ShareThis Page

Back-to-school stories, teacher layoff laws & Google ed tech training: 5 things to know today

Jamie Martines
| Friday, July 28, 2017, 1:42 p.m.
Ryan Gevaudan, a teacher at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School, addresses peers at the Summer Institute at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., during the summer of 2017. Gevaudan will serve as the coaching fellow for the project. He previously served as the district’s Classrooms of the Future coach. Carlynton Junior-Senior High School was among 11 Western Pennsylvania schools to join a digital learning effort with Google aimed at improving education equity.
submitted
Ryan Gevaudan, a teacher at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School, addresses peers at the Summer Institute at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., during the summer of 2017. Gevaudan will serve as the coaching fellow for the project. He previously served as the district’s Classrooms of the Future coach. Carlynton Junior-Senior High School was among 11 Western Pennsylvania schools to join a digital learning effort with Google aimed at improving education equity.

Summer is almost over, and the TribLIVE Education Team is getting ready to head back to school!

Throughout August, we'll be covering move-in days at colleges and first days back in action at K-12 schools across the Greater Pittsburgh area. We want to know what students and parents are looking forward to.

Tell us your back-to-school story by Tweeting with the hashtag #B2Strib or send us an e-mail at schooltips@tribweb.com.

Don't forget to follow the TribLIVE Education Team on Twitter:

•Emily Balser @emilybalser (Valley News Dispatch newsroom)

•Debra Erdley @deberdley_Trib (Greensburg newsroom)

•Natasha Lindstrom @NewsNatasha (Pittsburgh newsroom)

•Jamie Martines @Jamie_Martines (Greensburg newsroom)

Here are five things you need to know about education today.

1. SCHOOL CODE: Lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that includes a variety of changes to the school code, including a provision that would allow school districts to lay off teachers and administrators for “economic reasons.” Furloughs would be based on evaluations and performance ratings.

The bill will now go back to the House of Representatives to approve Senate changes.

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visigitis said that the union is strongly opposed to the provisions.

“Teacher evaluations should be used to help teachers improve their craft,” Esposito-Visigitis said in a statement. “They should not be used in a debate about economic furloughs.”

2. GOOGLE: Google and a global network of education experts have chosen 11 Western Pennsylvania schools to be part of a national effort to train teachers how to use technology more effectively.

Google partnered with California-based EdTechTeam Inc. and educational nonprofit Digital Promise to develop the Dynamic Learning Project, an initiative to cultivate personalized ed tech coaches at 50 “under-served” middle schools across the United States.

The following schools in the region are among 50 participants nationwide:

• Pittsburgh Public Schools: King Pre K-8, Pittsburgh Langley K-8 and Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8;

• Penn Hills: Linton Middle School;

• Cornell: Cornell High School;

• Northgate: Northgate Middle/High School

• Gateway: Gateway Middle School;

• Highlands: Highlands Middle School;

• Carlynton: Carlynton Junior/Senior High School;

• Yough: Yough Intermediate Middle School; and

• McGuffey: McGuffey Middle School.

3. MIDDLE SCHOOL: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. And starting this school year, middle schoolers in the Leechburg Area School District will have a space of their own in which to ride out their sixth, seventh and eighth grade years.

Leechburg isn't the only area district to take on the middle school experience this school year. The Hempfield Area School District, for example, is starting a new middle school program this fall. Derry Area School District was honored for efforts to improve the middle school experience earlier this year.

Experts say that efforts to restructure middle school are part of a broader trend in education to put more emphasis on the social and emotional development of students, while easing pressure to perform on standardized tests.

4. SCHOOL BOARD NEWS: The Plum School Board voted 8-0 on Tuesday to acquire a $1.5 million line of credit with S&T Bank. District business manager John Zahorchak said the credit is a cushion until tax revenue starts rolling in August, and is good to have while state legislators work on a budget, reports Michael DiVittorio for TribLIVE.

The Woodland Hills School Board unanimously agreed Thursday to raise teachers' starting salary to $39,550, a move the teachers' union said will make the district more competitive with other districts in the county.

The agreement with the Woodland Hills Education Association also increases salaries for teachers who have worked with the district between seven and 11 years, a group that makes up the majority of the district's teacher workforce, association President Adam Forgie said.

Teachers will contribute more for health care under the agreement.

5. SHADY SIDE ACADEMY: The private school has hired Judi Williams, a former history and political science teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., as the first director of equity, inclusion and community relations at the school's Fox Chapel and Point Breeze campuses.

Williams will be responsible for supporting the development of an inclusive and multicultural curriculum and support the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, jmartines@tribweb.com or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.