January 2013 Education

Trends in Education

By Janice Lane Palko

 According to the website, the overall rate of inflation since 1986 has been 115.06 percent.  However, the rate of inflation during that same time for tuition has been 498.31 percent.  With our sluggish economy and ballooning student loan debt, parents and students are becoming more judicious about where their students choose to attend school and the courses they take.  This trend to become a better education consumer does not only pertain to higher education, but it is also extending to the lower grades.  

 One of the ways parents, educators and students are making sure that they are getting the best bang for their education buck is to focus on curriculum that addresses the needs of the country’s employers and results in gainful employment for students when they graduate.  Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM has become a focus.  To keep up with the rest of the world, the U.S. needs more people educated in those areas.  According to an April 2012 U.S. News & World Report article, that at present there are 2 to 3 million unfilled positions in this country because we don’t have students trained to fill them.  By the end of the decade, it is estimated that there will be 10 million such jobs.  

 We are fortunate to live in an area where we have available to students some of the best private, parochial and public schools in the state.  Many of these schools were already achieving great results with STEM education.  Look for even more emphasis in that area in the years to come.  When you are considering which school your child should attend, one of the criteria you may want to evaluate is the quality of the school’s STEM program. 

 The following are some of the fine, and in many cases, award-winning educational institutions in our area for you to consider:       

St. Sebastian: A School to Believe In

 Academics, low student-to-teacher ratio, athletics, co-curricular activities—there are plenty of great reasons for choosing a school, and St.SebastianSchool offers all of these. But there’s one reason St. Sebastian parents cite more than any other for sending their kids to St. Sebastian: strong values, encouraged both at home and in the classroom. Students and families know that a St. Sebastian education includes a faith-based approach and environment and that spirituality and service are part of the fabric of daily student experience.

 “Students here are held to a higher standard by both their teachers and parents,” said principal Dr. Kathleen Roppa. “St. Sebastian families don’t just believe in strong values—they live out their faith at school and at home.”

Read more on page 20 of the January issue of Northern Connection Magazine.

Shady Side Academy

Imagine a place where your child can explore new interests in a safe, supportive atmosphere. Envision a place where she can engage with educators committed to her individual needs. Picture a place where he will learn to excel in the classroom, the arts, athletics and life. Shady Side Academy is that place. Three age-specific campuses with extraordinary resources, teachers who actively mentor, a forward-thinking curriculum, a diverse and inclusive community, and a legacy of alumni accomplishments all inspire Shady Side students to high achievement in academics, arts and athletics, and to meaningful ambitions in life. Learn more: 412-968-3206 or

Fox Chapel Area Adult Education Celebrates 50 Years

 By Janice Lane Palko

Most school districts claim to be devoted to education, but the FoxChapelAreaSchool District takes that one step further.  It not only educates the children in its community, but it is also committed to continuing to offer educational opportunities to adults in the district and beyond. 

 This past fall, Fox Chapel Area Adult Education (FCAAE) celebrated 50 years of providing enrichment classes to adults in the community at a reasonable cost.  In 1962, after the mergers of Aspinwall, Blawnox, Fox Chapel and Sharpsburg Boroughs and Indiana and O’Hara Twps. to form the FoxChapelAreaSchool District, residents approached the board of education about using the school facilities to educate adults as well.  

 Read more about this on page 12 of the January 2013 issue of Northern Connection Magazine.