September 2012 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High School
Team Read/Library News
Oblock is working hard again with reading this year as more incentives and programs challenge the students to read more than they ever have. Students are listening to excerpts from books during lunch period, they are being challenged to read notable books, they are already being rewarded by getting in the lunch line first when they reach the Reading Hall of Fame, and teams are already preparing for the Battle of the Books
Many students have already earned numerous AR points to guarantee their place in the Reading Hall of Fame as part of the library’s Team Read competition. All students may participate in Team Read by accumulating Accelerated Reader points in order to reach one of the four levels of the program: Junior Varsity, Varsity, All-Star, or Hall of Fame. There are twenty-three students at the Hall of Fame level already. Twenty students are at the All-Star level, 246 at Varsity level, and 200 have made it into the JV reader level! That’s a total of 489 students who have made it into one of the levels!
The library recently hosted the Scholastic Book Fair for students and also gave parents the opportunity to purchase books at Open House.
Currently, there are fourteen teams, involving more than 80 students, who have been formed and are preparing for the AEO annual Battle of the Books competition. The students still have until mid-October to sign up. Books from the Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice list are circulating among the team members as they prepare for the first day of competition in December.
A record number of challenging, yet enjoyable, activities have been planned this school year for the GATE students at AEO, according to Mr. Joe Miller, GATE coordinator. The advisors this year are Mrs. Amanda Durick, Mrs. Teresa Barker, Mr. Phil Beatty, and Mr. Dave Dziewulski. The year will begin with Calcu-Solve on October 3 which Mrs. Barker will sponsor and will end with the Science Bowl on May 7 sponsored by Mrs. Durick. Two field trips are planned including visits to the CLO’s A Musical Carol and a Glass Fused Tile Workshop at the Pittsburgh Glass Center sponsored by AEO art teacher, Mrs. Durick. Ms. Jen Little will also be involved by taking the students to a vocal competition in October.
Student Council members, under the leadership of Mrs. Jenna Romanelli and Mr. Steve Stremple, are busy planning fun and charitable activities for Oblock students to participate in this year. The members are elected by the student body after submitting a petition signed by their peers and teachers as an endorsement for their candidacy. According to Mrs. Romanelli, the mission of Student Council is to cultivate leadership, to provide opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills in the school and the community, and to instill the value of service through charitable acts. Activities for this year include planning and decorating for the Welcome Back Dance, Harvest Dance, and Holiday Dance, sponsoring Hat Days, assisting Reach Out Club with activities, and fundraising for the Make a Wish foundation.
Oblock’s award-winning yearbook is already being planned and subscriptions are being taken by a dedicated staff of 7th and 8th graders under the leadership of Mrs. Amanda Durick, AEO art teacher, and Mrs. Mienke, AEO English teacher. The 88-page hard cover book will include pictures of all students, faculty, sports, clubs, and activities, and it is on sale now for $23, but only $20 online. The link to order a yearbook is the following: http://jostensyearbooks.com?REF=A07350600 The deadline is November 1 to reserve your copy. Officers for the 2012-13 are Nicole Polakovic – president, Taylor Fusco – vice president, Mauriana Sciullo – secretary, Alyssa Towchik – treasurer, and Kassy Knight – web coordinator.
Professional Learning Communities
PLCs are up and running at Oblock with more than 50 days of meetings documented! Teachers are gathering at 7:30 a.m., during common open periods, and after school to dialogue about academic issues and to share ideas. Open House, Parent-Teacher Conference Day, and parent communication were discussed in several PLCs. Moodle has been a huge discussion this year as a tool to communicate with parents and for students to submit assignments, as well as catch up from absences. Communicating with parents through the use of Progress Books has also been a popular topic. The reading/English teachers have been meeting to discuss AR requirements for nine weeks, goal books, nightly reading sheets, graphic organizers, use of planners, and book levels. Social studies teachers met to discuss changes in curriculum, the presidential mock election, and open house procedures. Using the Smart Board, uploading documents to Moodle, coordinating lessons, curriculum, and Keystone tests were areas discussed in the Math Department. The support staff used PLC time to monitor progress, coordinate tasks, and discuss how to use the resource room most effectively. The science teachers were busy discussing Moodle, the on-line textbook, aligning SAS standards to the curriculum, and specific units. The health and PE teachers discussed curriculum and the Google drive. Foreign language discussed the use of the Smart Board, activities, and vocabulary. Many areas met across the curriculum to discuss the time out room, time out procedures and documenting incidents, along with classroom management strategies.
An exhilarating and informative evening of meeting teachers and learning about the curriculum was enjoyed by more than 548 parents and family at Oblock’s September 27, Open House. In addition to meeting their children’s teachers, parents had an opportunity to purchase subscriptions to the yearbook and school newspaper. PSSA scores were distributed and guidance counselors were available to answer parent questions.