• Big changes as Wilkinsburg students go back to school


    Wilkinsburg students returned to school this week and there have been some big changes.

    The school district closed its middle and high school last year.

    Those students were transferred to Pittsburgh's Westinghouse Academy.

    “It's going so much better than we hoped it would go,” said Ed Donovan, Wilkinsburg school board member.

    Last year, Wilkinsburg Middle School and High School students transferred to Pittsburgh Public School's Westinghouse Academy under a new partnership.


    There were a lot of concerns about how well the two communities would blend.

    “The rumor and anticipation about safety and security never materialized,” Donovan said. “All the things people thought would happen never happened; it was a peaceful year and it was great.”

    A new report card just released on the partnership found 287 Wilkinsburg students enrolled in a Pittsburgh Public School last school year.

    The attendance rate of transferring Wilkinsburg students increased to 85.1 percent up from 79.7 percent the prior year.

    The GPA for Wilkinsburg 9th graders dropped after the transition, it stayed the same for 10th graders and was higher for high school juniors and seniors.


    A student survey found 70 percent of middle school students and 60 percent of high school students believe the Wilkinsburg and Westinghouse students felt comfortable with the transition.

    But a recurring concern Wilkinsburg parents brought up was transportation.

    “Some of the kids didn't have a bus gong to Westinghouse,” parent Jamara Penndleton said. “That's far to walk especially when it's cold and raining.

    The two school districts are still ironing out some of the details this year.

    “As long as we continue to do a great job in this partnership, the perception will change and people will understand this is a great thing that has happened at Westinghouse,” said Errika Fearby Jones with Pittsburgh Public Schools.

    Under the partnership, Wilkinsburg pays the Pittsburgh Public School $9,000 a student.



    Next Up: