R ANGER R EVIEW
Fo re st Hi ll s J u n i or- Se n i or H i gh Sch o o l
VOL. XXXIV NO 1 FALL 2013-2014
F OREST H ILLS
“Transforming a Dream into Reality” - Superintendent Edwin L. Bowser Approximately 4 ½ years ago, the Forest Hills School District embarked on an adventurous endeavor – the construction of a new building to house students in grades 7 through 12. This undertaking will culminate 10 years of strategic planning by previous and current administrators and board members. The process continues to be very labor-intensive and is based on a number of existing factors including a district-wide decline in student enrollment, the need to replace antiquated infrastructure, and consolidation of existing facilities, with the goal of constructing a state-of-the-art building to address the educational needs of our students in the future. The administration and school board are systematically and logistically proceeding with the construction project. The vision of this project is to create a comprehensive educational system on one campus. The new facility will not only serve the educational needs of the District's students but act as the recreational and social community center for the Forest Hills area. This complex will be multifunctional and serve as a home for the performing arts and as a venue for all athletic teams and sporting events. Various community meetings will be scheduled in the facility as well as providing public access to the first floor library and cafeteria. Individuals and organizations will be able to use a unique Large Group Instruction (LGI) area that is designed to be flexible to accommodate the needs of both meetings and activities. The LGI is designed to accommodate a variety of functional configurations. The front half of the room will accommodate over 2 classes of students in lecture seating. The rear half of the room will accommodate over 100 students in retractable seating. The room will be accessible from the hall and the Library/Media Center and will serve as a resource for a whole host of educational needs and community programs. The new gymnasium facility will be located adjacent to and connected with the existing field house building creating a comprehensive athletic complex. The gym will function as a physical education classroom, as a performance venue, and as a community resource. The gym will consist of one large 1,300 seat competition gym and a smaller 220 seat auxiliary gym divisible by a folding partition. The second and third floors of the building will contain the majority of the academic classrooms, the junior high classrooms (grades 7, 8 & 9) are organized in one wing and the senior high classrooms (10, 11 & 12) in the other wing. The language arts and social studies departments will be housed on the second floor and the math department on the third floor. The science classrooms will be located on the third floor in the area between the two wings and will be shared by junior and senior high school students. The center section of the second floor will house general classrooms for both groups and a satellite administrative office.
Architect’s drawing of the front of the new building.
Junior-Senior HS on page 2
S UPERINTENDENT ’ S M ESSAGE
My message as the Superintendent of the Forest Hills School District is one of appreciation and thanks to everyone in the community who was instrumental in making my second year as superintendent a very rewarding and positive experience. In addition, it is my hope that the 20132014 school year brings each of you happiness, good health, and prosperity. My intention is that this school year is better than all the others and each student will be provided the opportunity to maximize his/her potential. From Pre-K through grade 12, the District is setting high goals and expectations for all students. I am excited to announce that preliminary indications from the Pennsylvania Department of Education illustrate that the Forest Hills School District has once again met the department’s expectations. The district’s demographic information, statistical data, and student test results indicate that the School Building Profile for all three schools continue to improve as students accomplish academic success at all levels and in each category.* I would like to publicly commend our administration, professional staff, parents, and students for the effort they put forth in the PSSA and Keystone testing initiatives. We will continue to strive to be the very best in all we do each school year in an effort to meet the testing requirements and mandates of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. District personnel continue to be committed to success for all students. We continue to seek the best test strategies to help all students improve performance and meet the challenges of the 21st century. We pledge to maintain high expectations for classroom achievement and behavior, while continuing to provide needed assistance for all students who need alternative approaches. We embrace the philosophy and believe it is our responsibility to create an educational environment conducive to learning for all students. The academically gifted, as well as the educationally disadvantaged, must all be able to reach their career aspirations and dreams. The district continues to strive to create in each student a working knowledge of the educational process, and in doing so, stimulate pride and a desire to learn. We have taken a holistic approach and incorporated philosophies into the classroom to instill a love of learning and citizenship in all our students. I request that parents and guardians also set high goals and expectations for their children’s academic success. Your expectations and encouragement for success should be the propelling force that motivates each child. I ask that parents do not accept mediocre grades, excuses, and poor study habits. Stress the importance of a quality education and help to ensure
future opportunities for your child. By combining this knowledge and expertise, parents and teachers can give students the best chance for success. In conclusion, my goal is to continue to open doors of opportunity so that all of our students may realize a bright future of success enabling them to be productive citizens. I will always have my door open to parents, community members, and visitors so that together we can provide the opportunities for all students to reach their potential throughout their years at Forest Hills.
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” - Anonymous *For an overview of the Forest Hills School District’s School Performance Profile, go to www.fhrangers.org and click on the School Performance tab on the homepage to link to Pennsylvania’s School Performance Portal.
Junior-Senior HS - continued from page 1
The building’s exterior facade will be primarily masonry cladding. The design will be responsive to the District’s existing campus aesthetic, the community, the municipal zoning requirements, and reflective of the District’s financial budget and ease of maintainability. School safety is a major priority. The new school will have a safe school entrance that limits access to the building except through the administration office once the building has been secured after the start of school day. Visitors can be held in the entrance vestibule pending verification before electric actuated door hardware permits the visitor access to the office. The building will also feature security systems which will include surveillance, access control, and intruder detection components at all exterior doors. Technology will be seamlessly integrated into the design of the building. Interactive technology will be designed into the classrooms. The ability to provide all staff and students with clear, accurate and current information about school events, emergencies and news events is critical. A modern state-of-the-art system for communicating with the entire staff and student body will be included in the design of the building. The building’s furnishings will be designed to meet the functional and design intent of the spaces. The furnishings will be of a quality appropriate to school construction and will be coordinated with the other District facilities to maximize the ease of maintainability.
Junior-Senior HS on page
Title I Parent Compact
The District’s Comprehensive Plan establishes the mission of the Forest Hills School District regarding its educational program, which is for all children, including Title I eligible children. The Forest Hills School District Title I Program, however, has as its primary mission, the improvement of educational opportunities for Title I eligible 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 Title I 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.
One way to help your child in school is to constantly monitor their 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 in their 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 Director of Education Mrs. Vanessa Sral and request your parent username and password for the PowerSchool Parent Access. 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.
You Can Help Your Child Succeed in School
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 this 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 grades 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 2013-2014 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.
"The fact we must remember is that we are educating students for a world that will not be ours but will be theirs. Give them a chance to be heard."
- Dr. Carlos P. Romulo
Mr. Elias Appointed Technology and Information Services Coordinator
In June of 2013, the Forest Hills Board of School Directors appointed Mr. Jay Elias to the position of Technology and Information Services Coordinator for the District. Mr. Elias moves to this new position after serving as the temporary Technology Coordinator for one year. Prior to his move to this new position, Mr. Elias was a music teacher in the elementary school and directed the elementary school band. Mr. Elias is a graduate of Cambria Heights High School, Clarion University, and Bowling Green State University. He resides in Patton with his wife Annette and five children Anna Grace, John Todd, William, Mitchell, and Margaret.
Parent-Teacher Conferences in all three buildings will be held on December 3 & 4, 2013 from 12:00 PM – 8 PM (lunch break 3:30 – 5:00 PM). Parents are encouraged to meet with their child’s teachers.
Student Health Exams, Privacy, and Surveys
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: Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (i.e., “protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE)... 1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parents; 2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family; 3. Sexual behavior or attitudes; 4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; 5. Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships; 6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers; 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. 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 information 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 specific or approximate dates of the following activities and provide an opportunity to opt a student out of participating in: · Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution. · Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by the USDoE. · Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening described above. Parents and/or eligible students who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with the: Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-4605
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.
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. All students in the Forest Hills Elementary School are Title I students, since the elementary school is designated as “school-wide Title I.” 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. Parents’ suggestions shall be solicited regarding the planning, development and operation of the Title I program. 5. Consultation shall be conducted with parents about cooperation in achieving the program’s objectives. 6. An annual evaluation shall be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the Parent Participation Plan.
Approved by the Board of School Directors, August 10, 2005
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 Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 9:00 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 14th. _____No, I do not plan to attend the Parental Involvement meeting on November 14th.
_____________________________________________________ Printed Name of Parent/Guardian ____________________________________________________ Signature of Parent/Guardian
_________________________________________________ Printed Name(s) of Child(ren) _________________________________________________ Date
Notice to Parents 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 violent crime while in or on school grounds of the public elementary or secondary school he or she attends, he or she must be offered the opportunity to transfer to a safe public school building within the District, including a public charter school. In order for a student victim to be entitled to a transfer, the violent criminal offense first must be reported to law enforcement authorities by the student, the student’s parent or guardian, or school officials. Within ten (10) calendar days of receiving notice of the violent criminal offense, the school district will notify the student victim that he or she has the right to transfer to a safe public elementary or secondary school within the District, including a public charter school. The notification and offer to transfer shall state that no student is required to transfer to another school, but has the option to do so. The student victim or his/her parent or guardian must apply to the District to transfer within 30 calendar days after the incident is reported to school authorities. Upon receipt of an application to transfer, the school district will transfer the student as soon as possible, but in no more than ten (10) calendar days after receiving the application. When considering a student’s request to transfer to another school, the school district will take into account the particular needs of the student and the parent. To the extent possible, the school district will allow the student to transfer to a school building that is making adequate yearly progress, and one that is not identified as being in school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. 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, extension 3249.
Notice of Homeless Education Programs
Each year, more than 800,000 school-age children in the United States experience homelessness. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 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 provision of NCLB. 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.
Home Language Survey 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 English as a Second Language (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.
The Forest Hills Elementary School faculty and staff join me in welcoming you to the 2013-2014 school year. We are committed to motivating, challenging, and inspiring your child to become his or her best. We strive for students to experience a well-rounded program that helps them harness their uniqueness and strengths. You, as parents, are a critical part of our school success. You take an active and crucial role in providing an atmosphere that promotes education and quality work habits. Your support provides the foundation for students to come ready to learn. I strongly encourage you to be an active part of your child’s education by making sure they get to school on time and attend school regularly. Please ensure that your child reads each and every night. Academics require practice, just like piano, baseball, and dance. There are many ways you can get involved at school. Check out our awesome PTO. They do so much to support our school. Money raised through the PTO will help in providing all of our students with fieldtrips, t-shirts, yearbooks, and the annual Carnival. Your participation in the PTO is a critical part in making all of this happen throughout the school year. You will find your child’s teachers are your best resources and I encourage you to build a positive partnership with them. I look forward to partnering with you to make this an exciting and successful year for our students. I am honored to be your Principal at Forest Hills Elementary. Mr. Celmer and I thank you in advance for your support and commitment!
~ E LEMENTARY S CHOOL ~
Mr. Lucas Jacobs
Box Out Bullying
“Box Out Bullying,” a live theater production, came to Forest Hills Elementary School on September 25th to help students learn the skills necessary for creating and maintaining a safe, positive, and bullying-free school. Three different show times addressed important lessons which adhere to the Olweus bullying prevention program principles in an age and developmentally appropriate fashion. The first performance captivated the attention of students in grades K, 1, and 2, and used an enthusiastic energy level to deliver some serious information. The high energy of the performers continued during the next performance for third and fourth grade students as more information was included. Fifth and sixth grade students viewed the last performance of the afternoon in an entertaining and informative fashion. All performances covered the four rules against bullying: 1) I will not bully others, 2) I will try to help students who are bullied, 3) I will try to include students who are left out, and 4) If I know that someone is being bullied, I will tell an adult at school and an adult at home. The actors demonstrated the meaning of empathy to relate to and understand the person being bullied, which creates the basis to empower the bystanders to defend and help. There were quite a few lessons all wrapped up into this one performance which increased student knowledge and awareness of bullying prevention.
PTO Unveils “Ranger-Opoly™”
The games made their debut on Labor Day Weekend. Only 1,000 copies were produced and more than 60% are already sold. Get them before they are gone! Games are $20 and contain pictures of the schools and various district histories and trivia. Net proceeds from the Ranger-Opoly project will be used exclusively to improve technologies within the Forest Hills Elementary School. The PTO will be selling the games at the following times and locations (while supplies last): Monday, October 21, 2013, 7 - 8 PM at the PTO meeting in the Elementary School LGI room Monday, November 18, 2013, 7 - 8 PM at the PTO meeting in the Elementary School LGI room Monday through Friday, December 9 - 13, 2013 during the school day at the Elementary PTO Santa Shop Call or email the PTO to order your game now! 814-487-7613 x2665 or FHk6pto@hotmail.com Special pickup arrangements can be made with the PTO if the above dates do not suit your schedule. Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase a piece of Forest Hills history and have your own keepsake game.
Ranger-Opoly™ is a Monopoly© style game celebrating the Forest Hills School District!
3 New Faces at the Elementary
Ms. Nicole Madison was recently hired to teach grade 3. She graduated from Forest Hills High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania New professional staff - (left to right) where she reMs. Nicole Madison, Mr. Jake Kearney ceived her and Mrs. Julia Kehn. Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She lives in Summerhill. She is continuing her education at Edinboro University where she will receive her Master’s Degree in Literacy and a Reading Specialist Certification in December 2013. Mr. Jake Kearney was a long-term substitute music teacher last year. He is now a permanent music teacher at the elementary and is the Assistant Marching Band Director. Mr. Kearney is originally from Pittsburgh where he graduated from Chartiers Valley School District. He attended Indiana University of
Pennsylvania and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in K-12 Music Education and has a middle school math certification. Mrs. Julia Kehn is a graduate of Forest Hills High School and resides in Salix. Mrs. Kehn also served as a long-term substitute at the elementary last year and has been hired to teach grade 1. She graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education. Mrs. Kehn completed her Master’s Degree in Literacy and a Reading Specialist Certification from Clarion University in 2013.
Mrs. Stiffler’s Pre-K class is off to a great start. The 4-year olds have made new friends and learned many new things. We are learning how to rhyme, count syllables, and the letters in the alphabet. We are learning about the season of Autumn - the falling leaves, the many colors that autumn brings, the cool air, and the short days.
Students’ Sentences Come Alive
As part of the English curriculum, 4th graders learn about the parts that make up a sentence and the different kinds of sentences. A good writer will always use complete sentences and a variety of sentences to keep the reader interested. To practice using the four different types of sentences, groups of four stuDylan Wechtenhiser, Matthew dents posed for a Wadsworth, Connor Wysocki, comic strip style picand Caleb Langham ture. Once the pictures were printed, students used their knowledge of the four types of sentences (imperative, declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory) to create a story line for their comic strip picture. Each character in the picture was assigned one type of sentence and could only speak using their assigned sentence type. Once the story line was created, students typed their sentences into speech bubbles using Microsoft Word. Finally, the comic strips were cut and glued together to display in the fourth grade hallway. These students showed a great deal of organization, hard work, and creativity in completing this project!
New Principal and Assistant Principal
Mr. Lucas Jacobs succeeds Mr. James Lashinsky as the elementary school’s new Principal. Since beginning his educational career as a student observer at the Forest Hills Elementary School, Mr. Jacobs draws upon a wide background of subsequent experiences and schooling. Mr. Jacobs taught third grade at Forest Hills Elementary from 2000-2008; he served as the Instructional Support Teacher from 2008-2010, and most recently, Mr. Jacobs served as the Elementary Assistant Principal from 2010-2013. Mr. Jacobs earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He received a Master of Education Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Gannon University, and earned his K-12 Principal Certification from Saint Francis University. Most recently, Mr. Jacobs earned his Superintendent’s/IU Executive Director Letter of Eligibility from Saint Francis University in 2009. Mr. Jacobs’ goal is to foster an atmosphere that promotes a learning community characterized by child-centered instruction, academic excellence, trust, respect, community involvement, and recognition of both student and staff achievement. Lucas is married to the former Tina Corle and resides in Salix with their two children, Sophia and Max. Replacing Mr. Jacobs as assistant principal is former high school assistant principal Mr. Larry Celmer.
No Time to Weight!
Elementary Principals on page 14
Forest Hills Elementary School was one of 10 schools from a three state region that was selected and honored by the Highmark Foundation for its efforts in combating childhood obesity. Mr. Jacobs and Phys Ed Teacher Mr. Denon Carpenter attended the No Time to Weight Best Practices in Childhood Obesity Prevention Conference, where our school was awarded $2,500 to further fund programs to increase the quantity and quality of physical education programming at the elementary school. FHES was selected as one of the 10 recipients based on past and current programming that the elementary has sponsored and because of the various grant awards that our district received through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge, ING Run for Something Better Program, The Tubbs Winter Fit Get Outdoors Program, and the Hershey ProWellness Center. Michael Wolf, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is pictured here with Mr. Jacobs (left) and Mr. Carpenter.
Greetings from the FHMS! As we continue our goal of providing the best education for our students, the middle school welcomes a few changes this year. Mrs. Laura Miller has been appointed as the Dean of Students. Career exploration is the newest course offered to all 8th grade students. Math seminar is now offered to all students in grades 7 & 8. The middle school AIMS (Academic Intervention Model of Support) program has been implemented for all students as an early academic intervention process. Our fall sports teams are in full swing and our clubs are actively engaged. The middle school continues to operate on a 9 period bell schedule, as we prepare for the new junior-senior high school building construction to be completed. Our students are provided a rigorous curriculum, which is continuously refined and connected to the PA Common Core Standards. Students will be taking the PSSA’s in grades 7 & 8, as well as the Keystone Exam in Algebra I and Biology in grade 9. Our faculty continues to collaborate to provide solid courses of study in all departments. In our efforts to strengthen the home-school connection, we encourage you to visit Forest Hills Middle School. Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Have a great year!
Mr. Ed Alexander
~ M IDDLE S CHOOL ~
Dean of Students Appointed
The middle school is excited to introduce The Forest Hills Middle School AIMS (Academic Intervention Model of Support) program. The AIMS program’s purpose is to identify students who are struggling academically as soon as the struggle begins and refer the students through a tiered program of support. The student will work with the team, parents, and teachers to ensure the student’s success in school. Flexible scheduling throughout the day will be the first step, which will provide time for specific subject needs. Students will use activity periods to meet with particular teachers for tutoring, and study halls will be scheduled to provide time to follow up. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) team is coordinating the referral process, as well as tracking progress within the program. This will create a more unified approach to documenting progress and communications. Students move through the tiers of the program based on their identified needs. It is within these tiers, or levels, that a high degree of parent involvement will occur. Grade level and/or department teams of teachers meet each day during the after school collaboration time. Most meetings will take place then, in order to solidify individual student needs. A pre-pilot program was run successfully last school year where students experienced academic success.
The Forest Hills Board of School Directors appointed Mrs. Laura Miller to serve as the Middle School Dean of Students for the 2013-2014 and 20142015 school years. She will work in the office alongside Mr. Alexander and handle student matters including new initiatives, data coordination, attendance, and discipline. She will continue to teach 7th grade English Language Arts in the afternoon and co-advise the forensics team. Mrs. Miller’s morning classes will be taught by Mrs. Lisa Mazey for the next 2 years. Over her seven years in the District, Mrs. Miller has taught 7th, 8th, and 9th grade English Language Arts and Communications. Mrs. Miller has been a member of several state and national level committees to advise the PA Department of Education on a variety of issues. Before coming to Forest Hills she served with Teach For America in Eastern North Carolina where she taught high school English and served as the department chairperson for the freshman Academy.
Ms. Cover Teaching at MS
The middle school welcomed new 8th grade learning-support teacher Ms. Chelsea Cover last spring. Ms. Cover graduated from Geneva College where she dual majored in elementary and special education. She holds several certifications including middle school language arts and math, and secondary English. Prior to working at Forest Hills, Ms. Cover worked as the emotional and autistic support teacher in the Ferndale School District for two years. Ms. Cover is an avid tennis player and currently serves as the vice president of the Greater Johnstown Tennis Association. She is also a member of the Young Professionals of the Alleghenies. She is involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes here at Forest Hills. Ms. Cover feels honored and blessed to be a part of the Ranger family and is looking forward to her first full year on staff.
Dean of Students on page 12
Naviance - Career Exploration
A new career exploration course is being offered to 8th grade students this year. The semester-long course will focus on study skills, anti-bullying, and the new Naviance program. Naviance is a web-based program to help us more efficiently and effectively prepare students to meet their college and career goals. The family connections web portal allows students to define their goals, research their post-secondary options, build their resume, and acquire and apply 21st century skills. Students can access the web portal through the the Naviance link on the Forest Hills Middle School webpage. In the near future parents will have access to the site to review their child’s portfolio, explore the program with their child, and communicate with their child’s counselor. Family Connection from Naviance is a web-based service designed especially for students and parents. It is a comprehensive website that can be used to help make decisions about courses, colleges, and careers. Family Connection also provides up-to-date information that is specific to Forest Hills. It also allows the District to share information with students and parents about up-coming meetings, news, and events, as well as other Web resources for college and career information. Research Colleges - Compare GPA, standardized test scores, and other statistics to actual historical data from Forest Hills for students who have applied and been admitted in the past. Research Careers - Explore the magnitude of career information through Naviance. Students can explore careers that interest them as well as areas that are new to them through their career cluster and holland type discovery. Communication - Family Connection allows the District to share information with you and your child about upcoming meetings and events, local scholarship opportunities, summer classes, and other web resources for college and career information.
Dean of Students - continued from page 11
Mrs. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree and K-12 principal certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Clarion University. In her free time, Mrs. Miller enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling. She is very excited to serve the District in her new role.
Welcome Back! I hope everyone has had a great start to the 2013-2014 school year! The high school has once again experienced several changes leading into this school year. We welcome Mr. Brian Kostan as he begins his tenure as our new High School Assistant Principal. He brings 7 years of administrative experience to our building having served at the middle school as the Assistant Principal. The curriculum continues to be refined and adjusted. Pennsylvania Common Core and Keystone Exams are in the process of being implemented across the state. All sophomores will take the Literature Keystone Exam at the end of the year and those students who have yet to score proficient will take the Biology and/or Algebra 1 Keystone Exam(s) at various points this year as well. Modifications to staff parking as well as student drop-off and pickup have already been put in place as we move towards the beginning of the new secondary school building project on our campus. Patience and flexibility will be needed as further plans progress and construction gets into full swing in the early spring of 2014. As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions regarding any and all activities at the High School. Let’s have a great 2013-2014 school year! Go Rangers!!
Mr. Curt Vasas
~ H IGH S CHOOL ~
The Marching Rangers are off to a busy start in 2013 beginning with two weeks of camp ending in early August. With the addition of Mr. Jake Kearney as Assistant Marching Band Director and Miss Kelly Myers as Instrumental Instructor for camp, along with veterans Director Mr. Mitchell Custer and Assistant Mrs. Martha Ringler as the Band Front Instructor, the Marching Rangers found themselves under an all-encompassing umbrella of professional instruction. The group consists of 75 members in grades 8 through 12 with 24 of those members being band front. Starting the season off before camp was completed, the Marching Rangers were invited to perform in the Cambria County Volunteer Fireman’s Parade held in Saint Michael, followed by the Annual Richland Days Parade held in late August. The group had been hard at work through August and September to put together this year’s halftime show featuring the music of Boston - “More Than a Feelin’, Smokin’ and Foreplay Longtime.” Along with the halftime entertainment for the Ranger’s football games, the ensemble also performed at the Cambria County Fair as a part of the annual Band Night. Student leaders are President-Ben Buchkovich, Vice President-Nathan Madison, Secretary-Michael Pakstis, and Drum Major-Renae Kakabar. The Marching Rangers have a full schedule for the rest of the season. Check out our 2013 tour dates on the Forest Hills website, www.fhrangers.org/custer.
Walk to End Alzheimers
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. Recognizing the seriousness and prevalence of this disease, the National Honor Society members sponsored a team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The event was held at the Windber Recreation Park, and nearly thirty high school students participated in the walk. Through the school district’s dress-down day/hat-day initiative, students raised approximately $600 for the walk. “Seeing the number of walkers and listening to the stories of caregivers and those actually affected by Alzheimer’s disease was truly touching,” described senior Jennifer Crum on her experience at the walk.
The 5th Quarter
The home varsity football games have expanded to the 5th Quarter. The 5th Quarter, hosted by the High School Spirit Club, is an after-game party for Forest Hills students in grades 9-12. Beginning immediately after the football game, students are invited to the after-game party, which is located in the high school cafeteria. The 5th Quarter consists of music, dancing, and food. The menu changes each 5th Quarter, although it mainly consists of nachos and cheese, walking tacos, pizza, and buffalo chicken dip. The attendance at the after-game parties has been outstanding—and growing. Approximately 150 students attended the most recent 5th Quarter. The varsity football boosters graciously contributed start-up funds for the 5th Quarter. In addition to the after-game celebrations, the High School Spirit Club members have been busy cultivating a positive school environment. Students have been making signs and decorating for all the sporting and academic activities in the school. In addition, the members of the Spirit Club have been forming a noticeable student section for sporting events in support of their RANGERS’ teams. The Spirit Club hopes to expand the 5th Quarter concept throughout the winter and spring sporting seasons as well. Spirit Club members (sitting left to right) Elissa Eppley, Amanda Kulback, Renee Wirfel and (standing) Kayla Makin and Lynsie Diebert cheer on the Rangers at a home football game !
Light the Night
(L-R) Tyler Mangus, Brooke Novotny, Angelina Shilcosky, Madison Novotny and James Mangus “I wear orange in support of the fighter, in admiration of the survivors, and in honor of the taken” not only provides great inspiration for those who are battling Leukemia, but it also serves as the slogan for four Forest Hills’ students’ graduation project. Seniors Brooke Novotny and Tyler Mangus and middle school students Madison Novotny and James Mangus have chosen a senior project and a cause that hits
close to home - leukemia. In honor of their cousin, Angelina Shilcosky, a leukemia survivor, these students have initiated a tee-shirt sale for their Light the Night Walk Team. The students’ ambitious goal of raising $1,000 for the Leukemia Society is only part of their quest; they also plan to raise awareness for the Leukemia Society. Angelina said, “I am not only truly honored that the students have chosen to honor me, but I am also excited that they are raising awareness and money for the Leukemia Society.” The students’ efforts were recently captured in the Portage Dispatch. “We thank the entire Forest Hills community for its support of us and the Leukemia Society charity,” affirms Brooke and Tyler.
“Never a Wish Better Than This” was the theme for the 2013 Homecoming Court. Samantha Smith was crowned Homecoming Queen at the football game on September 27, 2013. Homecoming court members are Olivia Faiad, Sammie Smith, Alexis Novotny, Lexi Kline, Brielle Corrente, Joan Smith, Kayla Walls, Sami Hook, and Courtney Durica. The Court was presented during half-time by their fathers. The Court is pictured here. This year’s charity choice was the RANGER Good Samaritan Outreach. The Court has been raising money from donations, chances, and a dress-down/hat day.
Elementary Principals - continued from page 10
He also serves as district-wide Safe Schools Coordinator. Mr. Celmer began his educational career as a 9th grade Reading teacher at Forest Hills from 1989-2007. In 1997, he took on the additional duties of Athletic Director through 2012. From 2012 through 2013 Mr. Celmer was assistant principal at the high school. In addition, Mr. Celmer was a varsity football assistant coach from 1987 until 2002. Mr. Celmer is a graduate of Forest Hills High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education. He received his K12 Principal Certification from St. Francis University. Mr. Celmer strives to teach students to be honest, respectful, responsible, and cooperative individuals. He believes students need to understand the importance of obtaining a quality education and encourages students to work to the best of their ability.
Middle and High Schools Announce Fine Arts Events
Junior-Senior HS - continued from page 2
The building is designed with a courtyard accessible from the cafeteria/commons. The courtyard will support outdoor dining, can be used as an outdoor classroom and, in the evening, function as a community entertainment venue. The administration, staff, and school board will continue to work cooperatively to design a multifunctional/multi-faceted educational building that will not only meet the current educational needs of our students but will address the needs of future generations. This new state-of-the-art educational facility is scheduled to be opened at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. It is a great time to be a part of the Forest Hills School District and community. Please take a moment to visit the school district website (www.fhrangers.org) and click on the building project links to take a 3-D virtual tour of the proposed new secondary educational complex. On October 9, 2013 the Board of School Directors voted to name the new building Forest Hills JuniorSenior High School, which will consolidate the middle school and high school into one facility.
The 3rd Annual Fall Concert featuring the band and chorus from grades 8 through 12 will be held at the high school on Monday, October 14, 2013 starting at 7:00 PM. The Middle School Christmas Concert will be on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM. The High School Christmas Concert will be presented on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM. The Jazz Band will be performing at the High School Christmas Concert. The Middle School Spring Concert, along with the Middle School Art Gala, will be held on May 20, 2014. The Art Gala opens at 6:00 PM and the concert will begin at 7:00 PM. The 2nd Annual Fine Arts Gala will be held at the high school on May 15, 2014. The Art Gala opens at 5:30 PM. The Jazz Band and Vocal Quartets will begin their performance at 6:00 PM. Light refreshments, along with a souvenir mug, will be available to purchase on site. The night will conclude with the annual Spring Concert featuring the High School Band and Choir starting at 7:00 PM.
What It Means for the Forest Hills School District
The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently released the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile. This public site (http://www.paschoolperformance.org) provides an academic performance score for public schools in the state. This performance score is designed with several purposes in mind: • to inform the public of school performance • to provide a building level score for educators as part of their evaluation system • to allow the public to compare schools across the state • to give schools a methodology to analyze their strengths and needs While public schools across the state have previously received designations under No Child Left Behind (e.g., Made Adequate Yearly Progress, Making Progress, Warning, School Improvement, Corrective Action), schools will now receive an academic performance score based upon many data points. Test scores, progress in closing achievement gaps, and degree of student growth over time are factored into the scoring while other identifiers of high achieving schools are also considered: graduation, promotion, and attendance rates as well as evidence of offering rigorous courses factor into the calculation. Schools may also earn extra points beyond the 100 point scoring system for those students who have earned advanced scores on the state, industry, and Advanced Placement Exams. In addition to the scoring aspect of the site, the public can compare schools within and across the state. For schools, the site also offers supports for schools to consider as they identify needs in the academic profile. For an overview of the Forest Hills School District’s School Performance Profile, go to www.fhrangers.org and click on the School Performance tab on the homepage to link to Pennsylvania’s School Performance Portal. Forest Hills School District’s School Performance Profile Scores: Forest Hills Elementary School score – 68.9 Forest Hills Middle School score – 79.5 Forest Hills High School score – 78.8 Score key: >100 Significant evidence that the school exceeded the standard for PA Academic Growth 90-100 Significant evidence that the school exceeded the standard for PA Academic Growth 80-80.9 Moderate evidence that the school exceeded the standard for PA Academic Growth 70-79.9 Evidence that the school met the standard for PA Academic Growth 60-69.9 Moderate evidence that the school did not meet the standard for PA Academic Growth <60 Significant evidence that the school did not meet the standard for PA Academic Growth
PA School Performance Profile
District VI Tennis Doubles Champs
Forest Hills Doubles Team of Rachel Blanchetti and Emily Goldyn defeated Westmont to win the District VI Tennis Doubles Championship at the Leopold Tennis Center in Altoona.
District VI Golf Champs
Forest Hills Golf Team - left to right - Nicole Richards, Christiauna Miller, Coach Doug Williams, Abbey Richards, and Megan Fessler won the Girl's District VI Golf Championships held at Penn State’s White Course in State College.