HOW WE engage
The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination, a history elective focused on social justice, follows an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates history, economics, sociology, anthropology and ethnology. Seniors and juniors explore the issue of gentrification in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty and Garfield/Bloomfield neighborhoods. As part of the class, they discuss urban development with the mayor’s chief of staff and conduct in-person interviews with neighborhood residents and business owners.
Working in small groups, students produce investigatory podcasts on issues affecting the Pittsburgh community and enter them into the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. They research a topic, conduct interviews with local residents and business owners, and craft a script before recording their podcast. Students not only learn the technical aspects of producing a podcast, but they also apply strong critical-thinking and communication skills as they explore trends in their local community and turn them into compelling stories around topics such as “Suicide Rates Among EMTs in Pittsburgh” and “Sustainability and Resilience in Pittsburgh.”
Shady Side’s project-based curriculum empowers students to become engaged in their community and gain different perspectives on real-world issues.