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Nazareth Prep Re-Imagines Music Education

News Type: 
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania  (Feb. 19, 2019) – In Leslie Chabala’s music classes, everyone is a producer. The music and computer science teacher at local high school Nazareth Prep puts the power in the hands of her students, giving them the technical skills, and the platform, to share their own musical creations. 

The ninth graders in Chabala’s Music and Media class spend the first half of the year learning elements of music production. Using digital audio workstations like GarageBand, they create beats and instrumental tracks, mix, edit, and record their own songs. This work is paired with literacy components as they also write their own lyrics. 

Their projects culminate in a December concert, with participation from students in the choir and Leslie’s band classes, who have also been composing their own songs. In the second half of the year, as band students continue to compose and perform their own music, Music and Media students explore music in film, ultimately directing, filming, and editing short movies with an emphasis on soundtrack as an integral part of storytelling.

These hands-on experiences with creation, Chabala has found, engage students in a way that simply studying and recreating the work of others cannot. Additionally, while not every student will pursue a career in music, all of them can apply their new skills in digital literacy and self-expression throughout their studies, their jobs and their lives.

“My students listen to music every day,” says Chabala, “Part of my job is helping them discover that they can be more than an audience of this thing they enjoy; they can actually participate in it. They can become creators themselves and use this powerful tool to tell their own stories.”  

5 Ways Students Can Earn College Scholarships with Starting Freshman Year

News Type: 
Thursday, September 13, 2018

This school year, Mr. Chapman, the new College and Career Counselor at Nazareth Prep, introduced students to a resource called RaiseMe, which is a platform that helps high school students prepare for college by earning scholarships for their achievements in high school.  Over 250 colleges and universities have partnered with RaiseMe, and award micro-scholarships for both academics and extracurricular activities, such as Carnegie Mellon University, Clarion University and Washington and Jefferson College. What academics and extracurricular activities can students earn scholarships for do you ask?!  Below are the 5 ways RaiseMe awards micro-scholarships.

  • Academic performance - Maintain a good GPA
  • Course rigor - Take a college course through the Dual Enrollment Program
  • Extracurricular activities - Participate in a team sport
  • Exams - Earn an A on an exam
  • College engagement -Take a college tour, Nazareth Prep offers several throughout the school year

According to Time Money, overall, RaiseMe says the average student earns $22,500 in scholarships.  You can check out the website HERE to learn more.  So, Nazareth Prep parents and guardians, make sure your student signs up and starts earning scholarships today!  If you have any questions you can contact Mr. Chapman at


The Holocaust and the Human Experience - 21st Century Learning

News Type: 
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

McCall Goughneour has been working at Nazareth Prep for three years and taught the Holocaust as a civic action unit for ninth grade learners in Cultural Literacy. Students read the book Night by Elie Wiesel and had semester-long discussions about human justice, how to remember the living and the dead and how not to become a bystander in society.

While the Holocaust can be an extremely difficult subject to teach, it creates bridges that link humans together through empathy and experiences. This past Summer, McCall was lucky enough to participate in a teaching program geared towards the Holocaust and the 21st Century using some great resources like Facing History and Ourselves ( This website not only has first-hand experiences from survivors but readings, activities and a surplus of teaching material for educators.

The week consisted of various topics and speakers that included, but not limited to: analyzing Nazi propaganda and Hitler's first radio address and connecting it to 21st century media literacy, considering bystander awareness (when is it possible to say something? when is it too late to say anything?), American responses to the Holocaust (what did America know, how did they understand it and what did they do with it?), reflecting on what combination of information, knowledge and empathy lead to action, analyzing newspaper articles from Pittsburgh that documented events in Germany, Holocaust remembrance in Germany, Poland and Israel and first-hand accounts from survivors.

Hearing from Holocaust survivors, Gabriella and Bob pictured below, was McCall’s favorite part of the Summer Institute week--- “It’s hard to imagine that they’re not many survivors left. This is how we can keep history alive and remembrance alive; by telling their stories.”

McCall intends on bringing a lot of learning to her classroom thanks to this week long experience, especially her Creative Arts elective where students will be diving into a multitude of genres and exploring them through reading, writing, art and making.


Bringing Summer Learning Back to the Classroom

News Type: 
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Marlee Flaherty is not only a teacher and advisor for Nazareth Prep student council but she was selected to participate in 2 Classroom Without Border experiences – a trip to Poland with a Holocaust Survivor and a trip to Spain to study Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. She truly enjoyed sharing her Poland experience with the 9th graders as they tackled social justice issues in their 3rd trimester Project Based Learning, last year.  

This past summer her educational seminar in Spain examined Spain's long history as a major player both on the European and global stages and its role as a "living laboratory" in the "conversation" between two great monotheistic faiths – Christianity and Islam – with a third – Judaism a major participant. She is hoping that by helping her students understand these religions, she can promote understandings in our increasingly diverse world. It will also aid in comprehending literature, history, art, and our political landscape.

Marlee Flaherty truly enjoys bringing all her life experiences into her classroom and is second careering as a classroom teacher.  She studied both at Columbia University and the London School of Economics to earn her BA.  In addition, she has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and has worked both domestically and internationally in both for-profits and not-for-profits. This business background gives her a unique insight into many issues.  When discussing goals, objectives, classroom strategies, and more, her background helps to guide concepts to become “doable” and not remain “theoretical”.


Assemble Activation Club | Kindness + Ethical Agency

News Type: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Every Friday, a group of socially-conscious Nazareth Prep juniors and seniors commute to Garfield for an entire morning of STEM-fueled, social justice themed making, building, and creating. Along with Ms. Jennifer Lanas and teaching artists, Ms. Shannon and Mr. Paul, the Assemble Activation Club builds the essential skills and dispositions that will help them to not only develop creative confidence today, but also co-power our students to become kind, ethical agents of change and leaders in the world beyond Nazareth Prep. This video is an introduction to a digital-badging program that Ms. Lanas is developing for NCCP students at Assemble Pittsburgh.

How a Community Rallied around a New Concept in Educating Its Youth

News Type: 
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania  (9/19/2017) – The Pittsburgh region faces a serious workforce shortfall in the years ahead, according to a recent report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. An aging population, slow inward migration, and disruption created by technological advances threaten to leave employers with a deficit of skilled workers. Meanwhile thousands of locals are unemployed or under-employed due to lack of training for the most in-demand jobs. How will Pittsburgh’s leaders ensure that the region’s youth are prepared to take part in its growth? One high school presents a compelling answer. 

Opened in 2014, Nazareth Prep is a transformational, independent Catholic high school that provides an affordable, STEM-focused education to a diverse student body. Since its inception, it has partnered with major Pittsburgh employers to bridge the gap between education and the world of work, connecting students to companies and nonprofits that are eager to recruit, retain and promote Millennial talent.

Starting freshman year, each Nazareth Prep student spends one full day per week gaining workplace experience at an internship. These opportunities are provided by more than 70 of greater Pittsburgh’s top employers, including UPMC, PNC Bank, Eaton Corp., FedEx Ground, United Way, MARC USA, Pittsburgh Technology Council and most recently Allegheny General Hospital. 

“Since 9th grade, I have gained many skills, like communication, organization and patience,” says senior Leah Jones. “The [internship] program is one of the best opportunities I have ever gotten, because it will help me in my future career.” 

The program enables employers to truly invest in the next generation of workers and leaders. Internship partners help underwrite the tuition of their student interns through tax credits and other contributions, making a private, individualized education accessible to students who couldn’t otherwise afford it. 

Nazareth Prep also collaborates with other Pittsburgh schools to expand quality education as a member of Schools that Can (STC), which unites leaders from traditional school districts, private schools and faith-based schools in working to close the opportunity and skills gap for urban youth. 

In addition to internships, the school offers students training and learning opportunities through collaborations with its Network Campus Partners, including The Citizen Science Lab, Duquesne University, Children’s Museum, the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, Saturday Light Brigade and Manchester Craftsman’s Guild – making a Holy Family education a true community effort.

For many students, the chance to get hands-on experience in potential future careers makes their high school experience more meaningful and bolsters their commitment to academic achievement. Along the way, they cultivate a career toolkit that includes not only useful concrete knowledge but also vital, 21st-century workplace skills like collaboration and creative problem-solving.

What internship partners are saying about Nazareth Prep students:

“Amanda is eager to work, accurate, friendly, engaging and a quick learner.” -UPMC

“Marquise showed a comfort level with the software system that we use and was able to complete a routine task much quicker than usual.” - Pittsburgh Steelers Operations

“Shane and Sean assisted with our upcoming New Hire training… Their assistance [has been] invaluable.” - FedEx Ground

“Adarian has been working on a project for the Y and has managed his time very well. We are excited to see what ideas he comes up with to help us attract and retain Millennials and Gen Xers.” - PNC YMCA

“Daria continues to impress with her initiative and readiness in accepting new responsibilities.” - Carnegie Science Center

By investing in today’s youth through their collaborations with Nazareth Prep, Pittsburgh’s business and nonprofit communities are investing in their own vitality, supporting a generation of workers who will infuse their companies with new ideas and cutting-edge skillsets – and whose diversity will equip them to tackle the complex challenges of the future.  

Here is a link to images of Nazareth Prep’s first senior class arriving to the first day of school, 2017-18.

First Nazareth Prep Senior Class Starts Final Year

News Type: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Check out the article written about the first day of school for the senior class of 2018 published in the Tribune Review.

"Looking back on the last three years at Nazareth Prep, which offers a personalized approach on learning and one day a week internships to one of 70 Pittsburgh-area businesses, students said the school has been life-changing for them and allowed them to meet and work with adults who could one day help them in their careers."

Read the entire article HERE.


Nazareth Prep Awards Six $5,000 Scholarships

News Type: 
Friday, June 2, 2017
Nazareth Prep recognized six outstanding high school students with $5,000 scholarships. The scholarships, to be used for college education, technical training and apprenticeship support, were awarded at the Academy’s annual St. Joseph the Worker Luncheon, held on May 25 at Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club. Emmai Alaquiva, an Emmy-winning film director, composer, mentor and CEO/President of Ya Momz House, Inc., was the keynote speaker.
St. Joseph scholarships are awarded to applicants who, in addition to maintaining good grades and attendance and demonstrating a strong commitment to the school’s values, excel at their internship assignments. All Nazareth Prep students spend one day a week throughout the school year working at some of Pittsburgh’s premier employers.
The awards are made possible through public and private donations to Holy Family Foundation’s Saint Joseph the Worker Fund, which supports scholarships and financial aid and bolsters a robust core academic program. The Fund is named for Saint Joseph, the Patron Saint of Workers, and was created on the belief that education and hard work are Pittsburgh’ best hope for a better future, and that every youth with the desire to lead a moral, responsible and meaningful life should be given that opportunity.
This year’s winners are:
Ninth Grade: Najjah Cobb and Jabriel McDonald
Tenth Grade: Kaylee Nicotero and Hayden Bogert
Eleventh Grade: Amanda Jones and Adarian Williams

Lead Learners: Professional Development at Nazareth Prep

News Type: 
Friday, May 5, 2017

The leadership team at Nazareth Prep takes on the lead learner role when it comes to professional development and implementing research proven strategies for teaching and learning.  Starting with the Head of School and Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Abel-Palmieri, down to every faculty and staff member, frequent professional development creates a student centered  learning environment where students thrive.  Research suggests “When teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, and Shapley, 2007).”  Well, at Nazareth Prep our faculty reach 49 hours of professional development before Christmas Break!

In addition to professional development that takes place on campus, our leadership and much of the faculty are participating in professional development locally and nationally.  Dr. Abel-Palmieri is a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow, which provides the opportunity to network and collaborate with educators across the country while receiving high level leadership development focused on strengthening the future of educational excellence and equity movement.  Dr. Brandao, Director of Innovation at Nazareth Prep, leads faculty professional development each week.  This Winter, Dr. Brandao attended  The Science of How We Learn - Science of Imagination Conference in California, which focused on the most effective strategies for learning, memory and motivation.  Later this Spring, Dr. Brandao will attend Infosys CrossRoads 2017 to explore how to best expand access to high quality computer science and Maker education, with a particular focus on underrepresented communities.  These are just two examples of types of professional develop opportunities the Director of Innovation engages in to then create dynamic professional development sessions for faculty and staff.

Mr. Oliphant, the Principal at Nazareth Prep, was selected to attend the Discovery Educators Network Summer Institute 2017 Principal Summit this summer in California.  The focus of the summit is the use of technology in motivating and empowering your faculty, while strengthening your own leadership.  Mr. Oliphant was selected from a large pool of national applicants to attend this year’s summit.  Faculty members pursuing professional development outside of what is offered at Nazareth Prep include Mrs. Alvarez, who teaches Integrated Design Lab, is a member of the Pittsburgh Cohort of Agency by Design (AbD).  AbD is a multi-year research initiative of Project Zero, which is out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The purpose is to investigate the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning.  Mrs. Lanas, who teaches Cultural Literacy at Nazareth Prep,  is a member of the Fluency Project Fluency is a project from the Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, with funding from the Heinz Endowments.  The goal of the Fluency Project is to empower students and teachers with the capabilities to investigate real world issues, analyze data, and engage in a process of inquiry, advocacy, and case-making. In addition to these faculty members, our faculty attend other professional development events like the Schools That Can National Forum and Project Zero Conference.

When it comes to professional develop Nazareth Prep leadership, faculty and staff are living up to Michelangelo’s famous declaration "Ancora Imparo," or "I am still learning!"