Pittsburgh-Area School Districts Use Technology To Help Students Learn In New Ways

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Teaching remotely is a big challenge, but many local school districts are taking advantage of new technology.

Teachers at Pine-Richland schools wear wireless microphones and use tracking cameras, document cameras and interactive display boards with mounted cameras so students both in school and at home can see the same things.

In the Elizabeth Forward and Avonworth school districts, teachers are using Gizmos virtual science labs, which allows students to manipulate the variables and work together.



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Elizabeth Forward Middle School eighth-grader Joseph Maksin grew virtual plants.

“You got to pick what type of plant you were using, how much soil, the amount of sun it was getting, how much water it was getting, and it would show a time-lapse of how it was growing,” said Maksin.

His pre-biology teacher at Elizabeth Forward Middle School, Rachel Lintelman, said, “I liked that there all these options they were able to interact with, and no kid had the same exact answer as any other kid because they got to all do it how they wanted to.”

Elizabeth Forward schools are taking kids on virtual field trips using Google Earth and PBS online. Amy Williams, an American history teacher at Elizabeth Forward Middle school, says her students followed Marco Polo’s travels on the Silk Road.

“It brings excitement to them in their own bedroom or living room, wherever they happen to be working,” she said.

Avonworth Elementary sixth-grader Bavly Naklah loves the app Sora, which helps him find books based on his classmates’ recommendations, and he likes getting e-books quicker than physical books.

“You don’t have to wait to go to school or the public library or something like that to find a book. The books are at your fingertips, on your laptop,

EASI: Bringing science and tech to students and teachers | Local News Stories

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For over a decade local science teachers have banded together to form the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative. Together, these educators put on annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math summer camps and provide teacher support.

Paul Anger is the EASI chairperson and one of the creators of the non-profit group in 2008. Anger is also the director for the Eastern Arizona College Discovery Park campus, where the group holds their meetings and multiple youth summer camp activities.

“Teachers meet once a month to go over planning activities to help each other as teachers. A big factor is the extracurricular activities during the summer for the youth,” Anger said. “The idea is Discovery Park will be the hub of science and STEM activity of Graham and Greenlee County.”

Anger said over the years the initiative’s summer STEM camps have grown in popularity. While the cost of attending the three to four-day camps would normally be $260-$280 including food and transportation, the Graham and Greenlee United Way pays the majority of the cost so parents only pay $40-$60. When the camps started, attendance was sparse, but now the camps are popular and attendance space fills quickly.

Each summer the camps include a Tonto Creek STEM Camp in Payson, for grades seven to ten. Students hike in a cave and on the last day they go swimming in Tonto Creek. Children from multiple counties attend, Anger said.

Another popular camp is the three-day Sumer Science camp. This camp includes a tour of the Mount Graham International Observatory telescopes as well as the University of Arizona agriculture farm.

In the spring, there is a girls-only STEM day camp. This camp is specifically geared toward young would-be scientists.

“All the instructors are women, to promote STEM careers in Graham and Greenlee counties,” Anger said.

The fact

Full return for Weston’s younger students raises staffing issues

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WESTON — Students are expected to fully return at the lower levels later this month, raising concerns for the school board about what that means for those still distance learning.

The Board of Education supported the lower schools switching to fully in-person and expanding the middle school’s hybrid learning to a full day beginning Oct. 26. But members raised concerns the plan the district’s administration presented Thursday could require additional staffing dedicated to distance learning. The high school would remain in its hybrid early-dismissal model.

“While in this document we are recommending hybrid full day, our energies are substantially on getting everybody back in,” Superintendent William McKersie said at a BOE meeting Thursday. “We want everybody back in — certainly K-5 we want them back in and that’s what the document is saying.”

The possibility of having to hire additional staff to designate teachers for the voluntary distance learning program caused concern for some Board of Education members.


“I don’t think hiring an added expense is just the quick easy answer,” BOE member Ruby Hedge said. “I think we need to get creative on all fronts.”

Hedge said the discussion on having a designated teacher for distance learning had been ongoing since the summer, and it had to be acknowledged a mistake may have been made that no moves were made.

“We have due diligence to do here on how we make the right decision, but still be financially responsible to this town,” she said.

Mckersie said the district was facing a critical pivot point. He said clarity on the distance learning program would be provided to the BOE in the coming days, including the proposed staffing arrangement and estimated cost.

“I can assure you if we aren’t looking at how to handle our voluntary distance learning students differently, the

Wardlaw+Hartridge students plan race and identity symposium

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When is the last time the overtime you received was more than your salary? Check to see what public employees earned in overtime now on Data.MyCentralJersey.com.

Bridgewater Courier News

Matthew Hartzler, Arthur L. Johnson High School senior, recently earned a merit scholarship with a value of $30,000 per year through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Program. The Rensselaer scholarship is awarded to outstanding math and science students. 

Matthew Hartzler, Arthur L. Johnson High School senior and scholarship recipient. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Clark Public School District)

According to Rensselaer, a university based in Troy, New York, the medal was ”first presented in 1916 with two purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology.”

School Counselor Molly Cusick stated, “Matt is a very hard-working student that always looks to take on new challenges, both academically and personally. He is very deserving of this honor, and I look forward to helping him make his college decision in the Fall.

Baldwin Wallace University

Taylor Lang of Hillsborough was among nearly 600 first-year students welcomed to the Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio this fall who earned over $10.2 million in merit scholarships. Lang, a graduate of Hillsborough High School majoring in theatre stage management, earned a $19,000 Trustee’s Scholarship based on outstanding academic achievements in high school. BW’s merit scholarships are awarded to full-time students and are renewable up to four years with good academic and social standing. BW offers a wide range of financial support to its students – more than $51 million for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Hofstra University

The following Central Jersey residents at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York earned their undergraduate, graduate, or law degrees this spring and summer. Due to the

A new fellowship program seeks to draw more Black students into space

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A woman excepts an award from a man in factory-style work clothes.
Enlarge / Patti Grace Smith was an important figure in the commercial space industry.

Alvin Drew remembers becoming entranced with airplanes a few months before his fifth birthday. In the fall of 1967, he went to the airport in Baltimore to see his father off on a business trip. In those simpler times, he recalls walking outside to watch the takeoff from a designated area on the runway.

Four-year-olds are into all things big and loud, and seeing an airplane come racing down the runway, popping a wheelie, and then taking off was just about the coolest thing he could imagine. His mom and grandmother, both educators, noted his interest and bought him model airplanes. This nurtured a budding interest in flying and later becoming an astronaut.

“They saw a smoldering fire of curiosity inside me,” Drew said. “They went out and threw as much gasoline on the fire as possible.”

Drew would go on to the Air Force Academy in 1984, where a mentor noted his interest in one day becoming an astronaut. The instructor said if Drew really wanted to fly into space, he needed to get good grades, flight experience, and an advanced degree. “He laid down a flagstone path to me for becoming an astronaut,” Drew said. “Many Black students, myself included, would not have known otherwise.”

In 2000, Drew was selected to become a NASA astronaut and flew into space twice on space shuttle missions, including the final flight of Discovery in 2011. Until Victor Glover launches on NASA’s Crew-1 mission later this month, Drew remains the last Black astronaut to have flown into space.

Drew shared this background to stress the importance of mentors. They helped nurture his interest in space and achieve a career in the aerospace industry. And it explains why he