Clipper Connection

E-Newsletter (September 16, 2022)

Message from Superintendent Dr. Craig Parkinson

Greeting CUSD families,

Today marks the completion of three weeks into the 2022-23 school year and our first full week of school.

As the Superintendent of Schools, I am committed to ensuring that CUSD is running smoothly so that your child has the resources and support they need to learn and grow in our schools.

A lot happens in the district and I’m excited to share important updates with you on a consistent basis through Clipper Connection.

In these E-Newsletters you can expect to receive information about past and upcoming district events, important announcements from district officials, and other helpful resources that will keep you connected and engaged with initiatives happening district-wide.

The theme for this school year is: For the Betterment of Our Children

Every year, we continue to work on behalf of our students. However, this year, we will be even more intentional in EVERYTHING we do to better serve and support our children.

In order to fulfill our goal, we will focus on five key areas:

· Safe schools

· Academics

· Fiscal responsibility

· Family, parent, and community engagement

· Partnerships

What does this mean? Our goal will be to offer our students a holistic approach to education that includes academics, mental health support, expanded after-school activities/programming, social services support, and more.

We have a lot to accomplish TOGETHER for the betterment of your child, and I look forward to seeing you at different district events this school year.

School Safety

On Thursday, September 1 there was an isolated incident took place at Chester High School (CHS), in which a student was injured and subsequently transported to a local hospital for medical attention. This incident was alarming— and understandably caused unsettled feelings for students, teachers/staff, and families alike.

The safety of our students is our top priority, and we are committed to creating an atmosphere that allows them to feel protected and supported while in school. This is what they deserve.

How did district officials support students following the incident?

Immediately following the incident, I convened a meeting with district personnel, community stakeholders, social workers, and grief/trauma experts to map out a crisis/grief response plan for students. On Tuesday, September 6 this group held several assemblies with students to offer any mental or emotional support that they would need following the incident. Our goal was/is to create safe spaces for students to share their thoughts as we work to rebuild trust with them and YOU.

We also held an evening parent/caregiver meeting on the same day to talk directly to families and community members about school safety. I want to thank everyone who came out to the meeting. A lot of great information was shared, and attendees worked collaboratively during breakout sessions that evening to identify ways that we all can work together to keep our schools and children safe.

On Wednesday, September 7 the district's University of Pennsylvania Employee Assistance Program staff came to CHS to provide counseling and support to our staff. It is the district's goal to ensure that our staff feel safe and are prepared to respond and support our students' mental and emotional needs on a daily basis.

In the next coming weeks, I will be hosting several community discussions on safety and other top district priorities. Please be on the lookout for more information concerning these events.

Your support is needed and greatly appreciated.

*** In Case You Missed It #ICYMI ***

District-Wide Bell Ringing Ceremonies Mark First Day of School in CUSD

Chester Upland School District officials welcomed students back to the classroom on August 29 with coordinated, district-wide bell ringing ceremonies at every school.

Starting at Chester High School (CHS), top district officials, high school staff, local elected officials, and community members gathered in front of the school’s main entrance around

7:15 a.m. Standing in front of an orange and black balloon arch with a “Welcome Back” banner securely fixed in the middle, Superintendent Dr. Craig Parkinson, Receiver Nafis Nichols, Chester City Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, School Board President Joan Neal, and CHS Principal Ronald Brown all gave brief remarks to welcome our students.

You can read more about the bell-ringing ceremonies here.

CUSD Nearly 100% Staffed for 2022-23 School Year

On Tuesday, August 23, more than 420 new and returning staff members attended a convocation ceremony at Chester High School.

Of the hundreds of people in attendance, the district welcomed the addition of roughly 52 new teachers and staff members. The new hires bring CUSD staffing levels to approximately 95%. This is the highest it’s been in nearly 20 years.

While districts throughout the country are struggling with staffing shortages, I am proud to share that we only have six teaching vacancies across the district. This is a huge accomplishment and a testament to every person’s commitment within CUSD.

Back-to-School Spirit Week at Main Street

This past week was Back-to-School Spirit Week at Main Street Elementary School. Staff and students had the opportunity to dress up or dress down according to the day’s theme. Themes included:

· Sports day

· Twin day

· Dress to impress

· Pattern day

· School/house spirit

School Spirit Weeks are a fun way to get students excited about school and a chance for them to show their school pride.

Subaru and Philadelphia Union Adopt Stetser Elementary School

On Tuesday, Subaru of America, Inc., in partnership with the Philadelphia Union hosted a Back-to-School Festival at Stetser where they announced that they are “adopting” all classrooms at the elementary school.

Through this partnership, all students at the school received learning materials to support their academic success. As part of the “adoption,” each of the teachers at Stetser received $500 to buy supplies from and a school supply kit with classroom necessities.

In addition to providing flexible funding for teachers to purchase supplies, Subaru donated an additional $12,500 worth of supplies and sporting equipment to the school.

This is a unique partnership for the district and I want to thank Subaru and the Philadelphia Union for their commitment to our students’ success.

Back-to-School Nights

Back-to-School Nights at several of our schools have taken place over the last two weeks.

It has been great to see families come out to these events and engage with staff and personnel at each of our schools.

Back to School Nights are a great opportunity for first introductions, and give teachers and parents a chance to build the partnership needed to support a child’s educational development. It’s also an opportunity for families to find out what’s in store for the upcoming year.

*** Upcoming Dates ***

· Stetser Elementary Family Engagement & PTO Meeting - September 21

· Public Committee Meeting - September 22

· Edgmont Scholars Academy Back-to-School Night - September 22

· Asynchronous Day (no in-person school for students) - September 26

· STEM School Picture Day (Grades 7th-11th) - September 27

· STEM and CHS Career and College Meeting - September 28

· STEM and CHS Senior Parent Town Hall - September 29

· Edgmont Scholars Academy Student of the Month Assembly - September 30