What Happens When Your Town's Only High School Closes? Schools are closing across America. On this episode of Embedded, we explore what that means for a town losing the neighborhood high school that's been around for over a century.
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What Happens When Your Town's Only High School Closes?

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What Happens When Your Town's Only High School Closes?

What Happens When Your Town's Only High School Closes?

What Happens When Your Town's Only High School Closes?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/481860121/481939888" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wilkinsburg Junior and Senior High School, the only public junior and senior high school in the small suburb, is closing. Chris Benderev hide caption

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Chris Benderev

Wilkinsburg Junior and Senior High School, the only public junior and senior high school in the small suburb, is closing.

Chris Benderev

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news.

Traditional public schools across America are closing, and the reasons — everything from population changes to the impact of laws like No Child Left Behind — are complicated. And the numbers suggest these closures are disproportionately affecting poor black children.

Reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji and producer Chris Benderev traveled to Wilkinsburg, Pa., a tiny suburb of Pittsburgh where the town's only public high school is on the chopping block.

Some of the graduates of the Wilkinsburg senior class of 2016, the last senior class ever. Shereen Marisol Meraji hide caption

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Shereen Marisol Meraji

Some of the graduates of the Wilkinsburg senior class of 2016, the last senior class ever.

Shereen Marisol Meraji

Wilkinsburg High School, a giant building with too few students and abysmal test scores, has been in the neighborhood for more than a century.

On this episode of Embedded, we see what this school means to students and staff members.

To hear more of this story, listen to Embedded. Keep up with podcast host Kelly McEvers on Twitter at @kellymcevers, reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji at @RadioMirage and producer Chris Benderev at @cbndrv. Join the conversation using the hashtag #NPREmbedded.

To hear a discussion on school closings and how this episode was made, listen to the On Point with Tom Ashbrook podcast from WBUR.

Correction June 17, 2016

A previous audio version of this story incorrectly said "vouchers to pay for private school" were an option for children in underperforming schools under No Child Left Behind. Vouchers were not part of the legislation.