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Special Services

Northgate's Special Services Department encompasses clinical services, school counseling, health services, home and school visitation, as well as special education programs, and services and supports for students requiring accommodations to access their education due to a disability as defined by federal and state law. Our mission is to provide the necessary supports to maximize the academic, social, and emotional growth for each and every student.

Special Services Programs

English Language Learners

The Northgate School District provides a language instructional education program (LIEP) for English Learners in K-12 who qualify for instruction. Our LIEP program includes assessment, instruction, and consultation.

When the district refers a student to the LIEP program, the student is evaluated to determine his or her English language proficiency. The LIEP staff then recommends the number of hours of instruction that would be most appropriate for the student based on state guidelines. At the end of each nine-week period, parents of English Learners receive a report card regarding their child's academic progress. Each child in the program takes a statewide assessment to chart Annual Yearly Progress for No Child Left Behind regulations to determine their growth and proficiency for the next academic year.

For more information on Northgate's ESL program, please contact:
Director of Special Services
Christina Garczewski
cgarczewski@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2108

Elementary AIU ESL Teacher
Merissa Hayden
mhayden@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 4208

Secondary AIU ESL Teacher
Deanna Richey
drichey@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 1227

Gifted Education

The Northgate School District is committed to meeting the needs of gifted students by ensuring that they are served through a program designed to address their individual interests and strengths.

Elementary Program
The elementary gifted support program provides opportunities to enhance the student's individual strengths and interests with specially designed activities and enrichment experiences. In the support program, students meet weekly where hands-on activities, research, independent projects, field trips, academic and creative competitions, and higher-level thinking skills are developed to meet identified individual needs. The elementary gifted student's needs are also addressed in the regular classroom.

Middle School Program
The middle school gifted program is designed to enhance the gifted student's individual needs throughout the entire school day. Student needs in the regular education program are met through the use of advanced questioning techniques, curriculum compacting, independent study, and/or differentiated outcomes and products. Students have the opportunity to participate in enrichment workshops, seminars, contests, and competitions based on their individual strengths and needs. In addition, gifted students complete enrichment experiences through pull-out GATE classes, where they can collaborate with other gifted peers.

High School Program
The high school program is designed to offer the gifted student the opportunity to continue to develop and apply their individual skills and talents. Each student's identified needs determine the level of intervention which may range from regular educational support and differentiation, honors and advanced placement classes, to workshops, competitions, shadow studies, mentoring partnerships, and independent studies and projects. These students may receive differentiation and participate in activities the classroom cannot offer.

For more information on Northgate's Gifted Education program, please contact:
Director of Special Services
Christina Garczewski
cgarczewski@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2108

Gifted Education
Robb Craycraft
rcraycraft@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 1120

Homeless Student Services

In compliance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as reauthorized in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Northgate School District is attempting to identify all children within the district that may be experiencing homelessness.

The term homeless children and youth is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes individuals:  

  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations or similar settings
  • Living in substandard housing (no running water or working utilities, infestations, etc.).


Children who are experiencing homelessness may qualify for assistance with free school lunch, school supplies/materials, tutoring and transportation so that they can remain in their school of origin throughout the duration of their homeless episode. Please reference the Basic Education Circular - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program for more information.

If your living situation changes during the school year, and you and your child(ren) become homeless, please be sure to contact the school. We will work with you so that your child(ren)’s education is disrupted as little as possible.

If you believe your child(ren) may qualify for this service, please contact:
Homeless Liaison
Christina Garczewski
cgarczewski@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2108

Psychological Services

The Northgate School District is able to provide student level and systems level school psychological services in order to help students benefit from their educational programming. Student level services may include interventions and instructional support to help develop academic skills, as well as, interventions and mental health services to develop social and life skills. Systems-level services include consultation for school-wide practices that promote learning and crisis response services. The School Psychologist works as a member of multiple school-based teams to support the problem-solving process and provide consultative services to teachers and parents as needed. Northgate employs a full-time school psychologist to help provide and oversee such services. Additional supports are delivered through guidance counselors for both the guidance department and school psychology services.

For more information on Northgate's Psychological Services, please contact:
School Psychologist
Krista Black
kblack@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2124

Special Education

The Northgate School District is dedicated to providing high-quality instruction and support services for all students, including those who have disabilities and special learning needs. The District employs highly-qualified special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and therapy service providers at every grade level to provide support to students identified with disabilities.

Elementary Program
Our Elementary Special Education Program includes Learning Support and Speech/Language Support is provided in both elementary buildings. Students with disabilities can receive direct instruction in academic subjects from the special education teacher, in the special education classroom, if decided upon through their Individualized Education Program (IEP). The design of the program is to provide small group and/or one-on-one instruction in the identified academic areas. We also have a Life Skills Support classroom, which is located at Avalon Elementary School. Speech/Language Supports are offered on an itinerant basis based upon the student's IEP. Services are also contracted through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU), which include: Vision Support, Hearing Support, Audiological Support, Occupational and Physical Therapy.

Secondary Program
Our Secondary School Special Education Program includes Learning Support, Speech/Language Support, and full-time Life Skills Support. A resource class is available for students with IEP’s. This is a structured study hall with a learning support teacher. This provides students with the specially designed instruction necessary to be successful, including modified testing, assistance with completion of assignments and academic assistance. Some classes utilize the inclusion model but direct instruction is also provided for those students who require more intense one-on-one instruction. The IEP team makes the decision as to whether or not a student will be included in the regular education classroom or receive direct instruction in the special education classroom. Additional support services are also contracted through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) to meet student need.

For more information on Northgate's Special Education Program, please contact:
Director of Special Services
Christina Garczewski
cgarczewski@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2108

For More Information

Director of Special Services
Christina Garczewski
cgarczewski@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2108

Gifted Education
Robb Craycraft
rcraycraft@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 1120

School Psychologist
Krista Black
kblack@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2124

Title I
Francesca Lattari
flattari@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 2109