Letters & Notifications to Parents and Students During Covid-19

January 15, 2021

Hybrid Instruction Update

Dear Students and Families:

We hope that you have had a great start to the second trimester of the school year and are adapting to the school day schedule.

Our trimester plan indicated that our hybrid in-person start date would be dependent upon whether Allegheny County is in the substantial or moderate phase.  We've been monitoring the transmission rates and Allegheny County continues to remain in the substantial phase. The PA Department of Education (PDE) and PA Health Department recommends that a school's county must be in the moderate phase for two weeks prior to transitioning to in-person schooling. 

As a result, we will need to further delay our first in-person hybrid start date to the following:

  • Group 1 will begin in-person on Thursday, February 4th.  The regular weekly schedule for Group 1 is on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

  • Group 2 will begin in-person instruction on Friday, February 5th.  The regular weekly schedule for Group 2 is on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

  • All seniors begin in-person instruction on Thursday, February 4th.  The regular weekly schedule for seniors is Tuesday through Friday.

Even though we plan to offer hybrid instruction at some point, some families may still choose to remain virtual. Your child's Advisor will follow up with you regarding your decision to stay virtual or attend in-person.

We are looking forward to starting our hybrid model in the coming weeks and will continue to send out notifications to families regarding our plans.  If you have questions, feel free to reach out to your Grade-Level Principal.  Please continue to do all you can to stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Allen

January 8, 2021

Dear Students and Families: 
As our school-wide virtual model was extended until January 26th, we have planned an educational materials pick-up day for Monday, January 11th from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This will assure that students have the necessary materials to augment their virtual learning experience.
Please note that we selected Monday so that students will not miss class. Most students will need to come in to pick up a supply. PLEASE CHECK THE ATTACHED COURSE LIST TO SEE IF YOUR CLASS IS LISTED. Your Grade-Level Principal will also email their students with a list of everyone in the grade who will need to come to school for the educational materials pick-up on Monday. Be on the look-out for this email and check to see if your name is on the list. When you arrive on Monday, you will enter our main entrance in the rear of the building to pick up your educational items and then you will exit through the auditorium side door in the front of the building. We will be following health and safety protocols, whereby every student is required to wear a mask, social distance, and receive a temperature scan before entering the building. Regarding parking, there will be limited temporary spaces on the Blvd. of the Allies side of the building. This will be a temporary loading zone. Because a new bike lane has been installed, please do NOT park in the front of the building. We look forward to seeing you next week. In the interim, please reach out to your Grade-Level Principal if you have questions.

Take care! Best,
City High Administration

Courses with Educational Supplies that Need to Be Picked Up at School on 1/11/21,
Class of 2024
(9th Grade)
Class of 2023
(10th Grade)
Class of 2022
(11th Grade)
Class of 2021
(12th Grade)
(Teams A & B)
Cultural Literacy
(Team C)
Cultural Literacy
(Team A)
Politics and Civics
Art Elective

Cultural Literacy
(Team B Honors Only)

Art Elective: Design College Readiness
  Art Elective Art Elective: Painting Fitness Elective
    Guitar Elective  
    August Wilson Elective  
    Fitness Elective  
    Censorship Elective  










Trimester 2 Safety Information

January 5, 2021

Good Afternoon Everyone, 
I hope that this email finds you and your family well and ready for 2021. Congratulations on our collective efforts to successfully make it through the past trimester. In addition, I wanted to pass some important information on to you pertaining to school safety and COVID-19 protocols for City High. For most of you this is a refresher as you've heard it from me before and Dr. Allen reviewed some of this during our staff meeting yesterday morning:

Building Access: 
Staff will continue to be permitted to enter the building when needed. Please note that you have access 7 days a week, from 6:15 am to 5:00 pm. If you are planning to come into the building during the weekend, you MUST contact me first. The new alarm panel in the lobby is armed 24 hours on weekends, and accessing the building without letting me know will activate the alarm, causing a response from Pittsburgh Police. 

I can be reached at 412-228-7675 or my personal cell at 412-557-1913. It's best to call, not text.

Temperature Checks: 
EVERYONE entering the building must stop at the kiosk in the lobby and have their temperature taken wearing a mask. The scanner will signal an alert if you have a temperature of 100.7 or higher. If you receive this alert, please leave the building immediately and contact Dr. Allen. In addition to you alerting administration, the system will automatically send an alert to me with your picture and temperature reading, I will also forward this information to school administration and Nurse Sandy.

Everyone in the school will be required to wear a mask while in the building. The only time you are permitted to remove your mask is to eat/drink and/or if you are alone in an office or room by yourself.  As soon as you are finished eating or drinking, you must put your mask back on.  Those who cannot wear a mask should speak with Dr. Allen as soon as possible. 
Additionally, Dr. Allen shared in our meeting yesterday that staff will be required to complete a screening form when coming into the building. Any updates to this procedure will be shared before in-person instruction begins.

Social Distancing: 
Each school floor has been set up for social distancing. Hallways are one way. Please make sure you are following the posted signs and floor markings. Classrooms have maximum occupancy numbers on the windows next to the door. Please abide by these numbers as well. The occupancy numbers have been determined by both class size and teachers.
Visitors: During the COVID-19 pandemic, and when students and staff are in the building, City Charter High School will not be allowing non-essential visitors into the building. We are asking that if you need to meet with someone, either conduct that meeting via video conference or telephone. If a meeting needs to take place in-person, please contact administration for approval and then email me at Dougherty@cityhigh.org so that I can make arrangements for this visitor to come into the building.
Water Fountains: Water fountains were turned off previously and will remain turned off during the trimester.

Additional Safety Information:
City Charter High School prides itself on safety. Although I have not scheduled our students to complete ALICE training, it is imperative that our staff stay up to date.  This past trimester, staff completed that online ALICE training. Once we return to the building full time, I will schedule both online training for students and hands on training for students and staff. 

While we are out of the building, we will not be conducting our normal drills. These drills will need to take place when both staff and students are in the building.
On a side note: I would like to welcome our new staff members to CityHigh! If you have any questions about the information I've shared, please let me know. I would like to schedule you all for ALICE training. This training will take place online and should take about one hour to complete. Please send me your email address and I will reply with your personal link to the training. 
Tomorrow I will send out a reminder on some of our safety protocols and policies. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know, stay safe and healthy.

Del Dougherty Jr,  Director / SRO
City Charter High School
Office of School Safety & Security
201 Stanwix Street,  Suite 100
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-690-2489 ext.187
412-690-2316 fax

Trimester 2 Distance Learning Models

December 3, 2020

Dear Students and Families:
We want to congratulate you again on completing the trimester.  It was our first fully live-streamed educational model and you met the challenge along with our dedicated faculty!  As we announced a few weeks ago, we are planning to shift to a hybrid model for the second trimester.

We’ve highlighted important elements of the model in the attached Infographic.  Please post it in a prominent place that will serve as an at-a-glance reminder of expectations and a reference point for quick questions about the model’s logistics. An overview is also provided below:

Our primary plan is a hybrid model with an option for students to remain fully virtual based on your responses to our November family survey. 

The model is a full 4-day schedule, whereby students will attend two days in person and two days virtually. 

Seniors will attend in person four days a week (Tuesday through Friday) and will check in on Mondays via a Google attendance form.  This is based on hourly requirements by the PA Department of Education (PDE) as well as scheduling and other nuances of City High’s senior model.  A customized Infographic is enclosed for all seniors outlining these details.
All students will be expected to wear masks and practice social distancing.

For virtual days, all students will be expected to turn their cameras on for class, particularly now that Google has added new features that allow a student to blur their background.

If Allegheny County transitions to a ‘moderate’ community transmission rate by the end of December, City High’s hybrid model will be phased in by starting the first week and a half virtually with the first hybrid in-person day occurring on January 14th and 15th (based on whether a student is scheduled into Group 1 or 2 as explained on the Infographic).  All seniors will begin in-person on January 14th.

Throughout the pandemic, each model City High has developed has progressively moved us closer to our traditional schedule (amidst health and safety mitigation efforts) with live classes that are block scheduled or longer in duration than our recently completed trimester 1 model.  This will allow students to spend more time with their teachers, provide a greater opportunity to complete work in class, and facilitate the ability for students to collaborate using technology tools with their peers.  This shift will also reduce the need for independent work, which was a part of our trimester 1 model due to PDE’s requirement for schools to complete a minimum number of annual hours.

The timing of when we start our hybrid model is dependent upon the COVID transmission rate in Allegheny County as tracked and determined by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD).  We will provide another family notification on December 30th after monitoring the rate leading up to the start of the trimester on January 5th.

With the extended impact of the pandemic on our traditional educational model, we will need to make additional changes in our school calendar.  Like the first trimester, there will not be any half days during the second trimester.  We also will not have final exams.  Grades will be determined based on cumulative grades attained during the trimester.  As such, our originally scheduled days for finals will be eliminated from the calendar so the trimester will end on Friday, March 26th. 

Lastly, as this is the end of the trimester mailing, enclosed with this letter are the trimester 1 Report Card; Trimester 2 Infographic—checklist for students or checklist for seniors; and a Title I letter(s).  There will be an additional notification at the beginning of January that includes more procedural details regarding the new trimester.  This information will also be posted on our website — Trimester Two GO-Hybrid and FULL Livestream Ready Models

Despite the historic conditions around us, City High is committed to creating a bright spot in the lives of our school community members through holding on to the ideals, albeit transformed in some ways, that help make City High a special place.   As we enter the holiday season, we hope that you are able to enjoy time off and safely engage in activities that bring you joy.  Our wish for you and each other is that we can not only make it through this prolonged period but to also do our best to thrive.  

Again, we’ll be back in touch later this month.  As always, please continue to do all you can to stay safe and healthy!


All my best,

Dara Ware Allen, Ph.D.
CEO and Principal

November 20, 2020

This is an important message from City Charter High School for 9th Grade School Laptops.

Your current 9th grade school laptop is being replaced with a newer HP Elitebook laptop. Please save all important files to your Google Drive and bring your school laptop and charger to the building on Monday November 23rd between 8am and 12 noon or Tuesday November 24th between 1 pm and 4:30pm. There is no parking in front of the building because of the new bike lanes. Some on street parking is located on the Boulevard of the Allies. Tech Team members be located outside to swap your laptop and charger. Each laptop will have an instruction sheet on how to login. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Crist at crist@cityhigh.org or call 724-393-0206.

November 11, 2020

Title I Letter to Parents

Dear Parents and Guardians:

This year marks the eighteenth year of City Charter High School’s operation as a public school of choice in Pittsburgh, and the first time ever that we’ve had to start a school year virtually. As your Principal and CEO, I want to thank you for your flexibility, patience, and partnership. I pledge to continue working diligently with you, our students, and our staff to assure that the City High tradition of excellence lives on, where fostering a positive, rigorous, and supportive learning environment for each of our students is our overarching priority regardless of the learning platform.
Thanks goes out to all for contributing to a successful 2019-2020 school year and a successful start to the 2020-2021 school year.  Last year’s accomplishments were many, including:
  • According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, City High’s most recent graduation rate is 94.7%, compared to 86.5% for the state.
  • 72% of our graduates were accepted into a 2-year or 4-year college, university or training program.
  • City High continues to have the highest Pittsburgh Promise eligibility rate of all Pittsburgh high schools: 91% qualify for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship.
  • The Class of 2020 secured over $1.316 million in college/post-secondary scholarships.
  • Retention matters early on: 98.7% of our 9th graders last year were promoted to 10th grade for the 2020-21 school year.

We also want to inform you that City Charter High School receives Title I funding from the federal government. This funding is used to provide the following:
  • Teachers that provide focused support for reading, writing, and mathematics;
  • Paraprofessional assistance for students in reading, writing, mathematics, and technology;
  • After school tutoring for ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students;
  • Support for parent workshops;
  • Transportation to academic field experiences for students; and
  • Staff development sessions and professional learning opportunities that enable teachers to further develop their knowledge as learners and strengthen their practice as effective teachers.
As a Title I school with a School-Wide Program, we are informing all parents that all of our students are eligible for Title I services.  Additionally, City High annually reviews and approves its School-Wide Parental Involvement Policy, School-Wide Plan, and Professional Development Plan. These are jointly developed by parents, teachers, and administration.
There will be a school-wide parental involvement meeting in the early spring if you are interested in learning more about the Title I services we provide and would like to have input in the policies and plans listed above. More information will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, please contact me at 412-690-2489, x101, or via email at dwallen@cityhigh.org if you have any relevant feedback, questions, or concerns that you want to share.

Take care and please continue to stay safe.
Dara Ware Allen, Ph.D.
CEO and Principal