Northside schools ready for new school year with new faces and places


Photo by Merecedes J. Howze

Pittsburgh Schiller staff  during STEAM Training.

By Merecedes J. Howze

Northside schools are gearing up for the 2015-16 school year with new principals, new building additions and new, exciting advantages to best serve local families.

Pittsburgh Morrow Welcomes New Principal

Darrel PrioPPS_0064leau, a native of Charleston, SC, was appointed to serve as principal of Pittsburgh Morrow PreK-8 in June. Before arriving to Pittsburgh, Prioleau served as principal of Northern Middle School in Ownings, MD.

With more than a decade of school administrative experience in both Maryland and North Carolina, Prioleau is excited about his new post at the Brighton Heights school, and has a lot of healthy ideas.

“One of my goals for this school year is to change the school culture. It means working to build a school that coexists as one school, one mindset, and one goal,” Prioleau said.

Dedicated to setting a higher standard at Pittsburgh Morrow, Prioleau said, “I am here to serve the community. It is my responsibility to make sure that every kid that walks through our doors receives a quality education.”

PPS Reacquires Pittsburgh Clayton Academy

Pittsburgh Clayton Academy 6-12 in Perry Hilltop will once again be operated by the Pittsburgh Public Schools with the start of the 2015-16 school year. The Board voted last year to end its contract with Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), who has been operating Clayton since 2011.

The school’s new administrator, Rhonda Brown, is the epitome of alternative education. With the majority of her 21-year career as an educator in alternative education within the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Brown is ready to take the lead.

At Pittsburgh Clayton, she feels right as home in her director role.

“Pittsburgh Clayton is going back to the basics by bringing in Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers, rigorous academics and content areas for each grade level,” Brown said prior to the year.

With a little over 100 students enrolled, Brown is confident the school will have a “successful year and smooth transition.”

She added: “We have a sensational, capable staff that is ready to teach and support these students.”

STEAM at Pittsburgh Schiller

The new STEAM lab at Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 in East Deutschtown isn’t the only thing fresh and innovative brewing this school year. Since adopting the STEAM curriculum, Principal Paula Heinzman recognizes that her staff has also adopted a new approach to STEAM instruction. In late July, her staff participated in a two-week training that “fostered collaboration amongst the faculty, causing them to work great together.”

The new STEAM lab, with its hard, durable surfaces, 3D printers and competitive robotics kits, will facilitate multiple small groups working simultaneously. Housed in the former library, the revised working space, scheduled to be ready later this Fall, will also serve as a place for teachers and students to work in a new, cohesive setting.

“We will engage students in a new way,” Heinzman said. “We are opening up a whole new world for our students. I can’t wait to see how the kids respond not only to the lab but also the new style of learning.”

The new style of learning Heinzman is referring to is project-based learning. As the school transitions from lecture-style learning, Shaun Tomaszewski, Coordinator of STEAM Curriculum, said he has already witnesses a clear “shift in instructional practices towards meaningful project based learning experiences for kids.”

Pittsburgh Allegheny’s Walk for the Promise

The Pittsburgh Promise is hosting its annual Walk for One Promise on Saturday, Sept. 26. The half-marathon is designed to raise money and awareness about the unique scholarship. One of the stops is Pittsburgh Allegheny.

“The Pittsburgh Promise, like many other local initiatives, is a support for our families. And we want to support the Promise in any way we can with this walk,” said Molly O’Malley-Argueta, Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5 principal, said.

At Pittsburgh Allegheny, supporters will pass out water and serve as a resting stop for participants. The walk, which begins and ends at Pittsburgh Phillips Elementary in South Side, will provide snacks, drinks, bathroom breaks and shuttles for walkers. For more information about how to get involved, please feel free to visit:


-Photo of Darrel Prioleau (above) by Alexis Tippett



Northside Chronicle Donation