Data Stories
Telling powerful stories with numbers
Technology transforming education in Berks

By Anthony Orozco

Journalist for Berks Vital Signs


Governor Mifflin students are peering at the screens of their phones and tablets when suddenly an image of the Great Sphinx of Giza appears for them to examine.

A few miles away in the farmland of the Tulpehocken Area School District, children wear headsets to be virtually transported among a crowd of asylum seekers gathering at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At Southern Middle School in Reading, seventh-grade student Sharelle Scott concentrates on lines of computer code – delicate building blocks of a video game she creates in real time.

“I want to create my own game, a sur

What’s the state of hunger in Berks County?

The issue affects tens of thousands of residents.


As the sun began to sink beyond the Schuylkill River, throwing long shadows from the sloping roofs of the buildings in southeast Reading, a line of people formed outside of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, hoping to avail themselves of its monthly food pantry.

“This is a big help for us,” said Teresa Guzmán, who is 71 years old, disabled and battling bone cancer. “I’ve been coming here for almost three years. What we can afford to buy is not enough to get through the month.”

Others in line agreed about the food pantry services the church provide

Berks Heim: What do voters want?

Poll shows Berks County residents overwhelmingly oppose selling Berks Heim


READING, PA (March 14, 2019) – A new independent poll shows 63 percent of voters registered in Berks County want the county-owned nursing home retained by the government. Only 10 percent of voters favor selling it while 27 percent are undecided.

Interviews with 402 registered voters were conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, Inc. from March 4 to March 9. The margin of error for that sample size is +/-4.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.




Many voters (44 percent) indicated a willingness to pay more in taxes if it

Berks Education: Uneven and Unequal

Closing the achievement gap in education is considered an imperative in many circles. In communities across the country, low-income students and those with disabilities or without native English skills lag behind their counterparts in measures such as test scores.

Berks County is no exception. Looking at the key milestones of 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math, 60% of all 3rd graders and 33% of all 8th graders reached proficiency on state tests. That compares to 43% of historically underperforming 3rd graders and 17% of historically underperforming 8th graders. Historically underperforming students include students who come from economical

Reading: A City Making Progress

The City of Reading faces significant challenges: median household incomes have declined nearly 30% since 2000, 40% of residents live in poverty, and rent is largely unaffordable, consuming almost half of renters’ income on average. Yet, despite these challenges, the City is showing signs of vitality and improvement, including growing diversity and youthfulness, improved crime rates, and increased high school graduation.

Reading has seen a dramatic change in its demographics since 2000, with a 78% increase in its share of Hispanics, making it a majority minority city. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight highlighted that Reading’s dem

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