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Hampton/Shaler

Blessed Trinity Academy open house, Oct. 29

| Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Third graders Carly Bezila and Joey Culleiton work on their lesson at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Third grader Shane Restori listens closely during class at Blessed Trinity Academy Thursday, Oct. 19 , 2017. Louis Raggiunti l For the Tribune-Review
Third graders Carly Bezila and Joey Culleiton work on their lesson at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Third grader Shane Restori listens closely during class at Blessed Trinity Academy Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
The newly named Blessed Trinity Academy 2017. Louis Raggiunti l For the Tribune-Review
Third grader Shane Restori listens closely during class at Blessed Trinity Academy Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Seventh grader Julia Studeny takes a test at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Seventh grader Julia Studeny takes a test at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Students at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy move between buildings getting to class Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Students at the newly formed Blessed Trinity Academy move between buildings getting to class Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
Blessed Trinity Academy 2017
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Blessed Trinity Academy 2017

Any family curious about the new Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw can come to its first Fall Open House and tour Oct. 29.

The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at the St. Mary's campus on Middle Road, home to the BTA's kindergarten through eighth grade.

An open house for the Blessed Trinity Academy Early Childhood Center for pre-kindergarten, located at the St. Bonaventure-Mt. Royal Campus, will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

It's the first year and first open house for Blessed Trinity Academy, which earlier this year joined the schools of St. Ursula in Allison Park, with St. Mary and St. Bonaventure, both of Glenshaw. The merger is the result of the North Hills Regional Catholic Elementary School reorganization, according to Jessica Rock, principal at Blessed Trinity Academy.

“It's an introduction of us to the community,” said Rock, “We really have so much to provide the students. It's like a big family.”

The event will give prospective students and their caregivers a chance to meet teachers, tour the school and talk with other parents, she said.

Since the merger of the three Catholic schools, Rock said everyone has been adjusting quite well. Many of the teachers are the same, so students have a chance to see a familiar face. But at the same time they are meeting new teachers and friends from the other schools.

With the help of families, staff and students, the transition has been running smoothly, agreed Meredith Kandravy, a member of the Parent-Teacher Guild (PTG). She has three children in the elementary.

“We're all coming together as one school,” she said.

Some benefits of BTA includes small class sizes, which Kandravy said has a maximum of approximately 17 students for kindergarten through fourth grade. Middle school classes carry about 20 to 21 students.

In just the few months they've been open, they've seen a lot of activities in the classroom and out, such as the growing forensics team, said Rock. And teachers are integrating STEAM into the curriculum, which refers to work in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

She plans to incorporate additional STREAM education throughout the school, the “r” referencing reading, but wants to do so thoughtfully.

“I'm hoping to see what our needs are,” said Rock, who as an educator at the Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Natrona Heights.

As they sort through a large technology inventory from three separate schools, they are working at providing a Chromebook for every middle school student, said Rock. And they will be teaching students how to use the Google platforms. Two technology grants will be providing Touchboards, a new version of the Smartboard, for the teachers, said Rock.

And there's lots of hands-on learning, said Kandravy.

Blessed Trinity Academy also has an athletic association for a variety of sports, including cross country, girls volleyball, basketball, soccer and track and field, said Rock, who resides in Kittanning.

BTA is also the only Catholic school in the North Hills that has the St. Anthony's Program for special needs children, which also supports integration of these students into the regular education classroom, according to the school website.

Along with a PTG, there is also a Student Advisory Council that advises the principal on a variety of school-related matters, said Kandravy.

She invests so much time at BTA because she said it's worth it.

“If this is where we're going to be, I want to make sure it's the best school it's going to be,” said Kandravy of Hampton.

She said there are many private schools in the area with much higher tuition than BTA's $4,000 per student. And for each additional sibling, the tuition drops.

“There's a lot of value for your dollar here,” she said.

Since it is a Catholic school, they do incorporate religion, including attending Mass on a weekly basis. Kandravy added that students who do not share the same religion are obviously not expected to participate in the celebration. They want everyone to be comfortable.

Rock said the open house will be a way for others to meet parents who can give their own testimony on what it's like to have a Catholic education, particularly at Blessed Trinity Academy.

It was just last year that the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese officially announced the North Hills Regional Catholic Elementary School mergers. So they did a lot in such a short time frame, but Kandravy and Rock said it's been widely supported throughout the schools.

“There are a lot of people who put in a lot of the effort to make this school a success,” said Kandravy.

For more information about the school, call 412-486-7611.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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