About Catalyst

Survey Says: Families are Thrilled With Our Founding Year!


Belong. Grow. Achieve. Our common values are the cornerstone of our educational efforts at Catalyst. While founding and opening our tuition-free charter school in a pandemic truly made for some unprecedented experiences, we could not be more proud of how far we have come -- together.  We are thrilled to share the results of our recent family survey. We feel it’s a litmus test of the intention and accountability we ascribe to  -- as partners --  with our much valued families as a whole, and to each special, individual, beloved scholar as a unique learner.  How did we do? We’re glad [...]

Survey Says: Families are Thrilled With Our Founding Year!2021-01-27T17:10:00-05:00

Addressing First Grade Learning Gaps


Oh 2020, let us count the ways you disrupt.  Our first graders, like students of all ages and stages around the world, have been impacted by the global health pandemic and coronavirus. The disruption to their previous school year and 2020 spring semester has caused expected learning slippage. Here are some ways we’re addressing first grade gaps: Informing our instructional practices with universal screeners given to all students at the beginning of the year and monitoring progress. Using daily exit ticket data to target instruction and small group interaction. Utilizing after-school time to play learning games with our scholars as they [...]

Addressing First Grade Learning Gaps2021-02-04T14:53:37-05:00

Founders = Keepers. Meet Some Teachers!


Elise Neill Founding STEM Teacher, North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band Oboe Player and Girl Scout Leader My hope is that our scholars will not be afraid to explore, discover, and sometimes make mistakes as they delve into the deeper mysteries of coding, science and engineering. I chose to teach at Catalyst because our scholars get to experience STEM in the classroom more than once a week. We explore different topics and test many engineering challenges. My desire to go into education started out in high school, but took a hiatus as I found a niche in computer programming. It was while volunteering [...]

Founders = Keepers. Meet Some Teachers!2020-09-23T23:57:20-04:00

Staying Safe Online Matters — Even for Kinders and 1st Graders


Our education model at Catalyst is based on high expectations, academic rigor, quality teaching, strong relationships, innovation and personalization, and holistic development. We strive for this everyday we are together -- be it in-person or online. And as our scholars join our Catalyst school community they also join the online world, via our 1:1 devices and digital backpacks.  The internet is a magical place full of fun. Playful games, colorful characters and educational options abound. Plus being online provides numerous ways to keep in touch with family and friends.  But life online is also full of bullies, predators and scams. And [...]

Staying Safe Online Matters — Even for Kinders and 1st Graders2020-09-22T15:23:25-04:00

Why Choose a Charter School


Charter schools are public schools that excel where traditional public schools and private schools can’t. Catalyst Academy Charter School is the first new charter school in Pittsburgh in six years! We are in our founding year. It’s a very special time and we would love to share it with you and your child. Charter schools are public schools and are tuition-free Charter schools get funding from the state. A charter school's "charter" serves as a performance contract between the school and its state government. Catalyst public charter school must fulfill its mission and realize student success in order to satisfy the [...]

Why Choose a Charter School2020-09-10T17:14:53-04:00

Strong Commitment to Inclusivity and Equity: Meet Our Board


Every member of our Catalyst Academy Board is mission-aligned. They each have a background and history in education and equity. They’re extraordinary members of our community and they will help us to grow and thrive. Here is the superstar team we are proud to call our Board: Rachel Amankulor, President Ms. Amankulor is a long-time advocate for enabling greater high-quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged families. She is the former Director of PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, a statewide advocacy organization working to enact common sense reforms to ensure that every Pennsylvania child has access to a high-quality [...]

Strong Commitment to Inclusivity and Equity: Meet Our Board2020-09-15T11:48:32-04:00

The Art in Our Hearts


Everything we do at Catalyst is with intention. Whether it’s our mission, our educational model or our philosophy. It’s the reason we exist as a school and the motivation for how hard we worked to get our charter – the first new charter school in Pittsburgh in six years.  It’s this intention that drives our curriculum choices. It’s why we have STEM five days a week and Art four days a week. We whole-heartedly recognize the value in our Kindergarten and first grade students experiencing art. This includes music, art, theater, and visual arts. And there’s even more.  At [...]

The Art in Our Hearts2020-08-13T13:48:27-04:00

We Love our Community: Get to Know our CEO and Principal! 


At Catalyst Academy, every scholar, family, teacher, and staff member will be embraced, respected, and supported. Everyone belongs here. We are a community and we love this community.  Further, every member of our Catalyst Academy staff is committed to growth and equity inclusion. We are focused on opening doors of opportunity and preparing our scholars for college, career and life. This is also who we are as a community. We love our community.  Here’s a glimpse at two of our founding staffers:  Brian Smith Founder & CEO Brian Smith is the Founder & CEO of Catalyst Academy. Brian started [...]

We Love our Community: Get to Know our CEO and Principal! 2020-07-29T20:32:08-04:00

How Does Your Scholar Grow? STEM 5x/ Week!


We are all growing. At Catalyst, we are big believers in growth every day. In fact, we focus on growth in multiple ways:  Grow is one of our core values. (along with Belong and Achieve) Every Catalyst Academy scholar, teacher, and staff member is committed to growing every day in alignment with our mission. We are big believers in growth mindsets.  We aim to close opportunity gaps and expand achievement and access -- for every one of our scholars. This includes preparing our students for careers in the growth sectors of our economy. What do we consider ‘growth sectors’? [...]

How Does Your Scholar Grow? STEM 5x/ Week!2020-07-24T17:54:33-04:00

Top 10 Reasons To Attend Catalyst


Catalyst Academy opened in 2020 during the pandemic - the first new K-8 charter school in Pittsburgh in six years! We are located in the newly renovated historic Lemington school building. We prepare our scholars to define —and achieve – their dreams. Here’s our top 10 reasons why we are  worth considering for your young scholar: 1) At Catalyst, we instill growth mindsets (one of our core values is GROW!) and unlock an awareness of opportunities -- for every one of our scholars -- in college, career, and life. 2) We opened for Kindergarten and 1st grade in 2020, [...]

Top 10 Reasons To Attend Catalyst2024-03-16T14:25:41-04:00
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