Actor? Writer? Director? A real-world internship sets City High’s Ryan Fisher on his future path.

Ryan Fisher stops for a photo at the City County Building, his place of internship, and where the
City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation and Performance delivers the day-to-day
workings of local government to the public.
Ryan will attend Point Park University on an artistic scholarship in the fall.

“Someday, I’d like to make a movie. Not just any movie or one that makes a lot of money, but one that moves people… so they can say ‘I went to a theater, I watched this movie, it was amazing, I felt like it was an experience I can take home with me.’ One or more of these movies would be nice to make,” says City Charter High School Senior Ryan Fisher.

But to think Ryan might never have set this goal if he had chosen another high school. He says it best himself, “The best thing about City High? I think there are a lot of opportunities to do things. I might have never have done a musical in my life. But because there’s a musical here and my teachers encouraged me to try out. Now it’s something I just love doing.”

Acting was not Ryan’s career ideal, but he definitely liked it, ever since middle school. He even took some basic acting classes when younger. But at City High (and in his internship), he got exposure to scriptwriting. He’s written for the school musical all 4 years, but only started acting in 10th grade.

And even though this 4.0 GPA student is leaning toward filmmaking, and has already applied to a few colleges, like Point Park, LMU and CMU, Columbia for scriptwriting and filmmaking and Loyola Marymount in LA, (which is top rated for scriptwriting), he attributes his initiative to City High. “They don’t have to give the students all these opportunities. They could just say, ‘Here’s your work, here’s your homework, go home, get an education…’ But instead, they really want to make students thrive.”

As Ryan says, “Like, I would never have gone to a whole new country without City High. I would never be in a musical without City High.”  The new country was Costa Rica, as part of his junior year service learning experience. Once again, it was inspirational. “I always wanted to go to a new country,” he admits. “I always saw myself as some world traveler in the future. And Costa Rica did kind of tune down my expectation of that, but I do see myself as somebody who can respectfully go to another country and learn about that culture and try to help out. Because this was a service learning trip, I got to learn more about other people – What do other peoples’ world look like? What are their daily experiences like? And since I have some personal experience with it and I can talk about that.” Quite possibly, in a future script or film project, as a result of his 151-hour internship at City Channel Pittsburgh, a division of the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Innovation and Performance.

Ryan with his some of his mentors in the control room.
From left to right: Joy LeViere, David Finer, Ryan Fisher and Alex Fisher.

Ryan Fisher discusses changes for the 2019 City High senior class yearbook.

Ryan Fisher rehearsing his role as Detective Sherry Lockwood.  Ryan has also served as a Young Playwright for three years, including for this year’s yet-to-be-titled show.

Thanks to the perceptive Internship Managers at City High, this turned out to be the best option for Ryan’s internship requirement and perhaps nothing has influenced Ryan more that this experience. At the City Channel, Ryan was anything but a gofer. “I could help with some of the technical aspects of setup,” he recalls. “I could work on using the equipment they had there. This was a real game-changer for me.”

Ryan’s mentor was a seasoned TV man, David Finer who insisted on this being a learning experience for the high school student. “I let him direct city council coverage. He sat in the control room and 300,000 potential people saw him making decisions live on the air, switching between cameras, deciding where the cameras went, handling the graphics… all during a live broadcast.” Talk about baptism by fire! Mr. Finer insisted this be a real-world experience, so, “On his second day, I put a seventeen thousand dollar camera in his hands. There’s this moment when he wanted to drop it, but he knew he wasn’t allowed to. Yeah, the equipment is very expensive, but he’s not going to learn to use it unless I put it in his hands. And he was extremely, extremely excited to learn from people who had been doing this a long time. He’s not going to learn this from a book.”

It’s this real-world experience that helps City High’s students try out their dream career before committing to years of preparation, only to find out it’s not right for them.

Not the case with Ryan. “It taught me to learn things like: how to white balance, how to edit properly (some different editing techniques), how to set mics up, how to set lighting up… so, it was amazing. I also had to do two projects: one was a little promo for City Channel internships, one was a documentary on the people there.” These projects required other skills, like scriptwriting, directing, lighting, filming, interviewing, editing, and more.

According to his mentor, “Of the 5 interns who have tackled this 10-minute documentary about us, Ryan’s is the best, by far. It wasn’t even close. For an 18-year old, what he gave to us… I wasn’t doing a fraction of that when I was 18. He knew how to use the software and edit videos, and he learned everything else.”

Mr. Finer added, “I want interns to walk out of here with something tangible, something they can say that they did (that I had nothing to do with). So now Ryan can take the two projects he worked on and go to colleges and say, I did this… I shot it, I edited it, I wrote it, I hosted it, I asked the questions, I did everything… this is mine.”

So keep an eye out for Ryan Fisher in about 10 years. As he puts it, “I’m either going to be working for a filmmaking company or maybe I would have gotten enough money to have made some of my own films already. That’s kind of where I wanna to be.”


About the City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation and Performance

Ryan with his mentors from left to right:  Bill Lamar, Ryan Fisher, David Finer, Joy LeViere and Alex Fisher.

The Department of Innovation and Performance is tasked with improving the adoption of technology and is home to the City Channel Pittsburgh, a government access channel providing local information from an unfiltered and local perspective.

Today, government communications channels provide a convenient and cost-efficient way for local government to reach citizens and inform them about day-to-day workings of local government.

Unlike public access channels, government channels are granted editorial rights to choose the manner, format, and type of information to be disseminated to the public with a goal of attracting viewers to learn more about their local government and to encourage greater citizen participation.

A partner with City Charter High School for the past 5 years, City Channel Pittsburgh gives its interns first-hand, real-world experience in TV production, script writing, filming, editing and even graphics – just about everything that goes into making TV content.

“I feel it’s important to have interns and for interns to have these experiences,” believes David Finer, Communication Technology Manager for the Pittsburgh Dept. of Innovation and Performance. Mr. Finer brings more than 20 years TV experience to this endeavor. And his most recent experience with City High’s Ryan Fisher has been an unbridled success.

According to Mr. Finer, every student has the same twofold assignment: A quick promo for the internship program and a 10-minute documentary about City Channel Pittsburgh. “Of the 5 interns who have tackled this documentary, Ryan’s is the best… by far. It wasn’t even close. I am convinced that Ryan had a great foundation when he came to us that allowed him to make the project as good as it was. When I look at what he gave to us… I wasn’t doing a fraction of that when I was 18.”

Posted in Honors and Awards, Internship Sites, News, Partnerships, Student Spotlight |

The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel continues to be a vital part of Pittsburgh and our City High Community

On Friday, Feb. 8th, the City High Internship Department was gifted a donation from the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. The hotel named the internship department their 4th quarter recipient for their national Sage Hospitality Fundraising Program. City High has received an annual gift from the hotel every year since 2009.

Over the years, the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel has helped City High in many aspects, including sending Graduation Project panelists and hosting City High interns on a regular basis.

We are honored to have the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel as a community partner. Thank you for all of your support!

Posted in Honors and Awards, Internship Sites, News, Partnerships |

Nick Durkin Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to 2019 Costa Rica students

City High juniors Jeynaba Traore and Jeremiah Davis have been selected to receive the Nick Durkin Scholarship for the 2019 trip to Costa Rica. Additionally, a third student, Gwenyth Zeis-Miller, received a special recognition.

After the loss of Nick Durkin almost one year ago, Nick’s family wanted to find a way to keep his memory alive and enjoy the memories of Nick as he was – adventurous, kind, generous and funny. Nick attended the trip to Costa Rica while he was a senior at City High and it was one of the most positive and affirming experiences for him. He returned much more mature, confident, mission-driven and educated about the world.

After the loss of Nick Durkin almost one year ago,
Nick’s family wanted to find a way to keep his memory alive and enjoy the memories of Nick as he was – adventurous, kind, generous and funny. Nick attended the trip to Costa Rica while he was a senior at City High and it was one of the most positive and affirming experiences for him. He returned much more mature, confident, mission-driven and educated about the world.

The fund was created to cover a portion of the costs for one student to attend the annual service trip (the school pays for a portion of the trip through grants and students are expected to pay for the rest of the trip costs). Nick’s family believes in the life-changing value of the trip and wanted to make sure that finances are not an obstacle to a student who has the qualifications and desire to go.

Donations for the scholarship over the past year have exceeded all expectations, raising over $7600. This year, the fund is able to award two scholarships instead of just one.

Of the 20 students selected by City High to make this trip, 8 applied for the scholarship. Applicants had to demonstrate that 1) they possessed qualities that Nick himself had: a desire to be of service, a curiosity about the world, and the ability to make others feel safe and supported; and 2) they would not be able to fully fund their student-portion of costs, preventing them from participating in the trip.

The applications were reviewed by Nick’s mother, Mindy McHale, and sister, Kathryn Durkin. They agreed that the answers provided by the two scholarship winners embodied the heart and spirit of Nick.

City High students Jeremiah Davis and Jeynaba Traore will each receive $1100 to cover their entire portion of the trip cost.  Additionally, the fund made a small donation of $250 to Gwenyth Zeis-Miller as we believed that her concern for her fellow students, the environment and the global community merited special recognition.

In 2019, a group of 20 junior students at City Charter High School will embark on a journey to Costa Rica. The annual trip focuses on service learning and immerses students into the culture of Costa Rica’s capitol of San Jose and the rainforest in addition to practicing Spanish skills with the locals.

The Nick Durkin Scholarship Fund is always accepting donations. His family hopes to grow the fund and award at least one scholarship per year to a deserving student for many years to come. You can donate at:

Posted in Honors and Awards, News, Partnerships |

A teaching internship helps Alexa Belschner redirect her career to a different aspect of early childhood education.

From left to right: Mentor Lindsay Kiss, Director of The Goddard School, Alexa Belschner, and Shanna Litchko, On-site Owner at The Goddard School in Pittsburgh at 301 Fifth Avenue.

As far as she could remember, Alexa Belschner has always been good with kids. For this City Charter High School student, an internship in early childhood education was a no-brainer. After all, she’s been working with children through her church since 6th grade.

“I wanted to learn what it would be like to be around kids all the time in a school setting.” Alexa says, “I wanted to learn what tactics they used for challenging kids. Most of all, I was interested in finding out if this is something I wanted to do as a career.” Alexa was very excited about working with children using The Goddard School’s F.L.EX learning framework. She was intrigued by the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) approach using games and play to expose young children to science and math. With her goals looking towards psychology, she was also thrilled to find out she would get to work with a teacher there, helping with students that had learning disabilities. Her internship helped her to understand and connect with those students and motivate them to join in with the learning program.


From left to right: Alexa Belschner and Mentor Lindsay Kiss, Director of The Goddard School show off the climbing wall in the large playroom.

From left to right: Alexa Belschner and Mentor Lindsay Kiss, peaking through The Goddard School’s oversized building toys.

For Alexa her internship helped her to understand
and connect with those students and motivate
them to join in with the learning program.

According to Lindsay Kiss, Director of The Goddard School where Alexa interned, “We have the highest expectations – not only for our students, but for our teachers. We bring in highly qualified teachers because we want to give our kids the best foundation we can to make them successful. Alexa did a great job interacting with the students. She’d have things under control. I kind of forgot a lot of the time that she wasn’t one of my regular teachers because she did such a great job. She fit in really well.”

This glowing endorsement made it difficult for Alexa. On one hand, she had a way with kids. On the other, she really liked and excelled at math and science.  Her internship was invaluable in helping to choose a direction. She admits, “ It really requires a high level of patience to teach children, it was much more than I had expected, I really learned a lot about myself.” So instead of a teaching career, Alexa plans to explore genetic counseling in college. This career direction will allow her to continue to help educate young children, while using her math and science research skills to get to the root causes of early childhood development issues like autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia and others.

“Before my internship I was going to go into child psychology and child development in a school setting. After my internship, I changed what I wanted to do,” Alexa notes. “I’m looking to study biology for 4 years and then do the master’s program in genetic counseling. I felt that if I move more into a science field, I could make a big difference.”

For this City High student with a 3.82 GPA, “dream boards” and career classes really helped hone her direction. The way she sees it, “I’m also really interested in psychology, the brain and how it works to influence behavior. . . and I already work with kids, so why not put that together and do child psychology from a biological research side.”

Alexa learned other valuable life skills at City High. “I used to be pretty shy,” she recalls. “But at City High, we had to learn presentation and interaction skills. In 11th grade career class, we had to go out and find somebody in our career field and interview them one-on-one. I picked a Neuropsychologist from Allegheny Healthcare network. And that helped make me get used to talking with professionals. I had to prepare questions, email them to him in advance, and that really helped with me being able to talk to professional adults.” It was these skills that put her at ease about working with not only the kids, but also the adults at her required internship.

About The Goddard School

The Goddard School is an early childhood education provider with more than 400 franchised schools in 35 states. Students range from 6 weeks old to Pre-K.  There are 7 schools in the Pittsburgh area and City Charter High School has partnered with the Downtown location for the past 3 years as a way to give real-world teaching experience to some of their high school students considering a career in education.

At this innovative school where everybody is referred to as a “friend”, it’s all about creating a fun learning experience. But it’s not all fun and games, it’s serious learning. “The teachers are asking a lot of questions while they’re playing,” reveals Lindsay Kiss, Director of The Goddard School. “For the older students, it’s a lot of center-based learning, where the teacher sets out materials at different tables in different areas of the classroom that are related to the lesson plans of the day and the students are free to move through those centers. For instance, if they are working on the letter A, they might have them writing it on a dry erase board, searching through the sensory bin for things that start with the letter A, exploring the characteristics of apples, different things like that. So, the centers and the play that the kids are doing is very education-focused. It’s so much more than pulling toys off the shelves at random and playing with them.”

For nearly 30 years, the Goddard School has been known for its innovative, learning-based approach to early childhood development: learning through play. This play-based curriculum is grounded in academic research that shows children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun.

According to Mrs. Kiss, who was also mentor to Alexa Belschner, City High’s most recent intern, “We bring in teachers who really care about what they do in making sure that our kids are School-ready, Life-ready and Career-ready.”

If this sounds like a motto, it is. And it is what sets these preschools apart. The Goddard School uses the most current, academically endorsed methods to ensure that children have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life. Their talented teachers also collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners.

To learn more:

Ready for School, Ready for Life, Ready for Careers.

Posted in Honors and Awards, Internship Sites, News, Partnerships, Student Spotlight |

City High’s Jacob Osho gains a global perspective through his amazing internship.

Intern Jacob Osho stops for  photos with his mentors from the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. From left to right:  Brittany Cheeks, Education Program Manager, Intern Jacob Osho from City High and Joe Poskin, Office Manager at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

When City Charter High School senior Jacob Osho showed up for his first workplace experience, an internship at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, he made a fantastic first impression. “From the very first day (and I’m not exaggerating), I was impressed with Jacob’s professionalism,” reports Brittany Cheeks, Education Program Manager at the World Affairs Council. “He was on-time (if not early). He would always check in with me. No matter what I asked him to help me with, he was very responsive and eager to help. This was remarkable, especially at his high school age. He took this seriously. I could tell by the way he holds himself, the way he would dress to come into the internship every day.”

Thanks to the exposure of world issues at his World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh internship and his Honors History class at City High, Jacob already has his doctorate thesis topic: the effects of immigration (including dislocation, social, political, and economic conditions and experiences of immigrant communities) on gang formation and gang violence.

From left to right: Brittany Cheeks,
Education Program Manager with Jacob Osho
from City Charter High School.

Joe Poskin, the Council’s office manager agrees. “We’ve had quite a few interns since I’ve been here and every day he would come in, say hello, shake my hand, ask how I was doing. . . and if I needed help with anything. It’s not that common for young people to have that skill.”

According to Jacob, “I was a part of the family. Their expectations of me? To come on time, do my best work – to always stay productive and helpful and always try to do my best.” This sounds great, but what does it really mean for a high school student?

Ms. Cheeks, his mentor, says, “He worked with us primarily in the education department where he helped us make changes to the GLC (Global Leadership Certificate) curriculum, both on-site and online.”

She had him create a Spanish lesson to implement with their on-site students. He also helped with their Global Travel Scholarship Orientation (a summer long study-abroad program for high school students). He did research on the economic ramifications of “space mining” for their next World Affairs Institute. So he was a busy intern. How did he keep up? “By prioritizing work,” Jacob reports. “I’d have different things to do for different people. So staying organized helped me get my work done on time.”

These are skills he learned the hard way. When he got to City High, “My biggest challenge was adjusting.” Jacob remembers. “It was nothing like middle school. I had to get used to going to different places, different classes . . . It was hard for me to adjust to just how much I had to do . . . and stay focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I struggled with that. Now, I feel like I have it under control.”

Jacob also picked up other valuable skills at City High that have come in handy. “Actively reading was a key skill that I learned at City High. It really helped me. Especially when I was doing the research for the article on spacing mining. By taking side notes (like I learned in Cult. Lit. Class), I was able to remember more. It definitely helped me plan an outline of what I learned and write a report that was detailed.”

Cultural Literacy is implemented into the curriculum at City High in order to help prepare students for their current studies but also to help ensure their success at college.

So, now that Jacob’s 140-hour internship is complete, what does the future hold? He’s applying to several universities for a degree towards Cultural Anthropology & Research in Psychology. Thanks to the exposure of his internship to world issues and his Honors History class at City High, Jacob already has his doctorate thesis topic: the effects of immigration (including dislocation, social, political, and economic conditions and experiences of immigrant communities) on gang formation and gang violence.

Jacob plans to focus on the research side of international anthropology as a professor. And who knows, maybe someday he will help us all understand and deal with the struggling plight of immigrants, gang violence and other developing world issues.

These are notable goals for a high school senior who’s also working on earning a scholarship from The Pittsburgh Promise. More personally, Jacob’s goals are  “. . .to try my hardest as soon as I get there, so I don’t have to dig myself out of a hole that I already created . . . to stay focused and get my work done on time. And try not to get sidetracked by different things. And at the end, I want to get my doctorate degree.”

“We studied gang violence in 11th grade in the context of immigration, exploring the context in which gangs can flourish,” Jacob reflects on his Honors History class. It made him passionate to pursue psychology and anthropology and even led him to his internship. It is yet another example of how City High opens the minds of students to fields they may never have considered.

About The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

The World Affairs Council has been recognized as a leader in designing and developing educational programs on international affairs. Founded in 1929 by a small group of Pittsburgh residents with a deep interest in international issues, it has become a place for students, educators, and the community at large to learn about international developments and their relevance to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In 2009, Pittsburgh served as the host of the G-20 Summit. This event helped underscore Pittsburgh’s place in the world and was a demonstration of how Pittsburgh has evolved from a city of iron and steel to a 21st century post-industrial city.

The Council continues to develop innovative programs to engage students, educators, and the community at large in an ongoing conversation about global issues—and why they matter.
The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s mission is to provide a pathway for a more globally minded region, offering students and the community a learning space that covers key international issues. The Council is a member of the World Affairs Council of America (WACA), a network of more than 90 nonprofit, nonpartisan member Councils around the country.

Upcoming Programs


  • 24:  The Policy and Politics of US Nuclear Strategy
    12:00-1:30 pm., Duquesne Club
  • 24:  Special Seminar: Russian Active Measures and Lessons from the Cold War with Dr. Seth Jones, Director of the Transnational Threats Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Author of A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland.
    6:30-8:00 pm., La Roche College


  • 30:  World Affairs Institute for Student Leaders: Exploring the New Space Age.  Experts speak on the current state of space exploration, including commercial human spaceflight, space colonization, and the use of robotics and artificial intelligence.
    8:30 am- 3:00 pm., Heinz History Center

Additional events may be added and can be found on our website at


Posted in Honors and Awards, Internship Sites, News, Partnerships, Student Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

City Charter High School is honored with Children’s Hospital Community Partner of the Year Award.

Patti Kretschman, Internship Manager of City High with
Children’s Hospital volunteer coordinator John Krysinky.

City Charter High School is ecstatic to be honored by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC as a “Community Partner of the Year.” We are not only honored by the recognition, but also thankful for the wonderful experience and mentorship that Children’s Hospital who are looking towards the medical and childcare field as their career interests. Internship Manager Patti Kretschman accepted the award on behalf of City High on Saturday evening.

Patti Kretschman poses with City Charter High School Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh — UPMC’s Volunteer Services Department 2018 Community Partner of the Year Award.

Children’s Hospital has been an internship site partner with City High since the school’s inception, with the first internship in 2005. No interns were at the hospital during the hospital’s two-year move to its new and current site in Lawrenceville, which opened in 2009.

The Community Partner of the Year award recognizes an exemplary community partnership that has provided innovative projects and programs, and whose members have contributed significant hours of service that have made a positive impact on the patients and families of Children’s Hospital. The award was started in 2013, and the Volunteer Service Department of the hospital has honored an organization each year since that has been an important part of the Hospital Volunteer Program.

Our school is thrilled to be named this year’s “Community Partner of the Year” and look forward to our continued collaboration with Children’s Hospital in the years to come and are excited to see our students continue to flourish in their internships at the hospital.


Posted in Honors and Awards, News |

City High seniors’ presentation “GOT PRIVILEGE?” is a big hit at Ellis School’s Cultural Jam!

From L to R: Destiny Troy,  London Brooks, Crystal Cox and McKenna Battista
present Got Privilege? at Ellis School’s Cultural Jam.

For the purpose of workshop discussions, participants wrote down examples of how they have experienced the advantages and disadvantages of privilege

Senior Crystal Cox

Senior McKenna Battist

A group of seniors collaborated to create a workshop titled “Got Privilege?” to examine different types of privilege in our society and how people benefit from them, as well as how people are hurt and held back by them.

The seniors submitted a proposal to present the workshop at the Ellis School’s Culture Jam this past November. Not only was their presentation accepted for the workshop, it turned out to be a big hit!

Many participants remarked that it was their favorite workshop and a few participants even cried because they were so moved by the discussions. Presenters included seniors McKenna Battista, Crystal Cox, Destiny Troy, and London Brooks. These students worked together and presented at the Culture Jam. The group was led by Crystal and McKenna, who played a large role in the planning and creating materials and activities to use in the presentation.

Next Stop is the L.E.A.D. Conference

The next stop for Crystal and McKenna? Presenting their workshop at another diversity conference in March at Sewickley Academy. The L.E.A.D. (Learning Equity, Acceptance and Diversity) Conference on Wednesday, March 14, and is put on by Sewickley’s Student Diversity Club. The two City Charter High School seniors submitted a proposal in December, and were chosen to be one of the student-led workshops. It is among 26 student-led workshops at the conference, including students from Sewickley Academy, Shadyside Academy, Winchester Thurston, Ellis School, Kiski Prep, Woodland Hills, and CAPA.

While students partake in student-led workshops and share their experiences and stories, teachers and chaperones will attend workshops to address the same themes in the student-led workshops, and relate them to their own teaching and practices. There will also be a keynote speaker.

Sewickley Academy welcomes schools throughout the Pittsburgh region and beyond to their conference, including public, private, and independent schools will attend. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit Registration is required, and there is a limit of 20 students per school.

Posted in Honors and Awards, News, Partnerships, Student Spotlight |

The Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award, Mr. Mark Barga, City Charter High School Social Studies Teacher, Selected as the Schools That Can 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Educator

The Schools That Can Forum is an annual, public conference with sessions led and attended by top urban educators from STC schools, innovative education organizations, thought leaders, industry, and community partners. STC held this year’s national annual Forum in Pittsburgh on May 11, 2017.

Mr. Mark Barga receives the Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award on behalf of Schools That Can and the STC Pittsburgh Forum. From L to R: Michael Druckman, STC Executive Chairman; Leslie Hiner, Ed Choice Vice President; Mark Barga, City Charter High School Social Studies Teacher; Casey Lamb, STC Chief Operations and Development Officer

Mr. Mark Barga, City Charter High School Social Studies Teacher and Class of 2019 Cultural Literacy Team member, was nominated and won the prestigious national Robert F. Kennedy Urban Educator Award.

This year’s awards were presented to a student, teacher, and school leader from the STC network who have spoken up and spoken out to defend freedom, decency, and justice. 

Schools That Can received dozens of nominees. Specifically, nominees embody Robert F. Kennedy’s quote made as Attorney General in June 1961:

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted—when we tolerate what we know to be wrong—when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened—when we fail to speak up and speak out—we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.

Mr. Barga exposes students to rigorous, diverse, and critical social, political, economic, and historical perspectives in pursuit of a deeper, relevant engagement with themselves and society. His call to teaching urban youth springs from an intense commitment to social justice for a healthier, more equitable, more just and more democratic society.

City Charter Public High Schools applauds Mark’s recognition as an outstanding educator for the 21st Century, engaging all students in relevant and real world learning that is making a positive difference both in the classroom and the world in which our students will live and eventually lead.

Schools That Can (STC) is the nation’s largest cross-sector network of schools with over 170 schools in 16 cities, reaching more than 70,000 students. Their programming, partnerships, and thought leadership develop tangible solutions to close the opportunity and skills gap in urban education

Posted in Honors and Awards, News, Partnerships |

Pennsylvania releases public schools’ report card—City Charter High School scoring 89.9 out of 100. This is the highest score in the Pittsburgh Public School District and 8th highest in all High Schools across Allegheny County!


City High graphic: Top high school Performance Profile scores in Allegheny County

October 14, 2016 | Molly Born, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Made public Thursday, this year’s School Performance Profile includes for the first time the scores from the new Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests for grades K-8 that educators say are more rigorous than the old exam. And because the PSSA and other standardized tests, the Keystone exams for high school students, make up such a large part of the profile score, some districts said they expected a lower profile scores. (Only high schools were included in the profiles last year.)

City Charter High School in Downtown, which enrolls roughly 620 students — nearly 70 percent of them low-income — sent a press release out Thursday afternoon touting its School Performance Profile score of 89.8.

“This is our highest SPP score ever,” and the highest among high schools in the city of Pittsburgh, said CEO and principal Ron Sofo. “We don’t think we’re all that, but we do believe that we’re walking that talk with integrity, which is what charter schools were initially envisioned to be.”

Read full article from the Post-Gazette


PG graphic: School
Performance Profile scores
(Click to enlarge)


Posted in Honors and Awards, News |

The Child Health Association of Sewickley awards grant of $8,500 helping City High students’ with basic needs

The grant will help all students with basic needs from 2016-2018.

City High has a 68% financial and socially disadvantaged student population, and additionally many of their students are just slightly above the socioeconomic status for vouchers that provide free and reduced lunches or medical help such as eyeglasses. City High saw a need, not only to provide those students with lunches or eyeglasses, but to also help any student struggling with the expectations of attending City High.

City High students’ financial obstacles include having the required professional business attire, daily money for school lunch, and a bus pass if they were deemed a walker, or financial help to attend school field trips. It also included medical expenses such as eyeglasses for students failing the school’s vision screening or providing feminine hygiene products.

Listening to teachers about their students’ struggles, City High decided to look for help beyond core academics. Alesha Council, Keiha Peck and Angela Welch of City High came together to write a grant proposal to the Child Health Association of Sewickley seeking financial help to provide basic needs and the support City High students needed.

grant-writers-cch_2475From L to R: City High Grant writers; Alesha Council—Transition Manager, Angela Welch—Education Manager, and Keiha Peck—Internship Manager.



Thanks to the grant from Child Health Association of Sewickley, City High will now be able to give students the support needed so they can reach their fullest potential.

Child Health Association of Sewickley

The Child Health Association of Sewickley is celebrating its 93rd anniversary as an all-volunteer non-profit women’s organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children in western Pennsylvania. Through charitable giving and volunteer service, Child’s Health’s mission is to nurture the whole child by supporting programs and services that directly address children’s emotional, physical, educational, cultural and recreational needs.

Founded in 1923 by four visionary women to provide milk to undernourished children, nearly 1,400 extraordinary women have expanded that vision through the years and exceed all expectations of what a small group of women can do.

The heart of Child Health today is as it has always been: supporting programs and services for children with real needs and programs to challenge and inspire children to reach their full potential. Early members could do much for children by funding well-baby and dental clinics, public health nurses for schools and community visits, fluoride treatment, polio vaccines, playgrounds, and a pacemaker, a birthing room and a neonatal monitor for the local hospital. Today, Child Health funds some large well-known organizations with established track records; however, it is our ability to help small grass-roots organizations that are addressing the emerging critical needs of the children that sets us apart from large corporate or private philanthropic foundations. After reviewing grant requests, visiting programs and interviewing staff, Child Health typically gives $100,000 annually to qualified organizations working directly with children. Through 2014, over $4 million (not adjusted for inflation) in grants have been awarded.

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