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The Neighborhood Academy opens $10 million campus and science center

October11/ 2011

The Neighborhood Academy finally has a campus to call its own.

Ten years to the day since it started as a school for low-income and at-risk youth, TNA opened a new $10 million campus in Stanton Heights, including a 24,000 square-foot academic building, 26,000 square-foot athletic facilities and a science center offering the latest STEM-based curriculum.

The Neighborhood Academy (TNA) began as an urban street ministry and summer program for at-risk youth in 1992, explains Jodie Moore, co-founder and president. The students are from 13 different neighborhoods in the city, attracted by recruiters and a process that encourages hard-working students to apply and dedicate themselves to learning. Seventy students are enrolled in the 8-12 grade school this fall; the school has space for 120 students.

“We are looking for the child who has the inner perseverance and resiliency to do the hard work necessary to become college ready,” Moore explains. “These kids are in need of remedial help. Many are several grade levels behind. They need to work hard to catch up.”

Students attending TNA master college-level work by the time they graduate. 100% go on to successful college careers; 90% graduate from college in four years, says Moore.

The new campus marks the culmination of a major fundraising campaign that was supported through donations and grants from Pittsburgh corporations, foundations, faith-based communities and individuals. LANXESS Corp. donated $100,000 for a science lab and programming through Xplore Science with LANXESS. Every student receives almost a full scholarship, which is supplemented by grants.

The former campus was located in leased space in a converted warehouse on the corner of Penn and Atlantic avenues in Larimer. “It worked well as a little cobbled together campus,” Moore says. “But space and architecture definitely matter.

“One of our kids walked in the first day and said ‘wow, this is motivation for education!’ This sends the message that we value and honor our students. The kids are proud and walking tall. It’s amazing how differently they act.”

Writer: Deb Smit

Source: Jodie Moore, The Neighborhood Academy

Picture courtesy of TNA