Ready or not, school is starting in the next few weeks for many families. If you live in a Paragon home, getting organized and finding space for school supplies, sports equipment, and afternoon snacks should be no problem, because we help our clients design storage and living spaces to fit every need. We build in new home neighborhoods that feature top performing school districts as one of many amenities. Here is a quick look at our “home” districts and when they are scheduled to begin the new school year. We hope everyone has a great year! Continue reading
If you have children of school age, you have most likely been out shopping for notebooks, crayons, backpacks and snacks for lunches. It’s a good time to reorganize or rethink your home’s most-used living areas to create inviting, designated spaces for homework and also to hide the extra clutter from school projects and sports activities. Continue reading
If you are choosing to build a new house in the Pittsburgh area, you might be considering neighborhoods based on how close they are to your relatives, job or your kids’ school. If you aren’t locked in on a particular area, South Fayette and Collier townships are a good bet to build in, for a number of reasons.
Room to Grow
Both South Fayette and Collier have realized robust housing growth in recent years, in large part because they have premium land. Half of each township is made up with all the shopping and dining along Washington Pike and the area transitions quickly to suburban and even a rural and woodsy in feel in some places, both communities give homeowners the opportunity to spread out and build on spacious, scenic lots. New home neighborhoods offer a sense of community, but let everyone enjoy some privacy.
Grade A Schools
Younger families continue to be drawn to both of these communities because of the success of South Fayette and Chartiers Valley school districts. Both districts have taken on building projects in recent years to both accommodate the growing number of students and incorporate new technology and innovations for students. The Pittsburgh Business Times ranked South Fayette at the top district in Western Pennsylvania in 2015, bumping Mt. Lebanon School District from the number one slot and both South Fayette and Chartiers Valley scored at the top of the recent PA state Keystone Exams.
South Fayette and Collier townships rank on the low end of property taxes, both in the bottom third of millage rates among the more than 100 municipalities in Allegheny County. At the same time, new homes built in these communities hold their value.
At Allegheny County’s Western edge, Collier and South Fayette are within 15 miles of downtown Pittsburgh, and close to both Pittsburgh International Airport and work locations in Allegheny, Beaver and especially Southpointe, Washington County.
The popularity of South Fayette and Collier have resulted in stable communities that let you live close to or in a natural, park-like environment, with shopping and other businesses just a short drive away.
Most of us are back into the school routine by now – up early and scrambling to get breakfast, pack lunches and organize the day.
If you are moving into a Paragon new home neighborhood, here is some background information on school districts in areas where we build. And no matter where your kids go to school, read on for ways to organize and structure your home to help save time and reduce the clutter.
South Fayette Township School District – A growing school district that recently built a new primary school building for grades K-2, South Fayette serves only residents of the township. The primary, intermediate, middle and high school buildings are located on the same campus. South Fayette has been nationally recognized for its educational initiatives in science and technology. http://www.southfayette.org/
Chartiers Valley School District – Chartiers Valley School District serves families in Bridgeville, Collier Township, Scott Township and Heidelberg. The district has started construction of a new middle school on the existing campus of the middle and high school buildings in Collier. A primary school for grades K-2 is also in Collier, and the intermediate school is located in Scott Township. Chartiers Valley was recognized in 2015 as having one of the top 10 STEM programs in the country. http://www.cvsd.net/
Montour School District – Students who live in Robinson and Kennedy townships, Ingram and Thornburg boroughs and Pennsbury Village attend Montour School District schools. The district is building a new, consolidated elementary school for grades K-4 near the high school in Robinson. The middle school is located in Kennedy. Montour High School opened a Virtual Immersion lab – the first of its kind in the state – in 2015. http://www.montourschools.com/
Upper St. Clair School District – “Newsweek” ranked Upper St. Clair High School #113 in the nation among public high schools last year, and the school district has also been nationally recognized for its music education program. The district serves Upper St. Clair Township with three elementary schools and two middle schools along with the high school. http://www.uscsd.k12.pa.us/
Peters Township School District – Serving families in Peters Township and the towns of McMurray and Venetia, Peters Township School District earned a 14th place ranking statewide from the “Pittsburgh Business Times” in its 2016 Guide to Western PA Schools. The district operates three elementary schools, one middle school and the high school. http://www.ptsd.k12.pa.us/
North Allegheny School District – Consistently ranked by “Newsweek” in the top 6% of public high schools nationwide, North Allegheny is the largest suburban school district in Allegheny County. Children who live in Bradford Woods and Franklin Park boroughs, Marshall Township and the Town of McCandless attend one of North Allegheny’s 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools (an intermediate high school serves students in grade 9 and 10). http://www.northallegheny.org/
Settling in to the school year can take some time, and your children’s storage and space needs will change as they grow. Here are some ways to optimize your home for a smooth school year.
A custom closet or a row of locker-style cubbies near the door will make everyone’s life a little easier on school mornings. The key is training everyone in the family to use their designated hook or space for storing backpacks, lunchboxes and shoes. Try to customize each section and if everyone has his or her own space it will be easy to remember who sits where. Baskets near the doorway you use most often can also help corral umbrellas, sports gear and gloves and hats once the weather turns cold.
Whether your child likes to work in peace and quiet or in the middle of the action, he or she needs a desk or table space for homework. It’s always helpful to set up a routine. Maybe homework in the kitchen during dinner prep is the best time, or farther away from family distractions in their own room right after school. Kids who are involved in activities often end up doing homework “on the road”, but that isn’t an option for larger projects that involve a lot of research. If you have your own “homework” to do in the evenings for work, make it a family routine to keep everyone on track.
In the first weeks of school, especially, half of the papers your kids bring home are for you. Designate one spot – a folder, basket, file drawer, etc. — for school-related paperwork. An open spot in the house, like the kitchen or family room, is a great place to set up a “command center” with a calendar and wipe-off memo board to keep track of everyone’s activities and appointments. Lots of people rely on electronic calendars, but there’s something to be said for a large scale, visual “aid” to keep important dates front and center in a high-traffic room in your house.
It’s not too late to ramp up your house’s organization and daily routines, even if you’ve been back to school for a few weeks. Even some small changes can free up more time for family activities that aren’t school or work related.
Grab a blanket or camp chairs and some bug spray — it’s time to celebrate Independence Day with a fireworks display.
Here is a list of some fireworks shows in the areas south and west of Pittsburgh for your family to enjoy. Plan your viewing accordingly and you can catch three nights of fireworks in a row!
Carnegie Borough will celebrate Independence Day at Carnegie Park on July 3, so you can get a jump on the festivities. A skateboard tournament begins at 1 p.m., along with other activites, and fireworks begin at dusk. http://carnegieborough.com/monthly_calendar.html
Findlay Township will also have its fireworks display on July 3 at its Recreation and Sports Complex off of Route 30, beginning at 9:30 p.m. https://fireworksinpennsylvania.com/events/findlay-township-independence-day/
South Fayette Township and Upper St. Clair are pairing up for a fireworks display on July 4 at 9:30 p.m. Residents are asked to watch the show from the Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center and Boyce-Mayview Park along Mayview Road in Upper St. Clair, which is adjacent to Fairview Park. Parking will be limited at Fairview. http://www.southfayettepa.com/Calendar.aspx?EID=1362
If heading downtown is your tradition, Pittsburgh’s EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks show, put on by Pyrotecnico of New Castle, PA will begin near Point State Park at dusk on July 4. http://celebrateamericapgh.com/
Crafton Celebrates will mark its 40th anniversary this year in Crafton Park. The festival runs from 6 to 11 p.m. July 1 and continues each evening until the fireworks show at dusk on July 4. http://www.craftoncelebrates.com/
Robinson Township will being its Independence Day fireworks display at dusk on July 4 at the Burkett Sports & Recreation Complex off of Steubenville Pike. http://townshipofrobinson.com/events.html
McDonald will celebrate its annual McSummerfest July 2-9 at Heritage Park with a Zambelli fireworks show at dusk on July 5. http://mcdonaldfire.com/
Happy Halloween from Paragon Homes!
Here the Trick-or-Treating times you need to know, curated from Pittsburgh’s WTAE Channel 4 Action News and individual township website.
PLUS: check out our Halloween and other seasonal tips from previous Paragon Homes blog posts, here.
- All trick-or-treat times shown below are for Oct. 31, unless otherwise noted.
City of Pittsburgh (all neighborhoods)
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Other areas listed in alphabetical order:
– Avalon 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade begins 11 a.m. at Avalon Elementary School)
– Baldwin Borough 6 to 8 p.m.
– Baldwin Township 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade begins 2 p.m. at municipal building)
– Beaver (Oct. 29) 6 to 8 p.m.
(Halloween Parade Oct. 24 at 10 a.m., followed by Halloween Hop at noon with trick-or-treating at participating stores in town)
– Bellevue 6 to 8 p.m.
– Bethel Park 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade begins 11 a.m. at municipal building)
– Brentwood 6 to 8 p.m.
– Bridgeville 6 to 8 p.m.
– Butler City 6 to 7 p.m.
– Castle Shannon 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at the library)
– Cecil Township 6 to 7:30 p.m.
– Charleroi (Oct. 29) 6 to 7 p.m.
(Downtown parade and trick-or-treating at stores, Oct. 28, 5-7 p.m.)
– Cheswick 6 to 8 p.m.
– Churchill 6 to 8 p.m.
– Collier Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Connellsville 5 to 7 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 27, New Haven Volunteer Fire Dept.)
– Coraopolis (Oct. 29) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Crafton 6 to 8 p.m.
– Cranberry Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Crescent Township (Oct. 29) 6:30 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. on Main Street, followed by party at fire department)
– Economy (Oct. 30) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Evans City 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.)
– Forest Hills 6 to 8 p.m.
– Forward Township (Allegheny) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Fox Chapel 6 to 8 p.m.
– Franklin Park 6 to 8 p.m.
(Party Oct. 24 at Blueberry Hill Park Activity Center at 1:30 p.m.)
– Green Tree 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 25 at fire hall at 1 p.m.)
– Hampton Township 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 24 at community center at 12 p.m.)
– Hanover Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Hempfield Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Hopewell Township (Oct. 29) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Indiana Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Ingram (Parade starts at borough building)
– Jeannette (Oct 29.) 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.)
– Jefferson Hills 6 to 8 p.m.
– Kennedy Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– McCandless 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (followed by Fireworks)
– McKeesport 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. at Renzie Park)
– Millvale 5:30 to 8 p.m. (Party at Millvale Community Library 5:30-8 p.m.)
– Monroeville 6 to 8 p.m.
– Monroeville Mall (Oct. 30) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Moon Township (Oct. 29) 6:30 to 8 p.m.
– Mt. Lebanon 6 to 8 p.m. (Parade starts 11 a.m. on Washington Road, between cemetery and Washington Elementary)
– Murrysville 6 to 8 p.m.
– New Kensington 5 to 7 p.m.
– North Huntingdon 6 to 8 p.m.
– Oakdale 5:30 to 8 p.m. (Parade starts near Willow Creek Crossing)
– Oakmont 6 to 8 p.m.
– O’Hara Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Penn Township (Westmoreland) 6 to 8 p.m.
– Peters Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Pine Township 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade and party Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Wexford Vol. Fire Co.)
– Pleasant Hills 6 to 8 p.m.
-Robinson Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Sewickley 6 to 8 p.m.
– Sewickley Heights 6 to 8 p.m.
– Sewickley Hills 6 to 8 p.m.
– South Fayette Township 6 to 8 p.m.
– Swissvale 5 to 7 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 31 at 12 p.m.)
– Tanger Outlets 6 to 8 p.m.
– Trafford 6 to 8 p.m.
– Upper St. Clair 6 to 8 p.m.
– Verona 6 to 8 p.m.
(Parade Oct. 31 at 11 a.m.)
– The Waterfront (Homestead/W. Homestead/Munhall) 5 to 8 p.m., Oct. 29
– West Deer 6 to 8 p.m.
– West Mifflin 6 to 7:30 p.m.
(Children’s Halloween event Oct. 24 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
– Whitehall 6 to 8 p.m.
– Wilkins Township 6 to 8 p.m.
South Fayette Township School District has been once again named a top school district in Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh region. In fact, this year, it outranked some of the other communities in the area, coming in at #1! We at Paragon Homes custom home builders are proud to build in several of the school districts on the list, in some of the most sought-after communities and suburbs of Pittsburgh.
It hasn’t been the only honor to be bestowed upon South Fayette and other local schools in recent weeks, however. In fact, SF was also named one of the ‘Most Challenging’ school districts in the entire nation, by the Washington Post — an honor for academics, and, perhaps, a frustration for students.
Nonetheless, Paragon Homes is Lion Proud!
South Fayette has unseated Mt. Lebanon School District as the Top-Ranking School District in the Pittsburgh region, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.
SF has consistently performed well in this annual list of school rankings, but this year the green and white Lions have skipped ahead to claim the #1 spot out of 103 ranked school districts in Western Pennsylvania.
Paragon Homes has a community right near the esteemed South Fayette Township Schools. Deerfield Ridge had its Grand Opening in June 2014 and continues to be a sought-after new home community. Build a custom-built Paragon home in Deerfield Ridge today! You’ll love South Fayette and all that it has to offer — and with Paragon Homes, you can craft a custom-built home to suit all of your unique needs.
Recently, Safewise detailed a list of the 50 Safest Cities in Pennsylvania. It comes to no surprise to us that many of these cities, towns, and regions are the home to Paragon Homes communities. At Paragon, we pride ourselves on building our luxurious, family-friendly new home communities in the best, most-thriving, and safest communities in and around Western Pennsylvania.
Some Pittsburgh-region all-stars that stood out to us on the list? Cecil, South Park, Franklin Park, Murraysvile, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon, South Fayette, Peters Township, Bethel Park, Shaler, and more.
For a full list of the safest areas in Pennsylvania, view the original article, here.
Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years. In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa. In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. You can reach Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807, or visit us online at http://www.visitparagonhomes.com
Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010, one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2011, a 2012 Woman of the Year and Athena Young Professional awards candidate, one of Pittsburgh’s Most Influential Twitter Users by the Pittsburgh Business Times, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, doberman, frogs, and cats! In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Wexford, PA has been named one of CNBC’s most “perfect” suburbs in the nation.
According to a recent article from CNBC, Wexford is one of 10 perfect suburbs in the United States, for reasons such as a 7.0% metro unemployment rate, a median house value of $345,578, and a higher safety rating in the top 35% of all U.S. communities, not to mention a high value on education, and access to great schools.
CNBC states, “Wexford is a mostly white-collar small city with lots of new housing and urban sophisticates (educated, wealthy, avid readers, well-traveled, supporters of the arts). It has better public schools than 96% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 99% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Wexford’s populace holds a four-year degree (58.3%), and a majority are homeowners (82.6%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.”
Paragon Homes offers housing in the Wexford area. One of our new home communities, Venango Trails, is a great place to live, if you are looking to move to Wexford. Paragon believes that, for someplace to feel like home it first has to look like home. At Venango Trails, the homes are both artistic and historic, without sacrificing modern conveniences. For example, eery home is high-performance, completely wired, and eco-and-earth-friendly with energy-saving materials and technologies to complement the land around which it has been built. In fact, Venango Trails is conserving ponds, green space, and acres of forest with historic Native American Indian trails. So, now you can commune with nature while always being just a short commute from Wexford and Cranberry Township!
Perfect homes in a perfect suburb: sounds good to us!