• Today is: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The jam-packed family guide to Pittsburgh this fall

Kidsburgh Staff
September18/ 2019

There seems to be no end to the number of fun things for kids to do this fall. Here are some terrific options for your family for the entire season!


Through Sept. 22: Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, West Newton. A cast of hundreds of authentically costumed performers recreates life and entertainment in the 16th century. Expect jousting knights, games of skill, fairies and royal appearances.

Through Sept. 29: “Disney’s The Lion King,” Benedum Center. Your kids know the animated film. Now they can experience the phenomenal Tony Award-winning musical which broke box office records on its last run in Pittsburgh.

Through Sept. 29: Living Dinosaurs, The National Aviary. Be transported to prehistoric times and discover the fascinating similarities between birds and dinosaurs.

Through Oct. 6: Van Gogh in Bloom, Phipps Conservatory. Phipps’ horticulture team has masterfully transformed the historic glasshouse with re-imaginings of the post-impressionist’s acclaimed works.

Through Oct. 12: “The Imaginators,” Mariposa Theatre for Young Audiences. Using boxes and other objects found in their garage, three kids travel on an epic make-believe adventure.

Sept. 21: Hay Day, Hartwood Acres. Start the harvest season with free hayrides, a hay maze, crafts, a barnyard petting zoo and puppet shows. Food trucks will be on-site to feed hungry families.

Sept. 21: RAD Day at the History Center. Enjoy free admission to the Heinz History Center as part of this year’s RADical Days.

Sept. 21: ZooZilla Run for the Gorillas and Ele-Fun Run, Pittsburgh Zoo. The annual ZooZilla 5K offers a new 200-yard dash for kids called the Ele-fun Run. The event benefits the zoo’s gorilla troop.

Sept. 21: Super Science Saturday: Fallfest, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Kids will learn more about the critters that live in crunchy leaf piles, make a bird feeder and find out how local animals prepare for winter.

Sept. 21: FlyBy 5K and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk, Pittsburgh International Airport. A one-of-a-kind course grants exclusive access to the airfield and taxiways, past aircraft and alongside the runway at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Sept. 21: Squirrel Hill Night Market, Murray Avenue between Forbes Avenue and Beacon Street. Enjoy live local bands, activities for kids, performers, a food truck round-up and offerings from favorite Squirrel Hill restaurants.

Sept. 21: Children Play for Children’s, Play Town Square. This benefit ball for kids supports UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund. Families can sample snacks and desserts from local eateries while participating in arts and crafts activities and games.

Sept. 21: Fall Music Festival, Fern Hollow Nature Center. Along with music and food, kids’ activities include mini-golf, scavenger hunt and obstacle course.

Sept. 21-22 and 28-29: Penn’s Colony Festival, Saxonburg. Kids will immerse themselves in regional history while experiencing life in a Colonial village.

Sept. 22: Rosh Hashanah Kids Farmer’s Market, JCC of Greater Pittsburgh South Hills. Young foodies ages 3 to 11 can get their hands-on farm-fresh goodies and learn recipes for Rosh Hashanah’s culinary treats.

Sept. 22: Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, Kennywood. Compete in a pierogi toss game and pierogi pinching contest. Admission includes Kennywood classic rides, such as the Merry-Go-Round, Thunderbolt, Jack Rabbit, Racer, Turtle, and Noah’s Ark.

Sept 22: Hike with a Naturalist: Insect Musicians, Frick Park. Join Naturalist Educator Stephen Bucklin to learn how insects use visual and auditory signals to communicate. Free, but registration is required. While this is an all-ages event, it is intended for teenagers and adults.

Sept. 22: ToyPAlooza, The Circuit Center Ballroom, South Side. Expect 103 tables filled with collectible toys, comics and video games. Kids 12 and under are free.

Sept. 22: Sensory-Friendly Event for Teens, Andy Warhol Museum. This inclusive workshop for teens and young adults focuses on Warhol’s early artwork and the techniques he used to create it.

Sept 22: Princesses in the Park: Snow Queen & Snow Princess, Schenley Park. During this royal hour, your little princess will get to make her a snow-themed craft to take home! Kids are encouraged to wear their princess dresses.

Sept. 27: Storytime in Schenley Plaza with Carnegie Library. Combine reading and outdoor fun in a morning of books and play. After listening to stories, children will be invited to ride the PNC Carousel for free.

Sept. 28: Dollar Bank Junior Great Race, Point State Park. Kids 12 and younger can pound the pavement in several events, including the 1-mile Family Fun Run, a 50-yard Tot Trot and Diaper Dash. All registered kids will receive a medal and a T-shirt.

Sept. 28: WaterWorks, North Park. Ingomar Living Waters, an outreach ministry of Ingomar Church, welcomes families to learn about the global water crisis through hands-on games and activities, such as rubber ducky races and an obstacle course.

Sept. 28: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour, Byham Theater. This comedic roller coaster ride through some of the cheesiest films ever made is best for ages 12 and older.

Sept. 28: Penny Arcade Theme Show, Arcade Comedy Theater. The fourth Saturday each month is based on a specific theme with new games, new ways to collaborate and new worlds to explore.

Sept. 28: Latodami Nature Center’s 50th Anniversary, North Park. Free festivities include history presentations, nature walks and info from partners such as North Area Environmental Council and others.

Sept. 28-29: Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Join Buddy the T-Rex from the hit PBS Kids series, “Dinosaur Train.” Along with kids activities, staff from Carnegie Museum of Natural History will explore fossils, dinos and reptiles.

Sept. 28-29: Frontier Heritage Weekend, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Get a first-hand look at the everyday lives of 18th-century frontier traders and discover the skills necessary to survive

Sept. 29: RAD Day at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and MuseumLab. Enjoy free admission and activities.

Sept. 29: Nature Play Date, Frick Environmental Center. Kids ages 3-8 can join a naturalist educator to make seed balls to throw into the meadow to help new meadow plants grow next spring.

Sept. 29: Burton Snowboards Riglet Park, PNC Park. Seven Springs Mountain Resort is getting an early jump on winter fun teaching kids how to at the traveling Burton Snowboards Riglet Park. A dozen or so snow pros will be on-site to teach novices some sweet moves.

Sept. 29: Riverview Park Day, Riverview Park. Free activities include adventure hikes, bike races and tours, kids’ activities, live music and free food.


Oct. 1: RAD Day with Pittsburgh Symphony, Heinz Hall. Associate conductor Andrés Franco leads the orchestra in a free program of light classics perfect for music lovers of all ages.

Oct. 3: PSO and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Heinz Hall. Watch the movie on a huge HD screen while the Pittsburgh Symphony performs the John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score in sync to the film.

Oct. 4: First Friday Nature Walk: Fall Changes, Frick Park. Join a naturalist at the Frick Environmental Center for this all-ages, relaxed hike through the woods.

Oct. 4: Fall Wonders Star Party, Schenley Park. Look up and enjoy the night sky in this free, all-ages event.

Oct. 5: Biodiversity Walk, Ohio Township Community Park. Enjoy the habitats and colors of fall under the guidance of a naturalist from Fern Hollow Nature Center. Free, but registration required.


Oct. 5: 44th Upper St. Clair Marching Band Festival, Upper St. Clair High School. The event features performances of bands from six high schools – Baldwin, Brashear, South Allegheny, South Fayette, Steel Valley and Upper St. Clair.

Oct. 5: Archaeology Day, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Meadowcroft will partner with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for a day-long event for archaeology-lovers everywhere.

Oct. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27: HallowBoo!, Idlewild Park. Come in costume to trick-or-treat through Story Book Forest, dance to the Jack-O-Lantern Jive and join Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kittycat in a playful show of songs and make-believe.

Oct. 5-April 19: Mummies of the World, Carnegie Science Center. Kids will be amazed by the 125 real mummies, as well as state-of-the-art multimedia stations that take visitors on a 4,500-year journey to explore their origins.

Oct. 6: MasterChef Junior Live, Benedum Center. Features head-to-head cooking competitions with past MasterChef Junior all-stars, Q&A sessions, plus an immersive audience experience that’s fun for all ages.

Oct. 6: RAD Day with Words & Pictures: Jewell Parker Rhodes, Carnegie Library Lecture Hall. The author of five children’s books including the Louisiana Girls Trilogy, “Towers Falling” and “Ghost Boys” will make a free appearance.

Oct. 6: Italian Heritage Day, Heinz History Center. Learn how to play bocce, enjoy live cooking demos and explore your family tree. The full day of interactive activities is designed with K-12 students in mind. Free admission for ages 17 and younger.

Oct. 6: Walk in Penn’s Woods, Meadowcroft Rock Shelter. This day of educational woodland walks and programs highlight Pennsylvania’s forest and wildlife resources from prehistory to modern-day.

Oct. 8: Hop Into History: Heinz Classics, Heinz History Center. Help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the H.J. Heinz Company. Kids 5 and younger will make their own Heinz hitch, pickle pin and ketchup inspired by the original recipe.

Oct. 10: Catapult: The Amazing Magic of Shadow and Dance, Byham Theater. This amazing shadow dance company was a finalist in Season 8 of “America’s Got Talent.”

Oct. 11: Game Night Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Kids will have a night of non-stop gaming action with Mario Kart, Escape Room boxes, giant Jenga and retro video games.

Oct. 12: Campfire Ghost Stories, Deer Lakes Park. Gather around a campfire and listen to spooky stories and songs. Wear a Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes at this free event.

Oct. 12: Dance Days – Afro-Caribbean Beats, Trust Arts Education Center. Kids from ages 3-6 explore how to repeat a rhythm pattern, maintain a steady beat, and develop their moves in this free workshop,

Oct. 12: Classic Penny Arcade, Arcade Comedy Theater. The second Saturday of the month kids can see the classic Penny Arcade show where they will inspire improvisers in a variety of games, volunteer to perform, and even learn games they can play at home.

Oct. 12: Peanut Butter & Jam, Chatham Baroque. These Saturday morning musical adventures especially for preschool children and their grown-ups.

Oct. 12: Magnificent Masks, Trust Arts Educational Center. Kids in grades 6-8 will work with fluted cardboard to create an original large-scale mask inspired by global designs and iconography.

Oct. 12: RAD Day at the Frick. This free day of activities includes a tour of Clayton mansion, a look at the amazing vehicles in the Car and Carriage Museum, games and painting.

Oct. 12-27: Pumpkin Trolley, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Ride the rails in this Halloween-themed event.

Oct. 13: Kids’ Day Presented by Macy’s, Schenley Plaza. Kids will enjoy free activities under the tent, including face painting, a balloon artist, lawn games, special guests and performers, plus free rides on the PNC Carousel.

Oct.13: RAD Day at Fort Pitt Museum. Enjoy free admission all day as part of RADical Days

Oct. 13: Campfire Ghost Stories, Harrison Hills Park. Gather around a campfire and listen to spooky stories and songs. Wear a Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes at this free event.

Oct. 13: Tranquil Trail Fairy House Hunt, Frick Park. Step into an enchanted world and search along the Tranquil Trail for Fairy Houses. Fairy doors are usually put at the base of trees, where kids can leave gifts or notes for the fairies.

Oct. 13: Mazeroski Day, Forbes Field Wall, near Schenley Plaza. Join Pirates fans of all ages as we listen to the original 1960 World Series radio broadcast! Celebrate this big Pirates win against the Yankees.

Oct. 13: Full Moon Hike, Frick Park. Enjoy a free moonlit hike designed to connect participants to the cycles in nature. Registration is required for this free event. Best for teens and older.

Oct. 16: History Explorers: Cooking with Heinz, Heinz History Center. Kids ages 5-8 will explore Pittsburgh stories through games, art, cooking and other hands-on activities.

Oct. 19: Punkin Chunkin, Hartwood Acres. Launch pumpkins across the field with a full-size trebuchet. Free activities for kids include arts & crafts and games.

Oct. 19: Hometown-Homegrown: Heinz 150, Heinz History Center. The food expo celebrating the 150th anniversary of the H.J. Heinz Company with Heinz-inspired food samples, cooking demonstrations, giveaways and lots of family-friendly activities.

Oct. 19: Campfire Ghost Stories, Boyce Park. Gather around a campfire and listen to spooky stories and songs. Wear a Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes at this free event.

Oct. 19-20: Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival, North Shore. The festivities include a giant pumpkin regatta, a pumpkin pie eating contest, pumpkin pinata and pumpkin decorating station.

Oct. 19-20 and 26-27: ZooBoo, Pittsburgh Zoo. Kids can dress in costume for the all-new Trick-or-Treat Trail, head into the Pumpkin Patch Pavilion for the Monster Mash Dance or stop by the PPG Aquarium for more goodies.

Oct. 19-Jan. 12: Garden Railroad: Farms, Food and Family, Phipps Conservatory. The new miniature railroad display invites kids to explore the world of farming, complete with clucking chicks, cows, landscape goats and roving tractors.

Oct. 20: 25th Anniversary Community Day, Andy Warhol Museum. In celebration of its birthday, the museum will be free with activities including hands-on artmaking, gallery talks and live performances.

Oct. 24-27: Jurassic World Live Tour, PPG Arena. A team of scientists tries to unravel a corrupt plan to save an all-new dinosaur. Along the way, kids experience some of “Jurassic World’s” iconic dinosaurs, including Blue the raptor, triceratops and a vicious T. rex.

Oct. 25: Monster Madness Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. This monster-themed night will have kids dabbling with potions and concoctions, using science to send ghosts flying into the air, and engineering the design of a new monster.

Oct. 25-Nov. 23: “Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Cry Wolf,” Mariposa Theatre. This musical tour-de-force inspired by Aesop’s Fables includes optional audience participation to add to the fun.

Oct. 26: Meadowcroft’s Fall Finale and Taffy Pull, Meadowcroft Rockshelter. Bring your sweet tooth to Meadowcroft’s taffy pulling parties. Other activities include cooking demonstrations in the Hamilton Log House, cornhusk crafting in the 18th-century frontier area and Atlatl throwing in Monongahela Indian Village.

Oct. 26: Penny Arcade Theme Show, Arcade Comedy Theater. The fourth Saturday each month is based on a specific theme with new games, new ways to collaborate and new worlds to explore.

Oct. 27: Campfire Ghost Stories, White Oak Park. Gather around a campfire and listen to spooky stories and songs. Wear a Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes at this free event.

Oct. 28: Track or Treat, Highland Park. Kids can bring their bikes or borrow one from Citiparks to cycle around the Bud Harris Cycling Track. The free event includes refreshments, bike decorating, games and a Halloween costume contest.

Oct. 29-Nov. 3: “Mean Girls,” Benedum Center. Broadway touring production of Tina Fey’s hit musical about a naïve high school girl who faces off against the popular queen bee. Best for tweens and older.


Nov. 1: First Friday Nature Walk: Preparing for Winter, Frick Park. Join a naturalist at the Frick Environmental Center for a relaxed hike through the woods.

Nov. 2: Jammie Jams: Little Engineers, Carnegie Science Center. Scientists from ages 2-6 have an early evening of discovery in this not-quite-a-sleepover event.

Nov. 3: Words & Pictures: Grace Lin, Carnegie Library Lecture Hall. The award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator’s books include “A Big Mooncake for Little Star,” a Caldecott Honor-winning book for young readers.

Nov. 4: Baby Shark Live!, Byham Theater. You’ll never get the song out of your head anyway, so just give in and take your kids to this Baby Shark adventure that will have them dancing in their seats.

Nov. 5: Cat & Nat #MOMTRUTHS Live, Byham Theater. Get ready for a mom’s night out! Hilarious best friends Cat and Nat created a massive online community of moms by sharing their ultra-real and just a bit R-rated dispatches from the mom trenches.

Nov. 7: Disney Junior Holiday Party, Heinz Hall. This interactive show features favorite Disney Junior characters performing live on stage to Disney Junior hits and holiday classics.

Nov. 7-Dec. 8: “School Girls: Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” O’Reilly Theater. This African remake of the American story takes place in an elite boarding school where students are preparing to compete for the title of Miss Ghana. The popular queen bee assumes she’ll win, but a newcomer might ruin her chances. Best for tweens and older.

Nov. 8-9: “Walk Two Moons,” Byham Theater. A moving adaptation of the Newberry award-winning novel by Sharon Creech about family, identity and coming-of-age. Part of the Bridge Series for ages 7 and older.

Nov. 9: Backstage Studio: Props, Trust Arts Education Center. A hands-on multi-medium workshop for kids in grades 9-12, who will learn a variety of techniques – such as foam carving, faux finishing techniques, and simple sculpture – for making objects for the stage.

Nov. 9: Second Saturday Studios: Collage, Frick Pittsburgh. Kids will cut, glue, color and get creative by making a one-of-a-kind collage.

Nov. 9: Classic Penny Arcade, Arcade Comedy Theater. The second Saturday of the month kids can see the classic Penny Arcade show where they will inspire improvisers in a variety of games, volunteer to perform, and even learn games they can play at home.

Nov. 9: Darci Lynne & Friends – Fresh Out of the Box, Heinz Hall. Singer/ventriloquist Darci Lynne, Season 12 winner of “America’s Got Talent,” is bringing her puppet collection to Pittsburgh.

Nov. 9-March 7: Young Writers and Illustrators, Trust Arts Education Center. Kids in grades 6-8 will put pen to paper to create characters as they begin to write a truly fantastic story.

Nov. 11: History Explorers: Shattering Notions, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh glass is everywhere. Kids ages 5-8 will uncover the story of the city’s first industry, pretend to be a glassblower, use forms and patterns to make a design, and build a one-of-a-kind display.

Nov. 13: Hop Into History: Little Builders, Heinz History Center. Kids ages 2-5 will become master builders and make additions to Pittsburgh’s skyline using Lincoln Logs, magnetic tiles and other fun materials.

Nov. 15-17: Pet Expo, David Lawrence Convention Center. Entertainment includes the North American Diving Dogs, Rabbit Hopping (like horse show jumping), the Steel City Reptile Expo and the Doxie Downs National Dachshund Races.

Nov. 16: Sensory-Friendly Event for Teens, Andy Warhol Museum. This inclusive workshop for teens and young adults focuses on Warhol’s pop portraits of celebrities.

Nov. 16: Peanut Butter & Jam, Chatham Baroque. These Saturday morning musical adventures especially for preschool children and their grown-ups.

Nov. 17-24: “Judy Moody and Stink,” multiple locations. Based on the popular book series by Megan McDonald, kids ages 3 and older will enjoy this hilarious live onstage adventure with the dynamic sister and brother duo.

Nov. 22: Light Up Night Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Kids will get a front-row seat to the fireworks, jam to a festive laser show, experiment with glow sticks and view the new “Superpower Dogs” on the big screen.

Nov. 23: Penny Arcade Theme Show, Arcade Comedy Theater. The fourth Saturday each month is based on a specific theme with new games, new ways to collaborate and new worlds to explore.

Nov. 23: Fiddlesticks: Up and Away!, Heinz Hall. Fiddlesticks and the Pittsburgh Symphony celebrate the music of flight and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with music from “Star Wars” and favorites by Debussy and Stravinsky. Come early for pre-concert activities.

Nov. 23-Jan. 4: Lumaze: Lost in Lights, 31st Street Studio. This indoor holiday display twinkles with millions of lights and illuminated structures. Playgrounds keep kids entertained and the grownups will enjoy food, live music and the artisan market.

Nov. 26-Dec. 1: “Les Miserables,” Benedum Center. This 25th-anniversary production of the legendary musical brings new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. Best for ages 14 and older.

Nov. 29-Dec. 15: Santa Trolley, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Celebrate the season on the trolley with Santa, sing along with Christmas caroling, make a craft in the Events Room and interact with the Lionel Trains in the Visitor Center.

Nov. 29-Jan. 12: Holiday Magic, Phipps Conservatory. See dazzling displays in every room, plus new light features in Tropical Forest Cuba and Winter Light Garden.

Nov. 30: “A Very Electric Christmas,” Byham Theater. A young bird named Max gets blown off course when flying south for the winter and lands himself at the North Pole. His magical tale is set to classic holiday tunes.

Nov. 30: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical,” UPMC Events Center, Moon. The most famous reindeer of all will fly into Pittsburgh in a live STAGE show that includes Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster.


Dec. 6-7: First Friday Nature Walk: A Closer Look at the Woods, Frick Park. Join a naturalist at the Frick Environmental Center for a relaxed hike through the woods.

Dec. 6-7: Handmade Arcade, David Lawrence Convention Center. This showcase of more than 180 craft-based vendors includes a Hands-on Handmade Activity Area that kids love.

Dec. 6-22: “A Musical Christmas Carol,” Byham Theater. The spirit of the season is wrapped in favorite yuletide melodies with dazzling special effects and holiday charm, along with Scrooge-approved prices for kids.

Dec. 6-29: “The Nutcracker,” Benedum Center. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre returns to turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh when a mysterious gift sparks an adventure to the Land of Enchantment, filled with swirling snowflakes and waltzing flowers set to Tchaikovsky’s familiar score.

Dec. 7: Elf Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Experience the world – and the film – of Buddy the Elf. Make a light-up holiday card, create a hot chocolate concoction and play pin the tusk on the narwhal.

Dec. 7-28: “Home,” Mariposa Theatre. This play for kids ages 3-6 is a playful meditation of the meaning of home.

Dec. 8: Build Your Own Gingerbread House, The Frick Pittsburgh. Kids and adults work together to create confectionery masterpieces to take home. A quick tour of Clayton’s holiday finery is included. Best for kids ages 6-12.

Dec. 11: Half-Pint Prints, Andy Warhol Museum. Families work with The Warhol’s artist educators to create silkscreen prints during this drop-in silkscreen printing activity for children ages 1 to 4 years old.

Dec. 11: Hop Into History: Home for the Holidays, Heinz History. Kids ages 2-5 can get ready for the holiday season by playing in the new holiday exhibit and exploring the traditions of Pittsburghers from different backgrounds.

Dec. 14: Classic Penny Arcade, Arcade Comedy Theater. The second Saturday of the month kids can see the classic Penny Arcade show where they will inspire improvisers in a variety of games, volunteer to perform, and even learn games they can play at home.

Dec. 14: Peanut Butter & Jam, Chatham Baroque. These Saturday morning musical adventures especially for preschool children and their grown-ups.

Dec. 14: Cool Yule: A Family Fun Day, The Frick Pittsburgh. This annual celebration of the season offers holiday art-making and interactive tours.

Kristine Sorensen
September17/ 2019

We’re a few weeks into school, and parent-teacher conferences are starting soon. KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen gets advice from an elementary school principal on how to make the most of your parent-teacher conference.

Here’s the edited interview with Molly O’Malley-Argueta, principal of Allegheny Traditional Academy in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Kristine Sorensen:  What can parents do to make the most of a parent-teacher conference?

Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: Conferences are a place to build relationships and find out how the child is doing in their classroom.  So it’s important to be in attendance, and it’s important to ask great questions of the teacher.

Kristine Sorensen: What kind of questions should we ask?

Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: You want to ask the normal questions, “How’s my child doing academically?”  “How are they doing behaviorally? Socially?” But something that I always encourage parents to do is to start really thinking about growth mindset: The harder you work, the smarter you get.

When children are challenged, they get smarter.  So a great question that a parent could ask is, “How is my child doing when he/she is challenged?”  How did they react academically and socially, because it can be frustrating. When you think about when you’re challenged day to day, your body goes through different emotions, and so it’s important that our students are challenged and that they react positively to that challenge.

Kristine Sorensen:  If parents can’t go to the parent-teacher conference at the designated time, the teachers still want to meet, right? 

Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: Absolutely. And parents need to relax. Do not stress about not being able to attend. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. We know things come up. And schools want to accommodate parents. So all you have to do is just call the principal or email the teacher and set up a time that works for you. We want you there, and we will accommodate any time that works for the parent.

Looking for more advice? Click here.

Pittsburgh teachers and education innovations take center stage at CelebratED 

Kristy Locklin
September17/ 2019

Photos by Ben Filio.

The Grable Foundation is rolling out the red carpet for some local stars: teachers.

On Sept. 23, educators from around Pittsburgh will get the celebrity treatment — complete with paparazzi — when CelebratED takes over the O’Reilly Theater.

About 600 people are expected to attend.

“There’s been so much innovation in birth through 12-grade education in the region, we thought, why not have something like the Academy Awards for teachers?” says D’Ann Swanson, senior program officer for the Grable Foundation.

Classroom instructors and administrators, as well as people who work in after-school and early childhood education programs, will be honored at the free celebration.

Rather than hand out individual awards, organizers will shine a spotlight on many of the innovations local educators have made to better the lives of children.

HundrED.org, a non-profit based in Finland, researches advancements in K-through-12 education across the globe, selects 100 inspiring innovations each year and shares the information through web videos.

A dozen Pittsburgh organizations made the list. One of the criteria is that other organizations and cities can easily replicate each innovation. Pittsburgh is the first North American city to be recognized by HundrED.

Innovations selected for the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh include:

  • Hillman Academy, where high school kids work alongside medical researchers
  • Global Minds Initiative’s efforts to foster intercultural friendships
  • Fabricating Change in Mental Wellness’s project-based learning
  • JAM after-school making program at Avonworth School District
  • Youth Express at SLB Radio
  • Summer Dreamers Academy of Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Simple Interactions’ community-based approach to support those who serve children
  • Transformed at Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Center for Creativity
  • Manchester Craftmen’s Guild’s use of STEAM activities to mentor urban youth
  • MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • The Labs @ CLP Summer Skills Intensives
  • and The Finch Robot educational technology tool

Check out the details and videos here.

HundrED co-founder and executive director Lasse Leponiemi is coming from Finland to speak at the event.

Attendees will be the first to find out who will receive Blueprint for Learning grants of up to $50,000 to remake an innovative learning space, be it a classroom, museum or library. The grants are funded through Remake Learning, a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change.

Throughout the evening, students will show their appreciation by performing for the crowd.

Swanson hopes celebratED will become an annual event that coincides with the back-to-school season.

Youthquake 2030 gathers Pittsburgh’s young movers and shakers to discuss sustainability

Kristy Locklin
September17/ 2019

It might not measure on the Richter scale, but a Youthquake will be felt throughout Pittsburgh.

On Sept. 17, more than 100 teenagers from 13 area high schools gathered for Covestro’s THINC30 Tank: Youthquake 2030 at its BrightSpace Energy Innovation Center in the Hill District.

The company is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America. Covestro formally adopted the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in 2015. In 2017, Covestro held its first THINC30 (Transforming, Harnessing, Innovating, Navigating and Collaborating for a purpose-driven, sustainable future by 2030).

“Our charge was to bring the global goals local to Pittsburgh, our headquarters community. From there, THINC was born,” says Rebecca Lucore head of CSR and Sustainability at Covestro. “Its mission is to introduce and accelerate sustainable business development, public-private partnerships and social innovation in the Pittsburgh region.”

With Youthquake 2030, the company drew on teen energy for ideas. Discussions included how environmental, economic and social sustainability are exemplified by the UN SDGs and how to apply them locally.

Rebecca Lucore, head of CSR and Sustainability of Covestro.

Students heard from a wide range of speakers, including Aurora Sharrard, director of sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh, and Hana Uman, director of special projects for 412 Food Rescue.

The event was organized in collaboration with the Consortium for Public Education, which serves as a bridge between Pittsburgh’s business and education communities.

Teens came from schools affiliated with the Consortium’s Student Powered Solutions (SPS) program. Each team of students partnered with a business. Together, they were challenged to research and engineer solutions and to design, build and test prototypes.

SPS had already paired Covestro’s Future of Mobility team with South Fayette High School students. They are trying to forecast passenger preferences to gain insight into how materials can help advance automotive innovation, from car seats and bumper components to soundproofing and paint.

The Consortium will work continue to work with the schools over the next six to eight weeks to help kids solve their sustainability challenges. The teams will formally present their solutions later this fall.

This is Covestro’s fifth THINC30 event in the last three years.

In May, more than 100 civic and business leaders gathered to address the issues of neighborhood gentrification and displacement and develop preventative measures that promote the health of the city’s 90 unique neighborhoods. The ideas generated that day are helping create a Neighborhood Wellness Checklist, a user-friendly guide for grassroots community leaders.

Plans are underway for future THINC30 activities, which may include another Youthquake for teens.

Maker Monday: 3 favorite fall projects

Sally Quinn
September16/ 2019

We love fall! The autumn season of harvest, Halloween and pumpkins gives us lots of opportunities for creative fun. Here are our favorite fall Maker Monday projects:

1. Not-So-Spooky Night Lights

The glowing faces of Not-So-Spooky Night Lights can add a bedtime smile with this week’s Maker Monday activity.

The kid-designed project begins with a small empty jar. Baby food jars work well, but we preferred going with plastic containers. Add a colorful decoupage layer of tissue paper, then let creativity rule the day.

Accessorize your creatures with features cut from construction paper. Googly eyes give a silly touch to a gruesome face. Make a spider night light with pipe cleaner legs. Add a witch’s hat or Dracula’s fangs. Use white tissue for a glowing ghost or orange tissue to make a bright jack-o-lantern.

The Not-So-Spooky Night Lights are inexpensive to make. We found everything we needed at the Dollar Tree store.

Find instructions here.

2. Sew-It-Yourself Spider Web

Halloween season means fun with spooky, creepy creatures. This week’s Maker Monday STEAM project gives a playful look to Sew-It-Yourself Spiders made with yarn and paper plates.

Little kids can exercise their fine motor skills by sewing the yarn through holes and weaving a web for their spider. They can make it in Halloween colors of orange and black or experiment with other colors for a more fanciful, artistic vision.

Get the details here.

3. Coffee Filter Leaves

Maker Monday straddles the line between nature and art with Coffee Filter Leaves, an activity that offers STEM lessons. Enjoy sunny fall days with a stroll through your favorite park or just explore your own backyard. Find a variety of leaves in different shapes and colors.

When you find interesting leaves, look up and try to find the tree from which it came. Are there nuts — like acorns or buckeyes — among the branches? Or fruit, such as apples? How might you describe the bark? How wide or tall does the tree appear? Are the branches reaching to the sky or bent willy-nilly?

Use a printable chart to identify the tree by its leaves. Then, make bright leaves of your own. Here’s how.