September 2011


September 2011 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High


Team Read/Library News 

Oblock is working hard again with reading this year as more incentives and programs challenge the students to read more than they ever have. Students are listening to excerpts from books during lunch period, they are being challenged to read notable books, they are already being rewarded by getting in the lunch line first when they reach the Reading Hall of Fame or “get caught” reading, and teams are already preparing for the Battle of the Books.


A program in its fourth year at AEO organized by librarian Mrs. Susan Pinal isGot Caught Reading—Congratulations! Teachers will be watching for students reading in all types of places and at all times of the day, and will reward them with a special Burger King treat and a certificate which allows them to get in the lunch line first on Friday. A bulletin board will showcase pictures of students who get caught reading. A special thanks goes out to Barry Thomas from Burger King for providing the coupons for the students!


A special book challenge is being issued each month starting in October to encourage students to select notable books, including both classics and current novels. The October challenge is the book,Treasure Island, to encourage the classics. 


Many students have already earned numerous AR points to guarantee their place in the Reading Hall of Fame as part of the library’s Team Read competition. All students may participate in Team Read by accumulating Accelerated Reader points in order to reach one of the four levels of the program: Junior Varsity, Varsity, All-Star, or Hall of Fame. There are fourteen students at the Hall of Fame level already. Eighteen students are at the All-Star level, 184 at Varsity level, and 265 have made it into the JV reader level! Congratulations to Jenna Cecchetti who has made it into the 300 Point Club!


The library recently hosted the Scholastic Book Fair for students and also gave parents the opportunity to purchase books at Open House. 


Currently, there are eight teams, involving more than 45 students, who have been formed and are preparing for the AEO annual Battle of the Books competition. The students still have until mid-October to sign up. Books from the Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice list are circulating among the team members as they prepare for the first day of competition in December.



GATE Activities 

A record number of challenging, yet fun, activities have been planned this school year for the GATE students at AEO, according to Mr. Joe Miller, GATE coordinator. The advisors this year are Mrs. Amanda Durick, Ms. Jennifer Scharba, Mr. Brian Stevens, and Mrs. Teresa Barker. The year will begin with Academic Endeavors on October 12 which Mrs. Barker will sponsor and will end with the Duo Drama on May 22 sponsored by Mr. Stevens. Three field trips are planned including visits to the AIU Mural, CLO’sA Musical Carol, and a Glass Fused Tile Workshop at the Pittsburgh Glass Center sponsored by AEO art teacher, Mrs. Durick. Ms. Jen Little will also be involved by taking the students to a vocal competition in October.


Student Council 

Student Council members, under the leadership of Mrs. Jenna Romanelli and Mr. Steve Stremple, are busy planning fun and charitable activities for Oblock students to participate in this year. The members are elected by the student body after submitting a petition signed by their peers and teachers as an endorsement for their candidacy. According to Mrs. Romanelli, the mission of Student Council is to cultivate leadership, to provide opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills in the school and the community, and to instill the value of service through charitable acts. Activities for this year include planning and decorating for the Harvest Dance, Fall Sports Dance, and Holiday Dance, sponsoring Spirit Days, assisting Reach Out Club with the Easter Egg Hunt, and sponsoring a faculty/staff appreciation breakfast. 


Bullying Prevention Program

Bully Prevention program will kick-off in October during National Bullying Prevention Month.  On Wednesday, October 12th, the students will participate in Unity Day, sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.  Students and staff will be asked to wear orange that day.  Each Wednesday in the cafeteria the students and staff will be discussing various topics related to bullying. The lunch time program provides information on bullying prevention topics and makes the guidance counselors available to answer questions and/or deal with individual student bullying situations. AEO is in its third year of following the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.



Oblock’s award-winning yearbook is already being planned and subscriptions are being taken by a dedicated staff of 7thand 8thgraders under the leadership of Mrs. Amanda Durick, AEO art teacher.  The 92-page hard cover book will include pictures of all students, faculty, sports, clubs, and activities, and it is on sale now for $21, but only $19 online.  These prices are valid until November 23. Officers for the 2011-12 are Rachel Valotta – president, Alyssa Doyle – vice president, Victoria Michaels – secretary, and Emily Gall – treasurer.

Professional Learning Communities

PLCs are up and running at AEO. Teachers are gathering at 7:30 a.m., during common open periods, and after school to dialogue about academic issues and to share ideas. Open House, Conference Day, and parent communication were discussed in several PLCs. Moodle has been a huge discussion this year as a tool to communicate with parents and for students to submit assignments, as well as catch up from absences. Communicating with parents through the use of Progress Books has also been a popular topic. The reading/English teachers have been meeting to discuss AR requirements for nine weeks, goal books, nightly reading sheets, and graphic organizers. Social studies teachers met to discuss curriculum and open house procedures. Using the Smart Board, uploading documents to Moodle, coordinating lessons, and Keystone and PSSA tests were areas discussed in the Math Department. The support staff used PLC time to monitor progress and using the resource room most efficiently.  The science teachers were busy discussing the implementation of the Inquiry based FOSS science kit entitled Diversity of Life, curriculum, writing prompts, assessments, and PSSA testing. Art teachers discussed adaptations, curriculum, display cases, and the Reflections contest. The data team sorted the district data from the 2011 PSSAs into excel spreadsheets where it will be further analyzed.  The data team also began working with the math department on an improvement plan for Keystone exam scores.

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