ShareThis Page
Technology & STEM

North Allegheny Intermediate High School classroom designed to be more comfortable: 5 things to know about education

Emily Balser
| Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 11:27 a.m.
Greg Geibel teaches 10th grade Honors English in a newly styled classroom at North Allegheny Intermediate on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Greg Geibel teaches 10th grade Honors English in a newly styled classroom at North Allegheny Intermediate on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.

It's been a big week for technology and education in Pittsburgh.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai stopped by Pittsburgh to announce $1 billion in grants that will go to nonprofits around the world to prepare people to find jobs and start businesses on their own.

The annoucnement came as Pittsburgh is vying to become the second Amazon headquarters. An Amazon executive with Pittsburgh ties said last week that the company is looking for a city focused on STEM education and computer science.

Now, five things to know about education this week.

1. CASUAL CLASSROOM: Greg Geibel's 10th-grade English classroom is unlike any other at North Allegheny Intermediate High School.

All the desks and chairs have been replaced with cafe-style tables and hardback seats, high-top tables with bar stools, restaurant-style padded booths, leather lounge chairs and a love seat that Geibel reupholstered using curtains.

Decorative pendant lighting has taken the place of overhead fluorescent lights, and the bone-white walls have been painted a soothing pastel green with gray and emerald highlights.

2. SCHOOL CODE CHANGES MOVE TO SENATE: The Pennsylvania House passed the school code bill, HB 178, on Wednesday. PennLive reported earlier this year that the bill proposes changes to "lunch shaming" policies, teacher furloughs and Keystone Exams, among others. Look for a full report from TribLIVE reporter Natasha Lindstrom today.

3. ON STRIKE: Teachers in the Ringgold School District are on strike after failing to reach a contract agreement with the district after 14 months of negotiation and two rejected fact-finder's recommendations. The district said on its website that classes are canceled until "further notice."

4. THREATS IN SCHOOLS: Since the start of the 2017-18 school year, at least five districts in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties have experienced or investigated rumors of violent threats targeting students or school buildings. Classes have been in session about seven weeks.

Data from the Department of Education Office of Safe Schools show that the total number of threats — including bomb, gun and other violent threats — has been consistent during the past 10 years, averaging about 650 threats per year.

5. CYBER SAFETY: Kiski Area School District was the victim of a cyber attack less than a week after state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced survey results that showed the majority of school districts are concerned about cybersecurity but say they don't have enough resources to prepare for potential breaches.

The TribLIVE Education Team is starting a new video series called Inside the Classroom. We're going to show readers what students are learning and how they're learning it, highlighting innovative programs and teaching methods along the way.

Is there an exciting program happening in a classroom near you? An outstanding teacher doing something extraordinary to help students learn? Changes to curriculum or teaching that parents might want to see in action?

Let us know when we can visit. Reach us at or 724-850-2867.

Follow the Triblive Education Team on Twitter:

• Emily Balser (Valley News Dispatch)

• Debra Erdley (Greensburg)

• Natasha Lindstrom (Pittsburgh)

• Jamie Martines (Greensburg)

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me