Pittsburgh Quarterly Contributors
Julia Fraser

Julia Fraser

Julia Fraser is a Pittsburgh Today staff writer and research specialist.

A Shrinking Resource

Not that long ago, the state Department of Education was a robust repository of expertise for 500 Pennsylvania school districts, offering curricular guidance ranging from math to art to best practices for improving school effectiveness and education outcomes. Those days, however, are largely gone as a new environment has taken hold, one in…

Local Artists: Struggling, But Not Starving

Most Pittsburgh artists are getting by financially but find it difficult to make a living off of their art alone. And African American artists are much less likely than their white counterparts to rely on their art as their sole means of support, according to recent survey.

A Question of Learning

As a digital revolution changes classrooms across the region and country, one key question lingers at the end of each school day: Do the new technologies actually enhance students’ learning?

Rethinking Education

Janice Smith’s fifth-​grade reading class at Central Elementary in the Elizabeth Forward School District was supposed to be working on a book report. Huddled around iPads, the students chatted with one another, pointing and swiping at the screens. No one was being shushed, few were sitting square in their seats, and no one…

Spotlight Shines On Pittsburgh’s Bumpy Ride to Teacher Evaluation Reform

It’s a Saturday night in early November. A jazz band plays near a rocket simulator in the Carnegie Science Center where a line snakes toward the bar. People in cocktail attire chat over hors d’oeuvres. It’s not often that city public school teachers are at the center of a gala celebrating their work.

As Demand Rises, Food Banks Face the Challenge of Change

No one waiting at North Hills Community Outreach’s food pantry in Hampton wore dirty or tattered clothing. The children playing in the parking lot while their parents lined up for a few bags of groceries attended stable suburban schools.

Allegheny County Health Department Takes a New Approach to Solve Old Problems

Dr. Karen Hacker arrived at the town hall meeting in Turtle Creek to find it crowded with TV news crews. The director of the Allegheny County Health Department had come that October evening to discuss the state of chronic disease in the community, which includes high rates of obesity and heart disease. Reporters…

City police attempt to mend relations in African American neighborhoods

Some of the photos posted on the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Facebook pages include: A smiling child wearing a policeman’s cap and holding a police radio alongside a city cop, an officer and child eating ice cream bars, and smiling police officers riding bikes with smiling kids.

Region Begins to imagine the transit network of the future

Civic leaders across southwestern Pennsylvania want people to start thinking big about the future of transportation in the region. Imagine commuter rail extending to the airport, expanded bus rapid transit, connected bike lanes throughout the area, smart traffic signals — that kind of big.

New strategies emerge for strengthening neighborhood arts culture

The arthouse in Homewood is hard to miss. It’s the house on Hamilton Avenue adorned with mosaics, from the stars against a field of blue covering one of its sides to the swirls of hearts and other images around words and phrases like “yes” and “you are beautiful” that greet visitors to its…
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