Girls Volleyball is one of the team sports offered at Propel Schools. Practice begins on August 24, 2020, in accordance with the PIAA guidelines. In order to participate in girls volleyball or any sports team, scholars must register via FamilyID link: https://www.familyid.com/propel-schools-pittsburgh. Your coach will contact you with details.
Please know that we are working hard at doing what is best for each of our scholars during the coronavirus pandemic. Our response to the challenges of COVID-19 has been intentional. Here is what families need to know about important changes to our academic program as it pertains to grading:K-8 Grade
High School Seniors
At Propel Schools, the largest charter school federation in Western Pennsylvania, with nearly 4,000 students in our 13 schools, we are keenly aware of the importance of student wellness. That is why three years ago in 2016, Propel pioneered a school-based mental health initiative now called “Partners In Wellness.” We started at our Homestead, Northside and Braddock Hills schools and have since expanded to provide these services to students at all Propel schools.
With three years of experience under our belt, we can affirm that attention must be given to students’ mental and emotional well-being.
Last school year, we realized an increase in family engagement as a result of the program from community service projects to back-to-school nights; Partners In Wellness staff provided a variety of professional development sessions for school staff on topics including trauma, de-escalation techniques, techniques for scholars with ADHD, and self-care for teachers; and scholars benefited from more than 915 therapy hours and learned how to apply strategies for maintaining social, emotional and behavioral wellness. While we were confident before starting our program that the need was there, the actual usage of services has outpaced even what we had projected. This is a sobering reminder of the difficulties that many of our scholars face on a daily basis. While schools cannot provide a replacement for a family, we strive to be a safe and nurturing place where scholars can access these needed services that can enable them to better succeed at school and out of school.
That Propel was able to begin to widely offer these services three years ago, is a perfect example of why school choice generally and charter schools, in particular, remain critically important in Pennsylvania. The Governor, Department of Education and traditional public school districts all are consistently attacking the right of families to choose where to send their children to school and have proposed many “reforms” that would make charter schools subject to even more bureaucratic mandates than those that hobble traditional school districts, thereby crippling the spirit of innovation and improvement that exists in the charter school sector.
The vision for charter schools, as set forth in the charter school law, was to provide expanded choices for families by increasing opportunities for educators, parents, scholars and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure. As such, charter schools should be seen as improving student learning, using innovative practices and providing expanded choices.
Since the opening of our first school in 2003, Propel has fulfilled this vision of the charter school law in numerous respects, and particularly by its mental health initiative that should be a model for the traditional public school districts. We invite representatives of all school districts to visit Propel to learn more.
by Dr. Tina Chekan
Propel Schools CEO/Superintendent
During our annual End of the Year Celebration, Propel Schools honored two educators for their dedication to scholars, families and the mission of Propel Schools. The process to select the Educator and Rookie of the Year awards begin with peer nominations. The selection process includes the scoring of essays, interviews
Educator of the Year
Jacquetta Rawlings is a 4th-grade science educator at Propel Braddock Hills Elementary and has been named the 2018-2019 Educator of the Year. Ms. Rawlings received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Carlow University, where she was the recipient of the Community Service Award. Ms. Rawlings seeks to meet the academic and social needs of scholars by cultivating and nurturing relationships inside her classroom.
Ms. Rawlings is known for her community involvement. She is a proud resident of Braddock Hills and is committed to bridging the gap between her neighborhood, parents and educators.
“My commitment to my students, their families
Rookie of the Year
Julie Kerlicker has been named Propel Schools 2018-2019 Rookie of the Year. Ms. Kerlicker is a first-year special education educator at Propel Pitcairn. The Bell Vernon area native earned a B.A. in education from California University of Pennsylvania.
Within her classroom, Ms. Kerlicker has created a community where scholars thrive from their personal growth. She believes that the best strategy for student engagement is to teach with compassion. Ms. Kerlicker prides herself in creating a positive classroom climate that fosters student-teacher respect and trust.
“I have aspired [to make] a difference in others’ lives through education since my earliest childhood years. Propel has made that dream a reality. I believe in Propel’s mission. I believe children in underserved communities should have access to high performing schools with teachers who truly care. I believe that emotional and humanistic needs take precedence. When students feel loved and valued, they demonstrate the drive to self-reflect, learn and grow. As an educator, my mission is to build a community full of creativity, excitement and happiness where students do not dwell on perfection but rather rejoice in personal growth. Throughout my first year, I have learned that true self-reflection is a miracle worker and collaboration is the best professional development. There are few people in the world with as much optimism and ambition as the team members of Propel. I am so proud to be a member of a team of such extraordinary character.”
We salute Ms. Kerlicker and her commitment to high-quality education.
Propel McKeesport Arts Educator Brad Gentile is this year’s recipient of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation Award for Commitment to Education in the Arts and Humanities.
Each year the award is presented to a teacher who has successfully integrated the arts and humanities into their classroom and has participated in the Fricks educations programs.
Mr. Gentile has been with Propel McKeesport since the school opened 15 years ago. He brings his love of art into the classroom and believes in a holistic approach to arts education.
“The partnership with the Frick is really about exposing our kids to the educational programs the Frick provides; it will allow us to have the money to give the kids more experiences,” said Gentile. “I want the kids to think, be exposed to other cultures and know about the world” he explained.
The award includes $3,000 for students to participate in future field trips and enrichment activities.
Due to the continued hot weather that is expected on Wednesday, September 5, Propel Northside and Propel Hazelwood schools will again dismiss students two hours early. This means that school will end at 1:30 p.m. and students will be able to use their usual mode of transportation to go home. There will be NO Afterschool Program.
Families are being asked to dress students as comfortably as possible while adhering to the dress code. Bottled water will be provided to students.
As always, the administration of Propel Schools would like to thank Propel School families for their time and flexibility, as we take this action in an abundance of caution for our students and staff.