March 2017 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High
Classrooms were busy practicing PSSA vocabulary and graphic organizers in March in preparation for the ELA, math, and science PSSAs which will begin April 12 and run into May. The ELA PSSAs are the week of April 3, the math PSSAs begin the week of April 24, and the science the week of May 1. In addition to reading, English, math, and science classes, all teachers, including art, civics, and health, were practicing graphic organizers, prompts, and writing topic sentences and conclusions. Jeopardy, Concentration, crossword puzzles, and other games were developed by teachers in all curricula to reinforce and practice the eligible content and anchor glossaries. Internet websites, computer games, and Smart Boards were also utilized to provide varied and creative ways to prepare for the testing. AEO students will go into the tests feeling confident and competent!
On March 13 through March 24 student government sponsored the WardHome Donations for At-Risk Foster Teens. Donations were placed in the yellow boxes that were located around the school. The apartment items that were collected were as follows: welcome mats, storage items, laundry items, bathroom items, gift cards, and kitchen supplies. Student government thanks all those who gave donations.
March Art Expo
On March 22, students Zoe Sallinger, Julia DeFabio, Chloe Brown, Leila Durham, Addison Sofran, Alexis Better, Rachel Bunce, Gowri Warrier, Max Weingrad, and Caleb Bedillion took a trip to compete in the Gateway School District Art Expo. With the guidance of Mrs. Durick, the students were able to create art pieces in the styles of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Throughout the day, they judged others’ artwork, completed an artist quiz, and created an Art Nouveau collagraph print. Overall, the teams placed 2nd and 3rd. Addison Sofran won the Teacher's Choice for her painting, and Gowri Warrier won 3rd place for Student Choice for her painted glass project. They are very proud of their achievements and are excited to return next year!
9th Grade Student Orientation
On Wednesday, March 22, 2016, high school principal, Justin Stephans, visited AEO to talk to the 8th grade students about courses offered at the high school. The presentation explained the three main tracks students can pursue: honors, academic, supported. As part of the transition program, the presentation emphasized the importance of selecting courses that would appropriately challenge the student, along with which electives the students can choose. Mr. Stephans finished his presentation by explaining the rigor of 9th grade and emphasized that each student should talk to their parents and their guidance counselors about scheduling their classes for next year. Mr. Stephans presented information to the eighth grade parents that same evening to reinforce the information discussed with students. He also emphasized the students will be taking three Keystone exams during their time at the high school. Eighth to 9th grade scheduling will take place April 10 - April 12; the high school counselors will travel to AEO to meet and schedule the current 8th grade students.
6th Grade Parent Orientation
Approximately 200 parents of sixth grade students attended the orientation program on Wednesday, March 29 at A. E. Oblock Junior High to learn about the junior high’s academic program and to ease the transition from elementary to junior high. The program was led by guidance counselor, Mr. Joe Miller along with Principal, Mr. Joe Fishell. All parents received information about athletics, activities, medication policies, transportation, additional orientations, and the dress code. Parents were also able to have individual concerns and questions addressed one-on-one following the scheduled program. The entire 6th grade class will attend their first student orientation on Monday, May 1 at the junior high. The guidance counselors will attend each elementary building beginning Mid-May to begin scheduling the 6th graders for their course selections for next year.
STEM Design Challenge
Four members of the AEO gifted program traveled to Duquesne University for the annual AIU3 Regional STEM competition on March 27, 2017. Students were challenged to build an eco-friendly ride for an amusement park while fitting within a budget of cost per piece. Michael Schorr, Nico Ricciardi, Joey Panichella, and Evan Smith designed a roller coaster with a rubber band launch and an inverted loop. The team had 2 hours to assemble the project from scratch and it was accompanied by technical drawings that were generated on the iPad. They were asked to present their coaster to engineers from ThermoFisher Scientific. The team was awarded 3rd place overall in the regional 5-8 age group! Congratulations!
The 500-Point Club (11 students) and the 300-Point Club (13 more students) have kept the English and reading teachers at AEO smiling all of March. By the end of the month, 106 more students had made it into the highest level of Team Read, the Reading Hall of Fame. Another 125 students are in the All-Star level, along with 232 Varsity, and 81 Junior Varsity! Students who achieve 300 points receive an award from the library each month like a free yearbook, lunch extras, dance tickets, or $5 gift cards. Students striving for the 300-Point Club read a lot on their own outside of school. Mr. Fishell is extremely proud of the reading the students are doing. The success of Team Read is due to a team effort on the part to the elementary teachers, who first turn the students on to reading, and the AEO principal and teachers, particularly the reading and English teachers, who offer constant encouragement and reinforcement to make reading a lifelong skill for AEO students.