News

June 14, 2019

RIF Pittsburgh Seeks Mentors for Elementary Students

Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh is seeking volunteers for its Everybody Wins! program.

About

Everybody Wins! is a school-based literacy mentoring program that pairs kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-grade students with a caring adult to build a meaningful relationship while sharing conversation, good books, and literacy-related activities for one hour a week. These consistent, one-on-one experiences increase a child’s opportunity for success, both academically and in life.

Help an elementary student build literacy skills and develop a lifelong love of reading by volunteering as a mentor today!

Volunteer

Interested in volunteering? Sign up by contacting:

Nora Peters, Program Director
412.321.8022, ext. 298
npeters@rifpittsburgh.org

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh website.

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June 11, 2019

Summer Food Service Program: Free Meals & Activities

The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program providing free meals and fun activities to kids 18 and under during the summer when school is out of session.

Who Can Visit A Summer Food Site?

Hundreds of sites are opening this summer throughout Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset and Washington counties. Meals are served free to any kid 18 and under. There is no registration required to participate, kids can visit any site during its specified serving time to receive a free meal.

Find A Summer Food Site Near You

To find a summer food site near you:

More Information

For questions, call the United Way hotline at 2-1-1.

*Information provided by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

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June 3, 2019

Fred Rogers Center to Launch Educators’ Neighborhood

Reflecting on a piece she wrote in December 2018, Melissa Butler identifies long-term benefits observed with the same group of children five months after the initial observation.

Additionally, the Fred Rogers Center announced that they will be launching “Educators’ Neighborhood: Learning and Growing Together” in support of early childhood teachers.

Overview

In December 2018, Melissa Butler wrote a blog article named, “Beechwood Kindergarteners Learn with Mister Rogers,” observing LeeAnne Kreuger’s kindergarten classroom as they gathered every Friday morning to watch an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Labeled “Mister Rogers Friday,” teachers selected an episode each week for their students based on key themes, needs, or interests expressed in the classroom.

What they observed from April through June 2018 was that by the end of the school year, the children were actively singing along, naming characters, and making fun connections throughout the school day. In addition to this, teachers noticed benefits as well, having significant learning opportunities to reflect on child development, cultural relevancy, and ways to weave Fred Rogers’ lessons into the school day.

Five months after, this same group of children continues to watch a new episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” every week. By doing so, they’re still observing significant impacts and benefits.

Benefits for Children

Butler highlights that this group of children:

    • talk with each other during and after each Picture-Picture video to ask questions or comment;
    • know the difference between real and make-believe;
    • sing songs with confidence;
    • answer Mister Rogers’ questions with eager attention;
    • allow for the silence and slowness of episode moments; and
    • have come to trust in the learning and joy each episode bring during and in the classroom.
Benefits for Educators

Teachers have also displayed key benefits, including:

    • more trust in their instincts;
    • more collaboration with each other;
    • more sharing of personal stories with students;
    • more confidence with developmentally appropriate practice;
    • more improvisation with what they choose to do after each episode; and
    • an overall approach that trusts in the larger picture of what they do as teachers.

Conclusion

Needless to say, the benefits of incorporating meaningful videos, especially those of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” are substantial. When educators and students are allotted a period to slow down, reflect, and talk with one another about influential topics, all parties benefit in and out of the classroom. For more, read Butler’s full blog piece.

About Educators’ Neighborhood

Educators’ Neighborhood: Learning and Growing Together is a place for educators to learn more and with each other, inspired by the life and work of Fred Rogers. Fred Rogers Center will grow an expanded community of educators to study episodes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” read from the Fred Rogers Center Archive, and generate new ideas together connected with their daily practice with young children.

If you’re interested in joining, sign up for news, register for Educators’ Neighborhood Online, or apply to be part of the local Educators’ Neighborhood Learning Community for the 2019-20 school year.

More Information

For more information, read Butler’s full blog piece.

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Carnegie Library Serving Summer Meals for Children

Beginning June 17, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will offer free summer meals/snacks to Pittsburgh youth on weekdays through August 23.

About

In summer 2019, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will continue its participation in the Summer Food Service Program in order to ensure even more Pittsburgh youth have access to free food during summer vacation. Meals and activities will be provided during times listed below while supplies last and are for youth ages 18 and younger, and for persons with disabilities up to age 21.

Meals are being offered locally in collaboration with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Pittsburgh CitiParks as part of the federally funded Summer Food Service Program.

Program Schedule

This program is available Monday – Friday at the following locations (unless otherwise specified):

More Information

For questions, contact the Library of Pittsburgh via phone at 412.622.3114.

*Information provided by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

News

May 29, 2019

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Sign Up Moving to PD Registry

Beginning Fall 2019, applicants will apply for the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program through the PD Registry.

About the Program

The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program pays 95% of tuition costs for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $6,000 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The program covers tuition costs only and does not include books, materials, or fees. Tuition costs net of other funding sources such as scholarships, stipends, discounts, or grants (except the Pell Grant) are used to determine the amount of assistance. It is recommended completed applications be submitted at least four weeks prior to the start of the course, or prior to the tuition due date, whichever is first.

Access the Program Before Fall 2019

During the transition, The Pennsylvania Key is still currently accepting applications for the 2018-19 fiscal year and summer classes. Early learning professionals taking coursework beginning before fall semester are welcome to apply using the current process in the Portal. At this time, applications will not be reviewed for the fall semester.

More Information

For new eligibility requirements and to stay up-to-date on the ongoing changes, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

*Information provided by The Pennsylvania Key

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HundrED Announces Pittsburgh Spotlight Selections

In March of 2019, HundrED released their full list of Pittsburgh Spotlight innovation submissions. Now, after two months of careful deliberation and assessment, HundrED has announced their 12 featured innovative solutions.

About the Spotlight

In partnership with the Grable Foundation and Remake Learning, HundrED’s Pittsburgh Spotlight shines a light on the educators and innovators doing extraordinary things to help students in southwestern Pennsylvania succeed. Receiving 82 individual submissions from southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia schools, museums, libraries, nonprofits, government agencies, and more, the Pittsburgh Spotlight is a great opportunity for changemakers to highlight, celebrate, and learn more about the work happening in local communities.

While HundrED Spotlights are designed to identify 10 of the most inspiring innovations that focus on a location or theme, Lasse Leponiemi, Executive Director and Co-Founder of HundrED said,

“Pittsburgh broke that mold. The response was so robust that we chose to expand our selection to 12 innovations.”

Selected Innovations

    • Simple Interactions: This research project of the Fred Rogers Center creates free tools and resources to give educators a language for noticing and affirming their interactions with young children. These simple interactions support relationships between children and adults.
    • Fabricating Change in Mental Wellness: Students diagnosed with mental health conditions work side by side with social workers, therapists, and teachers in this digital Fab Lab at Intermediate Unit 1. The results: increased participation, improved engagement, and fewer disruptions.
    • The Finch: Borne out of research about what engages and excites students in learning computer science, this robot developed by BirdBrain Technologies can be programmed to do physical actions in 9 different coding languages. A free loan program makes it widely available to schools.
    • Global Minds Initiative: Founded, designed, and run by students, this after-school program combats intolerance by fostering intercultural friendships and global understanding. Immigrant and refugee students come together with their peers in safe, inclusive spaces.
    • Hillman Academy: At this 8-week full-time summer program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, high school students perform cancer research under the mentorship of world-renowned scientists in a rigorous, supportive, real-world STEM environment.
    • JAM: Two first-grade girls’ interest in making things to help their community has blossomed into an after-school maker learning program at Avonworth School District that is a catalyst for kindness in school and an engine for raising funds for community causes.
    • MAKESHOP: The first museum makerspace, this permanent exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a research-based learning environment where children and families make, play, and design using “real stuff.”  And they offer professional development, maker learning resources, and more.
    • Summer Dreamers Academy: By combining the academic benefits of summer school with the fun of camp, this free summer program run by Pittsburgh Public Schools reduces summer learning loss while giving Pittsburgh students fun, enriching summer experiences.
    • transformED:  Allegheny Intermediate Unit is rethinking teacher professional development and support for school districts implementing innovative practices. At transformED, educators explore, discover, invent, and learn.
    • Youth Express: Students use the tools of radio to create and distribute original programming through Saturday Light Brigade‘s 24/7 radio station. Programming is based on the idea that when youth realize that their voice matters, they realize that they matter.

To learn more, visit the HundrED website.

See HundrED’s official release.

About HundrED

HundrED is a not-for-profit organization that researches, highlights, and propels K-12 education innovations in an effort to improve education and inspire a grassroots movement by encouraging pedagogically sound, ambitious inventions to spread across the world. The Pittsburgh Spotlight is one of 6 individual spotlight categories, all centered around specific regions or topics. Through this spotlight, HundrED seeks to highlight educators and innovators in our area that are doing extraordinary things to help students.

Interested in highlighting your innovative solution? Submit your innovation for HundrED’s 2020 Global Collection by June 30, 2019.

*Information provided by HundrED

News

May 28, 2019

Creative Learning Educator Survey Open For Responses

Are you an educator that encourages creative learning and expression? The Heinz Endowments and the University of Pittsburgh are looking to receive your input via the Creative Learning Educator Survey.

About

The Creative Learning Educator Survey was established to learn more about creative learning opportunities for youth in the Pittsburgh region. The survey will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, with questions related to teaching artistry and creative learning. Results from this study will be utilized to better inform how to support our region’s creative learning programs and organizations.

After completion, participants will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad. Participation is voluntary.

Learn More

To learn more and participate in the survey, visit their website.

For questions, contact Principal Investigator, Tom Akiva at tomakiva@pitt.edu or Project Coordinator, Esohe Osai at ero19@pitt.edu.

News

Cast Your Vote: 2019 WQED Reader’s Choice Award

Community members are invited to take part in selecting the 2019 WQED Reader’s Choice Award Winner by casting their votes by Friday, May 31.

About

For the past 10 years, WQED has partnered with The EQT Corporation to present the Writers Contest to children throughout their viewing area. Through the support of EQT, WQED has been able to reach out directly to schools, libraries, and families throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia to encourage children to submit their original stories and illustrations.

In the 10 years of sponsorship from EQT, WQED has received over 12,000 story entries, communicated with hundreds of teachers and librarians to provide them with resources, impacted thousands of WQED viewers with messages about the contest, and provided a website full of information that encourages students and arms adults with relevant literacy information.

Cast Your Vote

Voting is now open and will end on Friday, May 31st at 12:00 p.m. The Reader’s Choice Award Winner will be announced on Monday, June 3. To learn more and cast your vote, visit the WQED website.

*Information provided by WQED

News

May 22, 2019

City Receives Grant to Support Safe Travel for Schoolchildren

On May 22, 2019, officials from Mayor William Peduto’s administration discussed a state grant of more than $450,000 to support safe routes to school for elementary and middle school students in Pittsburgh.

About

A bill was discussed at Pittsburgh City Council’s standing committees meeting accepting $464,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program, which provides assistance to municipalities to support the creation of safe and appealing alternatives to single occupant vehicle travel.

More than 30 million Americans nationwide transport their children to and from schools every day, which research shows increases hazardous road conditions and harms the environment. The Safe Routes to School program seeks to address that by supporting walking and biking to school, leading to eased traffic conditions and better health for schoolchildren.

“The ability to walk or bike to school has long been one of the classic characteristics of Pittsburgh, but over recent decades it has become increasingly hazardous for children, who are our most valuable and vulnerable travelers,” said Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) Director Karina Ricks. “This grant will allow us to dedicate resources to help us collaborate with school leaders and parents to identify areas where low-cost improvements can be rapidly implemented.”

What’s Next?

DOMI is proposing using the PennDOT grant to hire a Safe Routes to School coordinator who is part educator, part engineer and will work on programming for students to walk and bike more easily. The coordinator will work on traffic calming and other safety improvements on streets near schools best suited for walking and biking.

Once approved, DOMI plans to have a person in the position by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Learn More

To learn more about PennDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program, visit their website.

*Information provided by the City of Pittsburgh