January 2014 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High School
Oblock’s newspaper, Mustang Moments, has provided students, staff, and parents with two big issues packed with news, sports, features, and exciting photographs so far this year. This important public relations tool for the school is sponsored by AEO English/Reading teachers, Mrs. Karen Mienke and Ms. Melissa Addis, and staffed by a dedicated group of 7th and 8th graders who have an interest in writing and/or photography, as well as journalism and reporting. It functions as a positive communication tool for Oblock students, faculty, parents, and the Plum community, by recognizing the achievements and notable events of Oblock Junior High School. Ms. Addis stated: “The newspaper is an excellent opportunity for students who have an interest in writing to practice their skills and a great tool to highlight the people and events that make Oblock a unique and wonderful school. Students, parents, and even faculty members are often surprised at all that is happening at Oblock after reading the Mustang Moments.” Mrs. Mienke added: “The newspaper staff is a unique, hardworking group of individuals who do a wonderful job of getting the Oblock news out to the students, parents, and faculty. They show enthusiasm for writing, and their efforts are evident in the two issues that have been circulated.” The staff consists of the following: News Editors—Cameron Clark, Katie Mozelewski, and Maria Nieser; Feature Editors—Emily Bolton, Jonah Babusci, Elsa Van Beek, and Zainab Hassan; Sports Editors—Devan Taylor, Emily Bolton, Cassidy Schrecongost, and Mackenzie Shaffer; Activity/Club Editors—Jonah Albert, Vanessa Wright, and Abby Dippolito; and Photographers—Jonah Babusci, Jordan Braverman, Abby Dippolito, Nicole Bohatch, Brianna Yots, and Jonah Albert.
On January 14, eleven 7th and 8th grade GATE students from Oblock Junior High competed in the Science Bowl 2014 at the Carnegie Science Center. Oblock participants included: Alexis Bruno, Carter Campbell, Matt Hartley, Brandon Horvatic, Bowen Henry, Jared Martorell, Jordyn Roman, MaKayla Shreve, Ryder Springel, Nathan Tan, and Tori Turchick. Mrs. Trenz and the GATE students were joined by students from all five Plum elementary schools and Angelo Giunta (from St. Bernadette's).
Students participated in a variety of science-related challenges, including the creation of a LEGO Zipline from given materials within a time limit. Students also attended the IMAX movie entitled Mysteries of the Unseen World, which uses innovative photography, electron microscopy, and nanotechnology to explore breathtaking phenomena not visible to the naked eye.
GATE students had a rewarding day and were competitive in all the event challenges.
Future City Competition
On Saturday, January 18, Mr. Beatty accompanied both seventh and eighth grade students to the Carnegie Museum for the Future City Competition. The students began working on their models in October, during activity periods and after school. The students who attended were Frank Czura, Jonha Albert, Ryder Springel, Johnathan Hiener, Sofia Chapkis, Blake George, and Madeline Monick. These students along with others worked extremely hard and competed against forty-two other local schools. Congratulations to all the students on a job well done.
On January 23rd, Mr. Kalanja led the 7th and 8th grade band students in their winter band concert. Both ensembles played a wide variety of music which the audience very much enjoyed. The 8th grade band, having close to 50 members, played pieces such as “The U.S. Field Artillery March” by John Philip Sousa, an exciting piece called “Bonaventure”, and their favorite “26 or 6 to 4”. The 7th grade ensemble played “Rocky Top”, a popular song made famous by the University of Tennessee Marching Band, and their favorite "Strasburg Railroad." The bands were excited about their performance and look forward to their spring concert on May 15th.
Select Band Students
This past weekend on January 31st and February 1st, two students from AE Oblock were selected from several applicants to attend the PMEA District 1 Band Festival held at Norwin High School. Blake George and Julia Lawrence both and 8th graders and trumpet players performed their concert with other students from surrounding districts at 1 PM. Julia Lawrence was also selected to play a duet solo in the opening piece, “Aztec Fire”.
Eighth Grade Boys’ Basketball
The AEO 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball Team, coached by Mr. Rich Mull, social studies teacher, has had a competitive first half of the season. Members of the team include the following: JJ Jenkins, Jeremiah McClain, Sean Saich, Will Rumcik, Peter Zullo, Jacob George, Dom Carlisano, Ryan Kircher, Colt Robb, Isaiah Horne, BJ Campbell, Corey Thomas, RJ Wigenton, Markus Cestra, and Nathan Mull.
Seventh Grade Boys’ Basketball
The 7th grade boys’ basketball team is off to a fast start posting a 7-1 record. Leading in scoring is Xavier Lyons, averaging 15 points per game, second in scoring is RJ Hart followed by new comer, Lamar Whiting. The Mustangs are led by point guards Chase Fink, Evan Sante, Anthony Frazetta, Eric Gidel and Chandler Yocca who share duties at the other guard spot. Ian Dryburgh comes off the bench and also provides valuable minutes. The entire team has improved greatly over the last 6 weeks.
Professional Learning Communities
Teachers at AEO continue to meet in PLCs to discuss curriculum, plan common lessons, and dialogue about technology and common core standards. Algebra teachers met to discuss quarterly assessments, lining up curriculum, using EdInsight, and sharing notes. The social studies teachers discussed curriculum, student bulletin boards, and the use of nonfiction materials within their classrooms. The science teachers convened to talk about on-going projects, curriculum changes, technology, cross-curricular ideas, and outreach to the community. The tech ed teachers discussed curriculum, the success from the Future City competition, and the Hydroponics lab. Across the curriculum the librarian, art, and music teachers talked about an AR grant, acknowledging the success of students, and displaying projects and programs in designated areas. The computer teachers conversed about EdInsight and curriculum. The language teachers met to discuss transitioning from the exploring classes, curriculum, and planned activities for the language club. The learning support reading and English teachers focused motivating students, and students with modified tests. Finally, the reading and English teachers planned strategies for preparing students for the reading and writing PSSAs, and they also discussed curriculum, aligning to the common core standards, and the research process.
The AEO library was a busy place this past month with many students working on research papers for their English classes under the guidance of their classroom teachers and the school librarian, Brian Stevens. From biographies to sports to world events, students are doing both online and print research, while learning the fundamentals of the research process.
In January, the library book challenge was reflective of National Slavery Prevention month by presidential proclamation. Some of those books were: To Be a Slave, Anthony Burns, Frederick Douglas, Book T. Washington, Up From Slavery, Chains, North by Night, Evvy's Civil War, Jump Ship to Freedom, Promises to the Dead, and Voyage of Slaves. Students that read and passed an AR test earned a prize from Mr. Fishell. Cassidy Schrecongost was the only student to complete the challenge in addition to midterms and her other school work this month.
There was an increased amount of reading for class and it is definitely reflected in the progress students are making in the Accelerated Reader's Team Read program. By the end of January, 2 students have over 500 points, 16 other students are in the 300 Point Club, and 118 additional students are in the Hall of Fame with at least 126 points. Just points away from the Hall of Fame are 129 students at the All-Star level, 220 others at the Varsity level, and 104 additional students at the Junior Varsity level. That's 589 total students or 95% of the student body (the same percentage of students as last year at this time).