Fall Newsletter 2017


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Forest Hills School District Fall Newsletter 2017

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Forest Hills Ranger Review Vol. XXXVIII No 1 Fall 2017-2018 ~ SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE ~ Each year, since the Fall of 2011, when I first became superintendent of the Forest Hills School District, I have utilized the fall newsletter as a vehicle to send a special message to our community and staff. Again, I would like 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 2017-2018 school year brings everyone a wealth of joy and prosperity. As always there were numerous distinctions accomplished by the District in the 2016-2017 school year that of which the entire community can be proud. The Forest Hills High School was recognized as a bronze medal school by US News and World Report in 2017. This is the 3rd time in the last five years the school has received this distinction. This year, the High School will be offering AP Computer Science Principles to students in grades 10-12 and a Drawing II course for those students who have successfully completed Drawing I. The Forest Hills Junior High School has expanded the amount of new technology with the addition of several carts of Chrome Books, iPads, and laptop computers. This allows the almost 70% of staff, who are certified Google Educators, to maximize the implementation of 21st Century methodology in the classroom. Google Classroom has taken over as the preferred method of content delivery in many classrooms and students are enjoying the benefits of individual emails and cloud storage. The Junior High School continues to modify its Academic Intervention Model of Support program, also referred to as “AIMS”, to target at-risk students. The National Junior Honor Society has also implemented peer tutoring, which is available every period of the day. We continue to stress the importance of a strong home-school connection at the Junior High, which helps staff build relationships with families and increases regular communication for the benefit of our students. This philosophy, coupled with teacher collaboration time built into the master schedule, creates an atmosphere of trust. The Junior High continues to offer a wide variety of clubs and activities for students including: Art Tech, Weight Training, Envirothon, Math Counts, Forensics, Drama, Yearbook, AV/Media, Reading Competition, Student Council, and Chess. The Junior High is in the second year of a 3-year grant cycle of the Botvin Life Skills Training Curriculum. After being awarded a second 3-year grant, the Junior High has been able to sustain this powerful curriculum, which is designed around the needs of adolescents. The curriculum is taught throughout our regular curriculum by many of our trained teachers, and empowers our students to make healthy life choices and decisions. (Continued on page 2)


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The new Junior-Senior high school building was completed and each building met or exceeded academic expectations on the school performance profile. The Elementary School continued to implement numerous academic programs to enhance student learning. In the 2016-2017 school year, Mrs. Becky Wehner and her 5th grade students participated in numerous STEM / Coding lessons. Forest Hills Elementary School partnered with the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for a 21st Century Workforce Capacity Coding and Digital Literacy Initiative. Ms. Roxanne Jenner, UPJ Director of Community Outreach worked in conjunction with Mrs. Wehner to create lessons that provided our students with creative, fun, and engaging computer science exercises. Forest Hills Elementary continued to achieve a high level of PSSA performance in grades 3 – 6 in each of the tested subject areas. Mrs. Makin extended her keyboarding instruction to all 5th grade students in addition to her 6th grade classes. To help address weekend hunger of children in our District, Forest Hills Elementary implemented the Cambria County Back Pack Program in conjunction with the Learning Lamp. All of the food is able to be purchased from the Pittsburgh Food Bank through grants and donations received. In addition, the Forest Hills School District holds a yearly dress down day to support this worthwhile program. This year at the June 2017 board meeting, the school board approved a balanced general fund budget for approximately $26 million. As a result of a balanced fund budget, taxes were not increased for the 23rd consecutive year in our District. The list of our achievements as a district goes on and on. I am proud of the school board, my entire staff, the community, and students on continuing the tradition of excellence. As I prepared the Fall newsletter, it was obvious to me that each year I emphasized that the success of our district is built upon everyone’s patience, commitment, cooperation and working together as a team. Every single speech that I prepare and each newsletter I create in preparation for distribution to the public, I ask for everyone’s understanding and patience because each year the District seems to undertake a major transition. In the Fall 2011 newsletter, I asked the Forest Hills community and staff members for their patience and cooperation as I transitioned into my first year as the superintendent of the Forest Hills School District. The very next year, in the Fall 2012, I explained in the newsletter that middle school and high school were undertaking a major academic program implementation. The middle school and high school staff and students were transitioning from a modified block schedule delivery system to a traditional nine period a day schedule. That same year, the elementary fourth and fifth grade staff experienced expansion of our Fhoss program into their curriculum. Of course, on August 21, 2013 the Forest Hills school District began the momentous task of building the long-awaited, highly anticipated, new Junior-Senior high school. Now, I truly realize that every school district has its own share of change from the one year to the next, but here at Forest Hills, we seem to have experienced more change than most in the last six years. Some of those changes were self-inflicted, while other initiatives were the result of mandates by PDE and legislative actions. Once again, this year is no different! The district is going through a major administrative realignment. The junior high and high school staff began the 2017-2018 school year together in one building. The secondary administration has been realigned -- Mr. Alexander is the Junior High Principal, Mr. Vasas is the High School Principal, and Mr. Kostan is now officially the Junior-Senior High Assistant Principal. Mr. Branas is the new Dean of Students. Last, due to the retirement of Judy Wadsworth, there is a complete reassignment of the secretarial staff in the new building. The elementary school will experience a complete administrative realignment with the promotion of Mr. Lucas Jacobs as the District’s new Director of Education. After 30+ years, Mr. Larry Celmer retired as the elementary assistant principal. Mrs. Rebecca Roberts and Dr. Robert Dill will now assume the administrative duties in the elementary school. With the retirement of Mrs. Vanessa Sral the school’s Director of Education, I, too, will encounter a year filled with transition. I have had the luxury and good fortune to work for 10 years with an individual who embraced my educational philosophies, understood my methodologies, and complemented me professionally. (Continued on page 3) 2


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Some of you reading this article are wondering why in the world I am telling you this. It’s because change and transition is now the expectation in public school careers. Like it or not, public education is constantly experiencing a paradigm shift and evolving to meet the needs of individual students. The teaching profession continues to be influenced by mandates, policies, assessments, and evaluation. It is a profession in which the public demands certain expectations from all of us - teachers, students, and, yes, community members. The good news is that we are recognized throughout the state as being a tremendous school district. Our District, the Forest Hills School District, has earned a reputation of being financially responsible while maintaining academic integrity and excellence. This reputation is not the result of the work of any one person. It wasn’t given to us. We earned it. We earned this reputation by working together and putting the needs of our students first. We have established a tradition of student-oriented excellence, on which we continue to build. We have a school board that supports our work and doesn’t have a personal agenda. We have a cohesive team of administrators who work together and complement one another’s skill sets. We base our decisions on what is right for the district. We continue to monitor and assess our curriculum to ensure that we are providing the best student-centered education so all students acquire and apply the knowledge and skills to succeed in an ever-changing world. These are the reasons that people recognize our District as exemplary and want their children to be a part of it. On August 23, 2017, nearly 2,000 students entered our state of the art buildings. Your children, no, our children, will grow to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, business people, and parents, and they will be the face of the next generation. They will become who they are, in large part, because of the influence all of us will have on their lives. Recent graduates from this district are currently working to cure cancer, being recognized as valedictorians of prestigious universities, engaging in world-class internships, and more. Below are the biographies of the people who are now in a leadership role in our district and are preparing our students for the 21st century: Mr. Lucas Jacobs—On May 17, 2017, the Board of Education promoted Mr. Lucas Jacobs as the new Director of Education. He has been with the Forest Hills School District since 2000 and has held numerous positions. From 2000-08 he taught third grade at the elementary school. He became an instructional support teacher in 2008, and remained in this position until 2010. In 2010, he became the Elementary Assistant Principal. He held this position until 2013, when he was appointed Elementary Principal. Mr. Jacobs attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. He also received a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University and his K-12 principal certification from St. Francis University. Most recently, Mr. Jacobs earned his Superintendent /IU Executive Director Letter of Eligibility from St. Francis University. Mr. Jacobs feels very fortunate to be continuing his educational career at Forest Hills. He looks forward to working with all faculty, support staff and administration while working collaboratively with the board of directors and district stakeholders. He wants to ensure that each elementary and secondary student is provided with the most comprehensive educational experience where each student is college and career ready. Mrs. Rebecca Roberts—Mrs. Rebecca Roberts is the new Principal at Forest Hills Elementary School. She is a graduate of Penn Cambria High School. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Indiana University of PA, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification from Saint Francis University. She is currently pursuing her Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from St. Francis University. (Continued on page 4) 3


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Mrs. Roberts’ educational career began as an elementary teacher and served as the Dean of Students at Marion Center Middle and High Schools, Head Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal within the Everett Area School District, and as Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal at Northern Cambria. She has worked with children at all age and grade levels and enjoys seeing the magic in children’s eyes as they learn to read as elementary students as well as when they receive that high school diploma at the end of their educational career. She resides in Cresson with her husband Paul. Dr. Robert Dill—On September 14, 2017, the Board of Education appointed Dr. Robert Dill as the Elementary Assistant Principal. Although new to the elementary, Dr. Dill is a familiar face in the Forest Hills School District. Hired in 1998, Dr. Dill taught middle school social studies until he transferred to Forest Hills High School in 2006-2007. Throughout his years of teaching at the High School, Dr. Dill taught a variety of social studies courses, including Psychology, Sociology, Honors Government, and AP United States History. In addition to teaching high school social studies, Dr. Dill served as the department chair, National Honor Society Advisor, FBLA Assistant Advisor, and Junior High Assistant Drama Advisor. Dr. Dill has a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies from IUP, a Master’s in Education from Gannon University, and a doctorate in Administration and Leadership Studies from IUP. Dr. Dill is excited to work with the students, faculty, and staff of the Elementary School. Dr. Dill replaced Dr. Laura Miller. Mr. Michael Branas- Michael Branas has been appointed Dean of Students for the Forest Hills Junior High School. He has been teaching in the FHSD for 24 years and began teaching 6th grade World Geography. He transitioned to 6th grade reading, writing, and study skills, and 7th grade reading, and currently teaches 8th and 9th grade reading. Mr. Branas coached the Forest Hills Junior High wrestling team for 14 seasons, was the 2000 PA State Class AA Junior High Wrestling Coach of the Year, and was inducted into the District 6 Wrestling Hall of Fame in February 2017. He looks forward to working collaboratively with Mr. Alexander and the rest of the administration to uphold the “Tradition of Excellence” in the Forest Hills School District. As I conclude this year’s 2017 fall newsletter, I leave you with this thought: Jimmy Dean stated, “I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Change is inevitable! Sincerely, Edwin Bowser Superintendent of Schools Sex Offender Registration and Megan’s Law Notification The Board of Education recognizes the safety of its pupils as a consideration of utmost importance. It is the policy of the Forest Hills School District and the Board of Education to provide a safe environment for District students and staff and to support the purposes of the Pennsylvania State Megan’s Law, 42 Pa.C.S. §9791 et seq., by providing notification to parents and guardians of the District’s students about the availability of public information concerning the presence of registered sex offenders residing within the District of Forest Hills. Accordingly, the Superintendent or Megan’s Law Liaison will issue a Notice to parents and guardians of the District’s students at least once a year, preferably at the beginning of each school year. The following information will be included in the notification: 1. Website of the Pennsylvania State Megan’s Law (www.meganslaw.state.pa.us). 2. Information urging parents and guardians to check the website for offenders within the county, city, and school district. 3. Location of publicly available computer terminals in the community including public libraries and schools. Local libraries include South Fork Public Library, Beaverdale Public Library, and Highland Community Public Library. 4


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Staff Retirements The Forest Hills School District proudly recognizes three staff members who retired during the 20172018 school year. The Board of School Directors, administrators, staff, and students thank each for taking the time to make a difference in the lives of our young people. Mrs. Georgetta Costlow has been a valuable part of the Forest Hills cafeteria staff since she began substituting in December 1990. She was hired as a part time cafeteria worker in December 1991, and in December 2007 she began working in a full time capacity in the Elementary cafeteria. GeGe is best known for quick wit and hearty laughter. Mrs. Costlow has been an asset to the cafeteria program in every way, and we appreciate her years of service to the students of the District. Mr. Larry Celmer has been a dedicated Forest Hills employee for nearly 30 years. He has served the District in many capacities including teacher, advisor, mentor, coach, athletic director, transportation director, safety coordinator, and assistant principal in the Senior High and elementary buildings. Each of these roles and corresponding responsibilities allowed Larry the opportunity to leave a positive impact on our students and the overall district. He was a student-centered educational leader that always focused on ways to promote student success and achievement. He will be greatly missed. Mrs. Vanessa Sral retired this summer after 36 years of dedication and commitment to the students of Forest Hills School District. Anyone who has worked with Mrs. Sral over the past 36 years can attest to the instrumental role she played in providing guidance and direction to faculty, staff, and students at the Forest Hills School District. She possesses a unique ability to address even the most difficult situation with tact, common sense, and compassion. She is a woman who has single-handedly touched the lives of thousands of students in her illustrious career and who has sacrificed to ensure that Forest Hills kept moving in a positive direction and ensured that every student had the opportunity to reach their career aspirations. Thanks in part to her careful planning, the District has made tremendous academic gains. LOCK ME UP FOR MUSCLAR DYSTOPHY! I would like to take this opportunity to thank family, friends, the Forest Hills Education Association, and others that contributed to the Muscular Dystrophy Lockup fundraising event and bailed me out of “jail” on October 12, 2017. Over $1,700 was raised for this very important and worthwhile organization. “Jailbird” Edwin Bowser, Superintendent of Schools Wellness Policy Notice The updated School Wellness Policy, approved in June 2017, can be found on the Forest Hills Website. If you would like to be part of the district’s Wellness Committee, please mark your calendars for a special spring training meeting. This is tentatively set for Wednesday, March 21, 2018, with guest speaker Deanna Lacek Philpott, MA, CAPM presenting. Ms. Philpott is the PA state coordinator with Action for Healthy Kids and will offer direction and suggestions to promote wellness in our schools. Details will follow closer to the date. The Wellness Committee participates in the development, implementation, and period review, and updating of the wellness policy. 5


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Ovarian Cancer “Teal Out” Game On September 6, 2017, the Forest Hills Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Team hosted a “Teal Out” game against Bishop McCort to help raise awareness for ovarian cancer. The Laurel Auto Group reached out to the Forest Hills School District and asked if they would be willing to take part in the event since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. This type of cancer has directly impacted the Laurel Auto Group family. Ann Harris Smith, wife of owner Mike, and mother of Matt, was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2000. She was a healthy, energetic, compassionate woman who taught Kindergarten for many years. As an educator, she was shocked at the lack of information available about this deadly disease. Ann made it her mission, when the Smith family started the Ann Harris Smith Foundation in 2000, to promote education and awareness programs in an effort to help families recognize the symptoms, ask questions, and take action for health’s sake. After a valiant fight, Ann passed away in 2002. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Ovarian cancer is not an uncommon disease, as it affects 1 out of every 72 women. It is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms (bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms) are subtle and very often misinterpreted by both women and physicians. Therefore, 75% of the women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer after the disease has reached an advanced stage (stage 3 or 4). Unfortunately, there is little awareness and education concerning this deadly disease, which is why the Ann Harris Smith Foundation was created to help advocate for women’s health. Their foundation sponsors many events throughout the year. During the month of September, special recognition is given to ovarian cancer awareness. With the help of many volunteers, they Turn The Towns Teal. Teal ribbons are tied along local streets and businesses in Cambria and Somerset counties in an effort to promote self-awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. They believe that more helping hands means more exposure to this deadly disease that often goes unrecognized until it is too late. It was a total team effort to help make the Laurel Auto Group’s first “Teal-Out” game a success. The volleyball team and boosters donated all of their 50/50 and concession stand sales to the foundation. The High School Spirit Club and National Honor Society sold teal ovarian cancer ribbons, and the teachers/staff participated in a paid dress-down day to benefit the Ann Harris Smith Foundation. Together, over $1000 was raised. This year the foundation observed 17 years and the Forest Hills School District was honored to be a part of this special event! Pictured first row (left to right) are volleyball team members Taylor Burda, Kenzie Colosimo, Carly Davis, Rosie Plaza, Kaelyn McClintock, and Lexi Boback. Second row: Kylie Wadsworth, Kayla Stohon, Baylee Snedden, Kate Brendel, Shannon Colosimo (coach), Nicole Kerr (coach), Billie Rasko (Laurel Auto Group) Jennie Baughman (Laurel Auto Group), Madeline Cecere, Kylie Bridge, Hannah Sivi, and Kara Baumgardner. 6


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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’s 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 committed 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. 7


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Student Health Exams, Privacy, and Surveys The Protection of Pupil Rights program eligibility. ing these rights, as well as ar- Amendment (PPRA) affords par- Receive notice and an opportunity rangements to protect student ents and students who are 18 to opt a student out of... privacy in the administration of years old or emancipated minors 1. Any other protected infor- protected surveys and the collec- (i.e., “eligible students”) certain mation survey, regardless of tion, disclosure, or use of person- rights regarding our conduct of funding; al information for marketing, surveys, collection, and use of 2. Any non-emergency, invasive sales, or other distribution pur- information for marketing purpos- physical exam or screening poses. The Forest Hills School es, and certain physical exams. as a required condition of at- District will directly notify parents These include the right to: tendance, administered by and eligible students of these poli- Consent before students are re- the school or its agent, and cies at least annually at the start quired to submit to a survey that not necessary to protect the of each school year and after any concerns one or more of the fol- immediate health and safety substantive changes. The school lowing protected areas (i.e., of a student, except for hear- district will also directly notify par- “protected information survey”) if ing, vision, or scoliosis ents and eligible students at least the survey is funded in whole or in screenings, or any physical annually at the start of each part by a program of the U.S. De- exam or screening permitted school year of the specific or ap- partment of Education (USDoE)... or required under state law; proximate dates of the following 1. Political affiliations or beliefs and activities and provide an oppor- of the student or student’s 3. Activities involving collection, tunity to opt a student out of par- parents; disclosure, or use of personal ticipating in: 2. Mental or psychological prob- information obtained from  Collection, disclosure, or use lems of the student or stu- students for marketing or to of personal information for dent’s family; sell or otherwise distribute marketing, sales, or other dis- 3. Sexual behavior or attitudes; the information to others. tribution. 4. Illegal, anti-social, self- Inspect, upon request and before  Administration of any protect- incriminating, or demeaning administration and use... ed information survey not behavior; 1. Protected information sur- funded in whole or in part by 5. Critical appraisals of others veys of students; the USDoE. with whom respondents have 2. Instruments used to collect  Any non-emergency, invasive close family relationships; personal information from physical exam or screening 6. Legally recognized privileged students for any of the above described above. relationships, such as with marketing, sales, or other Parents and/or eligible students lawyers, doctors, or minis- distribution purposes; and who believe their rights have been ters; 3. Instructional material used as violated may file a complaint with 7. Religious practices, affilia- part of the educational curric- the: Family Policy Compliance tions, or beliefs of the student ulum. Office, U.S. Department of Educa- or student’s parents; The Forest Hills School District tion, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, 8. Income, other than as re- will develop and adopt policies, in Washington, DC 20202-4605 quired by law to determine consultation with parents, regard- Field House Hours Change for the Public The Forest Hills School District tries to create a safe educational environment for all students and staff members. As a result of the addition of the new Junior-Senior High School to the existing Field House, students are now permitted to enter the Field House in the morning at approximately 7:20 a.m. for school. The Forest Hills School District Board of Directors, in conjunction with the administration, discussed this situation at great length before arriving at a decision to permanently close the Field House to the public in the morning. As your superintendent, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for understanding the position of the District regarding this decision. Effective Monday, October 16, 2017 the Field House is officially closed to the public in the mornings. 8


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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 Learners (ELs). As part of the responsibility to locate and identify ELs, 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 EL program is appropriate. EL 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 EL program. Even after your child exits from the EL 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. 9


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You Can Help Your Child Succeed in School One way to help your child in school is to constantly monitor his/her attendance and academic performance. Parents who communicate regularly with teachers and administrators, and parents who also consistently monitor their child’s assignments and grades, provide their children with the necessary support to increase academic achievement. The Forest Hills School District encourages all parents/guardians to access the PowerSchool Parent Access Program. This access is being provided to you as another form of communication with teachers and administrators, but more importantly, it is to help you in monitoring and supporting your child’s academic endeavors. If you have internet access at home or at work, you can view the information on your child at any time. It’s easy to access your child’s record. Contact Junior High School Principal Mr. Edward Alexander and request the directions for account set-up to the PowerSchool Parent Access. After setting up an account, go to the Forest Hills School District website at http://www.fhrangers.org. Click on the Forest Hills PowerSchool Parent Access link on the bottom right side of the homepage. Type in your username and password and your child’s attendance record, current grades, and lunch balance record can be viewed at your convenience. Parental Involvement Meeting Notification Title I – Part A – Migrant Education – ESL Title I 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 Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM at Forest Hills Elementary School. Please complete the information at the bottom of this page and return it to the elementary school office. 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 16th. _____ No, I do not plan to attend the Parental Involvement meeting on November 16th. ____________________________________ ___________________________________ Printed name of Parent/Guardian Printed Name(s) of Child(ren) ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Signature of Parent/Guardian Date 10


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Parent Right to Know Information as Required by Elementary and Secondary Education Assistance (ESEA) [Section 1112(e)(1)(A)] Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) [Section 1112(e)(1)(A)] Forest Hills Elementary School receives Federal Title I funds to assist students in meeting state achievement standards. Throughout the school year, we will be providing you with important information about this law and your child’s education. This letter lets you know about your right to request information about the qualifications of the classroom staff working with your child. As a Title I school, we must meet federal regulations related to teacher qualifications as defined in ESEA. These regulations allow you to learn more about your child’s teachers’ training and credentials. We are happy to provide this information to you. At any time, you may ask  Whether the teacher met state qualifications and certification requirements for the grade level and subject he/she is teaching;  Whether the teacher received an emergency or conditional certificate through which state qualifications were waived; and  What undergraduate or graduate degrees the teacher holds, including graduate certificates and additional degrees, and major(s) or area(s) of concentration. You may also ask whether your child receives help from a paraprofessional. If your child receives this assistance, we can provide you with information about the paraprofessional’s qualifications. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law in December 2015 and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1956 (ESEA), includes  Information on policies regarding student participation in assessments; and  Information on required assessments that include subject matter tested, purpose of the test, source of the requirement (if applicable), amount of time it takes students to complete the test, and time and format of disseminating results. 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 Concern/Complaints 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. 11


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~ HIGH SCHOOL ~ Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Curt Vasas Welcome back everyone!! We are very excited to have started the year in our new home. We successfully moved into the JuniorSenior High School last January and this marks the beginning of the first full school year here. Everyone’s cooperation and patience has been appreciated throughout the last several years and we are ready to fully maximize the potential of our new facility. Once again, we have made some additions and modifications to the High School curriculum in order to provide our students with the best opportunities for future success. The future of State assessments remains in flux. The State continues to explore changes to graduation requirements, specifically modifications to Keystone Exams. Our current junior and sophomore classes are still required to demonstrate proficiency in Algebra, Literature, and Biology at this time. However, changes could be on the horizon. We will continue to provide the most accurate information possible to all stakeholders. We have instituted AP Computer Science Principles, a problem solving based course open to students in grades 10-12. We have also introduced a second level of our Drawing course and refined our Public Speaking, Art Humanities, and Economics courses so our students can receive college credits through Penn Highlands. We continue to have a focus on a strong elective education both here and at the Career and Technology Center. Ninety-seven percent of last year’s senior class scored competent or advanced on their industry standards-based competency assessments at GJCTC. As always, we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Please also visit our website for valuable information including the link for the “High School Years” newsletter under the Administration link within the Our School tab of the High School homepage. We continue to strive to provide a quality education so our students develop into life-long learners and understand their importance in a democratic and global society. Thank you for your continued support and assistance towards this end. Operation Our Town "Tee Off Against Drugs" Student Golf Tournament The 4th Annual Operation Our Town "Tee Off Against Drugs" Student Golf Tournament was held on Monday, September 18th at Park Hills Golf Club! There were 18 local schools that entered the tournament and over 84 golfers, including 7 girls’ teams. This is one of the best tournaments around for local high school golfers. The lunch was provided by Sheetz, one of the two large sponsors of the tournament and owners of Park Hills, along with Fiore. There were various subs, drinks, and snacks for the players to eat before the contest. Bringing huge smiles to all the players was the smoothie truck, provided by Sheetz, which provided custom smoothies for the players. Registration of the players and the coaches meeting was held inside pro shop area. During this time, all the coaches received tournament instructions and an Operation Our Town bag that included an OOT hat for the golf coach, numerous copies of the Our Town Newspaper, along with OOT tshirts and golf balls for the students. The group picture was taken by drone on the 18th fairway and all contestants participated. The player’s meeting was held directly after, where the rules of the contest were reviewed by the Park Hills golf pro. This tournament was set in a scramble format (Continued on page 14) 12


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The Marching Rangers This summer was the first year in 3 years that the Marching Rangers were able to hold Band Camp back at the High School. This year’s group, a total of 85 students, held camp the first two weeks of August. They worked tirelessly from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. using all aspects of the High School, from the Auditorium to the parking lot. The Marching Rangers are excited to present their halftime show, “The Beatles,” using the songs “Ticket to Ride,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” to entertain fans at every football game. We still proudly perform our fight song 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.” As well as performing at all the football games, you may have seen the Marching Rangers at the Richland Days Parade. If you missed a band performance, you can also see them perform at the South Fork, St. Michael, and Johnstown Halloween Parades, as well as the Johnstown Veterans’ Day and Christmas Parades. They will wrap up the season the first week of December at the Ebensburg Christmas Parade. Concert Band and Chorus are excited to perform two different concerts this fall and winter. The Annual Fall Concert featuring students in 8th through 12th grade was on October 7th at 1 p.m. The High School Christmas Concert is December 18th and the Junior High Christmas Concert is December 19th. Both concerts start at 7 p.m. 13


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Tailgate—2017 The 20th annual Tailgate party, sponsored by the High School Student Council, was held on Friday, September 15, 2017, in the recently completed student/event parking lot. This was the first time the Tailgate party was held here. Previously, the event was held in front of the old High School. This new location allows for more people and better parking. There were approximately 15 different clubs and organizations represented selling a variety of great food such as soups, homemade pizza, hot sausage, macaroni and cheese, and even ice cream. There was also face painting and hair braiding for the kids. Although the weather looked a little gloomy, everyone had a great time. Student Council hopes to see everyone for the 21st annual Tailgate party next fall. Operation Our Town "Tee Off Against Drugs" Student Golf Tournament (continued from page 12) meaning all four of the golfers on the team hit their shot and then the best shot was chosen to play next. A tee was put at the spot of the ball and all players were allowed one club length for the others to hit their shots. The tournament began with each team being taken to their starting hole and off they went. Drinks and snacks were provided at several of the holes by a variety of local vendors. It was a beautiful day for golf, 83 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The players all enjoyed this wonderful day. The tournament ended around six o’clock and the players were invited to a BBQ dinner on the deck that including wings, pulled pork sandwiches, various types of potatoes, meat and cheese platters, fresh baked breads, salads, and a variety of desserts sponsored by US Foods. After the BBQ, the announcement of the student golf tournament winners took place on the 18th green. It was completely silent as all groups were anxious to hear the results. The Forest Hills girls’ golf team shot an amazing 6 under on 18 holes, so they were all excited and hoping for a win for their school. They did their best and tried their hardest. In only seconds, time would tell. The winner was announced. The Forest Hills girl’s golf team did it! They won! A $2,500 grant was awarded to the Forest Hills School District Girls’ Golf Team to be used for a program that is aimed at the education/prevention of drug use, along with custom Operation Our Town fleece pullovers and a dozen of Titleist golf balls. These prizes and the check was presented by Shawna Hoover, Executive Coordinator of Operation Our Town. The players all had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go again next year. 14


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~ JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ~ Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Ed Alexander Welcome back! As we begin the school year in our new state-of-the-art Junior-Senior High School, we are excited and prepared for a successful transition. The first few weeks have brought much excitement and has overall been a wonderful transition! Our 7th graders are the most excited, as they are the only grade completely new to the building. As we are now a grades 7-12 building, it is very important to stay connected with your children, especially during this time of great change. The best way to stay connected with school is to actively communicate with his or her teachers. Our teachers are required to maintain and update a monthly teacher calendar on our website: www.fhrangers.org. Please visit our site often as announcements, activities, and other important information is updated daily. Another way to stay in the loop is through PowerSchool, our District’s student information system. In PowerSchool, you, as the parent or guardian, can be notified instantly regarding your child’s attendance and grades. These are two very easy ways to stay connected. As I am the District Administrator for Power School, please don’t hesitate to contact me to set things up or to help you with any PowerSchool issues you may experience. My contact information is: ealexander@fhrangers.org, or you can reach me at the Junior High: (814) 487-7613, extension 3800. Forest Hills Junior High New Hires Mrs. Keri Dale was hired as a 9th grade biology teacher at the Junior-Senior High School. She is originally from Johnstown where she went on to graduate from Richland High School. Her high school biology teacher triggered her interest in science and made her strive to become a teacher. After high school, she attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where she received her bachelor’s degree in science education. Upon graduating from UPJ, Mrs. Dale traveled to West Virginia where she taught for three years at Hedgesville High School. While teaching at Hedgesville High School, she also coached soccer. During this time, she received her Master’s Degree from Fairmont State University in Education. In June 2013, Mrs. Dale married her husband. She moved back to Pennsylvania where she received a teaching position at Conemaugh Valley Junior-Senior High School. This is also where she completed her student teaching during college. While teaching at Conemaugh Valley, Mrs. Dale and her husband adopted two Labrador Retrievers into their family named Layla and Nala. She taught for four years at Conemaugh Valley. She was also an advisor for the gardening club. In July 2017, Mrs. Dale was extremely excited to accept the position as a ninth grade biology teacher at Forest Hills School District. She has truly enjoyed becoming a Ranger and looks forward to the rest of the school year. (continued on page 16) Left to right Mrs. Keri Dale, Mrs. Carissa Sinosky, and Mr. Matthew Brilhart 15



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