Friday, June 01, 2018 - Updated: 2:33 pm
A Catholic grade school in Pittsburgh will receive significant assistance as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen and sustain urban Catholic schools.
Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, the former Northside Catholic School will receive operational support from the Extra Mile Education Foundation, which subsidizes tuition for low-income minority students in Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The school, which recently merged with Assumption School in Bellevue, will be called Northside Catholic Assumption Academy.
“We are building on three decades of commitment by this diocese to provide an excellent, affordable education to children from all faith backgrounds who face tremendous challenges in their communities,” Bishop David Zubik said. “Through Extra Mile we have helped to raise a new generation of leaders from some of our most economically impoverished neighborhoods, and I am grateful that we can now extend that tradition to the North Side.”
The Extra Mile Education Foundation already supports the operations of St. Benedict the Moor School in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy in Wilkinsburg, providing more than 60 percent of their operating costs. New funding will help stabilize tuition and improve programs at Northside Catholic Assumption Academy.
The school plans to introduce full-day pre-kindergarten classes while keeping the half-day pre-K program.
“This is a natural progression for us — a deeper involvement in another important urban neighborhood,” said Suzanne Vertosick, executive director of Extra Mile Education Foundation. “In addition to financial support, we plan to help students be prepared to enter ninth grade in public or private schools.”
Formed in 1989 through the initiative of then-Bishop Donald Wuerl and Pittsburgh’s corporate leaders, the Extra Mile Education Foundation’s name reflects the Gospel challenge to help someone in need, even if it means going the extra mile.
During the program’s first 25 years, 96 percent of students who completed eighth grade at Extra Mile schools graduated from high school, and 88 percent continued onto college, a trade school or the military.
Extra Mile provides scholarship grants to students attending five other Catholic schools in the Pittsburgh area: East Catholic in Forest Hills, St. John Bosco in Brookline, Sacred Heart in Shadyside, St. Raphael in Morningside and St. Maria Goretti in Bloomfield.