The Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy began as a research project for students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College in 2006, when a young man by the name of Sam Franklin was a year away from finishing his Master’s in Science (MSPPM). He had moved from California to earn this degree and apply what he learned as a teacher to improving public education. Mr. Franklin and a team of colleagues spent a year developing a detailed plan for a new kind of urban school focused in relevant and challenging fields, and capable of supporting all students regardless of prior academic success.
When he graduated, he was hired by the Pittsburgh Public School System to bring this plan to life. Two years later the school opened in a prime Oakland location and now serves more than 500 students from all over Pittsburgh. Students of every level and from every walk of life are blended into SciTech where, by Grade 9, they choose a core area of study. “Today’s economy is knowledge-driven, and this school was designed for it,” says Sam. “You need the right people, the supports in place for those with academic gaps coming in.” Sam, a confident young man, is quick to credit the success of the Academy to a combination of factors. “For a school to beat the odds, all the ingredients have to work together. The curriculum, the design of the facility, the expertise and passion of the staff, and the supports – not only of staff, but also of the community. “It’s not perfect, but for SciTech we had the benefit of time and resources to bring all of these together, and I think it shows in the results. So many people helped make it happen.”
Publicly bid, The Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy project was awarded to Foreman Architects Engineers, Inc. (FAE). Terry Thompson, RA, of FAE worked closely with Mr. Franklin’s team to execute the physical design as Sam envisioned it. “I remember our first meetings with Terry and the Foreman team. We were in our twenties, learning all of this for the first time, and I remember wondering what Terry must have thought of us – our interns, our lab designs drafted on Excel spreadsheets, everything.” No hesitation, Terry says Sam was very responsive, easy to communicate with, and extremely accommodating as a client.
SciTech adopted the motto, “Dream. Discover. Design.” and boasts an Interact program, award-winning teachers, and field trips as amazing as visiting Google. Grades 10, 11, and 12 were added one at a time and the school is now graduating the first classes to attend from grades 6-12.
FAE, one of the Foreman Group of Companies, is joined by Foreman Program Construction Managers, Foreman Building Commissioning, PerFOREMANce Roofing Specialists, Foreman Design Build, and the Foreman Foundation in wishing Sam Franklin the very best as he retires from his Pittsburgh Public School Position and looks for the next challenge.