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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Budget Matters: Woodland Hils and Pensions

by Mike Belmonte

When reviewing our Woodland Hills school budget, there are costs that are not as evident as others, but have a very large impact. One of those items is the pension, which I would like to address today.

As we try to balance the budget, we will have to find an additional $ 1 to 2 million to send to the state as our contribution to the  Public School Employees Retirement System pension fund, i.e. PSERS.

The extra $1-2 million is in addition to an increased contribution rate mandated by Pennsylvania last year and in previous years. We are in the midst of a mandated increase which the state legislature implemented to help reduce the deficit in the pension. This year, we have to pay 32.57% of our payroll to meet our requirement.

As a side note, estimates of the amount of the PSERS deficit you have probably seen in the news, range from $53-60 billion. Pennsylvania is not the only state in this predicament.

How did we get here? There are several reasons. In the early 2000’s Governor Ridge increased the multiplier, which is the number that multiplies the employees last three year’s salary average. In other words, what needed to be put in, was increased.

Teachers have been meeting their requirement and contributing 7.5%-10% (depending on  classification) along the way, but the state and districts have not. Another dynamic that is factored into pension projections is the discount rate. In the public domain this is another way of saying “return on investment.” Unfortunately, over the years this has been projected beyond what actually has been realized. Exacerbating these overreaching “return” forecasts were two major historical events. In chronological order, there was the 9/11 tragedy. Then, at the end of 2007 through the middle of 2009, our country suffered its worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
The retirement program is a defined benefit. This means our teachers and state employees are owed a
specified amount. The state has turned to the 500 local districts to help reduce the deficit so this obligation can be met.

In closing there is another factor that ties in here, but is a discussion for another day. That is the unfair distribution of funding that occurs when Harrisburg figures out which district gets how much. When it isn’t equitable, that puts additional pressures on a district’s budget.

Thank you for taking the time to review this. Pension costs are large and real, and sometimes not at the fore like salaries, benefits and physical plant costs, to name a few. Finding $1-2 million in our budget is difficult, but we are making that effort.

Mike Belmonte is the Vice President of the Woodland Hills School Board and the Vice Chair of the Board Committee on Finance.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Autism Awareness Month: Autism Advocacy

by Jamie Glasser

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. A recent survey suggests the rate may be as high as 1 in 45 children.* No matter the rate, it is clear that ASD has become and will continue to be an important point of conversation in Woodland Hills schools, as it is around the nation.

The leading autism advocacy group may be Autism Speaks, which has brought awareness to ASD through its years of work on behalf of those who are on the autism spectrum. These individuals have a wide range of abilities and needs, and it is essential that we recognize them as the individuals that they are.

Students with ASD are eligible for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law that requires schools to work with parents, caregivers and other stakeholders along with school personnel, to meet the needs of students. These plans take in to account the needs of students and the ways in which the school can ensure that a student receives the education that is their right in an environment that meets their needs and allows them to engage with the school community and typical peers. This means that students must be educated in an environment that is the least restrictive setting that can meet their needs.

During the IEP process, as student has many advocates. The most important of these is a parent or guardian who knows the student's needs and abilities best. It is essential that the student's family is engaged in the IEP process. School representatives could include teachers, administrators, social workers, psychologists, nurses and others who might know the needs of the student. The process will produce a plan that is a legally binding agreement for the school to provide services to the student.

Autism is a growing segment of IEPs in our district and around the nation. Because this is the case, we have an obligation to learn more about ASD and the need for specialized plans and processes. Advocacy is a important part of this process. Autism Speaks promotes autism awareness throughout the year, but particularly in April.

Information about Autism Speaks can be found at the organization's website, www.autismspeaks.org. Among the initiatives for the organization are the implementation of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act at the state level and state insurance reform. I'm happy to report that Pennsylvania has enacted legislation to ensure that these issues are addressed in our Commonwealth, but that doesn't mean that there isn't work to be done.

To learn more, or to get involved, contact Autism Speaks. at autismspeaks.org. And to learn more about identifying autism, review the CDC information at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html.

Jamie Glasser is a member of the Woodland Hills School Board, and the Eastern Area Special Schools Board. She sits on the Woodland Hills Board Committee on Special Education.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WH Intermediate Learns about Vanuatu

by Marty Sharp

Seth and Nicole Stokes serve as missionaries to Vanuatu, and they visited the Woodland Hills Intermediate School in March to talk about their life in the island nation. They live among the indigenous people of that country teaching  them literacy, health, spiritual truths, science, and providing medical help. Seth is from Pittsburgh and his mother, Sara Michalski, is a teacher for the Woodland Hills School District. Nicole was born and raised in South America, until her family relocated to New Jersey. They travel across the United States speaking in churches and schools to educate people about the needs of this developing country. Seth and Nicole are scheduled to return to Vanuatu next month.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Autism Awareness Month: April in Woodland Hills

by Jamie Glasser

Woodland Hills School District is proud to have a strong system of services for students who have special education needs, including students with Autism. When a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder is identified or comes to Woodland Hills School District, we have a broad panoply of services available to ensure that the child receives the education that is his or her right. In Woodland Hills, "All Means All".

Whether a student requires an educational environment that is smaller and more supportive, offered in our full-time autistic support classrooms, or can engage in the larger school environment with support, WHSD can meet that need, and does, for students throughout the district at all grade levels.

During Autism Awareness Month this April, classrooms and students throughout the District are celebrating with special lessons and projects. At Wilkins Elementary, Mrs. Rutkai's Autistic Support class made snack cups with special meaning.
One of the snack cups made by Mrs. Rutkai's class
The tag on the treat cup reads, "Every piece of candy is different. Every puzzle piece is different. Every child is unique and different." The cups are a great reminder of the way that all children learn, and our obligation to meet all students where they are so that we can raise them up.

Autism Awareness activities will continue throughout April.

Thank you to all in WHSD who work to ensure that the needs of special education students are met, and thank to parents and families who entrust us with the education of your children.

Jamie Glasser is a member of the Woodland Hills School Board.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Biography in a Box

By Rachel Scholze

Fifth grade students at WHI chose a famous African-American to study back in February. They had to research and write summaries in the areas of childhood, accomplishments, influence, interesting facts, etc.  Students then created a "Biography in a Box," using pizza boxes.  


Friday, April 14, 2017

EdCamp 2.0

by Lauren Weisser

The entire staff of the Woodland Hills School District participated in our second annual Ed. Camp style in-service on February 17th. This type of professional learning is meant to promote the desire for people to share and learn from their colleagues in an open environment. Each of our staff members has knowledge or strengths that should be shared with others.

See a video on the day here: https://shar.es/1UQTQe

Building on the momentum started last year, we were able to offer more sessions with a greater variety of topics for our 2017 Ed. Camp. Our own staff facilitated over forty different sessions. Each staff member registered for an individual schedule of four sessions. Some of the sessions focused on interventions for student such as Trauma Informed Care, Restorative Justice, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and cultural sensitivity. Other sessions were content area focused, offering strategies for reading, math, and STEAM instruction. Special education, technology, wellness, and sessions for new teachers and retirees rounded out the choices for the day.

Teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, central office staff and school board members spent the day learning from each other and reflecting on best classroom practices for our students. We ended the day with a “World Cafe” reflection where staff shared their experiences and learning with each other.

The day was an overwhelming success with engaged staff, confident presenters, and an opportunity to learn with their colleagues. We are already looking forward to the third annual Woodland Hills Ed. Camp in 2018!

Lauren Weisser is a 6th Grade Teacher at Woodland Hills Intermediate.

OSMO is at Edgewood Primary

By Ashley Luczak

OSMO the award-winning interactive IPad System is on loan in the Edgewood Primary Library this month. The system was borrowed through the Lending Library at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit in the Waterfront. Students will be using the interactive technology during their weekly library visits. Each game is hands-on and offers a Makerspace component to the normal technology. The three interactive games being offered are:

Students learn spatial relations and geometry with Tangrams


Tangrams: which teaches spatial relational skills and geometry -a point of focus on the third grade Math PSSA test.

Words: which reinforces spelling and critical thinking skills.

Numbers: which focuses on counting, addition, and multiplication.

Technology is embedded in student learning


In addition to the weekly library class teachers are encouraged to sign out the OSMO units in the school library for additional learning times. As the Library Media Specialist I see every student in the school. I know each student’s strengths and weaknesses. By offering OSMO in the library as part of my coding and technology unit I have seen students shine! Some students who struggle with the everyday paper and pencil activities really come to life with these interactive games. Tangrams and coding are especially unique for students. It’s a whole different way of thinking. Some student’s brains are wired to think like that and this gives them an opportunity to highlight their strengths and be a star. The best part of OSMO is that it is all-inclusive, any student at any age or ability level can enjoy this and be an active participant. Every student can succeed and be challenged. At the end of the day that’s my goal to know that every child “got it”. OSMO meets that challenge.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Intermediate Students Keep Up-to-Date with WHI News

The WHI News is a bi-weekly student produced newscast.  The Intermediate Media Club works collaboratively to research and write the scripts using Google Docs.  They paste the script into a teleprompter and use greenscreen technology to film the anchors in the news “studio” or on-location. The WHI News can be seen on the Woodland Hills Intermediate web site, the hallway monitors, YouTube, Schoology, and the local cable access channels.

You can see a sample news broadcast here:


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Autism Awareness Month: Identifying Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Agatha Leonard

April is Autism Awareness Month. During this month, as we celebrate Autism Awareness in Woodland Hills, we learn about Autism. This is the first in a series of posts about Autism and how Woodland Hills works to meet the needs of students with Autism.


The White House goes blue for Autism Awareness

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.
While autism is usually a life-long condition, all children and adults benefit from interventions, or therapies, that can reduce symptoms and increase skills and abilities. Although it is best to begin intervention as soon as possible, the benefits of therapy can continue throughout life.

Some statistics about autism in the U.S. population:
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
  • An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year
  • Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
  • Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
  • Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.
As illustrated by the graph below, the basic symptoms of autism are often accompanied by other medical conditions and challenges. These, too, can vary widely in severity.



Possible Signs of Autism
A person with ASD might:
  • Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play "pretend" games (pretend to "feed" a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Social Skills

Social issues are one of the most common symptoms in all of the types of ASD. People with an ASD do not have just social "difficulties" like shyness. The social issues they have cause serious problems in everyday life.

Typical infants are very interested in the world and people around them. By the first birthday, a typical toddler interacts with others by looking people in the eye, copying words and actions, and using simple gestures such as clapping and waving "bye bye". Typical toddlers also show interests in social games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. But a young child with an ASD might have a very hard time learning to interact with other people. Some people with an ASD might not be interested in other people at all. Others might want friends, but not understand how to develop friendships. Many children with an ASD have a very hard time learning to take turns and share—much more so than other children. This can make other children not want to play with them. People with an ASD might have problems with showing or talking about their feelings. They might also have trouble understanding other people's feelings. Many people with an ASD are very sensitive to being touched and might not want to be held or cuddled. Self-stimulatory behaviors (e.g., flapping arms over and over) are common among people with an ASD. Anxiety and depression also affect some people with an ASD. All of these symptoms can make other social problems even harder to manage.

Examples of social issues related to ASD:
  • Does not respond to name by 12 months of age
  • Avoids eye-contact
  • Prefers to play alone
  • Does not share interests with others
  • Only interacts to achieve a desired goal
  • Has flat or inappropriate facial expressions
  • Does not understand personal space boundaries
  • Avoids or resists physical contact
  • Is not comforted by others during distress
  • Has trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about own feeling
Communication

Each person with ASD has different communication skills. Some people can speak well. Others can’t speak at all or only very little. About 40% of children with an ASD do not talk at all. About 25%–30% of children with ASD have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them.1 Others might speak, but not until later in childhood.

People with ASD who do speak might use language in unusual ways. They might not be able to put words into real sentences. Some people with ASD say only one word at a time. Others repeat the same words or phrases over and over. Some children repeat what others say, a condition called echolalia. The repeated words might be said right away or at a later time. For example, if you ask someone with ASD, "Do you want some juice?" he or she might repeat "Do you want some juice?" instead of answering your question. Although many children without an ASD go through a stage where they repeat what they hear, it normally passes by three years of age. Some people with an ASD can speak well but might have a hard time listening to what other people say. People with ASD might have a hard time using and understanding gestures, body language, or tone of voice. For example, people with ASD might not understand what it means to wave goodbye. Facial expressions, movements, and gestures may not match what they are saying. For instance, people with an ASD might smile while saying something sad. People with ASD might say "I" when they mean "you," or vice versa. Their voices might sound flat, robot-like, or high-pitched. People with an ASD might stand too close to the person they are talking to, or might stick with one topic of conversation for too long. They might talk a lot about something they really like, rather than have a back-and-forth conversation with someone. Some children with fairly good language skills speak like little adults, failing to pick up on the "kid-speak" that is common with other children.

Examples of communication issues related to ASD: 
  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Reverses pronouns (e.g., says "you" instead of "I")
  • Gives unrelated answers to questions
  • Does not point or respond to pointing
  • Uses few or no gestures (e.g., does not wave goodbye)
  • Talks in a flat, robot-like, or sing-song voice
  • Does not pretend in play (e.g., does not pretend to "feed" a doll)
  • Does not understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing
Unusual Interests and Behaviors

Many people with ASD have unusual interest or behaviors. Repetitive motions are actions repeated over and over again. They can involve one part of the body or the entire body or even an object or toy. For instance, people with an ASD might spend a lot of time repeatedly flapping their arms or rocking from side to side. They might repeatedly turn a light on and off or spin the wheels of a toy car. These types of activities are known as self-stimulation or "stimming. "People with ASD often thrive on routine. A change in the normal pattern of the day—like a stop on the way home from school—can be very upsetting to people with ASD. They might "lose control" and have a "melt down" or tantrum, especially if in a strange place. Some people with ASD also may develop routines that might seem unusual or unnecessary. For example, a person might try to look in every window he or she walks by a building or might always want to watch a video from beginning to end, including the previews and the credits. Not being allowed to do these types of routines might cause severe frustration and tantrums.
Examples of unusual interests and behaviors related to ASD:
  • Lines up toys or other objects
  • Plays with toys the same way every time
  • Likes parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
  • Is very organized
  • Gets upset by minor changes
  • Has obsessive interests
  • Has to follow certain routines
  • Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
Other Symptoms

People with ASD might have unusual responses to touch, smell, sounds, sights, and taste, and feel. For example, they might over- or under-react to pain or to a loud noise. They might have abnormal eating habits. For instance, some people with an ASD limit their diet to only a few foods. Others might eat nonfood items like dirt or rocks (this is called pica). They might also have issues like chronic constipation or diarrhea. People with ASD might have odd sleeping habits. They also might have abnormal moods or emotional reactions. For instance, they might laugh or cry at unusual times or show no emotional response at times you would expect one. In addition, they might not be afraid of dangerous things, and they could be fearful of harmless objects or events.
Some people with ASD have other symptoms. These might include:
  • Hyperactivity (very active)
  • Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
  • Short attention span
  • Aggression
  • Causing self-injury
  • Temper tantrums
  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits
  • Unusual mood or emotional reactions
  • Lack of fear or more fear than expected
  • Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Development
Children with ASD develop at different rates in different areas. They may have delays in language, social, and learning skills, while their ability to walk and move around are about the same as other children their age. They might be very good at putting puzzles together or solving computer problems, but they might have trouble with social activities like talking or making friends. Children with an ASD might also learn a hard skill before they learn an easy one. For example, a child might be able to read long words but not be able to tell you what sound a "b" makes. Children develop at their own pace, so it can be difficult to tell exactly when a child will learn a particular skill. But, there are age-specific developmental milestones used to measure a child’s social and emotional progress in the first few years of life. To learn more about developmental milestones, visit "Learn the Signs. Act Early," a campaign designed by CDC and a coalition of partners to teach parents, health care professionals, and child care providers about early childhood development, including possible "red flags" for autism spectrum disorders.
References

Johnson, C.P. Early Clinical Characteristics of Children with Autism. In: Gupta, V.B. ed: Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Children. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2004:85-123.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bravo!  Edgewood Kindergarten! 

By: Ms. Walter  

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Frederick, Ms. Liberati, and Ms. Walter’s classrooms are excited to be participating in the Pittsburgh Opera Academy.  The children have had the opportunity to listen to selections from Salome, Richard the Lionheart, and Turandot, and they are eagerly awaiting the world premier of The Summer King, a Pittsburgh original opera about Josh Gibson and the Negro Baseball League.   
For each show the children listened to several musical selections while completing various activities that lend to the enjoyment and appreciation of the arts.   
Students learned about characters, stage makeup, and audience etiquette.  The children created paper dolls and designed costumes fit for the stage.  
 The Pittsburgh Opera sent hands-on learning trunks for opera Improv, Carmen, and Madame Butterfly.  Students practiced using chop sticks, learned about Japanese culture, dressed up in costumes, and put on skits.   
The students at Edgewood are eagerly awaiting a performance by the Pittsburgh Opera resident artists, who will bring this unique and exciting experience to a close with a show right here at our school!
Students and Teachers show off their Opera costumes

Wilkins Hosts Pastries with People We Love

by Chardae Seligsohn

Pastries with People We Love at Wilkins Primary was a Title I event planned by our Parent Involvement Committee.  Students' family members were invited to enjoy delicious pastries, fruit, and drinks with their students and were treated to songs/poems/dances performed by the students in each grade level! Over 125 family members joined us in showing why Wilkins Primary cares about our family members! Here’s what a few of our Wilkins Primary staff and parents had to say:
 “The Pastries with People we Love was a huge success! Everyone was smiling and enjoying their time together. All adults are so important to the success of each child and we were thrilled with our first event! We can't wait to host another opportunity and create more happy memories for our wonderful Wilkins school family.-Dr. Livingston, Principal
 “We had 126 parents attend today's Pastries With People We Love event. There was a Title One presentation and all grades did a student performance that consisted of songs, dance, and poetry. Parents and students enjoyed delicious pastries, fruit, yogurt, and beverages. It was a perfect, parental involvement day planned by the parental involvement committeeGena Eremia, Lauren Pritchard, Cliff Moncreif, Deneen Davis, Ken Trusky, and Lisa Harris.” -Lisa Harris, Teacher
 “My daughter enjoyed preparing for the performance the week before the event.  Every day she would come home and tell me that she got to go to Ms. Harris' room and practice a big surprise for us to see.  The songs and poems were so cute and it was great to meet some of her friends and their parents.”-Jessica Reed, Parent  
“What an awesome exciting morning! I am so proud of everyone! Mr. White and Mrs. Harris did a nice job planning the student performances. I love seeing and chatting with the Wilkins Primary Families. I can’t believe how many people were in attendance. I think we need to have more family events like this at Wilkins. The teachers and students did a great job! I was impressed!”- Charade Seligsohn, Parent

To see a video of the event, please click here: http://www.whsd.net/8/News/56933

Friday, April 7, 2017

Millionaire Bookclub Brings Families Together Over Books

by Marty Sharp

The Woodland Hills Millionaire Book Club held their first Family Night of 2017.  This is the tenth year the Instructional Coaches have implemented this very popular Woodland Hills reading incentive program.  The program’s theme this year is “Growing a Reader.”  Over 100 families from across the district, enjoyed book reviews, genre bingo, developing reading goals, a Google Apps presentation, a book scavenger hunt, and of course, delicious refreshments.   In addition to receiving a brand new book of their choice, each book club member also planted a sunflower seed to celebrate the first day of Spring and to symbolize their growth as readers.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

PAWSitively Woodland Hills: Elementary Schools Implement Positive Behavior Reiforcement

by Marty Sharp

WHSD is dedicated to the development of each student’s potential, both academic and social, within a positive learning environment. This is an on-going process built on the foundation of positive relationships between school and home. Classrooms create a shared set of expectations, rules, and practices based on the strengths and needs of individual students. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) have been adopted as a mandatory component of our Discipline Code.

WHSD Wolverines follow the “5 P’s”:
We are Prompt, we are on time to school and to class.
We are Prepared, we are ready to learn and come to class with all materials.
We are Polite, we use our manners and speak respectfully to staff and peers.
We are Productive, we participate in class, do our work, and try our best.
We are Proud, we take pride in ourselves, our work, and our school.

EXPECTATIONS:
Each school in has developed specific behavior expectations for each of the following: Hallway, Cafeteria, Bathroom, Bus, and Recess. Individual teachers/classes create their own classroom expectations.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT SYSTEM:
PAW CARDS
Paw cards are used to acknowledge displays of expectations throughout the building. Paw cards are collected by classroom teachers or kept by individual students. Each week/month, students “shop” at the PAWSMART or PAWSTORE and exchange their paws for prizes and school supplies. All faculty and staff are encouraged to acknowledge displays of expected student behaviors.
GOLDEN SPATULA:
The Golden Spatula is a recognition program in the cafeteria when students follow expectations at lunchtime. Classrooms and/or tables earn stickers for their behavior each lunch period, the table with the best behavior that day gets the honor of taking the Golden Spatula back to their classroom and they get to eat first the following day. In addition, the class whose chart fills up first earns a special treat at lunch.
STUDENT OF THE MONTH
The student of the month in another way we acknowledge students who exemplify our 5 P’s behavior expectations. Teachers select a student from their classroom each month based on the that month’s character education theme or expectation. These students are honored with a certificate a reward party which changes each month; such as a Wii dance party, technology time (Kindles, Osmos, and puzzles) homemade breakfast and so much more.

Woodland Hills RTI Staff will attend the PBIS Conference in Hershey and present this video to the Film Festival there:


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Edgewood Elementary Hosts Kindergarten Open House

by Julie Liberati

On Saturday, March 18th, Edgewood welcomed future kindergarteners into their building for an open house. Families were able to tour the building and hear about all of the great things happening at Edgewood Primary, including how our kindergarten team incorporates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) into the curriculum. The visitors learned about how science is incorporated in kindergarten. Throughout the year, several living creatures are brought into the classroom, such as turtles, a toad, mice, and many more! come Those in attendance at the open house also learned how technology is incorporated in library class. Edgewood has iPads, Kindles, Puzzlets, and computer labs available, as well as occasional visits from Osmo and Bee Bots. The families were also given an opportunity to tour the art room and see the artwork done by the current kindergarteners. The art projects help the children enhance their creativity as well as develop a love of art. Kindergarten students at Edgewood this year are learning about the opera, so the teachers were able to showcase how they are including the arts in their very own classrooms. The prospective students were read a story and each child was given new copy of the book to take home with them as well.
 The open house was a successful event where the kindergarten team at Edgewood was able to display all of the wonderful things happening throughout the school year. The Edgewood staff was on hand to answer any questions and had the opportunity to meet some wonderful families! A great time was had by all and we are looking forward to seeing all of the new students in the fall!

Registration is now open for the 2017-18 school year! Families are invited to enroll students at the Woodland Hills Administrative Center at Fairless, 531 Jones Avenue, North Braddock. Please visit the website's registration page at http://www.whsd.k12.pa.us/0/Content/148 for details about the documents and information necessary to register. Welcome, New Wolverines!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Edgewood Kindergarten Explores a Busy Pond

By R. Frederick, J.Liberati, and L. Walter



Kindergarten at Edgewood Primary is excited to be participating in The Busy Pond Project.  Due to the generosity of the WH Foundation in past years, Kindergarten students in Ms. Walter, Mrs. Frederick, and Ms. Liberati’s classes will have the opportunity this year to become scientific observers and master gardeners!  In the fall and winter the children met and studied a toad, fish, mice, a turtle, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a tarantula, and bearded dragons.  We hatched a monarch butterfly from a chrysalis and sent her on her way after learning about the monarch butterflies’ great migration.  Each animal afforded us the opportunity to diagram its anatomy and to learn about its habitat and diet. The pets that stay in our classrooms help us learn responsibility and compassion.  In the spring we are looking forward to working in our Kindergarten native plant garden while studying bees.  In anticipation of this activity, we are making our own dirt!  Using the leftover fruits and vegetables from a school-sponsored grant, we are composting in the classroom using a worm farm.   We will also hatch a variety of insects as well as a mystery pond inhabitant while completing an extensive unit on oviparous creatures.

Students learn about caring for all creatures with classroom pets

Ms. Fifi and Ms. Ginger


Kindergarten Students learn about Composting


Sunday, April 2, 2017

PSSAs Causing Stress? Not at WH Intermediate!

Mrs. King's class is prepared to deal with the stress of the PSSA. They took advantage of the WHI MakerSpace and made their own stress balls!



PSSA State Testing begins in Woodland Hills Schools on Monday, April 3. Good luck to all test takers! We know you'll do us proud!



Intermediate STEM Stars Participate in SciTech Days

By Marty Sharp

WHI STEM Stars had a fabulous time at Carnegie Science Center's SciTech Days field trip earlier this month. They explored the physics of motion at SportsWorks, learned How our Dinner Plates Can Change the World, walked through the submarine USS Requin, learned from local STEM businesses and nonprofits, and tried out the hands-on exhibits.



Woodland Hills Intermediate hosts 2nd Annual Science Olympiad

by Mrs. Kerestury & Mr. Sharp

The second annual Woodland Hills Intermediate Science Olympiad was held on Thursday, March 2nd and Friday, March 3rd for students in fourth and fifth grades.  Students took part in a variety of activities that helped them make discoveries in astronomy, anatomy, structures, nature, and more.

Along the way, they earned points individually and also for their team, with awards for the highest scores in each event.  The Science Olympiad has proven to be a successful and much anticipated event for the students of Woodland Hills Intermediate!