The Grove Newsletter January 2011


Published on

School district newsletter distributed to parents, taxpayers, and key communicators. Layout, design and photo editing performed using Adobe Creative Suite. Writing, photography, layout by Lisa McVey. PSBA Award of Excellence in Print Communications.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

The Grove Newsletter January 2011

  1. 1. THE GROVE News from the Avon Grove School • 375 S. Jennersville Rd., West Grove, PA 19390 • 610-869-2441 • Student Achievement Edition • Winter 2011 Inside: Student Achievement Pages 2-3 Scholar & Music News Pages 4-5 Awards Pages 6-7 Freshman Academy Pages 8-9 Board Seat Filled Page 10 Budget Update Page 11
  2. 2. News & NotesAvon Grove District Officials Highlight Student Achievement Progress state and national averages in all three I n a report to the School Board on October 28, Avon Grove School areas tested. A total of 75 percent of District officials highlighted nu- Avon Grove seniors in 2009-2010 hadmerous academic achievements, includ- taken the SAT, compared to 71 percenting that the district made Adequate Year- statewide and 41 percent Progress (AYP) in 2010; high school Avon Grove has now met two ofstudents’ SAT and standardized tests three performance targets for the SATscores increased in mathematics, reading outlined in the District’s 2008-2013and writing; and the District is on track Strategic meet its Strategic Plan goals for sec- Avon Grove’s average writing SATondary students completing higher-level in mathematics and second in reading. score increased from 499 in 2008-2009mathematics courses. Based on the percentage of seventh- to 502 in 2009-2010, meeting the Strate- In addition to the District making graders scoring proficient or advanced, gic Plan goal of an average 500 points.AYP based on results from the 2010 Engle ranked third out of 13 in math- In addition, the average mathematicsPennsylvania System of School Assess- ematics and fifth in reading. SAT score increased from 525 in 2008-ment (PSSA) testing, Penn London El- Overall, 91 percent of Avon Grove 2009 to 537 in 2009-2010, meeting theementary School, Avon Grove Interme- Intermediate School students tested Strategic Plan goal of an average 530diate School, and Fred S. Engle Middle scored proficient or advanced in math- points.School also made AYP for meeting all of ematics in 2010, and 83.8 percent scored Now that both goals have been met,their respective targets measured by the proficient or advanced in reading. new goals will be set at the Strategicstate in 2010. Penn London Elementary School Plan midpoint review. Avon Grove High School met the (PLE) does not get tested for meeting Avon Grove’s reading SAT score alsostate’s academic performance targets AYP; however, because PLE feeds into improved from an average 512 points infor students overall in 2010, with 76.8 Avon Grove Intermediate School, PLE 2008-2009 to an average 516 points lastpercent of the eleventh-graders tested does receive AYP results based on third- year. The 2013 Strategic Plan target isscoring proficient or advanced in reading graders’ performance. Overall, 92.2 an average of 520 points for reading.on the PSSA, an increase of 1.8 percent percent of third-graders tested scoredfrom 2009, and 73.3 percent scoring proficient or advanced in mathematics, Factors Impacting Performanceproficient or advanced in mathematics, and 84.2 percent of third-graders scored District officials indicate that im-an increase of 7.3 percent from 2009. proficient or advanced in reading. proved student performance in math- The high school met 20 out of 21 Students are also tested in writing ematics and writing at the high schoolperformance targets measured by the in grades 5, 8, and 11, and in science in level can be linked to efforts of the dis-state, narrowly missing the target for grades 4, 8 and 11. Writing and science trict’s Writing Research Committee andLatino/Hispanic subgroup scores in scores do not count towards AYP; how- the Secondary Mathematics Task Force.mathematics by 0.4 percent. Avon Grove ever, the Avon Grove School District’s The writing committee has beenHigh School continues to score above Strategic Plan calls for 95 percent of working on alignment of the written,the state average in both reading and students scoring proficient or advanced taught and tested curriculum for twomathematics on the PSSA tests. in both subjects by 2013. years, and last year the district imple- Success at all levels, including an Compared to 2009, the percentage mented the Collins Writing Program inincrease in overall achievement and of students scoring advanced or pro- grades seven through twelve. The struc-closing of the achievement gap, can be ficient in writing rose from 73 to 80.4 tured writing program integrates writingattributed to alignment of curriculum percent in grade 5 in 2010, from 81 to across the curriculum, as well as in Eng-and instruction, the use of data-informed 89.5 percent in grade 8, and from 83 lish classes on a daily basis.instruction, and a well-designed system to 85.3 percent in grade 11. Science As part of the work of the mathemat-of intervention and support programs, scores increased slightly to 88.4 per- ics task force, Avon Grove set a goal toaccording to District officials. cent of fourth-graders scoring proficient increase the number of students success- Overall, 92.6 percent of Fred S. En- or advanced in 2010, 77.9 percent of fully completing Algebra II by the endgle Middle School students tested scored eighth-graders, and 53 percent of elev- of tenth grade to 50 percent by 2013.proficient or advanced on the 2010 enth-graders. Efforts have been underway to in-mathematics PSSA, and 89 percent of crease student placement in higher-levelstudents tested scored proficient or ad- Proficiency on the SAT mathematics courses at the secondaryvanced in reading. Based on the percent- In addition to improved state test level, students can now earn high schoolage of eighth-graders scoring proficient scores for eleventh-graders, Avon mathematics credit in eighth grade, andor advanced, Engle ranked first among Grove’s average SAT scores also im- the sixth-grade mathematics curriculumthe13 middle schools in Chester County proved in 2009-2010 and were above Continued on page The Grove Winter 2011
  3. 3. News NotesFred S. Engle Middle School eighth-graders Liza Malone (left) and Kiersten Guy unwrap their protective case to reveal a survivoregg as fellow students Aly Arnold (background, left) and Kirstin Chalupa celebrate their own success along with science teacherTim O’Leary (far right).50 Survive Fred S. Engle Middle School’s 2010 Egg Drop Challenge Eighth-graders at Fred S. Engle heights. The objective is for the egg to project. Progression to the next heightMiddle School recently completed the remain intact after being dropped from only occurs if the egg remains intact.fourth and final installment of the “egg a chair, down a school stairwell, off the The final phase of the challenge isdrop” challenge, which is a culminat- school roof, and finally, from the top of made possible through the coopera-ing activity for the Forces and Newton’s a fire truck’s aerial ladder. tion of the West Grove Fire Company,Laws unit. Students must apply their knowl- which provides a ladder truck as well as The challenge is to work with a edge of forces and the laws of motion to volunteers who man the drop zone andpartner to design and build a package successfully complete all phases of the drop the packaged eggs one by one. Thisthat will protect a raw egg from breaking challenge, and they must follow a set of year, a total of 50 eggs made it throughwhen dropped from successively greater specifications provided at the start of the all four phases intact.Continued from page about 50 sixth-graders took Prealgebra 2010-2011 compared to 12 AP coursesat Avon Grove Intermediate School is at Avon Grove Intermediate School as in 2004-2005.being more closely aligned with the part of a pilot program to introduce Data shows that student participationmiddle school curriculum. higher-level math courses at the interme- rates in AP Exams have also increased. This year, 47 percent of Avon Grove diate level. A total of 267 Avon Grove High Schooltenth-graders are enrolled in Algebra Starting last school year, all tenth- students took one or more AP Exams inII or a higher-level course. Data shows graders in Avon Grove were required to May of 2010 for a total of 397 AP Ex-that a total of 43 percent of students take the PSAT. This year, the PSAT for ams taken, compared to 95 students tak-completed Algebra II or higher by tenth tenth-graders was offered on October 13. ing one or more AP Exams in 2002 for agrade in 2009-2010, as compared to 36 Taking the PSAT helps prepare students total of 139 AP Exams.percent in 2008-2009 and 29 percent in for the SAT and can therefore help stu- Even with more students taking more2006-2007. dents perform better on the SAT. PSAT exams, the percentage of students scor- A total of 35 percent of eighth-grad- results will be used to place students in ing at a level 3 or higher, which can earners completed Algebra I in 2009-2010. honors and advanced placement courses them potential college credits, advancedThis year, 50 seventh-graders are taking in 2011-2012. placement in college, or both, remainsAlgebra and 181 seventh-graders are high.taking Prealgebra, so 52 percent of the Advanced Placement Progress In 2010, 83 percent of the AP Examscurrent seventh-grade class is on track to Also at the high school, data shows taken by Avon Grove students received acomplete Algebra II by the end of tenth student participation rates in the Ad- grade of 3 or higher. Grades are reportedgrade. vanced Placement Program have grown on a 5-point scale. In addition, the sixth-grade mathe- steadily, with 36 percent of all juniors A total of 42 students at Avon Grovematics curriculum is being more closely and seniors taking one or more AP class High School have earned AP Scholaraligned with the middle school curricu- in 2010-2011 compared to 20 percent of Awards this year in recognition of theirlum. This year, 69 students are taking juniors and seniors in 2005-2006. The exceptional achievement on AP Exams.Prealgebra in sixth grade. Last year, high school is offering 16 AP courses in See page four story for more details. The Grove Winter 2011
  4. 4. News Notes College Board Names 42 AP Scholars from Avon Grove High School A total of 42 students at Avon Grove At Avon Grove High School: Twenty students qualified for the High School have earned AP Scholar Thirteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three Awards in recognition of their excep- AP Scholar with Distinction Award by or more AP Exams with grades of 3 or tional achievement on Advanced Place- earning an average grade of at least 3.5 higher. ment (AP) Exams. on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 The AP Scholars are Catherine The College Board’s Advanced or higher on five or more of these ex- Bean, Alycia Boggs, Benjamin Breun- Placement Program provides motivated ams. These students are Connor Bralla, inger, Patrick Carr, Samuel Ciocys, and academically prepared students Patrick Brodie, Emma Cartwright, Brendan Cleary, Rhiannon Fiala, Mark with the opportunity to take rigorous Christine Chapman, Timothy Cochran, Gallagher, Kevin Hutter, Erin Klin- college-level courses while still in high Andrew Doerfler, Sarah Gaffney, Jen- gensmith, Christopher Koetas, Cher- school, and to earn college credit, ad- nifer Kelly, Elise Kennedy, Emily Lig- rnor-Maju Malekani, Jonathan Massaro, vanced placement, or both for success- manowski, Teryn Nogles, Kevin Propst, Tyler Matheny, William Mea, Megan ful performance on the AP Exams. and Colin Valentine. Outten, Katherine Reid, Rachel Ruck, About 18 percent of the nearly 1.7 Nine students qualified for the AP Laurel Squadron, and Corrin Stilwell. million students worldwide who took Scholar with Honor Award by earning Of this year’s award recipients at AP Exams performed at a sufficiently an average grade of at least 3.25 on all Avon Grove High School, five are se- high level to also earn an AP Scholar AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or niors: Brendan Cleary, Mark Gallagher, Award. higher on four or more of these exams. Christopher Koetas, Tyler Matheny, and The College Board recognizes These students are Maxwell Campbell, Laurel Squadron. several levels of achievement based on Angela Crossan, Janelle Dorn, Aaron These students have at least one students’ performance on AP Exams, Fonseca, Michael Jeffcoats, Alison Lee, more year in which to complete col- which are scored from 1 to 5 with 5 be- Andrew Leonard, Aaron Shrewsbury, lege-level work and possibly earn a ing the highest score. and Erin Trouba. higher-level AP Scholar Award.MusicNews District 12 Band Orchestra Eight student musicians from Avon Grove High School were selected for the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 Band. They are: Spencer Coleman, trumpet; Chris Koetas, bassoon; Meredith Miller, French horn; Seana Miller, French horn; Rachel Neale, clarinet; Paul Sharp, tuba; Bianca Stern, French horn; and Alec Temme, contra alto clarinet. The District 12 Band Festival is scheduled Students Named to District 12 Region VI Choruses February 10-12, 2011, at Penncrest Three members of the Avon Grove High School Chorale were selected to perform High School. in the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 12 Four student musicians from Avon Choral Festival scheduled Jan. 13-15 at Chichester High School in Delaware Grove High School were selected for County. The students were selected for the District Chorus following a tryout on the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Music Ed- Nov. 20. They are: eleventh-graders Gillian Hanna - Alto 1, and Paul Sharp – Ten- ucators Association District 12 Orches- or 2; and twelfth-grader Tyler Matheny - Tenor 1. Paul Sharp was also selected to tra. They are: Chris Koetas, bassoon; perform in the Region VI Chorus scheduled February 24-26, 2011 at Immaculata Meredith Miller, French horn; Seana University. PMEA, an affiliate of the nearly 80,000-member National Association Miller, French horn; and Paul Sharp, for Music Education, is a service organization dedicated to music education in the tuba. The District 12 Orchestra Festival Commonwealth. The membership includes those engaged in music instruction at is scheduled January 27-29, 2011, at all levels. PMEA District 12 serves the music educators and students of Philadel- West Chester University. phia, Delaware and Chester counties. The Grove Winter 2011
  5. 5. M usic Mark J. Gallagher Named 2011 National Merit SemifinalistNews The National Merit Scholarship Corporation an- nounced September 15 that Avon Grove High School Senior Mark J. Gallagher is a Semifinalist in the 56th Eight AGIS Students Selected annual National Merit Scholarship Program. About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high for Chester County Band Fest schools entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Eight sixth-graders from Avon Grove Program by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Intermediate School were selected to Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an perform in the 2011 Chester County initial screen of program entrants. Elementary School Band Fest sched- The nationwide pool of about 16,000 Semifinalists, uled February 18 at Fugett Middle which represents less than one percent of U.S. high School in West Chester. They are school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants Megan Gent and Imani Klein, flute; in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s Julia Crabtree and Sadie Slavin, percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. clarinet; William Cavalier and An- As a Semifinalist, Gallagher is among the group of academically talented high drew Eby, trumpet; Karl Forst and school seniors who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some Cameron Thomas, percussion. The 8,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be of- band is comprised of many of the top fered next spring. second- and third-year instrumental music students in Chester County. The Four Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students students will spend the day rehearsing Four Avon Grove High School seniors were named Commended Students in as a band and in small ensembles and the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Andrew Blyskal, Daniel will then perform an evening concert. Bodine, Jason Cardwell, and Justin Diaz. Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2011 competition by taking the 2009 Prelimi¬nary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The four Avon Grove seniors are among about 34,000 Commended Stu¬dents throughout the nation who were recognized this fall for their excep¬tional academic promise. “Recognition of high-achieving students is essential to advancing education¬al excellence in our nation,” commented a spokesperson for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. “As demonstrated by their outstand- ing performance in our highly competitive program, the young men and women named Com¬mended Students represent some of the most academically tal- ented students in our country. We sincerely hope this recognition will enhance their educational opportunities and encourage them in their pursuit of academic Student Performs at Carnegie success.” Bassoonist Christopher Koetas, a senior at Avon Grove High School, Avon Grove Graduate Named 2010 National Merit Finalist was selected to perform with the Tim Elise L. Kennedy, a 2010 graduate of Avon Grove High School, is the recipient Janis Symphony Youth Orchestra on of a college-sponsored National Merit Scholarship Award from the University of December 2 at Carnegie Hall in New South Carolina. York. The orchestra, comprised of She was among more than 1,900 additional winners of National Merit Scholar- some of the finest student musicians ships financed by colleges and universities who were announced in July by the from Chester, Delaware and Philadel- National Merit Scholarship Corporation. These Merit Scholar designees join over phia counties, along with local music 2,800 other college-sponsored award recipients who were announced in late May. educators and private instructors, will Officials of each sponsor college selected their winners from among Finalists in perform with the Tim Janis Singers as the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution. part of The American Christmas Carol This final group of winners brings the total number of 2010 National Merit Tour. Koetas was eligible to apply for Scholars to approximately 8,400. In addition to college-sponsored awards, two the orchestra since he was selected other types of National Merit Scholarships were offered — 2,500 National Merit for the Pennsylvania Music Educators $2,500 Scholarships for which all Finalists competed and over 1,000 corporate- Association (PMEA) District 12 Or- sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who met criteria specified by chestra last year. Janis is a renowned their grantor organizations. composer, musician, conductor and Kennedy, from Landenberg, Pa., is currently studying marine science at the arranger. University of South Carolina with a concentration in biology. The Grove Winter 2011
  6. 6. AG Senior Earns Congressional Award Silver Medal A von Grove High School se- Medina is a former migrant educa- nior Simon Medina recently tion student who participated in the earned a Congressional Congressional Award Program under theAward Silver Medal for achieving sever- guidance of the Pennsylvania Migrantal personal goals, as well as established Education Program, Chester Countyaward criteria, in the areas of public Intermediate Unit (CCIU).service, personal development, physical According to Nicole Bartels Prum,fitness, and expedition/exploration. Coordinator of Program Activities for Congress created the Congressional the Migrant Education Program andAward program to promote and recog- current Congressional Award advisornize achievement, initiative, and service for migrant students in Chester andin America’s youth ages 14 to 23. There Philadelphia counties, Medina’s advisorare six levels of awards, including was Elaine Steinbacher, who retired inbronze, silver, and gold certificates and December 2009. Medina’s hours werebronze, silver, and gold medals. validated by four current members of the Each level is cumulative, meaning CCIU Migrant Education Program staff.time spent to earn one award carries “We have worked with the Con-over to the next level. Along with an gressional Award Program for 12 yearshour requirement, the higher levels because it brings a local and national ac-of the award require that activities be knowledgement to our migrant students’ Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz PA13spread out over a minimum number of achievements,” said Bartels Prum. congratulates Avon Grove High School studentmonths. If different goals overlap in the Ruth Nilan, ESL specialist at Avon Simon Medina after he received his Congres-same month, the month may only be Grove High School, taught Medina as sional Award Silver Medal.counted once for the respective program a ninth-grader and has known him forarea. four years. According to Nilan, he has the student’s responsibility to identify To earn the silver award, Medina become a leader and role model for an adult advisor, other than a parent,completed over 200 hours of voluntary younger students in the ESL program relative or peer, as well as appropriatepublic service during 12 months of and now serves as a teacher assistant validators. For more information onactivity. His service activities included helping other teachers who have non- requirements, choosing an advisor, andcommunity beautification and child English speaking students in class. how to register, students and parents cansupervision. “He is a polite, quiet, disciplined, visit To achieve his personal develop- very bright young man who constantly Medina says participating in thement goal, Medina spent at least 100 seeks opportunities to help others,” said program has been a very positive experi-hours improving his English-language Nilan. ence. “The Congressional Awards Pro-proficiency over a period of at least 12 Christy Kouba, a student support gram really helped me become a bettermonths. Medina’s first language is Span- specialist with the CCIU Migrant Educa- person by improving my skills,” he said.ish. tion Program, also describes Medina as “I would recommend this program to For his physical fitness goal, Me- an intelligent, hard-working young man. other students because it brings out thedina improved his cardiovascular health According to Kouba, Medina attended person you really are inside.”through running and walking exercises, school, maintained good grades, and Members of the U.S. House ofparticipating in a minimum of 100 hours attended an after-school supplemental Representatives and U.S. Senate recog-of activity over the duration of at least educational program while fulfilling his nize Congressional Award participants12 months. requirements to earn the silver medal. who earn bronze and silver medals each To meet the expedition/exploration “He does not let adversity get in year. Medina was honored at a ceremonygoal, Medina planned and participated his way. He takes difficult situations in Jenkintown, Pa., in late a camping trip to the Pocono Moun- and turns them into opportunities for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz PA13tains for a minimum of two consecutives growth,” said Kouba. “He is, by far, one was among those who honored Medinaovernights. of the most extraordinary young men and other recipients from throughout Adult volunteers play an important that I have had the pleasure of know- Pennsylvania.role in the Congressional Award pro- ing.” Medina is now working towardgram. Adults advise participants on an Many other organizations also earning the gold medal, which requiresindividual basis, helping them to set encourage participation in the Congres- 400 hours of voluntary public service,challenging but achievable goals. Adults sional Award program, and any young 200 hours of personal development, 200also validate participants’ activities in person between the ages of 13 ½ and hours of physical fitness and four con-the four program areas. 23 can pursue earning an award. It is secutive overnights of expedition. The Grove Winter 2011
  7. 7. Avon Grove High School Names Fall 2010 Avon Grove Stars Avon Grove High School administrators and the school’s Student Assistance Program officials honored 37 students on Decem-ber 17 at the fall 2010 Avon Grove Stars recognition breakfast. Avon Grove Stars awards are presented twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Teachers, administrators, counselors, and other staff members nominate students who possess outstanding qualities, demon-strate a positive attitude and effort, and who make a positive contribution to the school and/or community. Each honoree received a congratulatory letter and an invitation to the breakfast. In addition, students’ names, as well as some oftheir positive attributes, are displayed in the showcase outside the school cafeteria. The fall 2010 Avon Grove Starts are: ninth-graders Oswaldo Almanza Medina, Shennell Butcher, Brenden Curry, Edgar Garcia,Katelyn Patrick, Keith Ross, Danielle Scalia, and Eleanor Schultz; tenth-graders Lilia Hernandez, Savanna Ledford, Justin Neuhof,Orlando Victoria Dias, and Gloria Zamudio; eleventh-graders Mercedes Bedolla, Lauran Busath, Derrick Dean, Amanda Eiser,Sarahi Gutierrez, Liliana Guzman, Leah Keinama, Luz Lopez, Haley Miller, Holly Moidel, and Nicole Wardell; and twelfth-gradersSteven Barker, Efrain Castano, Ashleigh Gentile, Kate Hesser, Dillon Hoilman, Kyle Lewis, Amanda Maroun, Tyler Matheny, SimonMedina, Emma Mulcrone, Kristine Petrella, Adam Raubfogel, and Tania Reyes. Avon Grove Student Wins National Video Contestby Stacy OsoskieCCIU Communications Specialist L iliana Guzman has loved visit- ing her uncle’s auto shop for as long as she can remember.Starting at a very young age, she wouldwatch her uncle work on cars in amaze-ment, and before she knew it, she hadpicked up on a few tips here and there- tips she shares on her national award-winning video, How to Change an AirFilter. A junior at Avon Grove High School,Guzman finds herself changing tires for Liliana Guzman, in her auto service technology class at the Chester County Techni-friends and family, enjoying her auto cal College High School, was named the 2010 winner of the “Show Us Your Wheels”service technology classes at the Chester video contest sponsored by the National Car Care Council Women’s Board.County Technical College High School,and planning to continue her educationat the University of Northwestern Ohio. The contest called for teens nationwide video was shown during the Women’s In the fall, Guzman’s automotive to show why they are passionate about Board award reception during Automo-technology instructor John Dowling rec- their vehicles and how to maintain it in a tive Aftermarket Industry Week in Lasommended she participate in the “Show three-minute (or less) video. The contest Vegas, Nevada.Us Your Wheels” contest sponsored by was a new category in the council’s Her video is also featured on thethe National Car Care Council Women’s annual Automotive Communications Women’s Board web site located atBoard. Awards program. “Liliana is motivated and hardwork- While Guzman is proud of her ac- “She (Guzman) exemplified not onlying and is respected by her classmates complishment, the contest had more the purpose of raising awareness of ve-for her knowledge and ability,” said meaning for her than winning an award. hicle maintenance, but also was a greatDowling. “I wanted to help open doors “For me, the best part of winning the example of a young female pursuing afor her through the Car Care Council.” contest is that I can show other girls that career in the automotive industry,” said Guzman took her love of cars and the they shouldn’t be afraid to do something Beatrice Livioco, Multi-Media Specialistskills she learned from her uncle and in they enjoy – even if it isn’t typically a for the Automotive Aftermarket Indus-the auto service technology program at female profession,” said Guzman. “If try Association, of which the Women’sthe Technical College High School, and you think you might be interested in Board is a committee.scripted, filmed and edited a two-minute something, just go for it; don’t let any- “My goal is to be a great mechanicvideo on how to change an air filter. thing hold you back.” someday,” said Guzman. “Opportuni- The rest is, as they say, history. Guz- As the national winner, Guzman ties like this help me share what I haveman was selected as the 2010 winner. received a 16GB iPod Nano, and her learned so far to help others.” The Grove Winter 2011
  8. 8. Curriculum Instruction NEWSFreshman Academy Supports Students’ Transition to High School A von Grove High School implemented a team-based teaching and schedulingmodel this year for all ninth-gradersknown as a Freshman Academy. The purpose of the program isto help ninth-grade students make asmoother transition to high school bybuilding upon the successful team-basedstructure students experienced at Fred S.Engle Middle School. A total of four teams were formed atthe high school in the spring of last year,each comprised of four teachers whosespecialty is science, social studies, Eng-lish, or mathematics. Jennifer Meyers,guidance counselor, and Gary Benasutti,assistant principal for the ninth-grade,both serve on all four teams. Someteams also have coteachers who providein-class special education support. About 125 students are on each team.All freshmen on a given team take theircore academic courses together. Forelectives, as well as PE and lunch, fresh- (Above) Avon Grove High School freshman Morgan Guarneri shows the crystal she grew as partman students take classes with students of a series of cross-curricular activities designed to help students make connections and reinforce learning.(Opposite page) Adam Durant shows the crystal he grew.from other teams and other grades. Thisenables students to take classes that bestmeet their individual career and personal municating more with one another, The concept of a ninth-grade acade-goals. teachers are also able to spot trends or my is not new. A number of high schools Working more interdisciplinary ac- difficulties that may carry over from across the country have successfullytivities into freshman-level core classes subject to subject. The team can in- used the model to help students transi-is one of three major components of the tervene quickly and is able to pool tion from middle to high school andnew team-based approach. The others information and resources if a student become better prepared to take on moreare using data to improve student inter- needs academic help or social/emotional challenging courses and, often, a moreventions and enhancing school-home support. competitive environment.communication. During planning periods, teams are Research on these programs has “This flexibility allows students to also using detailed data from the Mea- shown that benefits include increasedmeet their educational goals in a struc- sures of Academic Progress tests – given academic achievement; increased stu-ture that provides additional support three times a year in mathematics and dent attendance, positive attitudes, andthrough an academic team, while still language arts -- to develop intervention behavior; promotion of positive feelingsallowing for the exploration of career strategies for students needing additional about self and others; increased numbergoals and elective classes during the support. of students moving on to tenth-grade;freshman year,” said Tom Alexander, Some teacher teams have met with increased extracurricular participationAvon Grove High School principal. students during the day and others have rate; and stronger student-teacher rela- According to Benasutti, the teacher met with parents and/or students on oc- tionships.teams each meet for 42 minutes a day casion to discuss a host of issues. In Avon Grove, the District’s Cur-to review student progress, communi- “This never happened before in this riculum Advisory Council recommendedcate with students and parents, and plan way,” said Benasutti. “Now, with the implementation of the Freshman Acad-cross-curricular activities. team structure and daily collaboration, emy. The team is able to get to know we can catch things early and take ap- The four teacher teams were formedtheir students on a more personal level propriate interventions. Teachers some- last spring, a parent information nightsince they each have the same students times use this planning time to contact was held in late May, and teachers re-in class. Teachers can share if a child is students or parents and we can get things ceived initial training in early June.having difficulty in one area. By com- back on track. It’s been terrific.” Continued on page The Grove Winter 2011
  9. 9. Freshman AcademyContinued from page Education consultant Elliot Meren-bloom conducted the training, whichincluded identifying ways to integrateand deliver curriculum, how to respondto student needs and data, and makingcreative use of time. One reason the small learning com-munity or team approach works, accord-ing to researchers, is because studentslearn best when they can connect a topicin one subject to a topic previously or si-multaneously learned in another subject.(See story below.) “This is one example of the manyways teachers are finding to integratelessons, create exciting learning op-portunities for students, and help themmake real-world connections,” said Avon Grove High School English teacher Tracey Happold-Brown helps ninth-grader Shane Cas-Benasutti. sidy make a pendant using the crystal he grew in class. Students completed a number of interdis- ciplinary activities to help build connections, including reading a short story called “The Necklace.” Interdisciplinary Lessons Reinforce Learning Build Neural Connections W hen Avon Grove High teacher teams in June. The training School teacher Tracey included identifying ways to integrate Happold-Brown asked her and deliver curriculum, how to respond4/5-period students to retrieve their re- to student needs and data, and makingspective science experiments from a pair creative use of time.of desks along the wall on a recent Fri- The process of identifying relatedday, the small group of freshman in the concepts and realigning units or lessonsEnglish I class eagerly gathered round so that similar topics or skills can be pre-to pick up the crystals they had begun to sented in several subjects at the samegrow several days prior. time is not an easy one. Merenbloom As students admired their crystals, recommends teams explore up to sixHappold-Brown gave a brief review of Academy program, which is designed possible options to make it work.the experiment, went over the chemical around a team-based approach to teach- At Avon Grove, each of the fourformula, and described the ways alum ing and scheduling. Freshman Academy teacher teams– one of the key growing ingredients Education consultants Elliot Meren- meets once a day for a planning period,– was used in the past and present day. bloom and Barbara Kalina address the which includes identifying ways to make The students then quickly got to work topic of interdisciplinary activities and connections across subjects.completing that day’s writing assignment. units in their reference manual titled In Happold-Brown’s classes, studentsThey were asked to make connections to “Making Creative Schedules Work in also read the short story “The Necklace,”science, history, mathematics and Eng- Middle and High Schools.” which tells the tale of a girl who lost alish by answering a series of questions They say students learn best when necklace that was lent to her and howthat involved comparisons, writing a word they connect a topic in one subject to she spent years working to pay off aproblem, and a writing paragraph about a topic previously or simultaneously replacement only to find out the originalthe scientific process. learned in another subject. was a fake. Students read a nonfiction The assignment was one of a number Teaching in small learning communi- piece from a jewelry store brochure,of integrated lessons that Happold- ties like Avon Grove’s Freshman Acad- and examined real and costume jewelryBrown incorporated into all her freshman emy enables educators to connect ideas, pieces lent by Bove Jewelers in KennettEnglish classes, including College Prep, which reinforces the impact on students’ Square. Students also read nonfictionAcademic English and General English. memory, according to researchers. articles on the chemical composition of The practice – still in its infancy -- is Merenbloom provided initial train- gold and uses for gold throughout his-part of the high school’s new Freshman ing to Avon Grove’s Freshman Academy tory. The Grove Winter 2011
  10. 10. “Rock the Cure” @ Avon Grove High School March 12 Region II Seat FilledFive-hour mini-THON to Raise Funds to Fight Childhood At a special meeting on January 4,Cancer in Memory of Avon Grove’s “Four Diamonds” the Avon Grove School District Board of School Directors appointed Dr. John Students at Avon Grove High School Bartley to fill the remainder of the termin West Grove, Pa., will raise money for the Region II seat vacated by Lynnto help conquer childhood cancer by Klingensmith, who resigned from theparticipating in the school’s “Rock the Board on December 6. Bartley’s termCure” mini-THON on March 12. The will expire on December 5, 2011.event, similar to a dance marathon, was Dr. Bartley is scheduled to be swornorganized by Avon Grove teachers and in as Klingensmith’s replacement at thestudents to honor four beloved teachers: February 10, 2011, Board meeting. HeAnne Thomas, Kim Corry, Joyce Perry was selected from seven candidates whoand Cara Serpico, each of whom lost completed all components of the appli-personal battles with cancer this past cation process.year. Dr. Bartley served previously on the Participating students and alumni, Avon Grove Board of School Directorsknown as “rockers,” will spend five hours as an appointee in 2003. In addition toon their feet from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the his prior School Board experience, Dr.night of the event. Each participant will Bartley taught high school for 17 yearspay a $15 registration fee to help defray in Delaware and, along with three col-costs for the event, and students are leagues, developed an interdisciplinaryraising funds by securing sponsors who curriculum program that was awarded aagree to make a monetary donation. As grant from the National Science Founda-of January 4, 211 rockers have regis- lion has been raised since the inception tion.tered. Registration is open until February of mini-THONs. “We are so impressed Dr. Bartley is currently an associate1. and grateful for the students’ dedication professor at the University of Delaware. Proceeds from “Rock the Cure” will and generosity,” said Linda Barry, assis- He has taught general biology, elemen-benefit The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn tant director of The Four Diamonds Fund. tary evolutionary ecology, and environ-State Hershey Children’s Hospital in Her- This is the first year students at ments and cultures in conflict sinceshey, Pa., which works to conquer child- Avon Grove High School will hold a Four 2001. Dr. Bartley is also the facultyhood cancer by assisting young cancer Diamonds mini-THON. In addition to coordinator for the UD Associate in Artspatients and their families. According to dancing, other activities are scheduled to Program in Wilmington and is respon-The Four Diamond’s Fund Website, the keep the participants motivated. Rock the sible for planning the curriculum andfund offsets the cost of cancer treatment Cure organizers hope to raise at least managing 34 full-time and supplementalthat insurance does not cover, as well as $5,000 for The Four Diamonds Fund. faculty members. He has held this posi-expenses that may disrupt the welfare Members of the Avon Grove school tion since 2005.of a child, such as car repairs, rent, or community who are unable to “rock” Dr. Bartley has won numeroushousehold utilities. The fund supports the can support the cause in other ways. awards and grants in the field of educa-medical team that cares for the children Organizers also plan to light a Luminary tion, including Outstanding Delawareand funds pediatric cancer research Walk at 8:30 p.m. the night of the event. Biology Teacher of the Year in 2000 andthrough start-up grants and the Four Luminaries can be purchased for $10 a Superstars in Education award fromDiamonds Pediatric Cancer Research and can be customized with a person’s the Delaware State Chamber of Com-Institute. According to the Website, the name and/or message of up to 20 words. merce in has helped more than 2,000 families Visit, click on News- He has also published numerous col-since 1972, and about 100 new families room and then Rock the Cure to access umns, articles and abstracts on educationreceive support each year. registration information and luminary in general and his areas of specialty. Avon Grove High School’s mini- order forms.Donations can also be made He is a member of the National Sci-THON is modeled after the Penn State directly to the Four Diamonds Fund. Sim- ence Teachers Association, AssociationDance Marathon –the largest student-run ply note “AGHS Rock the Cure” in the for Supervision and Curriculum Devel-philanthropy in the nation where danc- memo section of your check and mail it opment, and the National Association ofers spend 46 hours awake and on their to: The Four Diamonds Fund at P.O. Box Biology Teachers. He is also a Facultyfeet to raise money for pediatric cancer 852, Hershey, PA 17033-0852. For more Fellow at the University of Delawarepatients. Mini-THONs were started in information about The Four Diamonds and a member of the Hagley Museum’s1993-1994 by students wanting to sup- Fund, call 717-531-6086 or visit www. Education Advisory Board. Dr. Bartleyport The Four Diamonds Fund through also has two sons in the Avon Grovesmaller-scale events. More than $4 mil- home. School District.10 The Grove Winter 2011
  11. 11. NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE Avon Grove School District PAID 375 S. Jennersville Rd. PERMIT NO. 3 West Grove, PA 19390 WEST GROVE, PA 19390Dr. Augustus J. MassaroSuperintendent RESIDENTDr. Margaret V. SharpAssistant Superintendent Avon Grove School DistrictCurriculum InstructionBoard of School DirectorsRobert WeidenmullerPresidentDebra L’HeureuxVice PresidentDr. John BartleyHerman EngelDennis GerberPattie LyonsGary MooreWilliam PewBonnie WolffSchool Officials Work on 2011-2012 Budget; Tax Increase Considered Avon Grove School create a loss of $431,990 in tions button, complete and monwealth be reduced orDistrict officials continue real estate tax revenue. submit the form. eliminated. Alternate budget-to work on the 2011-2012 Over a three-year period, Current plans call for ary plans will be developed ifgeneral fund budget, which the district has incurred a all administrative budgets, the Basic Education Subsidythe school board plans to loss of $1,679,248 in annual including school budgets, to from the Commonwealth isbalance through additional real estate tax revenues from be reduced by an additional decreased from the 2010-expenditure reductions, using residential reassessments. 15 percent for the 2011-2012 2011 allocation.a portion of the fund balance, Cost reductions totaling school year. Administrativeas well as a real estate tax $2.7 million were already budgets were reduced by 20 Key Datesincrease. incorporated as part of the percent last year to help bal- Jan. 27 - Deadline to adopt Based on preliminary 2010-2011 budget. ance the 2010-2011 budget. preliminary 2011-2012 budgetprojections from early No- District officials formed a A real estate tax increase, or adopt opt-out resolution stating the District will notvember, officials anticipate Budget Taskforce which has limited to 1.8 percent for raise taxes by more thana funding shortfall of about been working since early De- Avon Grove according to the 1.8%.$6.5 million due mainly to cember to identify three tiers Act 1 adjusted index limit,residential property reas- of additional expenditure cuts would generate $723,000 in Feb. 16 - Deadline to adoptsessments and declining totaling $3.6 million. real estate tax revenue. preliminary budget and autho-real estate tax revenue, As part of this process, If approved by the Board, rize referendum exceptions,lower interest earnings, and officials asked for budget the District also has the op- if any.increasing personnel costs. input and suggestions from tion to apply for referendumOther major increases in school employees, parents, exceptions to cover certain March 3 - Deadline to filethe 2011-2012 budget are and members of the Avon costs like special education, request for referendumexpected in the tuition paid to Grove community. health-care benefits and exception(s) to PDE.charter schools ($845,000), To submit ideas for retirement contributions. May 12 - Preliminary adoptionvocational ($390,000), and generating revenue and/or Officials are also develop- of proposed budget.special education programs. cost savings, visit www. ing contingency plans should For 2011-2012, assess-, click on the grant funding from the federal June 9 - Final adoption ofments reduced upon appeal 2011-2012 Budget Sugges- government or the Com- 2011-2012 budget.Nondiscrimination Policy: The Avon Grove School District is an equal opportunity education institution and will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices on the basis ofrace, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, handicap/disability, union membership, or other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordancewith state and federal laws, including Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504. All inquiries should be made to Dr. Wendi Lee Foltz, Director of Personnel, Avon Grove School District, 375 S. Jennersville Road, WestGrove, PA 19390, 610-869-2441.