February 2021 Community ConversationsPosted by Methacton School District on 2/26/2021
Good Afternoon Methacton!!!
Sun is shining! Snow is melting! So get outside and enjoy the weather…but first please read this:
- BIG SHOUT OUT TO… our support staff, teachers, and administrators on the implementation of the blended learning 4/1 program. We have 64 percent of our K-6 student body in person 4 days per week with an all virtual Friday. Reminder that the 7-12 4 day per week program deadline for selection is Sunday, February 28 at noon.
- COVID-19 Assurance Testing is conducted each Friday in each school beginning with Eagleville and the High School on February 26. Bus Drivers and Food Service workers have access starting March 2 with a roll out in all schools in the next two weeks. This is just another way to help keep things safe!!!
- The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion kick off meeting was held on February 17, 2021. We had 113 participants and received approximately 85 applications for the 30 open DEI District Committee spots. Follow our progress.
- Planning is already under way for next school year. I will be providing the Board with a plan in May for the model. I will share that the only reasonable pathway forward to realizing a more traditional in-person experience is through changes to the distancing requirements. The current medical community recommendation of 6 feet is likely to be reduced/relaxed as more people get vaccinated, we continue with assurance testing, we maintain masking and the other health and safety measures. We will have our first discussion on the matter at the Education Committee meeting of the Board scheduled for March 2, 2021 beginning at 6:30PM. To join us, please go here: https://www.methacton.org/Page/584
- While we have to continue to manage COVID-related matters, my team and I are actively focused on the future of Methacton. As such, I will be sharing a 2-year plan keeping to our mission and the vision to ensure an exceptional Methacton School District experience for all. I will be presenting this plan at the April 20 working session of the Board of School Directors. This plan will include a revival of the strategic planning process with community-wide stakeholder input/focus groups, etc., some new programs and services with focus on the whole child.
Now Let’s Take a Look At Some Truly Amazing Work:
Arrowhead Celebrates Doctor Seuss’ Birthday
Each year for Doctor Seuss' birthday, our Arrowhead Home & School and Arrowhead Teachers provide each student with a new book! The RIF (Reading is Fundamental) Program is one of our favorite events each year.
Arrowhead’s 3rd Annual Kindness Project
Students created hundreds of handmade cards that were delivered to residents at Providence Place at the Collegeville Inn and The Landing at Collegeville. They also donated word search games, puzzles and adult coloring books for residents to enjoy. https://youtu.be/b_ZCHOX8mfc
Arrowhead Students and Staff Recently Celebrated “100 days of School!”
School Safety Patrol
The Eagleville Elementary School Safety Patrol (pictured above) is still going strong! Thirty-two dedicated students have attended virtual meetings to learn about leadership skills while attending school virtually until they were able to attend school in person. When returning to school, safeties had some new duties including reminding peers to social distance, wear masks and use hand sanitizer. We appreciated the addition to their uniform of Safety Patrol Masks provided by AAA. Safeties that attend school virtually were still able to help by making posters to hang around the school and make some video reminders of safe behaviors to share at morning announcements for the school. Not even a pandemic can stop the safety patrol from keeping our students safe!
New this year, the Franklin Mint Credit Union came to visit 3rd graders in Mrs. Wittenberg's class virtually for a trip they missed last year. During this exciting exploration of careers with money, students were able to learn more about earning, spending, saving and sharing money. They also had a special visitor, Sister Bear from the Bernstein Bears (pictured above).
For Black History Month, Mrs. Kraus and second grade students were drawing tools to honor Jacob Lawrence (pictured above left) who often included tools working in his art.
3rd graders learned about the Art of Harlem Renaissance Painter Aaron Douglas and created their own art in his style. Pictured above are students experimenting with Paint Kwik Sticks….they LOVED THEM!
Mrs. Coghlan and a third grade student collaborated together to create a musical YouTube video of a song-tale frequently shared in music class: "There Was a Man And He Was Mad" https://youtu.be/pv4D3UZJZqo
Woodland's music teacher Andrea Engler, creates these amazing dance videos starring Woodland students and staff. Here is her latest creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-CpQ0lXBnU
Woodland First Grader, Aahana Gupta, has been making cards for senior citizens on various occasions! Aahana’s name and pictures have been featured in the Times Herald!
Read it here: https://www.timesherald.com/news/optimist-club-sponsoring-valentines-for-meals-on-wheels-clients/article_0afa1000-5d00-11eb-a16b-535e7475fa18.html
Aisha Vadassery, first grader, wrote a question about coronavirus and it was picked up by NBC Nightly News to be featured on their show “NBC Nightly News: Kids Edition!” Link for show episode and Aisha’s question is at 9.35 minute mark: https://youtu.be/zWLPjM-b0YY
Woodland is hosting its first virtual Science Fair on 3/12/21. Students are creating one-minute “teaser” videos to be played over morning announcements!
Worcester was thrilled to welcome nearly 80% our students to 4 day in person learning earlier this month. Our virtual students are also staying engaged during their classes at home.
February 25th was a Celebration Day at Worcester Elementary School as Principal Feeley announced the winners of February's Wolf of the Month commendations. This commendation is bestowed upon a hard-working student who shows kindness, is a good friend, follows school rules, shows leadership and is a role model to others. Five of our 7 winners are pictured above with Mr. Feeley. Congratulations to these outstanding Worcester students.
Black History Month at Skyview
The Skyview community has celebrated Black History Month this February with a variety of activities. In addition to subject-area based activities, students have volunteered to research and create presentations on famous Black Americans to be included as video announcements to the school community. Here are examples of their videos:
https://youtu.be/7F0XhETbtrg (Ruby Bridges)
https://youtu.be/YZcbPhbPw2g (Maya Angelou)
https://youtu.be/LKwxBng92Pg (Kobe Bryant)
During the first week of March our volunteers will be sharing famous Black females in honor of the start of Women’s History Month. Students will also be tasked by Mrs. Gorla, Ms. Otero, Mrs. Hadrick and Mrs. VanBuren to listen to Amanda Gorman’s poem, “Talking Gets Us There” and reflect on the spoken word piece.
Have you ever driven on the Skyview/Arcola campus and witnessed the deer in the field? Methacton High School Student Melinda Jin created a display for Skyview (pictured below) after attending the Wildlife Leadership Academy last summer.
Kindness – pass it on! Mrs. VanBuren, 5th grade counselor, connected with the Lower Providence Optimist Club to have students make Valentine’s Day cards for the Meals on Wheels program. Many thanks to our students who volunteered to spread kindness to our community!
On February 9th, Giant Food Stores in Audubon surprised the cafeteria staff with balloons, a cookie tray and a thank you card to recognize them for all of the hard work that goes into feeding our students during the pandemic. On February 8th the Arcola/Skyview staff prepared, packaged, and distributed 4,000 meals during their weekly curbside distribution! The cafeteria teams at each school building also received balloons, a cookie tray, and a thank you card as well! We congratulate them on their recognition. Thank you to Chris Koch (Store Manager) and Megan Giuliano (Asst. Store Manager of Customer Experience) of GIANT Food Stores in Audubon for selecting Methacton School District in their campaign to recognize local heroes doing great things in the community.
On February 18th, Mr. Adam Chantry, Arcola’s Mallon Planetarium Director, invited everyone to tune in to watch the livestream of the landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Participants were invited to ask Mr. Chantry questions during the landing via chat.
- 8th grade English students are actively engaged in a research paper project. Students are doing amazingly well on note taking, as they gather research about an individual of their choice who has somehow impacted society. Students are taking comments and feedback and are growing in their note-taking skills! Way to go!
- Arcola News Journal - WOW to the amazing group of students running our show this year and keeping us informed.
- Nurse Cosgriff is truly assisting and doing an exceptional job keeping us all safe and informed.
- Tara Eison is the Arcola rep for the DEI Leadership team - thank you!
- 7th grade teacher Katlin McKeon started a teacher rejuvenation room to help support staff, keep them motivated and find ways to seek balance.
METHACTON HIGH SCHOOL
Five Methacton High School students (pictured above) representing the Class of 2021 have been named Finalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program. They are: Alec Chang, Claire Chen, Jeffrey Gong, Angela Li, and Tam-My Pham. Finalists compete for $2,500 Scholarships. They are evaluated on their academic record, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies among other criteria.
Congratulations to Methacton High School Junior Nicole Timko! She scored her 1,000th career point during the Warriors’ February 9, 2021 basketball game against PJP. Nicole is the second junior in the school’s history to earn this milestone as a Lady Warrior. Girl’s Basketball Coach Craig Kaminski netted his 300th career win on February 17th when the Warriors defeated Upper Perk.
STEM Innovation Lab check presentation (pictured above) – The Methacton Education Foundation has gifted MHS $220,000 to fund two innovative new STEM labs: a hydroponic freight farm and a forensic and biochemistry lab. Thank you to the Methacton Education Foundation, Ambler Savings Bank, and J.P. Mascaro & Sons for the financial support, and to Mr. Savitz, Mr. Walton, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. Griffith and Ms. Alveranga for their time, efforts and creativity and for making this project a reality!
Bruce Outland has been invited for the third year in a row to be a Question Leader at the AP Chemistry Reading through College Board - a tremendous honor!
MHS Virtual Art Gallery - MHS Art Department has put together an amazing online gallery highlighting our students’ art successes and achievements. Thank you to our art department for putting this together for us! Methacton High School Virtual Art Gallery
The Class sponsors are hard at work putting together events in the spring for the student body. Details to follow in the coming weeks!
Methacton High School Senior and Black Student Union President Steven Cadogan represented Methacton High School at State Representative Joe Webster’s virtual town hall, “Making American History and Honoring Black Legacies” on February 25. The virtual forum served as a springboard for ongoing conversations about equality and equity and for expansion of educational opportunities that more thoroughly and honestly cover our nation’s diverse history. Watch here: https://www.methacton.org/Page/753
The Methacton Backpack program continues to provide bi-weekly weekend meals and snacks to families through our snack backpack program. Volunteers Gabby Winters and Liz Drummond have organized this amazing program and have given out hundreds of bags to families this school year. In addition to food, the program distributed winter coats in December, held an MLK Day of Service Food Drive in January, and will be distributing toiletries in March.
Sophomore Christopher Groff broke the pool record in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 52.74 seconds.
Sophomore Christopher Groff, Junior Dylan Phan, Junior Tommy Gibbs, and Senior Jan Perez-Bonilla broke the pool record in the 200 Medley Relay with a time of 1:38.21.
What OUTSTANDING news to wrap up the month!
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools
January 2021 Community ConversationsPosted by Methacton School District on 1/29/2021
Dear Methacton Community,
I hope that this message finds you and your family you doing well. The Methacton School District, like all school districts in the Commonwealth, has had a challenging year navigating the pandemic. The uncertainty, fear, politics, science, health and safety, emotions and (add your own words here) are real and have played a part in how each of us have responded and how each of us see the pandemic, the associated risks and challenges.
However, even during all of these challenges, there have been so many amazing accomplishments, some extraordinary events, and a growth in all of us as a community.
As an example - The Arcola Connection Club, on January 15 assembled one hundred sock rolls for the homeless as part of the MLK Day Sock Roll Challenge sponsored by The Giving Tree, and how about Arcola’s National Junior Honor Society annual "Reading to First Graders" service activity to continue this extraordinary cross-generational learning activity.
With the leadership of our Athletic Director, Dr. Paul Spiewak and the extraordinary support from the Board of School Directors, a health and safety plan was implemented allowing coaches, student athletes and parents an opportunity to continue with pre-season and in-season workouts and competitions. Compared to a number of school districts across our region, Methacton student athletes and activity participants (band and clubs), from day one of the school year, have enjoyed access to extra-curricular activities.
Skyview Upper Elementary established a Virtual Mentor Program 8th period where Methacton High School student volunteers support Skyview students with homework, classwork, and general study habits. Led by school counselors and teachers at the high school and Skyview, we are seeing encouraging results with the implementation of model of support.
Character Counts week (October 19-25) saw Skyview students take part in producing a digital flag contest with student-designed flags now on display in the building. Winners were Grace Krelovich and Anushka Chandrate. Their designs are below:
Skyview’s Shaun Permar was honored by the College Settlement Camp on November 7, 2020 with The Dave DeRosa Outdoor School Award, for his efforts related to working with students and promoting and coordinating the Outdoor School experience. Skyview staff and former students created a congratulatory video.
The Daily Bread Food Pantry met with Skyview students to share the mission and operation of their organization. Food donations were gathered and delivered. Students created cards of appreciation for frontline staff at Einstein Hospital.
Mrs. Amy Eraydin, Reading Specialist, created an 8th period book club providing students who do not typically read on their own time the opportunity to read novels in a small social setting. Love To READ!!!
The Methacton Theatre Company had a hugely successful fall play entitled “The Laramie Project” on January 14, 15, and 16 that incorporated 30+ high school students in the cast. This was the first-ever streamed play conducted by the students that sold nearly 200 tickets for the viewing.
A huge congratulatory shout out to all the Instructional Assistants and Personal Care Aides - they have done outstanding work this school year supporting our students and staff in the in-person and virtual environment.
The R.E.A.C.H clinicians have been providing both in-person and virtual therapy for our students who participate in this program as well as providing valuable resources for our building administrators, staff and families to support our students during challenging life events.
Worcester Elementary will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day (February 3) via social media with guest authors from all over volunteering their time to virtually meet with students to share and discuss their books.
School counselor Shannon Snyder, and reading specialist Jen Slater introduced the book, The Energy Bus for Kids, to students at Worcester Elementary School as part of the “One Book, One School” initiative in celebration of Read Across America week.
Parent volunteer Dr. Risa Roland, is sponsoring this year’s Girls on the Run program virtually. In collaboration with three additional volunteers, thirteen 3rd and 4th grade girls are registered to participate in this exciting virtual event.
Methacton High School Sophomore Aidan Samsel participated in the Bethesda Project where Philadelphia community members pay $25 for volunteer artists to draw their home. The event took place over the month of November in celebration of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. All proceeds go to feed the homeless in neighboring communities in Philadelphia.
Leadership by the High School Student Council in conjunction with the class sponsors of each class, hosted a drive-in Homecoming at the facility in Oaks where carloads of MHS students and families watched the Homecoming football game projected on the big screen. Halftime festivities included members of the Homecoming Court parading through the parking lot in open air Jeeps followed by the crowning of the Queen and King. A most remarkable and memorable activity.
A Woodland Elementary kindergarten student won a poster contest on MLK initiated by the Lower Providence Police Department. She received an award by Chief Michael Jackson for her response to "What does equality look like to you?" She created a poster about all humans being friends regardless of what they look like.
Teachers across the district are producing videos celebrating our good work and using video’s to help with the learning process. Mrs. Engler, music teacher, created this video with kindergarten students: https://youtu.be/FnG-YVbcRj0
Given tremendous obstacles, the High School administration and teaching staff were able to provide the PSAT to students in grades 11 and 10. On the same day, students in grades 9 and 12 participated in virtual presentations with guest speakers on topics including financial literacy, entrepreneurship, the trades, human resources and employability, workplace etiquette, and stress management.
The Methacton Education Foundation has generously pledged funding for the incorporation of the program “Uncharted Learning” in the MHS Entrepreneurship class. Many good things are on the horizon at the high school.
MHS Senior Patrick Li was selected to the National Association for Music Education All Eastern Concert Band. Patrick completed a series of rigorous and competitive auditions to be chosen for this prestigious honor.
Michelle Stead, special education teacher at Arcola, is making extraordinary efforts in supporting her students this year. She collaborates with students, parents, teachers, and the support staff to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals.
The high school and Arcola have updated their digital hall pass system to accurately record the list of students on premise each day and leverage it as an additional mitigation strategy.
Arrowhead Elementary grade 2 students and families shared their multicultural holiday traditions via zoom across the entire grade level.
Arrowhead Home and School is leading the 3rd annual Kindness Project where students will make Valentine’s Day cards to brighten the day of residents from 3 Senior Living Centers in Collegeville! Slideshow of this to come…
The Arrowhead staff collected 83 pounds of food, personal care items, and cleaning supplies for the Daily Bread Food Pantry. Staff have been donating to the Daily Bread for the past 4 years.
The class sponsors and the class of 2021 officers have launched the Methacton class of 2021 Instagram page. They are working in conjunction with administration on a senior outdoor event to occur in May (details to come). Furthermore, yard signs are in the works to be created and distributed to our senior students/families.
Methacton’s Paul Lepre worked with the life skills autistic support program students to do a monthly kindness challenge and the kids painted “You Rock” rocks and distributed them to staff.
Eagleville held their Methacton Family Sing-A-Long and the 4th grade band and orchestra have assembled a small Winter celebration. The students have worked very hard over the past several months preparing and we are excited to share the Winter celebration with Mrs. Basalik-Arrowhead Orchestra Director, Mrs. DiRenzo-Arrowhead, Eagleville, Woodland, & Worcester Band Director, and Mx. Shuey-Eagleville, Woodland, & Worcester Orchestra Director. As an annual tradition, Eagleville honors our Eagleville Veterans virtually this year: https://youtu.be/-Jvw9fwEeW8
Maybe I got carried away in this message. Maybe I just wanted everyone to know that there are so many amazing accomplishments, extraordinary events, and a growth in all of us as a school community. We always have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Still we can be proud and appreciative of all that we have accomplished and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Keep up the good work and thank you Methacton Community for your continued support and commitment.
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools