Education

Educational Programs in the Spotlight for Innovation

A dozen Pittsburgh-based groups selected, with their ideas to be shared worldwide


When you come up with a great idea, what's the next thing you should do? Share it, of course!

That's what leaders of some Pittsburgh-area educational programs have done. And now they'll get to see their ideas shared worldwide, thanks to HundrED, a global non-profit that discovers "inspiring innovations" in education and then shares those ideas around the world.

HundrED, based in Finland, chose a dozen programs in Pittsburgh as their first-ever "HundrED Spotlight." The organization intended to choose only 10 programs from 82 nominations, made with the help of the Grable Foundation and Remake Learning. But "Pittsburgh broke the mold," said Lasse Leponiemi, Executive Director and Co-Founder of HundrED. "The response was so robust that we chose to expand our selection to 12 innovations."

"Pittsburgh broke the mold." Lasse Leponiemi

All 12 programs are profiled in a special section on their website , with lots of details about each program, how it got started, why it works, and even how-to instructions.

JAM's "makers" at work.

They include one group that Sparkt profiled several months ago (watch here) . JAM started as a small after-school group at the Avonworth Primary Center, just outside of Pittsburgh. Teacher Maureen Frew and two first-grade girls were the founders. The club now has more than 60 members who make things and give them as acts of kindness to others, or sell them to raise money for charitable causes. They trademarked the hashtag #BeTheKindKid. Sales of t-shirts with the hashtag have not only raised more than 16-thousand dollars for charity, "these shirts have changed the culture of our school and our community," said Mrs. Frew.

UPMC Hillman Summer Academy students.

Other programs in HundrED's Spotlight on Pittsburgh include summer programs that not only stop "brain drain" but expose kids to things they might not have the opportunity to learn in a regular classroom setting. Another fosters intercultural relationships between kids, another engages kids with mental health conditions, and another is a nationally recognized neighborhood-based community center focused on educating and inspiring youth through the arts:

Click here to read about all 12 winners, and the runners up!

In November 2019, representatives from all the Spotlight innovations will travel to Helsinki, Finland for the HundrED Innovation Summit.

(Images: JAM Facebook page )

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