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Avalon Elementary

Avalon Elementary will be hosting a Welcome Back Water Games event for its families from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 18 on the field behind the school. The event will include a student versus teacher water balloon battle!

Free hot dogs and refreshments will be served, as well as free ice cream from Scoops in Bellevue, courtesy of the Avalon Elementary PTO. 

We look forward to seeing the Avalon Elementary community gather together as we get ready to start the upcoming school year! 

Keino Fitzpatrick

Northgate School District’s new athletic director wants to increase student interest in sports, citing involvement in extracurricular activities as a vital aspect of youth development. 

Keino Fitzpatrick took over as the new athletic director in the district on July 1, replacing the retiring Bryan Kyle in the role. 

Fitzpatrick brings with him more than two decades of experience in high school athletics. He has coached football, basketball and track in Pittsburgh Public Schools, as well as in the Avonworth and Riverview school districts. 

“The ability to balance your academics and athletics in a school is essential to the development of a child,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s not just sports, it’s all extracurricular activities.” 

Fitzpatrick wants to encourage all students to participate in an extracurricular activity relating to their interests, whether in sports, the arts or technology. 

“It gives them the opportunity to build social skills, build additional disciplines, build essential innate skills that will help them in life,” he said. 

But athletics differ from many other activities as competition comes into play, and Fitzpatrick aims to promote an environment to help foster a competitive spirit in Northgate.

“These kids like to compete. They like challenges,” he said. “Student athletes are different. The desire to build a student athlete rather than a student who participates in athletics is key to me.” 

That process starts in grade school. Fitzpatrick said he hopes the school district can work with other community organizations to help promote and booster youth involvement in sports to help create a lifetime interest that continues into high school.

“It can almost serve as a feeder system,” he said. “We need to have these partnerships in the community, because there is a total community and school effort around this thing.” 

Northgate offers a variety of sports at the middle and high school level, including cheer, football and volleyball in the fall. A new sport this year will be junior varsity football, which will provide more playing time to underclassmen. 

While he has only been at the helm for a couple of weeks, Fitzpatrick said he is excited about the enthusiasm in the district.

“I’m excited to help coaches build programs that they see are essential to the development of student athletes,” he said. 

“I think the folks who see this as an opportunity are jumping in to support me to make sure new ideas are heard. I think that’s the greatest thing I like about this opportunity.”

Northgate partners with Carnegie Mellon, EdMotion to create multimedia classroom

The Northgate School District is partnering with Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Center and EdMotion to create a 3D interactive learning classroom for students in the Middle/High School. 

The new SmaLLab classroom project is part of the recent Moonshot Grant the school district received. The student multimedia accelerated learning lab features high-precision cameras, projectors and other equipment capable of supporting thousands of learning activities. 

“It turns an entire classroom into a virtual environment,” Dr. Jeff Evancho, Northgate’s director of Community Partnerships, said. “This is a tool that brings a game-based learning environment to our students to boost student engagement, and ultimately, student achievement.” 

The classroom is being installed in the high school near the library. Evancho said it will transform the wing of the building into a modern creative learning space. 

“We’re making it more attractive for teachers to bring students there,” he said. “It will be accessible for teachers to use all the time for a variety of lessons.” 

Part of the use of the new rooms will support the district’s Chill Project, an imitative with Allegheny Health Network that has greatly expanded the social-emotional learning and support throughout all grade levels. 

About 80 graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University will be designing the experiences to support the equipment.

“I look at it as building infrastructure to give us greatest opportunity to create more student engagement,” Evancho said. “This is a great opportunity for our students.” 

Join the superintendent for coffee and a discussion about school safety

Northgate families are invited to join Superintendent Dr. Caroline Johns for a cup of coffee and a discussion about Northgate’s ongoing school safety initiatives. The conversation would center on the district safety committee's work to maintain a high standard of safety procedures and policies, as well as allow parents an opportunity to speak with administration. 

Please join us at the Northgate Middle/High School Library on one of the following dates:

5:30 p.m. | July 19

8 a.m. | July 26

10 a.m. | Aug. 1

Please RSVP to Laureen Dowd if you are interested in attending one of these meetings.

Coffee with Dr. Johns title card. 
First page of the PDF file: makerspacethumbnail

Want to help Avalon Elementary students learn through creativity? Become a Certified Coach for the Northgate Makerspace by completing three workshop sessions! 

Our innovative makerspace is a creative and risk-free environment to accumulate success and learning at every turn. Each of these training sessions will provide a meal, T-shirt, child care and a delicious dessert. It’s simply “Learning you can sink your teeth into.” 

There is no obligation to attend all three workshops. You may also attend any of the sessions simply to have fun and connect with other families!

We are offering parent workshops where we take you behind the curtain of maker learning and the soft skills of teaching/coaching we use everyday in classrooms throughout our school.  

Please see the attached document and use the links below to sign up for the first session of your choosing. If you have any questions, please email Dr. Joseph Peacock, principal, at

Tuesday, July 12th

Wednesday, August 10th

Tuesday, August 16th

YMCA after-school grant application deadline extended to July 11

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is excited to announce it has been awarded a grant to fund 20 students in the after-school program in the Northgate School District next school year.

The YMCA is currently accepting applications for these 20 spots.

In order to qualify you must:

Fill out the attached applicationPlease email the completed form to Spots will be allocated to families who qualify on a first come, first served basis.  If you have already registered for the after-school program, you can still apply to see if you would qualify for a funded spot.

Students are expected to attend the program every day that they attend school with few understandable exceptions.  Families who only need/want to attend the program part-time should not apply for these spots.

The program begins at the end of the school day and runs until 6 p.m.

The deadline to apply has been extended to July 11.

Families will be notified no later than July 14 regarding the status of their application.  

Families who receive the funded spots will be notified by email and will be expected to officially register online and pay a one-time $30 registration fee.  There will not be any additional fees for the remainder of the school year to participate in the program.

For more information on the program, contact the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.


YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh Family Eligibility Application Form

Northgate After-School Registration Information 

Northgate selected for Moonshot grant

The Northgate School District was selected as a Moonshot grantee by Remake Learning for its continuing efforts to improve mental health resources for students through innovative practices.

In 2021, Remake Learning asked educators to dream big — to think of innovative, creative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our schools and learning communities. Since then, 17 inaugural Moonshot grantees have received more than $1 million in funding to build out experimental ideas, test new concepts, and find powerful ways to move education toward a new future of learning.

Remake Learning will again distribute more than $1 million this year in support of bold ideas for the future of learning, and Northgate was one of nine educational entities selected in the first round of applicants to join the 2022 cohort.

The grant will support the district’s Partnerships for Change project, a partnership with  Carnegie Mellon University, Allegheny Health Network, Simcoach Games, and Chill Therapists to create game-based mental health tools and a school-based horticulture therapy site, which will also incorporate game interventions. Over the 2022-23 school year, the project team will work with student developers to ensure relevance and build a system for developing, testing, and scaling ideas.

Superintendent Dr. Caroline Johns said the project aims to increase and scale the district’s behavioral and mental health services by: building and testing a school site-based horticulture therapy program and technological and game-based behavioral/mental health interventions in connection with the CHILL project. The proposed technological and game-based behavioral/mental health interventions would also work in connection with the new horticulture therapy program.

Moonshot grantees have challenged traditional notions of professional development, explored personalized learning in schools by abandoning traditional letter grades, and experimented with community-based, multigenerational learning.

“Each of these projects was selected because they go above and beyond in their missions to engage students, remove barriers, increase accessibility, and utilize new learning environments,” said Tyler Samstag, Remake Learning Network Director. “Moonshot Grants were created to disrupt the status quo and we can’t wait to see what this cohort of grantees will accomplish.”

Support for Moonshot Grants is generously provided by The Grable Foundation and The Benedum Foundation.

Other educational entities in the cohort include: Baldwin-Whitehall School District, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Environmental Charter School, The Woodlands Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, California Area School District, Hatch and the Wheeling County Day School.

Dr. Smith selected as a recipient of the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award

Dr. Nicole Smith, principal of Northgate High School, is a recipient of the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award.

Each year, Schools That Can (STC) and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights join forces to publicly recognize leaders from STC's diverse national network of schools. School leaders, teachers, and students who embody leadership, commitment to change and progress, and dedication to helping their communities are nominated.

“I’m very flattered to be honored,” said Dr. Smith who will be recognized during a virtual awards ceremony Thursday with other esteemed educators. “They think I have made changes here at Northgate that are impacting our students in such a positive way.”

Dr. Smith was nominated by Carol Wooten, senior lead consultant for Schools That Can, and Bryn Simpson, Director of Educational Programs for the organization.

“They’ve been wonderful to partner with,” Dr. Smith said. “They have a lot of experience in the field and do a lot of great things for students in the Pittsburgh area and around the country.”

Schools That Can is a national not-for-profit network of K-12 schools in multiple cities, focused on providing culturally relevant career readiness programming that helps schools meet student needs

Northgate has worked closely with Schools That Can in recent years, especially to help bolster the school district’s career readiness preparation for students.

“They’ve had representatives come into our school to speak to 10th grade students to help them define their career pathways,” Dr. Smith said. “That includes doing mock interviews and other kinds of career preparation. We will continue to expand on our career and future readiness projects with them.”

In addition to career readiness, Northgate has partnered with Schools That Can to expand resources for its engineering programming, as well as participate in the organization’s annual Design Challenge.

Northgate celebrates Pride Month

June marks the celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. During Pride Month, we take the opportunity to celebrate the courage and strength of the individuals in our community who are fighting to live freely and authentically. In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable community. No matter who we are, what we look like, or who we love, we know our communities are stronger when everyone can be their authentic selves, work together, and show up for each other.

The Northgate School District would like to express its support for all of those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.  This June you inspire us to continue to build a more equitable and supportive school community where everyone can thrive.