Fall Newsletter 2015


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Forest Hills School District Fall Newsletter 2015

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Forest Hills Ranger Review Vol. XXXVI No 1 Fall 2015-2016 U.S. ARMY AND PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCE STUDENT-ATHLETE AWARD WINNER The U.S. Army and the Pro Football Hall of Fame named high-school athlete Courtney Cecere of Sidman, PA the U.S. Army–Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence winner. Cecere, one of 20 finalists vying for the honor, was announced as the winner during a luncheon at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Event Center on August 8, 2015. The Award for Excellence program highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country. Open to all sophomore, junior and senior level high school athletes in the United States, the program focuses on athletic achievement combined with excellence in academics and community engagement. “Courtney has demonstrated to her peers, teachers and coaches that she understands both the core of the Army ethos – she won’t quit and failure is never an option – but also, the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” said Mark Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing and director of the Army marketing and research group. “We are thrilled to recognize Courtney and all of our outstanding student-athletes here today. Each of our 20 finalists deserves recognition for their exceptional performance in athletics, academics and community involvement.” Courtney applied for the award in January 2015 and was contacted in February that she was one of the 20 finalists. Then on May 28, 2015, Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis visited the school to present Courtney with the finalist award. The high school was abuzz with excitement after decorating the building and grounds in black and gold for an exciting moment to be shared with one of the NFL’s finest. All the finalists were treated to a hospitable stay in Canton, Ohio during Enshrinement Week, one of the biggest weeks in that part of Ohio. Courtney and the other finalists met each other at an ice-breaker dinner then were treated to an Aerosmith Concert at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. On Saturday, the day began with the fifth largest parade in the country. More than 200,000 spectators crowded Cleveland Avenue to welcome the Class of 2015 Enshrinees – along with many returning Gold Jackets. Specialty units, giant helium balloons, fabulous floats and many, many marching bands dazzled the crowds. Saturday afternoon included the banquet ceremony where Courtney was awarded the Student-Athlete Award, surrounded by many Gold Jackets and her family. The day was then topped off with the emotional Enshrinement Ceremony where the newest Hall of Fame members took their place among Pro football’s elite. Courtney was also interviewed by Steve Wyche for the NFL Network which was aired that same evening. The entire weekend finished with excellent tickets to watch the Hall of Fame game where the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Minnesota Vikings.


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~ SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE ~ Each year at this time, since my first year as Superintendent of the Forest Hills School District in the Fall of 2011, I send a special message to our community and staff. I utilize the fall newsletter as a vehicle to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to everyone in the district who has been instrumental in making my previous years as a superintendent a rewarding and positive experience. In addition, I take this opportunity to wish community members a hope that the 2015-2016 school year brings everyone a wealth of joy and prosperity. In addition to my greeting, I want to take a moment to reflect back on the 2014-2015 school year accomplishments and accolades of each building in the district. Last year certainly had its share of awards. As stated on the front cover of the newsletter, a Forest Hills High School student was named the National Football Hall of Fame’s and US Army’s national award winner. This district received national recognition because of this young lady’s accomplishments. The high school once again was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and was awarded a bronze medal as one of the top performing high schools in the country. Last year, the middle school, based on PSSA results, was ranked 2 nd in overall performance in the entire IU 8. The elementary school 10 point growth on previous PSSA tests was the highest in the entire IU8. In late summer, the district received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that stated the Forest Hills School District had met and or exceeded all expectations associated with last year’s special education monitoring and we are well on the way to completing all gifted monitoring requirements. From a curriculum standpoint, the district will introduce a new middle school course, Mobile Technology, where every 8th grade student will be involved in various interdisciplinary projects utilizing tablets, chrome books, and iPads. A new keyboarding class will be introduced at the elementary school in which Mrs. Bonnie Makin will teach keyboarding skills to every 6th grade student. For the first time ever, the district will pilot the utilization of an instructional coach at the secondary level. Mrs. Amanda Williamson has graciously accepted the position and will work cooperatively with middle school and high school staff to increase questioning skills and other instructional methodologies. If successful this year, we plan to introduce this educational initiative into the elementary school for the 2016-2017 school year. As you can see, the administration in cooperation with the teaching staff, worked diligently to examine, evaluate, and implement instructional methodologies that enhance already successful existing teaching strategies that provide our students an educational environment conducive to learning. “Teaching is not always about passing on what you know, it is about passing on who you are.” - Julia Loggins I promised in the 2015 summer newsletter that I would provide you an update of the building project. Listed below are some of the great things that are transforming that dream into a reality. The Forest Hills Junior/Senior High School Construction project is well underway! Months have been spent with contractors working on and in the ground and it is finally starting to look like a new building will soon occupy the Sidman Campus! Masonry walls have been going up slowly & methodically in the gym and auditorium areas and finally these spaces are getting floors and roofs. Walking through these recently constructed areas, it is becoming easier to imagine the spaces that were contemplated years ago and meticulously planned and detailed with our team of professionals. Steel erection is well underway and it is quickly starting to provide us with a skeletal view of the remaining academic areas of the building. The contractors will continue working thru the winter enclosing the remainder of the building and starting on the interior construction that won’t be revealed to the public until the building is opened for occupancy the following winter. Through this coming winter and spring the exterior masonry will also start to take shape and the community will get a glimpse of the final exterior building design that up until now has lived only in computer renderings and our imagination. In the Spring of 2017, Forest Hills residents will begin to see the Ranger Stadium in a new light as the existing high school that has been blocking the view of the stadium from Locust Street will be demolished and remainder of the site will be cleaned up, landscaped, and paved. The final completed transformation of the Sidman Campus and the opening of the new Junior/Senior High School may still seem like a long way off but the progress has been steady and the completed structure and our Dedication Celebration will be here before we know it! Sincerely, As I stated before and I’ll say it again -“It’s a Great Time to Be a Part of the Forest Hills School District!” Edwin Bowser Superintendent of Schools 2


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~ DISTRICT RETIREMENTS ~ The Forest Hills School District proudly recognizes three retirees. These individuals shared their knowledge and life experiences with many students each year. The Board of School Directors, administrators, staff, and students thank these individuals for taking the time to make a difference in the lives of our young people. Geraldine Ciesielka 33 years of service Linda Eash 24 years of service Ann Pierce 19 years of service ~ JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES ~ 3


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Title I Parent Compact The Forest Hills School District’s Comprehensive Plan establishes the mission of the Forest Hills School District regarding its educational program, which is for all children. The Forest Hills School District Title I Program, however, has as its primary mission, the improvement of educational opportunities for elementary children in order that these students are “equally likely” to achieve advanced skills, including those established by Pennsylvania’s content and performance standards in reading, language arts and mathematics. It is within this framework that all elementary students will be provided with a highly supportive and congruent learning environment specifically designed to provide appropriate developmental and/or intervention activities to enhance their capacity to learn. Teachers are committed to sharing this responsibility with you and your child by performing the following practices: Teacher’s Pledge: I will Build a relationship with the families in my class Keep families informed of their children’s progress and needs in each subject Help students get the help they need as soon as it is needed Send home learning materials in math and reading Explain my approach to teaching, expectations, and grading to students and their families Continue professional development so that we can reach the students we work with Communicate to students and or parents to help them understand assignments and their goals Parents must also share the responsibility of providing children with appropriate learning experiences. The African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child,” indicates that education is the responsibility of all of us. Parents and teachers must work together as partners to provide children with a supportive learning environment. Consequently, as a parent, we ask that you share this responsibility by committing yourself to the following practices: Parent’s Pledge: I will Monitor my child’s progress and let the teacher know right away if I notice any problems Use reading and math materials the school sends home each week to help my child Read to my child 20 minutes a day and keep a list of new words Limit TV to one hour a day and talk to my child about our favorite program Help my child see how to use reading and math to pursue interests and goals Students must also take responsibility for their own learning. We ask students to commit themselves to the following practices: Student’s Pledge: I will Ask for help from my teacher and family if I am having trouble doing my work Read on my own and with my family every day Work on my math and reading skills at home, using the materials my teacher sends home Write down assignments, do my homework every day, and turn it in when it’s due Communication is the essence of a good relationship. The Forest Hills School District’s Title I Program has always and is continuing to commit itself to improving the communication between home and school. Implementation of the “PARENT PARTICIPATION PLAN,” as adopted by the Board of School Directors in conjunction with this compact, is a major step in the communication linkage. The Title I Newsletter, which we will continue to publish twice a year, is yet another forum for the sharing of ideas and practices, which helps keep the lines of communication open. 4


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Student Health Exams, Privacy, and Surveys mation for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. The Forest Hills School District will directly notify parents and eligible students of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes. The school district will also directly notify parents and eligible students at least annually at the start of each school year of the Consent before students are required to submit to a specific or approximate dates of the following activisurvey that concerns one or more of the following proties and provide an opportunity to opt a student out of tected areas (i.e., “protected information survey”) if participating in: the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE)...  Collection, disclosure, or use of personal infor1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or mation for marketing, sales, or other distribution. student’s parents;  Administration of any protected information sur2. Mental or psychological problems of the student vey not funded in whole or in part by the USDoE. or student’s family;  Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or 3. Sex behavior or attitudes; screening described above. 4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demean- Parents and/or eligible students who believe their ing behavior; rights have been violated may file a complaint with 5. Critical appraisals of others with whom respond- the: Family Policy Compliance Office ents have close family relationships; U.S. Department of Education 6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such 400 Maryland Avenue, SW as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers; Washington, DC 20202-4605 7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parents; 8. Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility. Parental Concern/Complaints Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of... 1. Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding; 2. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening as a required condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under state law; and 3. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others. Inspect, upon request and before administration and use... 1. Protected information surveys of students; 2. Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and 3. Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum. The Forest Hills School District will develop and adopt policies, in consultation with parents, regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected surveys and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal infor5 The Forest Hills School District is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of our students and is constantly working to ensure that your child receives the best possible education. To ensure that the educational needs of students are being met, a strong educational program and communication between school and home must be maintained for every student. In the event that a concern or complaint arises, parents/guardians should follow the chain of command listed below to have the concern/ complaint addressed: Step 1: Meet with the teacher. If the concern/ complaint is not resolved; Step 2: Meet with the principal/assistant principal. If the concern/complaint is not resolved: Step 3: Meet with the director of education. If the concern/complaint is not resolved: Step 4: Meet with the superintendent. If the concern/complaint is not resolved the parent/ guardian may then choose to address the Board of School Directors regarding the concern/ complaint. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) affords parents and students who are 18 years old or emancipated minors (i.e., “eligible students”) certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection, and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:


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ESEA Title I Parent Participation Plan It is the goal of the Forest Hills School District’s Title I program to develop partnerships with the home. Parents and teachers working as partners increase student achievement and promote positive attitudes about school. It is the intent of the following plan to encourage and promote just such a relationship. In accordance with the U.S. Education Department’s regulations for ESEA Title I and the District’s Title I Parent Involvement Policy (#918), the following guidelines concerning “Consultation with Parents and Teachers” shall be effective: 1. Conferences, including telephone conferences, shall be established between individual parents and teachers. Parents shall also be invited to attend, at the Forest Hills School District’s Title I program expense, state and regional conferences designed to increase their knowledge regarding relevant Title I issues. 2. Timely information shall be provided concerning the Title I program, including program plans and evaluation through a minimum of at least one annual meeting. Additional meetings, as needed, may be requested by parents. 3. Parents’ suggestions shall be solicited regarding the planning, development and operation of the Title I program. 4. Consultation shall be conducted with parents about cooperation in achieving the program’s objectives. 5. An annual evaluation shall be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the Parent Participation Plan. Home Language Survey Cover Letter The Civil Rights Law of 1964, Title VI requires that school districts/charter schools identify Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. Pennsylvania has selected to use the Home Language Survey for identification of students who are English language learners. The Forest Hills School District has the responsibility under federal law to serve students who are limited English proficient and need English instructional services. Given this responsibility, the school district has the right to ask for the information it needs to identify English Language Learners (ELLs). As part of the responsibility to locate and identify ELLs, the District may conduct screenings or ask for related information about students who are already enrolled in the District, as well as from students who enroll in the District in the future. The Home Language Survey is used to determine if your child’s primary language is a language other than English. If your child’s primary language is other than English, the District will provide an instructional program appropriate to your child’s developmental and instructional level. If the answer to any of the questions on the Home Language Survey is “yes,” your child will be given an initial assessment to determine if an ESL program is appropriate. ESL is a basic curricular area, and would take the place of your child’s regular English class if the initial assessment revealed that such a program was needed. If this is the case, an in-depth assessment will be administered to your child, and the results would be used to plan a suitable program of instruction. The Forest Hills School District will monitor your child’s academic and social progress throughout his/her participation in the ESL program. Even after your child exits from the ESL program, he/she will be monitored for at least one academic year to ensure his/her continued academic success. Notice of Homeless Education Programs Each year, more than 800,000 school-age children in the United States experience homelessness. The federal McKinney-Vento Act includes a provision to make sure that homelessness does not cause these children to be left behind in school. Homeless children should have access to the education and other services that they need to meet the same challenging state academic achievement standards to which all students are held. The Forest Hills School District is required to provide activities for, and services to, homeless children, including preschool-age homeless children and youths, enabling them to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school or preschool programs. The law requires all school districts to inform parents or guardians of their rights under this federal act. Specifically, it states that, pending resolution of a dispute about school placement, a school district must immediately enroll a homeless student in the student’s school of origin or other school selected on the basis of the child’s best interest and provide a written explanation of the rights of appeal to the parent or guardian of the student. 6


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Notice to Parent of Unsafe School Choice The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Section 9532) requires that all children who attend a persistently dangerous school or become the victim of a violent criminal offense while at school have the opportunity to transfer to another school building within the district (including a public charter school), that is not a persistently dangerous school. According to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a “violent criminal offense” includes the following offenses set forth in Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes: kidnapping; robbery; aggravated assault (upon the student); rape; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; sexual assault; aggravated indecent assault; indecent assault; or attempt to commit homicide, murder, or voluntary manslaughter. A “victim” is defined by the state of PA as the student against whom a violent criminal offense has been perpetrated. Under these standards, a “persistently dangerous school” means any public school that meets the following criteria in the most recent school year and in one additional year of the two years prior to the most recent school year: (1) for a school whose enrollment is 250 or less, at least 5 dangerous incidents; (2) for a school whose enrollment is 251 to 1000, a number of dangerous incidents that represents at least 2% of the school’s enrollment; and (3) for a school whose enrollment is over 1000, 20 or more dangerous incidents. All school districts that have a school building designated as persistently dangerous under these standards must submit a corrective action plan to the PA Department of Education, and they will provide assistance to those districts and monitor their progress in implementing the corrective action plans. The PA Department of Education will reassess each school building’s designation as “persistently dangerous” at the end of the school year during which the corrective action plan is completed. In Pennsylvania, if your child has been a victim of a vioYou Can Help Your Child Succeed in lent crime while in or on school grounds of the public eleSchool mentary or secondary school he or she attends, he or she must be offered the opportunity to transfer to a safe One way to help your child in school is to conpublic school building within the district, including a pub- stantly monitor their attendance and academic lic charter school. In order for a student victim to be enti- performance. Parents who communicate regtled to a transfer, the violent criminal offense first must ularly with teachers and administrators, and be reported to law enforcement authorities by the stuparents who also consistently monitor their dent, the student’s parent or guardian, or school offichild’s assignments and grades, provide their cials. children with the necessary support to inWithin ten (10) calendar days of receiving notice of the crease academic achievement. violent criminal offense, the school district will notify the The Forest Hills School District encourages all student victim that he or she has the right to transfer to a parents/guardians to access the PowerSchool safe public elementary or secondary school within the Parent Access Program. This access is being district, including a public charter school. The notificaprovided to you as another form of communition and offer to transfer shall state that no student is cation with teachers and administrators, but required to transfer to another school, but has the option more importantly, it is to help you in monitoring to do so. and supporting your child in their academic The student victim or his/her parent or guardian must endeavors. If you have internet access at apply to the district to transfer within 30 calendar days home or at work, you can view the information after the incident is reported to school authorities. Upon on your child at any time. receipt of an application to transfer, the school district It’s easy to access your child’s record. Conwill transfer the student as soon as possible, but in no tact Director of Education Mrs. Vanessa Sral more than ten (10) calendar days after receiving the apand request your parent username and passplication. word for the PowerSchool Parent Access. Go When considering a student’s request to transfer to another school, the school district will take into account to the Forest Hills School District website at http://www.fhrangers.org. Click on the Forest the particular needs of the student and the parent. To Hills PowerSchool Parent Access link on the the extent possible, the school district will allow the stubottom right side of the homepage. Type in dent to transfer to a school building that is making adeyour username and password and your child’s quate yearly progress, and one that is not identified as attendance record, current grades, and lunch being in school improvement, corrective action, or rebalance record can be viewed at your convenstructuring. ience. A charter school only has to accept a student who meets its admission criteria if space is available. If there is not another safe school within the school district to which students may transfer, the school district is encouraged, but not required, to establish an agreement with a neighboring school district to accept the transfer of students. If you have any questions regarding student transfer from a persistently dangerous school or because your child has been the victim of a violent crime, please contact Mrs. Vanessa Sral at (814) 487-7613. 7


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Parent’s Right to Request Teacher Qualifications and Notice of HQT Teacher and Paraprofessional Status As the parent of a student in the Forest Hills School District, you have the right to know the professional qualifications of the classroom teachers who instruct your child. Federal law allows you to ask for certain information about your child’s classroom teachers, and requires the District to give you the information in a timely manner if you ask for it. Specifically, you have the right to ask for the following information about each of your child’s classroom teachers:     Whether the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has licensed or qualified the teacher for the grade and subjects he or she teaches. Whether the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has decided that the teacher can teach in a classroom without being licensed or qualified under state regulations because of special circumstances. The teacher’s college major, whether the teacher has any advanced degrees, and if so, the subject of the degrees. Whether any instructional aides or similar paraprofessionals provide services to your child and, if they do, their qualifications. Federal law, specifically the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires the Forest Hills school District to let you know when a teacher or paraprofessional does not have a certain set of credentials, teaches or works with your child for four consecutive weeks. All teachers and paraprofessionals in the elementary school, middle school, and high school have met the highly qualified requirements for the 2015-2016 school year. The Forest Hills School District is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of our students and is working to ensure that your child receives the best possible education. The district is fully committed to the success of your child. We appreciate your partnership in our efforts. Parental Involvement Meeting Notification Title I – Part A – Migrant Education – ESL The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires the Forest Hills School District to develop and distribute to parents a written parent involvement policy that establishes the District’s expectations for parent involvement for Title I – Part A, Migrant Education, and English as a Second Language (ESL). Specifically, schools must hold a yearly meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of participating children must be invited and encouraged to attend. At this meeting, the District will provide you with information about the school district’s programs, a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the kinds of tests the school district uses to measure student learning, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet. Administrators will also review the District’s parental concern/ complaint procedure at this meeting. This year’s meeting will be held on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Forest Hills Elementary School. Please complete the information at the bottom of this page and return it to Elementary School Principal, Mr. Lucas Jacobs. We look forward to seeing you at this meeting. Parental Involvement Meeting Response Form Please check here: _____ Yes, I will attend the Parental Involvement meeting on November 13 th. _____ No, I do not plan to attend the Parental Involvement meeting on November 13 th. ____________________________________ Printed name of Parent/Guardian ____________________________________ Signature of Parent/Guardian ___________________________________ Printed Name(s) of Child(ren) ____________________________________ Date 8


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~ HIGH SCHOOL ~ Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Curt Vasas High School Welcomes Two New Teachers After the retirement of two long time staff members, the High School is welcoming on board two new, yet experienced teachers. Mr. Chris Evans will be taking over for Ms. Gerri Ciesielka in the History department. Mr. Evans comes to us from North Star High School where he worked since 2007. Chris is a graduate of North Star and IUP. He also served in other roles at North Star including being a technology liaison and coaching football and baseball. Mr. Evans is a district resident and we are excited to have him join our team. Mrs. Shannon Petrunak is also joining the High School staff. Mrs. Petrunak was a Language Arts teachers at Emmaus High School which is part of the East Penn School District. Shannon is a graduate of Central Cambria High School. Shannon was very active at Emmaus serving as the head track coach and starting a cancer awareness program that raised over $60,000 in 2015. State Poster Contest Winners Promote Pollinators On September 2, 2015, the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD), in Harrisburg, PA, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 “Local Heroes, Your Hardworking Pollinators” statewide poster contest. “Pollinators are key to growing plants we use for food, fiber and medicine. This poster contest allows students to learn more about these bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, and other animals that work for us,” said Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Executive Director. “The posters express appreciation and admiration for these pollinators beautifully.” To promote this understanding of pollinators and the need to protect their habitat, students from kindergarten through 12th grades entered posters conveying their thoughts and ideas through original artwork. Submissions were judged based on the entry’s conservation message, visual effectiveness, originality and universal appeal. In the High School Division (grade 10-12), our recent 2015 graduate, Calli Smith, received this honor for her watercolor painting that she created in her Art II class during the 2014-2015 school year. Every year, Forest Hills promotes the Conservation District’s annual poster contest by entering some student work. This is the second Forest Hills student to win at the state level, Hannah Beyer won two years ago. Calli Smith is now attending St. Francis University and is a student in the Physician’s Assistant program there. Each of the state level winners will be submitted for judging in the upcoming national competition taking place this winter. The national contest is sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts. Visit http://www.nacdnet.org/education/contests/poster/2015-postercontest/2015 for more information. 9


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THE RANGER BAND AND CHORUS This summer was the first time the Marching Rangers had Band Camp at the Middle School. The students and staff thoroughly enjoyed being “up on the hill” and away from the bustle of construction at the High School. We made the most of being the only ones on the campus and spread out throughout the school, surrounding grass, and the parking lot. The weather cooperated giving us 2 weeks of nice sunny days in order to master our music and movements in time for the first football game of the season. This year, the Marching Rangers are pleased to present our show entitled “Good Vibes.” Our music this year is “Be Okay” by Oh Honey and “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. We are still proudly performing our new fight song, written specifically for the Forest Hills School District in 2014, at the beginning of every home game and after every Forest Hills score and encourage you to cheer along with “R-A-N-G-E-R-S.” On top of performing at all the football games, you may have seen the Marching Rangers at the Richland Days Parade, or the UPJ Homecoming Parade. If you missed these band performances, you can also see us perform at the South Fork, St. Michael, and Johnstown Halloween Parades, as well as the Johnstown Veterans Day, and Christmas Parades. We wrap up our season the first week of December at the Ebensburg Christmas Parade. Members of the High School Band took a field trip to Conemaugh Twp. High School to hear the Airmen of Note give a concert and clinic. The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz band with the United States Air Force. Our students got to meet some of the members, and ask questions ranging from practice time to performing in the military as a career path. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students. Concert Band and Chorus are excited to perform two different concerts this fall and winter. Our Annual Fall Concert featuring students in 7th through 12th grades is October 17, 2015 at 1pm at the High School. Our Middle School Christmas Concert is December 8, 2015, and our High School Christmas Concert is December 12, 2015. Our Christmas album, recorded in 2014, should be available for pick up at the High School Concert. 10


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Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Ed Alexander ~ MIDDLE SCHOOL ~ Forest Hills Middle School Welcomes Two Teachers Mr. James Fisher has recently been hired as our ancient history teacher. Mr. Fisher is a graduate of Portage Area High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a B.A. in History and earned his teaching credentials at St. Francis University. He has several years of educational experience in alternative education and also in the Conemaugh Valley School District prior to being hired at Forest Hills. Mr. Fisher has served as a coach for several varsity and junior high sports and has experience working with the youth in local communities. He currently resides in Jackson Township with his wife, Tricia, and their five year old son Jacob. Outside of school they enjoy family outings and spending time with their extended families. Mrs. Kimberly Shaw was recently hired as a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher at the middle school. She is originally from Ebensburg where she attended Holy Name Elementary and then went on to graduate from Central Cambria High School. Both of her parents work in education which sparked her interest in teaching. After high school, she attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where she earned a B.A. in Secondary English Education. Mrs. Shaw completed her student teaching here at Forest Hills Middle School! After some substitute teaching in the area and a year volunteering with AmeriCorps, Mrs. Shaw was hired to teach high school English in the Lancaster County area where she and her husband lived for eleven years. While teaching there, Mrs. Shaw earned her Masters of Science in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University. This makes her certified to teach English 7-12 and work with teachers via her Instructional Technology Specialist Certification. In August of 2014, she and her husband welcomed their son, Carter, into the world and began discussing plans to move back so that they could raise him “at home.” Mrs. Shaw is very excited to be back in the area and to have the opportunity to work in the Forest Hills School District. She has had a great start to the 2015-2016 school year and is happy to be the new 7th grade English Language Arts teacher at Forest Hills Middle School. Student Council This year, the middle school student council is trying several new approaches on the organization and workings of the council. The goal is to further promote leadership skills by allowing students a more active role in the organization and planning of the many events and service opportunities the students participate in throughout the school year. As part of the leadership initiative, our elected ninth grade officers are leading committees and being guided in the mantle of responsibilities of an elected representative with the organization, commitment, time, and effort that goes in to such a position. In fact, as a reflection of a more government mirrored organization, a new facet of the council has been added with an advisory & service committee. Students in this committee have the task of being the voice of the student body. They are to take concerns and suggestions from their peers and be an instrument for school wide change following the very governmental processes our own nation has used. Plus, they are to spearhead service initiatives both within the school and the community. With this service mindedness, the council has been made accessible to all the middle school students through an open enrollment period. By creating an open enrollment, student council membership has been increased by 15 students overall, now totaling 45 members, but has also opened the opportunity for participation to a greater variety of students. In fact, we are pleased to reveal the results of our first service event of the school Student Council Members Phillip Yuhas, Quinn Spangler and Byron Daubert year. On September 17, 2015, 11 student council hosted a dance where the admission fees were reduced if participants included a non-perishable food item for the Dorothy Day Center at St. Francis University. They collected a significant amount of food stuffs that now will go to the center to help our needy friends and neighbors. Student council is thankful to all that helped make this collection drive such a success.


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Embracing 21st Century Technology The middle school is embracing the change that technology brings by welcoming it into the classroom. Many teachers are using “Google Classroom,” a site that helps students and teachers organize the paper flow of the classroom. Assignments and handouts are posted to the site, and students complete and submit them online. The online classroom feature helps students focus on the assignments that are due, provides reminders for papers that are overdue, and gives them access to their assignments from anywhere that they have an Internet connection. Some benefits of the site connects to students’ prior technology knowledge. Students like texting each other, and there are features of Google classroom that allow this digitally familiar aspect into education. For example, students can post comments to the class, sharing what they learned for an assignment; or, they can ask the class a question if they don’t understand something. The online format allows for individualization of the classroom as well. Teachers can email students their grades from a quiz, post a comment or question to an assignment, or send the whole class reminders. Students have found that they are more organized with the paperless feature. They like seeing that an assignment is marked as “done.” Google Classroom is an app that can be accessed on mobile devices too, so students literally have their classroom at their fingertips. Overall, teachers and students continue to foster the plethora of ways that technology is available to enhance education in our schools. New Mobile Technology Course This school year, all eighth grade students are enrolled in Mobile Technology, an exciting new required course taught by Dr. Motter and Mr. Lang. By participating in the course, eighth grade students will obtain 21st century knowledge and skills through project-based learning via mobile devices. Eighth graders have Mobile Technology every other day, following the middle school’s green and gold day schedule. During the year, all eighth grade students will have hands-on experience using different mobile devices including Chromebooks, iPads, and Lenovo Yoga Tablets. Using these devices, students explore various apps and digital tools while engaging in International Society for Technology in Education Standards-aligned curriculum covering creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information fluency; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making; digital citizenship; and technology operations and concepts. Providing students with access to different devices is particularly important for those who don’t have mobile devices at home. By providing students with an opportunity to experience different mobile devices and digital learning tools, the Mobile Technology course aims to prepare middle school students to be effective citizens in the 21st century. Thanks to Google Classroom, Mobile Technology is a paperless course. Mobile Technology teachers use Google Classroom, an online course management system, to deliver assignment and project instructions, provide online resources and feedback, and grade students’ assignment submissions. Using the school’s Google accounts, students sign in to Google Classroom to participate in Mobile Technology by reviewing their assignments, engaging in online discussions, and submitting their finished work. Topics explored during the year-long course include: mobile photography and video, mobile creation, design, and development, mobile 3-D modeling, mobile presentations, mobile storage and sharing, mobile writing, mobile productivity, and mobile subject-specific apps. In Mobile Technology, students attain contemporary technology knowledge and skills they can apply in the future, as well as in their current core courses for major projects such as research papers and group presentations. 12


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~ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ~ Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Lucas Jacobs Five New Elementary Teachers Hired Ms. Kaitlyn Carpenter is a 1st grade teacher. A resident of Salix, Ms. Carpenter graduated from Forest Hills High School prior to attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education in 2013, as well as a Safety and Driver Education Certificate, which she teaches at Forest Hills High School during summer break. She is also a certified Reading Specialist and continues her education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she will receive her Master’s Degree in Literacy. Before her current position, Ms. Carpenter worked in the Westmont Hilltop School District as a 5 th and 6th grade English Language Arts Learning Support teacher. Ms. Elise Thomas accepted a position as the 6th grade Learning Support Teacher. Ms. Thomas resides in Mount Hope and is a graduate of Forest Hills High School. She attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in both Early Childhood and Special Education as well as a Bachelor of Science in Disability Services. Ms. Thomas worked in the Conemaugh Valley School District as a 4th and 6th grade Learning Support Teacher prior to accepting her current position. Mrs. Michele Zahurak joined the Forest Hills faculty as a Kindergarten teacher. Originally from the Salix area, Ms. Zahurak graduated from Forest Hills High School. Afterward, she attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She also holds a certification in English as a Second Language. Before coming to Forest Hills, Mrs. Zahurak taught a Kindergarten class at Conemaugh Valley School District for six years. Mr. Nathan Shilcosky teaches English Language Arts to 5th grade students. Mr. Shilcosky graduated from Forest Hills High School. He continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 2007. He is certified to teach grades K through 6, in addition to having a Reading Specialist Certification for grades Pre-K through 12. Mr. Shilcosky currently resides in Summerhill with his wife and son. Mr. Eric Stone instructs English Language Arts in 6th grade. Mr. Stone grew up in Elliottsburg, PA and graduated from West Perry School District. In 2012 he graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science Degree in K through 6 Elementary Education. He also holds a Middle School Math and Science certification. Additionally, Mr. Stone is currently striving to earn a Pre-K through 12 School Counseling Master’s Degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. New Elementary Teachers: Ms. Kaitlyn Carpenter Ms. Elise Thomas Mrs. Michele Zahurak Mr. Nate Shilcosky Mr. Eric Stone 13


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Math 24 Competition From January through March, fifth graders compete against each other once a week during their lunchtime recesses to play “The Math 24 Game.” This game consists of a deck of cards --- on each card is a set of four numbers in which all numbers are used to add, subtract, multiply or divide to equal the number 24. Once all scores were totaled throughout those eight weeks, the top 15 players battled it down to the final 6---Kirk Bearjar, Nora Cabala, Natalie Carosi, Erik Gibson, Chris Ramirez and Connor Wysocki. These 6 players advanced to the State Regional Competition held at Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center by our local Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 and competed with students from 14 local districts. Needless to say, our 6 players brought home 7 ribbons!!! Congratulations to all of these medalists, and an extra special ‘cheers’ to Natalie Carosi, who also won the gold medal! Elementary School Music Program Continues to Grow The Forest Hills Elementary Music program has a lot going on throughout this school year! The band program, under the tutelage of Mr. Kearney, has introduced fourth grade band for its second year. Lessons now cover fourth, fifth, and sixth grades boasting over 180 participating students. The Rockin’ Ranger Ensemble also has over 100 participating sixth grade students. The Rockin’ Rangers will be performing their annual community service program by singing at the personal care homes throughout the district. Band students who double in the Rockin’ Rangers also have the opportunity to play their instruments as part of this community service. Come support the group’s up and coming musical abilities at the annual spring concert, held Thursday, April 28, 2016! Forest Hills Cafeteria Pre Kindergarten Students “Got Milk” The Forest Hills Cafeteria Program provides healthy snacks and milk to all Pre-Kindergarten students each day. Snacks are fun fuel which help give students energy to learn, grow, and play. Mrs. Summits’ class enjoys their snack of Scooby Bones while sporting their “Got Milk” mustaches. 14


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First Grade Celebrates Grandparent’s Day with an Across the Generations Project Forest Hills Senior Center members joined some Forest Hills High School students to work on a project with first grade students and teachers in honor of Grandparent’s Day. The group traced, cut, glued, and folded construction paper to complete the cards with a set of hands that folded out accordion-style to claim “I love you this much!” While instructing the students, Ginger Bachik, who is the Coordinator of the Forest Hills Senior Center, told the students they can wrap the paper hands around their grandparents’ neck like a hug to let them know how much they are loved on Grandparent’s Day (September 13, 2015). After the project was completed, the whole group enjoyed ice cream, sherbet, or freeze pop treats that were provided by the Senior Center. Both the students and the seniors enjoyed the afternoon so much they were surprised how fast the time went by. Mykel Middleton, Emily Good, Marissa Bukovitz Sitting: Aubry Smiach and Brent Poborsky Standing: Janet Boback, Andrew Pinkas Janet Bobak, Becky Poling, Judy Rygel 15



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