have much value in education and our children see it.”


Crossroads Foundation gives access to Catholic education

Over the past 23 years, the Crossroads Foundation has successfully cycled 395 students through its program. Of these students 98 percent graduated, 97 percent have gone on to post-secondary education, 92 percent have gone to a four year college, 88 percent have graduated from a four year college, and 15 percent have advanced degrees. “After 23 years doing this, we know the pieces to help students coming from challenging environments, but we keep getting better and better,” said Crossroads Executive Director Florence Rouzier. “We don’t know a better way to get these children out of poverty than education.” CLASS OF 2011—Each and every student at the 2011 Crossroads Foundation Graduation Dinner has gone on to college. The Crossroads Foundation provides “holistic scholarships” that consist of tuition assistance and intensive academic and psychosocial support services, to students wishing to attend Catholic high schools. Students admitted to the program have previously attended feeder Catholic elementary schools in urban areas.


Propel schools closing racial achievement gap

by Laurence Glasco Doris Brevard, as principal of Vann Elementary School in the Hill District from 1969 to 1995, eliminated the racial achievement gap, winning statewide and even national recognition. Some of those who still recall her success might be interested to know of schools today which are succeeding in doing the same. STUDENT AT WORK IN PROPEL One of these is Propel Charter Schools, which soon will open in the city of Pittsburgh. Last spring, Propel Director of Marketing Derric Heck invited me to visit the Propel Charter School in McKeesport which, he said, was matching Brevard’s achievements of years ago, and with similar kinds of students.


A vision for high school education: The Neighborhood Academy

by M. Abdul-QawiyyFor New Pittsburgh Courier On a fall morning, nestled at the hill top, is The Neighborhood Academy (The Academy). Founded 10 years ago by Rev. Thomas Johnson and Jody Moore, its mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty through education. EXPOSURE TO CAREERS—The Civic Health Institute, Davis Eye Group and Star Optical joined together to host 11th & 12th graders from the Neighborhood Academy for a Career Day. The students received an overview for careers in opticianry science, optometry, and ophthalmology. The classes were at Star Optical in Wilkinsburg. Louis Mosley, the lab optician, is the man who makes the glasses, cuts the glass and puts them into the frames. (Photo by J. L. Martello)


Teen Quest Ranch: XDayz filled with fun

by Chauleaqua Washington Teen Quest Ranch is a place for fun, relaxation and a miniature vacation located in Somerset, Pa. It sits on 140-acres of land that serves as the grounds for summer and winter camps, and a mission base for ministry teams around the world. “Teen Quest is a place for everyone to have fun and enjoy their time,” said Travis Rusko, camp director. Weekend retreats for youth groups and churches are also held at the ranch. But the most popular camp they hold during the fall is XDayz.


Urban Pathways Charter Schools rings in School Year in its new K-5 building

There have been famous bells, Alexander Graham Bell, for one, surprisingly quiet bells, the Liberty Bell comes to mind, fashionable bells (love those bell bottoms, and of course, Southern belles, bell curves and bell peppers. But now, Urban Pathways has added school bells to the downtown soundscape. This year Urban Pathways officially opened its new K-5 College Charter School building right in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Downtown Cultural District and right across the street from its 6-12 school. With nearly 500 students, 60 full-time and adjunct teachers and 20 other staff, UPCS offers a well rounded, comprehensive curriculum emphasizing college readiness, Core Knowledge (K-5) and an entrepreneurship cohort.


Propel:?A dream becomes reality

Eight years ago, Propel started as a dream. The dream was to build an organization with the capacity to transform public education in Southwestern Pennsylvania so that all children have access to high performing public schools. Today, that dream is a reality. Propel’s mission is to catalyze the transformation of public education in Southwestern Pennsylvania so that all children have access to high performing public schools. STUDENTS AT WORK IN PROPEL Propel has become one of the largest, fastest-expanding set of charter schools in Pennsylvania with the highest levels of student achievement among Pennsylvania public school districts serving high poverty areas.


The Pathway to the Promise

We understand that as parents you want a program for your child that ignites a passion for learning in an environment that is safe and welcoming. We also recognize that each child learns differently. That’s why we are offering a wide range of educational options for families. At the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we are committed to our vision of Excellence for All. This means preparing all children to achieve academic excellence and strength of character, so that they can pursue their passion and be prepared to receive scholarships through the Pittsburgh Promise. The Pittsburgh Promise is a community gift to help families plan, prepare and pay for education after high school. We are working hard to ensure that every school provides quality, academically rigorous and engaging programs so each student is Promise-Ready. POSITIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS—From left: Nina Esposito-Visgitis, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers president; John Tarka, former president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers; Linda Lane, Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent; and Tim Stevens, chairman of The Black Political Empowerment Project announced a partnership to install learning environment specialists at seven high needs schools Aug. 29.


Now more than ever, Classrooms need parents

As states continue to slash education budgets to accommodate declining tax revenues, schools respond by trying to squeeze even more out of their beleaguered teachers: class sizes grow, planning periods are cut, each student gets less attention. What can we do? Project Appleseed, a non-profit public education advocate, is asking parents across the country to lend a hand in their child’s school on Nov. 17 for its 18th annual National Parent Involvement Day. Not coincidentally, it falls during American Education Week, Nov. 13-19.


Saving for college while in high school

by Chauleaqua WashingtonFor New Pittsburgh Courier Starting in high school there are always the worries about saving for college. Constantly asking when to save and how much to save. Saving for college is becoming a big deal now that college tuition has gone up. “Students and parents alike spend their valuable time and hard-earned money to get into the right school and earn their college degree,” said Patricia Sadar, an adjunct professor at Florida International University.