New Academy Charter School

March 2019

Happy Birthday New Academy Charter School!!!

March 26th marked the One Year Anniversary of New Academy Charter School moving into our new school building. Over the past year we have made many changes, saw positive growth, and created new partnerships with agencies, corporations, and businesses. We can't wait for you to see what we have been up to!

During the March 22nd curriculum in-service day, staff members celebrated all of our accomplishments with a special lunch.

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Increase in Enrollment

At the beginning of the school year, The New Academy Charter School administration team set several goals for the upcoming school year. One of the goals that were set included increasing student enrollment. On the first day of school we had 99 students enrolled. Since then, we have enrolled 150 new Charter School only students! Currently, we have 180 students enrolled throughout grades 8 through 12.

If you have a student that would benefit from our structure, low student:teacher ratio, and student services, please contact Ms. Penny Tinsley at 412-515-2280.

Academic Assessments, Curriculum, and Student Growth

Upon enrollment at New Academy Charter School, each students is given 8 academic screener assessments as well as one needs based assessment. So far this school year, 2048 screeners have been administered! The data from these screeners is analyzed for student academic difficulties. It is then discussed during PLC meetings and school administration meetings to ensure that educational decisions are made for our current students.

29 curriculums have also been written, revised, and aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) through an intentional emphasis on focus standards. Teachers have been working diligently during their prep periods, PLC meetings, and In-Service days to develop these curriculums so that are relevant and appropriate for our student population.

There have also been 604 midterm assessments that were administered in English, mathematics, science, and social studies classes school-wide! These midterm assessments were conducted to determine growth in subject areas for the first and second semesters.

The following teachers had the greatest gains in each subject area based on student grown from their initial screener entrance to their midterm completion.

ENGLISH – Ms. Clark – All of her students met standard proficiency in reading fictional texts, reading informational texts, and writing components. She contributed to the increased 11th grade reading standard proficiency by 33% from initial entrance reading level through vocabulary acquisition and theme/summarization analysis. She also contributed to a 31% increase in 11th grade writing proficiency through the use of supporting details.

MATH – Mr. Uram – He had the greatest gains in of standard proficiency in the math department and contributed to the increased Personal Finance math standard proficiency by 12% from initial entrance math level. He also contributed to a 22% increase in 8th grade math standard proficiency.

SCIENCE – Ms. Herriott – She created the greatest gains in writing within the science department with 79% of her students improving standard proficiency in their ability to follow a scientific procedure. She contributed to the increased 11th grade reading standard proficiency by 33% from initial entrance reading level, and she also contributed to a 31% increase in 11th grade writing proficiency.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Ms. Crowe – In the reading comprehension vocabulary acquisition standard she achieved proficiency with 84% of her students. She contributed to the increased 10th grade reading standard proficiency by 14% from initial entrance reading level.

Our goal as a school is to continue to develop and revise curriculums in order to include a variety of assessments that will meet the needs of our individual students!! We are beyond excited to see our school improve and our students show true academic gains!!!

Learning Garden and Grow Pittsburgh

In July of 2018, The New Academy Charter submitted a strong application to Grow Pittsburgh to be a partner school with their organization. In August we were approved to receive a Learning Garden in our back lot. Grow Pittsburgh and Big Green provided our school with the design, site-prep, construction, planters, seating, art pole, soil, in-bed irrigation, storage, and personnel to support and guide us through the process. After the installation, we held a fall planting Garden Kick-Off event with 80 students. On April 3rd, students and staff completed a spring crop planting. These crops will be harvested in late May and a summer garden will be planted. We are still in the process of learning the best ways to incorporate the Learning Garden into our science curriculum to make good use of the outdoor classroom and learning opportunities. The ongoing success of the Learning Garden is up to teachers and students, along with basic support from Grow Pittsburgh staff.


Our courtyard has come a long way! When we first moved into our school building, our courtyard was taken over by weeds, leaves, and dirt. On October 12th, 2018 volunteers from Bayer Corporation volunteered their time to help beautify the school. Several volunteers with artistic abilities painted the seating in the courtyard.

New Academy Charter School's Learning Garden Team also helps keep up with the maintenance in the courtyard as well as planting additional beauties! We already have some spring color poking through to say HELLO!!

Fitness Center

New Academy Charter School's Fitness Center was a dream that the Physical Education Teachers had in order to promote a more healthy lifestyle for our students. Students now have the opportunity to learn how to use basic equipment such as elliptical machines, stationary bikes and treadmills. They can also, under the supervision of Physical Education Teachers, learn to use free weights and kettle bells. There are also various exercise bands, BOSU balance balls, TRX bands and yoga equipment. Funding this center was possible through Title IV funds under Safe and Healthy Students.

To help carry out this dream, BNY Mellon volunteers prepare the desired room to get ready for our new equipment. They emptied the room, painted, and built the machines. We are beyond grateful for their contribution!

Student Bathrooms

A few weeks ago, 22 volunteers from the Cru organization worked on updating our student bathrooms. They primed and painted 4 student restrooms and began some creative painting. The Pittsburgh group of Cru plans to come back in the near future to finish the creative painting. This is the second time that a group of volunteers came to brighten our student bathrooms. This process started in October 2018, when volunteers from InventHelp began this beautification project!

Diapers and Wipes

While at the WHIRL Powerful Women networking event, our Community Outreach Coordinator Holly Turkovic, met Holly McIlwain. When Ms. Turkovic told her about the work that she is doing at New Academy Charter School and the students we serve, Ms. McIlwain immediately responded with “how can I help you”! Amazing, right?! There was no hesitation, just a genuine interest in helping. Ms. McIlwain and Ms. Turkovic had a follow-up meeting the Monday before winter break. During the meeting Ms. Turkovic took her on a tour of the school, and talked about some of the needs of our students. After seeing our Toys for Tots bags, Ms. McIlwain shared her passion to help teen parents. Ms. McIlwain left with the goal of recruiting 15 of her friends/colleagues to sign on for a one-year sponsorship of diapers and wipes for our teen parents. Within 28 hours she had 15 confirmed sponsors from 5 states who created monthly Amazon subscriptions to be shipped directly to the New Academy Charter School. Since then, we have received over 3,600 diapers in all sizes, 30 packages of wipes, as well as baby clothes, toys, books, furniture, and more! Student parents receive the diapers and wipes on an as needed basis and we are currently in the process of distributing all of the other donated items to our students. A true testament of what can be accomplished when great people pull together to help others!

Duquesne Light/EDT Student Boot Camp

On March 11th, 2019, four New Academy Charter School students (three current, and one January graduate) began training as part of the inaugural Duquesne Light/EDT Student Boot Camp. For six weeks, the young men will spend the hours of 1-4pm at the CCAC Allegheny Campus preparing for the Construction and Skilled Trade Test (CAST). Students will receive training in Graphic Arithmetic, Mathematical Usage, Mechanical Concepts, Blueprint Reading, CPR/First Aid, OSHA Certification, AC/DC Power, Financial Responsibility, and Resume/Interview Skills. Upon completion, students will have the opportunity to apply for acceptance into the CCAC/Duquesne Light Electrical Distribution Technology program. Students who successfully complete the EDT program have the opportunity to apply for full time employment with Duquesne Light as a Lineworker, Underground Splicer, Operations Center Dispatcher or Senior Operator. We wish or students the best of luck as they prepare for their exam!

Attendance Goal

One of the school goals for the 2018-2019 school year is to increase student attendance. See the chart below to see our monthly goals compared to our actual averages. We are still pushing hard to encourage our students to attend daily! Attendance is one of the biggest factors in student success and we strive to see all of our students make gains!

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 schedules outside of school hours, death of a family member, student illness, religious holidays, required court attendance. Please provide a medical note or written explanation for all absences upon their return to school.

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Quarter 3 Report Cards

Report cards for the Third Quarter were mailed out the last week of March. Please let us know if you did not receive your students' report card and would like a copy. Below are our Honor Roll students!

Highest Honors (3.75-4.0)

Anthony D. (4.0) and Jua’Shya T. (3.88)

High Honors (3.45-3.74)

Ty’Zachary D. (3.74), Tamia J. (3.72), Korea C. (3.59),

Christian S. (3.58), Trinnity M. (3.55), Dai’Onna L.(3.54),

Rondale H. (3.54), Abshir H. (3.49), Ciera M. (3.46)

Honors (3.0-3.44)

Edlisha H. (3.41), Damon M. (3.34), Michael H (3.28),

Salena R. (3.27), Kylee A. (3.23), Mystique O. (3.23),

Kaniya M. (3.21), Genva G. (3.21), Dreyonna T. (3.19),

My’alaya L. (3.18), Alyssa C.-J. (3.17), Raekwon W. (3.15)

Faigh H. (3.11), Mariah T. (3.00)

Students of the Month

Tyler R. (8th grade)

Eugene W. (9th grade)

Faith H. (10th grade)

Damon M. (11th grade)

Kwanasha W. (12th grade)

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La’Najaha J. (8th grade)

Jemmea J. (9th grade)

Ciera M. (10th grade)

Mark C. (11th grade)

Christian S. (12th grade)

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Staff of the Month

Dennis Holderbaum

Mr. Holderbaum has influenced his students greatly, seeing improved writing skills and increased writing production with most students; a majority of his students who have improved are writing approximately 5-7 sentences per paragraph. Through his teaching, his students are accurately using descriptive language and specific details to explain a scientific process. Mr. Holderbaum uses real-world articles as a way to engage his students in reading comprehension and has maintained a running record of the reading and writing process for his students in the classroom. Mr. Holderbaum also takes the initiative to write and apply for grants to fund the projects in his classroom and throughout the school. In turn, any products or awards that he and his students earn he makes every effort to put it back into the school. Mr. Holderbaum is never afraid to step in where needed even if it is outside of teaching realm. Thank you Mr. Holderbaum!

Staff Extra Effort

Dalles Hartman – Ms. Hartman is always available for the students when needed in more ways than one. She patiently and compassionately provides not only mental health support, but also social and academic support. She puts in the extra time and effort to make it a priority to see that our students complete their schoolwork, extra projects and even sign up for SAT’s. Ms. Hartman goes the extra mile to really hear her students and understand them, including their credit status, graduation track and what they need to accomplish their goals. She facilitates groups, is creative and clearly has the student’s best interest at heart, thank you Ms. Hartman!

James McClenahan – As a veteran teacher, Mr. McClenahan knows what it takes to engage his students and challenge their minds. His use of higher order thinking allows his students to explore the multi-dimensional aspects of the stories read in class and relates them to their own realities. Mr. McClenahan is not shy to share his love for teaching, as he adopted the Career Planning and English 1 classes as his own when we were in need of coverage. He is a great resource to not only his students, but to his fellow colleagues as well. Thank you Mr. McClenahan!

Mark Grieco – Mr. Grieco is new to our game, but his enthusiasm and initiative has proven effective. Already, Mr. Grieco has guided his students in producing writing samples that include appropriate citations that support their topics, details that effectively describe their ‘why’ and clear improvements in grammar and quality of writing. He provides individualized feedback to each student encouraging them to reach for more. Thank you Mr. Grieco!

Samantha Taylor – When presented with the challenge of providing career readiness to our 8th graders, Ms. Taylor did not hesitate. She collaborated with a colleague to develop a plan of action that included hands on activities, culturally relevant topics and engaging materials. Throughout the process Ms. Taylor diverged on a path of her own leaving not one single student behind. She has risen to the occasion and has succeeded in encouraging our youngest students to think about their futures. Thank you Ms. Taylor!

Dionna Westry – Ms. Westry has demonstrated the true meaning of what it means to be a team player. With Curriculum as her primary focus, her teaching talents were being poured into a curriculum process that included teacher mentoring. When a gap in the teaching staff appeared, Ms. Westry found it prudent that she fill the need in the classroom, while still devoting time to the curriculum that will benefit both teachers and student success. Thank you Ms. Westry!

Student Volunteers

At the end of March, 4 students went to World Vision to volunteer. While there, the girls used seem rippers to remove tags from vests that will be shipped to third world countries. And the boys went through donated bikes to see which ones could be repaired. They took apart all of the bikes that couldn’t be repairs and those pieces will be sent to a scrap yard to be recycled. The boys also helped a corporate group with a shoe shipment as well. It is always a good feeling to be able to give back to others!

Parent Resources

Please see links below for PowerSchool Parent information, April Job Listings, and a Parent Survey.

Next Month at New Academy Charter School

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