DECEMBER 2021 PROPEL SCHOOLS UPDATE

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND GOOD NEWS FROM DR. TINA CHEKAN

Propel Schools Families,


Over the past month, schools in our area and around the nation have been plagued by threats made via social media platforms. As it turns out, the local threats were not deemed credible and charges were filed against a student from our region for posting violent threats against several schools on social media.


At Propel Schools, the safety of our scholars and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Threats, bullying and fighting will not be tolerated. Just as you do in your home, we teach scholars to be responsible, respectful and community-minded citizens. Keeping our schools as safe spaces in which scholars can learn and grow is a true community effort. We ask that you lend your voice in support of the safety of our schools by:


  • Speaking with your scholar(s) about appropriate uses of social media and let them know that posting, reposting or sharing items that could be considered threatening is not a joke and could have serious repercussions.
  • Staying alert and reporting any concerning items that you might see on social media. Be sure to take a screenshot of a suspicious or inappropriate posting, as this may help with verifying the credibility of a threat.
  • Reviewing and talking with your scholar(s) about the following Propel Schools Policies: Scholar Network Internet Policy, Cyberbullying Policy and Internet Safety Policy.

When we are informed of a threat to one of our school communities, we act immediately and share information with local law enforcement to determine credibility. We will then make a thoughtful and fact-based decision regarding school operation, keeping the safety of scholars and staff a top priority. When we are made aware that a threat to one of our school communities has been made, we act immediately and share the information with local law enforcement for immediate investigation and determination of credibility. We will then make a thoughtful and fact-based decision regarding school operation, keeping the safety of scholars and staff as a high priority.


When our school communities are subjects of violent threats, the energies that should be focused on scholar learning and growth are diminished by the increased stress that accompanies a threat. Even non-credible threats (hoaxes) can negatively impact scholar attitudes, attendance and cause an increase in anxiety for families, scholars and staff.


We encourage you to keep open and respectful lines of communication with your scholar's teachers or school team. We sometimes see social media postings attempting to address or clarify a school-related issue. Public postings like this may unintentionally cause confusion or inadvertently spread misinformation. Our school teams welcome the opportunity to engage with you, our partners in education, to answer questions or address concerns.


As we prepare for our Winter Break, please know that I hope you and your family enjoy a safe, happy and productive break, filled with all of the things and people you love most.


Dr. Tina Chekan

CEO/Superintendent

FALL FAMILY CONFERENCE UPDATE!

As you know, the Propel-wide expectation is to meet with 100% of scholar families to discuss academic growth and achievement. We are excited to announce that, to date, 86% of families have attended their conferences across Propel! A special shout-out goes to Braddock Hills Middle School who has achieved the goal of meeting with 100% of families for their conferences!


If you have not attended a conference yet, it's not too late! Please reach out to your scholar's teacher or school leadership team to schedule a time to meet.

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Common Sense Media Designation

Thanks to the hard work of our educators and building leadership, we have maintained our status as a "Common Sense Media District" for the 2021-2022 school year. This recognition indicates that our scholars are digitally literate and responsible digital citizens. These skill sets are vital as our scholars continue to learn and grow in our increasingly complex technological world. We look forward to continuing conversations about digital citizenship and online safety over the course of this year within our computer science classes -- and beyond!

PROPEL ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT UPDATES

WPIAL SPORTSMANSHIP SUMMIT


Ten Propel scholar-athletes recently attended WPIAL's Leadership Summit at the Heinz History Center. This engaging and informative day included sessions about:


  • Sportsmanship (on and off the field)
  • Personal responsibility
  • Diversity/inclusion


Former Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keisel was the keynote speaker. Mr. Keisel offered words of encouragement, showcasing the value of determination and effort. You can read more about the Summit HERE.



PROPEL MIDDLE SCHOOL BASKETBALL LEAGUE


  • The Propel boys and girls middle school basketball league (grades 6-8) will begin practices on December 13th and league play will begin on January 8th.
  • Scholars must be registered on FamilyID, which can be found on the Propel Athletics web page.
  • All scholars who wish to participate must have a valid physical, dated on or after June 1, 2021. Only the PIAA CIPPE form should be used for this physical.



LOOKING AHEAD TO FALL 2022


  • Beginning in 2022, scholars enrolled at Propel Braddock Hills High School will have an opportunity to play WPIAL football with Imani Christian Academy via a PIAA cooperative sports agreement. More information will be shared soon.
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SCHOOL FACEMASK/FACE COVERING ORDER REMAINS IN PLACE

The Pennsylvania Department of Education continues to mandate that masks or face coverings be worn in all school buildings by every person who enters a school building. We anticipate this mandate remaining in place until late January 2022 when Governor Wolf may announce changes to this mandate. We will provide updates to you as they become available.


We thank you for sending a mask to school with your scholar and reminding scholars about mask expectations and proper wear (covering the nose and mouth) at all times. The health and safety of our scholars is of the utmost importance to Propel Schools.

CHANGE TO THE 2021-2022 PROPEL SCHOOLS CALENDAR - TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2022


PLEASE NOTE THAT TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2022 HAS BEEN CHANGED TO A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY FOR SCHOOL TEAMS. SCHOLARS WILL NOT REPORT TO SCHOOL ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2022.

UPDATED SCHOLAR WINTER BREAK DATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
  • The last day of school for scholars before Winter Break will be Wednesday, December 22, 2021.
  • We look forward to welcoming scholars back to our buildings after Winter Break on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
  • To download a copy of this updated calendar, please click HERE.
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PROPEL PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY (PPAA) LIVE HOLIDAY MASH UP PERFORMANCE

What a great way to kick off the holiday season! Propel Performing Arts Academy scholars are ready to spread holiday cheer as they sing, dance and drum!


DATE: DECEMBER 16, 2021

TIME: 7:00 PM

LOCATION: PROPEL NORTHSIDE -- 1805 BUENA VISTA STREET, PITTSBURGH, PA 15212


Tickets for this performance must be purchased online. We expect a sell-out crowd, so get your tickets today! In the event of a completely sold-out performance, NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE DOOR.

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Propel ASHS & BHHS "eSports" Update

Scholars on our eSports team have been competing in national tournament matches since our season began on October 1. Currently,


  • Propel Ping Andrew Street is ranked #39 in the country in Smash Bros.
  • Propel Ping Braddock Hills is ranked #156 in the country in Smash Bros.


Please take a moment to follow Propel Ping teams on Twitch at https://twitch.tv/propelping. Matches are streamed every Wednesday at 4:00 and practice sessions are streamed every Monday at 3:00.


We are #PropelProud of the scholars who are competing this semester!

BE SURE YOUR FAMILY'S INFORMATION IS UP-TO-DATE WITH PROPEL!

Have you moved, changed telephone numbers or started to use a new email address? If so, please keep Propel Schools in the loop!


Change of Address


Propel is required by our local sending school districts to provide them with any updated scholar addresses in a timely manner. If your resident school district believes that you are not living at the address you provided to Propel, it could result in an investigation of your address and potential complications with scholar transportation. Please be sure to change your address within 2 weeks of moving by completing THIS FORM.


Change Of Contact Information


If you've changed contact information recently, please reach out to your Propel School to update this information. You can do this by calling the school or emailing the Leadership Team.


  • If there is an incorrect or missing email address in Skyward, you will miss Connect 5 email messages.
  • If your telephone number is incorrect in Skyward, you will miss Connect 5 telephone calls about urgent items such as weather-related changes to school schedules.


Thank you for taking time to update us -- for the safety of your scholar!

COVID-19 FAQ FOR FAMILIES

To streamline communication regarding our COVID-19 procedures and protocols, we have created a FAQ Guide for Families. In this guide, we’ve answered the questions that we hear the most so that you can have access to important information 24/7!

REMINDER - UNIFORM DRESS CODE

We thank you in advance for doing a 'uniform check' before your scholar leaves for school in the morning. When school staff has to take time to enforce the dress code, valuable learning time is lost.


You can reference the K-8 Dress Code and the High School Dress Code HERE.

DECEMBER SCHEDULE FOR PROPEL NORTHSIDE FREE STORE!

The Freestore Food Distribution continues to serve the community twice a month on Saturday mornings. All Propel families and community members are invited to take part in these offerings from the Wellness Center. Pre-bagged, fresh produce, Breadworks bread, and personal care items are available for pick up from 10 a.m. until supplies last. The schedule is set through the end of 2021.


December Freestore Flyer


The Free Clothing Store is open by appointment for clothing, shoes and personal care items. Please reach out to Carrie Barmen to schedule an appointment.

carolinebarmen@propelschools.org or 412-715-3248 ext. 1510.

PLAN TO START 2022 WITH HEALTHY COOKING!

Propel's Wellness Center is proud to team with UPMC for a January 2022 6-week healthy cooking class! Class topics include healthy eating and shopping on a budget. Free groceries for each recipe are provided weekly as well so that you can cook right along! You can view q PDF of the flyer HERE. To register, please scan the code in the flyer below or visit the REGISTRATION LINK.
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REMINDER! PROPEL SCHOOLS WELLNESS POLICY AND CLASSROOM PARTY FOODS

Our Wellness Policy is a framework that allows for our scholars to learn healthy nutritional habits. Under this policy, scholar classroom celebrations (birthdays and other special scholar days) should align with our policy.


This is an excerpt from our Wellness Policy that addresses classroom celebrations. Please note that all snacks/foods shared by families to celebrate special scholar days must align with this list. Please note that all shared foods must be prepackaged. No homemade foods are to be shared, as food allergies can be common and, in some cases, lead to severe reactions.

SCHOLAR EDUCATIONAL TRIP REQUEST FORM FOR 2021-2022

If your scholar will miss days of school due to an educational family trip, please submit the EDUCATIONAL TRIP REQUEST FORM one week in advance of the trip, for each scholar who will travel. This form provides families with important information about scholar attendance requirements as well as timeframes for making up missed school work. Please note that school leaders will review each request individually and reach out to families regarding approval of the dates of scholar absence. Questions? Please reach out to your school's leadership team.

SCHOOL UNIFORM PIECES AT GREAT PRICES!

While Propel Schools families can purchase school uniform pieces from any store, families have asked for support in finding high-quality, economical uniform pieces for their scholars, without the added work of searching for special sales.


As a result, Propel has teamed with "Family School Uniforms" to provide families with another option for purchasing school uniforms. As previously stated, families can purchase uniform pieces from the store that best suits their needs and budget -- this is simply an option for those who may wish to use it.


Please click HERE to visit the Propel Schools Family School Uniforms webpage.


** Please note that Propel Schools cannot answer questions about uniforms, orders, billing, or returns. Questions about uniform purchases and all associated concerns must be brought directly to the vendor.

The 2021-2022 calendar can be found online and downloaded HERE.

GET SOCIAL! FOLLOW PROPEL SCHOOLS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS!

Follow Propel Schools on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Like, comment on and share the posts to help spread the word about how our educators redefine school and our scholars defy expectations.