History

Elementary education is a cornerstone in the development of every child, serving as the foundation for so many of life’s important endeavors. Born in 1873 of the educational and spiritual needs of the predominantly Irish immigrants of Pittsburgh’s East End, Sacred Heart Elementary School has been dedicated to developing moral and academic excellence for more than 140 years.

The first Sacred Heart Church, situated on what is now Centre Avenue, originally served as both church and school. The school opened in 1873 under the direction of the first parish pastor, Reverend Bernard Ferris, who hired Misses Barry and White as the first teachers. They moved into a four-room brick building adjacent to the church in 1874. The first-year enrollment of 204 students grew rapidly and, subsequently, at Father Ferris’s request, in December, 1874, seven Sisters of Charity came from Altoona, Pennsylvania, to staff the school. The sisters and lay teachers have provided guidance and tutelage to our students ever since.

Responding to continued parish growth, a three-story school building was completed in 1884, and Sacred Heart High School was established in one room of that building in 1913. A new eight-room school building on Sheridan Avenue was completed in 1923. The following year, construction of a new church on Shady and Walnut streets was begun, and, in 1947, the current Sacred Heart Elementary School, on Walnut and Emerson streets, was dedicated. Sacred Heart High School moved to the new Alder Street location in 1950, where it served the East End until 1989.

Sacred Heart Elementary School is an educational ministry of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Parish and provides an academically enriched program that includes reading and English, mathematics, algebra, science, religion, social studies, health and physical education, Spanish, music, art, and computer applications. Because of well-developed study habits and the involvement of parents and dedicated teachers, our students consistently demonstrate significant achievement in language and mathematics that is well above the national average. As one of the largest elementary schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, our school continues to offer our students the highest caliber of education and moral guidance.

Sacred Heart Elementary School is a stellar example of the adage, “Great beginnings last a lifetime.”

—history quoted from The Heart of Pittsburgh, Sacred Heart’s award-winning cookbook

Sacred Heart Elementary School  |  325 Emerson Street  |  Pittsburgh, PA  |  15206  |  (412) 441-1582  |  info@sacredheartpgh.org