Education

Testing the Test

We’ve asked the leaders of a group of the region’s top independent schools to answer, in 200 words or fewer, the following question: “Whether it’s the PSSA tests that public schools are required to give or the latest changes in the SAT, there is often disagreement and sometimes controversy about the concept and emphasis on testing in …

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The Next Five Years and Beyond

For this special feature, we invited the presidents of the region’s leading institutions of higher education to respond to the following: What will be your strategy in the next five years to address the needs of students in the future? Their responses follow. CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, Geraldine M. Jones California University of Pennsylvania gives …

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City Public Schools Wither as Economy Booms

Austin is learning that much-desired economic success can have unintended consequences. The city’s declining school-age population and public school enrollment is citywide topic of conversation among Austin Independent School District (AISD) officials and Austin residents, including parents of school age children, taxpayers without children in school and local economic development professionals thrown in the mix. …

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What’s the Big Idea?

Pittsburgh Quarterly invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address, in 200 words or less, this question: What is your school’s biggest challenge and how are you addressing it? Scott D. Fech, Head of School, Winchester Thurston School From our very beginnings, our founder, Miss Mitchell, issued the imperative to the Winchester …

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Black and White

For the first eight years of my teaching career, the only white face in my classroom was mine. I was aware of that fact, of course, but only peripherally. My students were just that, my students. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying I was colorblind. I just didn’t relate to my students at Westinghouse High School …

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Protecting Free Speech on Campus

For this special feature, we invited the presidents of the region’s leading institutions of higher education to respond to the following: The American Civil Liberties Union has written that “An open society depends on liberal education, and the whole enterprise of liberal education is founded on the principle of free speech.” Yet surveys suggest that …

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Firing on All Cylinders

When Paul Hennigan became president of Point Park University in 2006, he inherited an institution that a little more than a decade earlier was in danger of going out of business. One of his first priorities was deciding the viability of the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland. Eleven years later, the new Playhouse is set to …

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3 Not-So-Simple Questions, Part IV

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final part of a feature that began in the pages of the Fall issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly. We invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address three important questions, in 200 words or less for each. The final question is below, along with the answers. …

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3 Not-So-Simple Questions, Part III

Editor’s note: This is part three of a feature that began in the pages of the Fall issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly. We invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address three important questions, in 200 words or less for each. The second of the questions is below, along with the answers. For …

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3 Not-So-Simple Questions, Part II

Editor’s note: This is part two of a feature that began in the pages of the Fall issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly. We invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address three important questions, in 200 words or less for each. The first of the questions is below, along with the answers. For …

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Unfair to Athletes?

Speaking of high school football, as I am, I knew of a chemistry teacher who was so tough, so mean—or at least mean-looking—that he produced decades of superb students. Not that I’m advocating mean as a teaching method, but he was so good that college chemistry professors could pick his students out on the first …

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3 Not-So-Simple Questions

Pittsburgh Quarterly invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address three important questions, in 200 words or less for each. How are the political tensions of our country being reflected in your school community and how are you addressing these issues? Jeff Suzik, Director, Falk School One of the most regrettable outcomes …

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Facing the Future

For this special feature, we invited the presidents of the region’s leading institutions of higher education to respond to the following: It’s a time of unprecedented challenge for higher education—with decliningenrollment, increased competition, concern about cost and debt, and increasinglyrapid technological change. How are you approaching your key challengesso that your institution will survive and …

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Going It Alone

Most of the women who trust their children to Jamie Tabb’s cottage childcare business in Turtle Creek are struggling to get by under circumstances she knows well. She’s a single woman raising children on her own, as they are. She’s been employed and poor at the same time. She’s had to allow limited public transit …

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Path to Delinquency

Aaron Thomas was 14 when a Pittsburgh police drug task force raided the Garfield home where he lived with his parents, whose lives were ruled by an addiction to cocaine and heroin. That led to his first encounter with the juvenile justice system. But the time he would spend in and out of jail, youth …

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Honey, I Have an Idea…

In May of 2013, Renny Clark and I arrived at the Hillman residence at 11 a.m. Our mission was to propose the creation of a forum for student civic engagement at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics and hopefully the seed of an endowment to support the forum’s work. Elsie responded with her typical …

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A Question of Value

Pittsburgh Quarterly invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address, in 150 words or less, the following question: What is your value proposition for students and families? Winchester Thurston is recognized for innovative teaching that combines rigor and relevance. After visiting WT this year, National Association of Independent Schools interim president Donna …

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When Applying to College

What do you wish you could tell young people who are considering applying for college? Marc L. Harding, University of Pittsburgh If you know what you want to study in college, great… and if you don’t, please know you’re in the majority. This is the time to explore. Do you want to improve global health, …

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Engineering the Future at Pitt

It was the early 1960s, and it was a different time, recalls John “Jack” Mascaro. Like many of his fellow baby boomers, the young student showed up to his engineering classes at the University of Pittsburgh sporting a sweater and a tie, while his professors wore suits. It was a time when engineering students were …

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Voyaging to College

The road to college is much like an expedition. It can appear overwhelming, exciting, and at times too far away to be tangible. However, much like planning a trip out of town or across the globe there is preparation involved, and it is always best to start that planning early. First, you must figure out …

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Setting a New Standard

The professor sits at her console and looks to the monitor at her right. There, she sees the smiling, eager faces of her students, 16 strong, for this evening’s lecture. She greets them and is greeted in return. On the monitor to the professor’s left is a SMART Board, an interactive whiteboard that she uses …

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A Pittsburgh Masterpiece

When Rachel Rosenberg arrived at the University of Pittsburgh from California as a freshman, she was immediately drawn to the cultural classrooms lining the Cathedral of Learning’s first and third floors: their alluring aesthetics, stunning architecture and meticulous attention to detail. “There’s nothing like this anywhere else,” she said. “They really set the University of …

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