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K-2 Reading

Through our K-2 Reading Initiative, all of our scholars will perform at or above grade level in literacy by the time they complete the 2nd grade. Propel Schools is making a bold move to build a strong foundation for our students by focusing on literacy. This is important because vocabulary development is directly related to school success. Research shows that by three years of age, there is a 30 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families. Research also tells us that children who cannot read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than children who can read by third grade. Across our network of schools, we are so focused on this commitment that we will allocate $8.4 million over the next three years to maintain and grow this initiative. This program will help ensure that the children of families who choose Propel Schools have a strong foundation to achieve their fullest potential. Three necessary parts of this initiative are: Instructional Specialists (IS), Teacher Leader Cadre (TLC) and Family Engagement.

Instructional Specialists (IS)
In a teamwork approach, both the lead educator and the Instructional Specialist (IS) provide daily core and supplemental reading instruction. Providing a well-trained, academic IS in each classroom affords the opportunity to reach the needs of all scholars. Instructional Specialists will provide further instruction for scholars that need help filling in the gaps of their core education.

After administering intentional benchmark assessments, the Instructional Specialist and Lead Educator will interpret the data to determine the scholars' readiness for reading and to provide prescriptive interventions that are in alignment with the science of reading. Communication and planning with their lead educator is key to positive outcomes for our scholars.


Family Engagement
Propel recognizes the importance of family engagement and invites families into a partnership with their scholars' education and learning journey. During registration periods, Propel staff welcomes new families and provides literary resources to encourage practicing at home together. Increasing exposure to these materials helps bridge the gap between home and at school. These literary resources include:

  • books
  • writing materials
  • simple activities to accelerate learning
  • parent guides
  • social learning videos
  • engaging academic videos
  • informative behavioral videos

Seesaw, an electronic platform for student-driven digital portfolios and simple parent communication, became an integral part of scholar learning and parent involvement throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Parents have direct access to classroom pictures, videos, recordings and evidence of their child's learning process, as well as their academic, social, and performing activities. This gives access so that parents can still be present in their child's education, even if they have a busy work schedule!

Teacher Leader Cadre (TLC)
The Teacher Leader Cadre is a team of highly effective educators that support the profession with changing and growing needs to be successful providing a phenomenal sense of urgency and desire to be the best for our scholars.

This team works to support other K-2 educators through modeling and collaboration to give them the opportunity to experience rigor and truth that our scholars can and will achieve the high expectations by demonstrating...

  • growing and changing classrooms
  • classroom management skills
  • data-driven instruction, and
  • strong instructional practices within their classrooms


Our first cohort (Kindergarten 2019/2020) entered school demonstrating a  33% (district-wide average) in reading readiness skills. By the middle of the year, before the COVID interruption, this cohort more than doubled their early reading readiness skills and abundantly proved the significant impact of the components of our K-2 Literacy Initiative. Nine out of 16 of our classrooms achieved our end of year goal of 70%  toward early literacy reading proficiency. Although COVID did interrupt the ability to administer end of year benchmark assessments, from the data, we estimated that 13 out of the 16 Kindergarten classrooms would have reached or far surpassed our goal of 70% proficiency or higher during the first year of implementation of the K-2 Initiative. This data is inspiring, hopeful, and gives the momentum to continue to make a positive impact on our children's lives and futures.


We are so glad we decided to enroll Zaiden in Propel McKeesport. He has made so much progress this year. He loves math and flies through addition and subtraction problems and is learning how to read and write on his own. We would definitely recommend Propel to families.

- Family of a Propel McKeesport Scholar



An exciting literacy program in all K-2 classrooms at Propel Schools.
The program is a support system for creating access to books and helping readers as they grow.
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