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Steel Valley hails new engineering, Chinese language programs

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Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

Steel Valley School District officials are hailing the success of two new education programs at the high school.

“The students are very open to the challenge,” said language instructor Toni Besh while briefing the school board on Tuesday about the new after-school Mandarin Chinese class. The distance learning program, which has four afternoon sessions a week, is offered in conjunction with the AW Beatie Career Center in Allison Park and the University of Pittsburgh.

Besh, who is a coordinator for the program and teaches French at the high school, said she is learning right along with students. Recent sessions have included information on inflection and greetings. Besh said the instructor is a native speaker of the language.

There are 18 students registered for the course, which is nearly quadruple the district's initial enrollment expectations, Besh said. The class is considered an extracurricular activity and students don't get graded on their participation.

Superintendent Edward Wehrer noted during the meeting that four students have signed up for an online learning program offered by Brown University that introduces them to the discipline of engineering.

Wehrer said it allows students to study engineering while they are in high school before they commit to it as a major in college.

“Our students are hungry to learn,” the superintendent said.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or

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