Forest Hills Ranger Review
Vol. XXXIV No 2 Winter 2013-2014
Recently, the Wendy’s High School Heisman program honored two of Pennsylvania’s most outstanding high school seniors with the distinguished recognition as a State Winner of the 2013 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. Forest Hills’ Caitlyn Gallaher was selected as the 2013 female award winner for the state of Pennsylvania. She is an exceptional example of a well-rounded student who excels academically and leads and serves others with the passion and persistence of a Heisman winner. Caitlyn was chosen from 48,000 applicants, surviving rounds that narrowed contenders to one male and one female from each school, and then to Pennsylvania’s respected group of 20 State Finalists. In recognition of this honor, the Forest Hills School District commemorated Caitlyn’s achievement by placing a banner in our gymnasium. It shall serve as a reminder of her dedication and commitment to herself, her community, and the Forest Hills School District. Congratulations, Caitlyn – you have made Forest Hills proud!
~ SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE ~
Greetings everyone and Happy New Year. Another year has come and gone. Every year at this time, my first order of business is to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Forest Hills community for their continued support and express my sincere thanks to the students and school board members for making my two and a half years as your superintendent a positive experience. In addition, my wish to all individuals living in our community and surrounding communities is that the 2014 New Year brings everyone an abundance of joy, prosperity and good health. I am excited to announce that the Forest Hills School District has once again met the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s expectations. The district's demographic information, statistical data, and student test results indicate that the School Performance 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. Newly appointed Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq recently instituted additional mandates in conjunction with the School Performance Profile. Approximately one year ago the Forest Hills School District participated in a teacher effectiveness pilot. This initiative was a cooperative venture between the teaching association and the Forest Hills School District administration. Together we worked systematically to devise a fair and effective way of evaluating our current teaching staff. Numerous teachers volunteered to participate in the Race To The Top Grant pilot and a comprehensive, user-friendly teacher evaluation model was developed. This new evaluation tool was a collaborative effort that recognizes the level of experience, the effectiveness, and professionalism of teachers as well as the intensity and time commitment of the formal observation process utilizing the state approved Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching Model. Differentiated Supervision provides a framework for professional growth designed to improve teacher effectiveness, instructional practices, and student achievement. The formal observation tool is just one component of the differentiated model. The Forest Hills School District has incorporated a three pronged approach to supervision in which teachers will be evaluated utilizing different mechanisms that are geared at teacher growth and improvement. In addition, the Forest Hills School District is working towards developing student learning objectives which will be implemented beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Student learning objectives will be one of the various evaluation calculations utilized in the teacher’s overall performance rating. Every teacher will develop a Student Learning Objective (SLO) as another piece to Pennsylvania’s Teacher Effectiveness System of Evaluation. In 2012,the Pennsylvania legislature passed House Bill 1901 including Act 82 which requires all Pennsylvania school districts to use multiple measures of student achievement to measure educator effectiveness. Teachers in the Forest Hills School District will develop SLOs during the spring and summer of 2014 with implementation slated for the 2014-2015 school year. The concepts behind the SLO process are twofold ; student achievement can be measured in ways that reflect authentic learning of content standards and educator effectiveness can be measured through use of student achievement measures. The actual SLO process is a process to document a measure of educator effectiveness based on student achievement of content standards. Every SLO in Pennsylvania is written to a specific teacher and a specific class/course/content area for which that teacher provides instruction. Each SLO must meet specific, rigorous criteria: Represent the diversity of students and courses/content areas taught. Align to a set of approved indicators/targets related to selected PA academic content standards. As appropriate, provide opportunity to describe student achievement based on “growth” and/or “mastery”. Be supported by verifiable data that can be collected and scored in a consistent manner. Include a set of independent performance measures The SLO process, as well as the other measures in Act 82, are designed to reform the way school professionals are evaluated. District teachers and administrators are working hard to implement the new requirements and increase teacher professional growth. As you can see, the Forest Hills School District staff and Board of Directors continue to work in a positive manner and continue to strive to create in each student an adequate 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 honestly and citizenship in all our students. As I stated in every newsletter for the past two and half years, as your superintendent my goal remains to open doors of opportunity so that all of our students may realize a bright future of success enabling them to be successful, productive citizens and reach their potential throughout their years at Forest Hills. It is an exciting time to be a part of the Forest Hills School District and the community. Sincerely,
Edwin Bowser Superintendent of Schools
Success means having the courage, determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be. George Sheehan
~ SCHOOL DIRECTORS RECOGNIZED ~
Long-term school directors are being honored across the state by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association at local school board meetings. School directors are recognized for years of service ranging from 8 to 52 years. Deborah Petrunak, a member of the Forest Hills School District school board, received recognition for 24 years of service. She was presented a certificate and plaque adding her to the PSBA “Honor Roll of School Board Service.” Mrs. Petrunak has also served numerous terms on the Joint Operating Committee at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center. Superintendent Edwin Bowser describes Mrs. Petrunak as an individual that embraces a student centered philosophy and ensures that students are provided a wide array of educational opportunities to be successful. Mr. Bowser stated, “School directors continually spend more of their personal time on school -related activities. Fifty-four percent of School Board members devote 16 hours or more a month to school board business. That shows a real commitment on their part.” Board President Mr. Fred Russell spoke about the recipient and her years of dedicated volunteer service to children, the community, and public education. According to Mr. Russell, these individuals put in, on the average, about two-and-a-half working days per month of nonpaid, volunteer service as school directors. Mr. Russell continued, “They exemplify leadership and dedication, giving unselfishly to their communities, students, and the public schools. Their efforts, along with those of their fellow board members, reflect their dedication to giving our children the opportunity to gain knowledge through the best educational system possible.” Pictured are (left to right) Mr. Robert MacTavish, Board Treasurer, 16 years of service, Mrs. Debbie Petrunak, 2nd Vice President, 24 years of service, School Board President Mr. Fred Russell, 15 years of service , 1st Vice President Mrs. Tracy Helsel, 12 years of service, and Mr. John Bopp, Board Secretary, 8 years of service.
~ DISTRICT RETIREMENTS ~
The Forest Hills School District recognizes Mrs. Kathy Puruczky who retired as Executive Secretary to the Superintendent as of January 10, 2014. Mrs. Puruczky has served the District for 37 years beginning as middle school secretary and for the last seventeen years as executive secretary to the superintendent. Mrs. Puruczky worked with three previous superintendents: Mr. Paul Robinson, Mr. Barry Dallara, and Mr. Donald Bailey. The current superintendent, Mr. Edwin Bowser, stated “I appreciated Mrs. Puruczky’s patience and understanding in making my transition from Director of Education to Superintendent. She was instrumental in making sure I understood every aspect associated with my current position. To say I could not have done it without her would be an understatement.” The District appreciates Mrs. Puruczky’s many years of service and wishes her a long and happy retirement.
Mrs. Puruczky with Board President Mr. Russell
The Forest Hills School District recognizes Social Studies teacher Mr. Rick Ruddek who retired on January 16, 2014 with 36 years of service in education. Mr. Ruddek began his career at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center and spent the last 30 years with the Forest Hills School District. Mr. Ruddek is recognized as an exemplary teacher in the classroom and also as an outstanding coach. He has dedicated his life to the students at the Forest Hills School District. The District appreciates Mr. Ruddek’s many years of service and will miss his uncanny ability to motivate stu-
Mr. Ruddek with Board President Mr. Russell
~ HIGH SCHOOL ~
Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Curt Vasas
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS High school can be a very stressful and intimidating time for students. It is also a time of great excitement and opportunity. Students should use their high school experience as a time to explore career options and set a course for the rest of their lives. Engaging in a relevant and rigorous curriculum is the first step. Students have the flexibility to schedule a challenging course load and investigate new areas of interest. The scheduling process should be holistic with thought given to future aspirations and a willingness to seek out information in a variety of areas. Students should consider all elective courses including the career and technology program. investigate areas of interest in order to gain a clearer picture of what the job or profession entails. Students should also look into chances to serve their community. Service can be defined as the sincere gift of your time and talents to benefit others. Giving to others can be a very rewarding and enlightening experience. It also develops stronger relationships within our community. Finally, participation in extracurricular activities can have lasting benefits. We offer a variety of options including clubs, sports, and performing arts. All students should participate in at least one activity each year they are in high school.
High school is a very unique and formative time in the life of a student. In order to fully develop one’s self as a productive citizen the areas of leadership, academic achievement, extra-curricular participation, service to the community, and character deCollege and career options need to be considered. velopment all need to be fostered and expanded. This can be accomplished by meeting with our If you would like more information on what we have counselors, discussions with parents, and job to offer at Forest Hills, please visit our website or shadowing opportunities. It is never too early to contact me at the high school. Thank you.
The Challenge Program, Inc. Kicks Off Program at Forest Hills High School
The Challenge Program, Inc., a regional non-profit organization designed to provide high school students with incentives for success, recently kicked off the program with an orientation and awards assembly at Forest Hills High School. The program partners with businesses to motivate high school students to excel, both in and out of the classroom. CBW Credit Union, along with Miller Motor Company ,are the sponsors of Forest Hills High School. During the assembly, four sophomore and four junior students were awarded checks of $250 for their performance last year in The Challenge Program’s award categories of Attendance, Academic Improvement, Academic Excellence, and Community Service. Senior award winners were awarded with their checks last spring. The total amount of awards is $3,000. This year’s program included the new STEM Award in addition to the four existing categories. Since 2003, through the generous support of businesses, foundations, and individuals, The Challenge Program, Inc. has been introduced to more than 330,000 students and checks totaling more than $2 million have been presented to over 8,000 high school students in more than 100 high schools in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. For additional information about The Challenge Program, Inc., contact Barbara Grandinetti, Executive Director of The Challenge Program, Inc. at 814-533-7401.
Front Row: Brielle Corrente (Junior Academic Excellence), Teresa Yuhas (Sophomore Academic Attendance/Sophomore Community Service); Back Row: Maggie Long (Junior Community Service), Anthony Maticic (Sophomore Academic Excellence), Amber Zimmerman (Sophomore Academic Improvement), Bill Weber, CBW Credit Union, Mark Bambino (Junior Academic Attendance), Jennifer Cox (Junior Academic Improvement)
Art Students & Spirit Club Participate in Wintergarden
Forest Hills was excited to participate in Wintergarden, an ethnic festival held in the Grande Halle, Johnstown. This year's Wintergarden captured the spirit of an ethnic holiday with beautifully decorated trees, a gingerbread village, and vintage Christmas toys held at the Grande Halle, formerly Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Johnstown, PA. Art students at Forest Hills High School created Mexican piñatas, Mexican banners, Mexican clay ornaments, and Mexican-inspired luminaries that decorated one of the trees for Wintergarden, an ethnic holiday celebration sponsored by The Steeples Project, Johnstown. Members of the Spirit Club also were inspired by the Wintergarden project and created Chinese lanterns, replicas of Chinese fortune cookies, Chinese take-out containers, and Chinese fans to decorate the tree inspired by China. Wintergarden ran through December 15, 2013. The public was welcome to attend. China Inspired Tree
Mexico Inspired Tree
THE MADDOX FUND
Forest Hills High School Juniors Brooke Fisher and Casey Boyle completed their senior project for the benefit of Maddox Quinn Raptosh. Maddox was born on August 13, 2013 with several medical complications at Geisinger Hospital in Danville. At just 2 days old he underwent major surgery that removed part of his stomach, shortly after he was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was diagnosed with liver failure and was in need of a lifesaving liver transplant. On October 16, 2013 he received a liver from his cousin, Christa Hassan. At this time, Maddox is home and doing well. Brooke and Casey desperately wanted to do something to help Maddox and his family. They wanted to be donors but they were not old enough to go through the donor process. Therefore, they decided to do a fundraiser to help ease the financial burden the family was facing as well as fulfill their senior project for graduation. Brooke stated, “If it was my family, I would want everyone to help. We just wanted to do something to help the entire family.” The 2 juniors started selling Mid’s candy bars at the end of September and continued selling until December 13. Combined with a faculty dress down day and student hat day they raised $1,611.90. Casey said, 6 “I would have never imagined we would raise this much money, we were hoping to raise half of that, to have raised this much is overwhelming. We are so happy to be able to help and feel such a sense of accomplishment.” Brooke and Casey are happy they were able to help the family with the financial burden. They both said “We just love our little guy Maddox, he is our superhero.” Accepting the check on behalf of the family was Maddox’s 1st cousin Edward Raptosh a kindergarten student at Forest Hills Elementary School.
Brooke Fisher, Edward Raptosh, Casey Boyle
Humanitarian Club Projects
The 2013-2014 Humanitarian Club held three successful projects this fall. The first project was the annual Forest Hills Tailgate Party. The club sold $100 worth of hot dogs and sauerkraut to add to their charitable funds. Sheetz graciously donated 100 hot dogs to the club, and the members would like to thank the company for their donation. On October 5, twenty members participated in the "Light the Night" walk that was hosted at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus. The club raised over $600 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and had a great time. The club members would like to thank those who donated money and sponsored the walkers. Through the help of many generous people, the Society is another step closer to finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. The third fall project undertaken by the club was “Toys for Tots.” The club collected toys throughout the month of December. In conjunction with the toy collection, the club collaborated with the National Honor Society to hold a dress down day on December 6 benefitting the Toys for Tots organization. The dress down day brought in $700. Again, the club would like to thank everyone who donated to the fundraiser to make it a success.
Light the Night Picture: Back row (left to right) Veronica Baroni, Samantha Wright, Brooke Rorar, Gabby Shaulis, Brianna Facciani, Tiffany Glass, Katie Vitez, Alyssa Galla, Rika Milavec, Maggie Long, Cari Kestermont, Katie Marsh, Shelbie O'Hara, and Madison Kundrod. Front row - Kaylee Neff, Tori Dibble, and Kate Bedont
Toys For Tots Picture: Back Row (left to right) Shelbie O’Hara, Maggie Long, Marine James, Emily Miller, Tara Hogan Front row – Katie Marsh, Rika Milavec
Distinguished Alumni to be Recognized
For many years, Forest Hills High School and its precursor high schools have produced outstanding graduates who have achieved great things. The Forest Hills Alumni Association will be giving Distinguished Alumni Awards in the Fall of 2014. The selection committee is now seeking nominations for the Bi-annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. For an individual to be considered for this award, he or she must have made a significant contribution to mankind in areas such as medicine, research, education, politics, athletics, etc. Nomination materials including a completed nomination form, the candidate’s resume or vita, and three letters of support, must be received by the Forest Hills Alumni Secretary, Laurie Roberts, Forest Hills Elementary School, P.O. Box 290, 547 Locust Street, Sidman, PA 15955, by August 1, 2014. A panel of judges (one graduate from each decade since 1950) will evaluate each nominee. No more than four winners will be chosen in any selection period. Nominations will remain active for two selection periods. Nominators must be a graduate of Forest Hills High School or its precursor high schools. In October, the award honorees will be recognized at an Alumni Awards Weekend of Recognition, meeting with the community citizenry and officials, including a school assembly, as well as numerous visitations and interactions with students of all grade levels. The honorees will attend and be honored at a Ranger football game on Friday night. The activities will be capped off with a Saturday night banquet for guests, family members, and friends. Nomination forms may be downloaded from the Forest Hills School District website – http:// www.fhrangers.org/domain/580. 7
Music Theory Students and Music Faculty Create a Fight Song for Forest Hills
You have heard them at college football and basketball games. People use them as ring tones to identify with a particular university. You have heard them at high school football games, and many schools feature them at pep rallies and graduations. The school fight song is a custom that instills energy, spirit, school pride, and a sense of identity. Currently at Forest Hills, we use the Alma Mater in place of a distinct fight song. While an Alma Mater does, in fact, instill a sense of school pride and identity, its purpose is more solemn, one of reflection. The new fight song, which will be titled “We’re the Rangers,” is being written by Mr. Philip Parlock and the Forest Hills High School Music Theory class. Music Theory students are getting a chance for realworld application of the skills that they are learning in class, including: rhythmic relationships, chord structure, chord progression, and composition.
Once finished, the Music Theory class will then give the music to Mr. Jake Kearney and Mr. Kevin Balog who will arrange the piece so that it fits all of the instruments of the Forest Hills Marching Band. With the arrangement done, Mr. Mitch Custer will rehearse and record the new fight song with the High School Concert Band. This recording will be present-
ed to the school board for approval and adoption. If approved, “We’re the Rangers” will premiere in the 2014 High School spring concert, and it may be heard at football games and graduations beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.
Gingerbread House Displayed and Receives Top Honors
Jacob Lowstetter and Thomas Smith, both members of the Spirit Club, created a gingerbread rendition of St. Basil’s Cathedral. The house captured first place in the gingerbread competition held at Wintergarden; they competed in the youth division. The house consisted of over 100 pieces and 4 lbs. of royal icing along with other colorful candies to enhance the beautiful building. Students did most of their work at home over the Thanksgiving break and the house was created for the Wintergarden held at The Grande Hall in Cambria City, Johnstown. The house was on display from December 6 – 19 and then was brought to the high school for display.
PSSA / Keystone Exam Testing Windows
Parents/Guardians: Please refrain from scheduling vacations, student appointments, etc. during these testing windows. Research shows that students perform better when testing occurs with their peers instead of in make-up sessions. Grades 3-8 students: PSSA Math / Reading - March 17-28, 2014 Grades 5 and 8 students: PSSA Writing – March 31 – April 4, 2014 Grades 4 and 8 students: PSSA Science – April 28 – May 2, 2014 Keystone Exams for students in Grades 8-11 - (Algebra I, Biology, Literature): May 12 – 23, 2014 Please contact Mrs. Vanessa Sral, Director of Education at (814) 487-7613 Ext. 3249 if you have any questions.
~ MIDDLE SCHOOL ~
Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Ed Alexander
Happy New Year from the middle school! I am proud of what we accomplished in 2013 and look forward to what 2014 brings. Our faculty and staff continue to work towards providing strong character education to all students at the middle school. One way we reached out to students was through the “If Not Me, Then Who…” assembly. Providing leadership and character education is essential during the years when peer pressure is the strongest, so we will continue to make it a topic of conversation with our students. The Academic Intervention Model of Support (AIMS) program saw a successful first semester with approximately 70% of the students involved graduating out of the program. We are continuing to modify the program as we move forward and accept input from teachers, parents, and students. Progress monitoring in core subjects is well underway, and our students and teachers are working together to personalize curriculum for each student to achieve the best possible results. As always, I invite you to visit the middle school and reach out to me with any questions or concerns. Again, I wish you a safe and prosperous 2014!
What are the skills that a child needs to succeed 50 years from now? Many business leaders define them as: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, analysis, and imagination. The ninth grade problem solving class focused on these skills during the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year. The class taught by both Mr. Patrick Kovalsky and Mr. Kevin Lang, the problem solvers learned their skills through a two pronged approach. They studied Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success to find out why some individuals thrive, while others of similar intelligence and ambition do not. While reading and discussing the book the class initiated a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum centered on building a cabin or vacation house while incorporating green technology. The class researched various locations throughout the globe to select appropriate building locales. They used a host of web resources to understand the climate and terrain. Google Earth provided satellite imagery and street views of the building sites. The students selected initial designs and “applied” for building permits and zoning variances in order to construct items such as wind turbines, hydroelectric turbines, and photovoltaic installations. Once the initial plan was approved, the class turned their attention to learning the AutoDesk Revit suite of building information modeling software. This professional software allowed the class to completely design their cabins from the ground up. Students created accurate architectural floor plans and 3-D images of their cabin. The students created original digital art under the instruction of Dr. Motter, middle school art teacher. This artwork was incorporated into the 3-D renderings of their cabins and is viewable hanging on the walls of their cabins during a 3-D walkthrough of the designs. Next, students used the Autodesk Homestyler App on their iPads to begin creating a personal decorating style for their cabin. After completing the designs, the students constructed scaled mockups of their cabins. The designs and mock-ups will be featured in the next art show.
Middle School Music - Winter 2013-2014
The Forest Hills Middle School presented its annual Christmas Concert in December. Five different groups performed to what has become a tradition—a packed house. All of the groups performed for the student body at the middle school in addition to the evening concert. The 8/9 th Grade chorus and Girls’ Quartet also gave a community performance at Rebekah Manor in Ebensburg. 7th grade band:
8/9th grade band
7th grade chorus
“Final Forte” Girls’ Quartet
8/9th grade chorus
Fifteen middle school chorus students represented Forest Hills Middle School in All-County Chorus held at Penn Cambria High School in November. They were: Aron Schumacher, Alyson Jamieson, Winter Ehrhart, Mandi Bearjar, Ethan Buchkovich, Sidney Kakabar, Clayton McVicker, Shelby Hostetler, Sara Zatek, Brennen Keating, Chester Spaid-Middleton, Nicole St.Clair, RaeLynn Hammond, Haley Cook, and Steve Perla.
The middle and high school bands participated in County Band held at Penn Cambria Middle School in December. Three students participated from Forest Hills Middle School: Mandi Bearjar, Claudia Shrefler, and Courtney Cecere. Fourteen participated from the high school: Angie Morgart, Jenni Fox, Teresa Yuhas, Megan Kostan, Garrett Bunn, Alexis Edwards, Steven Dusack, Cheyenne Helsel, Jake Peretin, Gabby Shaulis, Nathan Madison, Tori Dibble, Eva Golden, and Austin Andreyo.
On November 12, 2013, Master Sergeant Justin D. Broadwater, a native of Meyersdale, PA who currently serves in the United States Army, spoke to students at the middle school about the importance of having strong character. Master Sergeant Broadwater represented the Travis Manion Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2008 to honor First Lieutenant Travis Manion who lost his life serving his country. The Foundation has a variety of focus areas, one of which is the “Character Does Matter Leadership Program.” The students learned about both Master Sergeant Broadwater and Lieutenant Manion’s histories of service, and, specifically, about how Manion’s focus was always on the question “If not me, then who…” He follows that mantra in life and the Foundation seeks to teach that important lesson to the country’s future leaders, our students. The middle school students enjoyed the program and were given bracelets with the saying, “If not me, then who…”, to remind them that showing strong character and integrity is important all of the time.
Forest Hills Alumna Serves as Visiting Artist
In November, artist and writer Jacyln "J.D." Donnelly, Forest Hills alumna, served as a visiting artist for Seventh Grade Art and Art I (ninth grade) middle school students. During her presentation, Donnelly discussed her creative process as an artist and writer, introduced students to her recent works for The Dragon Prince, Maxwell the Raindrop Who Wouldn’t Fall, and The Cyborg Griffin: A Speculative Fiction Literary Journal, and explained the steps involved in intaglio printmaking. At the end of her presentation, Donnelly invited students to ask questions about her experiences as a Forest Hills graduate and fantasy artist and writer while viewing several of her intaglio prints for her novel The Dragon Prince. As a gift to the students, Donnelly distributed custom Dragon Prince bookmarks to each class. Forest Hills Middle School students found Donnelly and her work to be both interesting and entertaining, as the presenter encouraged them to explore the themes of fantasy and storytelling in their own art making. Dr. Motter plans to invite Donnelly back to talk to a new group of students during the spring semester, as she is a relatable contemporary artist and member of the Forest Hills community. Donnelly’s work can be viewed at http:// paintingdragonfeathers.tumblr.com/.
PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency)
Ever wonder how you are going to pay for college for your children? Aren’t sure when or where to start? On March 12, 2014 at 6:30pm the middle school will be holding a PHEAA night for all parents who are interested in learning more about how to pay for post-secondary education in the middle school auditorium. This program is open to any parent who would like to attend from kindergarten to high school. It is never too early to start saving and learning what to do to help your child with college tuition. Topics to be covered by our presenter Daniel Wray from PHEAA include: Finding the right school. Scholarships. Grants. Work-study. Savings plans. Education loans. Strategies for reduced borrowing. As students in the middle school continue to explore careers and colleges their thoughts move to how is my family going to afford this? The process of self-exploration the students go through in the middle school starts with self-knowledge (what do I like to do and what am I good at), to career searching (what career matches my abilities and interests), to college searching (what post-secondary school will I go to in order to achieve my career goal). Throughout their career journey, students need the support and assistance of their parents to help guide them through the process. By gaining the knowledge, through presentations such as this PHEAA one, parents have the ability to assist their children in reaching their goals.
MimioTeach in 7th & 8th Grade Reading Classes
As we enter into 2014, what better way to teach our tech savvy students than MimioTeach! Though MimioTeach is not an iPhone, iPad, or the latest hand-held gadget, it is an exciting tool to supplement the paper/pencil materials in the middle school classroom. Students have the opportunity to participate in engaging activities by recording answers on the interactive whiteboard either through the stylus or MimioPad. The class can complete quizzes or other assessments via the hand-held MimioVotes, which some view as a “game” instead of a “grade.” This form of assessment provides immediate feedback to the teacher and students too. Finally, this wonderful piece of technology can project any form of written material (including plot charts, notes, or novels,) which makes drab note-taking or daunting written assignments a bit more exciting. Hence, it is a great pleasure to teach our students with this innovative piece of technology! 13
~ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ~
Principal’s Corner ~ Mr. Lucas Jacobs
The new year is ringing in with frigid weather! As we begin the second half of the school year, teachers and support staff at Forest Hills Elementary School are ready! At this point the students have settled into a routine and the teachers will continue to address many important concepts over the winter months. Our goal remains the same. We are committed to motivating, challenging, and inspiring your child to become his or her best with our well-rounded educational program. In addition, teachers have reflected on their best teaching practices and continue to refine their instruction to meet the PA Common Core Standards for all students. It is important to pay close attention to your child’s current progress. If your child is progressing smoothly, keep the momentum going! If extra work or effort is needed, now is the time to raise expectations for rigor and practice. If you have any questions / concerns or need assistance, please contact your child’s teacher or the elementary administration. We must all work together to help each child reach his or her fullest potential. Forest Hills is an amazing community of teachers, support staff, students, and parents. Thank you for all you do to make Forest Hills Elementary School strong and growing!
Third Graders Score
Students in third grade scored a real homerun by reading the story of Roberto Clemente and participating in some career education. Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates was written by Jonah Winter, who grew up in Pittsburgh watching Clemente play. His story demonstrates the perseverance, talent, and philanthropy that made Clemente an American hero. After enjoying the biography, students were privileged to attend a presentation by Mr. Rick Roberts, who had a brief professional career himself as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers. After an injury ended his playing time, Mr. Roberts continued to use his talents for ERA Sports, Inc. where he teaches baseball in Altoona, Latrobe, and Windber. Mr. Roberts spoke to students about the hard work and dedication it takes to become a professional athlete. He shared additional information about Clemente and showed various pieces of equipment, including his Dodgers jersey and card. Student volunteers then demonstrated some of the techniques taught at his clinic. To “wind up” the discussion, students were invited to ask questions and treated to an autograph from Mr. Roberts. Everyone agreed that this learning experience was a real winner!
Annual Door Decorating Contest
Once again this year the Elementary Student Council sponsored the Annual Door Decorating Contest. Participating homerooms chose a theme and the students decorated their doors. Small prizes were awarded to the students in each winning homeroom. The winners were: in Pre-K Mrs. Summits’ room with the theme of “Rudolph at Night”, in Kindergarten: Mrs. Manges with “Reindeer Barn”, in first grade: Mrs. Miller with “Handprint Santa”, in third grade: Mrs. Dupnock’s “Gingerbread Cookies for Sale”, fourth grade’s winner was Mrs. Dawn McCall with “A Beary Merry Christmas”, and fifth grade’s winner was Mrs. Chizmar’s “Hershey Kisses”. The beautiful displays were then visited by the student body during the week previous to the Christmas Holiday. 14
Pictured in Pirate gear are David Gates, Zach Fisher, Brody Roberts, Aiden Carr, Claire Daubert, Adyson Dombrosky, Rose Long, Grace Beyer, and Ashlyn Reighard from Mrs. Dupnock’s Class.
Elementary Drama Performs “The Little Mermaid”
The elementary school drama department cast members, under the direction of Mrs. Kim Mayes and Mrs. Kelly Myers, performed “The Little Mermaid” for the general public on Wednesday, November 19 th through Saturday, November 22nd in the high school auditorium. The 60 actors and actresses from grades 2 through 6 auditioned this past May and practiced on Mondays and Tuesdays after school in the high school auditorium. The 65 chorus members, under the direction of Mr. Kevin Balog, included students from grades 2 through 6 who sang as two groups at the public performances. For the fifth year in a row Elementary students in grades Pre-K through grade 6 were able to attend special performances on Friday, November 21st. Special thanks to the parents, custodians, and school students who helped with the preparation of this Broadway Junior production The young actors, actresses, and drama chorus were outstanding in their performances.
We need your help. Research shows that students who know and can automatically use addition/subtraction facts & multiplication/division facts are better prepared to succeed in mathematical problem solving in the intermediate grades. All students at the end of Grade 3 should know the: Addition/subtraction facts 1-18 Multiplication/Division facts 1-12
We need parents/guardians to assist their children Therefore, all students at the beginning of Grade 3 in achieving these goals. should know the: Please contact the teacher for suggestions to use Addition/subtraction facts 1-18 at home to practice these important math fact skills with your child. 15