Big changes are coming to Brighton Heights’ neighborhood school, Morrow Elementary, this year. Last year, Morrow saw an influx that brought an additional 200 students into the school that created a crammed learning environment.
To address the problem, Morrow is expanding into the nearby Rooney building, which has been closed since 2010. PreK-fourth grade students will remain in Morrow’s main building along Davis Avenue, while students in grades five through seven will move into the refurbished Rooney building on Fleming Avenue, where they will grow into an eighth grade class next year.
The expansion will also bring roughly 20 new staff members and a lot of repair work on the Rooney building.
Morrow Principal Jamie Kinzel-Nath discussed the upcoming year with The Northside Chronicle.
Can you outline some of the changes happening this year at Morrow?
We are expanding from a PreK-5 to a PreK-7 this year, and we’ll add on eighth grade the following year. In addition to that we’re opening a second campus in the Rooney building, which will hold grades 5-8.
We have new staff coming on board, new computers, new SMART Boards and new interscholastic sports programs for the middle school kids. They fixed the building up really nice for us. It’s going to be beautiful.
How do you think these changes will affect students and families?
Now we’ll have children split across two campuses, which will give us more room that we definitely needed … Last year, we had a huge influx of kids, and every space that could have been used as a classroom was.
What challenges do you anticipate these changes will bring?
Getting everybody use to the new procedures. Busses will have to drop the babies off at the Morrow building before dropping the older kids off at the secondary campus. Walkers will need to make their way to the primary campus to pick up younger siblings.
I think it’ll all shake out, but it will take some adjustments.
What do you hope to see in the 2013-2013 school year?
I’m really excited, especially about the new staff. I have high hopes for teachers making meaningful connections with students and families. This is a fresh start for us this year, and there’s nowhere to go but up!
Q&A with Pittsburgh Morrow Principal Jamie Kinzel-Nath