New Academy Charter School
January 2023 Edition
From the Principal's Desk
Its a new year, a new semester and a new window of opportunity.
I've had the privilege of attending the Pennsylvania Department of Education Title 1 Conference recently and I was inspired by the keynote speaker who is Pennsylvania's 2022 Teacher of the Year. She spoke about "creative risk taking". This concept embodies the idea of embracing the risk of failure. The only way we can achieve new heights is to take a step forward and try. Sometimes, especially in the teenage years, we can be afraid to take a risk for fear of embarrassment, for fear of being wrong, or even fear of just experiencing something new.
This fear is very real for those who are experiencing this feeling, but I want to take a moment to ask you all, in this new year, to give grace and create a safe space to encourage others, especially our students, to take those creative risks and step outside of their comfort zones. You never know, that first step could lead to achievement, success, growth, confidence, positive change and hopefully a willingness to take another step.
In this new year, I challenge all of you to grab a hand take that step. There is a whole world out there waiting for us all, lets go experience it!
Student Highlights 🥳
December Raffle Winner
Taylor was 'Caught Doing Something Right' and entered into the monthly raffle!
December Students of the Month
These students were voted on by their teachers and staff for excellence in Academics and Behavior.
Keep up the hard work!
Quarter 2 Honor Roll
Highest Honors (3.75-4.0)
James B. – 3.79
High Honors (3.45-3.74)
Deontae B. – 3.72
Zach O. – 3.7
Andre G. – 3.67
Thomas O. – 3.6
Damien S. – 3.58
Dreyona T. – 3.58
Israel B. – 3.55
Alexis A.– 3.4
Taeron R. – 3.4
Anya E. – 3.38
Kei’Auzia T. – 3.30
Taylor K. – 3.27
Jon K. – 3.2
Shamus M. – 3.2
Maurice J. – 3.18
Damine S. – 3.18
Richard J. – 3.16
Nathen J. – 3.11
Davon B. – 3.1
Lamayah H. – 3.04
Casey A. – 3.04
Anthony P. – 3.03
🍎 Our Busy Classrooms
Please email Cherisha Thomas at Thomasc@theacademyschools.com to register for your PowerSchool Parent Login information. When you have a PowerSchool Parent account you will be able to access your students grades, schedule, attendance and their teachers!
The Math Department started right back into the curriculum when returning from the holiday break. Miss Mervosh and Mr. McCullough started to challenge and strengthen the concept of negative integers with our students. They are continuing to focus on strengthening students’ math fluency with Math Facts Friday. The students’ response continues to be mostly positive.
The English department is rolling through some great content this month. 8th and 9th grades are studying famous African American figures as a spring board to some writing assignments that will be assigned in February. 10th Grade English is at the beginning of a new unit on the Hero’s Journey. They are exploring the concepts archetype and the monomyth as they apply to classic and modern stories and plays. The students are evaluating what it means to be a hero and how heroes are built in stories. 11th grade is studying American Civil War literature, currently reading though excerpts of Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom. Reading up for their next essay assignment, 12th grade is exploring several topics: On-screen diversity in the media, perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement, and an analysis of the short story “Hacked” by Carolyn Edgar.
It is hard to believe that we are now in our third quarter of the school year. The special education department will be sending out progress monitoring reports to show the growth our students have made during the second grading period. Also, we will be sending out behavior reports as well. Please continue to work with your child on academic and behavioral goals giving them prompts and reminders to stay on task at school and demonstrate positive behavior. We are working daily and diligently with our students to make sure they are on task to meet both their academic and behavioral goals. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to the special education department and let us know.
At the New Academy charter School, we believe your health is your greatest wealth. For the months of January and February the Health and Physical Education department is focusing on safe and healthy relationships. The focus is on recognizing negative peer pressure, using refusal skills and identifying appropriate boundaries. Also, the Physical Education department is focusing on improving muscular endurance and strength. We are accomplishing this task by student's performing exercises that address muscular health like push-ups, exercise band activities and circuit weight training activities during fitness club and workout Wednesdays. This also includes basic team sports activities like basketball, badminton, football etc...
9th grade biology classes are completing the unit on the cell and will be doing so by creating a model of an animal or plant cell using various items to simulate organelles typically found in those cells. 10th graders in Chemistry are learning about how elements on the periodic table are grouped and preparing to be able to use the periodic table to predict chemical formulas of different compounds. 11th and 12th graders who have Anatomy class are moving into the muscular system, learning the three types of muscle, the names of the major muscles of the body and how muscles contract to cause movement of the body. 12th graders in Psychology are learning about thoughts, dreams and consciousness in the brain.
Happy New Year from the Social Studies Department!! Mr. Zarko, Mr. P, and Mr. Shamitko are welcoming the students back and hoping for an even better second half of the year. In Civics, students will be exploring the principles of American government as they will be learning about the roles and responsibilities of the 3 branches of government. In World Cultures, students will continue to study ancient civilizations as they look at the Vikings and their influence on European life. And finally, in U.S. History, Mr. P’s students will be learning about the Westward expansion of the 1800s in the United States. Stay tuned as we kick it into 5th gear for the remaining 2 nine weeks!!!
New year, new school quarter, new opportunities! As we jump into quarter three, we are at full swing at the New Academy Charter School with job applications, FAFSA’s and college applications. Did you know there are quite a few Pittsburgh employment opportunities for students ages 14 and up? Make sure to tell your student to stop down in the library or call the school and ask for Mrs. Keener for additional information on applying to jobs, interview skills or resume help. We are also still touring many local postsecondary options including, most recently, our tour to CCAC-South Campus. While on this tour, we learned about the nearly 160 different degree programs that CCAC has to offer. We also learned about Job Corps and dual enrollment opportunities that are offered to our students. The next SAT date for students will be March 11, 2023 and registration for that test will end on February 10, 2023.
At the New Academy Charter School our goal is to establish a school culture that reinforces positive behavior and academic success. In other words, "Catch a Kid Doing Something Right" is the motto of our school. To promote that motto we have established a reward system of positive incentives. In the month of January our students were recognized through our Live School program. This program allows students to earn points for academic accomplishments, attendance and positive behaviors displayed in school. Students can use these points to purchase things in the school store. In addition to the store students can earn their way into the monthly raffle to win items like 55" Smart TVs, Air Pods and Beats.
✨ Mental Health Tip
There are many reasons your student (or you!) might be feeling a little more down or a little more anxious. The length of the day, intensity of the sunlight, what we do in our spare time, our diet, and our routine can all impact our mental health. It’s common to feel tired, unmotivated, and depleted while experiencing all of these things, especially coming off a hectic holiday season.
Here are some things that can help your student or you feel a little bit better this winter season.
- Identify activities that you can do despite the shorter days or inclimate weather, such as board games, puzzles, crafts, or reading. Personally, I’m a fan of a family dance party with everyone’s favorite songs.
- Work in movement throughout the day. This could look like walks, stretches, yoga, or at home workouts.
- Identify what you like about the winter season and be intentional in making that a part of your life. For example, if you really like doing puzzles, make sure to set aside some time each day to work on a puzzle- even if it’s just 5 minutes!
- Get into a habit of a good self-care routine. This can include anything from taking a bath or comforting shower to drinking a cup of your favorite tea.
It is recommended that procedural things should be included (hygiene care, eating, etc.) but to include something that they enjoy each time as well.
If you feel that your student or you are experiencing these symptoms to a more intense degree (such as depression or near constant anxiety) please reach out for assistance. Mental health therapy can be offered for your student through the New Academy Charter School, depending on insurance, or we can provide referrals.
If you feel that your student or you is in crisis, please contact Resolve Crisis Services at 1-888-796-8226. Someone is available to talk 24/7.
Heating Assistance/Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The 2022-2023 LIHEAP season is open.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $300 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type. Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid.
How to apply
There are two ways to apply for LIHEAP:
- Online: Apply for benefits online using COMPASS, the online tool for Pennsylvanians to apply for health and human service programs and manage benefit information.
- On paper: You can download a paper application, print it, fill it out, and return it to your local county assistance office.
After your application is reviewed, you will receive written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive. Please allow 30 days for a response.
At ACTION-Housing, pride themselves on helping clients to achieve more self-sufficient lives. Since 1957, they have assisted a wide array of populations throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, focusing on those generally underserved by traditional services including senior citizens, veterans, individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, individuals on the autism spectrum, and youths who have aged out of foster care.
Over the years, their work has evolved from limited rehab-for-resale projects within the City of Pittsburgh to encompassing a wide variety of housing and social service programs serving thousands across the region. ACTION-Housing has become a nationally recognized leader in affordable housing development and social services provision.
Whether it be helping to find an affordable place to live, preventing foreclosure on a home, performing weatherization for low-income households, or simply checking in with a client to see how they are doing, people are the most important part of their service. They take an individualized, caring, and empathetic approach when communicating with clients and residents; taking time to understand each client’s unique situation and letting them know we are here to help.
Please contact 412-281-2102 ext. 2055 https://actionhousing.org/our-services/mortgage-counseling/
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh
Established in 1965, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh is the region’s premier evidenced-based youth mentoring agency—earning national recognition for program quality and organizational excellence.
Our target population includes children ages 6-18 from single parent families, low-income households, and underperforming schools. In many cases, these children have incarcerated parents, encounter bullying in school, and face other challenging circumstances that increase their susceptibility to negative outcomes.
At BBBSPGH, we make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”) in Allegheny, Greene, and Washington counties. There are three program options available that are designed to help develop strong one-to-one relationships, and make a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young children—Community-Based, Site-Based, and mentor2.0.
We recognize families have a variety of needs as they navigate life. Below are resources that address needs such as technology, school options, parenting resources and more.
Attendance Matters ✏️
The New Academy Charter School recognizes the importance of regular attendance in school as a means of helping students achieve academic success. We know your student may have a valid reason for being absent.
Some reasons for an excused absence are: doctor or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of school hours, death of a family member, student illness, religious holidays, or required court attendance.
- Please provide a medical note or written explanation for all absences upon their return to school.
- Submit medical notes/or written excuses within 3 days of the absence to Ms. Melissa Miller email email@example.com, fax: 412 515-2299
- Phone calls to the school will NOT excuse your child.
- Only 10 parental notes can be accepted each school year. All others must be formal excuses.
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