March 2014 Board Highlights
Oblock Junior High
Classrooms were busy practicing PSSA terms and 4-square graphic organizers in early March in preparation for the reading and math PSSAs which will begin March 26 and run through April 2. The writing PSSAs will begin April 8-11, and the science, April 28-30. In addition to reading, English and math classes, all teachers, including art, civics, science, and health, were practicing 4-square graphic organizers and writing topic sentences and conclusions. Jeopardy, Concentration, crossword puzzles and scrambles, 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!
Eight members of the AEO gifted program traveled to Duquesne University for the annual K’Nex/STEM tournament on March 5, 2014. Students were challenged to build a contraption made completely from K’Nex that would solve one of the world’s problems. Frank Czura, Tanner Froelich, Cloe Hall, and Reed Coulson made up Team 1, while, MaKayla Shreve, Lilly Pratt, Megan Darnell, and Carmen Veltri were Team 2. Both teams had 2 hours to assemble the project from scratch and it was accompanied by technical drawings that were generated by Google SketchUp. Team 1 designed an all-terrain vehicle that was capable of moving people throughout the desert’s uneven landscape. Team 2 designed a snow plow that was powered by a solar propeller. Both teams did a great job with the competition but team one had a very impressive day taking fourth place out of fifty-two schools!! Both teams had to answer questions from professors from the University and top engineers from the Pittsburgh region. Congratulations to both teams!
On March 14, a 7th grade World History class at Oblock Skyped with a Redbank High School German class. The classes discussed opinions and thoughts about the topics of the Holocaust, bullying, discrimination, and racism, which covers both the World History and German curricula.
“Kick Butts” Day
On March 20, Officer Kost and members of the PTSA gave a presentation to AEO students to stress the importance of “Kick Butts” Day and saying no to using tobacco. Flyers and information were presented to each of the lunch periods that explained the hazards of tobacco use. The information and statistics put those facts into perspective for the students.
Girls’ Volleyball Team
Coach Erin Cubarney is enjoying her second year as the head volleyball coach. By the end of March, both teams were undefeated with a record of 8-0 for the 7th grade girls and 8-0 for the 8th grade girls. Eighth grade members include Sofia Chapkis, Jaiden Yocca, Andrea Tomaro, Brie Bialota, Maddi Sciullo, Bailey Raposa, Maddie Myers, Haley Chiusano, Hanna Sante, Laney Kiefer, Sydney Williams and Katie McGowan. Seventh grade members of the team are Kelsi Zik, Zoe Nonnenberg, Zoe Sommer, Jaden Hill, Molly McDade, Sam Casile, Miranda Depkon, Lily Griffin, Chloey Pilston, Caitlyn Broscius, Aly Bryner, and Sydney Kunkel. Team managers are Alexa Seigh and Amber Raitano.
Team Read, the 500-Point Club (8 students), and the 300-Point Club (29 students) have kept the English and reading teachers at AEO smiling all of March. By the end of the month, 209 students had made it into the highest level of Team Read, the Reading Hall of Fame. Another 132 students are in the All-Star level and could achieve Hall of Fame status by the end of the year, along with 190 Varsity, and 78 Junior Varsity—98% of Oblock students! Students who achieve more than 300 points receive a treat from the school each month; this month they enjoyed cookies and milk during an Activity Period. Students striving for the 300-Point Club can come to the library during activity period to read. Mr. Fishell is extremely proud of the reading the students are doing. The success of Team Read is in part to the elementary teachers who first turn the students on to reading, but also to the AEO principals and teachers, particularly the reading and English teachers, who offer constant encouragement and reinforcement to make reading a life-long skill for AEO students.
As for Mr. Fishell's Monthly Book Challenge, which was one of the teachers' favorite books from when they were in junior high or what they would like now if they were in junior high, the following 18 students were able to pass the corresponding AR test: Anthony Adamski, Jade Vrabel, Fadya Kumbuka, Michael Gasdick, Jonah Albert, Jonah Babusci, Hunter Dzikiy, Ian Dryburgh, Ryder Springel, Zainab Hassan, Jadyn Hill, Cassidy Schrencongost, Bailey Weber, Madison Lippert, Desiree Ulmer, Katie Kuhn, Madeline Monick, and MacKenzie Kieffer.
Professional Learning Communities
PSSA preparation and scheduling for next year were the subjects of many PLC discussions held both within and across the curricula during the month of March. The 8th grade English teachers met with the guidance counselors to discuss the appropriate English levels for ninth grade; both formal data and teacher recommendation were considered in making the final placements. Teachers across the curriculum were developing 4-square open-ended questions and reviewing for PSSA tests. The English teachers discussed finishing up research, the poetry unit, and PSSA preparation. The reading skills teachers met to develop lessons for the rest of the year as well as to discuss Study Island and PSSA testing. The math department discussed Keystone exams, quarterly assessments, data, procedures, and continued PSSA review. The science teachers discussed lessons for specific units, technology, and ongoing projects. The foreign language teachers met to discuss IEP accommodations within the foreign language classes and plans for activity periods. The music department discussed music theory, chorus selections, and PSSA guidelines. Finally, computer applications teachers reviewed computer connections and internet safety.