Tuition-free charter school continues its commitment to provide in-class instruction to underserved scholars

Pittsburgh, Penn. – (February 8, 2021) – Catalyst Academy, a tuition-free charter school in Pittsburgh, has launched open enrollment for the 2021-22 school year and will accept applications through the month of February. Up to 72 slots are available for students entering kindergarten, and approximately 40 are available for students in grades 1-2. Interested families may reserve an open house appointment on Saturday, February 20, between 1 and 3 p.m. More information is available at

Located at 7061 Lemington Avenue, Catalyst Academy is one of the only public elementary schools in Pittsburgh providing in-person learning five days a week. Catalyst Academy boldly launched in the fall of 2020, in the face of the pandemic, to provide a learning environment for scholars currently underserved by the traditional public school system. Having opened as a K-1 school for its introductory year, the school currently serves 100 students and will grow one grade per year to serve grades K-8 by fall 2027. 

“We started Catalyst Academy to create a place where all students, and especially low-income students and students of color, can thrive and be prepared to achieve their dreams,” said Brian Smith, founder and CEO. “Every day, we lean into our core values of providing a supportive yet rigorous learning environment where our scholars belong, grow and achieve. Educational inequities have only increased because of COVID-19, which is why we have prioritized offering our scholars in-person learning 5 days a week.” 

Prior to opening in August 2020, Catalyst Academy developed its COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan. Key areas of focus included school facility preparation, a social distancing plan, staff and student hygiene and health guidelines, and enhanced learning supports. As part of its facility preparation, the school installed a new ventilation and HVAC system, and carbon dioxide monitors in every classroom to ensure free-flowing fresh air. 

“When we originally planned the launch of Catalyst Academy, we certainly did not anticipate opening our doors in the middle of a pandemic,” said Darren Gray, founding principal. “We worked closely with our teachers and staff to implement a plan that was aligned with CDC guidelines, enabling our teachers to be safe while providing a holistic in-person learning experience for our scholars. We collaborated closely with our teachers to incorporate suggestions on how we can continuously improve the safety of our school environment.” 

About Catalyst Academy

At Catalyst Academy, we believe a great education is a catalyst for each of our scholars to define and achieve their dreams. Our common values – belong, grow and achieve – are the cornerstone of our educational efforts. Find more information at or call 412-684-2400.