Teaching Matters                Staff News from the Avon Grove School DistrictExtended School Year studentsenjoy a field t...
Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsPenn London First-Grade Teacher a 2009 “Heart of Learning” Finalist     Veronique Taylor,...
Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsAGHS Literacy Coach Nominated as a “Literacy Hero”                               Bonnie M...
Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsAGHS Nurse Serves on Executive Board of PA Association of School Nurse Practitioners    K...
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Teaching Matters Summer2009

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Newsletter highlighting faculty and staff.

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Teaching Matters Summer2009

  1. 1. Teaching Matters Staff News from the Avon Grove School DistrictExtended School Year studentsenjoy a field trip to Longwood GardensInside This Issue:Heart of Learning FinalistPage 1Keystones Technology IntegratorsPage 1Teacher of the Year SemifinalistPages 1-2Literacy Hero Nominee;Teacher Earns PatentPage 2School Nurse Serves onPASNAP Executive BoardPage 4Assistant Principal Appointed at AGHSPage 4
  2. 2. Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsPenn London First-Grade Teacher a 2009 “Heart of Learning” Finalist Veronique Taylor, a first-grade teacher at Penn LondonElementary School, was named the Avon Grove School District’sfinalist for the 2009 Citadel “Heart of Learning” Award. Citadel andthe Chester County Intermediate Unit created the award program,now in its eighth year, to recognize and honor excellent teachersthroughout the county. A Heart of Learning Award is presented to one teacher in eachof the 13 public school districts in the county; one teacher from theChester County Intermediate Unit; and one teacher from a Ches-ter County nonpublic school, which includes charter and homeschools. A total of 719 teachers were nominated this year. Each ofthe 15 finalists received a $500 award for use in their classrooms. For more information about the Heart of Learning Award, visitwww.CitadelHeartofLearning.comTwo Avon Grove Teachers Selected as 2009 ESL Teacher a SemifinalistState-Level Keystones Technology Integrators for PA Teacher of the Year Monica Daniels, a sixth-grade teacher at Avon Grove Intermediate School, and Ruth Nilan, who teaches English asJeff Bowlby, a mathematics teacher at Avon Grove High School, were selected as a Second Language (ESL) at Avon Grove2009 state-level Keystones Technology Integrators (KTI), and both were invited High School, was one of 30 semifinal-to attend the annual Keystones Technology Summit held July 27-31 at Bucknell ists considered for Pennsylvania’s 2010University. Teacher of the Year honor. A Keystones Technology Integrator is defined as a classroom teacher who fully Teachers were nominated by stu-utilizes the many benefits technology offers to improve instructional practices dents, parents, colleagues or communityacross his/her content areas. In doing this, the teacher does not focus on the tech- members. A committee of former Teachernology itself; rather, s/he focuses on student learning and uses technology as a tool of the Year recipients and past finaliststo support this end. select the 30 semifinalists. From those Each year, public school districts can nominate a maximum of two teachers for 30 nominees, the committee chose 12consideration for a state-level award. District-level nominees must submit sample finalists who were notified in May. Thework to a regional review team. Nine regional review teams select three Key- 2010 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Yearstones per Intermediate Unit area and two additional Keystones from each region winner will be announced in Octoberfor state-level recognition. Nominees from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Mont- 2009.gomery counties were evaluated by a regional review team based at the Delaware Nilan has taught for 27 years.County Intermediate Unit. “Teaching is encouraging that young per- Daniels, teacher Vicki Covey from Lionville Elementary School in the Down- son to keep going, to get the job done,ingtown Area School District, and teacher Erin Van Guilder from West Vincent to see it through to the end,” said Nilan.Elementary School in the Owen J. Roberts School District, were selected as the “For me, the greatest factor that keepsChester County state-level Keystones for 2009. Bowlby is one of two additional me teaching is that never-ending expec-state-level Keystones selected from the four-county region. tation that what I do matters, even if the Earning state-level recognition is a significant achievement for a teacher, and it results are not tangible or immediate.”is especially noteworthy for a school district to have two state-level Keystones in a As an ESL specialist, Nilan notsingle year. Kathy Di Domenico, a fifth-grade teacher at Avon Grove Intermediate only helps ESL students to learn a newSchool, was named a state-level Keystones Technology Integrator in 2008. language, she also helps students as- About 100 state-level Keystones attend an annual five-day summit where they similate into a new culture and makeengage in hands-on workshops with topics such as differentiating instruction and sense of the information they get in eachteaching in the 21st Century. During the summit, Keystones also collaborate with content area. Nilan also conducts work-colleagues, share ideas and practices, and strategize ways to disseminate model shops for content area teachers whichpractices across the Commonwealth. cover topics such as teaching vocabu- The KTI program, now in it’s sixth year, is coordinated through the Pennsyl- lary, understanding non-English-speakingvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Educational Technology. Since the cultures, adapting instructional materials,program’s inception, over 3,000 teachers have been nominated at the school-level and teaching reading to English lan-and identified as Keystones. They represent over 300 school districts, nonpublic guage learners.schools, and career technology centers/area vocational-technical schools. Continued on page Teaching Matters Summer 009
  3. 3. Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsAGHS Literacy Coach Nominated as a “Literacy Hero” Bonnie McCloskey, a literacy coach at Avon Grove High School, was nominated as a Literacy Hero in the fourth-annual program created by the West Chester Public Library. Heroes were nominated in eight categories: adult literacy hero, youth hero, local author, medical/health, technology/in- novation hero, community impact hero, corporate good neigh- bor hero, and educational hero. All the nominees were recognized at a Literacy Heroes Breakfast on April 17 at AGHS Teacher Earns Patentthe Longwood Gardens ballroom. Verizon was copresenter at the event. A total of 27 Dr. James Lertola, a scienceorganizations sponsored the program. Representatives from eight sponsor companies teacher at Avon Grove High School,reviewed the nominations and selected one winner in each category. was awarded a U.S. patent in his name According to Howard Sundwall, president of the West Chester Public Library on March 17, 2009, for his invention ofBoard of Trustees, “The purpose of the function is to call attention to the topic of a unitized membrane electrode assem-literacy and to celebrate hometown heroes who have done something exceptional to bly and the process for its preparation.promote reading and writing in the local community.” The patent is assigned to E.I. DuPont In addition to her role as a literacy coach, McCloskey often participates in activi- de Nemours Company in Wilmington,ties beyond the curriculum to engage students, teachers and staff in promoting literacy. Del. Lertola was a research engineer atEach March, for example, McCloskey has coordinated the high school’s Read Across DuPont for 13 years.America Day activities. The application for the patent was For the 2008-2009 celebration, AGHS teachers and staff were permitted to wear filed January 22, 2003. The invention re-jeans and T-shirts to school on March 3. McCloskey suggested teachers wear red, lates to fuel cells — battery-like energywhite and blue or a shirt that paid tribute to a favorite book or author. At least one sources with the potential to save en-teacher designed a custom shirt for the occasion. ergy and reduce pollution in cell phones, Participants were asked to donate $5 each to The Bridge, a local food and cloth- computers, and eventually automobiles.ing pantry that serves the Avon Grove community. A total of 48 teachers and staff Lertola also holds a DuPont patent for amembers participated, raising $240 for The Bridge. McCloskey has also spearheaded type of bullet-proof-vest fabric.children’s book drives and literacy poster contests. Lertola earned a bachelor’s de- She has worked at Avon Grove since 2003-2004 and has been a literacy coach gree in chemical engineering from thefor the last three years. In this role, McCloskey is instrumental in promoting literacy Georgia Institute of Technology and aacross the curriculum. She provides training for both veteran and novice teachers on doctorate in chemical engineering andthe integration of reading and writing strategies across the content areas throughout secondary teaching certification, boththe school year, often working side-by-side with teachers in their classrooms. She from the University of Delaware.models lessons, participates in formal classroom observations and assists students with Lertola teaches chemistry, physics,test-taking strategies. and biology at Avon Grove High School. This summer, McCloskey was the site director for the Extended School Year Pro- He joined the district in the 2005-2006gram. She is currently working on the Accreditation For Growth, Student Achievement school year. Lertola is also a member ofTeam, and Writing Research Committees. She is attending graduate school to pursue a the National Science Teachers Associa-principal certification and is interning under Chris Matsanka, assistant principal. tion. He has two children in Avon Grove Visit www.literacyheroes.com for more info on the Literacy Heroes program. schools and coaches youth football.AGHS English-as-a-Second-Language Teacher a Semifinalist for PA Teacher of the YearContinued from page of Technology, West Chester University friendships and gives the young men a She credits her colleagues and ESL and James Madison University. chance to be teachers and leaders.support staff for helping students reach Nilan also founded the high school’s Nilan also helps students completetheir potential. On average, 60 percent of annual ESL Soccer Tournament, and she college and job applications, and oftenESL students at the high school are on helps coordinate and supervise the event stays after school to help students withthe honor roll each quarter, and many go each June along with the ESL and soccer homework or projects. She also helpson to post-secondary education. coaching staff. host Latino parent information nights. Former ESL students are currently During the tournament, male ESL “The investment of time into the livesattending the California University of students teach female ESL students how of students contributes to a better world,”Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Uni- to play soccer, then the boys play com- said Nilan. “I believe many studentsversity, Millersville University, Indiana petitive games and the girls play against will long remember the extra time weUniversity of Pennsylvania, Goldey Bea- one another. Over 40 students participate invested into their lives much more thancom College, Thaddeus Stevens School each year. Nilan says the event builds the academic knowledge we imparted.” Teaching Matters Summer 009
  4. 4. Inventors • Mentors • Role ModelsAGHS Nurse Serves on Executive Board of PA Association of School Nurse Practitioners Karen Flad, a nurse at Avon Grove School Nurse Representative for PAS- Dispensing drills conducted at AvonHigh School, was recently selected as NAP. Grove High School, one in October 2007the President-Elect for the Pennsylvania Since 2005, she has been an adjunct and one in June 2009. The drills wereAssociation of School Nurse and Practi- instructor at West Chester University designed to test responders’ ability totioners (PASNAP). teaching Legal Mandates of School Nurs- dispense medications, either pill or injec- Flad will serve two years as Presi- ing. The course is part of the university’s tion, to a large number of people during adent-elect, two years as President, and school nurse certification program. mock public health threat.two years as Past President. As president In 2006, Flad was one of seven Flad also worked with several otherelect, she will serve as coordinator for the Pennsylvania school nurses trained by the Avon Grove school nurses and localassociation’s annual education conference National Association of School Nurses health and emergency managementfor the next two years. to teach disaster preparedness to other representatives to conduct a multiagency The organization’s mission is to school nurses. emergency drill in October 2008. Theprovide the structure and leadership Flad is the school nurse representative scenario for the drill involved a simulatednecessary to promote unity among all on a statewide committee for emergency bleacher collapse at the high school.certified school nurses, to advance the preparedness and, along with about 80 Flad was an emergency room regis-professional practice of school health stakeholders, helped develop the Penn- tered nurse for 18 years prior to becom-through continuing education, improve sylvania Department of Health’s Strategic ing a school nurse. She’s a trained para-political awareness, and promotion of Public Health Preparedness Plan. She is medic and had volunteered in the past asschool nursing to assure quality school also active in the Avon Grove Regional an emergency medical technician.health services. Emergency Management organization. She also serves as an advisor for Flad began her career as a certified Along with other Avon Grove school Avon Grove High School’s Humanitarianschool nurse in 1995. She has served as nurses and local health and emergency Club. This student group participates inpresident of the Chester County School management officials, Flad helped numerous charitable events and activitiesNurses Association and as the South East organize and coordinate two Points of through the year.Board Appoints New Assistant Principal at Avon Grove High School At the regular meeting of the tion and activities to ease transitions middle and high school athletics.Avon Grove School District Board for elementary students entering Mr. Connor also helped formulateof School Directors on August 13, middle school. policies, established a Web site for2009, the Board appointed Mr. He also served as a teacher- athletics, spearheaded communityJames Connor as an assistant prin- member of the leadership team and service projects through the athleticcipal at Avon Grove High School. the District Local Education Agency department, and implemented pro- As assistant principal, he will be and served on the Crisis Plan Com- cedures for academic eligibility andresponsible for ninth-graders and mittee and Student Assistance Pro- physicals.the athletic program for Avon Grove gram. In addition, he spearheaded aHigh School. Mr. Connor served as a technol- fund-raising event to benefit the Prior to joining Avon Grove, Mr. ogy instructor during staff develop- American Cancer Society in honor ofConnor served as a sixth-grade ment and created a teacher Web a former student who had leukemia.teacher at Garnet Valley Middle site. He also organized and oversaw Mr. Connor was also the head coachSchool in Glen Mills, Pa., from Au- the “Camp Invention” summer sci- for Garnet Valley’s 7th Grade Boys’gust 2003 to the present. He also ence camp for middle school stu- Basketball team and 7th Grade Boys’served as athletic director for the dents in 2007-2008. Lacrosse team.middle school from August 2008 to As athletic director for Garnet Mr. Connor holds a Master ofthe present. Prior to joining Garnet Valley Middle School, Mr. Connor Education in Instructional LeadershipValley School District, Mr. Connor planned, administered and directed with a Principal Certification K-12taught sixth-grade at Saint Anastasia interscholastic activities and man- from Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa.School in Newtown Square, Pa., for aged the school athletic budget. He He also earned a Bachelor of Sci-three years. also served as chairperson for the ence in Elementary Education K-6 as While at Garnet Valley, Mr. Con- Athletic Committee, which developed well as middle school teaching certi-nor taught mathematics, social stud- a mission and philosophy for the fications in language arts and mathe-ies and language arts. He worked on middle school athletic department matics for grades 7-9 from Neumanndifferentiating mathematics instruc- and helped bridge the gap between College in Aston, Pa. Teaching Matters Summer 009

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