September 2013

September 2013 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School


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 their lunch period, they are already being rewarded by getting in the lunch line first when they reach the Reading Hall of Fame, and teams are already preparing for the Battle of the Books.

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 14 students at the Hall of Fame level already.  Twenty-three students are at the All-Star level, 203 at Varsity level, and 207 have made it into the JV reader level!  That’s a total of 447 students who have made it into one of the levels!

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 38 students comprising seven teams that have been formed and are preparing for the annual AEO 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 November.

GATE Activities
A record number of challenging, yet enjoyable, 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, Mrs. Teresa Barker, Mrs Terry Trenz, and Mr. Phil Beatty.  The year will begin with Academic Endeavors on October 9 which Mrs. Barker will sponsor and will end with the Academic Challenge on May 9 sponsored by Mr. Beatty.  Two field trips are planned including visits to the CLO’sA Musical Caroland a Glass Fused Tile Workshop at the Pittsburgh Glass Center sponsored by AEO art teacher, Mrs. Durick. 

Professional Learning Communities
PLCs are up and running at Oblock with more over 45 days of meetings posted!  Teachers are gathering at 7:30 a.m., during common open periods, lunch, and after school to dialogue about academic issues and to share ideas.  Open House, Parent-Teacher Conference Day, and parent communication were discussed in several PLCs.  Moodle has made its way into many PLC minutes as a way to communicate with parents and for students to submit assignments, as well as catch up from absences.  The reading/English teachers have been meeting to discuss AR requirements for nine weeks, goal books, nightly reading sheets, graphic organizers, use of planners, and book levels.  Those teachers also have met to discuss the EdInsight data, changes in the PSSA tests, and how to incorporate the common core standards into lessons.  The Special Ed teachers discussed the IEP forms and data collection.  EdInsight, understanding PSSA data, and assessment anchors were areas discussed in the Math Department.  The science teachers were also discussing EdInsight and PSSA results, along with changes in curriculum.  The health and PE teachers discussed assignments and curriculum.  Foreign language discussed the progression for enriched and exploring, along with the foreign language club meeting during activity periods.  Across the curriculum, teachers met to discuss contacting parents, time out procedures, and using technology.


Open House
An exhilarating and informative evening of meeting teachers and learning about the curriculum was enjoyed by 614 parents and family at Oblock’s September 19, Open House.  In addition to meeting their children’s teachers, parents had an opportunity to purchase subscriptions to the school newspaper, buy candy grams for their children, shop at the Scholastic Book Fair, and support the PTA by purchasing tickets for the Chinese Auction.  PSSA scores were distributed and guidance counselors were available to answer parent questions.

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