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Northgate teachers serve as presenters as part of the AIU’s professional development series

Students noisily filing into school buildings, locker doors slamming, bells ringing; the sounds of a typical school day have gone silent across our nation. While school buildings may be closed, the business of learning has continued for teachers and students in a new format. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down our schools, teachers have had to adapt quickly to the world of online instruction. For many, this is the first experience with online teaching and learning.

Every grade level poses its own challenges, and key skills and concepts need to be developed throughout. However, no skill may be more important than the ability to read. The task of teaching this skill begins in Pre K and Kindergarten. While this task is never easy, the prospect of teaching students to read online initially seemed insurmountable.

What looked like an impossible challenge just weeks ago has become a success story at the Northgate School District. On Tuesday, May 12, the Kindergarten Team from Bellevue and Avalon Elementary Buildings presented their approach for teaching the fundamental skills for reading as part of a professional development series hosted online by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Made up of a pre K teacher, five classroom teachers, two special education teachers, and a team of teacher assistants, this group has met daily since the close of the school buildings to plan lessons, produce videos, and discuss how to best meet the needs of each student in a virtual environment.

During the presentation each of the teachers took part in explaining not only what they are doing online, but why this is an important part of developing readers. Through technology tools like Google Classroom, SeeSaw, and Class Dojo, teachers are able to share videos and students can share videos back displaying their learning and receiving positive feedback. As they talked about their approach to delivering a structured literacy program to teachers across the region, what really shined through was the level of teamwork that was necessary to make this happen each week and how grateful the teachers are for parents who are supporting the students’ learning at home.

Two teachers from the Northgate Middle and High Schools are scheduled to present as part of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s series entitled “We Are In This Together.” With so many changes and challenges for education, it’s exciting to see Northgate teachers leading the way and sharing their success with educators across our region.

Northgate Teacher Earns Prestigious Carnegie Science Award

We are proud to announce that our very own Mrs. Karen Klicker will receive the Carnegie Science Center Elementary Educator Award. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than Karen Klicker. She means so much more to our community than being a great teacher,” said Avalon Elementary School Principal Dr. Joseph J. Peacock Jr.

“Her incredible humility and perseverance are an inspiration to her students and colleagues alike,” he continued. “No matter the instance, Karen always puts her students, school, and community first, as she watches them grow in the glow of the spotlight. It is wonderful to finally see her in the spotlight.”

The 24th annual Carnegie Science Awards Celebration on Sept. 17, presented by Eaton, will recognize these science and technology leaders for their achievements in 16 categories. Click here to read the article that appeared in North Hills Monthly magazine. 

First page of the PDF file: KindergartenRegistrationEvent2020-21

We are pleased to announce that our Welcome to our 2020 Kindergarten Registration has been rescheduled for Monday, June 8 from 5-8 pm. We are excited to spend Monday evening with you and your child.

Please note that your time of completing the registration will be based on the time that you arrive at Avalon Elementary. There will be several activity areas throughout the building that you can visit while you are waiting to register or after you complete the registration process.

Event Flyer
Kindergarten Information

Coronavirus Response

The health and well-being of our Northgate family is our highest priority. The district will maintain frequent communication in the coming weeks as this ongoing situation evolves. We will continue to follow the guidance from the Allegheny County Health DepartmentPennsylvania Department of HealthPennsylvania Department of Education and Centers for Disease Control during the closure, and reevaluate as necessary.

We recognize that this closure is a disruption to our students, staff and families. This is a challenging time, and we thank you for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we make responsible decisions to keep our community safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Page

Swimmers Prepare for State Championship

Based on their performance at last week’s WPIAL Championship, several Northgate/Avonworth swimmers will be competing at the PIAA Championship on March 13-14 at Bucknell University.

Swimmers qualifying for the Girls PIAA Championship in individual events include Sophomore Anna Neiss who will be seeded 11th in the 50 Freestyle and 26th in the 100 Freestyle. Neiss will also be participating in 2 relay events, the 16th seeded 200 Medley Relay and the 25th seeded 200 Freestyle Relay, with Seniors Angie Patarini and Kaylee Madey along with Freshman Taryn Navilliat and Catarina Raich. Junior Danica Raich and Sophomore Anna Kohler are alternates.

Swimming individual Events for the boys will be Senior Luke Tomczak who is seeded 14th in the 200 Individual Medley, Junior Cooper Groll who is seeded 5th in the 100 Butterfly and 11th in the 100 Freestyle and Freshman Matthew Purcell who is seeded 10th in the 100 Backstroke and  22nd in the 200 Individual Medley. The boy’s team will be fielding teams in all three relay events which include a 7th seed in the 400 Freestyle Relay, 8th seed in the 200 Medley Relay and a 9th seed in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Joining Tomczak, Groll and Purcell in the relays will be Senior Luke Wagner and Juniors Clark Bernauer and Graham Herzig. Junior Hugo Eadie and Freshman Jack Blaser are the alternates.

The Finals of the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships will be carried live on the PCN Cable Channel and
Written By: Rick Wagner

New Secondary Courses Approved

Northgate has added new academic programming for next year. We are adding several electives to our high school schedule including Economics (Fall), Anthropology (Spring), Entrepreneurship, Intro to Piano, Personal Finance, Special Science Topics, and a new Innovation and Design program.

The Innovation and Design courses will start with a middle school engineering elective. In 9th grade, students will be able to take Intro to Engineering and design which will be co-taught by a member of the Science faculty and a Technical Education teacher. We will also offer Innovation and Design I, II, and III for grades 10-12.

Innovation and Design is a project-based learning course that provides students with the methods and the tools to solve real-world problems in the community. Problem-solving methodologies taught in this class will include the scientific method, the Engineering Design Process, and Human-centered Design methods from the LUMA Institute and others. The types of problems that the students work on include problems from home, their school, the local community, business, and not-for-profit institutions. Students will team up with various local organizations to solve problems using engineering principles.

The middle school will also have a few new electives for students to choose during scheduling. The middle school rotations will be changed to include computer science in both 7th and 8th grade. Both courses will focus heavily on coding, but the 8th grade course will focus on using Hummingbirds while the 7th grade course focuses on using Photon robots. Art 7 and Music 8 will round out the rotations with the previously included Health and Physical Education.

We will also add a 7th grade Personal Fitness elective. The 7th grade electives include Personal Fitness, MS News, MS Industrial Arts, Chorus and Band. The 8th grade electives include MS Engineering and Design, MS Entrepreneurship, Foreign Language Rotation, Chorus, and Band.

Click here to view the entire course catalog. Any specific scheduling questions should be directed to the guidance counselor assigned to your student.

Northgate Participates in Companies in the Classroom

This month we had the pleasure of hosting executives from all over the Greater Pittsburgh region. We were honored to have representatives from The Grable Foundation, The Consortium for Public Education, Penn State University, Koppers, Federal Reserve Bank, and Siemens. Each company representative was paired with two different students and they shadowed those students for two periods. After a building tour, we had a lunch and learn session where students and company representatives brainstormed ways that business and education can cooperate to best prepare our students for the workforce. Each group discussed what experiences, skills, and knowledge students need to be successful in the workforce. This was a wonderful event and we are so proud of our kids, our school, and what we have planned for the future. #CompaniesintheClassroom2020  


5th Grade Participates in JA Biztown

After months of preparing, our 5th grade students finally took the trip they had been looking forward to for months!  They were the first students in Allegheny County to participate in the recently opened JA Biztown.  This simulated community provides students an opportunity to practice many real life skills including applying for jobs, earning a paycheck, depositing money into the bank, budgeting, managing a checkbook, voting, working as a team to help their businesses succeed, purchasing products, etc.  The students had been working on these skills for months and their visit to Biztown provided the opportunity to put these new skills into action.  The students had a fantastic day with one student summing it up best when he said, “Best field trip ever!  That was awesome!”  Thank you to Junior Achievement of Western PA and all of the business sponsors for providing this amazing learning opportunity.  We look forward to returning next year!

Northgate Senior Signs Letter of Intent

Congratulations to Northgate senior, Hailey McClain, who recently signed her letter of intent to play soccer at Thiel College.  Hailey’s family were in attendance along with Avonworth Head Soccer Coach JC Mahan, Assistant Coach Lindsey Reichert and Northgate Athletic Director Bryan Kyle. Also there to celebrate her signing were coaches from her soccer club team FC Pittsburgh, Coach Paige Petroval, Coach Jason Edwards and Coach Alessandro Moreira. 

Hailey plans to study Data Analytics with a minor in Sports Management. She hopes to one day analyze data on athletes and use it to help promote them to the next level. Through the Northgate College in the High School program, Hailey was able to earn 25 college credits which will give her a head start as she begins her studies at Thiel College.


We wish her the best of luck!

Northgate School District Receives $35,000 to Expand Computer Science Classes

The Northgate School District has recently been awarded a PA smart Targeted grant to expand computer science classes and teacher training for students in Pre-K through 8th grade. This $35,000 grant will be used to train teachers and to purchase technology in alignment with a school-wide computer science program. Through this program, all students will have an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of computer coding and to apply that work with robotics.

This grant represents one component of the governor’s initiative, which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and professional development for teachers across the commonwealth.

“PAsmart is strategically investing in science and technology education so students develop the skills they need for high-demand jobs,” said Governor Wolf. “To be successful, we must also invest in our educators by providing them the training to teach these critical subjects.

“Through PAsmart, we are developing the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help students excel, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” he said.

Over the next 10 years, 71 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania will require employees to use computers and new technologies.

“Job growth in the STEM and computer science field is driving the Pennsylvania and national economies, and Governor Wolf recognizes that expanding access to these programs is absolutely critical to preparing students for an ever-changing workforce,” said Secretary of Education Rivera. “PA smart grants help train educators so they are providing high-quality STEM and computer science instruction and experiences in their classrooms to students of all ages, including those who have been historically underserved and underrepresented in these opportunities and fields.”

Northgate School District is working to prepare students to fill the jobs in our region that are increasingly driven by technology. By providing the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century world of high tech manufacturing and computer science, Northgate graduates will be more competitive and have the opportunity to remain in our region beyond graduation.

First page of the PDF file: Pre-k

Eligible children will be accepted into this program for the 2020-2021 program year, with preference given to children who will enter Kindergarten in the 2021-2022 school year and who are not currently enrolled or selected for other Pre-K programs.

The Pre-K Counts classroom is located at Bellevue Elementary School. There is no cost to parents/guardians for this program. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Space for this program is limited. If you are interested, registration packets are available at:

Avalon Elementary 721 California Avenue, 412-732-3300, ext. 3000


Bellevue Elementary 435 Lincoln Avenue, 412-732-3300, ext. 4000

Students must have a completed application to be considered for the program. Should you have any questions, please call (412) 732-3300, Ext. 2109.

Northgate Hosts Agency By Design Workshop

Northgate School District will be hosting an Agency By Design workshop this month.  Agency by Design is educational initiatives that emphasize making, design, engineering, and tinkering have been gaining traction in schools and organizations across the country. While maker-centered learning is not a new concept, recent and emerging trends suggest a new kind of hands-on pedagogy—a responsive and flexible pedagogy that encourages community and collaboration (a do-it-together mentality), distributed teaching and learning, and crossing boundaries. To learn more, visit the Agency By Design website at

Northgate Attends AMLE 2019

Press Release

On November 7th, 8th, and 9th, Northgate sent a team of teachers and administrators to the Association for Middle Level Education’s National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This conference offers more than 300 sessions addressing issues vital to middle school educators.  Featuring two keynote speakers, each day of the conference kicked off with the thoughts and expertise of Baruti Kafele and Jessica Lahey. Baruti Kafele engaged the audience of more than 4,000 middle level educators as he talked about instructional leadership and how to “walk your why” every day. Both captivating and realistic, Mr. Kafele gave advice on how to strive for continuous improvement in our schools and focused on ensuring that everyone in leadership is perceived as someone who can make everyone around him or her better. Mrs. Lahey, author of the book “The Gift of Failure,” spoke about the mistakes we make as parents and educators in an effort to help our students succeed. According to Mrs. Lahey, by motivating students using extrinsic rewards and encouraging students to focus on things such as points and grades, we are undermining motivation and long-term learning. While both speakers presented well-researched and essential perspectives to consider, these two sessions were just the beginning of a lot of critical lessons to learn about students in the middle grades. The Northgate team was also able to learn from expert educators in important areas such as trauma based teaching and learning, culture building, safety and learning, technology in the classroom, and formative assessment. 

In addition to learning new ways to improve the experience for Northgate students, the team from Northgate presented a 60 minute session on how our advisory program has positively impacted our middle school students over the past year. The focus of the presentation was centered on finding ways to connect with students and provide advocacy for them as they navigate the sometimes treacherous middle grades. At Northgate, students are “drafted” into an advisory based on an interest survey completed in 6th grade. Teachers spend a lot of time considering which faculty advisor will best fit the needs of each incoming 7th and 8th grader. Once in an advisory, the group becomes somewhat of a family at school. Students and their advisors work to check in each Monday to discuss the weekend happenings and review current events. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, each team works together to develop the essential social and emotional skills our students will need to navigate successful futures. Wednesdays are dedicated to goal setting, peer tutoring, and grade monitoring, and Fridays are full of fun! In addition to all of these important tasks, the middle school team works to improve school culture by embarking on multiple school wide projects such as service learning, door and hallway decorating, mindfulness, spreading positivity, and kindness.

The faculty at Northgate understands that a well rounded education consists of much more than general subjects such as Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Teaching students vital soft skills to prepare them for a global society is an important piece of the Northgate curriculum, and the middle level team is proud to have been invited to speak on behalf of the amazing things that are happening every day at Northgate.