How Catalyst Academy Opened During a Pandemic


This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Business Times on March 22, 2021. It was written by Julia Mericle. Here's how a charter school in Pittsburgh's east end opened in the midst of the pandemic When Brian Smith started the journey to opening Catalyst Academy Charter School four years ago, he did not expect to welcome the school’s first students in the midst of a global pandemic. Smith, founder and CEO, said he spent several years obtaining the necessary requirements to open a charter school, and he and his team received final approval to open the school in the fall of 2019. By [...]

How Catalyst Academy Opened During a Pandemic2021-04-10T15:54:13-04:00

Social Emotional Learning at Catalyst 


At Catalyst we are dedicated to preparing our scholars to achieve their dreams. By closing achievement and opportunity gaps, our educational philosophy seeks mastery along three dimensions:college readiness, career readiness and life readiness. This week we are focusing on life readiness. Here’s a quick review of what all three mean to us:  College Readiness All scholars will be prepared to attend and graduate from a four-year college or university.  Catalyst scholars will be prepared by achieving mastery of a broad, rigorous college-preparatory curriculum that both prepares and inspires. Career Readiness All scholars need to be equipped with the skills to thrive [...]

Social Emotional Learning at Catalyst 2021-03-15T21:05:04-04:00

Make the Switch: Grade 2


Changing your child’s school can feel daunting. Sometimes it’s more daunting for parents than for the student. Here we’re focusing on the second grade and how truly seamless it can be. At Catalyst, we are ready to welcome your second grader to our founding second grade class.  Open for only K and 1st for the 2020-2021 school year, we are thrilled with our successes as a new public charter school. As our charter outlined, we will grow a grade each year until we are a K-8 public school. We prepare every one of our scholars to define and achieve their dreams. [...]

Make the Switch: Grade 22021-03-05T18:12:55-05:00

Why is Play Important? 


At Catalyst, play time is very important to us. We ensure our scholars get PE four days a week! Plus plenty of recess time and movement brain breaks. Why?  We’re very glad you asked.  Play creates a sense of adventure and nurtures imagination. Through play, children of all ages, learn valuable skills like working with others, sharing, problem-solving and more. In turn, play can also help our scholars develop their ability to concentrate. “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” [...]

Why is Play Important? 2021-03-03T12:48:46-05:00

Why Choosing Kindergarten Matters


Kindergarten is a special time for every child. It’s also an important decision for families and caregivers - which kindergarten to choose. Thank you for considering us in your search. At Catalyst, we love Kindergarten!  Catalyst is a tuition-free public charter school, the first new public school in over six years in Pittsburgh. We’re here to make and keep learning fun. We aim to prepare our scholars for a lifetime of curiosity, confidence and character-building. Our school is currently K-1 and will be a K-2 in the 2021-2022 school year, so we can focus on our youngest learners, and grow with [...]

Why Choosing Kindergarten Matters2021-02-09T21:15:20-05:00

Catalyst Academy announces open enrollment for 2021-22 school year


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 catalystacademy.org.  Located at 7061 Lemington Avenue, Catalyst Academy is one of the only [...]

Catalyst Academy announces open enrollment for 2021-22 school year2021-02-24T18:38:58-05:00

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
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