Teamwork is possible

March 8, 2023 | Sharon Sedlar

Back in January when we held our first ever Pittsburgh NSCW School Fair, I was nervous.  How would the event be received in our area?  Would we have support from the community and schools?  Would we be able to offer families enough information to make their attendance worthwhile?

Well, we exceeded expectations, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!  So far, we’ve highlighted cyber charter schools, homeschool organizations, and our partner on-location services in our newsletters.  There’s much more to come, but for this week the focus is on Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Online Academy and Magnet Programs.

Ms. Ebony Latham is the Project Manager for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Magnet Office, and Ms. Aisha Robinson is Acting Principal for the Online Academy.  It was a true pleasure to speak to, and work with, them and we are grateful for their attendance!

So in this newsletter, I’d like to share with you some information about the magnet and online programs offered by the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Magnet Program has a great variety of specialized programming, focus and educational environment. Some of the classes they offer include:

  • Pre-engineering computer science and teaching
  • Creative and performing arts
  • French, Spanish, or Mandarin
  • International studies
  • Montessori Method
  • Classical
  • Traditional
  • University

Non-city residents can be admitted if there is space available on a tuition basis.
The application process can be easily completed online.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Online Academy has many unique programs and resources for grades 4-12, including:

  • Honors, AP and STEM based course options
  • Three classroom computer labs, a multi-purpose room, a library, and an art lab
  • A drop in support center, Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 3 pm where breakfast and lunch is served daily
  • Teacher zoom rooms for virtual instruction and assistance
  • Museum tours, hands-on STEM activities, virtual enrichment, field trips and district sponsored events
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Extracurricular activities and sports
  • Gifted and Talented programming
  • Eligibility for the Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship

Private, charter or parochial students outside of the Pittsburgh Public School district may attend the online academy (tuition rates apply). Equipment and internet access are provided to the students.

While at the fair, I spoke with Ms. Latham and Ms. Robinson about students, families, education, and options.  As with every other education provider attending the event, they believe in primary focus on students’ needs – their ability and freedom to excel in their best education environment – perhaps via open enrollment or with a re-envisioned transportation system for students – but these ideas just don’t seem to develop to fruition.  And they deserve a much closer look.

In the meantime, I’m elated to have been a facilitator in the networking and conversations I witnessed between private schools, charter schools, cyber charter schools, homeschooling organizations, community resources and extra-curriculars, and of course Pittsburgh Public School representatives – all focused not on political posturing or balance sheets, but rather on the children and families in our area, their needs, and how they can be helped by our attending providers.

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