- A Typical Day
- Creative Arts
- Science and Technology
- Afterschool & Discovery Aces
- Fund My Future
Below, you may view a sample schedule of a day at Propel.
A typical school day at Propel includes:
A longer school day than most public schools
We provide more time for instruction through a longer school day and a longer school year, which results in 25% more instructional time than the state requires. The school day lasts 7 hours and students attend school 190 days.
Morning greetings at arrival
As students step off of the bus, out of their car walk into the building upon arrival, they are greeted by a staff member. Principals are outside to talk to students and parents and to help scholars get their day started on the right foot.
The majority of Propel students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Breakfast is served daily for students.
Literacy and Math
Propel Schools will prepare our students to have the confidence, skills and strategies to confront any English Language Arts and math task they are faced with, inside or outside of the classroom. Our students experience a 3-hour literacy block that has a humanities focus (reading, writing, social studies) and a 90-minute instructional block for math.
The majority of Propel students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Lunch is served daily for students.
Fine Arts and Creative Arts
Propel’s Fine and Creative Arts Programs provide students with a wide array of in-depth arts instruction as an essential, required part of the core curriculum. Through learning in visual arts, music, dance, theater and performing arts, students discover talents and skills that help them to become innovative and creative thinkers, while building motivation and self-confidence. In Fine Arts classes, students are taught by full-time, certified instructors in content that includes visual and media arts, general and instrumental music and show choir. In Creative Arts, students work with teaching artists from a variety of local professional organizations, expanding traditional curriculum to also include content such as puppetry, karate and spoken word poetry. Students receive 50 minutes of instruction in the arts every day.
Propel schools provide a science learning experience that encourages a natural curiosity, increases scientific literacy and applies science to everyday life through comprehensive community partnerships and inquiry based instruction. Our students experience 45-60 minutes of daily interactive science instruction.
Students’ instructional day at Propel ends at 3:30 pm. At that time, students not participating in our award-winning afterschool program are escorted to buses by staff. Just as the beginning of the day is so important on starting the day off on the right foot, the end of the day is equally as powerful to ensure there is closure.
Propel High Schools offer students the same relevance and rigor found in our K – 8 schools. Our students in grades 9 – 12 are challenged with coursework that will lead them to college, career and beyond! Opportunities to earn college credits, take on real-world internships and be involved in community projects are an integral part of each student’s experience.
To best serve our high school students:
- Classes are 48 minutes in length
- Students take ownership of their education via elective courses
- Student leadership opportunities are encouraged
- We offer an Afterschool Program that stresses academics as well as social and enrichment activities.
The CreativeArts program brings the importance of arts education to the forefront of curricular offerings. By making the arts a core part of learning, our students will actively engage with local professional artists, allowing them to be expressive and active members of a classroom. This vital program gives students the opportunity to express themselves, their experiences and their hopes for the future.
The CreativeArts Program provides students with a wide array of fine arts classes as an essential, required part of the core curriculum. In accordance with Propel standards, this program adheres to the standards of the Fully Valued Arts Program principle: Artistic expression and creativity are essential components of a complete education.
All students will receive instruction from the best professional artists in the Pittsburgh area. Teaching artists are in residency at Propel for twelve-week trimesters. CreativeArts classes are taught by professionals in the fields of musical theater, dance, martial arts, media and physical education. As a culmination to the trimester, students will showcase their accomplishments in a “Celebration of Learning.” These assemblies are ways for students to show engagement with and mastery of the arts, as well as gain valuable experience and confidence by performing in front of an audience.
The CreativeArts Program provides students with access to practicing, professional resident artists, working throughout the entire school year, as part of the standard, core curriculum. The culture of the school building is reflected in these arts classes and every student receives in excess of 50 minutes of arts education per day, giving them the opportunity to learn the value of the arts, express their emotions and experiences via the arts and create their own path toward excellence. CreativeArts allows Propel students to use the arts as a way to align with the entire educational experience, both during the school day and as a part of the Afterschool Program.
Propel’s Science programming allows students to work within the sciences in a real and relevant way, bringing science to life. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) science will bring a holistic viewpoint to students, preparing them for college and career. Propel’s Science programming also partners with local, regional and national experts and corporations, allowing our students access to cutting-edge technologies and real-world scenarios.
Propel Schools will provide a science learning experience that encourages natural curiosity, increases scientific literacy, and applies science to everyday life through comprehensive community partnerships and inquiry based instruction.
To create a “teach for understanding” standard based science curriculum where student learning outcomes and performance criteria are identified, accomplished, understood and sustained. Our students will understand the concepts of a true STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) educational process, allowing them to move forward to college and career.
Propel’s science program will help develop student understanding and skills necessary to function productively as problem-solvers in a scientific and technological world. A strong emphasis will be placed on science teacher education through development of a K-12 conceptual framework. Using partnerships with local organizations, universities and professionals in their field, our students will realize the foundational elements that science will have on their future education, careers and life in the 21st century.
Technology integration has always been a foundational element at Propel Schools. Our teachers use technology best practices to enhance and expand instruction. We assure that every child is fluent in the use of both current and emerging technologies. Preparing students for 21st century living includes using technology as a tool for living, learning and working.
Our multi-tiered approach to technology begins at the Administrative level. Propel is supported by a full-time Director of Technology Integration as well as two K – 12 Technology Integration Specialists. They guide all of Propel’s schools through the principles and best practices of technology, aligning them with our curriculum and infusing them with real-life relevance. At the school tier, teachers in every building are supported by a Technology Liaison, assuring instant assistance with issues and ongoing professional development. At the third tier, students receive robust and relevant exposure to technology beginning in Kindergarten. Finally, the family tier sees technologies that assist with home/school communication, allowing families to be partners in the education of their students.
Propel Schools will provide learning environments for the effective use and support of existing and emerging technology. We will engage, challenge and inspire diverse learners in preparation for global citizenship.
At Propel, technology is both a tool and an integrated content area that is fully embedded in teaching and learning. We focus on appropriate, safe and responsible use of technology, as we encourage lifelong technology learning.
Technology is a powerful, multifaceted tool. When embedded effectively, it provides numerous, accessible platforms that greatly enhance student learning. By using technology in and out of the classroom, students gain confidence in their ability to gather information and learn independently. Educators gain access to powerful learning aids that allow them to tailor education to individual student needs. Our students and educators develop skills that are crucial for success in our modern digital age.
Propel’s Afterschool Programs serve students in all 13 Propel schools. From Kindergarten to 12th grade, we bring quality programming to students during out-of-school time. Partnering with 21st Century Community Learning Centers, APOST and others, we are proud to fill this need for our students and families.
Propel Schools will provide students with access to safe, productive and enriching after school activities. Afterschool Program participants learn more about themselves and the world in which they live, allowing for growth and self confidence to take root and blossom.
Our goal is to give students access to enrichment activities that their peers in suburban schools also enjoy, while assuring families that their students have a safe place to learn and grow during after school hours. New experiences, friendships and self-confidence are mainstays of this program.
Propel’s Afterschool Program is staffed by Propel teachers, allowing students to have continuity from school day to Afterschool time. Propel families can count on quality programs that assure safety, engagement, enrichment and high standards. This programming is rich in content and context, offering activities such as fine arts, clubs, Scouting and swimming. There are no charges to Propel families for this program.
Discovery Aces is the Propel-wide enrichment program for students who demonstrate higher-level skills. Discovery Aces students participate in a number of community projects as well as national competitions in science, mathematics, technology, writing and the arts.
By giving students who demonstrate higher-level skills the opportunity to challenge themselves, Discovery Aces will guide through their own personal quest for knowledge.
Discovery Aces will expand the classroom into the community by participation in various after-school and independent projects, as well as field trips to local museums and exhibits. Students will work with both instructors and peers collaboratively, for authentic learning experiences.
Students who are demonstrating higher-level skills should be challenged by coursework that allows them to follow their passions in topics including (but not limited to) forensic science, energy, space, chemistry, geography, animal life, entrepreneurship and social justice. Working with peers, students can gain life skills both in and out of the classroom, by participating in regional and national competitions, learning about their communities and celebrating their educational successes.
Fund My Future
Fund My Future is a program administered by the Propel Schools Foundation to help families of children in Allegheny County to save for college and other post-secondary goals. Fund My Future provides a prize pool (currently valued at $15,000 per year) that makes the saving experience fun. Participants earn raffle tickets when they make deposits, and prize drawings are held quarterly with a grand prize drawing once a year! A full description of the Fund My Future program is available here.
Propel Fund My Future Account Rules
In order to make it easy for families of Propel students to participate, the Propel Schools Foundation offers to open and maintain bank accounts at Dollar Bank for any student currently enrolled at a Propel school. Non-Propel families may participate in Fund My Future, but they must set up their own bank accounts.
When a first deposit is received from a Propel student (usually during the weekly bank-at-school session held at each Propel school), a bank account will be opened automatically for that student. Only current Propel students are eligible for these special Propel Fund My Future accounts. The student and the student’s parent/guardian may make or authorize deposits to the student’s Propel Fund My Future account. Withdrawals are discussed below.
Propel Fund My Future Account Information
The Propel Fund My Future account will be opened at Dollar Bank after the first deposit is made. The noninterest-bearing account will grow through deposits made or authorized by the student and/or the parent/guardian. All Propel Fund My Future account assets will be held by the Propel Schools Foundation for the student in accordance with program rules. At the time the account is opened, we will identify the parent(s)/guardian(s) with whom the Propel student resides (according to information in Propel’s Skyward student information system). We consider these individuals to be the Primary Depositor(s). We will only share information about the Fund My Future Account’s existence, balance or transactions with: 1) the Primary Depositor(s) or 2) the student/graduate once she or he reaches the age of 18.
You are under no obligation to participate in this program. You will be assessed no penalties, monetary or otherwise, for choosing not to participate.
When you make a deposit to a Propel Fund My Future account, the Propel Fund My Future account will automatically be linked to the Fund My Future portal, and you will receive raffle tickets in accordance with the Fund My Future program rules. Making or authorizing a deposit to the Fund My Future account indicates your acceptance both of the Fund My Future program rules (located here) and these Propel Fund My Future account rules.
You may use the account as frequently or infrequently as you would like, or as you are able. However, should the account remain dormant (no deposit activity) for six consecutive months, Propel Schools Foundation reserves the right to close the account. In that event, any money deposited would be returned to you, the Primary Depositor(s).
This account is intended to help fund your child’s future education, and qualified withdrawals may be made for higher education expenses such as tuition, fees, books, or supplies. However, we understand that emergencies may arise and the immediate need for money may conflict with the need to save for the future. In these instances, you will need to complete a Withdrawal Form and obtain the signatures of each of the Primary Depositor(s). All withdrawals are done through the Fund My Future program office. Processing of all withdrawals will take a minimum of seven business days.
This account is not intended to take the place of a transactional checking or savings account. In the event that you have made more than one non-qualified withdrawal in a year, Propel Schools Foundation reserves the right to close the account. In that event, any money deposited would be returned to you, the Primary Depositor(s).
When a student graduates from Propel or leaves Propel before graduating, efforts will be made to disburse funds in the Fund My Future Account. The process used will depend on the balance in the account.
If the balance is less than $25, we will immediately mail a check payable to the student/graduate (if 18 or over) or the Primary Depositor(s) otherwise.
If the balance is $25 or more, we require a signed Withdrawal Form. The Withdrawal Form must be signed by each of the Primary Depositor(s) and the student/graduate (if 18 or over). We will reach out by phone, email and regular mail to the Primary Depositor(s) and the student/graduate (if 18 or over) in order to secure a signed Withdrawal Form. Funds will be disbursed by check in accordance with instructions provided on the fully signed Withdrawal Form. Generally, checks can be made to payable to the student/graduate (if 18 or over), to the Primary Depositor(s) (if student is not yet 18), to a college or school that the student/graduate is attending, to another bank for deposit directly into another savings account, or to both the student/graduate and the Primary Depositor(s).
In the event that all required signatures (each Primary Depositor and the student/graduate if 18 or over) cannot be obtained on a Withdrawal Form, Propel Schools will use its discretion to appropriately hold or disburse funds.
Opting Out of Participation
You are under no obligation to use the account. You will be assessed no penalties, monetary or otherwise, for choosing not to participate. You do not need to notify us if you do not wish to participate. However, you may notify us that you prefer not to participate in which case we will not accept deposits from your child and will not open an account for your child. In that case, return this signed statement to: Propel Fund My Future, 3447 E. Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA15203.
Propel Schools Foundation reserves the right to make updates or changes to the program at any time. Should changes be made, you will receive timely notice of the changes.
For more information, view our FAQ
If you have questions at any time, please contact the Fund My Future Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.